Classic Reading

Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe in Anne of ...

Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe




For some reason, I’ve had classic books on my mind lately.  Not really sure.  I am thinking that I will check out one or two on my next trip to the library, which will most likely happen later this week.

I am just not sure what I should look for.  Should I go with a book I’ve never read before?  Or would it be better to revisit a classic novel that I read once or twice in the past.

I know that I will skip Gone with the Wind.  Not that it’s a bad little book (though “little” is not an appropriate word to describe that book!)  It’s just one that I have read more than once.  Maybe I’ll read it again someday.  It still amazes me that a book written 75 years ago about a war that happened nearly 75 years before that is still so popular and well-loved today.

One of my all-time favorite books belongs in the classic literature category.  I fell in love with Anne Shirley, Diana Berry, Gilbert Blythe, and all the other residents of Avonlea when I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time 25 years ago.  (Good grief!!  Has it really been that long ago??)  I have the entire set of books about Anne Shirley.  Every year or so, I pull them out and read through them.  I don’t think I have read them yet this year.  I suppose I could do that.  It’s just that I can’t seem to read only one of those books, and I don’t know if I want to commit to all eight of them right now.

A Tale of Two Cities.  Now that is one that I haven’t read in a while.  It is the only Dickens novel I have ever read.  I don’t know why I never read any others.  Maybe I should look into some of his other work.  I read A Tale of Two Cities in high school, and I did really enjoy it.  Maybe it is time to read that one again.

In junior high, I also read books by the Bronte sisters.  Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights are both very good books.  It wasn’t until looking up those books recently to remember which sister had written which novel that I discovered there was another Bronte sister who enjoyed writing.  Perhaps I should look for Anne’s novel Agnes Grey. Had a chance to read yet

How about you?  Do you have a favorite classic novel?  What about a classic novel that you have always wanted to read but haven’t had the chance to read yet?  I’d love to hear your opinion and consider those options.

Agnes GreyAnne BronteAnne of Green GablesAnne ShirleyBrontë familyCharles DickensCharlotte BronteEmily BronteGilbert BlytheGone with the WindJane EyreMargaret MitchellTale of Two CitiesWuthering Heights

Review of Meg Cabot’s OVERBITE

Meena Harper has a special gift, but it’s only now that anyone’s ever appreciated it. The Palatine Guard – a powerful secret demon-hunting unit of the Vatican – has hired her to work at their new branch in Lower Manhattan. With Meena’s ability to predict how everyone she meets will die, the Palatine finally has a chance against the undead.

Sure, her ex-boyfriend was Lucien Antonescu, son of Dracula, the prince of darkness. But that was before he (and their relationship) went up in flames. Now Meena’s sworn off vampires for good . . . at least until she can prove her theory that just because they’ve lost their souls doesn’t mean demons have lost the ability to love.

Meena knows convincing her co-workers – including her partner, über-demon-hunter Alaric Wulf – that vampires can be redeemed won’t be easy. . . especially when a deadly new threat seems to be endangering not just lives of the Palatine, but Meena’s friends and family as well.

But Meena isn’t the Palatine’s only hope. Father Henrique-aka Padre Caliente- New York City’s youngest, most charming priest, has also been assigned to the case.

So why doesn’t Meena – or Alaric – trust him?

As she begins unraveling the truth, Meena finds her loyalties tested, her true feelings laid bare . . . and temptations she never even imagined existed, but finds impossible to resist.

This time, Meena may finally have bitten off more than she can chew. 

From the website of author Meg Cabot

I’ve been bit.

Maybe this is why I avoided reading the Twilight books for so long—because I was afraid it would lead me to reading more Stories about vampires.

Which is exactly what it did.

Well, maybe not exactly.  It’s not really fair to blame my latest vampire read on that one popular series.  Chances are I would have read this most recent book regardless.  I mean, there are some authors whose work I will read, no matter what they write about.

