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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Winter Reading

There are few things I enjoy more than spending a few hours sprawled out in my living room reading a good book. My life is pretty hectic these days — whose isn't? — and I only get to read when I intentionally carve out the time, which isn't nearly as often as I'd like. I feel lucky this week to have time to read. I've got a bunch of other items on my to do list, but so far I've managed to get engrossed in several new books, some of them I actually have a chance of finishing before I officially go back to work on Monday.

So instead of adding a bunch of new blogs to my list, which I swear I'll do any day now, I'll tell you what I'm reading, and ask that you share what's on your bedside or couchside table (or bathroom shelf).

I'm plodding through The End of Faith, by Sam Harris. I got two copies of this for Christmas — ironically. I kept one, and returned the other for The Johnstown Flood, the first book by David McCullough, one of my favorite writers. I remember reading excerpts of this book in a Reader's Digest when I was probably 10 or 11. It made quite an impression. It's a great book, by a talented writer. It's timely, too, considering this year's surfeit of natural disasters. The Johnstown flood is eerily similar to the flooding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Makes you wonder what the hell else is about to break in this country.

I'm also engrossed in Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, by Richard Luov. I got this from my sister Karen, who works as an environmental educator in Charlotte, NC. A fascinating and frightening book that makes me want to spend more time in the woods and less time in front of my computer. I've also started Collapse, by Jared Diamond, and Everything Bad is Good For You, by Stephen Johnson, but haven't gotten very far in either. Also started Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell it Like it is, by Abigail Garner. Got that from my 7 Days secret santa. Thanks! And I have yet to start Home Land, by Sam Lipsyte, the only fiction book on my list.

I confess that, though I was recently able to read the 6th Harry Potter book for the second time, I am hopelessly mired in Post Captain, the second Aubrey/Maturin book by Patrick O'Brien. I'm disappointed. It's so boring that I don't think I can finish. Let me sum up what I've read in the first 2/3: Jack's broke, Stephen is a spy (uh, for the English?) and they're sailing in some boat that's not as good as the boat they were on in the last book. Also, they think they're in love with the same woman, when in fact they are in love with each other. Every time I pick up this book to read it, I feel like I'm on a boat that's sailing around in circles, going nowhere, making me vaguely seasick. I think it's time to stop.

And it's not a book, but this morning I finished the Dec. 2005 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, which has this thought-provoking article by James Fallows about Iraq's army, or lack thereof.

So, readers — if anyone read this far — what are you reading?

December 27, 2005 at 02:47 PM in House Rules | Permalink


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Hey Cathy,
I'm finishing up Sigurd Olson's book, The Lonely Land and heading for Heinrich's Winter World next.

Posted by: lene | Dec 29, 2005 12:29:45 AM

My girlfriend got me Joe Citro's book Deus-X for Secular Non Denomination Winter Holiday Celebration.
Though I've bumped in to him a couple of times and thought he was a really nice guy, and even though I'm into his sort of horror/New England books, I'd never read any of his work.
I'm enjoying it quite a bit.
Secret government project, Vermont hunters abducted by aliens, evil forces - it's great. I'm going to have to get a few more of his books.

Posted by: Gravity | Dec 29, 2005 8:55:02 AM

Oh, Cathy, you should stick with Aubrey and Maturin if you can. Post captain is the slowest of the whole series. Still I admit it probably isn't everyone's cuppa tea.

I got two books from my honey for christmas and both look great. I'm especially looking forward to reading BBC DJ John Peel's autobiography, Margrave of the Marshes.

I've also just started Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel, which is fiction and very dark, a sort of modern ghost story about a down-on-her-luck medium plagued by horrible spirits. It's pretty sordid stuff, but I'm trying to stick with it.

Posted by: yankunian | Dec 30, 2005 4:41:43 PM

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