My Summer Reading List


Unlike Mr. Claybourn, no one has expressed the slightest interest in what I'm reading this summer. But I am incredibly interested in what other people are reading and so as a service for those too timid to ask, I offer you my reading history and prognosis (in the strictly nonmedical sense of that word. Though, I suppose I should share with you a list of symptoms of reading addiction.)

At present I am juggling The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Brothers Karamazov, The House of the Seven Gables, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, and The Sayings of Light and Love. I feel impelled to note, lest accusations of pretentiousness be hurled--I am reading the Dostoevsky and Hawthorne and have been reading them for months with little progress. They comprise a sort of "background reading" that I hope to move forward with ASAP. Twain is for the reading group that I belong to, and John of the Cross is to refresh my acquaintance before I attempt to guide an entire group of Carmelites through his work. Now, on the things I am reading on my own for my own purposes (though I suppose all of the above qualify in one way or another), I have Dwight Longenecker's delightful St. Benedict and St. Therese: The Little Rule and the Little Way; Joseph Ellis's wonderful concise history Founding Brothers , a title not entirely accurate as one of the segments in the book deals with John Adams and his Wife Abigail (one of the great true love stories of all time); Sister Miriam Pollard's truly wonderful book of poetry Neither Be Afraid; and 1.5 million blog messages per day.

On the just finished and highly recommended front, John Simon's intricate and fascinating account of the conflict between Jefferson and Marshall, which, for better or worse, ended up defining the nation as it stands now, What Kind of Nation. I cannot say enough good about this truly detailed and fascinating excursion into the past; however, it does tend to aggravate me seriously as I am not a proponent of much of what our modern Court system has inflicted on society, and its ability to do so stems from this time and the apparently innocuous decision of Marbury v. Madison. I also just finished Michael Casey's book on humility, A Guide to Living in the Truth. I hope to write more extensively about these latter two in a few days. Further, I will lengthen the list and modify the recommendations list so that everyone can peruse at their leisure.

A question--what does everyone thing about Amazon Associateships. I tend to be somewhat green in this matter, preferring, whenever possible and reasonable, to give my patronage to smaller, local dealers. However, for purposes of reference here, that seems a difficult route. Please advise if you have strong opinions one way or the other. That in itself should make for interesting reading.

On the horizon, I would like to read Torgny Lindgren's epic of the plague Light. Once again, I hope to write a good deal more about Mr. Lindgren in the future. Also on the list is the 1895 (?) version of Portrait of a Lady. As with my films, I prefer the original, unreedited versions of classic works. I'm told that the 1914 New York edition is different in substantive ways. James is a taste that has come to me only recently. I spent quite a while wandering through the labyrinth entitled The Golden Bowl. When I finished, I was stunned to discover that I had encountered an artist who had forced me to grow, and though while reading it I had wondered at whether I was enjoying it, I find that reflecting upon the experience has been tremendously fruitful and wonderful. James is an author best read for the journey, not the destination. Many in this Tom Clancy and John Grisham world might be quite disappointed in the "story" such as it is of James's masterpiece, but it is a wonderful work that lives on in the imagination, forcing multiple rethinkings and reconsiderations. I know that I have come no where near beginning to tap its wonderful depths. And so, I now confess myself a Henry James fan.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 27, 2002 8:12 PM.

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