We don't belong to any book clubs, but we do a considerable amount of reading or listening to audio books. Since we live on a 44 foot sailboat, we don't have a lot of room, so we have just recently purchased a Kindle, and love it! I think though we need two of them as we are wrangling over who gets to use it next. We read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, classics, mysteries, historical novels, thrillers, adventure, etc. Nothing is out of range.
So let's talk books. Have we read some of the same? What would you recommend to read or stay away from?
Roz's Legend (HR - have read, IP -in progress, R -resource/reference, NY - Not Yet)
Rating (*****Loved it!, ****Liked it, ***Ok, **Not so much, * Ugh)
Here are some books currently on our bookshelf:
Good without God by Greg Epstein, HR****
Godless by Dan Barker, HR*****
Don't Believe Everything you Think by Thomas Kida, IP-***
The Atheist's Bible - Joan Konner - HR, R****
Asimov's Guide to the Bible, Isaac Asimove, IP, R ***
God Made Man (Kindle) - Barbara G. Walker, IP ****
On the fiction side:
Anna Karenina (Kindle) by Tolstoy, HR** (Just finished. Know it's a classic, but geez it was slow for me to read. All of the people are so tortured, particularly the non-believers. I could have saves a lot of time by reading the summary on Wikapedia. What did you think?)
Devine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood (Kindle), HR, ****
The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo (Kindle), Stieg Larsson, IP. (Russ has read the whole series ***** and really enjoyed them)
One for the Money, etc.....by Janet Evanovich, HR, IP ***** I love these sassy, bounty hunter stories featuring Stephanie Plum. I started with number one and am on number 8. I just started reading them on Kindle. The characters are quirky. I love Grandma Mazur. She reminds me of Sophia on the Golden Girls. I love a book that makes me laugh aloud.
Other authors we really enjoy....Robin Cook, Michael Crichton, John LesCroart, John Grisham, Ken Follett (Pillars of the Earth HR***** and World without End HR *****), Jean Auel. I just got the last of the Jean Auel Earths Children books and am looking forward to reading it. I enjoyed "reading" - listening" to the others on audio. It will be a different experience reading this next one on the Kindle. Has anyone read this yet? We have several of these authors on audio books and listen together. It's a great way to spend the evening while on night watch. Stephen King and Dean Koontz give us nightmares!
Wow! Thanks for all of the suggestions. I usually enjoy sci-fi, sometimes fantasy like Harry Potter, sometimes mystery. Just before starting this group 6 days ago or so, I finished Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life by Kari Marie Norgaard. She clarifies how we use participation in social groups, among other things, as a way of managing uncomfortable emotions like helplessness, creating a shared sense of reality with ontologic stability and meaning. Her insights apply equally well to how religious communities create a feeling of emotional security for members, helping them to deny reality. My design of Hang With Friends as a community where we share lighthearted stuff and daily concerns, but do not exclude serious matters, was directly influenced by Norgaard. I've long thought that atheist communities, by a somewhat rigid exclusion of strong emotion and fun, fail to meet human needs. My idea is that we've relied on a primitive brain (social intelligence) choice to avoid infection with religious memeplexes and other unreason by averting attention on to weighty intellectual topics. I'd rather understand how emotion operates, from a scientific basis, and apply that insight to build a community safe from mind viruses but hospitable to feeling.
Norgaard's book looks fascinating. The denial of climate change is an emotional phenomenon that might just "do us in" if we do not get our heads around it. I think you are on to something when you suggest that even "reasoning intellectuals" are in a state of denial by averting their attention and not acting on the knowledge. Knowledge is power, but only if it becomes actively used.
Many years ago I read On the Beach by Nevile Shute. I was only 14 or 15 at the time and this was probably one of my first adult books that had a profound influence on me. I probably would have given it a ***** at the time. It's about the aftermath of Nuclear War and the survivors. I was reminded of this when I read your comments. This book is available on Kindle. I might be tempted to read it again.
Thanks for info on David Moody's Autumn series. I see that a new is scheduled to come out in August.
Thanks Jim for all this information. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't realize there was such a genre as Alternative History, but I know I will love it! I used to pose questions to my students like "what would have happened if Genghis Khan had made it all the way to Europe?". Always got some fascinating responses. I love time travel stuff so thanks for turning me on to this. Have you read Michael Crichton's Time Machine? I enjoyed this blast back to medieval times.
I'm looking forward to reading Charles Mann. Have often wondered how early cultures would have evolved without European intrusion. Thanks again.
A good intro to the Alternate history genre is The Agent of Byzantium by Turtledove (who has a doctorate in Byzantine history). It a series of connected short stories in a world in which Mohammed became a Christian monk.
I have read Timeline - it was ok but I prefer the alternate histories that don't involve time travel but rely on the "what if" events. How Few Remain by Turtledove or Stars and Stripes in Peril by Harrison are two examples.