I’ve been missing in action a lot lately, haven’t I? I have good reasons. I really do. But most of those reasons have very little to do with this blog, so let’s just move on, shall we?
I wasn’t able to squeeze much reading in before my above reasons
slammed me to the ground and knocked me flat occurred, and I certainly haven’t been able to do much reading since, so I will just tell you what I was able to do before I went missing. I guess any reading is better than no reading, right? Right.
Here is what I managed to read before I…you know…couldn’t:
Catch-22 — Joseph Heller — This book is on every.single.well-read booklist. I tried to read this. I really did. But, it is a crude, dark book that explores, in detail, the horrors of war — the injustice, the raping and pillaging, the PTSD, the defecting. This is a war book, not a war hero book, and believe me, there is a difference. The author certainly has a lot to say, and I’m not saying this isn’t a realistic portrayal of war. In fact, it’s a little too realistic. It is innovative in its style and incredibly well-written. I’m not arguing against it’s importance in American Literature. I’m just saying that I have a weak stomach for this sort of thing, and I don’t need to feed on this stuff. I got part way through (like, a couple chapters), wimped out, scanned the rest of the plot in Spark Notes (which I happen to hate), and put the book in my cull pile. Friends, I usually have a hard time letting books go, but this took a straight ticket out of my house. This is not a book I want on my shelves, nor can I recommend it to a Christian reader. Now I just have to work on getting what I already read out of my mind…
The Foundation Series
The Foundation — Isaac Asimov — (1st in the hardbound trilogy I bought at Barnes & Nobles, but not, it turns out, actually first in the series. More on that in a minute). If you are looking for books for teenage boys who like Sci Fi, give this a thought. I enjoyed this book more than I really thought I would. In this book, the Galactic Empire is crumbling and the Periphery is rising. Power struggles are everywhere. I’m pretty sure George Lucas must have read this before he came up with the idea for Star Wars. There’s even blasters and hyperdrive. I keep waiting to hear Darth Vader breathing. Mostly though, this isn’t a battle of weaponry as much as a battle of wits and an exploration of effect of crowd-mentality on current/future events. There is a small bit of foul language in the series, but only in a couple places. A teen should be able to handle it unless they’ve been living in a cave.
Foundation and Empire — Isaac Asimov — (2nd in the trilogy) — The plot thickens… Who are these Second Foundationers, anyway?
Second Foundation — Isaac Asimov — (3rd in the trilogy) — I will only say this: Do you really think you know why you’re thinking what you think you’re thinking?…Hmmm….
As soon as I finished this series, I immediately turned around and handed it to my teenage sons. The hardcover I have contains these first 3 books, but there are more in the series and also 2 prequels. We ordered the rest of the series and started reading, but had to stop. There is a definite difference between Asimov’s earlier writings and his later work when it comes to content appropriateness for Christian teens, so buyer beware. We are still checking out more of Isaac Asimov’s work (Nightfall, in particular), but each book will need to be pre-read before I hand it to my kids. Asimov was a prolific writer, and definitely appeals to my sons, so I plan to pre-read his earlier works to see if I can find more good books for my boys, but I plan to leave his later writings alone.
Well Fed, Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat — Melissa Joulwan — After my Whole30 experience, I knew I wanted to keep eating this way at least a good portion of the time. To do that, I needed to expand my repertoire of compliant recipes. Enter Well Fed. The recipes in this book are wonderful, easily do-able recipes with crowd appeal. (The Grilled Chicken recipe is divine). The photography is wonderful, and she gives a simple plan for a weekly cook off that keeps your healthy eating on track all week. These recipes are a great way to really up the nutritional factor even for those family members who are not eating Paleo. Simply throw a side of rice, or bread on the side and Bam! A yummy dinner for everyone.
Custom of the Country — Edith Warton — This is an novel by the author of House of Mirth. If you’ve read her books in the past, you’ll know this isn’t likely to be a book about perfect people. This particular novel takes a hard look at ambition and greed. Undine, our “heroine”, if you can call her such, is a spoiled, manipulative, intensely shallow society girl whose only real thoughts are her own beauty, money and how the two can purchase her a higher standing on the social ladder. She is willing to destroy anyone on the path of her ambition. Every other person in the book who has any real depth of character either winds up unhappy and paying the price for Undine’s ambition, or simply fades from view as we follow her desperate attempt to reach the highest, richest rung of that almighty social ladder. As a diatribe on all that’s wrong with America, this is a well-written philosophical book. As a fun and wholesome read, it’s a downer. Undine and her tribe are just so frustratingly pathetic. But even worse, I’ve met a few Undines in my time. I’ve seen her tribe at work and I have certainly dealt with the aftermath of such people. Blech.
Bringing Up Bebe — Pamela Druckerman — In this book, the Druckerman does a marvelous job comparing the differences between American style parenting and parenting as it is done in Paris. When she has her first child as an American expat in Paris, she realizes that she is the only mother in the restaurant whose child is screaming. Her table is the only one with food on the floor around her child’s chair. And she realizes she is the only mother who seems stressed. Not only were the French mothers much calmer, so were the French children. And instead of barely pulling themselves together in sweatpants and a pony tail, she notices that French mothers somehow manage to serenely cook beautiful meals, have a social life and look glamorous while they do it. She begins a quest to find out how they do it — what do French mothers know that American mothers do not? The result is an entertaining book full of the authors missteps on her journey to intentional parenting. This book is more than just a parenting book. It is also a mind-expanding discourse on the differing philosophies of two countries. Be aware that she assumes that you wouldn’t be reading this book if you didn’t know how babies are made in the first place, as she can be very frank in her discussion, if you know what I mean. There is also a very, very crude reference or two, so please use caution. This is not a book for children (or for the squeamish). This book isn’t written from a Christian perspective for Christian parents, either, but if you can eat the hay and spit the sticks, there is some good food for thought here.
That is all I managed, and that was before summer. I didn’t manage ANYTHING during the summer. Nothing. Nada. So much for the ubiquitous summer reading list.
Now I am trying to catch up on all the school prep reading I was supposed to have done over the summer. I have stacks and stacks of books to get through. There will be no time for personal reading. My reading time right now is completely consumed by historical novels, English lit books, Shakespeare plays and ministry reading. School and ministry. Ministry and school.
I guess, what I’m trying to say is this: I am closing down ProjectTHINK, at least for the time being. Do I still think we need to be reading a wide variety of books to broaden our understanding of people, politics, history, logic and practically everything else? Absolutely. Do I have time to run a school, a home, a ministry, a blog and a life while reading the entire Library of Congress? Absolutely not.
I will, however, read what I can, when I can, and I will be sure to tell you about the gems.
Have a great day!