Go Set a Watchman

I just finished listening to the Audiobook of Go Set A Watchman, read very effectively by Reese Witherspoon. The manuscript was written in the 1950s but never published until it was discovered in 2014. The story is set after To Kill A Mockingbird, when Jean Louise (Scout) is a grown woman of 26. Go Set A Watchman was written before the more famous book, the main theme of which is summarized in a brief section.

Mockingbird was a gentler and more effective way of dealing with racism. Had she published the Watchman manuscript in the 50s, it would probably have been banned and its author blacklisted.

Mockingbird is probably a more perfect artistic accomplishment. Go Set a Watchman, though, has its literary moments, with some colorful characters and amusing scenes.  The scenes of the motherless child reaching puberty and the anxiety it causes should be required reading for every teacher or youth worker who deals with middle school children.

The last few chapters resemble a platonic dialog more than a dramatic story and consist of a series of intense exchanges between Jean Louise and those closest to her.  Her angry speeches against racism are countered with genteel defenses of the way things are and why it is necessary to go along and get along. It is this social commentary that we need now.

You remember back in November when everyone warned us to avoid politics and religion at the family gathering for Thanksgiving? Jean Louise’s speeches are the models for what we should have said.

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I’m Hooked

I met a new writer today, and I’m hooked.  A link on another site led me to the “Omega Course.”   Helen Ingram is using the blog format to write a novel about Jesus and Magic.

A year ago I was in Scotland and learned that the church there was using the Alpha Course as a nonthreatening way of introducing people to the life of following Jesus.  The Alpha Course has been around for a while, and it seems to be fairly popular.

The Omega Course is a way of introducing interested readers to the life of scholarship about Jesus and biblical studies.

It’s a success.  Helen has got me hooked.  I like her writing.

Of course, in the upside-down world of blogging you have to go back to the beginning and start reading from the bottom up.  The first post is “Biting the Bullet” from February 15, 2009.

My One Book List

1. One book that changed your life: 
In His Steps
by Charles Sheldon.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:

The Inferno by Dante Alleghieri

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:

Oxford Classical Texts edition of Homer, Iliad and Odyssey.

4. One book that made you laugh:

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

5. One book that made you cry:

The Source of Life by Jürgen Moltmann–the first chapter relating his experience as a prisoner of war in WWII. I read it about the time news of Abu Graibs came out; and Moltmann’s description of how he was treated with kindness and dignity by the Allied Forces made me weep for our nation.

6. One book that you wish had been written:
1968-1999 The Peace Years; ed by Robert Kennedy, with chapters by Martin Luther King, Malcom X, and John Lennon.

7. One book that you wish had never been written:

Medea by Euripedes.

8. One book you’re currently reading:
Jacob’s Tears by Mary Douglas.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Purgatorio and Paradiso by Dante.

Mark

A Little Help from My Friends

Here are a few “One Book” picks from some of my friends, and some of my friends’ friends. What are yours?

Zvaigznite’s books (artist)

1. One book that changed your life: Rachel and her Children by Jonathan Kozol
2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
3. One book you’d want on a desert island: Complete works of Anthony Trollop

4. One book that made you laugh: Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa
5. One book that made you cry:
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

6. One book that you wish had been written: The Autobiography of Andre Sedriks
7. One book that you wish had never been written: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
8. One book you’re currently reading: Sweet Revenge by Diane Mott Davidson
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: War and Peace by Tolstoy

Bill’s Books (former chess champion, cure for cancer researcher)

1. One book that changed your life: 1, 2. 3, Infinity by George Gamow
2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Nature of the Chemical Bond by Linus Pauling
3. One book you’d want on a desert island: A water resource management book
4. One book that made you laugh: Anything by Mark Twain

5. One book that made you cry: The last Harry Potter
6. One book that you wish had been written A book in the manner of Faraday that teaches modern science to kids.
7. One book that you wish had never been written: The Old Testament
8. One book you’re currently reading:
Proust was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Huck Finn by Mark Twain — I’ like to read this again

Carlos’s books (clinical psychologist)

1. One book that changed your life: Clinical Series on Self Psychology by Heinz Kohut
2. One book that you’ve read more than once: The Intersubjective Perspective by Robert Stolorow
3. One book you’d want on a desert island: The Complete Works of Western and Eastern Religions and Spirituality
4. One book that made you laugh: The last Harry Potter
5. One book that made you cry: A Prayer for Own Meany by John Irving
6. One book that you wish had been written: A seminal book on addressing the integration of neurobiology and psycho-analytic theory

7. One book that you wish had never been written: All Nazi Propaganda books and communist propaganda books
8. One book you’re currently reading: Retire on Less than You Think by Fred Brock
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Joanne’s books (grandmother)

1. One book that changed your life: The Enneagrams
2. One book that you’ve read more than once: The Blind Heart by Storm Jameson
3. One book you’d want on a desert island: The plays of Eugene O’Neil
4. One book that made you laugh: As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
5. One book that made you cry: Can’t recall
6. One book that you wish had been written: The Walter Family Genealogy
7. One book that you wish had never been written: Charles Manson: Music, Mayhem, Murder
8. One book you’re currently reading: Dangerous Admissions by Jane O’Connor
9. One book you’ve been meaning to read: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare