Friday, November 11, 2005


Well, I did ascend to heaven and fall back to earth. Thank you for all of the nice birthday wishes. My birthday was a wonderful one spent with friends and family.

I really do like my inlaws, as unusual as that may be. I keep telling my fiance that I don't want to have a big wedding, but part of me wants to. If he and his parents and sister are any indication of what the rest of his family are like, then I'd love to have all of them at the wedding reception. His family is fun-loving, smart, and a joy to be around. I think my parents will enjoy having them all at the reception.

So anyhow, Bill and drove to Columbia, Maryland and went to Daedulus Warehouse. My parents drove up as well. I had a nice time chatting with them and going out to lunch at Bennigan's. They indulged my love of books, without question, which was nice because even though I tried to limit myself to only those books I REAAAAALLLLY wanted, I REAAAAAAlly wanted a lot of books.

I had a great time rummaging through well-organized book shelves. I made many aquisitions--namely,

  • Patrick McGrath, Spider (Vintage, 1990). Thank God for new gothic. What would happen if I read all the old gothic novels and ran out of new ones to read? Apparently this one's soon to be a motion picture too.

  • Milton and Rose Friedman, Free to Choose (Harcourt, 1980). Well, I know they're both brilliant economists, and I believe fervently in the connection between personal liberty and free markets, so I couldn't help but pick this one up.

  • Patrick McGrath, Dr. Haggard's Disease (Vintage, 1993). Gothic. Need I say more?

  • Louis Auchincloss, East Side Story (Houghton Mifflin, 2004). This is a fictionalized account of those fated-few who rose to fame on the east side of New York in the mid to late 1800's. Seems like a prolific author. That could spell disaster or something great.

  • Jonathan Kirsch, God Against the Gods (Penguin Books, 2004). Looks like an interesting history of one particular aspect of religion--namely, the battle between monotheists and polytheists. It seems to imply that religious intolerance stems from that one difference, even now. We'll see.

  • Edited by B.A. Botkin, A Civil War Treasury. I love moral allegories like those in folklore, so I couldn't pass this one up. This has newspaper clippings, folkstories, and so on that came out before, during, and after the civil war. It'll be interesting to see how the war affected literature.

  • Mary Beth Norton, In the Devil's Snare (Knopf, 2002). Carly read this and said it was good, but that it offers a very different account of the Salem witch trials from prior books concerning the same topic. She says she'll bring me one of the prior accounts to read first. Yipee!

  • Dorothy Dunnett, Race of Scorpions (Vintage, 1989). This is third in the House of Niccolo historical fiction series. Problem: I don't believe I own the first in the series. To the library we go! Don't you just love 15th century Italy.

  • Peggy Noonan, A Politcal Life in the Raegan Era (Encore, 2003). She has always written columns and speeches that were barbed with wit and yielded many delights, so this seemed worth a couple bucks.

  • John McWhorter, Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, Like, Care (Gotham Books, 2003). Written by a linguist--at least it wont be poorly written--it looks like it confronts the possible derailment of democracy based on our lack of a large, vibrant educated populus...blah, blah, blah, and the consequences on our future intellectual life.

  • Nino Ricci, Testament (Mariner Books, 2003). Another historical novel cast as a "fictional biography." There's a beautiful reproduction of Ecce Homo by Vivente Juan Macip on the cover. It's, suprise suprise, an account of Jesus' life from four perspectives--namely, that of a Jewish political revolutionist, a female discipile, Jesus' mother, Mary, and a shepherd.

  • Paul Davies, God and the New Physics (Touchstone, 1983). Strangely enough, I was one of the few nut jobs who enjoyed natural philosophy in college. Kudos to Mr. Hans Von Breisen for his convincing me that it has a place in contemporary physics as well. I can't pass up religion and philosophy in the same book.

  • James A. Connor, Kepler's Witch (Harper Books, 2004). Ok, so Kepler, a witch, and the Pope walk into a bar. And Kepler says,...

  • Mike Dash, Batavia's Graveyard (Crown Publisher's, 2002). I read a book called The Company: Portrait of a Murder by Arabella Edge, which made Robinson Crusoe look lucky for being marooned on an island alone. That book made my skin crawl. I didn't enjoy it, but it did make me wonder how much of the book was historically accurate.

  • Craig Boreth, How To Iron You Own Damn Shirt: The Perfect Husband Shirt (Three Rivers Press 2005). Bill's sister tried to buy this book for him as a joke, and I recommended against her giving it to him for Christmas. Then, he ended up buying it for himself.

