The library came through with a few books that I've been waiting for in the last couple weeks.
I first read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini from my batch of books. I read Kite Runner when it was released and while I thought it was a good book, I wasn't bowled over by it as some reviewers were. His second book, however, drew me in and I found it very compelling. The main characters were women repressed and abused by Afghan society. I think I may have liked this book better because I could empathize and understand the characters in this book more than those in his first book. The descriptions were vivid and I really felt the plight of the women portrayed. It wasn't an uplifting book, but it was interesting and a worthwhile read. The strength that motherhood gave the women in this book was inspirational, and definitely understandable.
I also read John Grisham's novel Playing for Pizza. My husband enjoyed this book more than I did, but it was a pleasant and quick read. The premise of the book is that a down and out pro football player goes to Italy to play in an amateur league. In my opinion, too much time was spent on detailed football plays, and the story lacked development in many areas. I didn't really like the main character much because he was selfish and arrogant. He supposedly falls in love by the end of the book, but I never understood the female character at all. I have enjoyed Grisham's legal thrillers in the past, and think he should probably stick to those.
Finally, I read Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way of Love by Daniel Homan and Lonni Pratt. This book was written by a monk and a mother -- hospitality figures so strongly in both monasteries and family life. This is a book that I will purchase and add to our shelves -- which is a pretty high honor these days! (I try to read as much as possible through the library since dollars are so precious!) This book helps open readers to offering hospitality freely, without judgment, without worry. The goal is to make others feel welcome, wanted and comfortable. This isn't done by spending a lot of money, or creating elaborate meals -- but simply by having an open, caring and welcoming heart.