Thursday, October 3, 2013

It's October ~ What are you reading?

We've finished Turning to One Another by Meg Wheatley, so what are you reading (or contemplating reading) now?

BONNIE

Here are the books on my plate.  The first one is by a woman living in a small town about 30 miles from me.  Mary Zorro read it, and we agreed to talk about it.  Shirley has also read it, and Alison would love to read it (see comments below).

Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions ~ by Rachel Held Evans, 2010, memoir
"Monkey Town" is Dayton, Tennessee, where Rachel lives.  From the back cover:  "Eighty years after the Scopes Monkey Trial made a spectacle of Christian fundamentalism and brought national attention to her hometown, Rachel Held Evans faced a trial of her own when she began to have doubts about her faith."
The Dalai Lama's Cat ~ by David Michie, 2012, fiction
I gave this one to my roommate for her birthday.  From the back cover:  "Starving and pitiful, a mud-smeared kitten is rescued from the slums of New Delhi and transported to a life she could never have imagined.  In a beautiful sanctuary overlooking the snow-capped Himalayas, she begins her new life as the Dalai Lama's cat."
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth ~ by Reza Aslan, 2013, biography
My Sunday school class has decided to study this book, starting soon.  Donna is also reading it.  From the dust jacket:  "Aslan explores the reasons why the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity."
SHIRLEY

The Spymistress ~ by Jennifer Chiaverini, 2013, historical fiction
This historical novel is set during the Civil War era, inspired by the life of “a true Union woman as true as steel” who risked everything by caring for Union prisoners of war — and stealing Confederate secrets.  Born to slave-holding aristocracy in Richmond, Virginia, and educated by Northern Quakers, Elizabeth Van Lew was a paradox of her time.  When her native state seceded in April 1861, Van Lew’s convictions compelled her to defy the new Confederate regime.  Pledging her loyalty to the Lincoln White House, her courage would never waver, even as her wartime actions threatened not only her reputation, but also her life.
FDR's Funeral Train: A Betrayed Widow, a Soviet Spy, and a Presidency in the Balance ~ by Robert Klara, 2010, history
The true story of the wartime train that took one dead president, one live one, and 140 of the most influential men of Washington on an adventure that has been shrouded in mystery — until now.  The April 1945 journey of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s funeral train became a thousand-mile odyssey fraught with heartbreak and scandal, with shady deals and the shadier men behind them.  As it slipped through the night, chuffing its way from Warm Springs, Georgia, to Hyde Park, New York, few of the grieving onlookers at the trackside gave thought to what might be happening behind the Pullman shades, where women whispered and men tossed back highballs.
ALLISON

Code Name Verity ~ by Elizabeth Wein, 2012, YA fiction
Oct. 11th, 1943 — A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France.  Its pilot and passenger are best friends.  One of the girls has a chance at survival.  The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.  When "Verity" is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn't stand a chance.  As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she's living a spy's worst nightmare.  Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.  This Michael L. Printz Award Honor book shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.
DONNA

The Enoch Factor: The Sacred Art of Knowing God ~ by Steve McSwain, 2010, spirituality
The book "has been described as a candid memoir on how misdirected religion can become.  It calls for an end to religious dogmatism and fundamentalism and the consequential crisis of faith that is driving millions to question lifelong beliefs, change religions, or abandon faith altogether."  It is a persuasive argument for a more enlightened religious dialogue in America.  The book bridges the gap between secular and Christian book titles on spirituality, setting a new standard in both.
Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir ~ by Linda Ronstadt, 2013, memoir
Tracing the timeline of her remarkable life, Linda Ronstadt, whose forty-five year career has encompassed a wide array of musical styles, weaves together a captivating story of her origins in Tucson, Arizona, and her rise to stardom in the Southern California music scene of the 1960s and ’70s.  she helped define the musical style that dominated American music in the 1970s.
MARY ZORRO

