Wave after wave of migraines have me a bit behind on posts (not to mention frazzled in the brain) so I thought I would take an opportunity to share a few of my most recent reads.
1. The Most Famous Man In America: a biography of Henry Ward Beecher by Debbie Applegate
In a time when orators were the superstars of their day, Henry Ward Beecher rose to international fame. His father was the well known Puritan preacher, Lyman Beecher. Henry’s sister was the famous novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s Cabin). This biography, set in the years surrounding the American Civil War is a poignant tale of a man who struggled to reconcile the image of his Puritan father’s representation of a vengeful God with his deep longing to be known and loved by his Creator. Ms. Applegate delivers a wonderful, honest account of both Henry’s goodness, and giftedness as well as the startling contrasts of his character. Henry Ward Beecher was a man who reached the highest pinnacles of success in his life, only to see it all almost undone by a sex scandal. I highly recommend the book.
2. A Thousand Splendid Suns by: Khaled Hosseini
This novel, set in Afghanistan, is the story if two women, Mariam and Laila, as they struggle to survive and find lives of meaning in a country dominated by the concept of male superiority and “honor” as brutal war rips their nation to shreds over and again.
Mr. Hosseini pleads their case by painting a masterpiece of their sorrows while pulling back the curtain on Afghani culture to reveal to us all that is beautiful and good as it waits to rise above the rubble of war to bloom once again.
I had trouble putting this book down.
3. The Immortal Life of Hennrietta Lacks by: Rebecca Sloot
This is a the true story of Hennrietta Lacks and her descendants. Mrs. Lacks died of an aggressive form of cervical cancer in an age when African Americans were not granted the same rights as their white neighbors, even in health care. Mrs. Lacks’ cancerous cells were taken without her knowledge or consent and became the first human cells to be reproduced in the lab. Scientist shared her cells and they have been reproduced for medical research all over the world, providing humanity with many important advances in healthcare. Her family has not benefitted from her contribution. In fact, they can’t even afford healthcare. This is a fantastic book.