Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Books 2 & 3

Two more down! Just today, I completed both "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by JK Rowling and "Speaking Christian" by Marcus Borg. DISCLOSURE: as per the first Harry Potter book, I had read most of "Chamber" already; all but the last chapter. Going forward in the Potter series, all books will be new to me (albeit I have seen all the films but the two Deathly Hallows movies). A list to remind you of the books I've selected to read and to show my progress, as well as my reviews, follow.

1. Deadlocked - Charlaine Harris
2. The Last Week - Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
3. Speaking Christian - Why Christian Words Have Lost their Meaning - Marcus J. Borg
4. The Spiral Staircase - Karen Armstrong
5. A History of God - Karen Armstrong

6. jPod - Douglas Coupland
7. Beloved - Toni Morrison
8. 'Tis - Frank McCourt

9. We Need to Talk about Kevin - Lionel Shriver
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. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling
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. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
25. The Inferno - Dante
26. Towelhead - Alicia Erian

27. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
28. The Way the Crow Flies - Ann-Marie MacDonald
29. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood

30. 1066 and All That; A Memorable History of England - W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman
31. Have a Little Faith - Mitch Albom
32. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
33. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
34. Stardust - Neil Gaiman
35. Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

36. The Holy Bible - Various
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 Five Love Languages - Gary Chapman
44. Lolita - Vladimir Nobokov
45. Atonement - Ian McEwan
46. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren

47. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
48. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
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. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
56. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
57. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow

58. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
59. The Trial - Franz Kafka
60. Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlasser

61. The Man Who Made Us - Richard Gwyn
62. Memoirs - Pierre Trudeau
63. Shake Hands with the Devil - Romeo d'Allaire
64. Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin

65. Nation Maker - Richard Gwyn
66. The United Church of Canada: A History - Don Schweitzer (ed.)
67. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
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. Committed - Elizabeth Gilbert
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. Eats, Shoots & Leaves - Lynne Truss
86. Sorbonne Confidential - Laurel Zuckerman

87. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
88. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick
89. Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland

90. The Girl who Played with Fire - Stieg Larsson
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. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson
99. He's Just Not that Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo, Lauren Monchik

100. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
101. Jesus for the Non-Religious - John Shelby Spong

My review of the first Harry Potter book goes for the second - a little bit older, wiser and braver, the Hogwarts gang is back for another year of adventures and magic. A great series that JK Rowling obviously takes the time to tie together beautifully. Book 2 is an extension of Book 1, and the fact that I put one down to immediately pick up the next tells you how seamless it is.

Meanwhile, "Speaking Christian" is one of the most important books I have read in a long time and I think it is important for all Christians, and any non-Christian who thinks we're just a bunch of loons who are waiting for an executed political prisoner to come back and take us back to his cloud castle while damning all non-believers, read this book. Borg's ultimate point is that both progressive and more 'fundamentalist' Christians use the same book, language, cast of characters, and concept to express two radically different ideas - so different as to almost be different religious. Those alarm-bell words ... "salvation", "redeemer", "sin", and difficult concepts like "Trinity" and "Easter" and "rapture" ... are explained in such a way that even non-believers can ... maybe not agree with, but at least understand in a more positive, 'yes, and ...' kind of light. Borg can be a bit academic at times - he is a professor of religious studies after all - but he works hard, and in the main succeeds, at making big concept progressive Christian theology accessible to all (OK ... most). I very much enjoy his work, and this book in particular, as a progressive Christian.

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