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Summer reading thread


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#1 dirac

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 03:11 PM

If you're reading this summer, tell us about it here. Currently open on my chair: 'The Killing of Crazy Horse' by Thomas Powers, which I was inspired to read by watching Gary Cole lead the 7th Cavalry into a very big mess indeed. I read Stephen Ambrose's 'Crqazy Horse and Custer' years ago and was not impressed, so am looking forward to finishing this one.

#2 atm711

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 03:51 AM

I am currently reading a book about Robert Drinan,S.J. by Raymond Schroth. He was the first Catholic priest elected to Congress (from Massachusetts) It has been said he deserves either condemnation or canonization, depending on one's point of view.

#3 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 05:01 AM

In my beach bag pack..."Pravda" by Edward Docx, a compulsevsively readable novel on the subject of loss and loyalty that takes place in the complicated, multilayered society of today's Russia...
At home, my battered down Turgueniev "Sketches of a hunter's album"...which I'm revisiting for the zillion time..! :wub:

#4 bart

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 07:11 AM

atm711, I remember Drinan as a liberal Jesuit in Congress. (Until the Pope said no.) I hope you'll tell us what you think about the book when you're done.

I'm starting The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why it Endures, by Nicholas Wade of the NY Times. The first couple of chapters have that kind of earnest, intelligent, clearly-written, diligently-researched, non-flashy style that makes reading the Times so comforting.

This is not one of those polemics from the Faith-versus-Atheism Wars. Wade maintains scholarly distance and, so far, has taken no position on the truth, or lack of it, of any particular religious tradition.

I'm looking forward to a chapter that sounds relevant to our shared interests on Ballet Alert: "Music, Dance, and Trance."

For relaxation (and a wackier kind of insight) I'm returning once again to the comic strips of Calvin and Hobbes, a few episodes a day. That's the little kid and the imaginary tiger. Nothing to do with Calvin the theologian or Hobbes the arch-pessimist political philosopher.

Today's episode:

Calvin's mother: "C'mon Calvin, We're going to the store."
Calvin: "Can Hobbes come?
Mother: "No, just leave him here.
Calvin: "BUT I WANT HIM TO COME WITH US !!!!!!"
Calvin (walking out the door, carrying Hobbes): "If you can't win by reason, go for volume."

I'll have to remember that advice. It's strangely reminiscent of current fashions in political discourse.

#5 diane

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 11:16 AM

[font="Century Gothic"][font="Century Gothic"]

Today's episode:

Calvin's mother: "C'mon Calvin, We're going to the store."
Calvin: "Can Hobbes come?
Mother: "No, just leave him here.
Calvin: "BUT I WANT HIM TO COME WITH US !!!!!!"
Calvin (walking out the door, carrying Hobbes): "If you can't win by reason, go for volume."

I'll have to remember that advice. It's strangely reminiscent of current fashions in political discourse.



Oh, yes! Love it! Thanks. :)[font="Comic Sans MS"][/font]

-d-[/font][/font]

#6 dirac

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 11:28 AM

I am currently reading a book about Robert Drinan,S.J. by Raymond Schroth. He was the first Catholic priest elected to Congress (from Massachusetts) It has been said he deserves either condemnation or canonization, depending on one's point of view.


I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the latter.:) Interesting figure.

Thanks, everyone. Keep the titles coming!

#7 LiLing

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 07:04 PM

I just finished Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.
Written by a physician and set in a Mission hospital in Ethiopia, it is full of complex relationships and you are drawn into a world of characters who are passionate about the practice of medicine. The descriptions of medical procedures aren't for the squeamish, but I found them fascinating.

#8 vagansmom

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 10:12 AM

LiLing, I really enjoyed Cutting for Stone also. Verghese writes like a poet, and I found myself repeating some phrases and sentences simply for the joy of hearing them over and over again. This book was such a delightful mix of medical and spiritual.

I'm reading Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance. I'd bought it a few years ago after my doctor recommended it to me. Best doctor ever: We started every visit out with a "What are you reading right now? I think you might like this book." Some of my favorite books were those she recommended. Sigh, then she left her practice to become a hospitalist. On a good note, I haven't had the "opportunity" to see her in her new practice.

Mistry's book takes place in India in 1975. I'm only about 30 pages into it, but the book jacket says it's about a young student, two tailors and the woman who hires them, all from disparate Indian backgrounds who will live and/or work together. My only complaint is that the book font is too small for me. Although it goes against my aesthetic sensibilities, I might break down and buy the digital form.

