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Books I Read in 2010 (Pt. 3)

More glances at my 2010 reading...

*bold and asterisked books are ones that I recommend

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*The Physician by Noah Gordon (1986) (627 pages) - This is a novel that follows the entire lifecycle of a character.  It tells the tale of an English orphan of medieval times, who gradually finds himself pursuing his world's highest medical training, in Persia.  It's a dramatic story that indulges the dangerous complications of mixing differing religions, languages, and cultures in times of intolerance.  Apparently it is only the first volume of a loose trilogy.  Some of the sexual interaction is somewhat descriptive, if that bothers anyone.

*Understanding Iraq
by William R. Polk (2003) (221 pages) - Polk has apparently been studying and lecturing on Iraqi history for all of his professional career (and the guy is really old).   This super brief survey flies by... you certainly don't feel the author has wasted any of your time.  I am grateful for that sort of writing style, when the subject is one I don't particularly know much about, anyway.

The Nonviolent Atonement
by J. Denny Weaver (2001) (246 pages) - I found this theology book to be pretty inconsistent and otherwise unsatisfying.  I may have Christian pacifist conclusions, but they are quite different than those settled on in this work.  However, the book provides some exposure to feminist and black theology, which I'm in need of.

*An Inquiry into the Accordancy of War With the Principles of Reasoning by Which It is Defended.  With Observations On Some of the Causes of War and On Some of Its Effects
by Jonathan Dymond (1858) (124 pages) - So, this year I read several books on pacifism, but this is one of only two I recommend without hesitation  (the other being The Original Revolution).  I felt like Dymond was giving voice to many particular conclusions I had privately reached and had yet to share with anyone else- at least in literature as I have experienced it.  It's also interesting to see how he approached his own civilization:  the British Empire.  One of my favorite lines from this book went something like, "While we Christians may deny that our religion demands pacifism, the Jews and Muslims see it evidenced clearly enough.  So while we are trying to convert them, they remain unconvinced, saying 'First, convert yourself.'"

The Red Tent
by Anita Diamant (1997) (321 pages) - Another novel that follows the lifecycle of a character (a technique I find myself liking, the more I see it), this one reveals an alternative take on Dinah, the sole daughter of the patriarch Jacob's wives.  It is a hard and sad story... sometimes downright miserable.  I enjoyed the beginning section the most, by far.  It involves Dinah's growing up with all four of Jacob's wives, who pour into Dinah as the sole heir to their feminine ways.  After the slaughtering of Shechem event, the story got pretty grim without much consolation.  I guess I appreciate the realism in that though... to an extent.

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Long Live the Written Word,
Jake

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