Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2014 Reading, Books 97-99

97) Good God, Lousy World & Me by Holly Burkhalter

This was a quick read, sort of a faith memoir of a human rights activist who grew up Christian, but lost her faith over the problem of believing in a powerful, loving God in a world full of suffering an evil. She came back to the church in midlife even though she still doesn't feel she has all the answers, basically because she came to see God's presence in fighting for justice and against suffering. I'm always interested in such books because of my own faith journey (though I struggle more with the problem of the vastness of the universe and the insignificance of this one tiny planet), though this book didn't resonate so strongly with me as, say, Take This Bread.

98) The Napoleonic Revolution by Robert B. Holtman

Short enough to be a quick read, dry enough that you'll spread that quick read across multiple sessions, this is an overview on Napoleon's impact on 19th and 20th century France, Europe, and the wider world. While it's not going to make any of my best-reads lists, it was a useful reminder to me as someone who tends to come at the Napoleonic era with a military historian's bias and an Anglocentric perspective that I'm often only looking at one section of the puzzle.

99) Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

This book received so many rave reviews I was almost afraid to try it lest my high expectations be disappointed. I shouldn't have worried. This is a beautifully written story of first love, heartbreaking but with just enough hope that I finished it smiling rather than weeping. I was looking at my reading list for the year and thinking I'd read a lot of enjoyable books but very few that had blown me away. This blew me away. Definitely will be on my top ten list for the year.

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