Recently Read

Kaleidoscope Dorothy Gilman

Date: January 21, 2004
This novel is really a string of interconnected short stories featuring Gilman's psychic Madame Karitska. I do think that police are smart enough to consult a child psychologist on their own when a mute child of nine is accused of murder. Matchmaking abounds. A pleasant read.

Whitebread Protestants: Food and Religion in American Culture Daniel Sack

Date: January 20, 2004
An examination of Protestant Christian movements as expressed in food. Wine vs. Grape Juice, Individual vs. Common Cup, food as social glue, food given to the hungry (locally and globally) and individual food morality.

On deciphering a potluck: The social meaning of church socials (article by same author)

Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life Philip Simmons

Date: January 17, 2004
Series of inspiring and thought provoking essays written by a man facing death from ALS. Some people manage to do things in spite of impending death, disability, etc. -- fewer incorporate the reality into their actions and the beauty of life. I think I'm going to recommend that my Sunday School class consider doing this book. There are 12 essays and group discussion guides. The whole book may be a bit much for our class, but 4 essays would be good.

The Dream of Scipio Iain Pears, Riverhead Books, New York, 2002

Date: January 14, 2004
Very interesting, intellectually chewy. Braided tales of three men on the brink of civilization's collapse in wildy divergent times, but unified by geography and crises of loyalty. Not enough sex (and no children), but since this particular braid is wrapped around a thread of neoplatonism, that's not surprising.

A translation of Cicero's Dream of Scipio.

Friends at Court Henry Cecil, Penguin Books, 1962

Date: January 9, 2004

Rumpole at the Bailey Lite. No blood shed. A chuckle here or there.

Holidays on Ice David Sedaris

Date: Sometime in the dregs of 2003

I really like Sedaris's stuff. Most of this book I had heard before on NPR (Excerpts of the Santaland Diaries) and This American Life (A Very Special Sedaris Christmas). A good holiday read. Especially if you have heard him read it.

What Lips My Lips Have Kissed: The Loves and Love Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Daniel Mark Epstein, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2002

Date: December 20, 2003
I think I would rather read poetry than books about poets. I hate the way analysis, rather than fleshing out, skeletalizes poems and poets. There may be beauty there still, I supposed, as a skeletalized leaf is beautiful.
Three things I learned:

I supposed when I read it as a sixteen year old Aria Da Capo did seem to be ancient. My scale of time has changed.