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Preview: So Many Books

So Many Books

the agony and ecstasy of a reading life

Updated: 2012-04-15T20:56:42.452-05:00


I've Moved!


I've up and moved to a new location! Please visit me at

2007 Reading Goals


Posted at the new location.

Emerson on English Literature


Today we have Emerson's take on English Literature. English here does not mean the language, but the country. And following along with his other essays in English Traits, he does not hesitate to name the good, the bad, or the ugly. What made English lit great, and you will notice the past tense here which we will get to later, according to Emerson are English traits he has expounded on in

2006 in Review


Time for me to get on the reading year in review bandwagon. I would have done it sooner but I was waiting to see what other books I'd finish. So far I have finished 54 this year but should be making that 55 as I am less than 100 pages from finishing volume 2 of Proust. The mid 50s is my annual average, only once have I ever gone over 60 and that was just after I finished college and didn't have a

The Joy of Spending Book Gift Cards


I was going to show some self-restraint. I was going to hold onto my book gift cards from Christmas until next year. I imagined even so long as the middle of January. So much for that idea. What was I thinking? The following books should arrive on my porch by January 2nd, courtesy of my sister's and parent's book card generosity:The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia. "Among gang warfare and

Moral Disorder


Margaret Atwood. Does just the mention of her name make you swoon like it does me? Next to Virginia Woolf, Atwood is my favorite prose writer. She has a dry sense of humor and the ability to choose just the right word. I also love that she takes risks. No one can accuse her of writing the same book over and over again. I finished reading Moral Disorder this afternoon. Would you be surprised if I

Your Opinion Matters


Okay, so I've set up a blog at wordpress. I am not able to tinker with the template unless I fork over some cash. I'd prefer the post font to be bigger and I'd like the color to be more burgundy than red (I do have other color options like blue, bright green, orange, and purple) but it isn't bad. What do you all think? (In case you can't tell, I'm a bit ambivalent. I can't decide, Blogger or

The Problem With Reading History


The problem with reading a book about the history of western philosophy is that one encounters authors/philosophers that one has heard about but never read. I am now faced with the decision to either make it a point to read them or consign them to the bin of "books I'd like to read if I were immortal." The difficulty with tossing them into the bin, of course, is that I know I will lose out. I



After an inconclusive chest x-ray and a bunch of other tests, it turned out the upper respiratory infection was minor. The real problem was heart failure. So we said goodbye to Kamir last night.

A Little Down


Today has not turned out to be a very festive day. We had to take our cat to the emergency vet because he hadn't eaten since yesterday afternoon and he was having trouble breathing. The little cold he had last week turned into a whopper of an upper respiratory infection in the blink of an eye. He's spending the night at the hospital hooked up to an IV. We'll know more in the morning. We are

Emerson on English Universities and Religion


This week Emerson writes about English Universities and Religion. I didn't like either of these chapters very much. Emerson has lost his humor and light and hearty tone that he began English Traits with and I am not quite sure what the point of these two chapters is. But maybe I will find something interesting as I try to write about them. Emerson has great admiration for English universities,

Snow, Books, and Food


Happy first day of winter to everyone! My Bookman and I are celebrating the Winter Solstice today because of work schedules and all that. It snowed yesterday, not a lot but enough to cover the ground and shovel the sidewalk. It couldn't have been more perfectly planned. We'll be bundling up and taking a walk later which will thrill the dog. He loves walking in the snow. Today also means an extra

A Reading Update of Sorts


I finished listening to The Gunslinger a few days ago. I enjoyed it, but as many of you said, it is not as good as the rest. That was quickly evident when I began listening to The Drawing of the Three the other night. Lobstrosities and finger and toe amputation. Yikes! There was certainly no gradual building of story to begin this one. There was a sort of prologue in which The Gunslinger was

Ten Things I Love That Start With the Letter "P"


I got this meme from Sylvia who gave me the letter "P" Poetry. Remember the poetry meme Cam started? If that doesn't explain why poetry is one of my favorite things that start with "p" then I'm not sure what else will do it. Penguins. Because they are beautiful, amazing birds. They are also irresistibly cute and always impeccably dressed for a party. Pumpkin. Especially when it comes in the form

The Devil Is a Gentleman


I finished reading J.C. Hallman's book The Devil is a Gentleman. I've mentioned it a couple of times. Now that I am done I can say with certainty I enjoyed the book greatly. Since it was gifted me by Ella before she moved to Dubai, I must say another thank you to her. What I liked was not just getting a glimpse into so many different religions, though that is the main fascination. The writing



I'm feeling rather challenge challenged of late. So many good ones like the Winter Classics Challenge, the Chunkster Challenge, and of course, the one I am in the middle of and not doing well on, the From the Stacks Challenge. As you can see from my sidebar, I have only crossed off one of the five books on my Stacks Challenge list. I am reading On Beauty and Being Just, but even though it is a

Emerson on English Wealth and Class


This week Emerson writes about English Wealth and Aristocracy. Where some of his previous lecture/chapters have been rather casual and humorous, in these two Emerson becomes more, well, Emersonian. He reverts to his old tricks of talking up how great something is, gets you excited and buying in on it or angry about how he could be so blind to other factors, and then he rips off his disguise with



Histories of western philosophy always seem to start with Plato (even when they're talking Socrates almost everything we know about him came from Plato) and that is where The Passion of the Western Mind starts too. The books don't start with Plato because we don't know anything before that, but because, apparently, Plato represents a big shift in thought up to that time. Prior to Plato

More On Beauty


I was going to write a post today about Plato and Forms and Ideas and Archetypes and make a comparison between Plato's Idea of Beauty and Elaine Scarry's ideas on beauty, but I got sidetracked. Scarry writes for several pages about Matisse and palm trees in his paintings. Frankly this was tedious. She analyzes the paintings but there are no pictures of the paintings only not very well executed

Virginia Woolf Takes Tea With Thomas Hardy


I've been ambling my way through Virginia Woolf's diary for a couple of years now. I am reading volume three at the moment (when I say amble, I mean amble). I hadn't picked it up in a few months but a recent post of Sandra's about how much she is loving volume one reminded me what I am missing. So I picked it up again. When I read the diary, I like to read an entry or two before bed. The other



Can I just say how much Blogger has been driving me nuttier than usual lately? And I haven't even converted to the beta version! I am wondering if I should put up with it anymore? I am thinking about moving locations and even registering my own domain name. I am considering Word Press. and .net are already taken so I would devise a variation. But is it worth it? After three years



Sometimes books take such an unexpected turn. Like the other night I was pedaling away on my stationary bike listening to The Gunslinger. Things have been going along at a steady pace and I am enjoying it. But I'm thinking, gosh this is such a boy-book, so unemotional and when Roland does have any emotion he is either confused or surprised by it. Then there is the book's reader, Frank Muller, who

Book Raid


We still haven't given in and opened the boxes from Barnes and Noble. I even had a coworker who offered to assist. I was for it, but my Bookman said we should just leave it since Solstice is now less than two weeks away. I mostly don't think about the boxes, but yesterday I had a little pang when I saw the New York Times was reviewing the Leonard Woolf bio. I didn't read the review. I couldn't,

England vs. France and Problems With Nationalism


More on Emerson and his study of English Traits. This week we have Character and Cockayne. Emerson begins the chapter on character by addressing the reputed moroseness of the English by declaring "I do not know that they have sadder brows than their neighbors of northern climates." What a comfort. The English aren't really morose per se, it's the French who "have spent their wit on the

Beauty and Philosophy


I've always been a bit grumpy about the whole "truth is beauty, beauty is truth" thing. I can understand the first part about truth being beautiful, because it is, though I don't usually think of it in those terms on a day-to-day basis. But how could beauty be true? I'm not so dumb that I don't know that beauty can be used to hide a lot of ugliness and even lies. And there are things that are not