Monday, March 4, 2013

Books,books and more books . . . . .

I have been reading some unusual book choices this winter based on suggestions from my family.  I liked all of these very different books for very different reasons. Getting recommendations from trusted sources has led me to books that I might never have chosen on my own.   So for the new year I started out with two big commitments.

First I read 1776 by David McCullough on the recommendation of my son, Joseph.  He had recently finished it, really liked it and left his copy at our house.  I started it shortly after Xmas.  As you would guess it is about the Revolutionary War.  Coming to this meticulously researched book with only a high school history based knowledge of the subject, this was fascinating.  The campaigns and battles were brought to life by the descriptive details of the locations and the American and British officers.  The descriptions of the conditions endured by the soldiers were heartrending and the quotes from their letters to families were touching.

It was a slow read for me because there was so much to absorb.  But it was worth the time and the effort. A good read.

At the same time, I read Cloudsplitter by Russell Baker, recommended by husband, Patrick.  This book of historical fiction was an account of the religious fanatic, John Brown, abolitionist and ultimately terrorist, told in the voice of one of his surviving sons, Owen Brown.  An historically fascinating but sad account of how one man's obsession, though well intended, destroyed his whole family. An excellent read. 

I just finished Flight Behaviors by Barbara Kingsolver, recommended by daughter, Celia. She gave this a 5 out of 5 star rating and Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors.  So it was a no brainer choice!  Very good read - climate change, monarch butterfly migration, love, loss, sexy scientist, and ultimately a coming of age story about a likable main character, Dellarobia Turnbull.  Read it!

To the mix I added Of Human Bondage by William S Maugham.  Looking for a next book to read I asked Patrick for suggestions and he tossed this out, I'm not sure why.  It is one of those classics that I have always meant to read so it seemed about time to do it!

Wow!  I loved it.  It had all the old English charm of Dickens, the strict class divides, wealth, poverty, privilege, and great contrasts.  But it was again a wonderful coming of age story about Philip Carey, a timeless tale of his journey to maturity and an appreciation of what life can be.  Beautiful, moving - an excellent read.

I have moved on to some choices of my own, The End of Faith by Sam Harris about the clash between religion and reason in the modern world.  This has been on my list for a long time.

I am also rereading The Middle of Everywhere by Mary Pipher about connecting with the newest members of American society - refugees, written from her volunteer experiences in Lincoln, NE.

And most recently, Patrick and I are both reading Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, an explanation of why modern wheat causes so many health problems and the science behind it.  Patrick has just found that he is wheat sensitive so we are redesigning our diet to be gluten free.  We may need the companion cookbook!

There is never enough time to read all the wonderful books on my list but if you have suggestions, please pass them along - a reading list can never be too long or too varied.

Read on . . . . . . . 

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