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Discussion in 'Books' started by Ismitje, Jan 1, 2018.
I posted this one last year.
San Antonio Rose: The Life and Music of Bob Wills - Charles Townsend
"It is doubtful that anyone will ever write a more complete or more accurate account of Wills and his music.' -- Bill C. Malone
The Unknown Henry Miller: A Seeker in Big Sur, an interesting book, though the title is a bit misleading since most of the author's sources are well known and readily available to any reader. It probably has something to do with Miller not being as widely read as the author Arthur Hoyle, thinks he should be. I can agree with that. Miller at his best is pretty good. If one teaches a Miller book like Tropic of Cander or The Colossus of Marousi or Big Sur and the Oranges of Heironymous Bosch or The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (to name the four I've actually assigned to college classes), it usually goes over well. I can imagine a class with five or six excessively woke people causing a ruckus, but tough shit.
Gendering the Crusades ed. Susan B. Edgington and Sarah Lambert
Medieval Women: A Social History of Women in England 450-1500 by Henrietta Leyser
Women in Medieval Europe 1200-1500 by Jennifer Ward
The Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe ed. Judith M. Bennett and Ruth Mazo Karras
That's pretty random. I'm not seeing a pattern.
I like to shake things up. Keep it unpredictable.
The authors are women.
Caught in Fading Light: Mountain Lions, Zen Masters, and Wild Nature a meditation on all things in the subtitle and everything else by Bolinas CA- based Zen teacher Gary Thorp. A good piece of nature in the tradition of Thoreau, John Muir, Mary Austin, etc. One day it occured to Thorp that he'd never seen a cougar though there are plenty of them about, so he sets out to do so (with the help of actual mountain lion experts, since he wanted to write the book and not be subject of Werner Herzog's documentary, Cougar Man.
The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien
"A thing may happen and be a total lie; another thing may not happen and be truer than truth."
Experiments in Ethics lectures on ethics and the need for philosophy to draw from a wide range of fields (anthro, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, politics, etc), and vice versa, in order to ask better questions and move towards better answers regarding what constitutes a good life, by Kwame Anthony Appiah
The Blithedale Romance - Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Pen Commandments -- Steven Frank
I found this in the remainder bin, and I have to say, this is the writing book you all wish your 9th grade writing teachers had had sitting on their desks.
Frank was apparently hired for his first teaching job on a Thursday and he subsequently started at the school that following Monday. He had no idea what a lesson plan was, but he knew that a What-I-Did-Over-the-Summer essay was boring, so he assigned: What I Didn't Do Over the Summer.
I am no longer ********ing around.
The Origins of Totalitarianism
I think Steve Bannon reads that as a how-to manuel
Citizenship Papers: Essays by Wendell Berry
The folly at the root of this foolish economy began with the idea that a corporation should be regarded, legally, as "a person." But the limitless destructiveness of this economy comes about precisely because a corporation is not a person. A corporation, essentially, is a pile of money to which a number of persons have sold their moral allegiance. As such, unlike a person, a corporation does not age. It does not arrive, as most persons finally do, at a realization of the shortness and smallness of human lives; it does not come to see the future as the lifetime of the children and grandchildren of anybody in particular. It can experience no personal hope or remorse, no change of heart. It cannot humble itself. It goes about its business as if it were immortal, with the single purpose of becoming a bigger pile of money. The stockholders essentially are usurers, people who "let their money work for them," expecting high pay in return for causing others to work for low pay. The World Trade Organization enlarges the old idea of the corporation-as-person by giving the global corporate economy the status of a super government with the power to overrule nations. I don¹t mean to say, of course, that all corporate executives and stockholders are bad people. I am only saying that all of them are very seriously implicated in a bad economy.
Initially to prepare for a section of intro to world literature that I'm teaching, but it's interesting enough that I'm going all the way through it (which I'd have to do anyway, since it has a crappy index and thereby requires actually reading the whole thing...
Michel de Montaigne: Accidental Philospher by Ann Hartle "Accidental" is in contrast to "deliberative," FWIW
Villette - Charlotte Brontë
On prior reading, I thought this was clearly better than Jane Eyre.
Now it is a closer question.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry - Neal deGrasse Tyson
Sorry, gotta run!
Graceling by Kristin Cashore - A young adult fantasy novel about Katsa, a young woman Graced with an extraordinary ability to kill, used by her uncle the king, and yearning to break free. I liked the characters and general premise but found the world building a bit lacking. Might have been the fact that it was a young adult novel, but I just felt like, for a fantasy novel, the world the characters inhabited wasn't very....magical? Creative? Meh. Probably won't read the two sequels.
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier - A re-read of an old favorite, based on an old Irish legend. Sorcha is the youngest of seven children and the only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Her father re-marries an evil witch, who turns her six brothers into swans. The only way she can save her brothers is to weave shirts from the painfully spiny starwort plant, while maintaining complete silence until the task is done. Just as enjoyable as an adult as it was as a young teenager. A great example of having a "strong female character" without having her kick ass and fight everyone and throw out sarcastic insults etc.
A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis by David M. Friedman - Penis.
That reminds me of a book I read in elementary school about a girl who got leukemia from one of the atomic bombs:
A Burglar's Guide to the City -- Geoff Manaugh
This was as enjoyable a read as I've had in quite a while. Manaugh tries to show us how a city, and more importantly, the buildings that comprise that city, looks to burglars. How would you look a building if you planned on entering it some other way than through the door? There are lots of stories of burglars creeping through real-life Jeffries tubes, sliding between walls, burrowing up through the floor, or, even more devilishly, building false walls during construction so that there will be these exact same spaces to exploit. In other words, it takes a burglar to fully experience the spaces of the city.
Manaugh's then tries to argue that buildings don't just exist in space, they exist in through time as well. The obvious example is the one of the builder who left secret passages when building so that he could knock off the building later. My favorite was a guy who could deduce the entire layout of a modern, pricey condo building, down to where each room was, just by looking at the fire escapes and which rooms got more sprinkler heads. Manaugh tried to point out, many times, that building codes in this example, change across the eras and thus afford the burglar differing opportunities. This seems rather self evident, but it was a point that he made repeatedly, so the book dragged after a while.
All in all, great fun. I think it would have been better as a series of articles, but hey, there's less money in scattered articles, right? Here, for example, is the one that got me interested in this book:
Taken me way too long to pick this one up again and it is also taking me way too long to get through it, sometimes my brain is fried after work so when I read it I start dozing off! Anyways, it is a good one.
Dangerous Mystic: Meister Eckhart's Path to God Within, an Interesting "biography" in the "life and times" sense of the term about the 12th century Dominican theologian and writer, Meister Eckhart, by historian Joel Harrington, whose also written a book about a sixteenth century executioner named Frantz Schmidt, who in the line of duty offed 394 people, if his journal is to be believed. That's on the list too, because this guy is a very good writer.
Not having to do with burglary, but I've watched videos of people crawling through ducts under houses.
Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises and other Essays, a new collection of essays by cultural commentator Rebecca Solnit.
America, The Farewell Tour, an old-school jeremiad exploring the onrushing demise of the American Empire brought about, as it always is, by corruption and imbecility among the elites by Chris Hedges.
I pulled it off the library shelf on Tuesday, and was surprised as hell Wednesday morning that chapter one, "Decay" is about Scranton. About 30 pages later, and I'm reading about the Northern Light Espresso Bar, in which I was sitting at the time. He was writing about the Barista who had sold me the first of my three cups of coffee that morning and her family. Strange experience.