One of those authors is Meg Cabot.  Yeah, so I got hooked on her work after seeing The Princess Diaries.  I liked the movie enough that I wanted to read the book.  Then I liked the book enough that I wanted to read more by Ms. Cabot.  Lucky for me, her titles are very well stocked at my local library.

In fact, it was while browsing the NEW ARRIVALS section at the library that I found Overbite, the new (at least one of the new—she seems to release new stuff all the time!) title by Meg Cabot.

Overbite is the sequel to her novel Insatiable.  The story follows Meena Harper as she tries to overcome the heartbreak of having loved and lost a vampire.

If I was hoping for the tender love story that I found in previous vampire books, I picked the wrong book.

To be honest, I am not sure what I was expecting.  Probably just something to pass the time, something to distract me from the novel that I should be writing but am so frustrated with that I don’t want to work on it.  And what could provide a better distraction than something that has nothing at all to do with what I’ve been writing?

I did find Overbite to be really well written.  Sure, there were things that annoyed me (I still do not understand why the author had to constantly refer to Lucien Antonescu rather than simply Lucien) but there was nothing so jarring that I wanted to stop reading.

Like I said, this was not a tender love story.  This book was much, much darker than I had hoped for.  It was much darker than most other books I’ve read.  The darkness wasn’t really what bothered me.  What I didn’t like about the book was how evil parts of it seemed.

OK, so I guess I shouldn’t expect overpowering goodness from a bunch of vampires.  But I was really disturbed by hearing Lucien constantly referred to as the Prince of Darkness.  I felt like, as odd as this may sound to others, it was just inviting satan into the book.  That made me more uncomfortable than I can fully express.

Yes, this book was nicely written.  Meg Cabot knows how to string words together to create a compelling tale.  In that way, she didn’t disappoint.  The subject matter, though, just wasn’t my cup of tea.  This won’t keep me from reading more of Cabot’s work.  But I don’t think I will be reading anything else, including any other books in this series, she writes dealing with vampires.

Harper CollinsInsatiableLower ManhattanMeg CabotNew York CityOverbitePalatine GuardPrincess DiariesVampireWilliam Marrow

Reader’s Block

Georg Schäfer Museum

Image via Wikipedia

Help!!  I am suffering from reader’s block!

What’s that?  You’ve never heard of reader’s block?  It is a fairly common condition, a horrible affliction for any bibliophile to face.  It happens when a reader can find nothing good to read on his or her shelf.  The condition can worsen over time, like mine has.  Not only can I find nothing good to read at home, I’ve found nothing worth reading in the book section of Wal-Mart (and I can’t go to a book store as my lovely hometown no longer has one) and have no clue what to read from the library.

I just have no clue what to read!

Any suggestions?

I am serious here.  I need some suggestions on what to read.  Asking makes me a little nervous.  Last time I asked for a book recommendation, I ended up all wrapped up in the world of Twilight.  Reading that series forced me to admit that I had been wrong about the books—they are very well-written and just so realistic (well, the love story part, anyway!)  So I got thinking….

What other delightful literary worlds am I missing out because of some preconceived notions I might have about a book or an author?

When it comes to books, I am pretty easy to please.  There is very little that I will not read.   Poetry—that is one that I am not real fond of, but I am willing to consider it.  About the only thing I will put my foot down about are sex, blood, and swearing.  Not interested in reading vivid descriptions about someone’s love life.  The same with blood and violence—I don’t like scary, gory movies so I don’t imagine books like that would appeal to me.  Besides, I have such a vivid imagination that I am sure that dreams from books like that would keep me from sleeping well for a week!  As far as swearing goes, I suppose there is a place for that in some conversations.  But I don’t like reading something where the dialog consists of little more than just swearing.

Do you know any books that fit into that category?  Very light on the sex, blood, and swearing?  Something that you would recommend I read?  Classic, contemporary, poetry.  Anything, really.  I am just looking for some ideas.  And I am willing to pay for them….

