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What are you reading?

The Fabric of Faithfulness, by Stephen Garber.”

Tell me about it.

“I’m trying to remember the subtitle — I think it’s Weaving Together Belief and Behavior.” [He left off During the University Years.] “The concept is about living a coherent lifestyle: what does it mean to live your beliefs in a daily, real, practical way? How does that connect — not so much from a religious perspective, but more from a lifestyle perspective? Asking yourself, ‘Okay, here’s who I am with a college degree. Do I use it as a passport to privilege or as something to give back to society? What’s the context in which I view myself dealing with the issues of life?’”

Why did you pick it up and start reading?

“Well, my dad is actually mentioned in the foreword. I know the author, and I talked to him, and he gave me a copy. It’s not so much a self-help book — it doesn’t say, ‘Live this way,’ or ‘Do this thing’ — as it is an encouragement to think critically about the world around us.”

Compare it to other books you’ve read.

“I also brought John Steinbeck’s East of Eden out here with me; it’s about two brothers moving out West to the Salinas Valley, and about relationships.”

Who is your favorite character?

“The older brother; I think he’s more dynamic. He deals with a concept that’s important for me — good and evil simultaneously. It’s part of who he is. He’s not the typical Western hero; he’s not the all-good guy. He sleeps with his brother’s wife and does really bad things, and yet he is a good person. It’s somewhat similar to the antihero in my favorite book, Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.”

Do you have a favorite author or most life-changing book?

“Again, Dostoevsky and Crime and Punishment, because it deals with that same thing — good and evil simultaneously. I read it three years ago, and it caused me to rethink how I evaluate people and their actions.”

How did you come to pick it up?

“I did a study abroad in Russia for about eight months, and the director of the program grew up Amish. He told a story about his dad bringing him that book and his uncle seeing him reading it and saying, ‘Oh, if he must read, why such a lowered novel like Crime and Punishment?’ So I thought it would be a good book.”

Do you read any magazines or newspapers?

“I read USA Today and also The Patriot News, which is the newspaper in my hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I usually finish about 60 percent of the articles I start — more on Sundays.”

Do you talk to your friends about reading?

“I talk to my wife a lot, and I grew up with some people who I get together with. The character of the conversation depends on the day and on the book.”

Name: Jared Law-Penrose | Age: 24 | Occupation: civilian employee of the U.S. Navy | Neighborhood: Embarcadero | Where interviewed: 5th Avenue Books in Hillcrest

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