Author Archives: frustratedreader

About frustratedreader

I'm just an average 20 something female that loses myself in a good book. Life has gotten hectic trying to balance small town living, working towards teaching overseas, finding that special someone and figuring out how life is supposed to work post-college. Thank God for books and knitting!

Where I become a frustrated Christian

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So let’s recap on my life over the past few years. I quit my museum manager job, a career in a town I really liked, to work with a Christian non-profit to teach English to Hungarian teenagers. So basically I was a missionary. I came home after a year to some not good relationships. Mainly with the friend who lost her dad while I was gone, making her an orphan at 25 and a sister-in-law who was cheating on my brother and eventually became an ex-sister-in-law.

I came back with a limping spirit. I was trying to come to terms with being a failure in what I went to Hungary to do, I was trying to deal with being in my home country, I was failing in being a friend to a grieving friend. I slipped into a depression. (Sort of still undiagnosed. It’s a long story.) It took me a long time to feel normal. The first time I felt a glimmer of being normal, it was about 15 months after coming home when I took a weekend trip by myself to the South Dakota Black Hills. It took me even longer to feel consistently normal and okay. Alright, it was time and medication.

I have been back home just over 3 years and this is where I’m at. I’m still living in my hometown and working at a nursing home. I have pretty much no contact with the ex-sister-in-law. The orphaned friend and I have had a very tumultuous relationship and now we have a friendship but still a little distant with each other. I have a medication that is keeping me emotionally level. I got a Florence. I am okay.

There is a thing though. I have never sat down and truly thought what I have thought about missions.

Recently there have been a couple things placed in my life that has made me think how I feel about missions and the church.

I stumbled upon a podcast called Failed Missionary. It literally got me worked up. There’s like 4 episodes but I got tense. I agreed with so much anger and frustration these people have. I understand and get why they don’t want to be missionaries anymore. I get missing the community. I get how missions can hurt the Church. This podcast made me tense cause I have sat and thoroughly thought of what I think and the questions have never been asked to me. Then I got frustrated cause there is no one within a 100 mile radius that I talk to on a regular basis that understands the emotional implications of coming home after being in missions.

Another thing was listening to the audiobook of Jamie Wright’s book The Very Worst Missionary. I agree with her on a lot of things too. There’s a part of me that wants to be best friends with her. Like she gets it. She understands the struggle being away and coming back.

Finally, a friend of mine is dealing with her boyfriend that works with youth in the church and slept with a married woman before they started dating and then lied to her about it. I don’t agree with her staying with him. And I see issues with how that situation is being dealt with in the church even if the majority of the church doesn’t know. I can only be so blunt with her. She will stay in a relationship until she sees through the words.

Do I believe in Christ? Yes absolutely. Do I think foreign missions is great? I think it can be if the missionary is doing it right and it’s a long term commitment. It should be a relationship thing with missions in the far reaches of your brain. Yes speak about your faith but set yourself apart by your actions and people will come to you. Do I believe the church is a good thing? That’s a tough question because people are flawed. And each church is different. I believe that fellowship is good. Learning and growing in Christ is good. But people can be horrible, even if they’re Christians. I think there’s a church for everyone. There will always be disagreements on something no matter where you go and with at least one person. But, the fellowship and community is a good thing.

I have opinions. Some of them can be harsh. I understand that. But what I’ve realized is that the older one gets, the more one realizes and learns. It’s hard not to be jaded or harsh on some things.

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Florence

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About a year and a half ago, I got a dog named Florence. I was at a point in my life where I needed a companion. To know I was going to come home to a living being after work. To have someone who could help subside my anxiety. Florence then showed up.

I looked at the humane society’s website and saw her. She was 5 at the time and it said she had some hip problems and could be aloof. I didn’t want aloof and hip problems. That would be too much. Instead I saw a red heeler that looked really pretty and would do great for me. So the day came that I went to the humane society. I walked through and saw the red heeler but I saw Florence first. I took her out for a walk. She was a little excited to be out with someone new but it went well. Then I tried to walk the red heeler. Dear lord. That dog was not the dog for me like I thought it would. I went back to Florence. We were our chosen ones.

