The first is a Tami Hoag novel. I had never read her before last summer, but I really enjoy her police mysteries. I found a couple of her books at the church rummage sale, and finally decided to take a few days to read one of them. DUST TO DUST is a great story set in Minnesota, centering around the deaths of a number of police officers. We are taken all over the place, as a number of different stories weave together to fill the book and our minds.
Sam Kovak the main character in the book is trying to put the heat on someone he thinks might be the murderer. He believes that guilt will bring a confession out of him. I just loved this exchange:
"Don't we all harbor guilt for something? We carry it around our whole lives like ballast. Something to weigh us down and keep us from reaching for true happiness. It reminds us that we're not worthy, gives us an excuse to underachieve."
I think she nailed it on the head. Way too many of us carry too much guilt that keeps us from becoming all that we could be.
The book ended fairly predictably, but with one pretty good twist. The ending wasn't what I was hoping for. Overall, it was a great read and a fun book.
The second book that I recently finished is totally different. Elaine Pagels and Karen King: Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity, is a fascinating look at the recently discovered Gospel of Judas, and how it helps us to understand the dynamics that were taking place in the early church.
The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 is a look at what this Gospel can teach us about early Christianity and the developing Christian culture. It was excellent. They do a great job taking a very complex study and making it understandable and digestible. Part 2 is another story. This is the actual Gospel, along with comments on the translation. The translation and the comments are very difficult and confusing reading. It took the book, which in part one was written for a more general audience and moved it into the academic world. I really struggled to get through it.
I would recommend the first half of the book, but you might want to just skip the second half and trust that they really did their homework.