I have two $10 gift cards to give away.  Interested in winning one?  The winner can choose an card or an iTunes card.  To win it, all you have to do is comment on this post.  Leave your name and email address, along with at least one book suggestion.  If you could, please tell me why you are recommending that book.  That will help me determine what I really should read.  On September 30, I will draw one random winner from all of the comments.  The other card will go to the person whose suggestion I actually follow!

Feel free to pass this post along to other readers you know!  The more the merrier!



Mountain Dew

Image via Wikipedia

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or just NaNo for short) is about 6 weeks away.  SIX WEEKS!!!  What am I going to work on for that this year?  It’s not like I don’t have ideas.  I have tons of them—some original, some based on Bible stories and even one inspired by Twilight.  I have ideas, sure.  What I don’t have is confidence.

Confidence.  Yeah, that is something that is definitely lacking with me right now.

It’s not that I don’t have confidence in my ability to write—to turn one of my ideas into a story that others will read and enjoy.  It’s that I don’t have confidence in y ability to write—to actually get the words out of my head and onto paper.

I didn’t finish NaNo last year.  I think I’ve been beating myself up over that ever since.  Sure, part of the reason I didn’t finish is that my hubby and I spilled Diet Mountain Dew on the laptop.  Apparently, carbonated and caffeinated beverages are just as bad for machines as they are for people.  Lack of laptop is the reason that I have used since November for why I didn’t finish that book.  Truth is I was so far behind the day that the computer died that I likely would not have finished it up anyway.

And here I am, ten months later, still not done with that novel.  I’ve started another since then that I have also not finished.  I feel like I have done nothing lately.  Lately!!  Who am I trying to fool?  I feel like I haven’t done anything in more than a year.  Nothing but make excuses, anyway.  Surgery.  The kids at home.  No computer.  Any little reason I can think of to not write I have jumped on!  No wonder I feel stuck.

Yesterday, I ran into a friend from high school.  We talked for a while and I finally said that I had to get home so I could to write.  She commented that it must be a terrible feeling when something that has been your passion becomes your job.  In a way she is right.  I’ve been wondering if that is my problem lately.  Am I looking this more as a job (which isn’t totally a bad thing, I suppose) and less as a fun thing?  I’ve said before that I am lucky to have a job that I love.  That’s true—I do love to write.

I guess I just need to learn how to love writing even when I don’t want to do it.  For the past few days, I’ve feel a deep rooted NEED to write.  The desire isn’t there.  And much of what I have written out of that need has been crap (no matter how many times my BFF tells me she loves it) and might well be useless.  But I did write.  Hopefully that counts for something.

ArtsconfidenceNaNoWriMoNational Novel Writing MonthOnline WritingTwilightWriter Resources

Intimate Thoughts

Cover of "Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Sag...

Cover via Amazon

How did people do this—swallow their fears and trust someone so implicitly with every imperfection and fear they had—with less than the absolute commitment Edward had given me?  If it weren’t Edward out there, id I didn’t know in every cell of my body that he loved me as much as I loved him—unconditionally and irrevocably and, to be honest, irrationally—I’d never be able to get myself up off this floor.

BREAKING DAWN by Stephanie Meyer, page 83

I have already reviewed Twilight and I have no intention of reviewing all four books in the series (other than to say that I liked all of the books except for the last one—it just wasn’t as interesting to me.)  But this paragraph from the final book is something that I have not been able to get out of my head.

I absolutely LOVE it!

Bella and Edward were married at this point.  It was their wedding night (more like the night after because of the time it took to finally get to their honeymoon destination) and she was in the bathroom, attempting to ready herself for the consummation of the union.  That is when she is hit with a case of the jitters.  She’s not worried so much that the first time won’t be all that she has ever dreamed it would be—her love of and trust in Edward, her sureness of their relationship make her comfortable that this is a dream come true.  What she is worried about is barring her soul, sharing herself in a complete way that she has never done before.

