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?

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5 Responses to Reading

  1. KathyB! says:

    Oh, I wish I could dish… I have a reading problem. Maybe even an addiction? Whe I start a book I get so tangled up in the storyline/premise/thesis/whatever that I can’t put it down. Dinner doesn’t get made. Kids are fighting. All hell generally begins to break loose…. As a result, I’ve (mostly) sworn off books and read magazines. My favorite is Newsweek. I read it cover to cover over the course of the week while I sit rotting in the carpool line at school 🙂

  2. antropologa says:

    Oh I’m reading something by Elizabeth Berg. I just finished rereading something by Orson Scott Card. Totally different but I’d recommend them both.

  3. faemom says:

    Those sound like great books; I’ll have to pick them up. I *sigh* am inbetween books.

  4. David says:

    Kung to the Catholic Church is like pepper to a salad-you don’t need a whole lot of him to spice the whole thing up. What Kung did during Vatican II was valuable, what they allowed of it. But he wanted to go too far, and the Curia didn’t let him. He’s been speaking his mind ever since. That’s not a bad thing.

  5. evenshine says:

    D- as you mentioned in the other combox, finding people who think is a good thing. I’m glad Kung’s around to liven the discussion.

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