Books and Book Reviews: October 2003 Archives

Hallowe'en is Coming

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And many of us do not observe the customary celebrations. For those who do not care for the usual fare, you might look into a wonderful picture book for children. The Pumpkin Patch Parable, by Liz Curtis Higgs, a well-known protestant writer, uses the ancient custom of Jack 'O Lanterns and turns it on its head, making it a parable of God's redemption and the action of the Holy Spirit in human life. Recommended.

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Present Reading List


Okay, so here's a brief list of the books in the batting circle (and that's as close as you're likely to ever see me approach that, or any, organized sport.

Philip Gulley Home to Harmony--Short Story sermons in disguise--much akin to Jan Karon, but to my mind and taste much more readable than Ms. Karon's stuff

Philip Gulley Signs and Wonders--Ditto, saving it's a novel

Robert McCammon--Speaks the Nightbird--a two volume novel after a very long retirement/haitus from the writing world. McCammon was one of my favorite writers of dark fantasy--his Swan's Song was arguably a much more successful rendition of The Stand. Honestly don't how this one will shape up, but I'm hoping for the best.

Lindsey Davis The Silver Pigs--Mystery set in Ancient Rome--lot's of intimate period detail.

Michael Curtis Ford Gods and Legions--A Novel of Julian the Apostate, but the author of The Ten Thousand which was a novel based on Xenophon's Anabasis.

Randy Wayne White Sanibel Flats--a novel acquired this summer while visiting Sanibel--captures a sense of Southwest Florida.

Harry Turtledove--Ruled Britannia--Welcome to post Armada-invasion England. Shakespeare as subversive playright.

Charles Dickens--Bleak House who can forget Jarndyce and Jarndyce? And Mrs. Jellyby.

In the Silence of Solitude compiled by Eugene L. Romano, HBHJ--Desert Fathers and their application to everyday life.

Dwight Longenecker St. Benedict and St. Thérèse: The Little Rule and the Little Way--you've seen enough of that here to get a notion of what it's about

Rick Warren The Purpose Driven Life--for a previously mentioned fellowship group.

On other book notes--a recent entry at Summa Mamas reminded me of how much I really enjoyed Jon Hassler's Staggerford, consulting the local public library listings, I discover that in the entire system there are precisely three volumes--the status of two of which is in doubt. I guess I'm going to have to find some other way to get some of these books. (Oh, and if you're not reading Summa Mamas, you really should be--endless variety and endlessly entertaining.)

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Review-The Quiet Game Greg Iles


It is a pleasure to read insight about the South from someone who has a notion of what it is about. Ignore the fact that his geography of Disney World is completely messed up (the beginning of the book is nearly completely incorrect).

The book focuses on a nearly Faulknerian Southern Family saga, with the additional complication/impetus of a nearly forty year old civil rights era murder. Much better written than most contemporary thrillers, this will provide a couple of hours of entertainment if you've decided to let Dostoevsky rest for a while. Needless to say there is more than one gratuitous sex scenes and other cumbersome and burdensome apparatus of best-seller fodder. I'm tired of it, and I don't usually reward it, but hearing about the south from a southerner made this worthwhile in this limited instance.

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Books and Book Buying


Ms. Lee Ann, of amazing book consumption lore, posts here a most insightful and amusing insight into her philosophy of book-buying and book owning.

Little does Lee Ann know that I am every bit the book buyer--the problem here is the EXTREMELY limited secondary market. When I lived in Columbus, I had access to several major library sales each year, not to mention a seemingly endless array of second-hand shops--probably part and parcel of living in a major univeristy town. In my present berg I've found one so-so ongoing library sale (although many will be chagrined to learn that I DID buy a copy of The Purpose Driven Life [for a home-fellowship group]) and one nonantiquarian used book shop. So, I haven't the resources Ms Lee Ann has, though she finds that incroyable. Nevertheless, I do my fair share of buying.

And yet, even so, E-books have an appeal that normal books do not. I tend to like to write out lengthy passages of the books I read to note important points. Well, I don't like the copying thing as I am not one of the world's great typists and the handwriting bit means I spend so much time copying it out, I can't possible comment on it, and the whole purpose for keeping the dratted passage should be noted at the time you keep it, and then subsequently commented upon so you have a kind of extended chronoconversation with the piece. The natural advantage of e-books is that it makes such quoting and commenting possible.

That said, the appeal of a find book, well bound and hefty in hand is infinitely finer than the slender stale sandwich of a PDA. But I stand by my choices--I love the ability to carry 40 or 50 books at a time (when I upgrade to the new PDA I'll be carrying as many as 500 or so at a time. (at 100-200K a pop, a 128 meg memory card/stick can hold a goodly number of books--and not all that I want to carry is so large (most of Shakespeare's plays are smaller.) The profound advantage of having a library wheresoever my PDA may be is well worth the tradeoff in sense-luxury.

One final point on e-books--I am able to get a great deal that I really, really like and which has been out of print for a looooong time. I always bring up H. Rider Haggard, but I'm discovering as well some of the lesser known works of Mrs. Gaskell, Wilkie Collins and Charles Reade. Publishers can't make a lot of money on these very limited markets, so they don't publish them.

I recognize the very great chasm between our attitudes. Nevertheless, I do hear where Lee Ann is coming from and I do have a great deal of empathy for the position.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Books and Book Reviews category from October 2003.

Books and Book Reviews: September 2003 is the previous archive.

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