Hello! Today I’m back with the promised top 3 books of December! And as it’s rather late currently for me, I’m going to cut with the chit-chat and get straight on with the reviews. 😀 Hope you enjoy!
The Killer Angels – Michael Shaara
This book. Wow. Seriously, I was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. I read it for school, and initially went into it thinking ‘Oh, it’s just another Civil War book but really heavy on the technical details so I’ll just have to slog through it because it’s for school’. And it wasn’t! The writing was really amazing, the story was so detailed, and the plot was fascinating (mostly because it was true!)
This book tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of the main generals that fought in it. So, interestingly enough, this book has perspectives from both Confederate and Union soldiers. That in itself made it a fresh book for me – I can’t think of a book I’ve read before that has involved both perspectives from the two sides of the Civil War. Normally it’s just from the perspective of one side or the other.
One thing that made me enjoy this book so much is how incredibly detailed it was. Without a doubt this is the most scrupulously detailed book on an event in the Civil War that I have ever read. It is obvious that Mr Shaara has really done his research! This book tells the events of June 29th– July 3rd 1863 – the day leading up to and the days during the Battle of Gettysburg. The perspective shifts between various Union and Confederate generals – such as Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. You get to experience through theirs eyes the intimate details of the preparation for and the events during the battle. Now I know this type of detail isn’t for everyone, but my history nerdy self revels in this type of thing! I really enjoyed getting to go so deep into this famous battle and to learn the ins and outs of the men and events involved in it.
Another thing that really made this book such a winner for me was the writing. It was unique, rather blunt and almost choppy at times. But it was so, so beautiful. The emotion that was conveyed through the writing was very strong. I loved getting an intimate look into the battle through the eyes of these brave and varied men. It sort of reminded me of ‘The Red Badge of Courage’ in the way it described the battle – so very ugly, but yet beautiful in a strange way. I’m struggling to describe just how impacting the writing was, but I guess I’ll just have to end by reiterating how beautiful it was, and that I highly recommend this book! I’m giving it a very solid 9* out of 10 and recommending it for ages 14+ (due to some graphic descriptions of war and the semi-occasional swearing.)
Pleased to Dwell – Peter Mead
I know that Christmas is practically a month gone, and probably the majority of you are done with it now for 11 months (though why would you ever want to be done with Christmas – it’s so wonderful?! :D), but I’m going to recommend that you read a Christmas book. Specifically, Pleased to Dwell. Yes, I read it in December, but it’s such a good book that I would say you could read it any time of the year! And before I actually talk about why I liked it, I will just add a small caveat in that the author is my father. So that amplifies my appreciation for it, but it does not influence my liking of it. 😀 I would like it even if it was written by another person.
So why do I like this book? Well, simply put, the writing is clear and the message is incredible, beautiful and oh so needed. The message of the Incarnation life changing – God became flesh so that flesh could know God. But the Christmas story doesn’t begin and end with Jesus being born. It began in the garden of Eden when humans fell into sin, and it ended with the Son of God stretched out on a cross, bearing the sins of the world. And in between? Well, it’s an epic story, full of twists and turns as God revealed more and more of his rescue plan to his wayward children. And the story that is told in the Bible is explained incredibly well in this book. Each chapter is dedicated to a different part of the Incarnation story, beginning in Genesis 1 and going through the whole Bible!
The writing is clear and accessible, not too academic at all! And the message of this book is oh so encouraging. I loved going more into depth into the Biblical texts about the Incarnation and I was so encouraged by the permeating message of hope that comes through this book. Because ultimately the true wonder of Christmas is the truth that God stooped down to earth, humbly becoming a helpless baby boy. Why? Because of love. Because of his deep, powerful and merciful love for all of humanity. And that my friends, is incredibly beautiful, wonderful and very good news!! So yes, go read this book – I promise you’ll come away having learnt something new, having a deeper appreciation for the Bible, and most of all, a stronger love for Jesus. I’m rating this book 10* out of 10 and recommending it for ages 13+.
Ok, so I’m going to do something a little different and end with featuring one of my top authors of the month. This author is Eva Ibbotson. And I’m a new fan of hers! I read three of her books last month – The Star of Kazan, Journey to the River Sea, and The Dragonfly Pool. I enjoyed them all so much I couldn’t pick a favourite! Her writing has a whimsical flavour about it that just delights my literary taste buds. They feature real places and real events in history that she takes and puts her own slightly magical twist on and oh they are lovely! The main characters in her books are children – children that are so real and so relatable they could be living across the street. But the adventures they have are hardly the everyday type! The adventures in these books are captivating and exciting, the plot twists are gasp-worthy and they are all together just plain charming books! Perhaps they are aimed for a slightly younger age range than me, but honestly I think they’re the type of book the whole family can enjoy! (*Note: I’ve only read the three books I mentioned above by Ibbotson, so I can’t vouch for the content of any of her other books.) I’m giving Eva Ibbotson’s books a solid 9* out of 10 and recommending them for ages 10+ (though as I said before, I think pretty much anyone of any age would enjoy them!)
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And what were your top books of December?