Gordon, Neil and I went to the library yesterday, as is our Thursday tradition. I do love the IFPL-- I have such fond memories of spending time there "researching" in junior high and high school, and now love going there each week for pre-school story time. If you live in Idaho Falls, have a child between 3-5, no other plans on Thursday mornings, and are NOT taking advantage of this fabulous half hour, well, you must come. This week's topic was Autumn and we read books, sang songs, did finger plays, and, of course, made a fun leafy craft.
While at the library, I was reminded that I've been wanting to recommend a couple of good reads to you. I wish I had a book club here-- I may just start one. Both of these books were great in that I wanted so badly to discuss them with someone right away.
The Year of Living Bibically by A.J. Jacobs, was actually given to Chris by a former co-worker at the HJ in Logan, but I'm the one who read it. The book is about what it sounds like: A.J. Jacobs commits to living the laws of the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He is a self-proclaimed agnostic at the beginning of the book, and reading his memoir is both hilarious and touching. I adore his writing style and found myself both laughing out loud and thinking those deep, self-introspective thoughts long after I was finished reading.
I was absolutely impressed with Mr. Jacobs' dedication to research-- the man read several different translations of the Bible, spoke to leaders of different sects, even participated in some eyebrow-raising rituals in his efforts to understand the literal meaning of Biblical law. (Sidenote: this sounds like my Father-in-Law, Gary, who could rival A.J. Jacobs in his own Bible studies!) My one criticism is that he never fully engrossed himself in the New Testament side of things, but I thought that was understandable given that his background is Jewish. I felt very satisfied with his conclusions, particularly his respect and humility for his own forefathers and their faith.
I had to wonder: do we, as religious people, give as much time and true dedication to living our own religions as this man did to his year? Sure, he did have a book deadline and most certainly a hefty advance riding on his account, but don't we have something even more important... I don't know, say eternal salvation? Anyway, if you were sitting here with me, we could discuss.
P.S. A.J. Jacobs mentions, in his section on vanity, his propensity to Google himself, so if he happens upon this post in one of his ego-building sessions and wants to leave a shout-out to a Mormon chick in Idaho, that would be sweet!
My second book, Shakespeare's Kitchen, by Lore Segal, was one I picked up randomly on one of our recent library trips (okay, so I was drawn by the "Pulitzer Nominated" sticker on the front cover) and another I definitely recommend.
This book is actually a collection of 13 short stories, all related to each other. It reminds me a little bit of Interpreter of Maladies in the short story aspect, and in the way that it was moving in a very subtle way.
Here is something I loved about this book: there are no "good" or "bad" characters, or even events. I would even go so far as to say that there is no real protagonist or antagonist either, just a mix of characters who are very real in their actions and motivations. I know this sounds so vague... what I really want is for you to read this book, then call me up so we can talk about morality and justification and loss and friendship.
I did get another book yesterday, but so far, I'm not enjoying it. I was looking for a lighter read, but I think I may have gone too far and gotten something just plain dumb. I know, I'm a snob. I can't help it! But hey, at least I'm not posting the title and a snotty review! I'll keep my eye out for some other good reads and let you know when I find them.
In the mean time, anyone want to start a book club?