What I’ve been reading

For the past 10 years I’ve been keeping a record of all the books I read. One thing that is interesting when I look back at the list is that in the years I have a nursing baby I read much more than in other years.

Now reading isn’t solely about quantity nor is it some kind of competition. But it’s interesting to me that when I’m supposedly busier than usual, I read more. Thinking about it a bit and the reason becomes somewhat obvious. As I mentioned in my last post I spend a major portion of the day sitting and feeding Ruth. A lot of that time I’m also reading. Nowadays, some of that is reading TO someone else (Curious George or Magic Treehouse or books for school). But a large portion is just me reading what I want. So I thought I’d share what I’ve been reading with you.

The Trouble With Boys by Peg Tyre. This is an interesting look at why boys are falling behind girls in school. Tyre documents how boys have fallen behind girls in most measures of school achievement: standardized tests, class ranks, college attendance (and graduation). She does a nice job of looking into the history of education policy and how the current school environment has developed into one that often is hostile to boys. She then has chapters that focus on the difficulties of boys at different ages including preschool where they are expelled at a rate five times that of girls and school-age where they are much more likely to be diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder.

The Birth-Order Book by Kevin Leman. I’m usually not a big fan of these pop-psychology books but this is a  quick read and an interesting look at how birth order effects personality. There is a lot that is true here and it’s fun to read it and see how it applies to people you know. I did get a little tired of it though because once he makes the main points he then makes them over and over and over again. I have to admit that towards the end I was only skimming as I just got tired of it.

I’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson. In this book Bryson has just come back to live in the Unites States after being in England for 20 years. He wrote a series of columns for a British paper about America and the columns then became this book. It’s quite funny and a nice quick light read.

Lighting Their Fires by Rafe Esquith. This is the newest book by Esquith, a teacher known by some as the “Best Classroom Teacher in America“. I had read one of his other books, Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire and been inspired by it and wasn’t disappointed by this newer book. Esquith is an amazing teacher. This book is structured around a Dodgers game to which he has taken some students. Each chapter talks about a different principle he tries to teach his kids, from time-management to decision making. His books are a  must read for anyone interested in education.

Saving Darwin by Karl Giberson. The subtitle of this book is “How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution”. The book is really less about that and more of a history of the development of the theory of evolution and the theory of creationism (as we know it today). Giberson is a physicist who was brought up as a fundamentalist Christian who believed in young-earth creationism. Once he went to college he became convinced of the scientific validity of evolution and had somewhat of a crisis of faith. I would have liked to hear more about how he resolved his own crisis and came to be a Christian that believes in evolution but there isn’t a lot of that here. He does do a great job of outlining the history of the evolution/creation debate and in discussing many of the issues surrounding the debate. My one issue with the book was that Giberson comes across as fairly arrogant and dismissive of those who believe in creationism. For example, in one passage he talks about how much harder it is to get a PhD in science than to become a lawyer, which he dismisses as “easy”.  Regardless of the fact that I’ve never really heard law school described as easy by those who have been, it’s just a pointless statement on Giberson’s part and distracts from the main discussion in the book. Overall though, if you can get beyond those few annoying passages it’s a very good book that gives a good overall picture of the creation/evolution debate. Another book on the same topic that I also would highly recommend is The Language of God by Francis Collins.

You might notice that there isn’t much fiction there, which is unusual for me. The next book on my list to read was War and Peace and I didn’t think my brain function was quite up to that yet. Plus, as a friend pointed out, Russian novels might not be the best thing for keeping away post-partum blues. The same friend recommended and lent me The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. It’s exactly the right thing for now. A thumping good read . I don’t really care about the historical accuracy or inaccuarcy at this point. I’m just having fun with the story.

How about you? What are you reading?

3 thoughts on “What I’ve been reading

  1. I also enjoyed the history of the Creation/Evolution debate in Saving Darwin, but Giberson *really* didn’t deliver on the subtitle, “How to be a Christian and believe in Evolution.”

    I really wanted to know how believing in evolution affected his understanding of theology, particularly the Fall and the Atonement.

    Another interesting history of part of the debate is Christianity and the Age of the Earth, by D.A. Young.

  2. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: October 17, 2009 : Semicolon

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