SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #31-32

Book #31 was "The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam" by Karen Armstrong. I'd read Armstrong's book about being a nun and then leaving the order to become a "freelance monotheist" who now writes about religion from a comparative viewpoint. She's perhaps most famous for her book on Mohammed. I found this book in a free book giveaway and snatched it up right away. It's pretty dense and I could only read 8 to 12 pages at a time because there was so much information to digest. She works her way mostly chronologically from the 1400s to the present talking about how the Judeo-Christian faiths have changed over time and how fundamentalist movements have sprung up in all three in response to the "threat" of modernity. This was an important read for me, if not always an easy one. My entire birth family is a member of a fundamentalist Christian denomination and I'm an atheist, and I felt the book helped illuminate our areas of difference and gave me some ideas for how to communicate - rather than just shouting past one another. Highly, highly recommended to everyone but especially those trying to understand the fundamentalist mindset.

Book #32 was "The Beekeeper's Apprentice" by Laurie R. King, the first in the Mary Russell series. The premise is that Sherlock Holmes, in his retirement, meets a teenage girl - Mary - who has exactly the sort of mind he does, and he takes her on as an apprentice. They have several lighthearted romps solving some minor mysteries, but they get darker and more dangerous as the book goes along. This book got a lot of acclaim, and I did find it charming and a page-turner, though I thought maybe it was a little overhyped. Aside from it reading a lot like a longer Holmes mystery (I'm quite familiar as I've read nearly all of the Holmes stories) the thing I liked best about it was that Mary brings a woman's sensibilities to the story, a perspective that is lacking in the original Holmes stories. Mary has to navigate being a smart and willful young woman in a time when society doesn't take her intellect seriously. The series also humanizes Holmes a lot and plays up his softer side, which you only get in microscopic flashes in the Doyle stories. Highly recommended to anyone who is a Holmes fan or anyone who likes mysteries with spunky female protagonists.

1. Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection Paperback [fiction/graphic short story collection]- Matt Dembicki -Ed.
2. Light Music [fiction]- Kathleen Ann Goonan
3. The Indian Clerk [fiction]- David Leavitt
4. The Diving Bell & the Butterfly [non-fiction/memoir]- Jean-Dominique Bauby
5. Clarence Darrow: American Iconoclast [non-fiction]- Andrew E. Kersten
6. Blue Champagne [fiction/short stories]- John Varley
7. A Person of Interest [fiction]- Susan Choi
8. Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country [non-fiction]- Louise Erdrich
9. Nobody Nowhere [non-fiction]- Donna Williams
10. The Three Musketeers [fiction]- Alexandre Dumas (unabridged audiobook)
11. The Narrative of John Tanner [non-fiction/biography]- as told by John Tanner, edited by Edwin James
12. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell [fiction]- Susanna Clarke
13. I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith through an Atheist's Eyes [non-fiction]- Hemant Mehta
14. Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft [non-fiction]- Natalie Goldberg
15. No Name in the Streets [non-fiction/essay]- James Baldwin
16. The Hunger Games [fiction]- Suzanne Collins (unabridged audiobook)
17. Permanence [fiction]- Karl Schroeder
18. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf [poetry]- Ntozake Shange
19. An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President [non-fiction]- Randall Robinson
20. The Delikon [fiction]- by H.M. Hoover
21. Catching Fire (#2 in the Hunger Games trilogy) [fiction]- Suzanne Collins (unabridged audiobook)
22. Codex Born (#2 in the Magic Ex Libris series) [fiction]- Jim Hines
23. The Hum and the Shiver [fiction]- Alex Bledsoe (unabridged audiobook)
24. Skinny Legs and All [fiction]- Tom Robbins
25. Artemis Fowl [fiction]- Eoin Colfer (unabridged audiobook)
26. The Best of All Possible Worlds [fiction]- Karen Lord
27. The Green Flash and Other Tales of Horror, Suspense, and Fantasy [fiction/short stories]- Joan Aiken
28. Use What You Have Decorating [non-fiction]- Lauri Ward
29. Erasure [fiction]- Percival Everett
30. Homer & Langley [fiction]- E.L. Doctorow (unabridged audiobook)

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