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"Read the books you already own!": The Weekly Book Review Thread, New Year's Edition
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a.s.
Valinor


Dec 31 2008, 4:23pm

Post #1 of 38 (357 views)
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"Read the books you already own!": The Weekly Book Review Thread, New Year's Edition Can't Post

That's my New Year's Resolution: "Read The Books You Already Own and Quit Finding Some You Just Think Are Too Good to Pass By Without Spending Cash".

Oh, and: "Quit Making Library Request Lists That Are More Than Ten Books. Each. At Two Separate Library Systems In Neighboring Cities".

Who does that? LOL.

Anyway, I know I am not alone in my stacks of Books I Mean To Read; in fact, I know a few of you are thinking to yourself I've been spying on your personal stacks sitting next to that last bookshelf you bought only 18 months ago and swore would take you five years to fill up...

My reading has been all over the place this week, as I have an extended number of days-off. However, I did have to pause and celebrate the holidays with my family a little bit. Grin.

I read Cold In Hand, the latest in the Detective Resnick series by John Harvey. It got such excellent reviews this year that I really had to read it, and I wasn't disappointed. Now I will have to go back and see which of the other Resnick novels are available at our library (hey! breaking New Year's resolutions and it's not even officially 2009 yet!) because this was an unusual example of the genre. Grief very finely observed and reported. Anyone else a Harvey fan? I wish I'd discovered him years ago.

I re-read Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, because that is this month's book club pick and we will be discussing it next week. I loved it every bit as much as the first time I read it; perhaps even more, now that I have also read Home. I think Gilead may be in the top ten of my favorite books of all time, and I so admire what Robinson has done in the two novels, interplaying the different points of view about the events of a long lifetime shared by two friends and their families. I do so hope she does another novel focusing on Lila or Glory.

I finished the audiobook version of Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan. I don't think I've read any other O'Nan books (I could be wrong, I tend to forget author names), but this was a lovely book. The point of the story isn't to solve the mystery of what happens to Kim. The point is life lived in connection with other people, and how that defines and composes life itself. Very nice, recommended by me.

Too bad the reader kept mispronouncing the city "Aa-kron" with an emphasis on both syllables (instead of "ACK-run"); Is that how they pronounce it in Greek? LOL.

Now I am reading a book I bought a while ago (see? I can stick to New Year's Resolutions, at least briefly) and keep "meaning to" get to: The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism", ed. by Bernard McGinn. Since I am such a beginner (but a searcher must start at the beginning, I suppose), this is a good introduction for me because it is broken down by themes or subjects and not simply a chronological order without explanation. It is also interesting, and the comments by McGinn really help the neophyte make sense of some of the mystical writings in which I tend to get lost and then start arguments in my head with long-dead writers whose writings I am reading in translation and way out of social context.

LOL.

I am reading it because I am on some kind of search, true, but also because I am reading The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris, which I have also "been meaning to" get to. I bought it used, sort of a "find" in my favorite used book store, although it had been previously recommended to me. So far, so good. Hard to put down, actually.

Holy Cow, this post is long!! See what happens when I have time on my hands?

That's it for me. But what about you all? Do you have New Year's Resolutions pertaining to books and reading material? Please share. And tell us what you have been reading this week, too.


Happy New Year!

a.s.

"an seileachan"

Some say once you're gone, you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
Some say you'll rest in the arms of the Savior, if sinful ways you lack.
Some say that they're coming back in a garden: bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Iris DeMent



Call Her Emily


Jazmine
Tol Eressea


Dec 31 2008, 4:35pm

Post #2 of 38 (173 views)
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No more books til we've read the ones we've got!! [In reply to] Can't Post

I can pretty much say it won't last long beyond our next bookshop visit. I read books pretty quickly, but I buy them much faster. Doesn't help that about 3 people gave me bookstore vouchers for Christmas!

I haven't done a great deal of reading this week, or drawing for that matter, which is unlike me. I did acquire a few new books at Christmas though. David Gemmell's Legend, the Alan Lee illustrated Tales from the Perilous Realm, and also The Watch series, by Sergei Lukyanenko. I've been meaning to read that for awhile now, so it's probably where I'll start!

