This weekend was gorgeous in my neck of the woods, so we spent an enormous percentage of it outside, to the great delight of my children and to the dismay of many a member of the species ant, which found itself being discovered and summarily squashed (in my daughter’s case) or eaten (in my son’s).
Insect-related gustatory antics notwithstanding, I got to READ. Balm to the soul, relief for the weary heart, and all that. Thought I’d share what’s been on my literary menu, and get some suggestions from vous. In no particular order, then…
A History of God: the 4,000-year quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by Karen Armstrong.Who is brilliant. I know, that’s not even a complete sentence. And that’s how Ms. Armstrong makes me feel- she’s traced the history of the development of “God” and drawn really interesting connections between many world religions. To her very great credit, she’s impartial, though the book is leaving me wondering if she’s atheist as a result, of if she ascribes to any of the beliefs she studies.
Translation Nation: Defining a new American identity in the Spanish-speaking United States by Pulitzer-prize winning Hector Tobar. This has been entertaining, and the stories Tobar tells about the cross-border experience in the US give a glimpse into the (mostly illegal) immigrant mind. Since I’ve been thinking about the immigration debate, it’s helped to get a better idea of the other side of the story- the people who would do anything to make $6 an hour slicing chicken necks.
Courtesans: Money, sex, and fame in the nineteenth century by Katie Hickman. I don’t read many biographies, nor do I routinely delve into the history of the sex trade, but this one was recommended by a friend. Interesting stuff- it seems people were living like Madonna long before she writhed in white tulle onstage for money.
The Catholic Church: A short history by Hans Kung. And by short he does mean short- it’s the shortest of the four at around 200 pages. Though I understand Kung is considered the redheaded stepchild of Catholic theologians, he’s refreshingly honest (probably the source of his redheaded status). For this pseudo-Catholic, it’s good reading.
So, dish. What’s on your bedside table (or picnic basket)? And is it worth taking a gander?