Thursday, May 14, 2015
I'm told by my mother, though I don't remember the moment, that I began reading on my own at the age of three. Precocious to be sure, but the result, at least in part, is that reading is so integral that it seems inseparable from life itself. To live is to read. I suppose this also is partly why understanding Christ as Logos, the Living Word, is very satisfying to me.
If I have to choose then, there were a large number of days in my youth were I would ride my bike down the hill to the library and stay there all day reading. I'd go in the morning when it opened, skip lunch and just come home in the afternoon. I wasn't very old, 8 or 9 at best, so I wasn't reading a lot of great literature (the notions in Matilda notwithstanding, I am not so clever as all that just because I began reading early), but I lived those days in the stacks. Good times.
The inspiring post is here.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
My choice is Lord Talon's Revenge by Tom Simon. Mr Simon is a self-published author, but, despite the immediate negative connotations that will conjure in most minds, he is actually quite good at what he does. I own several (perhaps all?) of his published books. I find him to not only be a lucid and engaging writer, but also one who has sound opinions on most topics.
Lord Talon's Revenge is a fantasy novel that both plays with tropes of the genre and also takes cues from Tolkien in the way that the primary story is resolved. The main character is one who believes fervently in the tales of the bards and attempts to live his life as he imagines that a model of chivalry would. This, of course, gets him into all kinds of scrapes and trouble since the real world is not very tolerant of noble idealists, but at the same time he wins through to triumph because men of true nobility are so rare that they often earn deep respect as much as they do scorn. The book stands alone and while it doesn't have quite the high and noble feel of Tolkien, he doesn't have the same despairing nihilism that mars Pratchett. As an inexpensive e-book, I would suggest it to anyone with even a passing interest in fantasy.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
In a sense, I'm glad I gave this first book several chances. I started to read Moby Dick and found it tiresome and dull the first two times. In each case I waited a few years before trying it again and it finally paid off. The third time I couldn't put it down. The characters came right off the page and even the whaling how-to couldn't put me off.
Articulating why, precisely, I found this book so engaging is difficult. The book is a masterpiece of language, learning, and full of mystery and portent. It is surreal at times and always dream-like. It is a book in which one can get lost.
The second book that I think of when I consider books I'm glad I read despite not being initially drawn to them, is The Brothers Karamozov. This one I read without having to stop and start several times and I was enraptured by both the beauty of the writing and the moral lessons that are articulated by being shown in the characters' lives rather than preached by their words. To be sure, they do discuss, argue, explain, and pontificate, but the primary method of presenting the ideas to the reader is via the actions they take.
Talking about them has mad me want to read them again. I'll add them to the list for this year. I might ought to read the book Terpsichore writes about, but even her praise fails to elicit much interest. As I get older, my desire to read new fiction seems to be diminishing. Hum...
Monday, May 11, 2015
Sunday, May 10, 2015
This, then, is the area in which e-readers excel. When I travel, whether it is the long commute each weekday or longer trips to other parts of the country, having my Kindle and phone along allows me to take along large numbers of books without having to endure the time, expense, and trouble of schlepping a heavy suitcase full of books along.
Beyond the aesthetic pleasures of physical books are the obvious advantages. E-readers then are not in any way a replacement for the books that preceded them, but an enhancement and supplement that allows us to read more books in more places than before.
(I didn't think of a clever way to work in a reference to the inspiring post, so you can just go here and read it.)
Saturday, May 09, 2015
Friday, May 08, 2015
I'm roughly halfway through GK Chesterton's Heretics, which I have never read before despite reading Orthodoxy multiple times. It is interesting that the second book that loose pairing should have turned out to be the more enduring and long lasting. It's good, but I think it didn't last as well because the particular heretics which Chesterton inveighs against are now 100 years in the past, or very nearly.
I am technically about halfway through The Lord of the Rings since I am reading it aloud to my elder daughter. This is her first experience with this book, though I read The Hobbit to her last year. She's enamoured with it, but is longing for more women characters. Which, I understand, but I hope she doesn't let that blind her to the value of the work. On the other hand, we haven't met Éowyn quite yet, so...
Since starting this post, I've started re-reading a Father Brown omnibus. I'm not sure if I should refer to the omnibus as the book I'm reading or the first of the smaller volumes it collects.Regardless, it's a mere three books I'm reading currently. I have grand plans to finish them and start more, but if recent history is any guide that will take a while and longer than I plan.
Time was when I would sometimes have more than 7 or 8 books going at once, but those days have long since passed away. They may return, but for that to happen I think I will need to reach a point where I don't have children under the age of about 5 or 6.
Saturday, May 02, 2015
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
As will come as no surprise to anyone who knows my reading tastes at all, the author, of whose books I am most widely read, is PG Wodehouse. I don't exactly know how many of his books I've read, but it's got to be about 80-85. I own a few more than that (92); I haven't gotten around to reading the most recent acquisitions. I'll update with a picture later.
In a distant second is most likely Agatha Christie. I own 44 of her books, but I've probably read 50-55 when I include volumes checked out from the library. I mind very much less owning her books in cheap paperback editions.
Other notable mentions are Rex Stout (high 30's), Terry Pratchett (low-to-mid 30's), and Ngaio Marsh and Stan Sakai (31). Sakai is easiest to figure because I own all the books and I've read all the books. His are comic book collections, so if those don't count, we'll skip past him and Hergé (all 24 Tintin books) and light upon Patrick O'Brian (24 or 25).
I don't think I've read quite all of the 25 Albert Campion stories by Margery Allingham, but nearly. CS Lewis is at 19.Tolkien is muddled; is the author of The Silmarillion JRR or CR Tolkien? In any event, I'd put the number in the high teens. To get down out of double digits would take a significant list. Beverly Cleary, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Gene Wolfe, Terry Brooks, John Keegan, Tom Clancy, Roald Dahl, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lloyd Alexander... Some of those might not really count, being as most of their books are children's books, however. Anyone else want to chime in?
Monday, April 27, 2015
Since I'm looking for things to write on my blog about as I try to get back into the swing of actually sharing what I'm writing about, and I love books, I thought I'd end up giving it a whirl too. So I'm putting the marker down that I will both write and post my own set of posts on the topics and follow along.
Friday, March 13, 2015
In Megalopolis the sentiment of friendship wastes away. Friends become, in the vulgarism of modern speech, "pals," who may be defined as persons whom your work compels you to associate with or, on a still more debased level, persons who will allow you to use them to your advantage. The meeting of minds, the sympathy between personalities which all cultured communities have regarded as part of the good life, demand too much sentiment for a world of machines and false egalitarianism, and one detects even a faint suspicion that friendship, because it rests upon selection, is undemocratic.~ p. 31
Ideas Have Consequences
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
There is a weird World War II movie called Kelly's Heroes with Clint Eastwood as the titular character. It's an odd film. Donald Sutherland plays a kind of hippie tank commander who is obsessed with the psychic rays people send off. Anyway.
It's interesting how many tweets on Twitter are so negative. Some are clever and funny, but it seems that most are just clever and cruel. Things like this.
It probably has a lot to do with the really succinct nature of the medium. But sometimes it seems excessive. I'm sure I've been guilty of it, but I will try to be better.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
It's World Cup time, again. And I could make all kinds of snarky comments about the game of soccer. But really, it's just not worth it. It would be like being rude about beating a little kid in a race. So, to World Cup enthusiasts, let me just say this:
Ooh! That's very nice. You're doing a really good job there. Keep up the good work and maybe you could start having a championship every two years!