Thursday, May 5, 2011

These Weeks at the Library (20 April - 4 May)

The last two weeks have been rather enjoyable, reading-wise. I've been reading from the lost books of the Septuagint -- books which were in the original Jewish and Christian canons, but discarded by Martin Luther --  and  finding them interesting looks into the Jewish mind as it grew through the centuries.  I also continued in Asimov's Empire series and returned to the Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell, but the most memorable book from this period has been Joe Haldeman's The Accidental Time Machine,  which borders on absurdist science fiction. Haldeman is an SF author whose work I'm just starting to explore.

Those enamored of the good doctor Isaac Asimov may be interested in reading a series of posts by literary agent and author Frederik Pohl, who knew Asimov growing up and remained friends with him throughout his life.

Selected Quotations:
Late in the cruise I discovered that Carl Sagan (the well-known astronomer from Cornell) did not take kindly to the swaying of the ship. At once I told him, in full and moving detail, of the exact matter in which the various ship's motions failed to affect me, attributing my immunity to nausea to superior genes and a ready intelligence.
Carl showed no signs of gratitude. 

p. 206, The Tragedy of the Moon (Isaac Asimov)

Do not let your passions be your guide, but restrain your desires.  If you indulge yourself with all that passion fancies, it will make you the butt of your enemies. (Ecclesiasticus 18: 30-31)        
A hasty argument kindles a fire, and a hasty quarrel leads to bloodshed. Blow on a spark to make it glow, or spit on it to put it out; both results come from the one mouth. (27: 11-12)

This next week..

  • Michael Connelly's City of Bones
  • Joe Haldeman's The Coming, which opens with the discovery of a signal from space
  • Possibly reading The First Salute by Barbara Tuchman, which is not -- as I thought -- a story of naval warfare during the American Revolution, but one addressing the political influence of the Revolution in Europe. She seems have written a fair bit about the Dutch, which pleases me given how little I know about them and how significant a role they played in European history in the age of enlightenment and discovery.
I also have Bernard Lewis' The Middle East, which I might explore at some point in the week.

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