Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics by Ross Douthat

I’m happy to review this book, since I’m related to the author. It’s a bit difficult, however, because the book’s subject matter encompasses some very weighty material, and as well as generating praise and attention, it has also garnered some dismissive, out-of-hand evaluations from reviewers. (But I can, thankfully, offer some summation and pointers without having to settle all such controversies.)

Douthat deliberates that the decline in membership of Protestant mainline and Catholic churches in America is not from simple disenchantment with old fashioned rituals, but instead represents a shift in our allegiance from Christianity to other religions.  These religions may call themselves Christian but they have actually mixed and matched strands of self, power, and nationalism.  Tea party politics are singled out, as is Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling book Eat, Pray, Love, and Joel Osteen’s prosperity preaching. 

Douthat faults many Protestant and Catholic leaders for being too accommodating to modern sensibilities, softening Jesus’ hard core teaching with regard to sacrifice, morality, pain and suffering.  Implicit in these alternative religions, or heresies, is that happiness, material comfort, self actualization, an end to the separation of church and state - whatever is promoted, is what we were meant to have
.  In today’s world, an admonition to “pick up your cross” can sound like giving in to difficulties instead of actually looking for new life and meaning in painful situations.

Some critics argue that rather than there being a rise in alternative spiritual beliefs, that heresies exist in every age.  Douthat does not dispute that, but he instead notes how gradually our culture and our sensibilities have become immersed in these concepts.  He mentions the mystical “Force” in Star Wars, among other examples. That made me think of the instance of Professor Dumbledore suggesting to Harry Potter that if their post-Earthly encounter was just happening inside Harry’s head, that it could still be “real”.

In reading this book, it’s a good idea to have a dictionary close by, or better yet, reading on a device that gives you a word’s meaning at the touch of a finger.  I found the book slow going, whether from Douthat’s complex reasoning or simply from the depth of the issues presented.  Maybe that’s more evidence of what Douthat calls ‘accommodation’ in today’s world, where ease and ready access are so highly prized.   But whatever the reason, the extra effort involved was worth it for me, and I recommend our readers to take up that challenge.

To see the book in our catalog, click here

Monday, November 26, 2012

In the Bag Video Book Review

Sorry that it has taken so long to finally put out a video book review. This video book review is for the book In the Bag by Kate Klise. Let me know what you think about the video!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Family Fiction Series

Since it is getting so close to the holidays and family time, here are some series that focus on the family to get you into the spirit of things. For a list of these series (and more) look for the bibliography next to the catalog computers or online under Books Lists for Adults.

Mary Balogh                                  FIC BALOGH
Bedwyn Saga
Slightly Married                                      
Slightly Wicked                                     
Slightly Scandalous                                 
Slightly Tempted
Slightly Sinful
Slightly Dangerous

Simon R. Green                        SF GREEN
Secret Histories Series
The Man with the Golden Torc                  
Daemons are Forever                             
The Spy Who Haunted Me                       
From Hell with Love
For Heaven’s Eyes Only
Live and Let Drood

Philippa Gregory                         FIC GREGORY
Tudors Series
The Constant Princess                 
The Other Boleyn Girl                  
The Boleyn Inheritance                
The Queen’s Fool
The Virgin’s Lover
The Other Queen

John Jakes                                    FIC JAKES
North and South Series
North and South
Love and War
Heaven and Hell

Karen Kingsbury                           FIC KINGSBUR
Redemption Series
Firstborn Series


Lisa Lutz                                         MYS LUTZ
The Spellmans Series
The Spellman Files                      
Curse of the Spellmans                 
Revenge of the Spellmans
The Spellmans Strike Again
Trail of the Spellmans

Nancy Martin                                  MYS MARTIN
Blackbird Sisters Mystery Series
How to Murder a Millionaire               
Dead Girls Don’t Wear Diamonds       
Some Like it Lethal                          
Cross Your Heart and Hope to Die     
Have Your Cake and Kill Him Too
A Crazy Little Thing Called Death
Murder Melts in Your Mouth
No Way to Kill a Lady

Alexander McCall Smith              FIC MCCALLSM
44 Scotland Street Series
44 Scotland Street                            
Espresso Tales                               
Love Over Scotland
The World According to Bertie
The Unbearable Lightness of Scones
The Importance of Being Seven  

Larry McMurtry                             FIC MCMURTRY
Berrybender Narratives Series
The Berrybender Narratives (all four in here)
Sin Killer
Wandering Hill
By Sorrow’s River
Folly and Glory

Julia Quinn                                      FIC QUINN
The Bridgerton Family Series
The Duke and I                                
The Viscount Who Loved Me              
Romancing Mr. Bridgerton                 
To Sir Phillip, With Love
When He Was Wicked  
It’s in His Kiss
On the Way to the Wedding

Mario Puzo                                      FIC PUZO
Mario Puzo’s Mafia Series           
The Godfather
The Sicilian
The Last Don

FIC WINEGARD by Mark Winegardner
The Godfather Returns  
The Godfather’s Revenge

The Family Corleone by Ed Falco (FIC PUZO)

Charles Stross                               SF STROSS
The Merchant Princes Series
The Family Trade                              
The Hidden Family                             
The Clan Corporate                            
The Merchant’s War
The Revolution Business
The Trade of Queens

Carl Weber                                      FIC WEBER
Church Series
The Preacher’s Son
So You Call Yourself a Man
The First Lady
Up to No Good  

Susan Wiggs                                    FIC WIGGS
Calhoun Chronicles Series
The Charm School
The Horsemaster’s Daughter
Enchanted Afternoon
A Summer Affair  


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

9 Books That Will Stress You Out

With the holidays coming up, there are probably a lot of people out there that are starting to feel the stress. An article released in the Huffington Post on November 8 listed nine books that will add to that stress. It is up to you whether you want to see if what the Huffington Post says is true, but don't say they didn't warn you. Do you know of any other books that could be called stressful?

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Room by Emma Donoghue

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Quotes about Books

The great thinkers, writers, musicians, politicians, and many others have a lot of things to say about books and reading. I just wanted to share some of them with you. Feel free to comment back with some of your favorites.

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
― Jorge Luis Borges

“One must always be careful of books," said Tessa, "and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
― Charles William Eliot

“Here’s to books, the cheapest vacation you can buy.”
― Charlaine Harris

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

“Good books don't give up all their secrets at once.”
― Stephen King

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis

“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”
― Abraham Lincoln

“Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.”
― Arnold Lobel

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

“I don't believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”
― J.K. Rowling

“All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk.”
― Lemony Snicket