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Frankenstein Mary Shelley     Frankenstein (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Mary Shelley: Book Cover
Through various exposures to pop culture adaptations, I thought all this time that the ugly monster in this story was “Frankenstein”! Why didn’t anyone ever tell me? The boy is Frankenstein! Victor Frankenstein, a young student obsessed with natural science and the creation of life. The monster never has a name throughout the entire story. I couldn’t believe it.

Besides my personal revelation, the story wasn’t bad for being ancient. The protagonist, this creation-obsessed boy, is a bit of a blockhead. I’m disappointed in the way Shelley doesn’t allow him a deep ability to critically think. The sympathy I’m made to feel for the monster when he’s able to narrate a portion of his story is crafted superbly well. The themes of the nature of evil, the responsibility of the creator to his created, loneliness, guilt, and madness are well raised, though some are better developed than others. Great book for discussion.  And if you’re my friend, Sarah, you got a B+ on your paper based on the weak women of this book. Way to go!

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson     The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy Series #1) by Stieg Larsson: Book Cover
This book is the foundation for book discussion groups all over the nation and Larsson is pumping out a new book as we speak, but I read nearly fifty pages and even that was painfully boring. I always read writing magazines about introducing the protagonist early, yet I never met the supposed girl with the dragon tattoo. I only followed some boring men who talked about money laundering plots and business criminals. None of that piqued my interest.  And though I suspected it would set up the rest of the story, I just couldn’t bring myself to wait that long. Maybe I’ll try again, but with all the captivating books out there, why force down a tough one? It’s like eating stewed beets and rotten lettuce leaves when there’s roasted peppers and steak. Sort of.

Keep It Real Lee Gutkind     Keep It Real by Lee Gutkind: Book Cover
A collection from various authors in the creative non-fiction field which gives tips and tricks for writing quality non-fiction. The common questions about degrees of truth, dialogue, and research are all covered in less than three-page segments. Some more unique topics: interviewing, lyric prose, and queries are investigated as well. Almost like a how-to guide for advanced students of the genre.

Answers to Prayer George Mueller     Answers to Prayer (Moody Classics Series) by Mueller: Book Cover
Excerpts from George Mueller’s works and biographies on him that encompass the kind of man he was and the kind of life he lived. His basic mantra was that we, as Christ-ones, don’t ask the Lord for things as purely as we should. We, instead, rely heavily on the resources that surround us and this diminishes our unadulterated faith in God’s ability and willingness to provide. So his commitment is to ask only of the Lord to fulfill his needs, so that it might increase his faith. He does, and the Lord provides, and it is pretty amazing to read.

Guys Like Girls Who… Chad Eastham     Guys Like Girls Who . . . by Chad Eastham: Book Cover
Why am I reading a book written for teenage girls? There are a lot of reasons, not the least of which include the fact that my sister is one, I’ve led youth group a number of times, taught at a youth camp, and am coming to find out that this group of human…I don’t quite understand. This guy, Chad, he magically gets it! It’s fantastic. He speaks with clarity and boldness to teenage girls of all mindsets about how they structure their lives around the pursuit of dudes and that needs to change. He tells them that they have value, and it begins in the eyes of God; that they need to be realistic, healthy, balanced, and normal; that it’s crucial to communicate well, be able to say NO. And those are basically just the chapter titles! He explains through anecdotes, stories from real teens, and straightforward explanations, HOW to accomplish these things. I really believe that if a teenage gal takes a serious read of this book, it could change her unnecessarily drama-filled life. I even learned a handful of solid, Biblical principles, or was reminded of them, at least.