Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling): A very worthy (if a tad bit cheesy) ending. I was having a hard time imagining an ending that would be true to the themes / points she was developing — but she did it well (in my opinion). Worth reading, lots of action (sometimes too much).
“Revelation” (Flannery O’Connor): I’m hooked — I’d been told to read stuff by her before, told that I’d like her. I just got around to it, and I loved this story! She draws great characters that end up looking ridiculous but not so ridiculous that the reader can let herself off the hook. Great, fun, hard-hitting social commentary.
Wild at Heart (John Eldredge): A book about Christian masculinity with good themes and ultimate points. I had a hard time with the battle imagery, though. That language softened as the book went on.
Shame and Guilt (Tangney and Dearing): Book one for my class. Excellent book. It ends up saying that shame (blanket judgement of the whole self) is much harder on a person than guilt (judgement of the action)… among many other interesting studies and topics.
The Death of Ivan Ilych (Leo Tolstoy): Very dark, very good. My first paper for my class is on this book. When you read it, notice the dynamics of shame — it’s quite fascinating. Don’t ever read this book in January or February.
Books on Tape:
A Short History of Nearly Everything (Bill Bryson): Started out great, but I have limited tolerance for history / science books, and he ended up getting wordy and dry by the end. He does have lots of ideas of ways the world’s going to end, though… And he’s pretty amusing, on the whole.
Message in a Bottle (Nicholas Sparks): sappy romance, sad, not terrible writing, though nothing earth shattering.
Ethan Frome (Edith Wharton): Excellent, sad, dark, lots of stuff about shame in there… Set in a town about 20 minutes away from me. Another book not to read in January or February.
House of Mirth (Edith Wharton): I’m glad I listened to it rather than read it — some of the descriptions got long. But on the whole, I really like her books. I’m becoming more and more of an Edith Wharton fan (I’ve also read Custom of the Country and Age of Innocence). More about shame and guilt in this book, too… I tell you, it’s everywhere!