Tattoos on the Heart, Gregory Boyle
We all just want to be called by the name our mom uses
when she's not pissed off at us.
You stand with the belligerent, the surly, and the badly behaved until bad behavior is recognized for the language it is: the vocabulary of the deeply wounded and of those whose burdens are more than they can bear.
At Home, Bill Bryson
If you've ever read Bill Bryson, especially if you are a person who appreciates the odd facts and juicy tidbits he likes to throw in there, you know that if you try to write out interesting quotations you'll have filled a large notebook before the first chapter is over. This book was no different. Much of the book talks about architecture, although the intro where he talks about the history of home and the idea of comfort was quite interesting to me, as were the bits about servant life. Did you know that there was one point when lobster was so plentiful that servants actually had clauses in their contracts so they wouldn't have to eat it more than twice a week? One of my fascinations is with the structure of servants in a large household, so I enjoyed that much of this book seemed to focus on the 19th century. There's a ton of pages in this "short" history, but it is interesting, as can well be expected of Bill Bryson.
The Stolen Village, Des Ekin
I bought this book in Ireland, which is quite fitting really, since it has to do with Irish history. I wasn't very far into this book when I became rather embarrassed about my lack of knowledge about the Barbary Pirates. This book not only schooled me on a bit of Irish history, but also on a whole aspect of world history that I missed in my not-so-stellar education. Before this book my mental connections went something like this: pirates=Carribbean, slaves=Africa-->America. Now, thanks to this book, I know to what extent the pirate/slave trade scenario was alive and well long before Sir Francis Drake and Southern plantations. I love it when a book expands my world! The writing could have been more polished, but it was an easy, interesting read, and I loved the topic.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
This book has been on the bestseller list for so long that I'd just decided to NOT read it (I'm rebellious like that) when it was chosen for my book club. I was happy, since that was pretty much the only way that I'd read it. The most fascinating part of the book for me was the history on medical procedures, scientific study, and the evolving issue of patient privacy. There is such a huge disparity between the enormous contribution HeLa cells have made to society, and the great difficulty the Henrietta Lacks' family has in getting proper medical care that this made a perfect platform for a discussion about ethics. I thought the author did a good job at representing all sides in a fair, even generous, manner, and I enjoyed her writing. She researched this case for quite some time, but I'd venture to guess that we'll be seeing more from Ms. Skloot.
The Story of Christianity Vol. 1, Justo Gonzalez
This is only the first half of the story, and it took me just about forever to get through--but that's just because I got hung up on all the details of corrupt popes about midway through. I'm not so interested in those details, so I had a really hard time pushing through that part. It was necessary, I understand, but still--blech. I did enjoy all of the theological discussions of the early church, and the political climate that dictated much of those developments. And towards the end, when it was talking about the beginning of the Reformation and the establishment of Christianity in the New World, I was also quite interested. I have the second volume on hand, but haven't quite decided to jump into it yet. On one hand, I'd love to finish it up by the end of the year, on the other hand, who I am kidding?