Friday, January 15, 2016
What I've Been Reading Lately (Quick Lit)
Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit to bring you some short and sweet reviews of what I've read in the past month. For longer reviews, you can always find me on Goodreads.
I spent a big chunk of December and early January making my way through two long books (Middlemarch and the Qur'an), so this past month has been a light one in terms of book count. Here's what I've been reading.
The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - and Why by Amanda Ripley: Ripley manages to strike a necessary balance between frightening and empowering in this book on human behavior during disasters. This is an excellent overview of how people behave during crises, and what those in charge should be doing differently as a result, and it's definitely worth a read.
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd: This was a cute book, and I can imagine someone 10 or 11 really loving it, with the fun words and magic and themes about love and family and home. For me as an adult reader, I enjoyed the story for what it was, but on the whole it fell a little flat for me.
Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young: I used this as a daily devotional for 2015 and liked it a lot. There is a strong, repetitive theme throughout about laying down worry and anxiety and finding peace through trust in God, which is definitely something I needed and continue to need repeated. There were only a few spots where I felt the readings got a little more theologically heavy handed than I was comfortable with. I'll be reading it again in 2016 as a way to start each day, as it seems more designed for that than each night before bed.
Middlemarch by George Eliot: I found this very slow to get into as not much drives the plot for the first half or so, but I ended up really enjoying it. Questions about marriage, money, duty, reputation, and love are all tightly intertwined as one character's actions have multiple and often unintended consequences for themselves and others. If you pick this one up, have patience with the meandering nature of the first half and enjoy getting to know the people of Middlemarch. You'll be rewarded by your investment in the drama of the latter chapters.
The Qur'an, translated by Talal Itani: I was surprised at how mind-numbingly repetitive this ended up being. It was honestly more of a slog to get through the Qur'an than the Bible, because at least every book of the Bible is different, whereas this just says the same things over and over and over again. (Basically: Believers go to Heaven, non-believers go to Hell, and you should believe the Prophet because when people didn't believe God's messengers before, bad things happened to them.) I'm glad that I now have an understanding of what's in this oft-discussed holy book, but wow was it difficult and boring to get through.
The Song Celestial or Bhagavad-Gita, translated by Edwin Arnold: This is part of a larger Hindu text about a war, but this portion of it is a conversation between a prince and Lord Krishna, in which Krishna basically tells him how to live a righteous life. I found on reading this that I didn't really know a lot about Hinduism. It was interesting, though I think the translator was overly concerned with capturing the "flowery-ness" of the Sanskrit so that the English is unnecessarily hard to follow at times.
The Giver by Lois Lowry: I read this book a long time ago, maybe in middle school, and it didn't make the impression on me that it clearly had on so many people. Rereading it now, as an adult and a mother whose son is around Gabe's age at the end of the book, this hit me much harder. It's a deceptively quick read that contains so many lessons about history, society, and what makes life worth living, and I appreciated it so much more this time around.
What have you been reading this month? Share over at Modern Mrs. Darcy!
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