Monday, September 11, 2006

A Reading Weekend

I'm finishing a four day weekend. With no classes on Friday or Monday and no job for another week, I've had four days free. I wanted to relax, so I spent the weekend reading—it was a good weekend, but a little lonely. I'm reading. . .

Chaim Potok's My Name is Asher Lev. Asher Lev is an Orthodox Jewish boy growing up in Brooklyn. He struggles with what it means to be a Jew with a talent for art. Asher is expected to follow his father, but wants to go a different way. I love how simply Potok tells the story through Asher's eyes, highlighting faith and identity.

Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air. I'm in the middle of the book, but Into Thin Air is the story of Krakauer's Mt. Everest trip that turned into a disaster. But, as is typical Krakauer, it is also a bigger story. It's about the history of Everest and big mountain climbing. It's about the desires and lives of the people who have climbed Everest or died trying. Krakauer usually turns a story into a bigger, but still gripping, narrative about the choices, loves, dreams, failures, and fates of everybody. I highly recommend Into Thin Air and another of his books, Into the Wild.

Bret Lott's The Difference Between Women and Men. Lott's writing fascinates me. I don't quite know why, but I always look for his novels and short stories in bookstores, libraries, and literary magazines. I found this recent collection of short stories in a library and love it. Lott's stories are very detailed and natural. Nothing feels forced or faked. “An Evening on the Cusp of the Apocalypse” is stunning.

Donald Whitney's Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. I'm reading this for a class in seminary and wasn't excited about it—forced reading isn't so much fun. But this book is so good. Whitney says, “Think of the Spiritual Disciplines as ways we can place ourselves in the path of God's grace and seek Him much as Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus placed themselves in Jesus' path and sought Him.”

J.F. Radosevich

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