A New Series: What I’m reading now…
March 4, 2010 § 5 Comments
I am one of those people who likes to read.
I read a lot growing up – Bernstein Bears, Boxcar Children and Matilda were my favorites. I tended to pick one book I liked and read it over and over. Hence, when my parents tried introducing me and my siblings to a new book series (Narnia) by reading aloud on a car trip, I stubbornly put on my walkman and read Little House on the Prairie for the fourth time.
So anyways, in my adult life, I decided it would be good to expand my book experiences. Unfortunately, I have discovered that my literary attentions tend to shift about every week. The result is that at any given point in time, I am reading way too many books. None of them have anything to do with the others (as far as I know). Here is a list of the (seven) books I am in the middle of right now, as well as synopses of the plots/arguments/structures in so far as I know them. This may become a monthly posting.
In order of when I began them…
1-The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien) [began reading Dec. ’08]: Battle at Helm’s Deep here we come. I did take the time over Christmas break to watch the trilogy. By myself. On my laptop. Crying.
2- The Study of Anglicanism (ed. Stephen Sykes and John Booty) [began reading Sept. ’09]: Just finished section on “The Fundamentals of Christianity”, which showed the difficulties of agreeing upon which parts of Christianity are essential (Creeds, Scripture, articles of faith, early church doctrine) and which are areas of “freedom”. The discussion takes place not from an individual Christian’s perspective (although it may have application), but from a communal, or “church” perspective. How do various groups of people, put together by place, time and conviction, relate themselves to others with different convictions? What fundamentals could Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Reformed Christians (to name those referenced in the chapter) agree upon that would land us all in the Church? I’m not telling you the answer.
3- The Sickness Unto Death (Kierkegaard) [began reading Sept. ’09]: Because my last explanation took a lot of mental energy (I read that chapter 3.5 weeks ago), I am not going to expend much more here. Lazy summary now that I am 55 pages in? The sickness unto death is despair. Despair takes different forms. We all have one or another of them. (I haven’t reached the happy part of this book yet. I’m not sure that there is one.)
4-What Color is Your Parachute? (Richard Bolles) [Began Jan. ’10]: A practical, insightful guide to deciding what you want to do with your life. I’ll let you know when I decide. So far I’m only in Chapter 2 (of 12), so it may be a while.
5-An Experiment in Criticism (C.S. Lewis) [Began Feb’10]: Intriguing thoughts on different types of readers and different ways to read (some of them better than others). Most recent chapter, he reveals the error of both avid and amateur readers of attempting to suck philosophy and morals out of every fiction they read. Greek Tragedies offer grand and noble suffering while human experience of the tragic is banal and “unimpressive”, novels and comedy use the material of the everyday world to create situations that are mostly improbable. While it is true that whatever wisdom, experience and knowledge the author possesses will “impregnate” his works, the story he is telling should not be regarded as a mere vehicle for whatever philosophies it may propound. Lewis writes that this mistake “involves a confusion between life and art, even a failure to allow for the existence of art at all.”
6- The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 5th ed. (Began Feb ’10): Read random poems, sometimes. Sometimes I find the biography about the poet more interesting than the poem itself. Sometimes I read a poem outloud to Alex. Mostly, this book has sat faithfully on the floor by my bed.7-The Light Princess and Other Fairy Stories (George MacDonald)
[Began March ’10]: I have read 8 paragraphs of this book. The queen couldn’t have a baby. The king got mad. Then the queen had a little girl. Then the king forgot to invite his evil sister, who happens to be a witch, to the baby’s christening. then the evil sister puts a spell on her baby that deprived the effects of gravity: “Her atrocious aunt had deprived the child of all her gravity. If you ask me how this was effected I answer, “In the easiest way in the world. She had only to destroy gravitation.” More to come… ____________________________________ Well, there you have it. This may make some of you think I am really smart (or weird) to be reading so many books at once, and “wow” my brain can remember a lot. I assure you, it can not. I had to look up where I was in each book and practically reread each portion — except for Lord of the Rings, and that is only because I had just gotten two paragraphs into “Helm’s Deep” when I decided to put off reading and write this post instead.