And I'm willing to bet my book-purchasing ban won't last much longer than the end of Jan!


*Jazminatar the Brown*


a.s.
Valinor


Dec 31 2008, 4:45pm

Post #3 of 38 (197 views)
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Sister of Another Mother!!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah, I also got lots of B&N gift cards for Christmas, which everyone knows I like.

What a dilemma: on one hand, a New Year's Resolution to not buy books until I've read the ones I own.

And on the other hand, over $200 in gift cards, total.

Whew. A girl's heart is only so hard, after all.

Perhaps I should be realistic and say to myself: don't buy any more books once you've spent your Christmas gift cards.

Cool

a.s.

"an seileachan"

Some say once you're gone, you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
Some say you'll rest in the arms of the Savior, if sinful ways you lack.
Some say that they're coming back in a garden: bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Iris DeMent



Call Her Emily


Laerasėa
Tol Eressea


Dec 31 2008, 5:22pm

Post #4 of 38 (173 views)
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Anathem and War for the Oaks [In reply to] Can't Post

I was so smart that I started Anathem a few days before Christmas, so when I got some B&N gift cards and books from my family, I had to wait until I'd finished reading all 900 pages before I could read any Christmas stuff. *sigh*

It was very good; a bit confusing at first, because I had no idea what the heck was going on, and I had to refer to the glossary a few billion times a page, but after a hundred pages or so, it went more smoothly. I had to read the math/platonic/physics parts really carefully and slowly, and there was a long philosophical/platonic discussion about two or three hundred pages before the end that was a bit slow going, but afterwards, the last hundred pages went by very quickly, although again, I was a bit lost as to what, exactly, happened.

This book is definitely going on my reread shelf, although I'm not sure I'm going to have the energy to pick it up anytime soon! But it was probably my favorite Stephenson books so far; I enjoyed it more than the Cryptonomicon or Baroque Cycle. Overall, I loved it!!

Also just reread War for the Oaks, by Emma Bull, given to me by a good friend before Christmas. It reminded me vaguely of Neil Gaiman, especially with its references to various other pieces of literature- some of them I've read, some of them I haven't. Both Bull and Gaiman seem to share an appreciation for A Midsummer Night's Dream, since upon closer inspection, there were multiple references to that in WftO, and Gaiman tends to throw little nods to it as well in his works. I also enjoyed the type of fantasy depicted in WftO; it was a very fun book, and I really enjoyed that one, too.

Hmmm. New Year's Resolution Books. I always have a very long ongoing list of "Things I Need To Read", but I never finish it, because it's always growing. I want to reread Anthem, as well as Foucault's Pendulum, both books I read this year and understood about 50% of (while still enjoying them), and I want to give Don Quixote a shot (in English, of course). Also want to look into theology a bit, I'd been learning a bit about it this year in one of my classes (and outside of classes, too.....*winks at Menelwyn*), and discovered that the study of the monotheistic religions were absolutely fascinating.

Happy reading, a.s.!

********************************
Traveling Journal Official Site

"Who needs drugs when you spend all your money on books?"
-Menelwyn

"A friend helps you find your Silmaril. A true friend helps you slay kin, cross icy wastes, battle your rellies, lose your hand to a Dark Lord and cast yourself into a fissure in the earth."
-Ataahua

"...But life has thus far failed to adjust itself to my liking, so I soldier on."
-Magpie

"I just thought I would share this story, because today is a great day."
-Hobbiton

"True nerddom/geekdom/dorkdom does not kick in until you are in your 50s taking a nerd/geek/dork test on the discussion board of an internet fan site for a fantasy novel/film."
-Squire



Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Dec 31 2008, 5:49pm

Post #5 of 38 (170 views)
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We can only choose what to do with the books we are given [In reply to] Can't Post

If you'll excuse the lame echo of Gandalf.

I was privileged to attend the launch party for War for the Oaks some years ago, in the same club in Minneapolis where many of the scenes are set, with Emma herself playing guitar with the band "Boiled in Lead". A wonderful moment!

