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Showing posts from July, 2012

Book Review of The Barrelmaker Brimful of Love by Saikaku Ihara

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Name of Book: The Barrelmaker Brimful of Love

Author: Saikaku Ihara

ISBN: 0-393-97758-7

Publisher: Norton Company

Type of book: 1600s, Japan, love, floating world, realism, marriage

Year it was published: 1686?

Summary:
(from Norton World Anthology Vol.D 590)

The Barrelmaker Brimful of Love is a worthy introduction. The novella is part of a collection of stories, Five Women Who loved Love, written in 1686 when Saikaku had reached his full stride. It should be remembered, though, that this is a writer for whom language is always a bravura performance. Translation, inevitably obscuring linguistic aspects of a text, cannot display the stylist's forte to best advantage. Saikaku's many other strengths, however, do emerge.

Characters:

Although the story itself is interesting, there isn't much depth with the characters; Osen is a sweet and naive girl, the man who likes her is persistent, the grandmother who sets them up is manipulative and so forth. There is also generosity involved, an…

Book Review of Love in a Fallen City by Ailing Zhang

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Name of Book: Love in a Fallen City

Author: Ailing Zhang

ISBN:  (from Norton Anthology Vol F.) 0-393-97760-9

Publisher: Norton Company

Type of book: China, 1940-1942? divorce, family, Hong Kong, love, overseas Chinese

Year it was published: 1940s

Summary:
(from Norton Anthology Vol. F 2736)

Love in a Fallen City begins with the heroine Liusu trapped in the relationships of the Chinese family. In her late twenties, Liusu has been divorced for seven or eight years; her ex-husband has just died, and his family wants her back for ritual purposes, to play the role of the grieving widow in the funeral ceremony and perhaps to adopt a son to carry on her ex-husband's family line...Liusu wants the security of a marriage, but on her own terms, and she invites teh attentions of a rich playbo, Liuyuan, who a matchmaker had arranged to meet her sister. Liusu dances with Liuyuan, who a matchmaker had arranged to meet her sister. Liusu dances with Liuyan at their first meeting, and the couple continue…

Book Review of White Fang by Jack London

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Name of Book: White Fang

Author: Jack London

ISBN:1-57335-405-8

Publisher: Wordsworth Classics

Type of book: 1890s-1900s, civilization vs. wild, nature vs. nurture, wolf, dog hero, young adult, isolation, bullying, lack of kindness, Alaska, California, laws

Year it was published: 1905

Summary:

White Fang is Jack London's celebrated companion story to The Call of the Wild. Once again, the author chooses a dog as his hero and the story chronicles the triumph of goodness and love over a loyal spirit once brutalised by violent circumstances and a harsh environment.

Characters:

The main character is White Fang, although there are other characters such as Scott and his family, as well as other dogs and wolves. The only character that goes through change is White Fang, other characters are static characters and don't go through any change. Despite only one character going through the change, it is an interesting story and is well deserved of being read by everyone.

Theme:

Change is possible.

Book Review of #2 Lifted Up By Angels by Lurlene McDaniel

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Name of Book: Lifted up by angels

Author: Lurlene McDaniel

ISBN: 0-553-57098-6

Publisher: Laurel Leaf fiction

Part of a Series: Angels Trilogy

Type of book: 1990s, Amish, community, relationship, death, angels, summer, maturity

Year it was published: 1997

Summary:

The companion to the Publishers Weekly bestseller Angels Watching Over Me.

This inspirational novel follows the story of Leah and her friendship with the Amish family she met while hospitalized for cancer treatment. When Leah takes a summer job near their Amish community, she is happy to be near Ethan again. He is now at the age at which an Amish young man is allowed a taste of non-Amish life before committing to the adults' rules. Will Leah and Ethan's feelings for each other overcome family obligations?

Characters:

The characters do go through changes, at least Ethan does. Leah does too, but her change isn't as visible as Ethan's is. In this book I got to see Ethan trying to be less Amish and more English, as we…

Book Review of Picture Me Sexy By Rhonda Nelson

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Name of Book: Picture Me Sexy

Author: Rhonda Nelson

ISBN: 9780373791194

Publisher: Harlequin Blaze

Type of book: Photography, soul-mates, shyness, romance, adult

Year it was published: 2003

Summary:

You can't take the bed out of the boudoir...

