Monday, March 15, 2010
What Are You Reading?
Meme hosted by Sheila of One Person's Journey Through a World of Books.
Animal, Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
This book was delightful. It was funny, informative, moving and a dream-book for anyone who loves gardening, food, family and learning new stuff.
It's a locavore's manifesto. Some find it preachy- but it isn't a fire and brimstone sermon. It's a series of anecdotes about a family's one year experiment to eat locally grown, organic food. It made me hungry every time I picked it up (I gained some weight, I think) and I would love to have my own copy (I borrowed this one from the library).
When Religion Becomes Evil by Charles Kimball
It always sounds juvenile when you say a book is boring, but sometimes it is. The author took view of religion that annoys me, an apologetic defense of moderate religion that pretends that scriptural literalism and belief in impending Armageddon are peculiarities of small snake-handling sects somewhere in the boonies.
I live in the Great red-state of Georgia & I beg to differ. For example, his first sign of evil religion is dead on: Absolute Truth claims.
I have never known a religious person who didn't believe they knew the absolute truth...or that the end time is near.
*Not saying that none exist.
Just saying that Kimball's reasonable religion is outnumbered, probably because most people can find little solace in something if they don't believe it's entirely true.
It was fascinating to read the different cases of religious extremism - Jim Jones, Shoko Ahasara and David Koresh all merit a section.
I was annoyed, however, by some ditz who left their notes in the margin. Normally, I love marginalia (word stolen from poet Billy Collins), but this was the worst kind of obnoxious know-it-allism. "Typical Academic Dodge!" they scrawled in one paragraph. I read it eight times and still don't know what they were talking about, the passage seemed perfectly benign.
Maybe I'm just ignorant, I thought, maybe Kimball's dodging something I don't know about.
But the rest of the book was peppered with obscene, indignant little question marks in the margins. It was like a defiant kid continually say "Huh?" when his mother tells him to take out the garbage.
Was the reader confused or just trying to piss me off?
Maybe I'm just grouchy.
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett. The letters "OMG" come to mind. I love Terry Pratchett. I love Neil Gaiman. Reading a book written by both nearly gave me seizures- it was as funny, clever and surprising as you'd expect it to be. It is about the ultimate battle between Heaven and Hell, a serious subject rendered absurd by unexpected characterizations. My favorite characters were the Four Horsemen, modernized and mounted on motorcycles ("Hell's Angels") and then there was Crowley and Aziraphale- a demon & an angel who've kept a friendship going for thousands of years and are a little too comfortable with life on Earth.
Will the Boat Sink the Water?: The Life of Chinese Peasants by Chen Guidi and Wu Chuntao
How the poor of China are struggling, hidden from foreign eyes (banned in China)
The Panda's Thumb by Stephen Jay Gould
Evolutionary science by the Late Mr. Gould
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Alison Bartlett
A detective story about an evil, evil, horrible man who...dare I say it...stole people's books!
(I know, I didn't know it was "rampant". I'm getting ADT...and a rifle...)