#9 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 12:00 PM

During two beach sessions-(yesterday and today)-I started/finished Robert Musil's "Der junge Törless". I almost didn't finish it, since I have strong feelings about school bullying-(something I profoundly despise, even belonging to a national association that aims for bullying perpetrators to be promptly detected, expelled from school and taking to court of law, along with strong sanctions to school staff and parents who allows it). Anyway..at some points the author goes on and on in extended reflections about weird moral concepts and strange philosophical thoughts, and here's where I have a problem with the lecture. At the end, and despite all this obsession with "superiority"-(one of the most subjectives concepts on earth)-, we just see that the story "hero" shows no basic mercy, being completely and boldly dispassionate about real human suffering. The book was written in 1906, but this sad situation of double morality and mercilessness is just around many of our own neighborhood corners...sometimes in our own homes.

http://images3.cinem...UgFGC08XQ==.jpg

#10 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 04:23 PM

I'm off my founding fathers jag of a couple of years ago, and have moved on to genre fiction.

Audiobook on the ipod: George R. R. Martins' "A Dance with Dragons, " which is the fifth book in his "A Song of Ice and Fire" fantasy series. It's nothing like Tolkien or most sword-and-sorcery concoctions -- it's got way more noxious bodily fluids, and in copious amounts.

On the Kindle: Just finished China Mieville's "Embassytown." Meh. Not his best. Potentially intriguing concepts about language dumped into what reads like a first draft rather than a fully-developed piece of fiction. Craft has never been his strong suit, alas.

In the Kindle on-deck circle: Sarah Bakewell's "How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne" (not genre fiction) and Jon Courtenay Grimwood's "The Fallen Blade" (most definitely genre fiction).

#11 bart

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 04:55 PM

Skipping back and forth between two books: -- John Julius Norwich, Absolute Monarchs: a History of the Papacy -- and Judith Chazin-Bennahum, Rene Blum & the Ballets Russes: In Search of a Lost Life.

The Blum book I first heard about here on BA. (Thank you for that. :flowers:) Chazin-Bennahum knows about dance. She also understands and cares about the larger historical context. I knew very little about Rene Blum (just the name, really), so discovering this brilliant, admirable, and tragic figure has been a revelation. The rise of right-wing anti-Semitism in France, and what happened during the German occupation and Vichy collaboration, remind me of what Cristian wrote about Musil's book:

At the end, and despite all this obsession with "superiority"-(one of the most subjectives concepts on earth)-, we just see that the story "hero" shows no basic mercy, being completely and boldly dispassionate about real human suffering. The book was written in 1906, but this sad situation of double morality and mercilessness is just around many of our own neighborhood corners...sometimes in our own homes.

Young Torless is pre-WW One. But the pathology is similar.

Most of the photos of colleagues, dancers, and productions were new to me -- not the frequently re-cycled stuff. (It was fun to see Henri Matisse squatting down to make an adjustment to the leg of Alicia Markova's costume for Rouge et Noir. Markova looks delighted.)

Norwich manages to fit 2000-plus years of Papal history into only 468 pages. He's a brilliant summarizer, synthesizer, and analyst. And, as the Washington Post says in a blurb on the back cover, he's "an enchanting and satisfying raconteur."

Let me protest once again what I have protested on countless occasions before: I am no scholar, and my books are not works of scholarship. This one probably contains no significant information that any self-respecting church historian will not be perfectly well aware of already, but it is not designed for church historians. It is intended, like everything else I have written, for the average intelligent reader, be he believer or unbeliever, who would simply like to know a little more about the background of what is, by any account, an astonishing story.



#12 kfw

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 05:15 PM

I've been reading or rereading a number of classic novels this summer: James Baldwin's Go Tell It On The Mountain, Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge, and Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Also a slim new collection of poems by Richard Wilbur, Anterooms. Also a memoir by the bebop pianist Hampton Hawes, Raise Up Off Me (a very quick read) and, on the Kindle, Notes and Tones, a collection of interviews of jazz musicians by the drummer Arthur Taylor. On the Kindle but not yet dipped into I have Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. Oh, and I read and thoroughly enjoyed David Brook's The Social Animal. And I forgot to mention Mimi Sheraton's delightful chronicle of her worldwide search for authentic versions of the Polish bagel variation, the bialy, The Bialy Eaters: The Story of a Bread and a Lost World.

Has anyone read Roger Lundin's Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief?


#13 Rosa

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 11:41 AM

*Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
*Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar
*Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
*A Chance to Die: the Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot
*The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
*The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
*Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot
*Snow Angel by Jamie Carie
*The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
*Miss Marple: the Complete Short Stories by Agatha Christie
*The Private World of Georgette Heyer by Jane Aiken Hodge.

#14 Helene

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 02:22 PM

Wow, Rosa, you've been busy!

I've had a slow summer of reading, but I'm nearing the end of Manning Marable's recent biography, "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention".

#15 kfw

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 04:22 PM

I've had a slow summer of reading, but I'm nearing the end of Manning Marable's recent biography, "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention".

What do you think of it, Helene? I've read the first chapter and considered reading the rest, but it's awfully long.


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