Delaney Walker has a secret. The celebrated designer of erotic lingerie is actually too "nice" to wear it. But when her fiance says "I do" to someone else, Delaney decides to change her image. And she's going to start by going through with the boudoir photos she'd arranged for her groom-to-be. Only, little does she guess that once photographer Sam Martelli sets eyes on her, he'll insist on putting himself in the picture....

Sam has photographed hundreds of beautiful women, but none have affected him like Delaney. Even before she strips down to just a whisper of silk, casting off her inhibitions as well as her clothes, he has to have her. And thanks to a power failure, he does...again and again. But once the lights c…

E-Reading: Book Review of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

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Name of Book: The Lovely Bones

Author: Alice Sebold

ISBN: 978-0-7595-2773-7

Publisher: Hachete Book Group

Type of book: murder, 1973-1980s, murder, family, brief white female/South Asian male relationship, friendship, sisterhood, father/ daughter relationship, afterlife, heaven, moving on.

Year it was published: 2002

Summary:

Shockingly original and completely unforgettable, The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder -- a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family's need for peace and closure.

The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows,…

Book Challenge A-Z #23 Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

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Fulfilling the requirement:

The I letter for the book title, alphabetically

Summary:

Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force- a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write

Lesson learned:

Being a vampire sucks (no pun intended.)

Link to review:click here

E-Reading: Book Review of Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H Lawrence

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Name of Book: Lady Chatterley's Lover

Author: DH Lawrence

ISBN: 978-1-411-43250-5

Publisher: Barnes and Noble Classics

Type of book: World War I, 1900s-1920s, paralyzed, women's desires, adultery, wealth, high class vs working class, sensuality, love, gender differences

Year it was published: 1928

Summary:

Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D. H. Lawrence, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras.

The last, and most famous, of D. H. Lawrence’s novels, Lady Chatterley’s Lover was published in 1928 and banned in England and the United States as pornographic. While sexually tame by today’s standards, the book is memorable for better reasons—Lawrence’s masterful and lyrical prose, and a vibrant story that takes us bodily into the world of its characters.

As the novel opens, Constance Chatterley finds herself…

Book Challenge A-Z #22 Candide by Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire

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Fulfilling the requirement:

The V letter for the author's last name, alphabetically.

Summary:

Candide, ou l'Optimisme ( /ˌkænˈdiːd/; French: [kɑ̃did]) is a French satire first published in 1759 by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. The novella has been widely translated, with English versions titled Candide: or, All for the Best (1759); Candide: or, The Optimist (1762); and Candide: or, Optimism (1947).[5] It begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism (or simply Optimism) by his mentor, Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this lifestyle, followed by Candide's slow, painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. Voltaire concludes with Candide, if not rejecting optimism outright, advocating an enigmatic precept, "we must cultivate our garden", in lieu of the Leibnizian mantra of Pangloss, "all is…

Book Challenge A-Z #21 Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

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Fulfilling the requirement:

The D letter in the title alphabetically.

Summary:
(from wikipedia)

The novella Death in Venice was written by the German author Thomas Mann, and was first published in 1912 as Der Tod in Venedig.[1] The plot of the work presents a great writer suffering writer's block who visits Venice and is liberated and uplifted, then increasingly obsessed, by the sight of a stunningly beautiful youth.

Lesson learned:

Environment changes a human being.

Link to review:click here

Book Review of Call of the WIld by Jack London

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Name of Book: The Call of the Wild

Author: Jack London

ISBN: 1-57335-405-8

Publisher: Wordsworth Classics

Type of book: Alaska, civilization, savageness, wilderness, domination, 1890s?, kidnapping, dog hero, young adult

Year it was published: 1903

Summary:

Uprooted from the good life of a dog on an estate in California, Buck- the canine hero of The Call of the Wild- is thrust into the turmoil of the Klondike gold rush in America's savage and unrelenting northland. As one critic put it, it is "fierce, brutal, splashed with blood, and live with the crack of the whip and the club." Its place is assured as one of the world's greatest "Ripping Yarns."

