Monday, April 14, 2008

One book down...

Well, I made a conscientious effort to read at LEAST one chapter a day and I finished the Anne Perry book, Death of a Stranger. I've started on In the Name of God because it's short. I'm also going to attempt one of my already started nonfiction books tonight.

I don't want it to seem as though I'm reading JUST to get it out of the way. I enjoy it. It just seems a bit harder now to stay with more than one chapter!

Death of a Stranger was decent as far as the William Monk series goes. Perry has a style of writing that can be a bit irritating at times (she can be repetitive and tends to state the overstate the obvious) but she always describes Victorian London very well. This wasn't so much of a whodunit as it was a whydunit and Monk gets his memory back.

Happy reading to all!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Library Friday

I went to the library to look for The Book Thief . It was out so I have to wait for a loan to come in from another branch. I did, however, manage to take out 3 other books, all of them fiction. Forget about one book a month, I'd like to get back to one per week. So, my new resolution is one nonfiction per month and TRY for one fiction per week.

First up is Death of a Stranger by Anne Perry. It's part of a mystery series featuring the character of Inspector Monk. The series takes place in Victorian London and I truly enjoyed it. For whatever reason, I hadn't read any for some time. Which is probably a good thing because I've got several to catch up with and don't have to wait for the "next one".

The second is A Dead Man in Trieste. It is the first book of a mystery series also. It intrigued me because of the setting (I'm a history nut!) and I hope that it will be as good as the title makes me think it will.

The third book is In the Name of God. The main character is a young Syrian girl and the story is aimed at her struggle with Fundamentalist Islam. Of course, very topical but written by a Westerner who lived in the Middle East for many years. I am hoping that this too will be interesting.

Happy reading to everyone out there in Blogger land. I've also added Calvin and Hobbes to my blog. Along with The Farside and Herman it is one of the all-time brilliant comic strips (in my humble opinion of course).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Books for April

I have added a few books to my Library at the right of this post. The Professor and the Madman and Misquoting Jesus are both books that I started to read and for some reason or other put on the backburner. They are both nonfiction but also are not very long. I hope to be able to finish them this month.

I also placed The Book Thief, a piece of young adult fiction that was recommended to me by MB, a fellow blogger. I have not given up on The White Castle just yet but I have found it incredibly dull. That could be because it's a translation but I think it is just not that interesting (and I'm half finished). I'll give it another go and try to get in 1/2 an hour of reading per day--very doable!


Well, here it is, the beginning of a new month. I can finally say that I have finished reading a book! How pathetic is it that I used to be able to finish a book a week and now it takes me several months! A goal that I need to revisit is that of reading at least one book a month.

In my defense, The Closing of the Western Mind was a tough read. Charles Freeman packed a lot of information into 340 pages and I admit to taking the time to read the notes at the book for many of his citations. I would recommend the book if you are someone who is interested in the history of Christianity. I think that a lot of people accept things as always having been a certain way but it all had a start somewhere. I especially found the concept of the Trinity fascinating and the struggle early church leaders had in finding a role, if you can believe it, for Jesus in Christianity. Of course, there is a lot in here about philosophy and the Greek tradition. It is interesting to see how much of it was incorporated into this new religion!

To close my rather brief review, I'll just include what the author claims the central theme of his book is: "that the Greek intellectual tradition was suppressed rather than simply faded away. My own feeling is that this is an important moment in European cultural history which has for all too long been neglected. Whether the explanations put forward in this book for the suppression are accepted or not, the reasons for the extinction of serious mathematical and scientific thinking in Europe for a thousand years surely deserve more atention than they have received."