I was skeptical about reading Piper's memoir of having died, gone to Heaven, and come back to life. Can this be true? How would that happen? Maybe more importantly, why? This is actually what Piper struggles with throughout the book. Why was he killed in a tragic car accident and whisked away to Heaven only to be brought back to Earth to endure extreme physical pain and a lifelong recovery? It is something that Piper comes back to time and time again. This gave the book a very real quality and I actually started to believe it. Yep, if I had gone to Heaven and had to come back to Earth, I'd probably be a little mad too. The story is not only convincing but captivating, making the book a quick read and an enjoyable one (even if Piper does seem to get a bit whiny at times). There were many instances in the book where the hand of God is evident in Piper's life and the lives of those around him; the impact of praying to God is also demonstrated powerfully.
Some of you may know of the "book community" called Library Thing. Although I am already a member over at GoodReads, I decided to join Library Thing as well, so that I could participate in the Early Reviewers program. (Get free books! Review them! Very cool...) Anyway, as 2010 began, I was feeling a little sad about my 100 Books List. I hadn't made very much progress, although I had been reading since May. So my solution was to make another Books List! (It is an obsessive-compulsive thing with me, I think.) I have incorporated all the books still left on my original 100 Books, and added a few, and instilled categories. So now I'm not only reading 100 books, I am reading 10 books in each of 10 categories in the year 2010. This is, on Library Thing, known as the 1010 Category Challenge. I am definitely up for the challenge for this new year. Bring on the books...
1. God is the Gospel 2. American Gods 3. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell 4. Atlas Shrugged 5. Life of Pi 6. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister 7. Confessions from an Honest Wife 8. Telegraph Days 9. The Courage to Start 10. Mirror Mirror 11. The Sirens of Titan 12. Gates of Fire 13. Something Happened 14. A Thousand Acres 15. Good Faith 16. Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel 17. No Need for Speed 18. Anna Karenina 19. Get Out of That Pit 20. Jesus, the one and only 21. The Bluest Eye 22. Prodigal Summer 23. The Know-It-All 24. The Witches 25. Fantastic Mr. Fox 26. The Myth of a Christian Nation 27. For Whom the Bell Tolls 28. Out of the Silent Planet 29. The Four Loves 30. The Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde 31. Unspoken 32. Unafraid 33. Finding Stefanie 34. Lies My Teacher Told Me 35. The Executioner's Song 36. Love Beyond Reason 37. Middlesex 38. The Shack 39. The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier & Clay 40. The Joy Luck Club 41. Hinds' Feet on High Places 42. Mountains of Spices 43. A Walk in the Woods 44. Fast Food Nation 45. The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing 46. The Maltese Falcon 47. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth 48. The Poisonwood Bible (re-read) 49. Two Rivers 50. It's Not News, It's Fark 51. The Road 52. Persuasion (re-read) 53. The Silver Chair (re-read) 54. Lucky Man 55. Matilda 56. The Adventures of Augie March 57. Possession 58. Everything's Eventual 59. Written By Herself 60. Perelandra 61. That Hideous Strength 62. Memoirs of a Geisha 63. The Time Machine 64. Peculiar Treasures (re-read) 65. On a Whim (re-read) 66. Coming Attractions 67. Last Light 68. Night Light 69. True Light 70. Your Money or Your Life 71. The Perfect Thing 72. Moneyball 73. The Fifth Book of Peace 74. Early Bird 75. An Anthropologist on Mars 76. Exclusion & Embrace 77. A Short History of Nearly Everything 78. Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs 79. Predictably Irrational 80. Finding Battlestar Gallactica 81. Hopes and Impediments 82. The Love Dare 83. Redeeming Love 84. Sappho's Leap 85. High Fidelity 86. Pilgrim's Progress 87. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (re-read) 88. The Pillars of the Earth 89. The Confessions of Nat Turner 90. A Christmas Carol 91. Gulliver's Travels and Other Writings 92. The 158-Pound Marriage 93. The Winged Seed 94. Driving Mr. Albert 95. Notes to Myself (re-read) 96. The Emotions 97. Mel Gibson's Passion and Philosophy 98. How to Win Every Argument 99. The World As I See It 100. Twelve Steps for the Recovering Pharisee
I started reading this book purely out of curiosity. I had no intention of subscribing to the formula that is presented or doing any actual work the authors demand suggest I do. I did learn a lot from this book, although at times it was dry/repetitive, and somewhat contradictory. Dominguez and Robin, the co-authors of the book, have devised a system of tracking living expenses and income that make a regular old budget (something people struggle with enough as it is) seem like child's play. They assert that budgets don't work because they require will power and people always give up on trying to restrain themselves. Yet they go into great detail to explain how using their program must be done to the exact letter. For me, it just seemed a little too hypocritical. However, the authors' hearts are definitely in the right place, as they attempt to teach one the value of a dollar, and how that affects the quality of life. They are of the Save More, Spend Less mentality--a stunning new concept?--which I am definitely in support of as well. I just don't think I need to track back every dollar I've ever made to do so, or make a wall chart showing how much I make and where it is all going. In short, I liked the book and it inspired me to be more conscious of my spending/saving, but it was too preachy at times.