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Monday, August 01, 2011

July Books

I read, or rather, listened to a lot of books in June and July. I signed up for the Houston public library reading club. They were doing drawings for the Nook Color every week. Unhappily, the drawings end tomorrow and I don't think I've won one. Oh well, I read a lot of good books nonetheless!

The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson- Audio Book

This was for a book club. Stieg Larsson is a Swedish writer who tackles themes of right-wing extremism and violence against women in his writing. He wrote a series of crime novels called the Millennium Trilogy, the first of which is The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo. From what I gather, this is a very popular series with a Swedish movie already made and an American movie in the works. I found this to be just okay. I can appreciate that he takes up the banner against violence towards women. But I didn't like a lot of the violence in the book (I wouldn't call it gratuitous but, unlike the Hunger Games which I review below, it is graphic), I didn't really care for any of the characters and I found the crime mystery to be only so-so. So, I don't plan to read any others in the series.

Catching Fire and Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins- Audio Books

These were also for a book club. These were parts two and three in the Hunger Games trilogy. I would totally recommend this series for those that are up for the violent premise. Unlike the book I mentioned above, I didn't find the violence terribly graphic. For some reason it didn't get to me nearly as much as The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo. Though it was brutal at times, I found it to be a worthwhile and insightful examination of violence and human nature. The first book, The Hunger Games, draws you in with its exciting story. The final two go progressively deeper into the the characters, their relationships and their society while still being gripping tales.

The Laws of Kindness by Mary Beeke

This was a book examining kindness from a Christian perspective. Overall, I wasn't impressed. I didn't find it especially well-written or organized. I don't mean to pan the book. There were some great things in it, but I think there are better books out there.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynn Truss

Loved this! It is a witty, even laugh-out-loud hilarious, book about punctuation and why it's important. Of course I would recommend this.

The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell- Audio Book

This was not what I thought it was when I requested it from the library. I thought it was about Roger Williams who was a devout Puritan Separatist and also an ardent defender of religious liberty and the separation of church and state. He founded Providence Plantation, which is modern-day Rhode Island. Roger Williams was in the book, but it wasn't so much about him. It was a rather scathing portrait of puritans and the author's premise that some of their ideals formed the foundation of "American Exceptionalism," an attitude that has led to the oppression of Native Americans and a host of other peoples and nations throughout our history. As a historical examination, I thought it was worthwhile. Especially since most of us are taught the public-school fairy tale about Pilgrims and Indians and Thanksgiving. As an examination of the Puritans' religion, I wouldn't recommend it. The author, a self-described atheist has an undeniable bias. Of course, as a Christian, I have my own bias. I don't think we can ever totally discard our biases. But I think she has some misunderstandings about Christianity and uses some examples of christian behavior and thought that really aren't Christian at all.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

I've read some of Sarah Vowell's other books. She's witty and entertaining but she expresses many of her relgious and political views that I'm not a fan of. I think I may have broken several punctuation and grammer rules in that previous sentence so I clearly need to partake of some Lynn Truss.

My hubby loved the Millennium Trilogy. I saw the Swedish version of The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo movie. I'm in 100% agreement with your review. The sexual violence was too much for me and the characters didn't do much to redeem the story for me.