We're starting to have more opportunities to talk to each other about what we are reading. The Library has organized a great "What Are You Reading" lunchtime series (thanks Laura!). More of us are posting quick reviews on the Visual Bookshelf app on Facebook.
Wouldn't it be great if the LIbrary Web pages had a social element...a place where we could post and search for reviews from local people. Sort of like what Amazon does...but totally local. I care a great deal about what the people I work with are reading and what they think about their books. How could we make this happen?
The perfect book if you are: a) Biblically illiterate, b) want to know more about the roots of your religion, and c) are too lazy to actually read the Bible. Since I hit on all three of these criteria I definitely quality - I'm thinking of buying copies for my whole family. We could discuss Plotz's book at Passover. Actually, I'm more convinced then ever that I need to sit down with the Bible as a route into my heritage. I got so much out of Good Book because I know so little about the Good Book. Stunningly little. Plotz is funny, smart, irreverent, generous, and argumentative.....all the things that my people pride ourselves on. This book came out of "Blogging the Bible on Slate" - perhaps one of the few instances of any redeeming qualities for blogging.
An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage
Nothing beats books that tell the history of the world through something we can get our minds around. I love books that take narrow subjects to tell huge stories. Standage is a master of this craft. If you love reading about food and love big history then this book is a 5 start treat.
American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis
When I need to get away from learning technology I retreat to the 18th century. Ben Franklin is my usual companion....but I'm down with the whole band of brothers. Reading about our revolution and our revolutionaries reminds me that our country has faced much longer odds and much bigger challenges in our past. Reforming health care and education may be tough, but nobody is going to get hanged by the British if we fail. My time with Thomas Jefferson mostly came in relation to Ben Franklin's years in France or familiar stories about the writing of the Declaration of Independence. Ellis' book is great because he does not try to be exhaustive (an impossibility) but focuses on the character and times of Jefferson.
Connelly is among my top 5 favorite crime and police procedural writers. Both prolific and entertaining, Connelly's books are always strongly plotted with good detail and appealing characters. Beach books you can read all year round.