Friday, September 18, 2009

First book knocked off my list (plus review)

Recall my earlier post about reading 101 books in 1001 days? Well, one book off my list!

1. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
2. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
3. Reading Lolita in Iran - Azar Nafisi
4. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong
6. Dreams of My Father - Barack Obama
7. Beloved - Toni Morrison
8. 'Tis - Frank McCourt
9. The Host - Stephenie Meyers
10. The Constant Princess - Phillipa Gregory
11. Wicked - Gregory Maguire
12. The Six Wives of Henry the 8th - Alison Weir
13. Eleanor of Aquitaine - Alison Weir
14. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
15. The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
16. The Two Towers - J.R.R. TOlkien
17. The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
19. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling
20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
23. Dracula - Bram Stoker
24. Paradise Lost - John Milton
25. The Inferno - Dante
26. Towelhead - Alicia Erian
27. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks - Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham
28. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
30. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
31. This United Church of Ours - Ralph Milton
32. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
36. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
37. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
38. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
39. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
40. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
41. Deception Point - Dan Brown
42. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
43. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
44. Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement - Ian McEwan
46. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
47. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
48. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
49. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
50. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
51. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
52. Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley
53. White Noise - Don De Litto
54. Their Eyes were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
55. Primary Colours - Anonymous
56. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
57. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow
58. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
59. Play it as it Lays - Joan Didion
60. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlasser
61. My Years as Prime Minister - Jean Chretien
62. Memoirs - Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo d'Allaire
64. Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin
65. The Secret Mulroney Tapes - Peter C. Newman
66. Why I Hate Canadians - Will Ferguson
67. I was a Teenage Katima-Victim - Will Ferguson
68. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
69. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - Douglas Adams
70. Life, the Universe and Everything - Douglas Adams
71. So Long and Thanks for All the Fish - Douglas Adams
72. Mostly Harmless - Douglas Adams
73. Fifth Business - Robertson Davies
74. The Manticore - Robertson Davies
75. World of Wonders - Robertson Davies
76. The Donnellys - James Reaney
77. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
78. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
79. Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
80. Not Wanted on the Voyage - Timothy Findlay
81. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
82. Coraline - Neil Gaiman
83. The Crucible - Arthur Miller
84. Mirror Mirror - Gregory Maguire
85. Snarky Responses to Yahoo! Answers - Matthew Cory
86. Sorbonne Confidential - Laurel Zuckerman
87. What Happened to Anna K - Irina Reyn
88. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
90. Girlfriend in a Coma - Douglas Coupland
91. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
92. The 5 People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
93. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
94. Interview with the Vampire - Ann Rice
95. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
96. The Bonfire of the Vanities - Tom Wolfe
97. Guys and Dolls - Damon Runyon
98. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert M. Pirsig
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik
100. The Ultimate Weight Solution - Dr. Phil McGraw
101. Real Life: Preparing for the 7 Most Challenging Days of Your Life - Dr. Phil McGraw

That's right I read "This United Church of Ours" by Ralph Milton. A review follows:

For those wondering why I've been on a church kick the last few posts, it's simple. On the plainest level, I've always considered myself a faithful Christian, but I've also always cosidered it a personal thing; I still do and as I said yesterday I'm not on a 'kick' to proseletyze particularly (although if interested I'm always more than happy to discuss my faith provided it can be a respectful dialogue on both ends). More particularly though, having now moved to Ottawa, I've been seeking a new church, and in doing so, reconnecting with my decision to be a member of the United Church of Canada (not that this choice was ever in doubt - just thought it was a good gut check time since I was uprooting myself anyway).

This book is - besides the bible itself - the bible of the United Church. Milton really does a great job of outlining the nuts and bolts rituals and sacraments, governmental structure, most basic beliefs etc. found in the United Church. He does a good job of encapsulating how all-encompassing a church we can be, how progressive and open-minded, and yet how varied (perfect example being his illustration of several different sample congregations, in very different buildings using very different language and methods of worship). At the same time he doesn't shy away, as many of us more progressive Christians can, from owning our Christianity, naming it, and calling on us to be as devoted to our church, with all its open-mindedness, as anyone else might be. Being thoughtful, considerate and progressive does not mean being undedicated, and as well as explaining the United Church as plainly and thoroughly as anyone can, he brings that point home as well.

My only complaint has nothing to do with Milton but my own circumstances: the edition of This United Church of Ours that I managed to get my hands on from my local library was the second edition, published in 1991; there have been many changes in our church since then, the adoption of a new Sunday School curriculum, the legalization of gay marriage in Canada, etc. A third edition had been written in 2003, but was not available to me on my current timeframe and budget. As such, the material was slightly dated, but still highly informative and useful, affirming my respect both for the United Church's most core set of beliefs, and its structure. Recommended reading to any UCCers, or anyone considering a progressive, 'big-tent' Christian church.

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