I loved Cloister Walk and need to re-read it. I have had Norris's Amazing Grace on the shelf for a long time but haven't yet read it.

Did someone say something about reading the books we already have instead of buying more? If you transported my entire house and personal library to a desert island, I could go for years without running out of reading material Crazy

Even though I loved The Name of the Rose, I never made it all the way through Foucault's Pendulum. It's an amazing work, no doubt about it, but there was just too much of it, even for someone who loves that sort of historical/mythic synthesis. I did skip ahead to the end, though.

Among other things this week, I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

The story is about a woman living in London right after WWII who makes friends via letters with a group of people on Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, and goes there to write about their (sometimes horrific) experiences during the war, when they were occupied by the Nazis. The story swings from light-hearted moments to heartrendingly grim ones. I have the horrible feeling that the latter are the non-fictional parts of the narrative.

It was a bit hard to keep the plethora of characters straight at first -- some of them have more distinctive voices than others. But each letter is clearly labeled. And I, personally, found the ending utterly predictable, to the point where I was getting irritated by the main character's obtuseness.

I also was bemused by how many good, selfless, even saintly, characters appeared in the story. But then, I complain often of how the protagonists of contemporary fiction are often attitudinous, looking-out-for-number-one, kick (synonym for mule) characters, and so was happy to find people's better natures held up for admiration.

It's unusual to see an epistolary novel these days (one where the story is told in letters), but I enjoyed this one, even though there were moments where I found it hard to suspend my disbelief -- I mean, do people really write letters like that? No, but it's fiction, already Smile And the old-fashioned style suited the old-fashioned story.

* * * * * * *
Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?

A man may do both. For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time. The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!


Elberbeth
Tol Eressea


Dec 31 2008, 6:19pm

Post #6 of 38 (159 views)
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Working my way through my book Christmas gifts [In reply to] Can't Post

and re-reading Harry Potter as well -- at the speed I'm going I might make it through all seven before HBP comes out. Oh, and I got several movie vouchers as well, so I'm set!

The Road -- very powerful book, and, IMO, made for Viggo. I think this will be the performance of his life. Looking forward to the movie, and also not, given some of the material.

Tales of Beedle the Bard: very short, but enjoyable all the same. An addition to my library.

Two Kinsey Milhone novels, R is for Riccochet and T is for Trespass. Have to find out about S is for Silence. It is a series, but it doesn't matter much if you read them out of order.

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark."


Nienna
Rohan


Dec 31 2008, 6:54pm

Post #7 of 38 (155 views)
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Christmas reading [In reply to] Can't Post

I too loved Gilead.

In the last few weeks I've had a quick re-read of Brideshead Revisited because a friend wanted to see the movie - after watching the movie (very good) I then had to re-read the book.

At the moment I'm reading "Infidel: My Life" - it's the life of Ayaan Hirsi Ali from her childhood in Somalia to her later life in the Netherlands. So far, so very good.


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Dec 31 2008, 7:22pm

Post #8 of 38 (151 views)
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A new book I got for Christmas: "Nathan Hale" by M. Williams Phelps [In reply to] Can't Post

I was very excited to hear that this book was in the offing, and even more so that the movie based on it may also be in the offing. It makes use of the recently-discovered diary (found in 2003) of Consider Tiffany, a Tory who was an eyewitness to Hale's capture, the details of which have been a mystery for two centuries.

The new information suggests that British Major Robert Rogers, who is something of a swashbuckling character, grew suspicious of the schoolmaster who was nosing around, and met him in a tavern. Rogers persuaded Hale that he too was an American spy, possibly with the help of generous quantities of alcohol, and asked him to meet him the following day at his quarters. Hale showed up and was promptly arrested. This could be pretty good in a movie.

The book itself is kind of dry reading for all but the most ardent fan (like me). It's written in an academic style, with lots of footnotes and page and pages of bibliography, which is good if you're after detailed information (me) but makes for a slow read. Sometimes the author slips into a jarring colloquialism, as when he calls the young Nathan and his brother Enoch "two kids accustomed to the confines of a farming village", which sounds odd next to the academic tone of most of the book.