Characters:

The main character in this novel is Buck, a dog that survived through better and worse, who was forcibly sold for gambling debts and ended up in Alaska where he learned valuable lessons about survival. I saw visible change in Buck, from someone who's a domesticated dog to someone who became a lethal fighti…

Planned Books

Books I'm reading:
Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen 14/326
The Song of the lark- Willa Cather 19/417
The Foreign Student- Susan Choi 63/325
Tess of the D'Urbervilles- Thomas Hardy 105/390
The Call of the Wild- Jack London 17/225
Picture Me Sexy- Rhonda Nelson 21/94
The Italian- Ann Radcliffe 33/289
Heavy Sand- Anatoli Rybakov 91/381
Ivanhoe- Sir Walter Scott 67/405
Maniac Magee- Jerry Spinelli 10/184
The red and the black- Stendhal 117/598

Series:
The Story of the Stone- Xueqin Cao
5. The Dreamer Wakes65/376
People Series- W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear
3. People of the Earth 132/587

The Storyteller Trilogy- Sue Harrison
2. Cry of the Wind 32/474
The Angels Trilogy- Lurlene McDaniel
2. Lifted up by Angels 186/552
The Vampire Chronicles- Anne Rice
2. The Vampire Lestat 41/550
Milly Trilly- Lisa Yee
1. Millicent Min, Girl Genius 66/248

E-Book:
Lady Chatterly's Lover - DH Lawrence 263/688

Future Books:
The Northanger Abbey- Jane Austen
My Antonia- Willa Cather
The Hu…

Book Challenge A-Z #20 Are You There God? Its Me Margaret by Judy Blume

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Fulfilling the requirement:

The A letter for the title alphabetically.

Summary:

 Margaret Simon, almost twelve, likes long hair, tuna fish, the smell of rain, and things that are pink. She's just moved from New York City to Farbrook, New Jersey, and is anxious to fit in with her new friends- Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie. When they form a secret club to talk about private subjects like boys, bras, and getting their firs periods, Margaret is happy to belong. But none of them can believe that Margaret doesn't have a religion, and tha she isn't joining the Y or the Jewish Community Center. What they don't know is that Margaret has her own special relationship with God. She can talk to God about everything-family, friends, even Philip Leroy, the best-looking boy in sxith grade. Margaret is funny and real. As you read her story, you'll know why this book has been the favorite of millions of readers. It's as if Margaret is talking right to you, sharing her secrets with a…

E-Reading: Book Review of #1 The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene

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Name of Book: The Secret of the Old Clock

Author: "Carolyn Keene"

ISBN: 1557091552

Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap

Part of a Series: Nancy Drew Mysteries

Type of book: Mysteries, lost will, young adult, strong feminism

Year it was published: 1930

Summary:

In this first of the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, Nancy, unaided, seeks to find a missing will. Her search not only tests her keen mind but also leads her into a thrilling adventure. This volume presents the original, 1930 version of the story. In 1959 the story was rewritten and condensed and this original version went out of print.

Characters:

The characters all remain the same pretty much. Nancy remains her resourceful forceful self where mysteries are always at a forefront, the villains got punished and the nice people won the day. In other words, no change passes through her personality. Other characters like the villains and heroes and Nancy's father strike me as stock characters than as real people.

Theme:

I personally think…

Book Review of #1 Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

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Name of Book: Interview with the vampire

Author: Anne Rice

ISBN: 0-345-33766-2

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Part of a Series: Vampire chronicles

Type of book: vampires, supernatural, philosophy, 1791-1970s? interview, child vampire, brooding, death, "horror", Louisiana, France, homosexuality, France, Europe

Year it was published: 1976

Summary:

Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force- a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.

Characters:

Besides Armand and Lestat, who are fascinating men due to their possible histories as well as actions, the rest of the characters had no personality or life in them. Louis is the horror and somewhat better version of Edward Cullen from Twilight; Claudia, despite the fascinating aspect of her as a child vampire, was also as boring a…

Book Review of Once a Hero...by Jillian Burns

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Name of Book: Once a hero...

