Mars, the Middle East and Such

Mars, the Middle East and Such

In the Company of Others

It’s time again for another book post. Here’s some of what I read over the month of April. I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading (maybe it will show up in my reading list next month!) Unintentionally, I did a bit of exploration of otherness this month ranging from Mars to the Middle East (no, I am not really comparing the two, but Naomi Shihab Nye does). I hope you enjoy reading these (very short) thoughts, and will pick up one or two over the course of your life.

 In the Company of Others by Jan Karon. This is the second in Jan’s Father Tim series. I liked Mitford, but this series is by far my favorite of the two. (Read the first one first Home to Holly Springs) This one is set in Ireland and is complete with soul-searching and a mystery. I loved every moment of it and could almost picture myself back there again.

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. This is a collection of Ray’s short stories about earth’s colonization of Mars. Parts of it were terrifying, (both for their incisive comment on humanity and their dark subject matter) but I found the book riveting, and in the end, thought-provoking and wise.

Fine Waters by Michael Mascha. This is a book all about different waters of the world and what to pair with different food. I am including this book mostly because I’ve told people about it and they don’t believe it exists. I found it very interesting. It made me very thirsty, however.

Packing For Mars by Mary Roach. This is a conversationally written science book about the sorts of trainings and humiliations that go on for astronauts and would-be astronauts. Mary is famous for her scientific studies of: cadavers, ghosts and sex. This book is the 2011 “Spokane Is Reading” book and the author will be in Spokane this fall giving a talk about the book. If you’re in the area, you can just a jump on reading it and come enjoy the talk later this year.

 19 Varieties of Gazelle by Naomi Shihab Nye. I have found a new favorite poet (sorry Billy Collins, I still love you). Naomi is from Texas, but her father is from Jerusalem. The beauty of her language and her attention to detail move me almost to tears. I cannot recommend her enough. (Thanks to Kristina for this stellar recommendation!)

The Sabbath World by Judith Shulevitz. I’ve been studying the Sabbath lately and what it might mean for me as a non-Jewish Christian. This book is part history of the Sabbath in Jewish culture and in America and Europe. Part memoir of the experiences of the (half-practicing Jewish) author and part musing on what the Sabbath means, what it does and what it might look like if it came back. I found myself writing down lots of quotes from it, and though I didn’t agree with all of it, I found much to think about and learn from.

I’ll Ask You Three Times, Are You Okay? by Naomi Shihab Nye. Short essays instead of poetry this time, this was a lovely book full of noticed things. When I read Naomi, I want to notice things too. This book is particularly about driving and being driven and is funny, sad and wonderful. I enjoyed the little things, and the big things about it.

 Busmans’ Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers. This is the last Lord Peter mystery novel. I am happy, because I know what happened, but very sad to see it over. I have loved these characters and found this book vivacious and filled with wonderful funny, witty and touching things. A treasure, as is the whole series (beginning with Whose Body?)

The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks: A Celebration of Creative Punctuation by Bethany Keeley. This is a book of funny pictures of places where quotation marks were misused, sometimes hilariously. There is also a blog. I apologize in advance to those of you who are unable to get work done because of this.

Until next month, happy reading! Oh, and don’t forget that I have an ongoing Books to Read page on the sidebar to the left. Feel free to enter into the conversation! I’m always looking for ideas!