What I've Been Reading Lately
I think it’s been some time since I last shared any book reviews with you. Honestly, I have completely lost track of time. I guess this year is the true test of “time is but a construct” as my kids like to joke. Regardless, I figured I would share some comments on a few books I’ve read recently and I won’t bore you with any work-related ones.
The first is Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. I was reminded of this book from watching an old ‘No Reservations’ on Netflix. It was when Anthony Bourdain visited the Ozarks. I watched the movie version of the book years ago and recalled it was a great film. As usual, the book is that much better. I was surprised how much difference there was between the book and the movie, as least as I can remember. It was a bit hard to get going with the books as it took me some time to get used to the characters’ dialect, but once I did it was a quick read at less than 200 pages. In case you are not familiar with the movie, the story is about a teenage girl who is basically caring for her two younger siblings and her mother. They are extremely poor and live on the family property in the Ozarks. Their father, a meth cook, is out on bail and has disappeared. The bail bondsman tells the girl the dad, Jessup, put up the home and property for his bail. If he doesn’t show or they don’t bring in his body they will lose the land and be homeless. The story then involves her looking for the dad. I have now requested a bunch of Woodrell’s books from the library. Oh, if you need to know who did in Jessup, I think I figured it out.
I just read this one over the weekend, Cherry by Nico Walker. I tried reading this one in the last year but returned it to the library. It was just not that interesting. The book has been made into a movie and I saw some pictures from the film so I decided to try it again. The movie was filmed around Cleveland and my older son had a chance to be an extra, but he chose not to. He said he would have had to miss stats class and shave his head. I wasn’t sure which was more important. Bonus – I know someone who had a speaking role in the movie. We shall see if he survives the cutting room as his part was not in the book. Now, onto the book. I still don’t know what I think of it. It is about a young man with a drug addiction from Cleveland who fails out of college, joins the Army and is deployed to Iraq as a medic, comes back home and his addiction only gets worse, and then he starts robbing banks. Nico’s writing style was hard for me to get used to. I’m not sure if it was on purpose, but I felt like I was reading something written by a person high on speed. I was telling my older son about it and had him read one paragraph. My older son is a prolific reader and he agreed it was an interesting style. Plus, it was written in first person, which always throws me. I’m glad I made it all the way through this time and hopefully I will figure out what I think about the book😉
This next section isn’t a book review, but a mention of an author who I have been reading recently. Bart Ehrman is a professor at UNC and is an expert on the New Testament and early Christianity. I came across his name in another book and decided to check him out. I have now read a handful of his books this fall. He comes at his topics of the New Testament from a different perspective than most authors I’ve read before. It is probably his background as both a PhD and a Master of Divinity. Basically, in great detail he covers everything from what history tells us as well as what we’ve been taught via our respective organized religions. I will say as someone who attended Catholic grade and high schools, I picked up a ton already in his books. Either I was not paying any attention for 12 years or there was just a lot left out of my religion classes. If you are looking for a book to start with, I would recommend Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. It is an easier read of his, but still a ton of research and information.
These are just a few of what I’ve gone through recently and would recommend. As always, I’m open to any recommendations you may have. I just prefer them to be ones I can check out from the local library.