This is NOT something that I expected.  I tend to shy away from novels that are not Christian novels because I don’t want to read about sex.  Even if it is just hinted at in the book, it’s all too common to have couples who are not married and not really committed to one another at all hop into bed together.  Call me a prude if you wish, but that is not something that I want to read about.  It happens, I know.  And I know that premarital sex is a part of my past.  But that doesn’t mean that I want to be slapped in the face with it.  Because the romance of Bella and Edward is such a big part of this series and because romance often means sex, I fully expected to have to skip over sex passages at some point in this series.

I did not expect to see the subject handled so subtly, so beautifully in this book.

No, Stephanie Meyer did not say that marriage was needed before sex.  But she did make pretty clear that there should be a commitment between the two partners before they take that sexual step.  And she did it in a way that was at all preachy.  It was just one girl’s—one woman’s—thoughts and feelings right before giving her body away.  She was acknowledging the huge step she was taking, how everything was about to change for her and for the man she loved.

Something that I don’t think many young ladies think about anymore.

Sex has gotten too casual.  Done the right way, with a person you love and are committed to, it is really a powerful thing.  It can strengthen a relationship.  Done the wrong thing it can ruin the relationship.  I really love that a character in a mainstream novel stopped to consider all of the implications of her actions.

BellaBella SwanBreaking DawnEdwardStephanie MeyerTwilight


Stephenie Meyer on her Eclipse tour in 2007.

Image via Wikipedia

Just took a good look at my blog, particularly the review I posted last week about Twilight.  I feel like I owe Stephanie Meyer a HUGE apology!  How could I have picked a picture that unflattering to use in a post?  Sure, it was a freebie, but come on!  Would I really want a picture of me making a face like that to show up on the internet?  That it appeared once would be bad enough.  But to have bloggers use it over and over and over….  They say there is no such thing as bad publicity.  Well, there is such a thing as a bad publicity shot!  And that picture certainly counts in my book!

So as an apology to Ms. Meyer, I am posting a different picture of her.  This one appears to be from a book signing during her tour for Eclipse (which just happens to be my favorite book in the series.)  She is smiling and seems happy to be meeting her fans.  Unlike the other one I used, where she looks like she wants to bite someone’s head off.

Hmmm….  Maybe she has more first-hand knowledge of vampires than we thought.


bad publicityfavorite bookhand knowledgeRobert PattinsonStephanie MeyerTwilightwikipedia

Reluctant Enjoyment

American auhor Stephenie Meyer at the Twilight...

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I recently came to the end of my “Books to Review” stack, leaving me with nothing new to read.  That is not a situation that I like to be in.  Sure, I could use this free time to work on my own novel.  That would probably be the smart thing to do.  But when have I ever been known to do the smart thing?  So I looked for something else to read.  And I came across something I really never thought that I would ever read.  Even when I borrowed the books from my best friend, I didn’t really think that I would read them.  I just borrowed them because I was running out of excuses to not read them.  One friend has even told, more than once over the past few years, that “the vampire thing is just background noise—it’s really just a beautiful love story.”  She even told me that it really didn’t matter that there was a vampire in the story.  I couldn’t believe that.  Of course it matters!  I mean, if it didn’t matter, why in the world would one of the main characters be a vampire?

OK, so by now I am sure you have figured out what books I am talking about.  Yep, that’s right.  I’ve started reading Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series.

There are a few reasons that I put off reading this.  One is the whole “vampire thing.”  I have always equated vampires to gory horror flicks, the kind of stuff that would give me nightmares.  Plus so many vampire legends say that vampires change into bats.  I HATE bats.  Hate them.  Absolutely loathe the creatures.  I cannot stress this enough….  I…HATE…BATS!  Not that I ever actually asked anyone who has read the books or seen the films if these particular vampires turn into bats.  Probably would not have believed anyone who said no, anyway.  Just the possibility of reading about any bat that is not used in a ball game was more than enough to keep me away.

