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I am just finishing up a second, slower reading of After Dark by Haruki Murakami, and am going to start reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman, recommended by a friend of mine.

American Gods is very good, hawkster; hope you like it.

Let's see, I finished up the excellent Pevear/Volokhonsky translation of Crime & Punishment. It took me about five months, but it was worth it. I also just finished up Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, which I also enjoyed.

Next time: started digging into Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver (the first part of his ginormous Baroque Cycle, and also started Phillip Caputo's A Rumor of War.

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Howard's End is on the reading list this weekend since we're starting to discuss it in one of my classes this week. I read it over the summer, but now it's time to review. Not sure what else I may pick up. too many choices calling my name. :D I haven't looked at what's up and coming for classes this week; should probably do that first. Edited by CherylR

I like to say that I practice militant mysticism. I'm really absolutely sure of some things that I don't quite know.~~Rob Bell April/09 CT

http://whythewritingworks.com

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Reading Ernest Hemingway's Farewell to Arms for the first time - full of strong, true sentences - and I'm plodding towards the last pages with an inescapable sense of Doom. Also, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor (English novelist, not actress), about an old woman moving into a hotel in London, the step before the nursing home, settling herself into the vast lonely emptiness of aging with no activities or family. Delicate and engaging, and a perfect foil for Hemingway's virility.

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Started a couple days ago on a re-read of A Prayer for Owen Meany - my 2nd favorite book of all time. The first few pages reminded me how much I love the book.

definitely in my top 10...

so what's your #1?

I don't deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, to remind men that they are not dead yet. - G. K. Chesterton

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finished On Beauty by Zadie Smith and am still working my way through House Made of Dawn by M. Scott Momaday.

I like to say that I practice militant mysticism. I'm really absolutely sure of some things that I don't quite know.~~Rob Bell April/09 CT

http://whythewritingworks.com

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Still slogging through Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver (which I LOVE), and am also working on Phil Caputo's A Rumor of War, David Dark's The Sacredness of Questioning Everything and Leif Enger's Peace Like a River.

I'm glad you're liking Quickslver. I'll have to try it again. I enjoyed Peace Like a River, also.

I'm re-reading Brideshead Revisited, one of my favorites. Our book group is this week and we are discussing Stephenson's The Diamond Age. Too bad you aren't in Austin. I love to have you in on the discussion.

Edited by Jim Janknegt
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I'm simultaneously reading Kathleen Norris's Acedia and Me and Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye. The monastic tradition and seedy L.A. detective grit. It's pretty much an unbeatable combination:

"Hand over the nun, padre" I told him. "And the copy of St. Benedict's Rule while you're at it. Come on, I don't have all day."

The padre hesitated, and I didn't blame him. Sister Stella had a beatific face that would make an archbishop kick out a stained glass window. She was one righteous nun; sweet, black, white.

"Not so fast, gumshoe," the monk countered. "Look, a stigmata!"

I looked. I knew immediately that I shouldn't have looked. The monstrance cracked against the back of my head, and I saw stars. I wasn't even in Hollywood.

Edited by Andy Whitman
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I recently re-read Dostoevsky's DEMONS and just finished, for the third or fourth time, THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, the latter for a lovely class at the "Osher Lifelong Learning Institute here in Ashland, OR.

What I got this time round--this may be due to reading new translations--is the (dark) comedy in so much of Dostoevsky's work, and the liveliness. I think I shall now have to go back and read the rest of his stuff this year, beginning with CRIME & PUNISHMENT.

Debra Murphy

www.debramurphy.com

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I recently re-read Dostoevsky's DEMONS and just finished, for the third or fourth time, THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, the latter for a lovely class at the "Osher Lifelong Learning Institute here in Ashland, OR.

Cool! We have an Osher Center literally right around the corner from us. Our neighbors take classes there, but we've never investigated (we're in our upper 30s). Glad to hear they have such excellent courses.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I recently finished James Agee's [i[ A Death in the Family , an excellent portrait of a grieving family told from several different points of view.

Currently reading The Collected Works of T.S. Spivet , which is about a 12-year-old cartography prodigy.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Currently reading Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko and To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolfe. The first I'm kinda liking; the second--not so much. Both are for lit classes.

I like to say that I practice militant mysticism. I'm really absolutely sure of some things that I don't quite know.~~Rob Bell April/09 CT

http://whythewritingworks.com

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  • 4 weeks later...

Currently reading Behind the Lines, a collection of letters to and from soldiers, spanning from the American Revolution to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Also Reds by Ted Morgan, about Communism in America, from the Russian Revolution through the McCarthy era.

In a little more morbid decision, with the H1N1 virus in news on a daily basis, I've dusted off my copy of Stephen King's The Stand for the first time in more than 15 years.

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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I recently read Flaubert's Sentimental Education. Wow! Seriously - WOW! Long long time since I haven't been able to put a book down. Great stuff. Be keen to start a thread about it if anyone else is up for joining in.

Just finished reading Atwood's Moral Disorder. S'alright. One story really stands out, but otherwise nowt that distinguishes it from her usual stuff. Now started on that Hedgehog design book. Thus far, it's little more than vaguely annoying and occasionally slightly funny. A friend told me it was amazing so am perservering.

