Looks at Books

... as opposed to actually reading them.

This semester has killed, so I've got a couple of bookcrossing bookrays that have stayed at our place for far too long. I finally got Krakauer's book out the door this week. Krakauer's book filled some gaps in my understanding of the history of the Mormons and the United States, though I wish he had taken a closer look at the social and economic lives of the early settlements. Instead, we get episode of violence followed by another episode, and so on.

Antonia Forest died last December. AlexLit has been plugging her series of young adult novels, 13 written over 35 years. Most of the novels follow the children of the upper-class Marlow family as they work their way through a prestigious boarding school and several harrowing holiday breaks. The children are intelligently portrayed, and the more serious of them are as inclined to theological wandering as Linus van Pelt. For the last couple of years, AlexLit has been pushing The Player's Boy at me, the first of two books concerning one of the Marlow ancestors. Escaping from an untenable school situation, the boy fakes as Shakespeare's nephew, traveling with the theatrical troupe. In this manner, Forest got to replay a few of her favorite themes: the joys of the theatre, and Catholic faith in Anglican England. Oh, and there's some violence, so there seems to be a theme to this post. There often seems a mournful quality to stretches of Forest's novels, and they are so keenly described. I guess that's why I follow the computer's advice and keep coming back to them.

With all this talk of religion, I should note that Krakauer closes Under the Banner of Heaven with an interesting statement of his beliefs, which echo mine surprisingly well. He takes a largely agnostic approach, with an appreciation for the appeal that religion has for addressing the mysteries of life. Here's another interesting statement of beliefs, which also make for a pretty good read.

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