Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Meme for Review

A bit like playing the childhood game of "Operator," since I've been tagged by Bill West at West in New England who was tagged by Lori Thornton at Smoky Mountain Family History who was tagged by . . . Or maybe it is more like that shampoo commercial from the 1970s: "and they told two friends, who told two friends, . . ."

So here goes. And like Jasia, I think everyone's been tagged so I will pass on that part of the meme!

What issues/topic interests you most--non-fiction, i.e,
cooking, knitting, stitching, thereare infinite topics that has
nothing to do with novels?

I hardly ever read fiction which some readers may find quite surprising given my writing style. While some tend to be voracious readers of fiction and then find that this helps their writing, I am of the opposite camp. For example, with this meme, I purposely did not read what others posted except for Bill West's since he tagged me. I know that later tonite I will read all the responses, voraciously and joyfully spend hours using links to new blogs, new people, new concepts. But there are times when I need to remove the din of other voices, however wonderful and valid, in order to make mine come through. I hope this makes sense.

I adore non-fiction especially history and religion. While I can easily keep up with some of the most academic tomes, I prefer those written towards the common man but still give accurate information and proper citations, footnotes, etc. Sort of like watching a piece on PBS and then going off to investigate the topic on my own. I am a big fan of US Presidential history (not politics per se, but what the person achieved or failed to achieve while in office), architecture, migration patterns, settelement movements, spiritual movements and sects such as the Shakers and the Oneida or Amana communities. It really is varied.

In terms of religion I prefer works that look at religion, dogma, morals, ethics and spirituality from various perspectives. Favorite authors are the late John Boswell ("The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance" and "Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century"), Harold Kushner ("When Bad Things Happen to Good People" and "Who Needs God"), Elaine Pagels ("The Gnostic Gospels" and "Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity"), and Karen Armstrong ("A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam").

Would you like to review books concerning those?

I would enjoy writing reviews of works similar to those mentioned above with my motivation being a chance to simply write.

Would you like to be paid or do it as interest or hobby?

I am not sure that I have the qualifications to review such books, or any book really, at a level requiring compensation. Of course, with any reviewer, the interpretation of the work, its quality, its usefulness, etc. goes through the filter of the reviewer. So there is going to be some bias as there is with any reviewer.

Would you recommend those to your friends and how?

The best way to recommend books would be to probably post about them on a blog or one of my blogs. I don't care to discuss books or movies at parties since those types of conversation can often devolve into debates (perhaps I just go to the wrong types of parties).

Another way is to join a book club which I did when I attended a church in San Francisco. Each Lenten season we would select a book and then discuss a chapter or chapters to see how it fit with our own personal view of religion and spirituality.

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