Saturday, April 26, 2008


I read--ok, skimmed--a book while waiting for my husband to finish up at work, and it occurred to me: Thank God for books like these. Else, what would we use as kindling? I am sure that someone somewhere will learn to appreciate this book. It's one that I've put on Book Mooch--have at. Only because it's one that I am trying to off load will I spare naming it here.

Gracian's The Art of Worldly of Wisdom was interesting. I read it (along with the one above) while getting a pedicure and waiting for my husband. It definitely has some gems in it. For example, "...Virtue alone is sufficient unto itself: and it, only, makes a man worth loving life, and in death, remembering."

So, today the fam' spent a day shopping, and, I, as a result, have some new acquisitions:

  • Dave Barry, Dave Barry's Greatest Hits (Ballantine Books, 1988). With my job, I could use some laughs.

  • Steve Martin, Born Standing Up (Scribner, 2007). I think he wrote this a long time ago, but I am not sure. This was one of Bill's picks.

  • Dava Sobel, Longitude (Walker and Company, 2005). If Patrick O'Brian and William F. Buckley like it, then that's good enough for me.

  • Vanora Bennett, Potrait of an Unknown Woman (Harper, 2007). Historical Fiction has been on my mind recently. Henry VIII's court and the English in general around that time interest me. Note to authors: if you put Sir Thomas More on the covers to your books, I'm at least 50% more likely to buy it than not.

  • David Liss, A Conspiracy of Paper (Ballantine Books, 2001). Historical thriller. Could be horrible. Looked worthy. We shall see.

  • Martha Cooley, The Archivist (Back Bay, 1999). It's described in one review as valuable and rare. I've liked Byatt's spin on literary detective stories, so I thought I'd try this one.

  • Mortimer J. Adler, Aristotle for Everybody (Touchstone, 1997). Thank God for used bookstores.

  • Kelly Jones, The Seventh Unicorn (Berkley, 2005). Art detective story.

  • Edwin Thomas, The Blighted Cliffs (St. Martin's Press, 2005). Naval adventure.

  • Matthew Pearl, The Poe Shadow (Random House, 2007). "Thick with intrigue." We shall see.

  • Charmaine Craig, The Good Men (Riverhead Books, 2002). A historical novel about the Cathar Rebellion. It's probably a lot about the failures of the Catholic Church. I hope it does more than harp on those failures and is, instead, informative about the Cathars.

  • John Irving, The Cider House Rules (Ballantine Book, 1993). Let's hope it's as good as they say it is.

  • Alison Jenkins, The Antique Sampler Set (Reader's Digest, 2007). Looks like some good crossstich projects may be in my near future.

  • Caleb Carr, The Italian Secretary (Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2005). I loved the Alienist, which I read nearly 10 years ago; so, keep your fingers crossed, please (I know I will).

  • Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth (New American Library, 2007). Oprah and I don't generally overlap in our reading selections. I guess I can make one exception.

  • Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels (Ballantine Books, 2007). One of my favorite (most inspiring) speeches ever is in this book. At some point, I'll post about it.

    kdzugan said...

    Since you listed one book by Mortimer Adler, you might try his most well-know book, "How to Read a Book." Here's what it did for me.

    I have been a voracious reader all my life. I never thought that I needed to know anything more about how to read. However 1990 I read about a book by someone named Mortimer Adler whom I had never heard of. The title of the book was “How to Read a Book.” Even though I thought I knew everything about how to read I became intrigued by the title. I finally bought the book. I read it and then I read it again, and again, and again. Over the course of several years Dr. Adler dramatically changed what I read, how I read, and why I read. I used to read predominantly to be entertained. Now I read to learn. Using what Dr. Adler taught me, I now get in order of magnitude more out of books that I ever did before.

    Dr. Adler was a brilliant and prolific author, educator, philosopher, and lecturer. He wrote more than 50 books and 200 articles, all of which can be read with pleasure and profit. Now that you’ve read “How to Read a Book,” you might want to read another of Dr. Adler’s books.

    His most important book may be "The Time of Our Lives: The Ethics of Common Sense" by Mortimer Adler. In this book he summarizes and adds to Aristotelian and Thomistic philosophy about what it means to live a good life, why we should live a good life, and how to live a good life.

    For more information on Mortimer Adler and his work, visit The Center for the Study of The Great Ideas

    Ken Dzugan
    Senior Fellow and Archivist
    The Center for the Study of The Great Ideas

    Voracious Reader said...

    I'll certainly try to get my hands on some additional Adler works. I've had some opportunity to familiarize myself with Adler and Stringfellow, as I graduated from St. John's College, but can't say that I've read even close to everything they've written. Thank you so much for taking the time to suggest a couple of titles with which to start.