Monday, November 30, 2009

Multiple readings

As a rule, I try to avoid reading multiple books at once. I'm not great at juggling multiple storylines or thought processes, and once I start a book I like to press through it as quickly as possible so I can move on to the next one. That being said, I'm actually moving back and forth between six books all at once right now:
  • Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining and Bad Attitudes... in You and Your Kids by Scott Turansky. This is one we're reading as part of a small group with some friends. We're supposed to get through one chapter a week, so it'll take about three months to get through the whole thing.
  • Choose the Life: Exploring a Faith that Embraces Discipleship by Bill Hull. Part of ANOTHER small group we're in. I'm about halfway through. It's very challenging to my long-bred idea of how to "do church," and there are elements that I find very difficult to come to terms with. But it's certainly pushing back some of my horizons.
  • The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann. This is my current "fun" book, the one I read while relaxing in bed or laid out on the couch. It's a story of post-Victorian era explorer Fawcett and his quest for a lost city in the Amazon jungle. Basically, it's about a guy way manlier than I can even conceive.
  • NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson. As a rule, I find parenting books kind of faddish. It seems to me that parenting should be a pretty instinctive thing. I don't mean we shouldn't THINK about how to parent, or that it should be EASY, but that over-analyzing it doesn't seem like the right approach either. This book documents studies showing that much of what we would consider the obviously correct approach to parenting can be wrong. This is one of the most eye-opening books I've read in a long time.
  • Vanishing Voices: The Extinction of the World's Languages by Daniel Nettle. This one is a tough read, so I usually only get through a chapter or so at a time. The writing isn't really superb, and many of their conclusions seem a little naive and politically-motivated, but the subject itself is interesting enough to keep me coming back.
  • Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution: A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First by Alister McGrath. This is the book that is absolutely kicking my butt. I asked a friend of mine for a suggestion about a biography of Martin Luther and he steered me to this epic tome about everything Reformation-related. I've found that I can't read it right before bed - it gets my brain spun up and I have trouble going to sleep. The problem is that the book is enormous, so it'll take me quite a while to get through it. But as a protestant Christian it's amazing to me to see the way so much of what I believe came to be.

The nice thing is that all of these except Choose the Life are on my Kindle, so I'm not having any trouble keeping track of where I left something. Hopefully I can finish a couple of these out before Christmas and get my list down to a (relatively) more manageable four books.