Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mini-Reviews: Yet More Nonfiction

Because all I seem to be doing this semester is research for research papers/projects (I'm up to four papers and one project now). There's not even a lot of normal homework, just an inordinate amount of reading for what the final products will be.

From Chicaza to Chickasaw: The European Invasion and the Transformation of the Mississippian World, 1540-1715 by Robbie Ethridge (2010)
Ethridge focuses on the groups that would become the Chickasaw, but a great deal of the book is on the Southeast in general. I would spend 45 minutes taking notes on the five or so pages in a chapter that dealt particularly with my area of study - the details for each region are that fantastic. Makes for some dry reading at some points if you're not interested in absolutely everything going on, but extensive and well-written.

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber (Sep. 2013)
I'm not big on religious/inspirational books because, well, I'm not really religious. I did enjoy Bolz-Weber's memoir for the most part, though I didn't find her theological musings particularly deep (then again, I kind of skimmed them). There were times when I just loved the quirky, humorous ways she described her life experiences, religion, and spirituality. Such moments seemed to drop off the farther along I read, though, and so this turned out to be a decent read, but not very remarkable overall.

Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur-Trade Society, 1670-1870 by Sylvia Van Kirk (1983)
I found this a bit outdated in terms of style and research - I know there's not a whole lot of material by women from this region/time period, but it still bothered me how most of the book is women's history from the male perspective. Also, I found the coverage/analysis of the topic rather superficial overall and confusing in terms of chronology, and I wish the author had actually explained the organization/terminology of the fur trade companies. The content was interesting, just not quite of the same quality as the other history books I've been reading.

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