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PedanticPastorMartha

PedanticPastorMartha

Joined June 2016

Trying to read all the books....
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Echoes in the Darkness by Joseph Wambaugh
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The Nix by Nathan Hill
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The Story of My Life by Clarence Darrow
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Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright
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The Divine Milieu by Pierre Teilhard De Chardin
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Barkskins: A Novel by Annie Proulx
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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

Fascinating account of the Greely Expedition to the Arctic (1881-1884). Levy strikes a nice balance between details and conciseness. I raced through the last third, desperate to know who (if anyone) survived and how. Levy also gives each person a real character, based on his readings of their writings/diaries/expedition accounts.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

Clear and damning history of prisons in the US from the colonial period to the present. Christianson covers a broad sweep of history, so this is a foundational or basic text, but a good place to start.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

Highly enjoyable! What might happen if fictional characters could be “read” into life? We all have our own versions of those characters—some positive, some not so. How would the characters feel about being alive? What if one of them wanted to take over the world?

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

Divide and conquer—or, cutting off your nose to spite your face.

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PedanticPastorMartha
The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir | Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Mehso-so

I can‘t quite put my finger on why this book fell flat for me. The idea is good—exploring your own painful past via a parallel story—And I love the way she writes. The topic is disturbing—child sexual assault and murder—but I read a lot of crime. Maybe the structure? It just never quite jelled for me.

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PedanticPastorMartha
The Great Believers | Rebecca Makkai
Pickpick

In the style of Tales of the City, Makkah has written the story of Chicago‘s gay community from the 1970‘s to the present. While I enjoyed it, and I think she writes incredibly well, she left out a big part of the story—the lesbians and bisexual women who cared for so many of those who lived (and died) with HIV/AIDS. She obviously could not cover every story, but I think this is a significant omission. Otherwise, I loved it! Well worthwhile.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Last Mrs. Parrish | Liv Constantine
Mehso-so

Beach read. Engaging and interesting enough to keep reading, but no literary depth. Good profile of a sociopath, though...and a narcissist, enough to trigger memories of a past relationship I had with one of the latter.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

Really enjoyed this. Gael puts flesh on the bones of what we know about Charlotte and Arthur, without going too far into fantasy or romance.

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PedanticPastorMartha
The Boleyn King: A Novel | Laura Andersen
Bailedbailed

I really wanted to like this book/series. It‘s one of my favorite periods of history, and the idea of a surviving son of Henry VIII is fascinating. Unfortunately I could not engage with the characters, none of them rang true, and OMG was the action slow. Ultimately, I just couldn‘t accept it as a possible alternate history, and had to quit.

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PedanticPastorMartha
The Satapur Moonstone | Sujata Massey
Pickpick

A bit slow to get started, but just as good as the first. Massey is a great mystery writer, I can‘t wait for #3 in the Perveen Mistry series!

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PedanticPastorMartha
A Brightness Long Ago | Guy Gavriel Kay
Pickpick

I love, love, love GG Kay, and this is one of his best. His writing is so beautiful and the characters engaging. I preordered it, knowing how much I like his books, and I am not sorry! Highly recommended.

Kammbia1 I have become a fan of Kay as well. A Brightness Long Ago was an excellent read. Children of Earth and Sky is my favorite Kay novel I have read so far. 8mo
3 likes1 comment
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PedanticPastorMartha
Marsh King's Daughter | Karen Dionne
Pickpick

This actually falls somewhere between a pick and so-so—it was good, but not stellar. I liked Dionne‘s use of the fairy tale, and her taking on the challenge of an unconventional narrator. She didn‘t succumb to stereotyping, either. But—-I wish she had explored the mother-daughter relationship more, and I wanted to understand her marriage better, too. Definitely not a waste of time, but not outstanding.

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PedanticPastorMartha
HORIZON. | BARRY. LOPEZ
Bailedbailed

I have tried two of Lopez‘s books and just can‘t get hooked. His writing is beautiful, but it doesn‘t pull me in enough to commit to the whole book. I enjoy travel writing and geography, so you‘d think it would be a natural, but no...

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

The authors not only tell the stories of miscarriages of justice, but lay out the cases against Hayne and West clearly and definitively--and explain why nothing can be done. Expert testimony is an contested area of law/evidence, for reasons that they explain well. Well-written, exhaustively researched, highly recommended.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

Amazing! O‘Meara presents the story of a talented woman few know about, sadly—Milicent Patrick, artist, designer, and creature creator in the heyday of Hollywood‘s monster movies. She created the Creature from the Black Lagoon—but misogyny was even more prevalent in that time, and she didn‘t receive the proper credit. O‘Meara draws parallels to today‘s media world, and tells her own story of research. She‘s a fantastic writer, btw.

PedanticPastorMartha Also, Patrick‘s story is fascinating in other ways—frex, she grew up at the Hearst Castle. Her father was a structural engineer for the various building projects. She was smart and talented—and also stunning, but especially the first two. Excellent read. 9mo
2 likes1 comment
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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

Fascinating look at Egyptian royal women who ruled ancient Egypt. Cooney points out parallels and differences between them and later female rulers, and speculates that they were able to rule because the ruling class realized they were the best option for maintaining stability.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

Fantastic. Trying to find time to read #3 in this trilogy. Barker keeps up the quality of his storytelling—he‘s not just stringing things along. Girton has become one of my favorite fantasy characters, and I am willing to bet he will become equally dear to you.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

Outstanding. Gilliard builds a solid case for Christians to support people who are incarcerated-advocate, work, visit them, not spiritualize them or Jesus‘ references to prisoners. He also points out how US Christians have failed incarcerated people through narrow-minded theology and an unwillingness to show love, not to mention denying God‘s love and grace for all people. Highly recommended.

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PedanticPastorMartha
The Orenda: A novel | Joseph Boyden
Mehso-so

Boyden's prose is beautiful, plot good, characters well-drawn-but the controversy over his claim to Metis heritage, and thus the foundation on which this novel rests, left me unsettled. It's a very dark story, by its very nature; I am not delicate but the detailed descriptions of torture were unnecessary after the first couple. Still, I recommend it as one way to understand the complicated relationships between 1st Nations people & Europeans.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Womanist Midrash | Wilda C Gafney
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Rev. Dr. Gafney will change the way you read/study/preach Scripture. And thank God for that! Her work opens up a whole new dimension for those of us who are non-melanated (i.e., not people of color) women--not to use, because it is not our heritage, it is not ours to use--but to help us to understand, to shed light on what is happening, to see what translators have obscured for centuries behind racism and misogyny. Highly recommended.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

In a rare miscalculation, I recently found myself with a seven-hour airport wait and 2.5 hour fight, about to finish a book, with no more reading material. Imagine my panic! Luckily, I found Beasts in the newsstand. Beasts is indeed extraordinary--magical, absorbing, tender (both in tone and in what it will do to your heart), funny and fascinating. Achingly beautiful, lovely characters; perfectly plotted. Read it.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Discovery of Witches | Deborah Harkness
Pickpick

Loved this and looking forward to the next book! Harkness creates real characters, knows her history, wine, herbs, and Oxford! She creates enough mystery to tantalize, but reveals enough to satisfy--while arousing your curiosity even more. Diana and Matthew are likable, as are Ysabeau and Marthe and Sarah and Em and--well, many of the creatures. I am hoping to meet some allied humans, though...

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

Farrell tells an honest story of a great man's life--Darrow was indeed "defender of the damned," as Lincoln Steffens said, of the marginalized or outcast. Ahead of his time too--feminist, anti-death penalty, free love advocate, prison abolitionist, anti-fascist, pro-labor, agnostic, pro-science. Also his own worst enemy. Readable; heartbreaking at the end. His memorial today is a bridge in Chicago's Jackson Park where he practiced his speeches.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Windy City Blues | Renaee Rosen

Loving this book! The historical detail, the characters (real and imagined), and Chicago itself--wow. Rosen doesn't sugarcoat a thing, and yet her characters are all likable, especially Leah and Red. I'm reading it when I should be reading other things...