On the other hand, I did find this gripping by the time I reached the last chapters, and couldn't put it down, reading by flashlight as my husband drove us home from another town. I was especially moved by the account of Enoch trying to find out what had happened to his brother. Enoch was a rather prim theology student, not a soldier, but he haunted soldier's camps asking questions as he heard disturbing rumors that his favorite beloved brother had been hanged. When he at last faced the truth of those rumors, he went on for a search of his body, which he never found, since it was buried in an unmarked grave next to the gallows. (It had been hanging there for several days while British soldiers spat on it and pinned insulting cartoons to it. )

I was also reminded again that I've always seen a little of Sam Gamgee in Asher Wright, who was Nathan's boyhood friend and who became his personal servant when Nathan was an officer in the army. Asher suffered from post-traumatic shock after Nathan's death, and hadn't really recovered from it sixty years later, when Hale's biographers interviewed him.

I was pretty familiar with almost everything in this book already, but it's nice to have it in one place. One observation that no one's made before and that I liked was a UUT that Phelps had about why Hale taught a class for girls at a time when girls, if they went to school at all, only went for a year to learn to read and write and sew. His inviting girls to his school was pretty radical, but most biographers have said he did it to make extra money. (I have noticed, though, that when he was in college he debated on the topic of education for girls, so it was clearly of interest to him beyond that.) Phelps speculates that Hale was partly motivated by the example of his mother, who died in childbirth when he was twelve, giving birth to her twelfth child. He might have wanted other women to have better lives than his mother did, and saw education as the key to that. A nice idea.

So if you want a biography that reads like a story, this isn't for you (you might check out the one I wrote a while back, which is online here.) But if you can read between the lines to see the story behind the facts, this book tells a great story.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Bladorthin
The Shire


Dec 31 2008, 7:41pm

Post #9 of 38 (148 views)
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Review and Summary [In reply to] Can't Post

I am presently reading "Till We Have Faces", by C.S Lewis. I find it difficult to express my true feelings on books, as they are frequently contradicted, or overwhelmed by critical synopsi that are thought out better than my own. Nevertheless, I proceed.

This is the myth of Cupid, Orual and Psyche retold from the perspective of Christian philosophy. I have not encountered this tale before, and thus have no premise for comparison to other tellings. My concern is more with the paths of moral development, key in this book, that ought to be common to all men.

The central themes are illustrated by means of placing them within the context of a barbaric, pre-Christian world, this being Glome, a realm god-fearing, and primitive in its piety.

It would be wrong to say that the characters are but devices for the presentation of a point of seeming profundity. Likewise, place plays a deeper role than mere place. The drama is strongly reliant upon the deeply human persona of the characters. In a word, moral conflict and characterization mesh so as to be wholly dependent upon one another. I say something likely common to all good story, but here it is better, again, deeper.

I have not before read a book that so closely peruses the necessary fundamentality of internal conflict to story progression. Purely human response lends profound realism to the tale. I'm being clear as mud. Reason if of utmost importance to the story. Thought, logic, illogic, feeling all reside at the story forefront. Its aspect conforms nearly flawlessly to pure, real world, human nature, on a deep, tragic level.

All this is better told by the telling (or summarization) of the tale. Psyche is born, beautiful intom a world of barbarism. Her sole companions of any relational value are the Fox, a Greek, characterized by a humanistic outlook, and Orual, Psyche's ugly stepsister, daughter of the King of Glome, who possessively, harmfully loves Psyche.

The conflict is as follows. Psyche is taken from Orual and the Fox in order to be sacrificed to the Brute, god of the Mountain. This is done in an attempt to satiate Ungit whose sanctity has been violated due to the worship that Psyche receives. Glome has incurred Ungit's wrath.

