5 min read
If you know me or have read this blog for any length of time you know that I love reading. Most of the time I read historical or literary fiction. I also enjoy some good non-fiction every now and then – whether it is a popular science book or an exploration of a theological topic.
I enjoy living in the information age – I am a big fan of podcasts, the availabilty of watching famous theologians on YouTube and the easy access to books. However, the problem with all the content is that often I don’t fully absorb what I consume. I quickly forget details of what I read only a few days ago. Does anyone else have this problem?
What helps me is to talk about something I learned or to write about it. This is one of the reasons I write these little book reports from time to time. (I also write them because talking about books is basically the best thing ever!) So here we go – even though we’re more than half way through march here is my February book report!
Books I read in February
1918 Die Welt im Fieber – Wie die Spanische Grippe die Gesellschaft veränderte by Laura Spinney
The English title of the book is: Pale Rider. The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World. A very poignant read for these times! Around a third of the world population were infected with the Spanish flu. Spinney traces the societal, cultural and political consequences of the crisis and details strategies and their success in curbing the pandemic. Corona has been very humbling. It showed very poignantly that despite all our technology we are not in control of the forces of nature. However, after reading this book I am very grateful for the medical progress that has been made in the last 100 years. Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
Early last year I read both “On the Come Up” and “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. In her third book she revisits the same neighbourhood her earlier stories. “Concrete Rose” gives the backstory to “The Hate U Give” – it tells the story of Stars father Mav who, at the age of 17, fathers two children. Angie Thomas explores the damaging stereotypes and expectations of manliness that Mav is confronted with and how he manages to make his way in a world where he’s expected to amount to nothing. The story was incredibly gripping and I read this book in the course of two days. 5 out of 5 stars.
The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man by Abraham Joshua Heschel
Despite the book being relativly short, it took me a while to read it. This meditation on the meaning of the Sabbath is very rich and poetic. It was an absoulte joy to read due to the beauty of the language and the thought-provoking analogies and explanations about the holiness and wonders of the seventh day. I will definitely re-read this book. Another 5 star read.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
This was such a wonderful read. The main protagonist, Nora is full of regrets about her life. Through a strike of fate she finds herself at the ‘Midnight Library’ where she gets the chance to explore what could have been. What would her life have looked like if she had decided to pursue a career in swimming? If she hadn’t broken up with her boyfriend? If she was still playing in that band?
The book is both philosophical – exploring the idea of multiverses – as well as deeply compassionate and comforting. I LOVED this book. I could relate to Nora so much and her questions about whether she had taken the right turns and used her opportunities in the right way. It was like Matt Haig had looked into my soul and decided to write a book to help me deal with my issues. Ha! 5 stars with a bow on top.
Wie alles kam by Paul Maar
Paul Maar is a German author who has written a number of very popular childrens book. His most famous works are the “Sams”-Series which even as an adult I very much enjoy. “Wie alles kam” is Paul Maars account of his childhood. He was born in 1937 and it was fascinating reading about how he grew up in wartime Germany. I was astounded in how much the world changed during his lifetime. Also, even as a child he had a wonderful imagination and a way of making the everyday into an adventure. There were sections that made me laugh out loud and others that broke my heart. I would highly recommend this book if you can read German and looking for a non-shallow feel-good read. 5 stars.
Die Todgeweihte by Titus Müller
“Die Todgeweihte” is a historical novel set in the 14th century in Basel. I grew up in a village bordering Basel so I know the city fairly well. It was so interesting to read about what life was like here 700 years ago. The story is rather shocking – the citicens of Basel turn their frustration about social ills agains the Jewish population of the city and deal with them in very brutal ways. The Jewish girl Saphira manages to flee thanks to Christian and Tam, two influential men, who have fallen in love with her. The story was gripping and well-written. Some of the characters were a bit difficult to relate to for me. Overall I give this book 4.5 stars.
Loveology by John Mark Comer
Loveology by John Mark Comer explores the topics of love, marriage and sexual ethics. It aims to answer many complicated questions around those topics and gives a good overview of what the Bible has to say about male female relationships. I am a big fan of John Mark Comer and on the whole I really enjoyed this book.
However, in my opinion the book ignores the fact that most people have experienced some form of sexual trauma, abuse or hurt. The teaching that if we remain “pure” until marriage will result in us having sex in marriage that is instantly amazing and blissful is untrue and harmful. That being said, John Mark Comer paints a beautiful picture of the ideal God orginally designed. I think he could have acknowledged the healing and work that is necessary to get there more. Overall it was a very throught-provoking and helpful book. 4 stars.
I also update my current reads over on goodreads. What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?