Tuesday, November 8, 2011

reading recap: september/october.

Whew. September and October were full of commitments and busy days on the calendar and a wedding that consumed my life. Not much reading happened. My fingers are crossed that things turn out a little differently this month.

Book: Dog On It
Finished: Early September

This was our book club choice for September, and I was hesitant: I'm just not into the whole animal genre of fiction. We have a dog, yes, and sure, sometimes I wonder what she's thinking and doing. But mostly? Mostly I just go about my business, grateful for animals as a sign of God's divine imagination, but not really an animal lover, per say. Despite all that, I found Dog On It to be pretty entertaining. It was a quick read, though the mystery fell a little flat to me (I think Law & Order has ruined me for a lot of the more subtle mystery stories found in literature). Spencer Quinn does the most justice to the dog in the story, Chet. He's by far the most interesting, most developed character, and Quinn does a fine job of putting us all into the mind of a dog (since Chet so craftily narrates the story). Not a bad read, but probably not something I would have picked out on my own.


Finished: Mid-October

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks took me what seemed like an eternity to get through, not because it was dull, but because it was thought-provoking and a bit heavy. I spent most of September down and out with an awful, awful head cold, and I just couldn't wrap my head around the scientific portions of Skloot's account, no matter how interesting. (The book itself follows Skloot as she tracks down the family of Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose cells were taken -- without permission -- from her dying body for scientific research in the 1950s.) The cold eventually vanished, and I was able to finish the book last month. A friend had given this to me on recommendation, or I might have given up, again, not because of lack of interest or length: The book was just heavy and chock-full of health and science information that at times made my stomach do turns. I think, though, that people should read this book. It sparked some interesting conversations among friends, and it opened my eyes to a world and a population unlike my own. It put a face to some scientific, political, and racial issues that I typically shy away from. The book both infuriated me and saddened me, and mostly I was left wondering: What would Henrietta think of all this, and what will become of her family?


Book: Take This Bread
Finished: Late October

You've already read some of what I thought of this book, and there's really not much more to add. Written in a similar style to that of Anne Lamott, Take This Bread was thought-provoking and underline-worthy. A good book can often spark good conversation, and this one certainly did. It had me thinking about community and communion, about sin and repentance and why sometimes Christians seem so intent on picking each other apart. Some of us have made tolerant a dirty word, and I wonder: Would Jesus agree? My only complaint about Take This Bread would be the first couple of chapters. They were important to the story, but for me, they dragged long and slow, and I was worried Sara Miles wouldn't be the narrator I had been expecting. (I should say: Miles is talented, and while similarities exist between her and Lamott, if you enter the book thinking you're about to read Traveling Mercies, you may be disappointed.) Once I made it through those first few chapters, though, I was rewarded with gem after gem of truth. If you pick this one up, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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