I had to go another time to hang out with her per the rules of the humane society. Florence gravitated to me and I her. The employees even noted how attached she already seemed to me. I agreed. The day of my second visit, I had a morning of anxiety and stress caused by people and Florence was obviously catching on to that.

So Florence was mine. She came home with me. And she met my brother’s kids and did well. Really well. Then the test came. To meet my sister’s twin toddler girls. Those two are handfuls. Florence did great. Florence is a malamute/Shepherd mix so she’s bigger than a two year old. But she’s gentle. Kids love her. Florence loves kids. She stayed with a friend of mine when I had to be out of town and Florence slept by her little boy’s bed all night. Florence knows who needs the love. She would have been a decent therapy dog.

Florence recently tore her ACL. The amount of people worried about her warmed my heart. She’s a favorite at work cause of her old soul. My family has learned to love her. After she got hurt, I went and stayed with my brother’s kids and tucked them in. They both had Florence in their prayers. I was hurting for her cause she is my girl and she was hurting. But no fear. She’s doing much better.

This morning I was thinking of Florence. She seeks me out if she doesn’t see me and will position herself so she can watch me. She tucks me into bed. She sleeps near me. Her snore is relaxing. There are times I’m bitter about getting out of bed to take her out or taking her out in the cold but, I love her. We are kindred souls. I love her.

Yesternight Review….or Rant

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There are very few times where the second I start reading a book, I automatically am taken out of the book by an element of the book. I tend to understand that there are things in a book that need to be tweaked to make the plot work. It’s what literature is and is supposed to be. Literature is supposed to take us out of our normal lives and be an escape for the duration of reading and sometimes when not reading. So I accept the out of the normal circumstances. I accept that the romance novel does not always work, I understand that the high fantasy novel is not true. I understand fiction is not real. But sometimes I can’t help but be like you, novel, are not okay and your facts are stupid.

I read Yesternight by Cat Winters. This book is one of the few books that I instantly was taken out of. First of all, I was going to call this book magical realism until I remembered that people, not I obviously, believe in reincarnation and believe people can remember their past lives. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into it. And, oh yes, there will be spoilers if you couldn’t tell. This book is supposed to take place in the mid-20s. Nope. Not buying it. I’m not a hundred percent sure but I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say that there are very few cases where women would get advanced degrees. I’m going to assume that if a woman did get a degree it wouldn’t be in psychology and work at testing children. There’s no way that Alice would have gotten an advanced degree, work, be single and people be okay with it. Not in the 20s. This book would have worked so much better for me if it would have taken place in the past 20 years ago. It would have made more sense to me that Alice would have been called into a school system then. There’s been developments in psychology in the past 90 years. What was Winters thinking? Seriously. Did she want to take modern technology out of the equation? You can take technology out of a book without it being pre-seat belts in cars. At least at the end of the book they acknowledged that they thought she was going to be a man.

Then we come to the reincarnation part of the book. I was willing to accept the reincarnation in the book. It’s not in my belief system to believe that I can come back as someone or something but for a good part of the book, I did. Like I said before, you have to accept the book’s world. But then everyone decided that they were reincarnated. I wanted this book to be about Janie and figuring out what her deal was not figuring out everyone’s deal. And I’m not familiar with reincarnation but can you choose who you can be born again to?

I liked Michael for some of the book and then the end. Don’t get me wrong, I was angry at both of them for having sex. Alice should have known better, she’s an educated woman. But then Michael went a little crazy and went out the window or whatever and died. That’s not a great plan. Then he came back as Alice’s child. What the hell? Couldn’t she have a child and then that child had a friend named Muhammad and wanted to be called Michael? That would have fit in with how ridiculous parts of this book was. And is Alice that horny that she needs to have sex with a parent? I wasn’t a great teacher but I know not to get involved with a parent. And Alice had an advanced degree. We can’t forget that. And I was not a fan of everyone apologizing for the weather. Stop trying to make the weather a thing Gretchen. (Do I have to explain that reference? Cause I had to explain ‘on Wednesdays we wear pink’ this weekend at work.)

Obviously, not a fan of the book. I have to many problems with it.

