Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Book Check





Darwin and I have been discussing what we want to read next. He's thinking about The Leopard; I'm working through Socrates' dialogues and waiting for Proust and the Squid to arrive from Amazon.

Consider this an open reading thread: tell us what you're reading now, and what you plan to read next.

27 comments:

Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

I'm currently working on a massive biography of Barack Obama's predecessor in his Senate seat and his presidential nomination, Stephen A. Douglas.

Planning a visit to the Douglas monument in Chicago when the weather improves.

paul zummo said...

I'm also working through some ancient Greece as I'm about halfway through Thucydides' History of the Pelopennesian War, which I'm finding a bit more enjoyable than I'd imagined. It could be the last book I get to read for a while, though the way the baby's taking its sweet time to get here, I might trudge through a couple more.

lissla lissar said...

Just read Tom's Midnight Garden, a YA book that Nick Hornby liked (Nick Hornby has three collections of essays on reading, month-by-month. They're very good, and I've discovered some wonderful books through them). Anyway, it was very good, although not as good as Skellig (another Hornby rec, and another YA book. Quite wonderful. A story about a boy with a sick baby sister who discovers a mysterious winged Chinese take-out loving creature in his garage, and befriends a William Blake-spouting... no, I don't think I can describe it adequately).

I'm re-reading LotR, after several years avoiding it in post-movie glut.

I recently finished Acedia and Me: Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life, by Kathleen Norris. It's a great exploration of the almost forgotten sin of acedia, the noonday demon. Related to sloth, but not entirely the same thing- the restless feeling that whatever we're doing now isn't productive or enlightening or fun, that everyone else's vocation is more interesting, that remaining where we are will doom us to dry, endless, meaningless repetition. It's a really good book- she's one of my favorite authors.

Not sure what I'm going to read next. I'm thinking about Lenten books, but I haven't decided on anything yet.

Anonymous said...

Nothing so deep- I've been working through the Jeeves and Wooster books (again!), currently on The Code of the Woosters. I just can't get enough of Wodehouse's writing!

chris

mrsdarwin said...

Lissla,

Do you find yourself getting mad about the LotR movies being so jam-packed with wasted opportunities? I re-read LotR last year and then re-watched the movies, and was just disgusted. A few prescient reviewers made the point that the movies were almost b-flicks with high production values, but aside from the obvious plot deviations I enjoyed them in the theater. Rewatching them was eye-opening -- Jackson could have done so much better, and now it'll be years, if ever, until someone tries again.

And I also want to read Acedia and Me.

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

I'm reading a few that are all good:

- Seven Storey Mountain by Merton
- Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade
- Eat Real Food by Nina Planck

I'm not sure what's next. I always wait until the last minute to have my wish list panic attack (one of those moments where I look through my 300-item wish list and think I CANNOT DIE UNTIL I HAVE READ EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE BOOKS!!!)

Big Tex said...

Currently: Brew Like a Monk

Up next: The Five Love Languages & Heaven's Song

Christopher said...

Joseph Ratzinger - Life in the Church and Living Theology: Fundamentals of Ecclesiology, by Maximilian Heinrich Heim -- a study of the Pope's ecclesiology in the light of Vatican II and the battling interpretations of the Council.

A serious engagement given its length but for me, very opportune reading in light of recent engagements with the SSPX (inasmuch as the Pope invited their reconciliation as testification to "true fidelity and true recognition of the Magisterium and of the authority of the Pope and of the Second Vatican Council".

On a lighter note, Orson Scott Card's Ender in Exile - a direct sequel to Ender's Game, which is the one science fiction book I've pushed on all my friends (in all cases thus far, to their appreciation). =)

Karie, the Regular Guy's Extraordinary Wife said...

sigh... I'm currently reading (have read) Dean Koontz's "Odd Thomas" stories... and some craft books... The heavy stuff will have to come later, when the baby is a little older... (and sleeping through the night)

Christopher said...

Acedia and Me: Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life, by Kathleen Norris -- sounds interesting, Lissia.

Anonymous said...

The Blackadder Says:

I'm listening to Acedia and Me on audio. That book has my number.

I'm currently working my way through the Cartoon History series, which is pretty enjoyable if you can get beyond the reflexive anti-religious tone, and Empires of Trust, which I will recommend despite not quite having read it.

ladyhobbit said...

I'm reading Georgette Heyer's Regency Buck, among others, and listening to Happy Catholic's podcast of Heyer's The Black Moth. Humor, romance, and even sometimes redemption--who could ask for anything more? I'm also reading Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth, but much more slowly.

bearing said...

Waiting for my shipment of Mike Dubruiel's books.

In the meantime, mostly digging through a stack of children's American history literature, selecting stuff to read for next year. Chemistry too.

Amber said...

I'm currently reading The Awakening by Tolstoy, Story of a Soul (again, even though I just finished it a few months ago - I really like this book!), and Climbing Parnassus by Tracy Lee Simmons. I put Climbing Parnassus down a couple years ago because I was finding it too dense to read and I am extremely happy to find it much more readable on this attempt. I think I might actually be getting smarter or something. *grin*

John Farrell said...

