Christina Burke, co-owner of Clues Unlimited. I'm reading A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot, a French novel that's been translated into English. It's about a young woman whose fiancée, a soldier, is supposedly killed in action during the Great War. She goes hunting for him, convinced that he hasn't really been killed. It turns out that he and some other men who were accused of cowardice were put out between the French and German lines--it was basically a form of execution, and also a lesson to other soldiers who might think they could get out of fighting. The girl is an incredible heroine. She's a young girl, she's a painter, and she's in a wheelchair, though almost none of the other characters even mention this fact. She's so determined that she's going to find her fiancée. She hires a private detective and they track him down and eventually find out the truth of what happened, which of course I'm not going to divulge. It's a wonderful book with so many different levels--it's about the horrors of war and it's a love story and it's a great portrait of a determined woman who knows what she wants and how she's going to get it.

Marcia Costello, an employee at Revelation Christian Books and Gifts. I'm reading Six Weeks to a Simpler Lifestyle by Barbara DeGrote-Sorensen and David Allen Sorensen. It's written by a married couple who were challenged in mid-life to take a closer look at how they were investing their resources--not just their financial resources but also their personal ones. They realized they had not made enough time or space in their lives to make the choices that would fulfill them. They write that they "threw up their hands over our excessive consumption." Now, five years into the experiment, they write about how it's still a challenge to scale back, to try not to, as Christians say, "live as the world entices us to live," but rather to live as their hearts' purposes really guide them. The book gives fairly specific instructions to make choices in order to simply; For example, to look at where can you prune back your schedule to make room for more growth; then you re-prioritize to treat a neglected area with the attention it deserves. The authors challenge the reader to look at what's absorbing all of their life resources--not just financial but everything that is drained out of us as we try to maintain 20th-century living, and to help us realize that we can make those conscious choices--to stop and re-prioritize our time investments and our life-focus investments. It's a reaffirming book.

Felipe Tapia Employee at Empress Adult Video & Bookstore. I'm reading Destination: Void by Frank Herbert. It's about these people who are clones of real people and who're sent up into space in what they like to call a "tin egg." This space ship, the tin egg, is preprogrammed with a bunch of mishaps the clone people have to deal with. It's all about defining consciousness. The people on the ship have to create an artificial life form because their computer has failed. The people who sent them up have this all planned out--that was their predestined idea, that was the main problem, to get these clones who aren't really real to create consciousness. The clones are as human as the actual people, but they're property. I like this book because it's a fresh and entertaining way to define consciousness--it asks questions most people don't ask themselves. In the book, the leaders on earth are trying to get the clones to help them define consciousness, but they can't even prove that they're conscious themselves. TW

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