Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas Reading

NOTE: Sorry for the tardiness of posting again after the new year - illness in our family right after the holidays seems to be becoming a tradition for us. Back to your regularly scheduled programming now ...

So I did manage to complete one book over the holidays, and make some major headway into a couple of others. I completed 'Putting Away Childish Things' by Marcus Borg, on my list below.

1. Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
2. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
3. Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi
4. The Year of Living Biblically - A.J. Jacobs
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong
6. Dreams from 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. The First Christmas - Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
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. Under the Dome - Stephen King
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. Misquoting Jesus - Bart Ehrman
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. Planet Simpson - Chris Turner
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. The Emerging Christian Way - Marcus Borg et al
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. Good Book - David Plotz
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik
100. Putting Away Childish Things - Marcus Borg
101. Jesus for the Non-Religious - John Shelby Spong

(and yes - I did switch "God's Problem" for this one, after just adding it to my list last week; I had some trouble really getting into it, to be honest; I can understand people 'not' believing in God - I'm married to one of them - but given the author, Bart Ehrman, is an incredibly creative and intelligent guy, I'm disappointed his belief fell strictly on the 'God can't be an all loving AND all powerful deity if pepole suffer - as a scholar he knows there are different ways to see the holy - and it's his prerogative to reject those ways, just from the first 4-5 chapters I've read I expected a better argument than 'when the "Gandalf in the sky" image fell, I just couldn't compute it' - which is what this book felt like, and I know Ehrman is capable of more than that)

But that's a sidetrack - on to putting away childish things with Marcus Borg. This book has a lot going for it - the storyline, though basic, is interesting; it's a fun way for one to familiarize themselves with progressive, emergent Christianity - Borg's beliefs, and my own - as well as the arguments against it as well, on both sides. The novel is 'didactic', or designed to teach, and that sometimes takes away a bit from it - there's a lot of rehashing and exposition, for example, amongst people who would more likely talk in shorthand, simply to clue readers in; and this also interferes with a lot of the dialogue between characters who, while interesting, all sound alike in their speech patterns. Nonetheless, I give him credit for developing an interesting plot and cramming a whole lot of emerging Christianity 101 into this book; I think he could have used a polish on the dialogue, and how to better handle exposition and painstakign explanation amongst 'experts' - but on the other hand, this also allowed for him to reference in-text almost all sources these characters would use, allowing for further study for those who are interested. Is this a great classic of Western literature? No. Is it a strong success for a first novel with a didactic bent? Definitely. And from one of my very favourite theologians/Christian scholars as well. :)

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