The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse ~ by Louise Erdrich, 2001, fiction (North Dakota)
This is the story of Father Damien Modeste, priest to his beloved people, the Ojibwe.  Modeste, nearing the end of his life, dreads the discovery of his physical identity — for he is a woman who has lived as a man.  For more than a half century, Father Damien Modeste has served his beloved people, the Ojibwe, on the remote reservation of Little No Horse.  To complicate his fears, his quiet life changes when a troubled colleague comes to the reservation to investigate the life of the perplexing, difficult, possibly false saint Sister Leopolda.  Father Damien alone knows the strange truth of Sister Leopolda's piety and is faced with the most difficult decision of his life:  Should he reveal all he knows and risk everything?  Or should he manufacture a protective history though he believes Leopolda's wonder-working is motivated by evil?
Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death ~ by Katy Butler, 2013, memoir
Katy Butler's parents wanted “Good Deaths,” but forces within medicine stood in the way.  Butler was living thousands of miles from her vigorous and self-reliant parents when the call came:  a crippling stroke had left her proud seventy-nine-year-old father unable to fasten a belt or complete a sentence.  Tragedy at first drew the family closer:  her mother devoted herself to caregiving, and Butler joined the twenty-four million Americans helping shepherd parents through their final declines.   Then doctors outfitted her father with a pacemaker, keeping his heart going but doing nothing to prevent his six-year slide into dementia, near-blindness, and misery.  When he told his exhausted wife, “I’m living too long,” mother and daughter were forced to confront a series of wrenching moral questions.
  • When does death stop being a curse and become a blessing?
  • Where is the line between saving a life and prolonging a dying?
  • When do you say to a doctor, “Let my loved one go?”
When doctors refused to disable the pacemaker, condemning her father to a prolonged and agonizing death, Butler set out to understand why.  Her quest had barely begun when her mother took another path.  Faced with her own grave illness, she rebelled against her doctors, refused open-heart surgery, and met death head-on.   With a reporter’s skill and a daughter’s love, Butler explores what happens when our terror of death collides with the technological imperatives of medicine.  Her provocative thesis is that modern medicine, in its pursuit of maximum longevity, often creates more suffering than it prevents.   This revolutionary blend of memoir and investigative reporting lays bare the tangled web of technology, medicine, and commerce that dying has become.  And it chronicles the rise of Slow Medicine, a new movement trying to reclaim the “Good Deaths” our ancestors prized.  This book is a map through the labyrinth of a broken medical system.  It will inspire the difficult conversations we need to have with loved ones as it illuminates the path to a better way of death.
YOU
Tell us in the comments what's on your reading plate right now.

25 comments:

Bonnie Jacobs said...

We seem to have finished our discussion of Turning to One Another by Meg Wheatley, so come see what I'm reading and tell us what you are planning to read this month. Maybe the rest of us would enjoy it, too.

Shirley said...

I read, enjoyed, and would enjoy discussing Evolving in Monkey Town.

Although I'd be willing to read and discuss either of the other two (discussing any book with Book Buddies makes it a more memorable read), I have been notified that the library has two books ready for me to pick up (The Spymistress and FDR's Funeral Train) so I'll be reading those first.

alisonwonderland said...

I loved Evans' A Year of Biblical Womanhood and would love to read Evolving in Money Town. Right now I'm reading the YA Code Name Verity for an upcoming book club meeting.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Alison, I also have checked out from the library A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. I love the subtitle: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master" and started to add it to the list. I'll add your book to the blog post.

AuntyDon said...

I am currently reading two books, THE ENOCH FACTOR and ZEALOT. I feel like I am living somewhat a parallel life with Steve McSwain (Enoch author) and Aslan (Zealot) gives a very interesting "take" on Jesus. I will be picking up Linda Ronstadt's memoir at the library in the next day or two. I am interested in reading MONKEY TOWN also.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

MaryZorro said...

Hi Bonnie,

I wrote a nice long post and it got lost in cyberspace. So I am going to try to send another one to you for you to post for me at Book Buddies Blog.

I am reading the Monthly Group Reads -> November, 2013 The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich at eat goodreads.

I have read Evolving In Monkey Town and have occasionally followed Rachel Held Evans blog. I would be glad to discuss it with you all.

I am a biologist. I see EVOLUTION as the basis of all biological systems, and I am not very tolerant of confusing science and religion. I hope I don't offend any of you as we discuss.

MaryZorro

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Mary, when I clicked on the links to goodreads, I discovered YOU are the discussion leader of

The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse
by Louise Erdrich

Start date
November 1, 2013

Finish date
December 1, 2013

Discussion
Monthly Group Reads

Discussion leader
Zorro

Do you recommend that book as a choice for us to read here?

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Mary Zorro said...

Please post.

Re: Evolving In Monkey Town

I'll start the discussion by saying I don't think RHE is referring to biological evolution in her title or in her explanation of changes that she experiences.

MZ

Bonnie Jacobs said...

MaryZorro, though several have expressed interest in Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans, we haven't actually chosen it for the Book Buddies to read. I had it checked out of my library, but I never got it read because life got busy and nothing seemed to come of it here. Since you had not chimed in on books you were reading, I wasn't sure you were still interested in discussing that book. It would take weeks to get it again from my library, which means I'd have to buy a copy. So let's just see if others have it or want to buy/borrow it at this time.

