Friday, May 16, 2008

Reading Challenge 2008

Two more books down, and another almost finished.

This week I finished What the Thunder Said, a novel made up of short stories.  Each story is told by a different character in the story--the two main characters being two sisters who grow up in the dust bowl of Oklahoma during the Depression.  While they are the center of the story, the characters who tell the story are often peripherals.  This was really well written and I loved how each short story could stand on its own but was also part of the larger picture.  I also enjoyed the way the author managed to make clear that choices and actions have effects far beyond what we see or experience ourselves, and that things are so interconnected--what we think has an impact only on us in fact ripples out, sometimes for generations and sometimes across state lines.

Just a few minutes ago I finished Jesus for President.  In spite of the crazy layout, font, color, and other trendy things that make up this book (every page is a different color!), I did like it.  I think Shane Claiborne is pretty amazing and he makes me want to figure out how to do some things I've dreamed about--you know, live in intentional Christian community (I've been wanting to do that ever since I lived in Scotland...then again since I read Blue Like Jazz...then again since Egypt...and now again after reading Shane's two books), get trained in nonviolent response, etc.  I think that, as I rework the confirmation curriculum, I may ask the youth to choose a book about Christian discipleship (from a list I provide), read it, and then report on it to the class.  This book would be on the list.  
I was warned, but I did think the book ended abruptly.  I turned the page expecting there to be more, and found the appendices.
Also, I'm not sure about the stewardship issues here--each page is printed with lots of color--it's not that the paper is different colors (some pages are red on one side and brown on the other, etc).  What kind of cost (both $$ and environmental) does this excessive use of ink incur?  Also, some pages are not accessible--black print on red pages is hard to read unless you're in really bright light (I had to turn on more lights at my house in order to keep reading, even in the daytime), and some have VERY small print.  There are people I would love to recommend this book to, but they won't be able to read everything because they would need stronger glasses and directional lighting.
Overall, though, content-wise (though some was lifted straight out of Irresistible Revolution), it was good.  I got it from the library but will probably end up buying it.

And now back to your regularly scheduled pajama day....

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