Ever since I rode a bus from Chicago to Minneapolis, I’ve been reading like the wind. I’m still working (very slowly) on Karen Armstrong’s The Great Transformation, but I also just bought Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion.
And for good measure I’m reading A Crack in the Edge of the World (about the San Francisco earthquake in 1906) and The Omnivore’s Dilemma (food and how it comes to us).
And finally, I’m still working on Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews. I’m between books when it comes to fiction, but I suppose if I were reading even one more book my head might explode.
What am I learning from all of this? The Crack book is underrated, and hasn’t done as well as the author’s previous book about Krakatoa, judging by the fact that I found it in bargain books. It’s a very cool explanation of continental drift, volcanic activity, and how the entire world works – geologically, anyway. I’ve just barely started Omnivore’s, but I do gather that corn is in a lot more foods than we realize.
Constantine’s Sword, as I’ve discussed before, is an extremely detailed examination of the way hatred of Jews, helped along in ways by the doctrines of the Catholic Church, led to the Holocaust. But I had to start over because I haven’t read it since Christmas, so nothing new on that. But The Great Transformation is just amazing. Armstrong starts out by explaining the history of each region before the Axial Age, and that helps you to understand where the ideas of the Axial Age came from. My best love in reading is history, but not just for the sake of knowing what happened Back When. I love history because it often explains how we got Where We Are Now. It may be part of my agnosticism that I treat religion the same way, but before I subscribe to a religious tradition, I want to understand it – not just what it says, but where it comes from.
The God Delusion is exactly what it sounds like, but I’m not reading it so I can avoid believing in God. So far, what he says squares with what I believe, oddly, except that his conclusion is that there is no God and my conclusion is that I don’t know. It also sharpens my understanding of why I believe what I believe, which is surprising from a book about why someone doesn’t believe at all.
And now I have to stop typing because my hands hurt. This is pitiful, but I helped friends lay sod yesterday and the only part of me that’s sore is my hands, from picking up the rolls of sod. Who knew?