Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What Are We Reading?

Are you like me?  I read all the time but it's rarely these days that I read a novel - a whole book - just because I want to read a book.  I've resolved to do more of that in this new year.  I have three books that I started last year and for one reason or another I put them down in mid-stream because there was an urgency to soak up some needed information from someplace else. 

I've also resolved to cut the ties with the tv...and sometimes with the social media.  My tv habit these days is to turn on a program I want to see - usually a sports event - and mute the sound.  I don't need the yak of a talking head describing the action of a football or basketball game, a golf match or - my heart's love - a NASCAR race.  I see it.  I get it.  And if I should be reading and miss something big, I have the assurance you're going to re-play it for me.  Again.  And again.  And yet again. 

So it was with a real sense of accomplishment last week that I made it the goal of my weekend to finish reading The Red Tent.  It had been recommended to me by someone I respect who suggested it would give me a clearer picture of what life was like for women in those primitive days of Isaac and Jacob and all of Jacob's children. 
This novel is the imagined story of Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob and his wife, Leah.  While Dinah never speaks a word in Scripture, she is the subject of a horrific event.  Diamant creates a story of Dinah's whole life from start to finish.  All the Bible characters are there and more are added.  She gives them all a fleshed-out personality and a sometimes surprising place in the story.   These are, after all, real people living real lives. 
As I read the Bible, I often imagine and wonder what could have been going on around the events.  The Bible is so sparse with detail that my mind wants to fill in the back story.  I read Red Tent all the while thinking, "This woman thinks like I do.  I write short stories.  She has written a whole book!".
I am fascinated by what could have been going on in the daily lives of the ordinary people - especially the people who crossed paths with Jesus and had no idea who or what He was.  I've started writing short stories that take a look at some of these peripheral characters and events.  In the coming weeks, I will share some of them here.  In the meantime, if you haven't read The Red Tent, take a look into the life of Dinah. 
What have you read lately?  I'd love to have some suggestions.  My current read... another take on the story of Jacob and Esau:  Thorn In My Heart by Liz Curtis Higgs.  Hard to beat that Liz when it comes to a page-turner!