Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Library Loot

Hosted by Eva at A Striped Armchair and Marg at ReadingAdventures, Library Loot is a fun weekly meme that allows others to peek in your bookbag to see what you came home from the Library with this week. Here's what's in my bag:

A swing hangs in the middle of the living room. The house was built by the parents. The children- two girls and two boys- run free all day, dance naked in the rain, climb apple tress, ride ponies, press their faces into showers of leaves, rub mud all over their bodies and sit out in the sun to let it dry. When their parents invite other adults for skinny-dipping in the creek, the children memorize all the body parts to discuss later among themselves.

Maxine Swann's Flower Children is the intimate, shocking, funny, heartrending, and exultant story of four children growing up in rural Pennsylvania, the offspring of devout hippies who turned their backs on Ivy League education in favor of experiments in communal living and a whole new world for their children. The children, in turn, find themselves impossibly at odds with their surroundings, both delighted and unnerved by a life without limits. But as the parents split, and puberty hits, the ground seems to shift. The children's freedoms have not come without a cost to their innocence.

The story: Patsy MacLemoore, a history professor in her late twenties with a brand-new Ph.D from Berkeley and a wild streak, wakes up in jail- yet again- after another epic alcoholic blackout. "okay, what'd I do?" she asks her lawyer and jailers. "I really don;t remember." She adds, jokingly: "Did I kill someone?"

In fact, two Jehovah's Witnesses, a mother and a daughter, are dead, run over in Patsy's driveway. Patsy, who was driving with a revoked license, will spend the rest of her life- in prison, getting sober, finding a new community (and a husband) in AA- trying to atone for this unpardonable act.

Then, decades later, another unimaginable piece of information turns up. For the reader, it is an electrifying moment, a joyous, fall-off-the-couch-with-surprise moment. For Patsy, it is more complicated. Blame must be reapportioned, her life reassessed. What does it mean that her life has been based on wrong assumptions? What can she cleave to? What must be relinquished?

On July 24, 1984, a woman and her infant daughter were murdered by two brothers who believed they were ordered to kill by God. The roots of their crime lie deep in the history of an American religion practiced by millions...

At the core of this book is an appalling double murder committed by a pair of Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. beginning with a meticulously researched account of this crime, Krakauer constructs a multi layered, bone chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, and unyielding faith. In the process, he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America's fastest growing religion, analyzes the abduction of fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart (and her forced "marriage" to her polygamous kidnapper), and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.

Why does it seem like sometimes the books I choose have a common theme without me even trying to do it? (communal living, murdered Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormon violence...all religious in nature)

Anyhow, have you read any of these and if so what did you think of them? If you haven't read them, do any of them look interesting to you?