Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver August 18, 2012

The story begins in 1959 with the Price family on a plane, dressed in all of the clothes they own, with various household necessities in their pockets.  When they arrive in the Belgian Congo for their mission, they realize that they were woefully unprepared for the life that awaited them.  The family adjusts to beds surrounded by mosquito nets, weekly quinine pills, poisonous snakes in the doorway, and boiling every drop of water before they can use it.  Reverend Price becomes more and more engulfed in his mission to bring Jesus Christ to the village, growing more frustrated and extreme with each passing day.  His four daughters figure out what he refuses to see- the people do things differently in the Congo because that’s what it takes to survive.  The story is told from the mother’s and each girl’s point of view in alternating chapters.  The political, spiritual, and familial unrest changes each family member’s life forever.

I have mixed feelings about this book.  On one hand, it was amazing to read about life in the Congo and how it changed everyone in the Price family in such a profound way.  On the other hand, reading it was an arduous task.  I started and stopped reading it several times; it was very long and the last quarter of the book dragged on.  Kingsolver definitely has strong feelings about  the political upheaval that took place in that region; presumably, her opinions were woven into character Leah’s story.  It also caused me to ruminate on my feelings about religion and Christian missions.  Overall, I’m glad I read the book.  The Price family has haunted me since I finished and will continue to do so for some time to come.





Wild by Cheryl Strayed May 3, 2012

In her devastation after her young mother’s death, Cheryl’s life falls apart.  Her family scatters, her marriage ends, and everything she used to believe is lost.  While running an errand at the hardware store, she runs across a book that will change her life.  The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume I: California sticks in her mind until she makes a decision: she’s going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.  Shortly afterward, she straps on her heavy backpack for an 1,100 mile journey through the Mojave Desert in California to the northern border of Oregon.  She has no experience as a long-distance hiker and encounters many wild animals, extreme weather conditions, and hardships on the way to healing her broken spirit.

This book was well done and really held my interest.  I don’t think I would attempt a trip like the one she describes, but it made for a great story.  It’s similar in subject to Eat, Pray, Love, but better.  I would recommend this for any adults who like to read memoirs, books about travel, or stories about life journeys.

5 out of 5 stars


Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese January 25, 2012

Filed under: adult non-fiction — Bethany @ 7:34 pm
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This book was awesome!  Each recipe has a story or background information, the level of “hassle” to make it at home, the cost of the homemade version versus the name brands, and the recipe itself.  Even the recipes I have no intention of making at home, I read and enjoyed the author’s comments and research.  I am now prepared to make homemade yogurt!


A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg February 26, 2011

Part memoir, part cookbook, A Homemade Life demonstrates Molly Wizenberg’s passion for food.  Growing up, her father regularly remarked, “You know, we eat better at home than most people do in restaurants.”  She later realized he was talking about the joy and family togetherness that came from cooking and eating together.  Read about Molly’s memories of growing up with her mother and father, their fateful trip to Paris, her father’s death from cancer, her realization that she needed to follow her passion, and the beginning of her relationship with a fan of her blog.  Each chapter is followed by a recipe that fits the story.

This book combined my interest in memoirs with my love for cookbooks.  Wizenberg is a good storyteller and was able to incorporate recipes into the text without interrupting the flow.


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