The Little Paris Bookshop Review

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I realize I have a problem. I was going to say it’s a minor problem but that’s not always the case. And yes, I realize I have more than A problem. I realize that I, at times, am more interested in someone’s backstory than the actual person. For example when I lived in Budapest, I would pass the homeless and wonder how they became homeless and not how could I help them now. I understand that this isn’t all bad because to know one’s past is to know one now. If you believe in that theory and I mostly do. All this to say is that I read a book by Nina George. If you don’t know who Nina George is, don’t feel bad because I really don’t know much but there is a fact about her that I’m interested in. She is German who lives in both Germany and France. I’ve been reading more translated pieces and most of the time I don’t get invested in an author, I don’t even do that with American authors. I just got fascinated by people who live in two different countries at the same time.

 

The book I read of hers was The Little Paris Bookshop. This book really got me interested in a person who writes a novel set in a country that is not their own. I got really defensive for a while and thought what made her qualified to write a book about France. But knowing after the fact that she lives in two countries makes a lot more sense. For those whose geography sucks, because mine isn’t great, Germany and France are neighbors so it’s not impossible to do. I know for Americans that’s a hard thing to understand sometimes.

 

Little Bookshop is a book, as I took it, that is about forgiving yourself. I feel like this book, that I really didn’t read the back of, came at an interesting time. I’ve had to learn to forgive myself on a lot of things the past few years and I’m still in the process of doing so. It also comes at a time where it seems like a lot of people on Facebook have been posting articles pertaining to letters to a former best friend. Putting that all together and me being let’s say, overly emotional, made this book a very interesting read.

 

This book isn’t a hard read. At the beginning of the book I was a little worried that it was going to be a book of flowery, beautiful sentiments coming from an old man that ran a bookshop and drastically changed people’s lives. I’m glad that it wasn’t and Perdu isn’t that old, he’s 50. Maybe I see that not as old because I’m in the last year of my 20s and since life goes by fast, 50 isn’t that far away. I don’t mind the flowery, beautiful sentiments when used sparsely but at the beginning of this book there was a lot of those lines that make a sentiment person sigh and dwell thoroughly on what they just read. I hesitated finishing this book after the first few chapters because I was worried Perdu was going to become Ove from A Man Called Ove. For those of you who haven’t read that book, Ove is an older man who is in his grief and angry. Then someone is determined enough to pull him out of his depression and makes him more joyful. And yes, that kind of happens to Perdu but you can’t really put his journey on one person.

 

I can’t help but be utterly invested in Perdu. He is broken hearted, has a boat bookstore and is neighbors with an author. Do I have to say he has a boat bookstore again? I’m not a boat person only cause I live in the frozen tundra and there’s a lake nearby but when do I have time to make friends with a boat owner. I’m more interested in the bookstore and how he can pinpoint what book a person needs. I want to do that. Like the whole thing, bookstore and instinctively know what book someone needs. I also reacted strongly to his journey. Like there were people in his life that brought him to a healthier spot in his life and vice versa.

 

I kind of liked Perdu and Catherine’s relationship. Yes, there was the past love that Perdu had to get over but he was also thinking about Catherine. I also think he didn’t conscientiously realize how much thought he put into Catherine. That just makes them better.

 

Manon’s journal entries were an asset to the story. I wish that there were a couple more of them in the book. But I realize that a person’s journal is a very personal thing. I’d have a major problem if someone got a hold of my journal. I understand that the journal was meant for one other person, Perdu. So I get it. I didn’t need to see the whole journal. I’ll respect a fictional character’s privacy. I know to someone who doesn’t read a lot and has actual real life friends doesn’t understand this sentiment. I think Perdu needed to read that journal to bring him to the end of the majority of his hurt.

 

That young author. I can understand why Max hid. I’ve partially hid for the past year and a half because of the same reason he did. I don’t know what’s going to be next. So in that case I understand Max but at least I’m working and I have things I want to accomplish like buying a car and taking a major trip. Max completely hid and isn’t even working. He drove me crazy for the majority of the book.

 

So if we had to sum this book up, I’m like or relate to a few characters. It’s a self-forgiveness, travel novel that people discover things in. Because of the timing that I read this book, I like this book way more than if I had read it at a different time in my life.

