Reading is breathing for my brain.

Books that I am reading at the moment… I have more, much to my own consternation. I could never master the art of one book at a time. but, here are the ones I’m most consumed with right now:

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.

I picked up this novel after reading a review by a friend a few years back. The poor thing had been sitting on my shelf for quite some time before I picked it up again a few weeks ago. The first half  was slow in a way,  Atwood’s prose at times seeming superfluous and frustrating. I caught myself sighing a few time while reading; “get to the point, already…” But then something happens towards the middle that changes the monotony of the Handmaid’s life, and you finally start catching onto what exactly happened to bring things to the place that they are.

I do put out a warning: The book seems to play off of taking a certain text from Scripture out of context. The new governing power in America is a group of religious zealots, who have played off of the passage of Abraham and Billah having a child for Sarah. War has broken out. Women are no longer able to hold jobs, income, read, or dress the way they choose. Infertility has swept the nation because of some nuclear and chemical contamination. The powerful men in society are allowed a single handmaid, which they try to conceive a child with. The Handmaid, who had a full life before the Eyes erased it completely, starts to question the authority of such a structure, and begins to find new friends in unlikely places.

  The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis.

I haven’t had the pleasure of reading such an excellent character study since Anne Bronte’s Agnes Grey. I am sure most of who are reading this are familiar with Lewis’ work in some way or  another. He is one of those Christian Father’s whose work stands as a pillar of the faith.

I had read only the Chronicles of Narnia before this. The book is, of course, written in a letter format. Screwtape addresses his nephew, Wormwood, on how to properly bring down a human. And you know what? Some of the techniques were chillingly familiar. It soon became a character study of myself, in a way, while I was reading. I soon adopted the habit of reading out loud. It was written as a letter, after all, and Lewis’ vocabulary and style is as satisfying as a cold glass of water on a blistering day. I love filling my mouth with his words. Lewis is sharp, intelligent, and makes our time worth while.

Read it. It is convicting and uplifting all at once, and you will be a better person for it.

 Band of Brothers, by Stephen E. Ambrose.

If you’ve watched the miniseries, you know that you need to read this book. It wasn’t until Band of Brothers that I finally understood why men are so wholly absorbed by WWII history. It’s been fascinating to read about the men who were possibly the best trained soldiers in the war, sacrificing all they have for their fellow men, and their country. I don’t think I need to say anything more.

 The 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear, a novel, by Walter Moers.

My Co-worker, Josh, let me borrow this book after we found out that we both share an affinity for literature, a good read. I’m only a few pages in, but I can tell I’m going to like it. It has touches of Shel Silverstein, with it’s whimsical plot and sketches, and feel of British humour in the way it explains impossible things in a casual way. Think Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

It’s going to be an immensely enjoyable.

 Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin.

My mother gave this book to me for Christmas a few years back, and it’s been collecting dust ever since. Now that school is out, and I’m not working full time, I took it to Cannon Beach with me.

Helprin is a complex writer, and I’m bewildered by the detail. I’m fairly swimming in his world, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.

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