Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This Week at the Library (19 Jan - 26 Jan)

Over the weekend I decided to give TWATL a visual refresher and am happy with the way it turned out, aside from some minor niggles. Beyond appearances, I added a few elements -- the Cumulative Reading List, which became necessary last year as assorted surveys  made it difficult to glance over  the annual reading; a much neater approach to labels, and a Shelfari widget to show books I'm currently reading. That last seems more like a gimmick than anything else, but I was in mood to play around.

2011 Nonfiction Reading Challenge Update:
Since the challenge began, I have read three applicable books:

  • Six on Six Legs (Science)
  • The Rise and Fall of the Bible, which I could apply toward culture or art..I 
  • and The Age of Absurdity, which -- since there's no philosophy category -- I'm not sure as to what to do with. Culture? Money?  


In the future I think I'll be using this weekly review to share book-related links I find of interest, like Susanne Alleyn's essay on writing proper historical fiction by staying honest and as close to the facts as possible, Rick Riordian's thoughts on writing fiction in general, and a collection of Goosebumps run-throughs from "Blogger Beaware". If you read the series as a child you may enjoy revisiting them through this complete series of snarky reviews. Blogger Beware has a sufficiently geeky enough audience to merit its own TvTropes page.

This past week at the library was an usually strong series of books. I started the week off with an interesting murder mystery by Michael Connelly, in The Black Echo. I then read another advanced review book, The Rise and Fall of the Bible, which proved to be an entertaining and informative history of the Bible as a cultural icon.  After reading the surprisingly excellent Far Better Rest, I finished the week off with The Age of Absurdity, which I am still collecting my thoughts on.

Selected Quotations:
"Always make a practice of provoking your own mind to think out what it accepts easily. Our position is not ours until we make it ours by suffering." -  Timothy Beal quoting another author, listed in my notes as 'Chambers'. in The Rise and Fall.

""We're used to picturing the genaology of a text like a family tree: one original at the base ascending like a single trunk, with copies branching off it, and copies of copies branching off them. And so on throughout the generations. We imagine an original from which all the generations of diversity spring as scribes make revisions and introduce copying errors. But the reverse seems to be the case when it comes to the origins of the Bible: the further you go back in its literary history, the less uniformity there is. Scriptural traditions are rooted, quite literally, in diversity. " - p. 106, The Rise and Fall of the Bible

There were a lot of quotes from Age of Absurdity, but I think I'll wait until I'm done mulling over things to share them.

Next week's potentials:

  • Beyond Band of Brothers, Major Richard Winters
  • The Electric Universe, a history of the human discovery and application of electricity. 
  • Stonehenge, Bernard Cornwell. I haven't started this one yet, aside from the first page.
  • The Confessions, Augustine. This time I'm serious
  • The First World War, John Keegan. I checked this out because I wanted some history, but couldn't find a generic medieval history as I was in the mood for.  I've heard good things about Keegan



Also, with the money from birthday checks and the like I recently purchased six Star Trek paperbacks (mostly used copies) and one science book, and will be buying another science book at some point in the next few weeks, so that's something to look forward to. They'll probably start arriving this weekend or early next week, seeing as I always buy from the states around Alabama if I can.  Included will be the last Typhon Pact novel (Dayton Ward), another entry in the Titan series (Christopher L Bennett, and my first Vanguard (David Mack) reads.

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