Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Boston! and a Passion Most Pure

I am currently reading A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman (visit her blog here)

I had heard a lot about this novel --- mostly reviews stating that it pushed boundaries of Christian fiction.

It certainly is not your grandmother’s Christian fiction. There is plenty of---albeit well-regulated---spice and simmer.

It is incredibly fun to read and very atmospheric. Lessman does well to capture the Irish dialect and culture in Boston circa 1915. Also, she paints an interesting picture of a steno pool.

I am heading for Boston tomorrow for a trip. I have never been before and I am quite excited! It is quite apropos, therefore, that I am reading the first in the Daughters of Boston series in preparation.

I, of course, will remember Meissner’s Shape of Mercy when I visit Salem and the ARC I finished reading for Siri Mitchell’s breathtaking Love’s Pursuit ( stay tuned for a full review).

I am also quite looking forward to tracking down Orchard House in Concord: the home of Louisa May Alcott: a write whose works have greatly influenced my formative years.

Beyond Little Women ( quite popular in Christian circles for its great moral values and universal truths), I love Alcott’s Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom: two novels I read at Christmas every year. I love traditions like this.

The BEST part of going to Boston ( besides the historical ambience and harbour and trips to the surrounding area and ANTIQUARIAN bookstores) is my reconnecting with my best friend: who moved from Toronto to Massachusetts to finish her doctoral thesis last August.

I very very much miss her and as much as I am looking forward to exploring and learning and taking lots of photographs, I am most looking forward to laughing with my friend and catching up.


Rachel said...

hey there.

I am notorious for having eight books on the go at the same time. I work in the publishing industry and as this has been a very busy time of year, I have had to set some of the books I have on the go aside of late: including this one. I am still half-way through.

I also have to give precedent, sometime, to my other job as a freelance reviewer of young adult fiction.

So far, I like Julie Lessman because she IS different but I find the novel is bascially a glorified harlequin.

I can certainly see why you are frustrated.

It is not so much the content for me as the way it is laid out.

I mean to finish the book because part of why I started this blog was to be accountable to finish everything and really stop and think about why certain authors and books are so popular in the Christian market.

To your point near the end, I don't particularly find this book deep or well written but it has a few good turns of phrase. There are many many many Christian books out there which seem to have made it onto the shelves without decent editing and this is one of the lesser evils, stylistically at least.

I do wonder as to Bethany's decision to sign an author whose underlying current is passion: passion denied, passion redeemed, etc.,)

cannot wait to talk books with you! This was certainly food for that and I LOVE scintillating conversation....

I read a variety of genres and have also worked in secular bookstores ( for four years whilst I was finishing a Victorian lit degree)

kirsteniteleader said...

Oops. Accidentally commented as my husband!!

I agree: Lessman does write decently. I'm a HUGE grammar and style fanatic. Most of the time, I believe that the most mundane stories can be amazing if they are told well.

I'm as interested as you to know why certain books are so popular. I have my theories, most of them self-serving, because I know that when I write, it's not to a general readership. I know there are many authors out there who have no problem writing to the majority, and I struggle with accepting them. It truly isn't wrong to sit down to a breezy book that doesn't demand much from your mind, which has been demanded elsewhere all day. I'm just not one of those people that wants a breezy book. I want my mind to be grasped and toyed with. I want to leave and think about what was written. And those are the kinds of books I want to write.

That said, I'm excited to find another thing in common with you: young adult fiction. I don't review it or anything; I just read it. That genre is perhaps my favorite. I love Nancy Farmer. Talk about writing dynamic characters and struggling with social issues! I liked Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series. While a little formulaic, it's still imaginative and I appreciate the symbolism.

In the interest of space, I'm going to jump a little off track. I thought to ask if you've read Jamie Langston Turner. Suncatchers was.. okay.., but that's probably because I read it after Winter Birds, which was AMAZING. It did was Klassen's Milkweed Manor couldn't do: tied in facts about birds with the main character, who is an older woman living with a relative instead of a retirement home. Sooo well written, thematic, involved Christians w/o getting preachy. It was nice. I think you would enjoy it.

Amy said...

Interesting conversation in which I might feel totally out of my league. But I think I found the one.

Let me throw this out there...why are the relationships in the Passion books any different from the Christians that don't care about the poor and live rich and extravagant lifestyles? I think we all have certain ideals and we'll never all seem them represented.

I don't find Julie's books to be super deep (I do find her to be deep, though) but I find them to be good heart books..books I enjoy. I also like books that challenge me. I like them all. I just love books.