Author: Jillian Burns

ISBN: 978-0-373-79674-8

Publisher: Harlequin Blaze

Type of book: PTSD, doctor, medicine, Hawaii, interracial relationship Hawaiian male/American female, breast cancer survivor, coping, photography

Year it was published: 2012

Summary:

Once a hero… always a hero.

Subject: Captain Luke Andrews, M.D.

Current Status: On stress leave in beautiful Hawaii

Mission: Rest and recovery

Obstacle: There's no rest from the wicked chemistry he's found with her.

After a too-close-for-comfort brush with cancer, ocean photographer Kristen Turner heads to Hawaii for three months, where fate hands her a smokin'-hot opportunity she can't resist…...

Captain Luke Andrews has to get some serious R & R, but he can't keep his hands off Kristen. She's wild and irresistible, and spending his nights with her seems more dangerous than his last mission.

But is their hot little vacation romp an escape from real life…or will the survivor and th…

Book Review of Candide by Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire

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Name of Book: Candide

Author: Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire

ISBN: 0-393-97758-7

Publisher: Norton Company

Type of book: Around the world, satire, 1600s-1700s, love, religion, philosophy

Year it was published: 1759

Summary:
(from wikipedia.org)

Candide, ou l'Optimisme ( /ˌkænˈdiːd/; French: [kɑ̃did]) is a French satire first published in 1759 by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. The novella has been widely translated, with English versions titled Candide: or, All for the Best (1759); Candide: or, The Optimist (1762); and Candide: or, Optimism (1947).[5] It begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism (or simply Optimism) by his mentor, Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this lifestyle, followed by Candide's slow, painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. Voltaire concludes with Candide, if not rejecting optimis…

Book Review of Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

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Name of Book: Death in Venice

Author: Thomas Mann

ISBN: (from Norton Anthology Vol F.) 0-393-97760-9

Publisher: Norton Company

Type of book: Venice, plague, homosexual love, philosophy, Germany, 1900s, travel, vacation

Year it was published: 1912

Summary:
(from wikipedia)

The novella Death in Venice was written by the German author Thomas Mann, and was first published in 1912 as Der Tod in Venedig.[1] The plot of the work presents a great writer suffering writer's block who visits Venice and is liberated and uplifted, then increasingly obsessed, by the sight of a stunningly beautiful youth.

Characters:

The author focuses a lot on the male character and  his obsession with the Polish youth named Tadzio. I sense a bit of erotica in the story, and strangely enough there's a Lolita aspect in the fact that the male character is obsessed and in love with a youth who's barely a teenager! While the story is shocking, thankfully there aren't sexual scenes or anything of the kind. The …

Book Challenge A-Z #19 Hakon of Rogen's Saga by Erik christian Havgaard

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Fulfilling the requirement: 

The H letter of the author's last name alphabetically

Summary:

For nine generations the island of Rogen passed from father to son, a bleak island whose craggy peaks embraced a world of its own. But now sullen forces of evil close in on Rogen. Kidnapping, vengeance, treachery, and bloodshed swirl within a suspenseful tale that perfectly captures the mood of a harsh but heroic people who lived at the end of the Viking period.

Lesson learned:

If you break a norm you will not get away with it.

Link to review: click here

Book Review of The Starlight Crystal by Christopher Pike

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Name of Book: The Starlight Crystal

Author: Christopher Pike

ISBN: 0-671-55028-4

Publisher: Archway paperback

Type of book: 2100s, infinity, repetition, eternal love, science fiction, aliens, war, young adult, genetics

Year it was published: February 1996

Summary:

 It is two hundred years in the future. Eighteen-year-old Paige Christian has been given a chance to join the crew of the Traveler- a special spaceship designed to circle the solar system at near light speed. One day aboard the Traveler is equal to ten years on earth. The Traveler is a time capsule as well as a spaceship. Its purpose is to study the changes on earth throughout two centuries, and then return home.

But something happens to the Traveler. Something also happens to the earth, an awful thing. And the years pass, billions of them, and still Paige Christian lives, and remembers all those she left behind. Until the day she finally does come home, to a world and a future no human being could have imagined.

