On Sabbath, April 4, I spent a lovely afternoon in Georgetown with the Howes and Karen Williams. Dumbarton Oaks, under the auspices of Harvard University, is a lovely manor house and grounds with cherry blossoms and gardens for wandering in. The house includes a research library and solarium. It was a fantastic day: beautiful weather, gorgeous gardens, and the great company of some of my favorite people in the world!
An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor
Even though my previous review wasn’t great, I did read this sequel to An Irish Country Doctor. I just can’t resist books set in England or Ireland!
The Shack by William P. Young
I can’t really say much about the plot without possibly spoiling it for future readers, but this book was recommended to me by several people, and so I finally found time to read it. It is a powerful story, and it brings God to life in a very different way than I’ve ever experienced. Even though I don’t agree with everything the author portrays, I think it’s an important read for anyone who wants to develop a stronger, more trusting relationship with God.
So, I have a strange fascination with epidemics. This goes hand in hand with my interest in natural disasters. I don’t know where this stems from, but the study of diseases (the black death, the great influenza, etc.) greatly intrigues me. This book has particular relevance because yellow fever, one of the most dreaded diseases of the 18th and 19th centuries in America, apparently isn’t completely wiped out. And, the government can’t possibly stockpile enough vaccines for everyone who would need one if an epidemic broke out. This book seems more readable than scholarly, and although I enjoyed it, I think the author left me a bit unclear about her warning at the end. Also, I’m not sure that she completely explained her subtitle: how did it shape our history? Still, I learned a lot, and it was interesting to read a story on CNN this morning about a massive grave that was just found in Alabama from the particularly virulent 1878 outbreak of yellow fever in the south. Our bodies are so fragile, and there are so many viruses and germs out there to destroy us. It’s amazing.
Till We have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis
I’ve been a fan of C.S. Lewis since I first learned to read. Even as an adult I still find gems of spiritual truths when I reread the Chronicles of Narnia. So, why had I never attempted to read his other significant fiction? This is the retelling of the story of Cupid and Psyche, from a different perspective. And although the story takes place in a pre-Christian world, Lewis is able to bring the book to a conclusion with relevance for today. The main character struggles with her belief in the gods, and then, once she knows they are real, struggles with why the gods do things the way they do. Ultimately she discovers that we cannot converse face to face with the gods “till we have faces” too. We cannot understand the divine reason until we are translated ourselves. Much food for thought.
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
I am trying to get through a bunch of “classics” that I’ve never read. This is one. The story of Charlie Gordon, a mentally disabled man, and the remarkable experiment to solve his disability, is a powerful and sad story. All young people should read it, as it encourages a sensitivity to those who are different.