{July 19, 2014}   A Few More Books Down

Hi all! Sorry, I promise I’ll post a newsier, more substantive posting soon … but in my own little world, while things have been busy this week, it’s all been pretty run of the mill stuff; job interviews, grading papers, errands, housekeeping, babysitting … my reading material has probably been the most interesting thing in my neck of the woods this week, so I wanted to share! 🙂

A SERIOUS NOTE BEFORE THE FUN STUFF THOUGH: not everyone in this world has been blessed with such a routine week; it has in fact in many ways been a very troubling one in many parts of our world, as we hear of ongoing fighting in Gaza-Israel with many innocent civilian casualties; as we hear of the tragic conditions of undocumented, unaccompanied immigrant children on the southern US border; as we hear of the Malaysian Airlines plane shot down near the Ukrainian-Russian border in the midst of ongoing tensions and fighting there, and a serious humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. I want to take a moment to hold all of those struggling with the problems of the world in my heart, thoughts and prayers, and I encourage anyone wishing to make a tangible difference – in the South Sudan crisis anyway – to visit the United Church of Canada’s South Sudan Appeal page and donate at Amnesty International – – is another great place to get involved. Thank you.

This week, I finished reading (1) TAKE THIS BREAD, (2) TOWELHEAD, and (3) EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES.

1. Deadlocked – Charlaine Harris

2. The Last Week – Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
3. Speaking Christian – Why Christian Words Have Lost their Meaning – Marcus J. Borg
4. The Spiral Staircase – Karen Armstrong
5. A History of God – Karen Armstrong
6. jPod – Douglas Coupland
7. Beloved – Toni Morrison
8. ‘Tis – Frank McCourt
9. We Need to Talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver
10. The Constant Princess – Phillipa Gregory
11. Wicked – Gregory Maguire
12. The Six Wives of Henry the 8th – Alison Weir
13. Eleanor of Aquitaine – Alison Weir
14. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
15. The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien
16. The Two Towers – J.R.R. Tolkien
17. The Return of the King – J.R.R. Tolkien
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling
20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling
21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling
<s>22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
23. Dracula – Bram Stoker
24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling
25. The Inferno – Dante
26. Towelhead – Alicia Erian
27. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
28. The Way the Crow Flies – Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride – Margaret Atwood
30. 1066 and All That; A Memorable History of England – W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman
31. Have a Little Faith – Mitch Albom
32. Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods – Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust – Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
36. The Holy Bible – Various
37. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
38. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
39. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
40. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
41. The Book of Negroes – Lawrence Hill
42. Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family – Susan Katz Miller
43. The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman
44. Lolita – Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement – Ian McEwan
46. All the King’s Men – Robert Penn Warren
47. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
48. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
49. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
50. Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
51. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
52. Scarlett – Alexandra Ripley
53. White Noise – Don De Litto
54. Their Eyes were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
55. Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
56. The Help – Kathryn Stockett
57. Ragtime – E.L. Doctorow
58. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
59. The Trial – Franz Kafka
60. Fast Food Nation – Eric Schlasser
61. The Man Who Made Us – Richard Gwyn
62. Memoirs – Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil – Romeo d’Allaire
64. Team of Rivals – Doris Kearns Goodwin
65. Nation Maker – Richard Gwyn
66. The United Church of Canada: A History – Don Schweitzer (ed.)
67. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
68. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
69. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe – Douglas Adams
70. Life, the Universe and Everything – Douglas Adams
71. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish – Douglas Adams
72. Mostly Harmless – Douglas Adams
73. Committed – Elizabeth Gilbert
74. The Manticore – Robertson Davies
75. World of Wonders – Robertson Davies
76. The Donnellys – James Reaney
77. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
78. Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
79. Farenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
80. Not Wanted on the Voyage – Timothy Findlay
81. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
82. Coraline – Neil Gaiman
83. The Crucible – Arthur Miller
84. Mirror Mirror – Gregory Maguire
85. Eats, Shoots & Leaves – Lynne Truss
86. Sorbonne Confidential – Laurel Zuckerman
87. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
88. The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! – Douglas Coupland
90. The Girl who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson
91. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
92. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
93. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
94. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
95. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
96. The Bonfire of the Vanities – Tom Wolfe
97. Guys and Dolls – Damon Runyon
98. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Stieg Larsson
99. He’s Just Not that Into You – Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik
100. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer
101. Take this Bread – Sara Miles

Again, some mini-reviews for each of the three books I’ve read:

TAKE THIS BREAD is a great memoir of a longtime lesbian atheist who converts to Christianity … but not the stereotypical version of Christianity we all associate with the fundamentalist/evangelical/’Moral Majority’ bit. A very practical, hands-on, tactile, physical expression of God’s love – and tying the concept of Communion, or the Eucharist, the findamental sacrament in the Christian community, to Jesus’ requirement that we love our neighbours, Sara Miles expresses her Christianity by radically reimagining Christ’s table as something open to all, helping to set up several soup kitchens as a spiritual practice. An absolutely phenomenal example of us being Christ’s hands and feet in this world.

TOWELHEAD is extremely hard to review, as it seems incredibly wrong to say I ‘enjoyed’ such a deeply disturbing book, but it was extremely well-written, evocative and provocative, casting light and shadow and shades of grey into a world and a situation at once both startlingly simple and deceptively complex. Perhaps one of the best reviews that most echoes my feelings on the book can be found here – – I suggest you read it for a better sense of the feel of the book than my humble talents can provide.

EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES might leave you wanting to stand up and cheer because you agree with Lynn Truss’s basic point, or it might leave you more convinced than ever that grammar sticklers need to get a life. I probably lean to the stickler end without being a complete one myself – while I try to avoid errors in grammar generally, or punctuation in particular, I know it happens, it can be tricky, some rules are less hard-and-fast and more stylistic, and a few errors in grammar, especially in this age of netspeak, doesn’t make you a total idiot. But I still enjoyed this book and found my inherent belief that grammar and punctuation are important tools to our understanding of the written word happily affirmed by the author. This book may or may not convince you of the importance of punctuation, but it will perhaps convince you of an even more impossible fact: that a funny, enjoyable, easy-to-read, lighthearted book about grammar, of all things, can indeed be written! 🙂


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