By JEAN HAYWORTH
Sharing books that you have read and liked and recommend for other readers will be the focus for a new column that will appear in the Wednesday edition of the Breckenridge American, starting today, Jan. 1, 2014.
I have always been a ferocious reader and when I became a teacher, that talent really came in handy.
I have always balanced three or four books at one time which is a habit my oldest son, Marc “Skip” Hayworth adopted as well.
For most people that sounds rather odd but I have always thrived on information and wanting to know ‘stuff,' so I never thought this practice was odd or different.
I will be asking my readers what they are reading and what they recommend from a wide variety of genres.
It is my belief that the written word is as popular today as ever but with a variety of sources available to bring it to us such as the Nook, Kindle or a hard copy.
For instance, I am finishing up The Source by James Michener, an older historical novel written by the author in 1965. I missed it then but rediscovered it recently and have thoroughly enjoyed the Biblical history contained within and the stories interwoven throughout the book.
The Source provides the reader with a history of the Jewish people and the land of Israel from pre-monotheistic days to the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948.
The author uses a fictional site in northern Israel, the ‘Tell' named Makor, which is Hebrew for ‘source.' Three archaeologists, a Jew, a Catholic and a Muslim are used to tell the story as they dig at the fictional ‘Tell' of Makor. Unlike most of Micheners' novels, this book is not in chronological order. A parallel story line or ‘frame story' is set in modern-day Israel that supports the historical time line.
As each layer of Makor is revealed, Michener deftly leads the reader to explore the fictional ‘family of Ur' from the Stone Age to the beginning of monotheism.
The early chapters explore the fertility of agriculture and a fruitful harvest and the latter chapters give the reader a look at modern-day Judaism and the theme of dedication and tenacity begins to be more of a theme that is revisited through the trio of characters and anti-semitism becomes more prevalent.
I highly recommend this book for the history of the Biblical region for any Biblical scholar or history buff. Other books by Michener include Texas and Hawaii among a long list of others.
I managed to squeeze in the latest book by Robert Lulum surrogate, Eric Lustbader, The Bourne Retribution.
I have always been an avid Ludlum follower from his very first, The Scarletti Inheritance, that began his long list of 27 spy thrillers in 1971. Ludlum created the Jason Bourne character through the first three books; The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and the Bourne Ultimatum.
Ludlum departed from the Bourne books in 2000 with The Prometheus Deception and after his death in 2001, Lustbader took up the genre of spy thrillers with a continuation of the Jason Bourne character. The reader becomes submersed in pure escapism, which is painstakingly researched across multiple continents in global conspiracies and endless plot twists.
Periodically, I fit in an old classic from real literature and the latest was The Great Gatsby, which became an obvious choice to accompany the new Gatsby movie. Most of the selected old classics I have read previously due to an excellent junior and senior high English teacher much like the Frasier sisters or more recently Weldon Edwards at Breckenridge High School.
The setting for this classic is the summer of 1922 and tunes the reader into the 1920s lifestyle of the nouveau rich in a upper crust district of Long Island, N.Y.
The theme focuses on the moral decay of the ‘Roaring 20s' and the decline of the American Dream.
The author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, demonstrates the disintegration of the American Dream in an era of unprecedented prosperity and material excesses. The reader may see many parallels of America today. This book of Fitzgeralds' stands as the supreme achievement of his career. It covers the Jazz Age through the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. Fitzgerald also wrote This Side of Paradise and Tender is the Night.
My final recommendation is The Oath, by Jeff Toobin, who is deeply versed in the workings of the U.S. Supreme Court and the author of an earlier book on the Supreme Court, The Nine. I admit this is not for everyone but a good read on the current court doings, which we all should be more aware of as citizens of the United States.
Toobin touches on some Supreme Court history of past members of the court such as Sandra Day O'Connor and John Paul Stevens. The reader is taken on a journey through controversial decisions facing the court and gives the reader an incite into the new personalities who have joined the Supreme Court in recent years.
So there it is. I appeal to readers of every genre to share what they are reading and hope to see a variety of authors and let us know how you are reading the books, on the Nook, Kindle or hard copy.
Readers can email me at the Breckenridge American at: firstname.lastname@example.org.