Monday, February 24, 2014

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University by Kevin Roose

Roose, a sophomore at very liberal Brown University, spends a semester at Liberty University, a conservative Christian university as a sort of "domestic study abroad." Liberty students follow (or don't follow) a 46-page code of conduct called "The Liberty Way" and take classes like Evangelism 101. Roose dives in 100% and attends Bible studies, hangs out with his dorm mates, and studies the course material (which actually requires more studying that he anticipated).

This is an even-keeled but personal piece of investigative reporting. Roose works as A.J. Jacobs' writing assistant, and you can tell that he's been well-trained and taught. I thought that he might be cynical and sarcastic and would poke fun at Liberty and its students and their beliefs. On the contrary, he is very respectful, open-minded, and is truly interested in getting to know people and what they think. He finds that Liberty students are humans who struggle with just like all of us.

This could have been a mean, mocking book but it is actually quite interesting and respectful. Nice job, Roose! What are you working on now???

Monday, February 17, 2014

Recipes for a Sacred Life: True Stories and a Few Miracles by Rivvy Neshama

There actually aren't any cooking recipes in here. The recipes for life are suggestions and stories about how to enjoy and appreciate life, and how to live in the moment. Some recipes make more sense than others. And some recipes were a bit too new-age-y for my tastes. But the author is quite the quirky, fun-loving lady and she does have a few gems to offer up.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves by Stephen Grosz

Grosz is a psychoanalyst living in London. The Examined Life is a collection of snippets about his clients and life themes that we all face and how we cope (or not cope) with problems.

Fascinating. I had to read this very slowly though. Each short little chapter had plenty to chew on for a day or so.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Cat Who Went to Paris by Peter Gethers

A funny, cute non-fiction tale about Norton, a Scottish Fold kitten who loves to travel and sit on his owner's shoulders. I've never heard about a cat who was so flexible, brave, and charming.

This isn't just one big description of Norton. His owner writes a narrative about their life together and the ups-and-downs they face. It is all quite touching. Norton brings Gethers into contact with some people he would have normally not talked to, and he finds that they have something to offer him.

A sweet book, especially if you like animals.