Friday, January 20, 2012

Reading Through 2012-2

Completed This Week:

God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible by Adam Nicolson
This meandering piece of popular non-fiction paints a picture of early Jacobean England. While the title may lead you to believe that it is in fact about the writing of the King James Bible, it is actually about an era, a context for, the creation of the King James Bible. It's fascinating. Nicolson describes social, political, and religious customs and debates.
Little is known about the Translators who created the King James Bible using previous English Bibles in addition to Hebrew and Greek originals (now recognized as corrupted copies). But Nicolson provides the context, and what little personal and political information that is available is placed within a general framework.
Nicolson essentially argues that the creation of the King James Bible was possible because of the atmosphere of the new succession-the hope for unity and peace. He also gives King James VI a more positive spin than most historians, painting him as a troubled, eccentric, but ultimately well-meaning, intelligent, and hopeful ruler who wished to give Britain a unity an sense of community that it did not possess.
Overall, if you like nonfiction, Renaissance or British history, or even Biblical histories then I would recommend God's Secretaries.

Everlost by Neal Shusterman
While last Friday I admitted to having a difficult time getting into Everlost, today I have completely changed my mind. After trudging through the first few (admittedly brief) chapters) I found myself rather enthralled with this first book in the Skinjacker trilogy.
This is the story of Allie and Nick, two strangers who die in a car crash and then lose their way into the light (at the end of the tunnel). They find themselves reborn into a limbo that admits only children (aged 16 and under it seems) called Everlost, and are accompanied by a young boy who has isolated himself in a forest.
Nick and Allie are determined to escape, and leave the forest to eventually discover more of the Everlost-which is nearly parallel to, but intersecting with, the living world.
They stumble across leaders and monsters slowly uncovering more of Everlost, and what it means to be forever lost there...

Moses: A Life by Jonathan Kirsch
Another non-fiction title, and also concerning the Bible! I think I quite enjoy non-fiction now that I've graduated from school.
Moses is a historiography that is part clever interpretation and part scholarly discussion that revolves around the Biblical figure of Moses.
I love historiographies, which are basically scholarly summaries of past scholars/trends in scholarship to determine what a certain topic was thought of at different points in time. In this case, the story of Moses is showcased and different opinions over the centuries regarding Moses are discussed in depth in Kirsch's monograph. Naturally, a large part of this book discusses the different authors of the Bible (may I recommend this?) and the stories found in the Bible itself. Kirsch does seem a bit repetitive in Moses, and some points are frustratingly redundant but I think that the overall effect of the book is positive.
Moses is thought-provoking and entertaining, so I recommend it.

Currently Reading:

Blade of Fortriu by Juliet Marillier

This is the second novel in the Bridei Chronicles. I didn't love the first one, but am compelled to read the second since I love Marillier's Daughter of the Forest and Cybele's Secret. This may take me a while to finish, but I did start it...

Amazon says: "Loyalties are tested and truth must be distinguished from dangerous lies in the gritty second book of the Bridei Chronicles (after 2005's The Dark Mirror), set in a land resembling early Scotland. Hoping to gain the support of nearby chieftain Alpin of Briar Wood in the fight against the invading Dalriada, King Bridei of the Priteni sends an offer and a bride: Ana, a fosterling "hostage" from the distant Light Isles raised in his court. Bridei's personal bodyguard and spy, Faolan, accompanies Ana on the arduous journey, saving her life and struggling to control his growing feelings for her. When problems arise at Alpin's rude court, Ana secretly finds solace with Alpin's mysterious brother, Drustan, long believed to be insane, who has been imprisoned for the murder of Alpin's first wife. Skilled world-building and characterization set Marillier's historical fantasy at the head of the pack."

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