Thursday, December 04, 2014

Reading matters - October and November books

At the end of October, I completely forgot to do a post about October books read. By the time I remembered, I realized I should just combine those with November's books. Here it is December 3rd, and I've yet to post on either. I'll get them listed on the 2014 page later this week.

And how am I doing on the 2014 "read a book per week" schedule? As of this post, I'm through 51 books this year, with one left to read to complete the goal. I'm off of work from December 20th through after the first of the new year. I can pretty much guarantee I'll read one book during that time, if I don't finish at least one between now and then. I'll do a wrap up post on the 31st.


Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury - This is an annual October reread. Bradbury's language and images are stellar, and the plot unusual enough it holds your interest until the very last page. I first read it in high school, as an offshoot of a class on science fiction and fantasy.

11/22/63 - Stephen King - This clocks in at eight hundred some pages in print form, and is one of the reasons I only read two three books in October. Let in on a secret - a portal back in time - by a friend, the protagonist goes back to 1958 and makes a life for himself, waiting for the opportunity to stop the assassination of Kennedy on 11/22/63. There are certain rules to the time travel, however, that make life a bit more difficult than you might think. The majority of the book is lived in the middle, so to speak, the time between arriving in 1958 and the day of the assassination. As always, King's writing is superb. His politics bleed through only a little, and the ending isn't quite what I expected. Over all, it was worth the time invested.

Into the Storm - Larry Correia - This is a more traditional fantasy novel by Correia. War has come to the kingdom, and a disgraced knight is called back into battle. The world Correia has created blends both magic and technology - it was a fun read, though I almost forgot I'd read it (I blame the effort it took to get through 11/22/63).


Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel - This was on a list of recommended books somewhere. The premise revolves around a post-apocalyptic world in the near future and a traveling band of Shakespearean actors. It sounded like a win-win. Action moves from the beginning of the end (a very rapid acting, seriously infectious, ebola-type virus) to a time roughly twenty years later. The new reality is portrayed well, the characters are fairly well written and the action is well paced. It ended, however, sooner than I would have liked - leaving me wondering if there are sequels planned.

The Elmo Jenkins Triology - Ordained Irreverence, Some Things Never Change and The Old Man and the Tea - McMillian Moody - I'm counting this as three books, though at just over 500 pages for all three, it's more like one chunky one. The series follows fresh-from-the-seminary Elmo Jenkins as he first interns, then takes a permanent staff position, at an evangelical mega church. If you have spent any time at all in one of those churches, especially in a ministry position, you'll find the characters and situations both familiar and funny. The books rambled a bit, but were enjoyable reads. They could, however, do with a really good editing (I think they were self-published). There apparently is a fourth book in the series; I most likely will not read it unless I happen upon it in the library.

Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God's Everything - Anonymous - This book is a blast of refreshing air through the garbage floating through the evangelical community about everyone being a superstar. The author (who does indeed remain unnamed) walks through Scripture, building a case that obscurity - living an ordinary, but faithful life - should be the normative Christian experience, rather than the constant striving for wealth, popularity, power and other measures of "success" the church has co-opted from the world. He bases his thesis on a right understanding of our position and relationship to God, one we often lose sight of. Great book.


melissa said...

Impressive list. I've thought about reading 'Station Eleven' and will look out for it. Haven't ever been able to read a Stephen King. I think seeing 'The Shining' when I was eighteen scared me. ;)

Diane said...

I used to read a lot of King, but when I got to "It" - clowns plus giant spiderlike things - I stopped. This one, however, isn't so much frightening as creepy. No overt horror, but a sort of menacing hovering of "time" in the background.