The reading this month was a weird mix – but an intriguing weird mix. Also, as an aside, it was while I was reading this month that I noticed a bump on my hand… a bump which has turned out to be a cyst! The funny part? It’s commonly referred to as a Bible Cyst (and since I currently am attending seminary, it seems somewhat ironic. Also, I have used it to show my brother how seriously I am taking this whole education…much more spiritual than he ever was, tell you what.)! Back in the day – the days of yore and no Starbucks (in other words, the Days I Am Glad I Was Not Alive), they used to take the biggest book they had, which would be the Bible usually, and drop it onto the cyst to break it up and explode it! What?? I mean, I’ve heard of hitting people over the head with the Bible… but a cyst on your wrist?? For the rest of the month, I humored myself by imagining which book someone would drop on my wrist to heal me… guess which one I picked? You’ll be able to tell. Here’s my SAS (Short Attention Span) reading report for November:
Complications by Atul Gawande – Loved Gawande’s book, Being Mortal, and, once I finished that book, I immediately started reading Complications. Gawande was a resident surgeon when he wrote this book and it’s fascinating. Through case studies and personal experience, Gawande shows how human fallibility (on the surgeon’s side) mixed with the vast science of medicine affect the treatment we receive. Not even a topic I’d say I was interested in, but Gawande is a gifted writer and this is a Top Ten book of the year for me.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – Big Magic discusses creativity and how to “welcome it” into your life. While some of her ideas went a bit into what I call “the floaty” – I did like some parts of the book. My main takeaway was that your creativity needs to be expressed, whether it’s read or seen by hundreds, thousands or six. The point of creativity is not the audience, but the expression of the gift you were given.
The Book of Bebb by Buechner – This book was recommended to me years ago and has been sitting on my shelf, staring at me, wanting me to read it. I finally picked it up this month and enjoyed the story of Antonio Parr who, on a whim, answers an ad of a religious diploma mill. He eventually travels to meet the man who gives these diplomas away – Leo Bebb, the main character of these books. The quirkiness of the characters are what make this book and there’s no way I’m talented enough to really get across what fun these books are. It’s a look at a topic Buechner often writes about – the sinner and the saint rolled together into one. One reviewer stated it as such: “Is it possible that the unlikeliest of vessels, the obvious shyster, that round ball of contradictions and failings, could function as an instrument of grace?”
Also, after mentioning this book on Facebook, I found out a friend of mine loves Buechner too – and we had fun talking about how much we enjoy his writing. He got to meet Buechner – too cool! I love having reading as a common interest, but I try to keep calm about it when I find someone else who loves books – while really inside I’m like Buddy the Elf meeting Santa, “Santaaaaa!!!! I know him!!!” when you find someone with a love for reading like you have. “That book!!!!! I know it!!!!”
The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebowitz – Lebowitz is a blog writer and chef living in Paris. This book tells about him adapting to the Parisian way of life, with all of its eccentricities and beauty. If you like cooking or baking and enjoy a good story, you’ll like this book.
And now for the nerdiest book of them all: The Dictionary of Paul and His Letters by IVP Press. Oh my goodness, this book is huge. As in, huge enough for a Bible cyst. Whatwhat. And I love it. It is assigned reading to me for a class I’m taking this semester and usually I leave those books off this list – because well… well, because: Assigned Reading. To be clear, we don’t have to read the entire book…just sections. But this one is a great reference. It’s a dictionary, so think of a topic the Apostle Paul wrote about and it will be concisely summed up in this book. Think: “Marriage, Paul’s View of” or “Galatians, The Book”, “Tiffany, Paul’s Girlfriend Who Dumped Him aka The Thorn in the Flesh,” etc. (Okay, fine, that one’s not in there.) I want to buy this book for so many people. Which I guess is weird.
Our read aloud to the son this month was finishing up The Mysterious Benedict Society.