Then there is the young adult aspect of the book.  Meyer wrote this series for an audience younger than I am.  Not that it’s a bad thing.  Personally, I love that someone is writing books that kids love—even if they are on a topic that doesn’t appeal to me.  I was just never sure that I wanted to read another young adult book.  “Young Adult Novel” makes me think of the old Sweet Valley High series that I devoured  twenty years ago.  The idea of reading about Elizabeth or Jessica Wakefield (and something tells me it would be Jess, not Liz!) dating a vampire really, really did not appeal to me.

But, I was out of books to read.  And the three volumes of the series that I had borrowed from my friend were sitting on my bookshelf.  So, reluctantly, I began reading Twilight.

And it is with that same level of reluctance that I admit I could not put the first book down.  I was finished with it in just 2 days.  And now I am nearly halfway through New Moon.

To my great relief, no one in the book transformed into a bat (did I happen to mention how much I really despise those creatures?)  I can’t say, however, that I agree with the friend who said the vampire part was just background noise.  Edward being a vampire is a very integral part of the story.  Yes, the focus is on the romance.  But the romance is between a human and a vampire.  That makes it much more than just “background noise.”

Before reading this, I heard a lot of opinions on the book and on the way that Stephanie Meyer writes.  It was hard to tune all of those things out as I was reading.  While I couldn’t put the book down, I didn’t find it to be nearly as awesome as many people said.  At the same time, it was not nearly as horrible as I was afraid that it would be.  Even with the opinions of others in my mind, I was able to read it and draw my own conclusions.


I am going to say that I don’t think Stephanie Meyer is a particularly brilliant writer.  The book is, in many places, very simplistic.  Then again, it is a young adult book.  That so many, um, not so young adults like the book is interesting to me—she wasn’t targeting a mainstream audience.  It’s kind of hard not to admire the success that Meyer has had.  Is that success due to the writing ability of Ms. Meyer or due to the marketing ability of her agent?  I don’t think it really matters.  In either case, it is an awe inspiring accomplishment.


There are passages in the book that I think are quite dumb and in some places—many places actually—where I think Bella is quite foolish.  I mean, “it doesn’t matter that you are a vampire”???  For a supposedly intelligent person (the scenes in biology show that she is supposed to be quite smart), Bella sure acts dumb.


But the rush of first love as Bella and Edward get to know one another better—SIGH.  It was just about perfect!  In lots of ways, it reminded me of my high school days, when my husband and I were first building the foundation that has become our life together.  No, our love story is not exactly the same as Bella and Edward’s story; I don’t think any two romances can ever be exactly identical.  But Meyer did a great job of capturing those feelings.


So, even though I didn’t want to, I have to admit that I liked the book.  And I am enjoying the second book in the series as well (even though I think Bella is acting like a spoiled brat at the moment!)  I still have not seen the movies.  I have mixed feelings on that.  I think I want to watch, but I don’t see how a movie out of the book would work.  Guess there is only one way to find out!


Bella SwanEdward CullenElizabeth WakefieldJessica WakefieldStephenie MeyerSweet Valley HighTwilightVampireYoung-adult fiction


An early morning call shatters Caryn Becker’s world.  Unable to cope with her brother’s news that he is gay, Caryn rejects him and disappears into her own turbulent like as a young widow and single mom.  But when David is attacked and nearly killed, Caryn is forced to make hard choices about family, faith and her own future; choices that take her to the very edge of grace.

To be totally honest, when I first heard that Christa Allan had a new book out, I didn’t care what the book was about.  She could have written 500 pages about watching paint dry or grass grow, and I would have wanted to read it.  OK, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration.  But I enjoyed her first book so much that I would have read The Edge of Grace no matter what topic it covered or how the plot twisted.  The first book was written in such a fluid, conversational style.  I had great hopes for the second.

And I was not disappointed.

The story really hit home for me (check out what I posted about it yesterday if you want to know why.)  Dealing with a gay family member can be very confusing, to say the least.  Caryn’s reaction to her brother’s was very real—“he’s doing something that I don’t approve of and can’t relate to, so I am just going to ignore him.”  Her attitude didn’t make the “problem” go away or turn back the clock to a time when she didn’t know that David was not happily in love with the woman he was planning to marry, but it did help Caryn to cope with the shock.  At least in the very beginning.  It was interesting to watch Caryn move from denial to acceptance, even though the metamorphosis meant changes in her own life and in her way of thinking.