Characters:

The ch…

Book Review of The Living Reed by Pearl Buck

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Name of Book: The Living Reed

Author: Pearl Buck

ISBN: 1-55921-022-2

Publisher: Moyer Bell Limited

Type of book: Korea, 1881-1945?, communism, christianity, Russia, America, multi-generational, love, duties, sacrifice, royalty, Japanese treatment, democracy, misleading

Year it was published: 1963

Summary:

THE LIVING REED tells the story of a close-knit family who dedicate themselves to the salvation of their homeland, that tiny peninsula hanging like a golden fruit before the longing eyes of surrounding nations. The reader lives with them from the splendid era of Queen Min to the climactic days of the Second World War, and emerges not only with admiration for the Korean people and their rich culture but with the excitement of discovering a little known and fascinating history closely entangled with the history of America itself.

Kim Il-han, an adviser to the throne when we first meet him in 1881, is to become the family patriarch, and the steadfast and passionate love between him and his wi…

Book Review of Jacob the Liar by Jurek Becker

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Name of Book: Jacob the Liar

Author: Jurek Becker

ISBN: 0-15-145975-4

Publisher: Helen and Kurt Wolff Book Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Type of book: Holocaust, 1944, ghetto, humor, radio, anti-Jewish rules, Poland, hope

Year it was published: 1969 (version I have 1975)

Summary:

In a feat of sheer storytelling reminiscent of Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jurek Becker writes of a Jewish community's tragic fate gently and humorously. Set in a Polish ghetto near the close of World War II, the novel centers on the artless and unheroic figure of Jacob Heym, former proprietor of a modest cafe, who accidentally overhears a German news report of Soviet army advances. When Jacob relays the news,word spread throughout the ghetto with the added rumor that Jacob possesses a contraband radio. To his dismay, he finds himself a hero. Challenged to authenticate the real news, Jacob extemporizes: son, he who heretofore has invented ntohing more daring than a potato pancake is driven to produce…

Book Challenge A-Z #18 One Friend to Another by Elizabeth Feuer

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Fulfilling the requirement:

Author's last name begins with an F alphabetically

Summary:

I wasn't going to be the "Amazing Brain" anymore

Not this year. Not when I had the chance to make a fresh start at a brand new school. I'd had enough of being the smartest kid in the class. This year was going to be different. I was going to be popular!

Now, some things are easier said than done. But when I got to be friends with Rhonda Winkler- the prettiest, most popular girl in school-I thought I had it made. I even met this guy, Andrew, and fell madly in love. There was just one problem: Rhonda's sidekick, Randy. She didn't like me much, and she sure didn't want me getting too close to Rhonda. I didn't realize just how hard she'd try to destroy our friendship, however, until it was too late. And that's when I learned what true friendship is all about.

Lesson learned:

You'll be surprised by how many people might be jealous of you.

Link to review:cli…

Book Challenge A-Z #17 Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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Fulfilling the requirement:

The G letter for the author's last name alphabetically

Summary:

William Golding's classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, "the boy with fair hair," and Piggy, Ralph's chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island's wild pig population. Soon Ralph's rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates…

E-Reading: Book Review of Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

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Name of Book: The Poisonwood Bible

Author: Barbara Kingsolver

ISBN: 0060786507

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Type of book: Africa, 1959-1990s, Congo, Zaire, American female/African male, interracial relationship, bible, poisonwood, paralyze, reverend, nature,  conversion, faith

Year it was published: 1998

Summary:

As any reader of The Mosquito Coast knows, men who drag their families to far-off climes in pursuit of an Idea seldom come to any good, while those familiar with At Play in the Fields of the Lord or Kalimantaan understand that the minute a missionary sets foot on the fictional stage, all hell is about to break loose. So when Barbara Kingsolver sends missionary Nathan Price along with his wife and four daughters off to Africa in The Poisonwood Bible, you can be sure that salvation is the one thing they're not likely to find. The year is 1959 and the place is the Belgian Congo. Nathan, a Baptist preacher, has come to spread the Word in a remote village reachable only by airplane. …