Tuesday, July 11, 2006
On the BookshelfI'm happy to report that the read-o-meter at our household is up on all three indicators this summer. Going back to my enjoyable first adventures in Middle Earth back in early July 1972, the arrival of the summer solstice has always been accompanied by a stack of great reads. A bit on reading The Fellowship of the Ring ... I found the prologue dry and the long-expected party tedious until Bilbo disappeared. It was about 1AM one dark summer night when I delved into the Shadow of the Past, and it scared the spit out of me. When I returned to the trilogy a year later, I was stunned to notice that Gandalf's account of the history of the ring takes place in daylight. Sam is gardening outside the window, if you remember. My own lamp-lit surroundings in a drafty summer house had so ingrained themselves into my thinking, I had assumed the chapter took place at night. I just finished Tobias Buckell's great first novel Crystal Rain. Highly recommended for my visitors who like sf. It's well-written, fast-paced, and contains a good amount of original ideas--sometimes hard for writer of speculative fiction to dredge up. Priscilla McMillan's The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer: And the Birth of the Modern Arms Race is also an outstanding read. While in Springfield IL, Anita picked up Carl Sferrazza Anthony's book First Ladies Vol I, which I delved into on the way home. Here's a bit of First Lady trivia: Which presidential wife was nicknamed "Yum Yum" by the press? Michael O'Laughlin's God's Beloved: A Spiritual Biography of Henri Nouwen is another fine read. I was struck by the author's assessment of Nouwen's impact on Christianity in three areas: the Eucharist, the soul's relationship with the person Jesus, and the spiritual life. I have yet to finish the book, but there may be another post or two on it later this summer. I have two other books on my nightstand--one gets started tonight. So ... have you read any good books lately?