Too Many Words on Wednesday: Reading List in July and August

  • i should do these reading lists more often.  This one is quite unwieldy!  To help you navigate this, i will use different colors for different genres.  Novels are in blue; books about Scripture are in purple; mythology is gold;  and self-help/meditation is red.
  • i suppose i should start with Encountering the Book of Psalms: A Literary and Theological Introduction, by C. Hassell Bullock.  The linked review indicates this is a good coursebook for "upper level collegians;" i would have suggested using it if one has a basic Old Testament 101 type knowledge.  i found it very accessible, academic and at the same surprisingly devotional (the author also seemed to think readers would be surprised by the mix!)  My most important take-away was his explanation of three ways of looking at Scripture (paradigms).  He expresses them as priest/Torah, prophet/prophecy, and sage/wisdom literature.  i could instantly identify people i know with each viewpoint today:  the one who says, "This is the law; follow it;" the one who says, "This is how to apply the law in society; social justice over all!;" and the one who ponders it all, viewing private, individual morality as key to Godliness.  As in Bible times, people tend to choose one paradigm to the exclusion of the others; all three are how God intends us to interpret Scripture.  
  • One of our recent book club selection was Room: A Novel, by Emma Donoghue.  i think i could not have read it if i had read the blurb first, yet ultimately i identified with "Ma," as someone i might have been in an alternate universe.  Scary.  Telling the story in the voice of 5 year old Jack was the ONLY way to tell the story.
  • Tivka Frymer-Kensky's Reading the Women of the Bible, though actually i began it in May or  June.  Much of it is nothing like what i've heard in church, but very much like what i've seen in independent Scripture reading.
  • Next is probably Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift of the Sea.  Recommended to me so time ago, i finally checked it, plus one of her poetry books, out from the library.  Gift begins with a meditation on writing and/while vacationing, but the entire book is a working-out of the "what comes next" in her life, a woman living life in the moden world.  It seems strange to me that both this and the one above are "feminist" books, but i had a hard time seeing it.  Maybe it's that feminism is so much a part of our times now.  It seems like simple straightforward logic that a woman is worth as much as a man.
  • The August book club selection is Light between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman.  This is a real page-turner, exciting and thought-provoking at the same time.  Members of our group seem to all like it, but are unsure about the characters.  Stedman presents a story with no right answers.  Set in the early 20th century, many things would be, and are done, differently today.  i love the way the author gives us different people's points of view at exactly the time we begin thinking the person she's been presenting is the only one who could possibly be right.
  • After reading this, i wanted to find & reread The Carpenter's Notebook, by Mark Clement. Superficially these two books are nothing alike - time, geography, war theme, orphans, style of language - but both are about family and are centered on a man who fights back from his depths to reclaim the "fire in his belly" and his wholeness.  i haven't found my copy of this yet, because in looking for it i first came across a book that's long sat unread on my shelves.  i should say i have NOT read it as of now, because i didn't find it when looking, but since it's turned up NOW, i will read it soon.
  • The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Joy Fowler, may not become one of my all-time favorites, but i can definitely see myself reading it again.  Romance and "meta," self-awareness, recapitulation of the Austen stories, and humor, are strong selling points.  i don't think i've ever come across a book written in first person plural before:  The chapters are organized by the book and hostess (host, in one case) of the month, alternating between groupspeak and 3rd person omniscient new information (new to the group) about the featured individual.  Brief summaries of the Austen novels and reactions from her own family and friends to famous individuals since and present are included, but the biggest hoot in the book are the discussion questions.  Each featured character gets her/his own voice to set us questions, dealing as much with reading and the nature of books and the world around us as the book at in hand.  
  • Library books without end, amen.  Just Lead!: A No Whining, No Complaining, No Nonsense Practical Guide for Women Leaders, by Sherry Surratt and Jenni Catron, is something i found while browsing the New Books shelf at the library.  It's all the blurb says.  It seems to me that the question should not be whether women should lead or not, but how, which is a valid question for men, too.  Just read it, whatever your gender.
  • Today i picked up Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  i've been meaning to read this book in my house for the last 20 years, but i don't think it will happen yet.  Still want to, but, reading it during tutor session, i fell asleep on it.  
  • Yes, i love to read!

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