Tuesday, November 13, 2012

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Slogging Along

Books 44-47 - Slogging Along

It seemed like a really good idea at the beginning of the year to blog every one of the 52 books I read in 2012 as part of the “52 Books in 52 Weeks” challenge, but as the year has worn on, I’ve grown weary of the practice. I’ve also grown weary of counting the number of books I’m reading and looking toward December 31 wondering if I’ll have made my “quota”! In fact, I recently rejected a particularly thick book that was next on my pile in favor of a few skinny ones that I knew I’d get through quickly.

I will not be repeating the challenge again next year. I enjoy reading too much to quantify it.

But since I hate to quit something once I’ve committed to it, here’s a very brief synopsis of Books 44-47.

Book 44: Falling Upward by Richard Rohr
Richard Rohr never disappoints, and his brand of spirituality resonates with me. In this book, he talks about the differences in how we look at spirituality in the first half of life as opposed to the second. He makes sense of a lot of the doubts that creep into one’s mind at middle-age – about institutions, governments, religious leaders – and assures the reader that this is not only normal but a sign of growth. Highly recommended for any serious students of spirituality.

Book 45: The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant
I admit I was only attracted to this book because we plan to visit Dogtown in the spring. No one lives there now, but there are some very interesting stone carvings worth visiting as well as a whole bunch of geocaches. The book itself tells the tale of the last remaining residents of this village outside Gloucester and the complicated lives they led in the 1800s. You get a real sense of the loneliness, poverty and prejudice that were part of the fabric of life. A bit slow and definitely not action-packed but an interesting character study.

Book 46: Atonement by Ian McEwan
I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if we hadn’t been experiencing and recovering from a hurricane at the time I read it. I often found myself rereading a page over and over again as my mind drifted from the book to our powerless situation. Nothing against the book, but I was glad I’d seen the movie so I knew what was going on. Maybe I’ll read this again during a calm, sunny week on a placid lake.

Book 47: Finders Keepers by Mark Bowden
This was a very amusing – but inherently sad – true story of Joey Coyle, a meth-addicted, unemployed twenty-something who found a couple of bags of money that had fallen off an armored truck in South Philly. The description of this hapless man and his friends as they moved from one escapade to another in an attempt to launder the money, hide the money, and ultimately flee the country with the money before their poorly hidden trail led police straight to them makes for a lively romp. Joey’s eventual fall into obscurity, drug addiction and depression is a stark reminder that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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