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

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Immediate Book Meme

It's book check time, my friends. 

photo by Evan Laurence Bench

There are plenty of memes that want to know all about your book history and your all-time greats and your grand ambitions, but let's focus on something more revealing: the books you're actually reading now, or just read, or are about to read. Let's call it The Immediate Book Meme.


1. What book are you reading now?
My nightstand is stacked with books I'm working through:

This book demands careful attention, and even so I often need Scruton's practical examples before I understand his abstract claims, but both aesthetics and architecture are subjects I find engaging.

This is my second read of this lovely book about the villas, the private homes, designed by Palladio.

I preordered Bishop Varden's book because I will now read anything he writes. He is clear, erudite, scholarly, and joyfully orthodox.

which has lead me to read:

The Moment of Christian Witness, by Hans Urs Von Balthasar
My purse book, which I read page by page in waiting rooms.

The Indigo Girl, by Natasha Boyd
My first fiction this year. I'd just read a chapter in our history book about Eliza Lucas Pinckney, and behold, the algorithms uncannily showed me ads for this novel, which is several years old. I'm a few chapters in and putting up with it. It's (over)written in the present tense, and betrays modern sensibilities, and dollars to beignets there's going to be a sex scene in it. This is why I don't read much recent fiction.

1a. What is your current readaloud?

Peter Pan, by J. M. Barrie

This boffo book by XKCD cartoonist Monroe is my nighttime reading with my ten-year-old, who is learning more science this way than he did in school (and so am I).

2. What book did you just finish?
I'm directing The Music Man this summer, so much of my reading has to do with the show.

The Music Man, a novelization by Meredith Willson
I thought I was buying the script, but it turns out Willson also novelized The Music Man. It's fun to read his prose, but the book won't replace the show.

Willson is a delightful writer, with his Iowa turns of phrase, and I liked hearing the story of the creation of The Music Man in his own voice.

Informative, but not as much fun to read as Willson himself.

3. What do you plan to read next?
All Christmas presents.

Jane Austen's Letters, edited by Deirdre Le Faye
Jane Austen's actual letters!, in an elegant volume, a treasured present from Darwin.

Jane Austen: A Life, by Claire Tomalin

A Chain of Hands, by Carol Ryrie Brink
An autobiography by the author of Caddie Woodlawn.

4. What book do you keep meaning to finish?

Onward and Upward in the Garden, by Katharine S. White
A collection of reviews of gardening catalogs by E. B. White's wife. Delightful even to a non-gardener like myself.

5. What book do you keep meaning to start?
I've been meaning to read Works of Mercy by Sally Thomas ever since it was published. 

6. What is your current reading trend?

The Music Man, and architecture, and Hans Urs Von Balthasar


Anna said...

I really wanted to like Austen's letters, I usually love reading other people's mail, and... instead hers nearly killed off my love of letter-writing. Some of that is because the scope for people of her station at that time was rather narrow, some because she was writing little everyday stuff to her sister (rather than other collections of people's letters, e.g. Merton and Waugh where they're writing one mind to another), and some because she was sometimes surprisingly cruel. YMMV, and it's also true that I found the last few letters, from her final illness, moving and I saw why her family and friends were truly sorry to lose her even though I hadn't felt any particular closeness to her through the rest of the book.
LOVE "How To" (and "What If" and "Thing Explainer"). And the Scruton and Varden sound intriguing and I'll be looking for those myself!

Ladyhobbit said...

"Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist" is an enlightening book. When I finished it, I asked myself why no one had ever told me all this before!

I have a special love of "The Music Man" because my older son played Harold Hill in his high school's production. When he was applying to college engineering programs, one of the professors who met with him was delightfully surprised that an engineering student starred in a musical!

S. A. Cox said...

I’m from Provo, Utah (which is, according to A Thing I Read On The Internet Once, the place where the Marian Librarian who inspired the song came from). Also, I’ve worked as a librarian, though not in Provo.

You might think that’s all random, but the thing is, in Utah, city competitiveness is sometimes played out through how nice libraries are. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t just as nice of libraries elsewhere; it’s just that in Utah, you might hear the phrase “Oh YEAH? Well, OUR library…”

Also, my mom played clarinet in the pit orchestra for the community theater production of The Music Man when she was pregnant with me. This was not in Provo; it was in Idaho, where the community playhouse had once been a tabernacle (church building) and was later turned into a mortuary, which is a fact that still makes my head hurt a little.

When I was a student at Provo High, in the nineties, they put on The Music Man and I was in the pit orchestra myself, playing cello; my next-younger sister played Mom’s clarinet.

I personally have some big feelings about the plot of The Music Man revolving around a guy who is possibly a compulsive liar ending up in a relationship with an actually nice woman because the plot requires it. In real life, it would be such a terrible idea!

But I freely admit that my feelings are influenced by my status as an old maid former librarian and musician from Provo who has more connections than I would like to, to The Music Man. Who sometimes gets shoved towards men who seem like a terrible idea to me, all in the service of saving me from my truly horrifying state as an old maid former librarian.

That said, I’m not actually such a crank that I wish you anything but happiness as you put your production on!