For the record, I agree with you that RHE (Rachel Held Evans) is not talking about biological evolution. Even without having read the book, I'm pretty sure she is referring to the evolution of her spiritual life.

Are you having trouble posting your comments to Book Buddies? If you explain to me what's going wrong, maybe I can fix it.

Mary said...

I can't remember my password.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

MaryZorro, since your "Mary" ID works, just use it for your comments.

Mary Zorro said... (in an email to me) about
The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse
...

I have read half of the book and no, I would not recommend it so far. Maybe it will get better as I continue to read.

mary

alisonwonderland said...

Evolving in Monkey Town was available for $2.99 for the Kindle a week or so ago, so I bought it. I've started to read a little ...

AuntyDon said...

Mary and Bonnie,
I am sure RHE is talking about her personal spiritual journey since she lives in "Monkey Town" of Scopes Trial fame.

Zorro said...

,,

Zorro said...

Somehow the Zorro sign-in worked for me today.

I need to go back and finish my part of the discussion of turning to One Another today. Then I look forward to our next book discussion here!

I thought that RHE would use the word evolution to mean the changes that she was experiencing in her spiritual life AND would also express her changing view of Evolution of Species.

Zorro said...

If we do choose to read Evolving in Monkey, I recommend that we also read the play "Inherit the Wind" and watch the Spencer Tracy movie. Although this gives a fictional account of the Scopes Trial, it is a metaphor for what we face in our schools and communities today with religion/science conflicts. This is the year in Texas that we review the new science textbook adoptions and the battle is raging again as it does every time they come up. Creationism vs. Evolution is as strong a conflict as ever.

Zorro said...

The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse
by Louise Erdrich

Start date
November 1, 2013

Do you recommend that book as a choice for us to read here?


Although I am not liking this book very much, others seem to love it. I would be glad to lead it here at Book Buddies, if you all choose it as our next book.

Zorro said...

Or you all are welcome to come to goodreads Book Nook and join us there in our discussion of The Last Report of Miracles at Little No Horse.

Zorro said...

http://sojo.net/blogs/2013/10/29/what-happens-when-we-accept-our-own-mortality

Here is another suggestion.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

(1) I've just added MaryZorro's latest book suggestion to the list of books (now ten) that we Book Buddies have been reading this month. I included the rather long description of Knocking on Heaven's Door, which sounds interesting to me. Even though my library does NOT have a copy, I'll buy the book if there's enough interest here for a discussion of it.

(2) I am also just now starting to get into Zealot, which my Sunday school class will be discussing in November.

(3) Let's take a vote. I added a poll at the top of the sidebar. If you want me to add another book to that list, leave a comment here. Also note ... you can vote for as many books as interest you. If we get lots of votes for two or more books, we can always read the other(s) later.

(4) I included MaryZorro's suggestion of The Last Report on The Miracles At Little No Horse, even though she wasn't enjoying it and I couldn't get into it when I tried a few years ago.

(5) Also, we can continue this October conversation here until we decide on a book.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Here's MaryZorro's link (two comments up) made live, so you can simply click on it:

http://sojo.net/blogs/2013/10/29/what-happens-when-we-accept-our-own-mortality

AuntyDon said...

I just now finished "Zealot" and highly recommend it, although "The Enoch Factor" is still a favorite.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

We're more than a third of the way through November, with no book in sight. Voting, through the poll on the sidebar, apparently doesn't work very well when we are down to five buddies (Shirley, Alison, MaryZorro, Donna, and Bonnie). Three books had two votes each, one book had one vote, and the other book had no votes. With the final votes at 1-2-2-2-0, there's no clear interest. I'll start another (November) discussion of books we're reading, hoping something that interests all five of us will pop up.

alisonwonderland said...

I finished Evolving in Monkey Town last week and really loved it - almost as much as I loved A Year of Biblical Womanhood (which I read earlier this year). I've become a great fan of Rachel Held Evans! If any buddy reads either book, I'd love to hear what she thinks!

Shirley said...

I found Evolving in Monkey Town to be a thought provoking book about the faith journey of the author. Although I could not state as well the similar issues I've faced, I enjoyed the book even though it gave no answers to the question of why God allows so much evil to prevail. However, I appreciated her realization that one does need to be open to change to allow us to evolve to become better Christians.

It is frustrating that a new book has not been found. I propose that if we go the route of voting on another book that if a similar tie results that Bonnie cast the deciding vote.