Saturday, July 18, 2009

Take A Chance Challenge - Random Book Selection


The witty and well-read Jenners over at Find Your Next Book Here is hosting theTake A Chance Challenge to all who want to expand their reading horizons. There are 10 interesting and fun challenges to try. If you would like to learn more about the challenges, just click on the above image and you will find all the challenge descriptions.

Here are Jenners' guidelines for this Random Book Selection challenge: "Go to the library or bookstore. Position yourself in a section such as Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, Children (whatever section you want). Then write down random directions for yourself (for example, third row, second shelf, fifth book from right). Follow your directions and see what book you find. Read the book, and then write about it."

After spending an hour navigating through the chaotic, but happy children's section of my library, I instructed my four kids to quietly follow me into the adult section to find my book for the challenge. My two middle guys took my instructions quite seriously by the concentrated looks on their faces as they gingerly walked by all those studious reading adults. It was if they were entering a booby-trapped temple in "Raiders of the Lost Ark".

Gratefully, we made it to the fiction section and only dropped a couple of books on our journey. I first chose to select a book from a library shelf at my eye level. My boys were ready to help me find our random book. Well, my 3 year old wanted to control this activity and decided that she would count the books on a shelf at her level. She happily handed me The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry. It turns out that she made an excellent choice.

One hundred years old and a longtime resident of Roscommon Psychiatric Hospital, Sligo born Roseanne McNulty bares her soul and fragile humanity on journal entries quickly hid under floorboards in her room. Author Sebastian Barry skillfully presents Roseanne's character sympathetically and vividly. His writing is poetic and philosophical at times. Here are two examples of his well-crafted prose:

"After all the world is indeed beautiful and if we were any other creature than man, we might be continually happy in it."

"That strange responsibility we feel towards others when they speak, to offer them the solace of an answer."

The other main character in this novel, Dr. Grene, tries to uncover the truth about Roseanne's mostly tragic past and her present mental state through carefully questioning. Often, he would just sit in her presence and allow memories and painful admissions to take over his thoughts. Throughout his interviews with Roseanne, Dr. Grene's own personal struggle with grief and doubt start to unravel in front of Roseanne and the reader.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Secret Scripture. The writing and characters captivate your attention and raise significant questions about family dynamics, religious control and personal rehabilitation. My three year old was my lucky charm with this random book selection.

Happy Saturday everyone! Today is my nephew's third birthday! We're having the party here so I better start blowing up balloons :)

19 comments:

Kitten said...

You've got a future literary expert on your hands! Great job with the review! I'm working on my random book selection right now!

Dani said...

Wow! What a fun challenge! Maybe I'll head to the library today and try it out! I am in need of another book to read- and to practice reading something without letting everything in my home fall apart too badly. :) Sounds like a wonderful book choice!

Jenn said...

What a fun challenge. Glad you enjoyed your random book!

Creativity!! said...

Wowwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!! Wonderful! Great Fun Challenge!!!!!!!

shabby girl said...

I can just picture your kids all serious, following directions. How fun!
Sounds like a great book too. I have snippets from many books that I've saved because I just loved a sentence or a paragraph in it. I am continually amazed by what comes out of people's heads!

Joanne said...

Nice idea. Sometimes I'm at a loss as to what to read next, nothing's waiting on the end table, and I venture to the library unsure what to pick. I like this, the plotting out a little map and letting fate choose!

Enjoy the party :)

pughy said...

I ust dont have the time at the moment to do that but will look forward to seeing what happens.

Hugs Carol and GJ xx

becomingkate said...

Have a good time!

Wendy said...

that sounds like a great idea to find a new bood to read. i might try that the next time.

Dani said...

HEY! CONGRATS ON THE PP&P WIN! There is a truth... I really enjoyed your small entry. Goes to show that great things come in small packages- even in writing! :)

Jenners said...

I love the description of the process of picking out the book! How neat to venture into the Adult section for a change. And I love that you involved your children! I'm glad this turned out to be a good book for you ... sounds interesting. Maybe you should have your daughter pick out all your books!

Michelle said...

Oh I so should have gone for that theory. I forgot about it. I literally walked through the library fiction section TRYING to choose a random book and couldn't figure out how to choose one :)

Jillien said...

Sounds like a wonderfully interesting book. I don't have the guts to jump into random books like that, but I'm getting better. I have a book exchange with my friend several times a week. Its helped me open up. Maybe this book challenge could be my next step.

Warren Baldwin said...

This quote puts humans to shame: "After all the world is indeed beautiful and if we were any other creature than man, we might be continually happy in it."

Thanks for sharing it! wb

Kim said...

That's so neat. I think I would like that book too! Jillian may need to become a publisher or something. I have a hard time jumping into books too. This is a great way to do it.

2Shaye said...

OH man! This looks like such a FUN challenge! I'm so going to do this with the kids. Thanks for the heads-up!!!

~Shaye

Ana V. Rios said...

This sounds very interesting. I think I might give one of the challenges a try. I like the one you did. Thank you for sharing this.

Kari said...

Glad you enjoyed the book. It sounds very interesting.

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