Our town library was not very busy on Monday when I was volunteering. It gave me a chance to scout out some books for myself. I came home with The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley for Mike. Any one who tracked my book borrowing and purchasing might conclude that I am really into history, particularly the military history of the United States and western expansion. They would be wrong, though.
I brought home for myself Anne Tyler’s Noah’s Compass, Michael Pollan’s Food Rules and Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven. I’m usually more of a fiction reader, but I’ve enjoyed Michael Pollen’s other books and this one took about an hour to finish. I like that one of his rules is to enjoy yourself enough to occasionally break the rules. “All things in moderation…including moderation.”
Jon Krakauer is an excellent writer, in my opinion, and Under the Banner of Heaven is about religious extremism. The focus is on the Mormons, but it really speaks to any kind of extreme fundamentalism. Even though I’ve just started it, I can tell it is another one of those books I won’t be able to put down for any length of time and won’t be able to stop thinking about for a long time to come.
My parents were devout Catholics and I was raised being told that was the one true religion. When I found out that there were other religions also believing themselves the one true religion, I just thought it was most logical to conclude that there was no such thing as "THE one true religion." I was nine at the time, so you could argue that was the work of a really immature mind. I have to say, though, I really haven't been convinced otherwise in the intervening years.
The Catholic church had a saying about giving them a child until the age of seven and he was theirs for life. That didn't hold true in my case. Could it be that as a "she-child" I felt pointedly excluded? That is something I really have a hard time with--that women can be such ardent followers of patriarchal blowhards. That is just sad to me.