Wednesday, February 18, 2015
The number of participants in the book challenge continues to diminish, but some of us are still plugging away...
13 people read
46 books, for a total of
Want a breakdown by campus? Here ya go:
FV HP MC
people 3 3 7
books 10 9 27
pages 4111 3473 8260
What we read:
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Rose Gold by Walter Mosley
Inferno by Dan Brown
Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay
Book, Line and Sinker by Jenn McKinlay
Cloche and Daggar by Jenn McKinlay
Due or Die by Jenn McKinlay
Read it and Weep by Jenn McKinlay
A New York Christmas by Anne Perry
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
People of the Morning Star by W. Michael and Kathleen Gear
People of the River by W. Michael and Kathleen Gear
Ways of Seeing by John Berger
All the Light We Can Not See by Anthony Doerr
Unlucky 13 by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White
The Map that Changed the World by Simon Winchester
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
Aquamarine by Carol Anshaw
Snow Angels by James Thompson
Lucifer's Tears by James Thompson
Helsinki White by James Thompson
Helsinki Blood by James Thompson
Bone Dust White by Karin Salvalaggio
Adobe Photoshop CC Clasroom in a Box
Midnight RisingL John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the civil War by Tony Horwitz
The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Something Rich and Strange by Ron Rash
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Wild Ran the Rivers by James D Crownover
Missing Reels by Farran Smith Nehme
Lillian on Life by Allison Jean Lester
Milton's Brief epic:the Genre, Meaning and Art of Paradise Regained by Barbara Keifer Lewalski
J.S. Bach's Johannine Theology by Eric Jaffe
The English Poems of John Milton
An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover by Richard Norton Smith
Voyage by Diana Gabaldon
The Bees by Laline Paul
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Can you imagine an entire novel written from the point of view of a worker bee? I found this while browsing the shelves for something to read over the holidays. I thought it might be difficult to get into, but I couldn't put it down. Flora 717 is a rebellious individual in a society that values conformity. Her curiosity and secrets put her in danger but also enable her to rise from the lowest level of workers, to a valued forager, to a final triumph and the salvation of her hive.
The Bees by Laline Paull, 2014.
Monday, December 15, 2014
As a district our numbers are:
How did it break down you ask?
FV- 4 people, 17 books, 5412 pages
HP- 2 people, 8 books, 1770 pages
MC- 6 people, 19 books, 4869 pages.
Books we read:
The Winter King by Alys Clare
A Rumpole Christmas by John Mortimer
Friendly Game of Murder by J J Murphy
Buckingham Palace Gardens by Anne Perry
Defend or Betray by Anne Perry
The Hyde Park Headsman by Anne Perry
Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco
Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare
The Return by Hakan Nesser
The Target by David Baldacci
Eye to Eye: The Photographs of Vivian Maier
The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
Shifting Shadows by Mercy Thompson
The Walking Dead vol. 21 by Robert Kirkham
Stolen by Kelly Armstrong
The Walking Dead vol. 22 by Robert Kirkham
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J K Rowling
Shadow Traffic by Richard Burgin
Killer by Johnathon Kellerman
Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich
Fox Tracks by Rita Mae Brown
The Garden Party by Katherine Manfield
A New York Christmas by Anne Perry
The Anatomy Lesson by Nina Siegal
Gilead by Marilyn Robinson
Eleven Pipers Piping by C C Benison
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Monogram Murders by Agatha Christie
The Handsome Man's Deluxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith
The Christmas Wedding Ring by Susan Mallery
Ho-Ho-Homicide by Kaitlyn Dunnett
Murder and Moonshine by Carol Miller
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
China Dolls by Lisa See
In Praise of Doubt by Peter Berger
Degrees of Allegiance by Petra DeWitt
J S Bach's Johanine Theology by Eric Chafe
The Manger is Empty by Walter Wangerin
Questions of Faith by Peter Berger
Documentation by Robert Hauptman
Michaelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces by Miles Unger
Pegasus Descending by James L Burke
Some Luck by Jane Smiley
No Place to Hide by Glen Greenwald
Monday, December 1, 2014
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
This is the story of 13 year-old Miriam Kornitsky’s courageous five-year survival in the forests of White Russia. The year is 1941 and her father insists that she and her older cousin Sonia hide in the forest from the advancing German soldiers. He warns her to trust no one. Her cousin is shot and killed when they ventured out of the forest to find food and water. Now on her own, Miriam relies on the survival lessons her father taught her as a young child. During the summers she survives on berries, weeds and tubers. In the winter she ventures out to find molasses cubes in barns outside the forest never staying long enough to get caught. At first she finds plenty of clothing from the dead who did not escape the repeated firing from German soldiers on the ground and from above.
After five years in the forest Miriam discovers that the war is over. She is befriended by a young Russian girl whose family nurses her back to health. Few people who escaped into the Polish and Russian forests survived but Miriam did. Her determination to live is a wonderful testament to the human spirit. This is a heartwarming story for both teens and adults. In the late 1950’s Miriam and her husband settled in St. Louis where she lives today.
Friday, November 7, 2014
For over two decades this book has sat on my shelf with a bookmark sticking out the top. I got about a third of the way through. I was too busy--reading. Adler and van Doren's book is a true classic. It first appeared in 1940 and continues in print, with subsequent revised editions. I'm sure there is sage advice here. After all, these were the guys who came out with The Great Books of the Western World series. Topics such as "Levels of Reading," "How to Be a Demanding Reader," and "How to Read Philosophy" are covered.
Human nature being what it is, though, we all have our own ways of doing things and too often we think our way is superior. (Maybe that's why I didn't finish Adler and van Doren?) So, I offer here my own "How to Read a Book." (Don't feel bad if you don't finish reading this blog post.) Disclaimer: I have FDD--Fiction Deficit Disorder, so this method is skewed toward non-fiction.
1) Consume caffeine steadily while reading; it aids comprehension. Coffee or tea for non-fiction, Coke for literary fiction, Mountain Dew for all other fiction. Save wine for your book group.
2) Sit comfortably.
3) Sit beneath good lighting.
4) Use three bookmarks: one for your place, one for your place in the Endnotes, and one for your place in the Bibliography. No Endnotes and Bibliography? Choose a different book.
5) Read the Introduction. (Have you skipped an Introduction at some point in your life? Then, if Catholic or Eastern Orthodox, read five long Introductions for penance; if Episcopalian or Lutheran, tell your best friend you once skipped an Introduction and move on. All other Protestants: try not to wallow in guilt. If Jewish, this is a non-issue; you always read Introductions--as do Unitarians, Agnostics, and Atheists. All other world religions: just try to get in the habit.)
6) Read the Bibliography. If you own the book, place a checkmark by those items you have already read. Place a line by those you would like to read. Don't forget to refer to this two years later when you are in a dry spell and can't find a good book to read.
7) Minimize background noise, although either the Chopin Nocturnes or John Rutter's Requiem are suitable for evening reading. Slow jazz is a distraction--especially for non-literary fiction.
8) If you own the book, underline salient points or quotable material. Then note the page number in the back of the book with a word or phrase to jog your memory a decade later.
9) If you do not own the book, take notes on either college rule notebook paper (wide rule is unacceptable; it makes you look elementary, my dear Watson) or on cheap printer paper. Save your 100% cotton rag for serious letters or people you want to impress.
10) If consuming food while reading, use a book weight. This allows you to read "hands free"--at least for a couple pages, avoiding accidents. The book weight is to reading what the blow dryer is to hair styling.
11) If you thoroughly enjoyed the book, send the author a "thank you" note. Sometimes they will write back. Two notes tucked in their books I particularly appreciated were from Joseph Epstein and Fritz Stern. (If you're really lucky, when the author passes on, you can auction the note at Sotheby's and retire early. Note: this should not be your sole or even main motive for expressing gratitude.)
12) If it is a truly outstanding tome, look for the author's e-mail address, either in the book or online and send an e-mail of gratitude. You will have made someone's day brighter and often will receive a reply. Here is an example:
Thanks for the compliment, and may all of the books you read be golden. S0
From: Brazeal, Jana S. [mailto:JBrazeal@stlcc.edu]
Sent: Friday, July 20, 2012 10:20 AM
To: Ozment, Steven
Subject: Thank you
Sent: Friday, July 20, 2012 10:20 AM
To: Ozment, Steven
Subject: Thank you
Dear Prof. Ozment,
Thank you very much for your excellent and accessible scholarship. I have read, with pleasure, about five of your books over the years—beginning with Age of Reform. I am currently reading A Mighty Fortress and I’m looking forward to reading your book about Luther and Cranach.
You have given the gift of intellectual enjoyment to a Reference Librarian in St. Louis, MO.
Jana Proske Brazeal
The above method does not pretend to be comprehensive nor "The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading" ala Adler and van Doren, but it is a lot shorter than their 419-pages of How to Read a Book. May all the books you read be feasts for the mind and soul.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Girl in Hyacinth Blue
The novel Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland traces a fictional 17th century Dutch painting from its present owner, the schoolteacher son of an SS functionary who looted it from a Jewish home, back to its genesis in the brushstrokes of the offspring-laden Vermeer. I am spoiling this for you, dear reader, in so many ways, but I myself came into the novel unaware of this structure. Imagine my confusion as the third chapter began, but I quickly caught on. It was still delightfully disconcerting at the beginning of every chapter to be transported back a period and then brought up in time to where the previous chapter had begun. Along the way, Vreeland explores the history and landscape of the Netherlands through the various voices of her characters.
I picked this book up because someone chose it for my monthly book/wine club. That is probably why I was unaware of what it was about and how it was constructed when I began reading. I finished it to preserve my honor in book club and because I almost always finish a book that I start. However, it wasn’t a chore. It was a lovely read, particularly as an interlude between the textbooks I’m reading this month. I have already recommended the book to my walking/reading co-worker Monica! I hope she reads the book before she reads this review.
The image I’m sharing here is NOT the painting in the novel, which, as I mentioned, is fictional (as far as I can determine). I chose it because of the color blue that figures throughout the novel. Image credit: akg-images / Universal Images Group. Vermeer / Woman in blue / c.1663/1664 Vermeer, Jan (Johannes), called Vermeer van Delft, 1632-1675. 'Woman in blue reading a letter', c.1663/1664. Oil on canvas, 56.6 x 39.1cm. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum.