My Reading List

Posted by Cecilia Leger on 8:56 AM

I don’t get to read as much as I would like so I make up for it by typically reading more than one book at a time (what ADD?). Here’s what I’m reading right now:

The Giver by Lois Lowry

“Jonas’ world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now it’s time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.”

This is my first Lois Lowry book and I’m thankful to Jared for introducing me to it. It’s a Newbery award-winner and a great read! Like so many other wonderful children’s books, it has so much to say for our adult world. As in all dystopias, there is a strong link between the control exerted over the populace and the control exerted over language. The book raises tough questions about wisdom and the importance of the past.

A Man of My Words by Richard Lederer

“Popular author and speaker Richard Lederer is one of the foremost and funniest commentators on the pleasures and quirks of the English language. In this far-ranging collection of essays, Lederer offers readers more of the irrepressible wordplay and linguistic high jinks his fans can’t get enough of, along with observations on a life of letters. From an inner-city classroom to a wordy weekend retreat, from centuries-old etymological legacies to the latest in slang, dialects, and faspeak, these essays transport, inform, and entertain as only Richard Lederer can.”

This is how the book opens: “The other day I went to the bookstore to buy a dictionary. The clerk showed me a really cheap one. I couldn’t find the words to thank her.” What can I say? Lederer had me at hello! The author is clearly and completely a lover of language; he is also quite funny! The book gives commentary on word usage and entertaining etymology, so this English major is in absolute heaven! Another big thanks to Jared!

Wired for War by PW Singer

“What happens when science fiction starts to become reality on the battlefield? A military expert reveals how technology is changing not just how wars are fought, but also the politics, economics, laws, and ethics that surround war itself.”

Chilling. That’s the best word I can use to describe this book. Singer uses a combination of history, technology, current events, and pop culture to help readers understand some very complex notions. Did you know that there are soldiers living in Nevada who are remotely killing terrorists in Afghanistan while sitting in a cubicle, then going home at night to dinner and little league games? That the same company that builds the Rumba (the little robot vacuum cleaner) also has a Pentagon contract to provide robot soldiers? That most of the companies that are creating these new technologies are private and would be perfectly happy to sell their wares to the Pentagon as they would to Al-Qaeda?

I heard an interview with the author on NPR (of course!). He has written extensively on the changing nature of war, with previous books on the nature and use of child warriors and mercenary armies. In this book he certainly describes the coolness factor of some of the cutting-edge technology being developed, but raises all the questions that he feels are being overlooked in our quest for the best and brightest toys. What about the psychological effects of the men who are fighting this new war? If wars in the past ended when one side couldn’t sustain any more deaths, what will happen if that is no longer a consideration? Current research is focusing on creating robots who will be able to collect information and then autonomously make a decision on how to respond, in essence “thinking” on their own. How far are we willing to take artificial intelligence? Didn’t anybody watch Terminator, for goodness’ sake?!

Waking the Dead by John Eldredge

OK. I’m cheating. I haven’t started this book yet. I’m putting it on the list because I plan on starting it tonight. It’s the book that we’ll be using as textbook for the Sabbath School class I attend. We just finished another book by Eldredge and will be starting this one tomorrow. I’ll write more about this one once I’ve actually read a chapter or two!


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