Choosing a Book to Read

I’m going off the beaten path a bit with this post (Not that we need a distraction! heh-heh) and talk about Books – specifically the Titles of books.

While I used to be an avid reader of both hardcopy and eBooks, I now tend to spend my days reading blogs.  This isn’t to say I don’t read anything else –I also visit online news sites and the occasional science-related website– but most of my time is spent reading opinions and perspectives that others have shared.

In other words, most of my days are spent behind a computer screen. Rarely do I sit down in a comfy chair and just … read.

Before I became a computer nerd, however, I signed up with Goodreads. As some of you may know, at the beginning of each month, they send an email listing new releases within the various genres. Since I prefer Sci-Fi (generally with apocalyptic/dystopian themes –not fantasy or other-worldly settings), I tend to ignore most of the titles listed under Romance, Non-Fiction, History & Biography (and obviously Children’s) and scroll to my preferred genre — just to see if there might be a book I can’t resist. 🙂

Unfortunately, based on some of the titles for January, I found very few that piqued my interest. A few examples listed under Science Fiction:

  • Persephone Station
  • We Could Be Heroes
  • The Preserve
  • Nophek Gloss
  • City of the Uncommon Thief

I don’t know about you, but none of these sound very “science-fiction-y.” In fact, IMO, they could be titles for any regular fiction or even a non-fiction book.

So I decided to narrow my search and tried looking under books with a Dystopian theme. Not much better:

  • Atwood Testaments
  • Lakewood
  • Blue Ticket
  • Riot Baby (???)
  • The Warehouse

Again, not one of these titles prompted me to read the description.

As I considered this in a bit more depth, I wondered if authors get so caught up in their own storylines that they forget to identify with their potential readers. No doubt they rely somewhat on the book’s description, but if the title is so non-descript (as some of these are), why would anyone bother to explore further?

What’s your take on this? Does the title of a book affect your desire to read it? What method do you use when choosing a book? Do you also find the titles of books in your favored genre sometimes go off the rails?

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Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

This Is Real Life

I belong to a neighborhood “chat” group and today one of the members shared that two of his best friends — a former president (1986-2000) of the local community college and his wife — had both been admitted to the ER on Tuesday (12/8) with COVID-19.

A little over a week later (12/18), the couple’s son was also admitted to the hospital suffering from pneumonia and COVID-19 symptoms.

Later that day, the mother passed–dying alone because both son and husband were confined to their own hospital beds.

The father is now fighting for his own life and the son is being treated in hopes his condition doesn’t worsen. Neither can visit the other.

The writer made the comment how this event has put things into sharp perspective for him. When the virus hits this close to home, you suddenly recognize the very real danger it carries. He added that although he had planned to be with his sons over the holiday, he now felt it would be better for all to celebrate from a distance.

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Another COVID-19 case was included in our local newspaper. A woman who lives in a small Oregon community (2000 +/-) was not all that concerned about the virus. She did take some precautions (wearing a mask in public), but overall, lived life as usual — as did most others in the area.

In early November, she drove about 75 miles to visit her son (who has cystic fibrosis) and daughter-in-law. They all went shopping, had lunch, and just hung out at the house. Later in the evening as they were having dinner, the daughter-in-law got a call that her parents has gone to urgent care with flu-like symptoms … and it turned out to be COVID-19.

Just days before, the parents had driven to Idaho to pick up the girl’s grandparents, who had been there visiting a sick relative. I’m sure you can guess what comes next. The sick relative had COVID-19.

Now reality sets in. 

Without sharing a number of details, suffice it to say the woman, the son, and the daughter-in-law all ended up testing positive for the virus. The woman had the worst case with what she described as a severe head cold and breathing problems, but all the family members suffered the common symptoms. Fortunately, no one was hospitalized.

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What each of us needs to keep in mind is this virus is insidious. It can move undetected and be spread by people with no symptoms at all.

Once it manifests, it can make you feverish, tired, nauseous, out of breath, and may be accompanied by excessive coughing. Just a bad cold, you say? Perhaps. But that “bad cold” can land you in the hospital.

And it can kill you.

Along with the ones you love.

COVID-19 is Deadly Serious.

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Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

“Jenny”

An individual — we’ll call her “Jenny” — often visits not only my blog, but several others who write from non-theist viewpoints. By all indications, Jenny is a devout Christian; however (to her credit), she does not fall into the evangelical mindset. Instead she tends to take a more “intellectual” approach as she strives to persuade others that Christianity is not the “Big Bad Wolf.”

Nevertheless, based on the simple fact that Jenny follows the Christian god (via the Trinity), and the tenets of the book endorsed by the Christian faith, she regularly attempts to persuade non-believers to look at life through different lens.

(Of course, to those of us who believe Christians wear rose-colored glasses, we tend to discount not only Jenny’s reasonings and pleas, but others who fall into this category as well.)

An example of Jenny’s advocacy was recently illustrated on another blog where she pointed out that “confessing one’s sins” provided …

a good opportunity for honest self-reflection, to focus on our lives and think about if there are any ways we might be harming ourselves or others, and if so to take steps toward reconciliation and an amendment of life.

She added that through such actions people often experience a good measure of encouragement and healing.

Naturally, to those of us who discount the theory of “sin,” the actions outlined in the quote above are simply good practice as we traverse through this event called “life” — and we wonder why there needs to be any mention of “confession.”

To her credit, Jenny has shared that she greatly benefits from conversations with non-believers. She said it causes her to “really think deeply” about what she believes –and why– and makes her want to dig deeper to see if there might be another perspective to consider.

And to that, I would say … YES! There definitely is a far better perspective to consider!

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To Jenny and others who are convinced that “sin” exists, I strongly urge you to take a long and thorough look at the core beliefs of your Christian faith.

In so doing, I’m convinced you will see that Christian teachings and instruction are all meant to debase and devalue the human spirit — and then “renew” it by denouncing “sin” in your life and asking some unseen entity to make things all better.

Please! Stop allowing yourself to believe you are “fallen” and need “saving.” This is a fallacy to the nth degree. 

Instead, Recognize and Accept That
You Are Unique … You Are Special
Simply Because You Are YOU.

Ze Wall! Ze Wall!

Not everyone reading this post will remember the TV series, Fantasy Island (1977-1984), but for those who do, you will understand why I reworked its signature introduction for my title.

As most of us are aware, “THE WALL” has been an ongoing (and highly debated) promise of you-know-who. While the conjecture that Mexico was/is going to pay for it soon became irrelevant, the IDEA itself never completely faded away. It was simply replaced by the several hundred “other” things that have been part of this presidency (e.g., impeachment, COVID-19, etc.).

Unfortunately, all these more-pressing news items resulted in THE WALL slipping to the bottom basket of many news reporters. And this is a shame because this is what has been happening in the closing days of a president whose stubbornness is creating havoc at every turn:

Contractors Dynamite Mountains, Bulldoze Desert In Race to Build Trump’s Border Wall

As the NPR newsletter puts it:

Contractors are pulverizing the wilderness in southern Arizona to construct as much of President Trump’s U.S. border wall as possible before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. Builders are even dynamiting mountains — infuriating landowners and conservationists — as they plow through sensitive nature areas without regard to the work’s effects on wildlife.

I probably don’t need to say it, but the current leader of the U.S. has no scruples at all! The ONLY thing he cares about is remaining in power, no matter who or what it demolishes in the process.

I was particularly disturbed by this line of the article: they’re working all night long under light towers to meet Trump’s goal of 450 miles of new barriers before his term is over.”

The president of a land conservation group commented about what was happening: “As an American, I feel ashamed.” I totally agree.