Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Weekly Read: 10

Another week, and two more books read. I still don't feel like I'm reading enough, though. I'm not sure why exactly, but maybe my ever-growing to-read list has something to do with it.

READ: The Preservationist | David Maine
I grew up going to church, and stories from the Bible have been woven into my memory since birth. Perhaps because of this, I love reading reinterpretations of Biblical stories, where you can get to know the characters a bit more, and see them in their historical context. I've been wanting to read this particular book about Noah and the Flood since I first heard of it a year ago.  The Flood is one of my favorite stories in the Bible, but so many of the particularities of it, what makes it so incredible and miraculous, seem to be glossed over. The animals came, but how? It rained for 40 days, and then they floated for 150 days, but how did they survive? Noah lived HOW LONG? The Preservationist is a realistic and practical account of the Biblical Flood story. Maine brings all the facts into focus: these are real people, who somehow, through faith and determination, built a floating barn in the middle of the desert, collected animals from over the world, and did it all without knowing why or how or what to expect. Characters, even those unnamed, are given shape and feelings and opinions, and we truly come to know them. The flood is given a sense of scale: you can feel each of those 150 days of just floating, and can see the destruction of the whole earth, everything except what was in that boat.  One thing that all of the characters wrestled with was WHY God sent the flood, and they never come to a consensus. I like what Mirn says at the end, though: "Did Papa say God reigns over everything or did he say God rains over everything and does it matter? Because I'm pretty sure it does. It seems like one of them says, God is in charge, so watch your step. And the others days, God can take away everything but he'll give back everything too, so it's up to us what to make of the sun and rain and all the animals and whatever else we find." I think Mirn is right.  Mirn was my favorite character - so matter-of-fact, calm, simple, hard-working, and deceptively smart.  Overall, I very much enjoyed this book, and would definitely recommend it.

READ: The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game | Michael Lewis
After seeing the movie The Blind Side, which is based on this book, I knew I wanted to read this one. It was a great movie, and I was convinced this would be an equally great book. Luckily, I was not disappointed! I knew going into the book that this was not just the story of Michael Oher, like the movie was. Perhaps because of that, I was happily surprised at how much of the book was taken up by Michael's story. It is truly a fascinating tale, one that is hardly believable as fact, but you can see the truth of it in front of you, when you look up pictures of the Tuohy family and see Oher playing for the Ravens. Intertwined with Michael's engrossing life story is not just a brief history football, but an impeccably researched history of how the game has changed in the last 30 years. Before reading this book, I could have named maybe 4 or 5 positions in football, and the left tackle was not one of them. I could have told you that Walter Jones was an important part of the Seahawks football team (because I'm from Seattle), but I couldn't have told you what he actually did that was so important. I had heard the term "west coast offense" throw around for ages, but never knew what it meant. I couldn't imagine a team without a passing game. But now, I finally feel like I could hold an intelligent conversation about the sport of football. And not only was I educated about football while reading this book, I enjoyed it! Lewis' writing is full of wit and intelligence, and there was not a slow moment. Now if only he could sit down and explain what the rest of the football team does to me. This is one book that I didn't want to end.

STARTED: The Book of Samson | David Maine
After reading The Preservationist, I immediately wanted to start Maine's book about Samson. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have the same flow as The Preservationist - it seems a lot of the action is told flashback-style, set apart by phrases like, "I didn't know this at the time but..." and "If I had known then that..." For some reason, these always kind of bug me. Anyway, I was easily distracted from this one and ended up reading The Blind Side instead. :)

Up for this week: finishing The Book of Samson. Then I'll maybe spend some more time with the Lost Lit List and read Island by Aldous Huxley and The Diaries of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain.  Happy reading!

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