I seem to remember saying that I’d be doing more reading once the semester was over. But between travel and, um…sleeping?…yeah, it was probably sleeping, I actually only read 4 books in May (and I’ve already equalled that in June). So hey! Short post!
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Silence, Shusaku Endo
My book journal remark on this book was “It’s good…but…” It’s good, but, I expected to be blown away based on reviews I had read recently. (And reviews of the recent movie, which, after reading the book, I can tell you I would not be able to stomach. Sensitive souls beware!)
Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
I loved this book. It’s my second favorite of the year so far, and only because it would be next to impossible to dethrone my first favorite. There are so many bits that stick. For one: “I have wandered to the limits of my understanding any number of times…and I’ve scared myself, too, a good many times, leaving all landmarks behind me, or so it seemed. And it has been among the true pleasures of my life. Night and light, silence and difficulty, it seemed to me always righteous and good.”
Woodard’s hypothesis in this book is that there were several established cultures vying for control of the North American continent long before the Revolutionary War began. I’ve lived in 3 of the 11 regions he delineates, and his exposition of history from this viewpoint explains many of the similarities and differences I’ve noticed in those cultures. One big disclaimer: this is largely about who holds political and social power in a given region; so if you think “but what about [x cultural group]?” this probably explains why they’re missing. The author justifies this in the introduction, but could’ve done a better job reiterating throughout the book. Oh, and read the intro if you’re on the fence about this book; it’s largely a summary of the following chapters.
Four Ways to Forgiveness, Ursula K. LeGuin
Since this sounds a lot like a self-help title, I should probably point out that it’s fiction – four novellas, to be exact. These stories are all set within the same world as most of LeGuin’s adult novels, but they also stand on their own if you’re not familiar with those. And we could all use more stories about forgiveness, right?
What’s the best book you read last month?