Friday, April 29, 2016

Best of the Bunch: April 2016

Today I'm sharing the best book I read in April.

I only got through four books this month, which tells you how busy I've been. There were no 5- or 4.5-star reads this month. I did have two 4-star reads:

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

I debated about which to pick as the best of the bunch, but the one I would be most likely to recommend is...

This was a fascinating look at Mormon Fundamentalism and how the early years of Mormonism provided the roots for various fundamentalist beliefs, particularly polygamy and blood atonement. Although this book could (understandably) be viewed as a criticism of Mormonism, Krakauer says in the author's note that he originally set out to write a book about faith and religion more generally. As Krakauer points out, what's unique about Mormonism is that it came to life in the age of the printing press, so its development is much more well-documented than most faiths, and that allows it to function as a case study for what is true of many religions — for example, that its fundamentalists can trace their beliefs to the religion's own texts and doctrines, but interpreted in a way that most mainstream followers do not. I didn't love the way the book was organized, but I learned a lot from it.

What is the best book you read this month? Let me know in comments, or write your own post and link up below!

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