Earlier in the year I had toyed with the idea of posting a reading list in stages, one list for each half of the year. But then June had come and gone before I knew it, and my reading the first half of this year had been rather inconsistent. There are several books that I have started and not finished, not because I don't want to finish them, but because I got distracted.
Then Frances posted her list and inspired me to own up to my own scattershot reading attempts for the first half of the year. If I wrote about a book on the blog, I'll link to that post. Considering that book posts fell off, I may offer a few comments on a few other books,
1. Peter C. Brown, Make It Stick
2. J. Stevenson, Creeds, Councils, and Controversies. I picked this up as secondary reading relating to my EFM class. It is basically a series of original source documents from the fourth through fifth centuries illustrating the development of Christian doctrine. I actually found it fascinating. We forget how controversial ideas that many people take for granted today were when they were new, as well as how society shapes religion as much as religion shapes society.
3. Garrett Jones, Hive Mind: How Your Nation's IQ Matters So Much More than Your Own.
4. Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited. Required Reading for EFM, but I found it to be quite powerful and I read it twice because it has such a huge influence on my thinking. Highly recommended in this time of anger, hatred, and discrimination.
5. Aja Raden, Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession and how Desire Shapes the World.
6. Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies.
7. Magda Kapa, All the Words.
8. Joanne Harris, Gentlemen and Players.
9. Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death. A seminal book for me. I've read it several times and I learn something new with each reading.
10. Stephanie Spellers, The Episcopal Way.
11. Leonard Sax, The Collapse of Parenting. Part of a recommended reading list for a project I have been working on. This book and the others, (later on this list and still to be read) have sometimes proved enlightening, and at other times frustrating.
12. Patrick Rofkus, The Name of the Wind.
13. Schlomo Sand, How I Stopped Being a Jew. Thought provoking and although it seems odd to say so, it played into some of the changes in my thoughts following reading Thurman's book. Of course I never was a Jew.
14. Bryan Caplan, The Myth of the Rational Voter. Reread in this crazy election year. No less thought provoking than when I read it initially.
15. W. Stanley Moss, Ill Met by Moonlight.
16. Genevieve Antoine Dariaux, Elegance. Reread. Just because.
17. Julian Fellowes, Snobs. Loaned to me by a fellow Downton Abbey fan. I found it disappointing.
18,. Niall Ferguson, Kissinger: 1923 - 1968 The Idealist.
19. James Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me. I bought this quite a while ago in one of those Amazon sales where it was only a couple of bucks, but never read it. I read it after my grandson shared a whopper of a lie his teachers told him at a dinner party. I said nothing at the time because I didn't want to embarrass him in front of a bunch of adults. I intended to review the book but never got around to it even though there was very little in the book I didn't already know. This may be the penalty of being the daughter of a historian, a historian who thought his children should know the truth, or as much truth as we know, about history. I grew up learning that the things my teacher's told me were wrong; I remember most of those things because my dad was a fabulous story-teller, better than most of my teachers. We didn't discuss Vietnam, but I've read extensively about Vietnam in adulthood, so once again, nothing surprising. Still, it was interesting, and worth reading if only to remind ourselves that what we know and believe is often shaped by what we want to know and believe, and that what happened is only part of the story. What might have happened may be equally relevant.
20, Stephen King, The Dark Half.
21. Susan Forward, Toxic Parents. See No, 11 above.
22. Michael Connelly, The Gods of Guilt.
There you have it. In reviewing the list I can see why I feel frustrated with my reading so far this year, simply because although there are books I loved and books I found useful, there was a dearth of fiction. It is the fiction that feeds my soul, and there was only one or perhaps two soul-feeding books in there. Note to self, indulge in a good story whenever possible.