What I’m reading . . .

Genre: Spy Thriller

Gunmetal Gray by Mark Greaney.   This book has as much adventure in it as Ian Fleming’s James Bond tales, but without the fantasy.  It feels like a real CIA story with all the interesting details related to spy craft, ink pens that spew truth serum, infrared night vision goggles etc.  Apparently, the lead character, Court Gentry, the Gray Man, has Navy Seal training.  Can the Grey Man rescue the escaped Chinese computer hacker, Fan, before Communist China or Russia or other American CIA agents get their hands on him?  It’s a thrill ride front to back, and I found myself enjoying it.

 

What I’m reading . . .

Genre: Mystery

The Flight Attendant, by Chris Bohjalian.  There’s been a run of mysteries recently published with female protagonists who are “hot messes,” alcohol or drug abusers, running from some problematic past; think, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins or The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn.  What makes these mysteries so fun to read is the complexity of the protagonists.   Cassie, the flight attendant, drinks as much as she wants and sleeps with whomever she wants (an intriguing lifestyle) but yet she’s centered and lucid enough to not miss that an assassin is out to get her.

Genre: Meditative essay

The Faraway Nearby, by Rebecca Solnit.  This book is a devotional book for me.  There’s no narrative so I find myself reading it in snatches, early in the morning over coffee when I’m more likely to ponder life.  It’s investigative and philosophical like Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  Solnit writes about the hand that creates, all of our creative hands, but you know she’s thinking of her own, how eventually that appendage will die and decay, become “a thousand insects.”  Still, she celebrates the creative metamorphosis and what it means in the big picture of life: change, the constant.  Selah.

Genre: Sci Fi/Fantasy

Ready Player One, by Ernie Cline.  I know there’s now a movie made of this book and why not just watch the Spielberg movie?  For the same reason you should read The Martian by Andy Weir even though there’s also a film version of his book.  Reading books is such a richer experience because it requires more of you, more mental processing and self-created imagery.  You envision Wade Watts living in the stacks playing a dangerous interactive video game  instead of simply observing Spielberg’s set designer’s take on this scene.  Your investment as a reader is greater, so the emotional pay-off is more as well.

 

 

What I’m writing . . .

Evangelical Baby, Part 1 (memoir)

He was the Finance Officer at the Mennonite College I was attending.  “Let’s see you’re working at a restaurant in town and plan to continue with your waitress job this summer?” he looked down at his notes.

I sat up straight watching the Finance Officer’s head bent over the paperwork on his desk.  Grey streaks highlighted a thick head of hair, swept and cemented off his forehead by some kind of product.  His voice was quiet, reasonable-sounding even.

“Yes… once I get to Idaho I’ll pick up a waitress job somewhere.  I promise I’ll keep my loan payments up.”

“Hmmm.  You’re going out to Idaho to see your boyfriend?”

“Oh?  Have I mentioned him?”

Then he leaned across the small space between my chair and his, his knee lightly brushing mine.  “Well, I’m a little concerned about you.”  He paused,  austere and somber, heavy black-framed eye glasses, black eyes–a Mennonite.  “I hope you’re not having a sexual relationship with your boyfriend?”

I didn’t respond; I just kept worrying my fingers on my lap.  Weren’t we here to take about financing my college debt?

“As a Christian woman of God you shouldn’t be having sex before marriage.  I realize the temptation can be great,” he stared intently at my mouth, “and you’re–you’re actually very pretty. . . ”