 

 

 

Books and Inspiration

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I have read, or listened to, a couple books this year that have inspired other things. A television series and another book. I have read Poldark by Winston Graham, inspired a show on PBS, and Jane Steele by Lindsay Faye, inspired by Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I didn’t realize until now but I have opinions. I’m going to deal with both separately because both are different.

 

PBS has done a fantastic job on taking Graham’s book and turning it into a series. The first book, the only one I have read and there’s 12 total, is the first half of the first season. Why is everyone so good looking and have great hair in that show? I had a friend that saw I was reading and watching this on Instagram and asked me how I felt about it. I told her you had to like post-revolutionary war England and want to know about miners. That’s when I wasn’t feeling season one and only part way through the book. She watched the show, both seasons that are out, and loved it. I ended up loving the second season and we fan girled just a little bit together. I don’t have many people to do that with but that’s how good this gets. I think that the overall story is slow. But there’s details you have to know and characters you need to get to love or hate. It’s so easy with film to change what happens in a story in exchange for time. But it’s PBS so they do a pretty good job.

 

Lindsay Faye, what can I say? You did something. Now, forgive me if I’m a little harsh because Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books ever. The book is structured like Charlotte Bronte novel, exactly like Jane Eyre in fact. She goes so far as to have Jane Steele compare herself heavily to Jane Eyre.  It starts with a child living with cruel relations, goes to school and eventually goes to be a governess in a house with secrets. Mr. Thornfield? HONESTLY? Yes, the homage to the original novel is great. I also know that you cannot write a book word for word because that would be plagiarism and that would end Faye’s career. But could there be a better last name for the guy? I guess it’s cheeky and isn’t so bad. There were historical elements I had to look up. Steele seemed to lose some of her edge when she turned a governess. Maybe because she ended up loving the people and she felt at home. She was not as cold. A part of me wants to say he turned into a woman who almost didn’t know what to with herself. Jane Eyre always made up her mind and knew who she was. Couple other things. Clark just leaves which blows my mind. Steele saves her life and then Clark was just out of there. Yes, it’s more complicated but still Clark. Get your life together. I listened to this and every time the narrator said reader, I heard Rita. There were a few times where I was doing something while listening and I would stop and ask myself who Rita was before I realized she said reader.

 

It’s interesting to see differences and similarities in works of inspirations and they’re offspring. It’s always a good discussion for a book club. You can always find inspirations. Shakespeare’s works has been turned into so many different movies and inspired different works. You could have a whole book club on Shakespeare inspirations and have a lot of material. The problem is, there’s so much out there that you have to go through or weed out the crappy stuff. Then if what you’re reading or watching is a recommendation, you have to be careful about who you take a recommendation from because they might not understand you and your tastes and if you take the recommendation and you hate it, you have to be careful with that person next time you see them. Sorry for that horrible sentence. But I’m not taking it back.

 

The Bookseller Review

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The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson is not a bad book. It is a book that if you don’t think much about, you won’t mind it. But I’ve overthought it for you because I overthink everything.

Let’s talk about the bad things right away and get that out of the way. My biggest problem is with the end. Swanson had a perfectly good stopping point and then it seems that she had some extra time before her deadline and added some more and ran out of time. Then the publisher said okay, whatever you want and published it. I feel like it didn’t end well. I feel like there was loose ends that really, REALLY needed to be tied up. I would have ended it after Kitty saw her former friend and saw her parents. End story. The friend situation bothered me. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve royally screwed up a friendship before and it hit a nerve or this is just one of those things where it wasn’t handled well. After years of letting things settle and for the reason why Kitty backed out, there would be a little more grace for what happened. But I don’t know. I’m not always the person to ask when it comes to relationships. And what the crap is with this title? Yes, in one life she is a bookseller and that’s what pretty much drives her in one life but this book is way more of her finding what life is the real life and which one is fake. And what is Kitty’s husband? Average with amazing eyes or hot? I guess I understand that her opinion changes with how she feels about him but I hate when people do that in real life so in books it bothers me.

