This weekly round-up is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It's a chance to check in with other bookish bloggers and get more fodder for one's ever growing "To Read" list.
I published one review post this week; it includes brief reviews of In a Perfect World by Laura Kasischke, The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman, & Triggered by Fletcher Wortmann.
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Excerpt: It was predictable, in hindsight. Everything about the history of the Society of Jesus bespoke deft and efficient action, exploration and research. During what Europeans were pleased to call the Age of Discovery, Jesuit priests were never more than a year or two behind the men who made initial contact with previously unknown peoples; indeed, Jesuits were often the vanguard of exploration.I never would have guessed, off the top of my head, that I would be captivated by a novel about Jesuits in space, Who knew? But I can't tell you how much I am loving this book. For me, it isn't really a page turner -- it's more of a slow, thoughtful read, combining science fiction with a thoughtful exploration of religion, philosophy, linguistics, faith, grief, suffering, and many other topics and themes. I am looking forward to reviewing this novel.
The United Nations required years to come to a decision that the Society of Jesus reached in ten days. In New York, diplomats debated long and hard, with many recesses and tablings of the issue, whether and why human resources should be expended in an attempt to contact the world that would become known as Rakhat when there were so many pressing needs on Earth. In Rome, the questions were not whether or why but how soon the mission could be attempted and whom to send.
The Society asked leave of no temporal government. It acted on its own principles, with its own assets, on Papal authority. The mission to Rakhat was undertaken not so much secretly as privately – a fine distinction but one that the Society felt no compulsion to explain or justify when the news broke several years later.
The Jesuit scientists went to learn, not to proselytize. They went so that they might come to know and love God’s other children. They went for the reason Jesuits have always gone to the furthest frontiers of human exploration. They went ad majorem Dei gloriam: for the greater glory of God.
They meant no harm.