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December booklist

December's books were:

1. What the Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell

A collection of essays (articles?) on a variety of vaguely sciency topics, all told with wit and a flair for storytelling.

2. Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh

Ya'll know the blog - well, the book is as good, maybe better. Probably better. There were parts that I simply howled over - and yet it's often deeply and profounding moving.

3. One Summer: America, 1927, Bill Bryson

The man hasn't lost his touch. It was the summer of Babe Ruth, of Lindbergh's famous flight, of sensational murders and financial shenanigans and flagpole sitting. As usual, Bryson handles these multiple threads with careless ease, deftly weaving them into something cohesive and infinitely readable.

4. The King's Grave: the discovery of Richard III's lost burial place and the clues it holds, Philipa Langley & Michael Jones

This reflects my personal interests, but I found the parts of the book describing the actual discovery and excavation of Richard's remains to be extremely interesting, and the parts relating the history of Richard III's life well, much less interesting.

Also, there was something about Langley's narration that really rubbed me the wrong way.

5. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, Alan Bradley

Thanks to Netgalley for this advanced copy! Several things, without spoilers: Oh MY, I suppose I was an incurable optimist, but the things did not happen the way I thought they would based on the surprise ending of the last book. On the whole, I absolutely adored this book - Flavia continues to be a well-rounded, sensitively portrayed character - so intelligent, so Other, and yet always so very much eleven (or is she twelve now?) The complicated family dynamics are endlessly interesting to me as well. Now, I felt that there were several dropped story threads, and the resolution veered into unbelievable territory that the other books seemed to avoid, but these are minor and easily forgiven problems imo, considering how wonderful the rest of the book is.

Also, for some reason I had in my head that this was the last in the series, so I am very relieved to find out that it is not.

6. Pagan Christianity, George Barna & Frank Viola

I just don't have it in me to discuss this at length currently, though I'd welcome thoughts from anyone who's read it. On the whole I didn't find myself agreeing with the book as a whole, but I did appreciate that they didn't just do a knee-jerk "the modern church is broken so therefore we should try to be exactly like the NT church."

I remain extremely confused as to what the type of service they're advocating for actually looks like in practice.

7. Heart of the Lonely Exile, B. J. Hoff

Of all the books to end 2013 on, haha. But I have great sentimental attachment to this series.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 1st, 2014 11:34 am (UTC)
I only got through part of Pagan Christianity. I thought the history was fascinating, and if the authors had just let that speak for itself or perhaps restrained themselves to posing some open-ended questions, it would have been a great book. But as it was, the heavy-handed critiques and especially the constant announcements that they intended to BLOW EVERYONE'S MIND realllllly annoyed me. "Most Christians have never thought about the fact that they didn't have VBS in the early church! Just wait until we tell you that they didn't have VBS in the early church! You are going to be SO SHOCKED!"
Jan. 4th, 2014 07:23 pm (UTC)
I think "heavy-handedness" is a good choice of words. I wasn't sure how to describe what irked me about their style, but that handles it nicely.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )