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in media res

I don't think I've ever found myself in the middle of so many books at once. It's a nice problem to have, but it is a problem. Most of them are library books; they need to go back soon.

Back in September we had a guest speak at church about paganism--or, really, her spiritual-artistic-path-thing. She was a fascinating person but not much of a lecturer. When she asked if anyone had questions, Brian asked if there was a standard text to which pagans referred. She was stumped, but one of the guys in the congregation suggested that a good book about paganism was Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon. He was right, probably. I started the book but returned it to the library after reading only the first three chapters. There were so many references to unfamiliar works that I thought I'd look at a few of them before continuing.

She refers to an essay by Starhawk. I didn't find that, but I did take out The Spiral Dance and I was fortunate to get the 20th anniversary edition. The introductions (there was also a 10th anniversary edition) are sufficient for my purposes as a curious bystander and I am just skimming through the book.

The one that's really interesting to a folklore buff is Charles Godfrey Leland's Etruscan Roman Remains. It's a collection of magic formulas and stories from northern Italy and how cool is it that the copy they found for me is 115 years old?

The funniest book I'm reading is A Razor for a Goat by Elliot Rose, subtitled A discussion of certain problems in the history of witchcraft and diabolism; however, one does not have to read far into the book to discern that this subtitle is code for "Margaret Murray is a doodyhead, nyah." He never misses a chance to rip Miss Murray, that's for sure. It's kind of ranty for a scholarly work, but I like cranky old men in general and I am enjoying it.

And I LOVE Margaret Murray. I'd already got the heads-up on her fallacious theories so I just went for her autobiography, titled My First Hundred Years and it is a winner. Once I've finished these I will be ready to tackle the Adler book again. So that's five.

Then I started to read The Hour of our Death by Philippe Ariès, which has some interesting ideas in it about the nature of cultural trends, along with his observations about how personal and public documents reveal (western European) attitudes about death. This was also mentioned at church, as was Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. That one is unopened as yet, but on the to-be-read stack. Maybe I will skip church tomorrow to spare myself further trouble.

So the Rose book is the funniest, but the FUNNEST book I'm reading is Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise. Oh, wow. This book is killer fun but if I don't wrap this up soon I will miss posting today. I'll tell you more when I finish.

I am also reading Farnham's Freehold and finding that it holds the same annoying charm as most the Heinlein books do for me. I sneer, I roll my eyes, but I keep reading.

Dam Nation, too. Still. I swear, the format makes it so hard to read I can get through an article or two and then I set it aside. The articles are good, too! It's quite frustrating.

And finally, Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. A friend took a course based on this so I wanted to read the book. It has its good points but not really my thing. These kind of books rarely are.

Ok, that's it.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 18th, 2007 05:52 am (UTC)
I'm reading just one book right now: The Six Wives of Henry the Eighth. I'm learning a lot & enjoying it & wondering why I never got forced to read it sometime in high school, when I probably would have found it a tremendous bore.

It inspires me to perhaps try Mary Queen of Scots. I remember being assigned it at some point in school & putting off even looking for the book for quite a while. After all, it was just reading, I could catch up on it quickly. When the report was due in about two days, I finally looked up a copy in the library, and you can imagine my dismay & chagrin upon seeing its size. I don't recall how I pulled that one out of the fire. Obviously I didn't read the book. But now I'm thinking I should.

I have tried several times to get through Joyce's Ulysses and failed every time to even get 10 pages in. (Peter O'Toole's autobiographies, which I highly recommend, affect a similar but much more accessible style.) Joyce is pretty damned opaque. I got the Cliff Notes, and next time I try I will simply admit defeat & limp along with their help.
Nov. 18th, 2007 04:24 pm (UTC)
Parenting books frustrate me because the parents in them are always able to neatly solve their problems once they ascribe to the philosphy the author is trying to promote. Whereas my kids aren't familiar with said philosophy and refuse to respond in proper book manner.
Nov. 19th, 2007 01:16 am (UTC)
Well I have to say, Farnham's Freehold is pretty annoying. Exceeded by Sixth Column though.
Nov. 19th, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
Ooo. I liked both. However -- they both have racist overtones, and because I was in High School or college at the time, and had very little dealings with the entire Idea of Racism, I just kind of...skipped over all that. (Hard to imagine, but there it was.) In fact, I don't think I have gone back to read Farnham...I do remember that the ending (as in other of Heinlein's books) seemed...sudden? Not quite right? Not sure, it's been a while.

I liked Sixth Column because it was sneaky and spy-like. Based on racism and all that...but if you can successfully ignore that at a time in your life when you think spying and sneaking around and running a rebellion undercover is cool, then....

Come to think of it, I haven't re-read Heinlein in a while. Of all of my favorite authors, I re-read his stuff the least. That's an interesting thought...
Nov. 19th, 2007 12:28 pm (UTC)
Oh Koralleen!

You can stay in the family forever as long as you love Modesty Blaise... and if you'd like to borrow any of the other novels, the original comic that it's based on... the horrible 60's movie that the author wrote the book because they ruined his character.. the MUCH better 90's movie that was produced by Quentin Tarantino...

Getting the idea that I LOVE MODESTY BLAISE?????! I SO wanted to marry Willie Garvin when I was a teenager.

Hugs and Howls and read more Modesty, they are ALL great.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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