PedanticPastorMartha Highly recommended! The historical figures seem fictional, but yes, that's really how it happened--Rosen did collapse a few timelines and characters, but otherwise the events are real. A couple of fictional characters anchor the plot--and I love Leeba and Red! An amazing story that weaves together the history of Chicago, the blues, jazz, the recording industry, civil rights, and rock and roll. Outstanding! I am off to find Rosen's other novels... 2y
2 likes1 comment
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PedanticPastorMartha
Fascism: A Warning | Madeleine Albright

Alarming and necessary reading. I'm 45 (ha!) pages in; parallels are not predictions, but as Madame Albright says, they can be a warning. History is our friend.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Age of Assassins | RJ Barker
Pickpick

Excellent! I love finding a new series; I can't wait to read the next one (Blood of Assassins). The character of Girton is extra fine--his disability doesn't define him, and isn't even remarked on that much, nor does it prevent him from doing what needs doing. I also enjoyed the casual equality--some soldiers were male, some female; some people preferred the company of their own gender; neither was, again remarked on; that was just how it was.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Fascism: A Warning | Madeleine Albright
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Weekend reading options—where to start? Probably with Fascism, then move on to Assassins, followed by...📚

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PedanticPastorMartha
The Hellfire Club | Jake Tapper
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Pickpick

Good read! A few anachronisms, but otherwise good flavor of the time and place. I predict a big beach read this summer. Tapper is also saying a lot about the current political scene. Also, a warning--do not begin this in the evening, you might not get to bed that night!

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PedanticPastorMartha
The Hellfire Club | Jake Tapper
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Tonight and tomorrow's reading. #DayOff #WashingtonGeek

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PedanticPastorMartha
Mehso-so

While the book was mostly interesting, Schechter dilutes the interest by including several other murders that took place nearby without drawing a clear connection between them. There was no other real tie--young(ish) women, murdered, in or near Beekman Place, with most attention given to Robert Irwin (the "mad sculptor" of the title)--but why include the others? Irwin's story is compelling on its own, and would have been enough.

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PedanticPastorMartha

“Let bygones be bygones” is not a legitimate approach if we wish to call ourselves a constitutional democracy.

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PedanticPastorMartha


By failing to recognize that we now live with the severe, enduring effects of de jure segregation, we avoid confronting our constitutional obligation to reverse it. If I am right that we continue to have de jure segregation, then desegregation is not just a desirable policy; it is a constitutional as well as a moral obligation that we are required to fulfill.

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PedanticPastorMartha
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Pickpick

Very good account of one division of the Cook County Public Defender's Office. Well-balanced and fair.

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PedanticPastorMartha
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Pickpick

Looking forward to more in this "projected series" of mysteries set 1920s Bombay (as it was then called in English). Great characters, well-researched, interesting plot--no jarring missteps that I noticed at all (and I am picky!). Especially interesting to me is that the main character and her family are not English, Hindu, or Muslim, but Parsi--a strand in Indian multiculturalism that we in the West don't hear/know much about. Well worth a read!

Booksnchill Loving this so far! 2y
1 like1 comment
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PedanticPastorMartha
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"Though Hitler was to forget it when he came to power in Germany, one of the lessons of his Vienna years... is the futility of a political party‘s trying to oppose the churches. 'Regardless of how much room for criticism there was in any religious denomination...a political party must never...lose sight of the fact that... a purely political party has never succeeded in producing a religious reformation.'" But pol. parties have co-opted churches.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

Readable & on target. Franken provides a good primer re: how things happen in the Senate (for those whose civics classes weren't funded) & his journey into politics. My favorite quote: "But if you can say something that is provably false, and no one cares, then you can't have a real debate about anything." This is his (and my) central frustration w/public discourse now-palpable lies that are allowed to stand & then affect events.