"There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones, that is intrinsically artistic" - Vladimir Nabokov

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I just finished Peter Scazzero's Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, which I expected to be a relatively worthless Five Steps to a Wonderful Life self-help fest, but which instead turned out to be a helpful account of one pastor's battles against being a self-absorbed jerk, and the sometimes painful practices he is trying to build into his life so that he can be changed slowly but surely over time. I thought it was quite wonderful, and very encouraging to self-absorbed jerks like me.

Now I'm re-reading Dostoyevsky's The Brother's Karamazov. This is my third time through the novel, although it's been about ten years. It's a great feast on so many levels. I just re-read Ivan's dialogue/monologue with Alyosha on the depravity of man, which occurs shortly before the famous Grand Inquisitor chapter. It's a breathtakingly beautiful portrayal of ugliness and brutality.

Edited by Andy Whitman
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I'm near the end of Donald Westlake's Watch Your Back! and will be diving into the second half of Edmund Morris' Theodore Rex, both in audio form.

In print, I'm still progressing through Stephen Carter's Jericho's Fall and now have a copy of Michael Chabon's Manhood for Amateurs staring at me from the bedside table.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Now I'm re-reading Dostoyevsky's The Brother's Karamazov. This is my third time through the novel, although it's been about ten years. It's a great feast on so many levels. I just re-read Ivan's dialogue/monologue with Alyosha on the depravity of man, which occurs shortly before the famous Grand Inquisitor chapter. It's a breathtakingly beautiful portrayal of ugliness and brutality.

I have meant to re-read this for a good while now. I first read it after my parents took me book-shopping and, as I was a gore-obsessed child, I demanded they buy me The Silence of the Lambs. They refused, saying that I should get something that was at least well written. I sulked, and saw The Brother's Karamazov with a blood spattered Christ on the cover and, thinking 'that looks gooey', said without knowing what I was submitting to, 'I'll have that'. I was oddly puzzled when my parents were delighted by my choice. I was 12, I think.

It took me several attempts over several years before I finished it. I think I must have been 16 or so when I finally did. It remains one of my favourite books though I have long since forgotten substantial chunks of it, I certainly don't remember the scene you mention though it sounds as though it may be key. I just recall being mesmerised by it. Thanks for reminding me that I ought to do this.

"There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones, that is intrinsically artistic" - Vladimir Nabokov

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  • 1 month later...

I just finished Leif Enger's Peace Like A River. I tried reading it years ago, but couldn't finish it. I decided to give it another shot and this time, I had trouble putting it down. :) The novel kept me engaged on several different levels. I'm already planning on re-reading it.

Next up is his book, So Brave, Young, and Handsome.

I like to say that I practice militant mysticism. I'm really absolutely sure of some things that I don't quite know.~~Rob Bell April/09 CT

http://whythewritingworks.com

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A few highlights of the past several months (I wouldn't mind an 'ahem' if I've missed discussions about them elsewhere):

The Quartet, by Francois Emmanuel - the novel upon which the film 'Heartbeat Detector' was based. Well worth tracking down a used copy.

Asterios Polyp and Stitches - the two best new graphic novels I've read this year, blending style and narrative in exemplary fashion. To oversimplify, the former is the tale of an academic's failed marriage and his efforts to reinvent himself, while the latter is a wrenching autobiography of an abusive childhood compounded by cancer.

Oryx and Crake and After the Flood, by Margaret Atwood - despite my love of science fiction and apocalyptic tales, I've somehow missed Atwood's writings, which are frighteningly plausible portraits of technology gone awry, while also revealing a deep insight into the restriction of women's roles in contemporary society.

Losing my Religion, by William Lobdell - effectively melds spiritual autobiography - a journey from apathy to Protestant evangelicalism to Roman Catholicism to agnosticism - with his work as a reporter on the religion beat, covering megachurches, ordinary believers, renowned charlatans, and the child molestation scandals.

An End to Suffering, by Pankaj Mishra - depicts the author's travels to locales significant in the life of Buddha, blending in a readable overview of Buddhist philosophy as well

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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I'm so pedestrian. Recent books, Simple Church, The Churches the Apostles Left Behind by Raymond Broun, Go Like Hell an account of the epic battle between Ford and Ferrari at Le Mans in the '60's. About to start Satchel and Exploring Protestant Traditions: An Invitation to Theological Hospitality (just ordered this morning).

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Pedestrian? What? I wouldn't say that at all, Rich.

Not too long ago I finished:

-Possession, by A.S. Byatt (loved it)

-The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper (loved it, maybe the seventh time I've read it, but it's been over 15 years since the last time I picked it up)

Now I'm working through:

-What the Bible Says about Marriage, by Anthony Selvaggio (my former pastor...Jenny and I are reading it for our pre-marital counseling sessions)

-Reflecting the Glory, by N.T. Wright (maybe the best devotional I've seen; it's also set up so you can read it during the Lenten season, which I'm doing)

-Raven's Ladder, by Mr. Jeffrey Overstreet, esq. (loving it so far)

-Celebration of Discipline, by Richard Foster (using this for a small group I'm in; very life-changing, in a lot of ways...for instance, I've been waking up 5:30 a.m. for the past month now, to pray/read scripture)

On deck:

-Spooner, by Pete Dexter

-Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

-Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson

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