The Edge of Grace was a very well-written story about a topic many Christians struggle with.  This book earns my highest recommendation.  I can’t say that I agree with all of the opinions expressed in this book, but that is OK.  At least reading it forced me to consider positions other than my own.

I think Caryn said it best herself in this speech to her brother near the end of the book: “And God is reaching me, maybe in very small steps, that He is the final judge, not me.  And that my job, for as long as I am here, is to reach out and love.”

That is something I think we all should keep in mind before we start hurling insults and accusations at one another.

Christa Allan is the author of Walking on Broken Glass and the mother of five.  Christa teaches high school English.  She and her husband, Ken, live in Abita Springs, Louisiana.  Visit Christa on the web at

Much Needed Grace

Have you ever read something that you felt was written just for you?  In the past two years, it has happened to me twice with novels I have read.  I felt like the author was writing my life story.  OK, so there were a few twists and turns and plot points that did not accurately fit my life.  But the books dealt so closely with things that I was dealing with in my life that I felt like God had given both stories to the author with the intent of having me read the books.

Even more amazing is that both books were written by the same author.

Order at

The author I am talking about is Christa Allan.  I am not sure when I first met Christa online.  But when I read her novel Walking on Broken Glass in early 2010, I felt like she must have known me forever.  Though we had not (and still have not) met face-to-face, she captured my feelings of lose, hopelessness, and addiction so accurately in Leah Thornton, the main character of her debut novel.  Through that book, I was forced to face a truth about my life that I had been running from for years.  Facing that truth has led me to a healthier life today.  I won’t repeat my review of this book, but if you want to revisit it, you can find it here.

That first book affected my so deeply that I was more than anxious to read her second novel, the recently released The Edge of Grace.  I didn’t know what the book was about.  I didn’t really need to know—Christa had written it, and that was enough for me!  I requested a review copy of the book and waited for it to be delivered.  When it came, I immediately read the back of the book—and the book very nearly fell from my hands.

An early morning call shatters Caryn Becker’s world.  Unable to cope with her brother’s news that he is gay, Caryn rejects him and disappears into her own turbulent like as a young widow and single mom.  But when David is attacked and nearly killed, Caryn is forced to make hard choices about family, faith and her own future; choices that take her to the very edge of grace.

In all honesty, I couldn’t decide if I should laugh or cry.  One thought kept running through my head: “She did it again!”  One again, without knowing it at all, Christa Allan had written a book similar to what I was experiencing in my life.  In that moment I knew that this book was going to change my life.

Just a few days before the book arrived in the mail, my husband received a phone call from his brother.  Not a big surprise.  My husband receives calls almost weekly from his brother.  The surprise was in the reason for the call.

It had been over ten years since we’d been shocked at the news that he was gay.  For the past four or five years, we had accepted his partner as a part of our family.  He came to birthday parties for our sons, and the two men hosted holiday dinners in their home.  Our sons even accepted the relationship between Uncle Mike and Dr. Erik—though at 4, 7, and 10, I am not sure they fully understood just what “gay” meant.  The news that Mike was gay had been so shocking, especially as it followed so closely the heels of the first in a series of strokes for their mother, that I didn’t think anything would shock me about him.

I found out how wrong I was about that when my husband said, “We’ve been invited to a wedding in New York.  Mike and Erik, later this fall.  Mike wants me to be his best man.”

OK, so the news really wasn’t all that shocking.  I already knew that Mike and Erik were very committed to each other.  My husband and I had talked in the past about how relieved we were that same sex marriage is not legal in Michigan, where we all live.  But Erik was raised in New York and still has family there.  Now that same sex marriage is legal there, he proposed to my brother-in-law.  Good for them.  Not so good for us.

