What's in a Name?

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is a novel about a culture, a family, a boy growing up and growing into his name, and his lovers. It's a book with an omniscient, third person narrator that switches perspectives. It was said in the book that the purpose of reading is to travel without moving an inch. This novel embodies that sentiment rather well. I will try to be as vague as possible for those who want to read this book, but you may want to return and read this later if you ever plan to read this one.

The story follows a couple's life in the United States after their arranged marriage in India. As can be expected, they are awkward in getting to know one another, getting to know a new culture, and facing parenting together while they try to retain their cultural identity for their children. The book's title comes from this couple's struggle to name their firstborn, a son. The family custom dictated that the maternal grandmother would name the child, but circumstances prev…

Stranger In This Land

Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas and William Henry Willimon is subtitled "Life in the Christian Colony." The book discusses the nature of the church and its relationship to the surrounding culture (Wikipedia). This book was originally published in 1989, but still felt relevant to today's concerns with how the modern church should operate.
While reading this book, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to decipher the perspective of the authors. In some cases, some pretty conservative stances were outlined. At other times, the perspective seemed liberal. My quest to determine which team the authors were on serves to makes what I believe to be one of the main points of the book -- that the world, and specifically politics are taming the church. Why should political terms even define the church? The authors address the issue of their receiving constant questions about their political affiliations in the last chapter. I can see why these questions are asked -- we ar…

Creepy Crawlies

Never Home Alone by Rob Dunn is  a work of popular science non-fiction that is not for the faint of heart. In this book, we learn about all of the critters that live alone side us in our very homes. We also learn whether there is a purpose for their existence and what the consequences may be for us if they did not exist.
I joke with people that I thought bacteria were mythological creatures until I married a microbiologist who was able to set me straight. Of course, I knew they existed, but I liked to live as if they did not.  A nonchalant stance toward microbes combined with my husbands practical approach, results in me  having a pretty tough stomach as far as learning and knowing about the microbial life in our midst. I have head knowledge that the vast majority of microbial life benefits the human race and so I am able to accept this. But, by all means, do not read this book if you are freaked out by terms like biofilm, bacteria, gut microbiome, fecal transplant, fungus, toxoplasmo…

Mind Bender

If you ever discover that what you're seeing is a play within a play, just slow down, take a deep breath, and hold on for the ride of your life.-Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts
You are currently reading a blog post about reading books, and the particular book being discussed today is a fiction book about itself. This post is about Atonement by Ian McEwan.

As someone who is a fiction novice, this one was almost too complicated for me. I read a brief synopsis online before diving in, and it was described as metafiction, which means that the book occasionally gives references to itself. I was more than half way through before I remembered this description and had to think about what that meant for this book.
The first 75% or so of the book is in third person and there is no distinct narrator. It is not discernible right away as one of the main characters because this person seems to be able to give equal perspective to everyone else. Only when manuscripts were discussed regarding the…

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

According to the subtitle, this is a story of justice and redemption, but it is also a story of obstacles and brokenness. In this book, we get a gloomy picture of our justice system and the many ways in which has room for improvement.

For an example, visit the Innocence List -- a web page listing all people freed from death row. These are not people whose sentences were reduced to life in prison. In order to get on this list, a person has to have been convinced, sentenced to death, and subsequently been acquitted of the crime that placed him or her on death row (or had all charges dismissed by the prosecution or been granted a complete pardon based on evidence of innocence). It's a little scary.

This book contains 16 chapters that detail the work of the author in justice reforms of various kinds while focusing on one case in particular in a back and forth fashion (every other chapter). The story that grips the reader is that of Walter McMillian. You can probably figure out by now…

the beginning

I made a Facebook post today listing the books I read in 2018 -- 40 total. I didn't set a goal at the beginning of 2018 to read a lot of books -- it just happened. But, I intend to have a goal for 2019 to make more notes on my books because, surprisingly, people on Facebook had questions for me about the books -- how to choose, procurement methods, reading strategies, etc.

Welcome to place you will find information on the books I'm reading -- my thoughts, major impressions, take-aways, maybe even why I decided to quit reading a certain book (I need to work on that). Don't expect full-blown book reviews -- I'm not that kind of reader. I am sure I miss major themes and theses, and I even forget characters' names at times.

Things to note:
-I often read books with a friend, and those will be labeled "book club"
-I am only an amateur fiction reader and have enjoyed non-fiction more throughout my life
-I am open for recommendations, and I keep a list, but I ma…