Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"5 Cities that Ruled the World" by Douglas Wilson

Do cities and their inhabitants have to conquer the world in order to rule it? No. "5 Cities that Ruled the World" establishes the powerful influence that Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York have had on history. Her we see examples of faith, the rule of law, democracy, literature, theater, commercial enterprise, and wealth that were new or different. While not always popular, and many times under attack, the people of these cities brought about change. Do they still rule the world? Probably not, but their gifts still do.

Douglas Wilson spent a great deal of time researching his subject. This is a very readable book filled with information on the history of each city, clearly defining the reason each became so powerful and influential.

I really enjoyed this book because Mr. Wilson drew me in. He re-introduced me to people I had studied in history classes, sometimes showing me a new side of them. I enjoyed how he showed that the population of these cities provided influence and information that are still so important today. I you enjoy history, you will enjoy this book.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"The Letters" by Fiona Robyn

Life changes. That is what Violet finds as she sets out in this story. After an illness and the break-up of her comfortable marriage, Violet moves to the shore for some rest and a change of pace. Little does she know how much her life will change. Once settled, Violet begins receiving letters dated 1959, from someone she doesn't know (Elizabeth), to someone she doesn't know (Bea). The letters pull her into a story of deceit, shame, and love. Who is sending the letters? Why is Violet receiving them? Violet has become involved in the community she lives in, even taking some art classes. There she meets Theresa. How does she fit into the picture?

As the letters continue to arrive, Violet finds that the problems she left behind continue to haunt her. Her son Guy moves back home in hopes of finding himself. Her daughters continue to be distant but do chat. Then there is a sudden change in her daughter Megan. What is the change and how did Violet get so distanced from her children? How does finding yourself help you to love deeper and stronger?

I really enjoyed reading this book, finding the story engaging and the characters likable. While I did figure out the plot before the end of the book, it was fun to trace the story. The only thing I didn't enjoy was when the time changed so quickly that it interrupted the flow of the story. But, once I got my bearings again, it moved right along. Thank you, Fiona, for another good read! =)