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PedanticPastorMartha
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When other people go on vacation, they bring back seashells, tans, miniature Eiffel towers, keychains, and fudge. I bring back books. My haul from one vacation bookstore visit--they had a used section, including CDs (Best of Bowie for $9!!). And Sen. Franken's new book at 25% off! Plus a GG Kay I have not been able to find here (also in used section). *Sigh* My bank account may not be happy, but I am.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Who Fears Death | Nnedi Okorafor

It's been a long time since I read a book I couldn't put down... Wow. Okorafor has lots to say--about the environment, the marginalized, war, women, and so much more. And the way she uses language! And her characters! Just read it. You will not be sorry. TW:sexual assault

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

The ultimately sad tale of a man living on the fringes of society in rural Maine for almost thirty years. Chris Knight essentially couldn't fit into modern society, and so left it. Ironically, he still lived off it, surviving by stealing food, clothing, and supplies from his neighbors. What happens to square pegs when all the holes are round?

RaimeyGallant Interesting. 2y
4 likes1 comment
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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

I have no words (astonishingly). Read it.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Binti | Nnedi Okorafor
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I didn't realize this was a novella! Now I am really hungry for more! Beautifully written. Okorafor brings life to a universe in which humans are one among many sentient beings. Binti is 1stof her gifted group within humans to leave Earth and attend an interstellar university--a rarity among rarities. no space opera cliches here. Outstanding. If you enjoy alternative fiction, read this. Getting on the wait list for the next book in the series now.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Lincoln in the Bardo | George Saunders
Pickpick

I am not even sure what to say about this book. Moving, powerful, sometimes difficult, sad, occasionally comic... I am not sure about the ending. I just finished it today, and have to think about that a bit more. Read it.

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PedanticPastorMartha
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Pickpick

All-too-believable dystopian vision of the US after an economic collapse in 2029. Given the economic situation in 2008 (which inspired the author), and the frustrations of many people even today, parts of the novel felt like a natural progression, and perhaps not as far away as 2029. Also serves as refresher for Econ 101. Recommended.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

Jamison balances the clinical and the literary. She doesn't romanticize Lowell's illness (he lived with bi-polar illness, and was quite open about about it) or make it the source of his poetry, nor use it as a cause for his creating less than he might have (as if what we hVe isn't brilliant!). Sometimes her flash-forwards and flash-backs are a bit confusing, but otherwise this is a well-written and outstandingly beautifull, even, biography.

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PedanticPastorMartha
The Great Deluge | Douglas Brinkley
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Complete lack of leadership at the top in New Orleans. Smaller places and parishes had leadership, and many of the agencies, and some of the lower levels in the city agencies. But Nagin? Incompetent. And I am only 1/3 of the way into the book! Of course, he's not alone...there were band-aids for decades that contributed to the tragedy. This book is just not good for my blood pressure. Of course, it's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback....

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PedanticPastorMartha
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Pickpick

Highly recommended! Literate, romantic, historic, and taught me a lot about China and tea! See doesn't sugarcoat reality about life in China for ethnic minorities, for Asians in the US (adopted from their birth country or not), or the tea trade. Her characters are (with one exception, and I'll let you figure out who that is) well-rounded and realistic. I have enjoyed her other books and look forward to more!

3 likes1 stack add
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PedanticPastorMartha
Long Black Veil | Jennifer Finney Boylan
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Pickpick

Wow. JFB does it again. I have one niggle with the plot, but it's minor. Who decides who we are, and when? If that's changed, by us or someone else, does the old narrative become a lie? What happens when the story in your head doesn't match what everyone expects of you, wants from you? Can you really change who you are? JFB has constructed this so carefully, beautifully, heartbreakingly--it is very nearly perfect. Read it. Then read it again.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Long Black Veil | Jennifer Finney Boylan
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OMG, OMG! It is finally in my hot little hands (well, OK, downloaded into my Kindle app)! You know where I'll be every spare moment the next few days (and some not so spare...)! 📚

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PedanticPastorMartha

"There may be few moments more dangerous to a colonial order than the collapse of a system for classifying the loyalties of subject peoples." Which is, in part, what the Ghost Dance did.

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PedanticPastorMartha
Pickpick

Great read--thought/provoking on how society decides who gets medical resources, especially in crisis situations, and who is held responsible for those decisions. Fink makes s good case for encouraging out of the box thinking in those crises, too.