Saturday, January 30, 2016

January Books

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver: I did finish it, and barely in time for the church book club discussion. Really, really good. I was relatively isolated in liking it, though. It's definitely a dark read and much longer than I was expecting. I was most impressed from a literary perspective by the kaleidoscope of impressions as the same story is told from five different points of view--the mother and four daughters--all distinct, all with their own strengths and limitations. The story is of a cult-of-one renegade Baptist pastor who decides to take his woefully unprepared family to Belgian Congo--just as Belgium pulls out and the family is left to fend for themselves in a land that has been exploited for centuries by white people.

The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Steven Baxter. Somehow I had fallen behind on this series and came across the third book at the library, so of course I had to go back and read the second. What I love about this series is how it feels exactly like it could happen--like tomorrow I might open my Facebook to see a link to making a homemade "stepper" that would allow crossing into infinite alternative dimensions of non-human-inhabited Earth, ready to be explored. And then, of course, the difficulties and changes that would ensue. Highly enjoyable speculative fiction.

Paradise Lost by John Milton, Books I-III. This is for an online book club; I read it on my own a couple of years ago and it is definitely much more comprehensible the second time around, and with discussion. It's much easier this time around to follow Milton's convoluted sentences and appreciate the majestic roll of his phrases.

For family read alouds we have done By the Great Horn Spoon and now are in the middle of Five Children and It. Both have been big hits.

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