Mitford Book Review and an almost-apology

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I have learned something about myself as a blogger. I'm no good at sticking to weekly themes, and I'm no good at blogging every day. I know that I said I would review a different children's book every week, but I haven't come across any worth talking about since the last one. I know I promised to post poetry every Friday, but then I was busy and forgot, two weeks in a row. Really, I'm kind of terrible at this. But, I'm going to keep plugging along, and hopefully things will start to develop a rhythm as I get used to this book-blogging thing.

I recently joined a book club in my community, and it's a new experience for me. You may know that at one time this blog was built around a book club, but we had very little participation from our members and I finally just gave up on the idea. It's a completely different experience meeting in someone's home and discussing the book with five or six regular attendees, rather than two or three people in an otherwise empty online forum. I'm really enjoying it.

This month our Book Club Book was At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon, the story of Father Tim, who is a rector in the little town of Mitford. This book was a bit of a departure from the sort of thing that I usually choose to read. I admit that I would never have picked it up on my own. I'm generally bored by so-called 'christian fiction', finding the characters flat and the plots heavy-handed and predictable. Such was not the case with Jan Karon's work. There is nothing flat about her characters. They are quirky and unique, they have believable personalities and believable problems. At Home in Mitford is a charming book, despite being somewhat slow-paced. It is a nice, leisurely read. And while I won't be picking up the next book in the series right away (there are nine!) I'm sure I will revisit Mitford at some point in the future.

Sneak Peak: (In this scene are Father Tim, Cynthia, and Dooley. Cynthia is an artist and Father Tim's neighbor; and Dooley is a ten year old boy. Oh, yes. There's also Barnabas, the dog.)

"By the way," said his neighbor, "if you catch any moles this spring, I'd truly like to have one."
The idea was so grisly that Barnabas, who was lying by the fire, caught the sense of it and growled.
A dead mole! He'd never had such an odd and unwholesome request in his life.
"I'm about t'puke," said Dooley, vanishing into the kitchen.
"I suppose you think Beatrix Potter drew her creatures from imagination, or from one fleeting glance at something scampering acrosss the path?"
"You mean she didn't?"
"Of course not! She drew from life. Or death, if you will."
"You're by far the most unusual, that is to say, unique person I've had the privilege of meeting in years. "
"You're only too kind to call me unusual. I've been called worse!"
He smiled. "You don't say!"
"Certainly not."
"And even eccentric..."
"Entirely inaccurate!"
She sighed.
"There are those, " he said, "who call me odd, as well, so I understand. I was without a car for nearly eight years, and took up with a maverick dog who's disciplined only by the recitation of Scripture."
"How I wish that all of us might be disciplined that way."
There, he thought. What a grand thing to say.

My Rating:
I'll give Mitford a 7/10
It wasn't captivating enought to warrant a higher grade from me, but it was pleasant, well written and interesting enough to keep me reading. I would recommend it for sure if you're a fan of Christian Fiction and books about sleepy little towns, or if you're just looking for a change of pace.