Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls - one of my favorite books last year was a memoir by this author. This book was a "true life novel" about Jeannette's grandmother, Lily. An interesting read especially if you are curious about how people grew up in the Southwest a hundred years ago.Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell -- I pretty much hated this book from the beginning. I really don't like books that say the same thing over and over. The first chapter was about a dirt poor family conniving to steal turnips from a passing neighbor. If I heard them say one more time about how much they love turnips, but their turnips had "damn-blasted green-gutted worms in them" so please give me yours -- grrr. Thankfully the next chapter dropped this subject, but it was disturbing! Books like this feed contempt for the poor, the backward farmers, women preachers (or any perverted preachers because Bessie was perverted), the southerners who dare think like this. I guess it's for the best that people like this starve and/or burn to death with few people caring. Wouldn't want to bother any one with these lazy, perverted lowlifes, and the sooner this breed dies out, the better for all of us.
I enjoyed reading how the New Testament comes across to a rabbi. He wrote it for Jews, and many things that were familiar and innocuous to me in the NT, came across differently when I considered them from his perspective. I enjoyed how he concluded the book (see below.)
Here are a few notes I took.
"In the Jewish tradition there have been many men who have inspired in modern Jews ideals such as self-effacement, nobility, and exaltation, yet neither the Old Testament nor rabbinic literature depicts the ancient worthies - Abraham, Moses, David - as perfect. Not perfection, but goodness, has been the Jewish demand from the individual, a goodness which we Jews have urged upon ourselves as a personal responsibility to be nearly as perfect as possible. But we Jews have not equated strict perfection and goodness as interchangeable. If this standard seems deceptively to be lower than Christian perfectionism, we Jews would reply that the standard is not less exacting, but only more humanly tolerable. In the Jewish view, there have been many great men, but not any perfect man to be exalted above all others." (pg. 209)
And the conclusion: