Tuesday, April 23, 2013

At long last, another Book Post


It has been such a long time since I wrote a Book Post!  It's not that I haven't been reading, but I didn't think my blog readers would be all that interested in the theology books I spent the first three months of this year drowning in.

Now my class is done and I find myself with time to read a more diverse selection again.  (I'm also reading a few things you wouldn't be interested in, such as Letting Go: Transforming Congregations for Ministry or Theories of Development , but they are balanced out).

A few books have really captured by attention more than others:

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg is a fascinating read.  It's part new brain research and part an eclectic bunch of stories from the worlds of sports, advertising, AA, and more.  If you wonder why we seem to do so much on auto-pilot, and how we can work with that, this book has part of the answer.

Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl is a book I saw in the UUA bookstore at General Assembly this year, and the title was instantly interesting to me.  Unfortunately, my local library system doesn't carry it, and that is how I get almost all my books.  In the end I bought it on Kindle as a reward to myself for getting through all that theology reading.  Susan Campbell grew up in a very conservative fundamentalist church and family, but was always bothered by the fact that as a girl she was only allowed a limited role in her church.  The parts of the book that recount Campbell's childhood are fascinating and poignant and some of her writing was beautiful, sad, and funny all the same time.  But then it loses steam and focus when she moves into her adult life.  By the end I found the book very anticlimactic, as I guess her life didn't wrap up into a nice little "and the moral of the story was" ... honest but not necessarily great reading.

And then we've enjoyed some very good audiobooks:

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen was a hit with the whole family.  The kids loved the adventure and the setting in a survivalist show (they like "Man vs Wild" and spent a lot of time saying "surely Man vs. Wild isn't faked like this!") while my husband and I loved the dry-edging-to-ridiculous humor.

Matilda by Roald Dahl is the latest of our adventures with Dahl.  For some reason I never read any Roald Dahl as a child (I think my mother probably doesn't like him) but I have enjoyed them a lot as an adult, and my kids have loved them.  Hypatia in particular is a Roald Dahl fan.  That said, I find this to be one of Dahl's weaker books, with a pair of anti-climactic resolutions to the two main difficulties facing our young prodigy of a heroine.

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