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 :)