Sunday, February 17, 2008

Two books and a half

I have them down as three new books over on my list, but it's really more like a two books and a half. There just aren't rules for this situation! I read Mike by PG Wodehouse, which I had read the latter half of previously. The book was originally written and published as a large tome called simply Mike. But later it was reissued as two books, Mike at Wrykyn and Mike and Psmith. I had read the latter previously, but not the former. And this time around I read the original single volume work Mike. So was a new book or not? I decided yes, since I only count books as read once I've finished the whole thing, not after I've read part. It was an okay book, but the latter half was definitely superior. Psmith is one of Wodehouse's better creations and the first part was a rather mundane school story, though not without its laughs. Fans of school stories might like it, or Wodehouse completists.

Another book was the very disturbing, but useful and necessary Religion of Peace? by Robert Spencer. I read almost all of it in one day, and I'd suggest it to anyone. He does a marvelous job of demonstrating his subtitle, Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't. At the same time, he also shows that the focus of most in the West, when they consider religions that they consider a threat, usually light upon Christianity as the more dangerous, which is ridiculous. Whether you fear the coming theocracy of the Religious Right™ or are a conservative who believes (along with our President) that "Islam means peace", you'll find the book edifying. And if you're already awakened to the threat that orthodox Islam poses to the rest of the world, you'll find some useful information to help you show your less cognizant friends the truth.

Finally, I read Thomas Morris' Making Sense of It All after having it on my shelf for nearly a decade. It was an assigned book in my freshman philosophy class, but I don't think we ever got around to discussing it, spending most of our time on Socrates and Hume ("Has-Been Deities" would be a great name for a rock band). Anyway, I should have read it sooner. It's a short (under 200 pages) book, but very enlightening. It talks about Pascal's Pensées and why deep thought about the meaning of life is so important for everyone to do at some point in their life and why so few people actually do take such thought. Of the 18 books I've read so far this year, this is the one I would recommend first and foremost. Say, there's an idea!

I'll stick a little note at the top of my blog, "If you only read one of the books I've read this year, it ought to be Making Sense of It All by Thomas V. Morris". Brilliant!

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