On the eve of her death, Orual persuades Bardia, captain of the King's guard, to allow her to speak to Psyche, who is under house arrest. She enters, and speaks to Psyche in an effort to comfort her, but finds her offerings, not unwanted, but unnecessary, vain. Psyche has, in a sense, progressed unto a place of personal peace and acceptence of her plight. Orual perceives this as Psyche's first step in a process of what is to her unwanted maturation in the form of freedom that she is herself afraid to experience. (don't mind my redundency). Psyche has escped Orual's selfish jurisdiction. Her possessive love of Psyche is not the freeing, unselfish love that is real love, for the benefit of the other at all times, but a self-centered love clad in the guise of benefit for the other, harmful control that strives to gratify our desire for the other to conform to our wants.

A signal has been arranged prior to Orual's entry to alert her to the coming of others who cannot know of her being with Psyche. Bardia knocks three times on the door, and Orual departs. (I failed to mention, before being permitted to enter, Orual assailed Bardia with a blade from the armory. Bardia is moved by her devotion, and allows her entry.)

Psyche is brought out to be sacrificed the next day. She is bedecked with unbecoming paints and drugged nearly to incoherence. A great following goes with her to the place of sacrifice, a Tree by the Mountain. There she is left to be taken by the Shadowbrute, left by a father he only then sees her for who and what she is, but is incapable of losing face before his people by recalling the sacrifice. She is bound to the Tree with an iron band.

Orual does not attend the sacrifice, being pained by injury done her by her monstrous father. Further, the women of the palace were prohibited from attending.
In time, in comes into Orual's mind that she ought to bury the remains of her sister. This is all she places between herself and utter desolation of spirit. Her selfishness is reexercised when she pointedly avoids making the trip merely as a means of retaining some connection of things pertaining to Psyche. She is unwilling to complete this last, conjured and facadial severence.

I'll now try to shorten this. She goes to the Mountain with Bardia, and finds Psyche living, though in tattered garb and in the wild. strangely, she appears to be in better helth and strength than ever before.

Orual and Psyche talk together, but this quickly devolves into ravings on the part of Orual, for Psyche speaks of a wondrous lover who bore her away from the Tree, to a palace that no human mind could have conceived of.

The particulars are many and varied, but be it sufficint to say that 1.) Orual denies the existence of such a thing and 2.) This is borne chiefly of her selfish love of Psyche. Psyche is not mad, nor is she in poor health. She professes to be living in the uttermost state of bliss and contenment. She has reestablished her life apart from Orual's control, instead dwelling with an unseen lover. Psyche says she has found fulfillment and freedom, having now woken from the "dream" of life.

Orual rebels against Psyche's new-found freedom and fulfillment, charging her with madness, when it is abundantly clear she is not. She exhibits ininitely more self control than Orual, infinitely greater surety. Orual perceives that she is more greatly bound than is Psyche.

And now I'll leave you to read the rest. I've already spoiled a great part of the novel. But you'll see Orual, whether Psyche be mad or sane, fall into such depravity of "love" that you'll wonder if it's much better than hatred in its effects. My observations can undoubtedly be broadened by input from those brighter or wiser than I.

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth...

Gen. 1:1

There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Iluvatar...

-The Silmarillion



(This post was edited by Bladorthin on Dec 31 2008, 7:50pm)


Compa_Mighty
Tol Eressea


Dec 31 2008, 7:47pm

Post #10 of 38 (149 views)
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I know what you mean! [In reply to] Can't Post

I started double filing my shelves this week... I received mostly books for Christmas and it is a physical impossibility to get more shelves... there simply isn't any more space in my room between the action figures and the books.