Rewatching them was eye-opening -- Jackson could have done so much better, and now it'll be years, if ever, until someone tries again.

I agree completely, Mrs. D. I think what we may see, however, is a very good mini-series along the lines of BC's Pride and Prejudice a few years back.

Hopefully soon. With hobbits that don't have overly pointed ears and ludicrously large feet.

Darwin said...

On a lighter note, Orson Scott Card's Ender in Exile - a direct sequel to Ender's Game, which is the one science fiction book I've pushed on all my friends (in all cases thus far, to their appreciation). =)

Let me know how it is, Chris. Ender's Game is one of my favorite SF novels, but I've been mostly hiding from the sequels all these years. (I started Speaker For The Dead, but dropped it.) Actually, come to that, I've yet to like any of Card's other novels, though I've read Ender a number of times.

mrsdarwin said...

I recall enjoying Speaker for the Dead, but other than that I can't remember anything about it.

Brandon said...

Card is a miserably inconsistent novelist; the problem is that he's a decent short story writer who likes to write novels, and he usually fails to make the transition well. Ender's Game, which started as a short story, scaled up well, but most of them don't. The only Card novel other than Ender's Game that I've completely liked is Enchantment, which was charming.

At the moment I'm between books (except for the book I'm currently teaching, Plato's Gorgias, probably my favorite Platonic dialogue). I imagine what I'll read next will depend on what I pick up on browsing at Half-Price Books, although I have a number of Dickens novels on my shelf that I haven't gotten into yet, and might. (I always have problems with Dickens; I tried to read Oliver Twist at too young an age, and thus it has the distinction of being the first book to bore me so much that I never finished it. I keep intending to go back, but to date the only Dickens novels I've ever managed to read completely through are A Christmas Carol and Great Expectations.)

TS said...

Current economics read: "The World is Curved" by David Smick.

lissla lissar said...

I really liked the movies even though there are huge, sweeping, sometimes unnecessary changes (why does Aragorn fall off the cliff and get horse smooches? Why does he have to be waffly and indecisive? Where do the horse go in the last battle? What's up with the Entmoot being different?). I can live with the changes, even though every time the "What do your Elf eyes see?" line comes on I scream and throw things at the tv. I understand increasing the tension by having Faramir desire the Ring. I understand leaving out Bombadil. I even sort of understand changing Aragorn to reluctant hero.

I just try to recognise that film and books are different, require different types of story, and am grateful that they got the look of Middle-Earth down so well.

I have great hope about The Hobbit. I think Del Toro could do a marvelous Hobbit-world.

The Seven Storey Mountain was one of the books that made us Catholic. :) Along with everything by Michael O'Brien, Chesterton, and Swimming with Scapulars (hi, Matt!)

For those who have read/want to read Acedia and Me, I also recommend The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and Women's Work. It's short, and very good. It covers related themes. It's also by Norris.

I'm reading and re-reading some stories from Harrowing the Dragon, by Patricia McKillip.

Toddler waking up, running away now.

Maggie said...

Currently: Angels & Demons: What do we know? By Peter Kreeft; and Surprised by Truth 2, edited by Patrick Madrid

@ BigTex: Heaven's Song will rock your world (in a good way!). Be prepared!

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Not reading anything particularly significant right now:

Shadow Hawk by Andre Norton.

The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw.

(Both of these are reasonably good children's books. I'm reading them because of a student whose summaries I'll have to grade. )

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling. (Ho, hum. Though I probably would have been charmed with them had I first read Harry Potter as a child.)

Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters by Alan S. Miller & Satoshi Kanazawa. (This book on evolutionary psychology is just too silly for words. I'm now skimming instead of reading it, and may not even finish.)

Anonymous said...

The Blackadder Says:

Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters sounds like it could be the title of a Gabriel Marquez novel.

Darwin said...

Hmmm. We have a lot of daughters. Does that prove anything?

Melanie B said...

I thought Ender in Exile was ok. Not great, but not terrible. I rather liked Ender's Shadow, of all the Ender sequels I thought that was the only one that was good. It retells the same story as Ender's Game from Bean's point of view. Speaker for the Dead was ok, I actually read it before I read Ender's Game. After that the quality really went downhill rapidly.

I liked Acedia and Me; I reviewed it on my blog last year.

I'm currently reading Great Books by David Denby. I picked it up on a whim and am finding it quite interesting. He's a film critic who decides in middle age to go back to Columbia where he was an undergrad to retake the two core curriculum great books courses. He examines the academic debate over the idea of a canon and, well all the current academic trends. He sits in on several different sections of each class and highlights the various teaching approaches of different professors and the reactions of a wide variety of students. As a secular Jew, he has very different take on the great books that I did when I was an undergrad or that I might have now; but what is compelling about his readings is how much the books and the ideas matter to him.

Darwin said...

I'm currently reading Great Books by David Denby. I picked it up on a whim and am finding it quite interesting. He's a film critic who decides in middle age to go back to Columbia where he was an undergrad to retake the two core curriculum great books courses.

That sounds really interesting. I'll have to look it up.

Melanie B said...

Yeah, I thought it might be up your alley.