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books: Summerland, What Jesus Meant, Brainiac

Filed under: — adrian @ 11:13 pm

I’ve been on a bit of a reading bent recently. Here are a few of the books I’ve finished recently. Here are my okay reviews of them.

Summerland by Michael Chabon
Andy recommended this to me after I read Mysteries of Pittsburgh. I finally got around to reading it. It’s the sort of book I don’t think I’d normally read; it’s about baseball–which I would read–but it’s also a fantasy story with multiple worlds and many non-human characters.

But it is an engaging story. Once I got a chunk into the book I couldn’t read it fast enough. One thing is that it falls into science fiction trap that has been joked about a little too much.

What Jesus Meant by Garry Wills
Some people will dismiss this just because of the title. That’s fine. While I think this book could have some non-religious audience, it’s written from a religious point of view. Wills is a Catholic and Greek scholar and historian. Part of what he’s doing is quite literal: all the new testament passages in this book are of his own translation, so he’s saying what Jesus literally said. But there’s also some interpretation and contextualization.

The main thrusts of the book are that Jesus was apolitical at every turn (so people talking of Jesus’ politics are wrong) and that in Jesus coming all the old Law was changed or destroyed. There’s a lot more to it that just that. I found it quite interesting and insightful.

Brainiac by Ken Jennings
I’m not even a closet trivia nerd. I just like it. I watch Jeopardy and I was pretty excited during Ken Jennings’ historic run on the show. That I knew he was a good writer via his blog was only added incentive to get the book.

It’s about his run on Jeopardy along with the history, characters and development of trivia as a pastime. It’s a lot nerdy, but it’s pretty well-written and interesting.

One Response to “books: Summerland, What Jesus Meant, Brainiac

  1. adrian is rad » I lost on Jeopardy Says:

    […] there’s a Shakespeare or art category that I know zero or one question on. Ken Jennings, in his book Brainiac brings up studying for categories like these. It becomes a practice of memorization, of connecting […]

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