  • Deborah Coates, Cat Haiku (Arrow Books 2003). Bill bought be this quaint little book. How could it fail to appeal to my love for bad poetry with
    I think that the new
    Kitten makes a fine punching
    Bag and trampoline.
    I'm waiting for you to contribute Billy.

  • Craig Harline, The Burdens of Sister Margaret: Inside a 17th Century Convent(Abridged edition) (Yale Nota Bene, 2000). I've read a couple of novels and plays that take place in convents that involve the theme of of madness versus divine inspiration, e.g., Anges of God.

  • Frederick Buechener, Speak What We Feel: Four Who Wrote in Blood (Harper 2001). This is about what G.K. Chesterton, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mark Twain, and William Shakespeare say about religion and spirituality. Hm.

  • David McCullough, Brave Companions (Simon and Schuster, 1992). I like McCullough's other books in spite of the fact that he attended Yale.

  • Henri Pirenne, Economic and Social History of Medieval Europe (Harvest Book, 1936). Girls not only like bagels, but Medieval History.

  • Anton Chekhov, The Duel (Modern Library, 2003). I hope the translation is good.

  • Terence M. Green, Shadow of Ashland (Forge, 1996). Sometimes I'll take a chance on a book just because of who endorses it. For insteance, the Atlanta Constitution endorsed this one, so I'm gonna give it a go.

  • Dorothy Dunnett, The Spring of the Ram (Vintage, 1987). Second book in the House of Niccolo series.

  • Paul Auster, City of Glass (Picador, 2004). This is another one of Bill's. He likes the artwork and thinks it sounds like an interesting adaption of a graphic novel.

  • E. M. Forester, Aspects of the Novel (Harcourt, 1927). A dear friend of mine was recommended A Room With A View. Given my experience with that book, I'm willing to read his literary criticism.

  • Peter Nichols, Evolution's Captain (Perenial, 2003). This is a biography that graces over Charles Darwin and favors the less well-known Captain Robert FitzRoy, the captain of the first voyage of the HMS Beagle.

  • Chris Van Allsburg, Ben's Dream (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1982). I adore Van Allsburg's books, such as The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, Jumanji, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, and The Polar Express.

    It's a wonderful feeling not knowing which one to start first.


Odious said...

I want to usurp this entire post in the comments section, but I'll probably do that over on O & P.

Instead, I will just give the thumbs up on Van Allsburg, and, with regard to gothic, ask if you've read Vathek or the Castle of Otranto. Otranto is (more-or-less intentionally) hilarious, and Vathek is...odd.

cube said...

What a delicious dilemma you have.
I'm envious!

Not that you need any more books for... um, your reading habits being voracious... 2 weeks, 3 tops ;-) but if you like gothic, I recommend The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Good read.

Larissa said...

Tell me about God against the Gods when you've read it. I was on a religious history kick after reading all of Thomas Cahill's books so far published (How the Irish Saved Civilization, Sailing the Wine-dark Sea, The Gifts of the JEws, and the one about Jesus, the title of which I forgot) and picked it up, but somehow couldn't get past the introduction. It could have been that though I was interested in the subject I had indulged too much and was now bloated and sick and had to switch to some nice light fiction for a change. I can never read more than one Thomas Hardy novel at a time, either. so, yeah, let me know if I should pick it up again.

Voracious Reader said...

In response to Odious:

I don't believe I've read either of the novels that you've suggested, but The Castle of Otranto does sound famaliar. Are they worth reading?

I have read The Monk by Matthew Lewis. It was creepy and bizarre and dark and unhappy. The writer was gay. Without that tid-bit, it would have been a run-of-the-mill story about a hypocritical monk (startling for the time, but not now). It isn't as flowery and poetic as other gothic novels, and there certainly isn't any nature worship in it.

Voracious Reader said...


I have to admit that it will take me much longer than I'd like to get through all those books. I have 3 appeals pending right now, so my habit will have to take a backseat. Boo :(

Ruiz looks like a good read. Have you ever tried Caleb Carr? This is really shallow: the covers of the books are similar in type/style.

Voracious Reader said...

By the way Odious, usurp away. Do tell...

You could do it under this or the newer post should you like to.

Odious said...

I had actually thought the Castle of Otranto was one of the novels Catherine was reading in Northanger Abbey, but a quick review shows that I am mistaken -- although the Monk is mentioned.

In any event, it (Castle) is by Walpole, and is about the doings and faintings and "oh! transport!" declarings of a number of paper-thin characters in what purports to be Italy. Worth reading for historical background, but it's not exactly going to keep you up at night.