Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Teaser Tuesday for July 26, 2016

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Devotion en masse

The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth Church

Meridian is very smart, and she wants to become an ornithologist, something very unusual for a girl growing up in post-WWI in America. With the support of her mother, and knowing she has the blessing of her late father she begins that journey. However, when she meets the brilliant lecturer Alden Whetstone and realizes she found her intellectual equal. After finishing her bachelor's degree, he convinces her to put off her graduate studies to follow him to his new top-secret job in Los Alamos, working to end the Second World War, through physics. With her life on hold, Meridian looks for meaning in her new surroundings.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Travels for the Mind or for the Body?

On Trying to Keep Still by Jenny Diski

I was saddened to hear that Jenny Diski was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and even more saddened when she passed away. Interestingly enough, the first thought that went through my head was "why haven't I read more of her works?" I knew that I loved her writing, and frankly, I felt ashamed that I'd only read two of her books. While Diski wrote many works of fiction, I've only read her non-fiction "travel" books. (I put the word 'travel' in quotation marks because these are more memoirs through the places she visits, than books about the travel itself.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

21st Century Fairy Tales?

Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams

Some book reviews are harder to write than others are, and this is going to be one of those. As I noted in another review I wrote for the website Book Browse (review coming soon), I'm not a fan of religious fiction, including Jewish religious fiction books. Furthermore, I've never believed in an anthropomorphic god or even a force somewhere out there in the universe with extraordinary powers. If there is something godly in this world, I believe it is the power within us to be good people. That internal goodness is what motivates us to help others and make the world a better place. Yes, I do believe that most of the prophets and characters in the Bible might have existed in real life; but I can't be sure of that. Even so, I do believe that the stories in the Bible (or at least those in the Old Testament) hold lessons that can teach us how to live our lives (including some that seem negative or invalid for today's world).

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Progress per traditionem.

Different Class by Joanne Harris

Much to the chagrin and worry of the aging Latin Master, Mr. Straightly, John Harrington is back at St. Oswald's, but this time he's not a student; he's the new Head. Harrington has some ideas of how he wants to bring St. Oswald's into the 21st century, but modernizing this old institution isn't going to be easy. Computers, renovations, marketing, re-branding and even uniting St. Oswald's sister school to finally introduce mixed classes are great ideas, but even they can't lay the past to rest. 
In Harris' latest novel we find out how sinister forces from the past could jeopardize this old school's future.