My husband and I share very strong faith in Christ.  We both believe that the Bible is very clear on homosexuality as a sin.  We have never pushed Mike away or attempted to make him feel like his “gayness” makes him a bad person.  (Perhaps never is too strong.  I know that Mike and I had some blow-ups over it in the beginning.  I clearly remember Mike yelling at me, “Just once I’d like to find someone claiming to be a Christian show tolerance for a gay lifestyle!”  My response was to scream just as loudly, “Just once I’d like to find someone living a gay lifestyle show tolerance for the Christian faith!”)  It’s just part of who he is, and he is family.  We love him no matter what—even if we don’t agree with how he chooses to live his life.  That is what Christ wants from us, right?  That whole, “Love the sinner, hate the sin” thing.

But now we were faced with a  dilemma—would it be possible to love Mike and not disappoint God at the same time?

In many ways, attending their wedding (let alone being a part of it, as my husband had been asked to do), felt like it was condoning their lifestyle.  And if we are condoning that lifestyle, are we dishonoring God?  Is it all possible to show our love of Christ, to provide action to our faith, and still show love and support to a beloved member of our family?

These are the questions that I was dealing with when I began reading Christa Allan’s latest book.  I didn’t expect that her book would answer all of my questions.  Honestly, I didn’t know if it would answer any of them.  But I was hoping that reading the book would help me to at least find some perspective.  Another Christian woman, dealing with the same sort of issues that I was?  At the very least, I hoped that reading the book would help me to feel less alone.

Was I disappointed in the book?  Did the fictional experiences of these characters help me to deal with my own reality?  If you want to know, come back tomorrow to read my review of Christa Allan’s book The Edge of Grace.

9-11, Ten Years Later

Like many across the country, I woke up this morning with thoughts of what happened ten years ago fresh in my mind.  I remember that Tuesday morning, the bright blue sky and warm temperatures.  I remember exactly what I was doing.  And I even started off this morning in a very similar way.

Ten years ago, after making breakfast, I spent much of the day sitting on the sofa with my oldest son, our eyes glued to the NBC news coverage on television.  Well, my eyes were glued to the TV; he was seven months old and didn’t really watch much TV at all yet.  This morning, I made sure there was breakfast for everyone and settled in to watch NBC again.  When my oldest sat beside me, I couldn’t help but thinking back to that morning.

A lot of things have changed since then.  For one, the sofa was different.  So was the living room—larger now, located in a house we own, way across town from the rented apartment we used to call home.  This time, it wasn’t just the two of us watching TV.  We were the only ones sitting on the sofa, but my two other sons were playing with building blocks on the floor.  And my oldest boy—well, somehow he had morphed from an adorable, giggling seven-month-old to an occasionally sullen, often temperamental fifth grader.  One of my favorite changes, though, was in my son’s communication.  He was interested in what he was seeing on TV, and kept asking me questions about it.  Occasionally, his brothers would tear themselves away from building their own replicas of the Twin Towers to ask a few questions of their own.

In addition to watching the coverage of the memorial ceremonies on TV (which included comments  from my kids on how Matt Lauer once had hair while Al Roker once had much bigger clothing), we looked through a book I was given for Christmas in 2002 and a scrapbook I made from newspaper and internet clippings.  The book, a collection of pictures from the New York Daily News looking back on the attacks one year after, held their interest for just a little while.  The scrapbook, something that I made in the hope that my children would someday learn something about that terrible day from my memories, was a much bigger hit.  They boys liked seeing the pictures and stories, as well as my thoughts about what had happened in New York, D.C., and Shanksville.  I liked sharing it with them.

Never forget.  That is one thing that has been said over and over about the attacks.  I know it’s a day that I will never forget.  And now I am sure my children will understand—as well as anyone can—just what happened that day.

20019-11Al RokerMatt LauerNBCNBC NewsNew York CityPentagonSeptember 11Shanksville PennsylvaniaTwin TowersWashington D.CWorld Trade Center