Sum – Book Review

I read a lot of books.

Well, actually, let me rephrase that. I read a lot of parts of books. I can’t even tell you how many half-read books I have at home that I am sort of reading right now.

My reading habit took a big hit when my son was born. Few things are more detrimental to reading than having a small child in the house. What this means is that you become more selective about what you will read, and you feel like you really need to be getting value out of any book. In my case, that means one (or more) of three things: 1. Am I learning something? 2. Is it making me see the world in a new way? or 3. Is it pure, fun escapism that just lets my mind rest for a few hours (ie. Dan Brown, Tom Clancy, etc)?

Part of the reason why I often only get halfway through a book is because I feel like I have already gotten the point. I am no longer learning new things from it, and if I got a new perspective on the world, the rest of the book is just reinforcing that new perspective and not surprising me any more.

Recently, however, I was given a book that kept surprising me right to the end. Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman. I found myself either laughing or catching my breath about every other page.

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

Have you ever pictured God sitting on the edge of Her bed at night, weeping because people aren’t content in heaven? Or that He is too small to even be aware of our existence? Or that God’s favorite book might be Frankenstein because He feels that Shelley is the only human to truly understand the mixture of emotions that comes with the creating of beings that didn’t turn out the way you had hoped?

Each of these forty afterlives is described in a quick 2 – 3 pages. But that doesn’t mean the book should be read as quickly as that might suggest. These are pieces of gristle to chew on, because the first step, each time, is letting go of everything you thought you knew.

Mark D. Jordahl – Kampala

About Mark D. Jordahl

Mark Jordahl is a writer, trip leader and naturalist who has lived much of the last 7 years in Uganda and currently calls Colorado home.
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