I am completely fascinated by the premise. At first I was like, yeah, she’s just dreaming the one life and then not long before she realizes it, I start to wonder if she has it flip flopped. Kitty did say after she figures out that the one life was very convenient. I did like how this book started which is so weird for me to love a beginning and hate the ending. I usually will say I love the ending. There are parts of each of her life that I really like. One life she is more conventional than the other and I don’t know how I feel about that. Both ways Kitty is painted seems to fit her. I want to like that there are triplets in the story. My mind stops from liking it and I don’t know why. I think having children, especially one with a disability, adds dimension to the book. I do really like Lars. He seemed like a really good guy that I would get along with. The kids seemed pretty good but I saw her parents as being part of a faction of people from a certain generation that would bug me about not being married and then be too sweet. But people can annoy me so don’t take my word on the parents.

I do like that Kitty sees how her life is both ways. It makes me wonder what my life would be like if I had gotten married after college and had kids instead of stayed single and traveled and basically have the life I do now. 99% of my life I wouldn’t change but it’s still interesting to think of an alternative life, just as long as I keep it a fleeting thought.

This book does have dimension to it and I don’t completely hate it. It’s a good book if you’re looking for a half decent book. Like I said, I would have loved this book a lot more if the end was different.

Life and Book Update.

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I apologize. I haven’t blogged in quite some time. I was gone longer than I should have. And it isn’t because I haven’t read. Because I have. I mean I read A Little Life and didn’t blog about it. If I were going to blog about any book in the last few months, it would be that one. December was one heck of the month. We had several snow storms and I was waiting for a storm since I came back from Hungary but the snow can stop now. I got stranded in town for three days and it wasn’t fun. And I might have to stay in town for the next few days again cause of the wind and snow.

I feel like it has been very common knowledge that I have had my demons since I have been back from Hungary. Depression and anxiety, though not officially diagnosed. And I do have to point out that my experience is not as bad as others. I know I have it pretty good. I just have to get through my own head. I know. And I do feel like what I’m feeling is not as intense as it was when I first came back. The anxiety is just an annoying hum in the background and I have to learn how to deal with it.

But let me talk about the books I have read recently.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. So much better than I thought it was going to be. I did this on Audible and it’s 33 hours long. It’s a good thing that I got a dog to walk so I can listen to this. Oh yeah, I got a dog. Named Florence. I went into it expecting that the hype made it out more than it was going to be. No, it was legitimately good.

Jackaby by William Ritter. Not as good as I was hoping it would be. It’s very young Sherlock Holmes and yeah. Not a fan.

A Man called Ove by Fredric Backman. This wasn’t so bad. I didn’t love it, but it had it’s moments that it was charming. I have his other book trying to read but I have a hard time getting into and staying in the story.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I was nervous about this one. I have had it on my TBR for a while but then I hyped it up in my own head. It was good. I love the ending.

The Work of Wolves by Kent Meyers. I got this book when I made a trip to South Dakota and it’s by a South Dakota author. I couldn’t do it. I’m sure some people love this book but I couldn’t finish it. Nope.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I feel like I have read this plot before. It is definitely not my favorite YA.

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan. The second in a series. I’ve said this before about Riordan and I’ll say it again, he has the same voice in every book. I like it cause of the sarcasm but find a new voice for a main character.

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balsom. I liked part of this book. I liked the flashbacks and I like the elderly man but I hated the relationship between the P.I. and the lawyer. They didn’t have to hook up but they did. Could have been better written.

Rosemary by Kate Clifford Larson. Confession: I was sick during listening to this book and fell asleep during part of it. It was good though. I thought.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s about time I read this. I actually listened to it. It as good. It’s a book I do better listening to rather than reading. It sinks in better. It does give me flashbacks of watching the last Hobbit movie in Hungary. I fell asleep during that movie. I didn’t fall asleep during the book.

A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and the Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens. It was timely. I really liked the Carol and I skimmed the other two. The Carol is probably my favorite Dickens.

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julien Rubinstein. Oh Hungary. I love Hungary. I love learning about what happened in Hungary. I think it was well written and it was enjoyable for me cause I recognize names and places in the book. I think this book isn’t for everyone but it definitely good.

I will try to keep up with blogging this year. I will not guarantee it.