Thursday, February 25, 2010

This Week at the Library (24/2)

This week at the library....

  • Dinner with a Perfect Stranger is a glorified Chick tract, although one with a more promising start. The book's overworked protaganist is invited to dinner with Jesus and accepts, initially providing the reader with an interesting conversation. Alas,  Jesus begins speaking in cliches and the protagonist ceases to exist except as a strawman. 
  • A Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs was a deliciously interesting , humorous, and challenging read. Jacobs, a secular Jew, decides to follow every rule and suggestion in the bible literally in order to see why religion attracts people. The year-long journy changes him into a "reverent agnostic" and may help readers who do not subscribe to orthodoxy understand the appeal of both of religion and a sense of formal spirituality. 
  • Stories Behind Words by Peter Limburg consists of nearly three hundred essays on the meanings, derivations, and histories of as many words. This proved interesting. 
  • The Geography of Nowhere sees author James Howard Kunstler attack surbubran and urban sprawl as wasteful, untenable, and spiritually bankrupt while promoting the ideal of smaller-scale communities emphasizing local economies and planning designed to maximize human happiness.
  • Yours, Isaac Asimov: A Life in Letters, editd by Stantley Asimov provides excerpts from several decades of Asimov's letters, organized topically.  The excerpts portray Asimov's personality fairly well, and I enjoyed the read.

Pick of the Week: A Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs

Quotation of the Week: "It isn't dying I mind. It's the thought of having to stop writing."  - Isaac Asimov, in paraphrase.

Upcoming Reads:

  • American Infidel: Robert Ingersoll.  My first draft of an encylopedic-type article on Robert Ingersoll is due next week, so you'll probably  see this one soon. 
  • The Human Zoo, Desmond Morris. If I'm able to read this one more this week, I look forward to comparing it to The Geography of Nowhere. Both would seem to analyze the impact of urban living upon human biology.

I may find books in the library that command my immediate attention, but given the impending deadline (and midterms), those two will do for now.

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