Anyway, I read three of the four Dinotopia books I was telling you about a couple weeks ago and they are absolutely awesome. Think of Lord of the Rings meets Jules Verne... exotic, wonderfully crafted and self-coherent locales in an island where sentient Dinosaurs and humans live together in a utopian society. But then, Jules Verne-y science fiction kicks in. The island of Dinotopia is in our world. While James Gurney, the author is careful to never specify its location, I have been able to gather that it is somewhere south of India, east of Africa and west of Australia. The island is surrounded by a coral reef which is impassable with 1860 technology, so every human inhabitant of Dinotopia is a castaway or descends from one.Dinosaurs survived there because they moved to the subterranean cavern system under the island. Let us say that within the irreality of all this, everything is based on something reasonable. The stories are written in the form of Arthur Denison's journal, a Victorian explorer who was stranded in the island with his son, Will. The stories read a little like what you would expect of a story outline for a Jules Verne or Arthur Conan Doyle book, for the art is the real star of the stories. 160 pages fully illustrated per book shows that the story accompanies the paintings as opposed to the traditional combo of drawings accompanying the text. www.dinotopia.com

I also read the Tales of Beedle the Bard, and they are quite entertaining, even though Dumbledore's comments were by far the best feature of the book.

Oh, and finally, did I tell you I finally got a complete Arabian Nights collection? It was a little expensive, but it was worth it!

Here's to Del Toro becoming the Irvin Kershner of Middle Earth!

Essay winner of the Show us your Hobbit Pride Giveway!


Magpie
Immortal


Dec 31 2008, 8:02pm

Post #11 of 38 (149 views)
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Emma Bull & Neil Gaiman are good friends [In reply to] Can't Post

Neil has written songs and liner notes for Emma's now defunct folk/rock duo: Flash Girls. The other half of Flash Girls was Lorraine Garland who is Neil's personal assistant.


LOTR soundtrack website : FOTR Lyrics Update, Oct 2008
magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


Magpie
Immortal


Dec 31 2008, 8:08pm

Post #12 of 38 (138 views)
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The Indigo King [In reply to] Can't Post

This is that first book in a trilogy that features JRRT & CS Lewis as young adults. The concept was intriguing to me but the book is tedious to read. I suggested it as a dual read with an online friend and I feel badly for doing so. I have to make myself read it and then I've got nothing to say about it when I do.

Sometimes I'm so curious about a book or movie that I don't mind not liking it. I figure the curiosity would have bugged me if I didn't read or watch so I might as well scratch that itch. But I would not recommend this book to anyone although I'm sure someone out there likes it.


LOTR soundtrack website : FOTR Lyrics Update, Oct 2008
magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


Aunt Dora Baggins
Half-elven


Dec 31 2008, 8:23pm

Post #13 of 38 (145 views)
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Have you thought about the bathroom? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I started double filing my shelves this week... I received mostly books for Christmas and it is a physical impossibility to get more shelves... there simply isn't any more space in my room between the action figures and the books.


I woke up one morning a couple of years ago to find that my darling husband had built bookshelves all around the toilet. I promptly moved in some of my favorite bathroom-type books, mostly things that can be picked up for a moment or two, like Doonesbury books.

I sympathize with your plight. Yesterday I moved some books to my daughter's now-vacant room, in the hopes of freeing some books that are double-shelved. But I still have a lot of double-shelved books, and not much room for many more. It's an ongoing dilemma.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Annael
Half-elven


Dec 31 2008, 9:34pm

Post #14 of 38 (144 views)
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Kushiel's Mercy (and a book recommendation on Christian mysticism) [In reply to] Can't Post

the last of the six Kushiel books by Jacqueline Carey. I got this for Christmas and couldn't resist, even though I have a whopping amount of reading to get through before the first session of winter quarter next week. And it did not disappoint. As the final book in the "Imriel" sequels it involved all the best of Carey: voyages to exotic lands, plenty of interesting characters, swashbuckling and derring-do, magic, ruminations on faith and leadership, and, oh yes, plenty of hot sex.

and then I finished The Mythic Dimension by Joseph Campbell and read The Sacred and the Profane by Mircea Eliade, a book on the operas of Monteverdi, and most of Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance.

Did I mention I also have to write a paper by next weekend?

If you're interested in Christian mysticism, I recommend Inner Christianity by Richard Smoley.


. . . let me tell you, if you are going to marry someone to change and improve him, better not. Likewise, if you are saying "yea" to the world to improve it, please, just leave us alone. There is but one way to say yea in love, and that is to affirm what is there.
- Joseph Campbell

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

(This post was edited by Annael on Dec 31 2008, 9:37pm)


Annael
Half-elven


Dec 31 2008, 9:46pm

Post #15 of 38 (118 views)
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another interesting take on the story [In reply to] Can't Post

is She by Robert Johnson. Short little book from a Jungian psychology perspective; Psyche's story as the journey all women undergo to wholeness.


. . . let me tell you, if you are going to marry someone to change and improve him, better not. Likewise, if you are saying "yea" to the world to improve it, please, just leave us alone. There is but one way to say yea in love, and that is to affirm what is there.
- Joseph Campbell

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Annael
Half-elven


Dec 31 2008, 9:50pm

Post #16 of 38 (130 views)
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the used-book store is my salvation [In reply to] Can't Post

every half-year or so I go through all my shelves and end up with a box of books that I take down to the local used-book store and sell. Actually, I trade them in for credit which I then spend on new-to-me books. But at least it makes me feel like I'm exerting some control over the numbers of books in my home . . .


. . . let me tell you, if you are going to marry someone to change and improve him, better not. Likewise, if you are saying "yea" to the world to improve it, please, just leave us alone. There is but one way to say yea in love, and that is to affirm what is there.
- Joseph Campbell

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


a.s.
Valinor


Dec 31 2008, 10:08pm

Post #17 of 38 (123 views)
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**takes notes [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
If you're interested in Christian mysticism, I recommend Inner Christianity by Richard Smoley




I'm interested in mysticism--period. Christian mysticism is simply the most accessible to me, at the moment, untaught as I am, since I have some context for it by lifelong (to the recent past anyway) beliefs and practices.

I am supposed to be reading Dark Night of the Soul, based on a friend's recommendations, but I think I need some preparation for John of the Cross!!

I am not totally unread in Christian mysticism--or maybe I should just say contemplative writings. I've read Seeds of Contemplation many times, for instance. I've read some of Theresa of Avila's writings in collected/excerpted editions (my particular favorite prayer is her "Let Nothing Disturb You").

I guess I'm gonna have to break down and learn how to meditate.

Shocked

a.s.

"an seileachan"

Some say once you're gone, you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
Some say you'll rest in the arms of the Savior, if sinful ways you lack.
Some say that they're coming back in a garden: bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Iris DeMent



Call Her Emily


Annael
Half-elven


Dec 31 2008, 10:15pm

Post #18 of 38 (132 views)
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another book recommendation, then [In reply to] Can't Post

Hidden Wisdom by Smoley and Jay Kinnear. Broader than just Christianity, although still focused on the West - I suppose because the Western religions have a split between the mystic or esoteric approach and the literal or exoteric outward form of the religion that you don't find in Hinduism, Buddhism, or Taoism.


. . . let me tell you, if you are going to marry someone to change and improve him, better not. Likewise, if you are saying "yea" to the world to improve it, please, just leave us alone. There is but one way to say yea in love, and that is to affirm what is there.
- Joseph Campbell

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Dec 31 2008, 11:43pm

Post #19 of 38 (115 views)
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Did you read Kushiel's Mercy [In reply to] Can't Post

in hardback or paperback? (If it was paperback, I'll order it tomorrow when the stores open again.)

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Kyriel
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 1 2009, 12:32am

Post #20 of 38 (173 views)
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Christian mysticism? *perks up* [In reply to] Can't Post

I've actually made quite a study of that subject (both in seminary and afterwards) and love to discuss it...though only with willing listeners, I promise! Wink In fact, I even taught a mini-class on Christian mysticism a couple of times.

Yes, John of the Cross is a bit heavy going for a beginner, though it does have some brilliant insights. I'm also a huge fan of Teresa of Avila, though I wouldn't recommend her for beginners, either. If you want to start with something a little lighter and more uplifting, I'd recommend Julian of Norwich's Showings (also called Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love). It totally changed the way I thought of God. Then there's a book which combines paintings of Hildegard of Bingen's visions (painted by the nuns of her convent at her direction) with commentary both by Hildegard and by Matthew Fox. It's called Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen, and the chapters are short enough to work well as contemplative reading, if you're so inclined.

I won't babble on any more here, but anyone who's interested in knowing more is welcome to e-mail me at kyriel@earthlink.net.

Those left standing will make millions writing books on the way it should have been. --Incubus


a.s.
Valinor


Jan 1 2009, 2:01am

Post #21 of 38 (115 views)
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**takes more notes [In reply to] Can't Post

Cool Torn. It's such a wonder.

a.s. (**gets out the gift cards and prepares to break New Year's Resolution...)

"an seileachan"

Some say once you're gone, you're gone forever, and some say you're gonna come back.
Some say you'll rest in the arms of the Savior, if sinful ways you lack.
Some say that they're coming back in a garden: bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
I think I'll just let the mystery be.

Iris DeMent



Call Her Emily


Tintallė
Gondor

Jan 1 2009, 2:35am

Post #22 of 38 (151 views)
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Oh dear. Would you believe (and forgive me for reading) [In reply to] Can't Post

Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse?

*sigh*

Yes, well, I wanted to see what they were like. I have never sailed through books so fast in my life. Trashy little novels with shallow characters and an even shallower, very predictable story. And then there's the writing. Anyone ever seen "dust moats" floating around? Even so, they were fun reads over the holidays because they did not require rapt attention or thought.

Tales of Beedle the Bard is next, followed by Terry Pratchett's latest, Nation. It's not a Discworld book, but I'm hoping it will be pure Pratchett as I have come to know and love him.

I also finished Season of Blood: A Rwandan Journey. Lovely book for the holidays - NOT. It was undoubtedly an eye opener and perhaps it will have prepared me to see Hotel Rwanda when it makes it to the top of my Netflix queue. The horrific descriptions will stay with me for a long, long time. I gave up on Reading Lolita in Tehran because of the disjointed writing and the author's assumptions that I knew the literary texts to which she anchored hers. A giant yawn there. It took me six weeks to concede defeat and return it to the library. I'm not sure the aforementioned vampire tales were worth reading, but they certainly held my interest long enough for me to finish them.

I have about 10 books on my shelf awaiting my attention as well as a very long list of books to read compiled from these TORN book review threads, so I'd best get busy!

Happy New Year, everyone - and happy reading!


Annael
Half-elven


Jan 1 2009, 4:16am

Post #23 of 38 (102 views)
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hard [In reply to] Can't Post

my brother gave it to me for Christmas - as he gave me "Kushiel's Justice" last year.

Now I want to see if I can find the rest of the series in hardback. I'm sure I'll re-read many times.


. . . let me tell you, if you are going to marry someone to change and improve him, better not. Likewise, if you are saying "yea" to the world to improve it, please, just leave us alone. There is but one way to say yea in love, and that is to affirm what is there.
- Joseph Campbell

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Annael
Half-elven


Jan 1 2009, 4:21am

Post #24 of 38 (114 views)
Shortcut
I went to a lecture [In reply to] Can't Post

where the lecturer said that the Catholic Church is okay with mystics as long as:
1. the mystic lived long ago
2. in a foreign land
3. and was a woman

Wink

but that doesn't explain St. Francis, who was waaaay out there.


. . . let me tell you, if you are going to marry someone to change and improve him, better not. Likewise, if you are saying "yea" to the world to improve it, please, just leave us alone. There is but one way to say yea in love, and that is to affirm what is there.
- Joseph Campbell

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967


Kyriel
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 1 2009, 1:07pm

Post #25 of 38 (144 views)
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Actually, it can be a lot funnier than that [In reply to] Can't Post

There was this really obscure mystic once named Mechthild of Magdeburg, best known today (if at all) for her decidedly erotic take on "union with Christ." But that vision, the Catholic church never bothered her about. No, what got them up in arms was an entirely different vision in which she receives communion from John the Baptist. Their objection to that? John was never properly ordained as a priest!

Those left standing will make millions writing books on the way it should have been. --Incubus

(This post was edited by Kyriel on Jan 1 2009, 1:55pm)

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