For Every Book I Suggest There Are Ten More I Might Want To Read

booksSometimes I struggle to decide on a book to suggest every day. Usually that is when I’m without resources and hoping to pull something interesting from my aging gray cells. But when I reference such things as the unread books I carry around on my iPad or the shelves of my daughters books that still adorn the extra room or one of the many lists of books I retain on my computer—by author, by genre, by country, by golly—I can come up with a month’s worth of reading in no time at all.

The books I suggested in July (suggestions, not necessarily recommendations) are from sources all over the spectrum including that often embarrassing New York Times.  So take a stroll back through those hot July days and for the second time take a moment to decide if a suggested read is something you might be interested in.

Here is the list for July 2015:

Continue reading

My Reading Is Floundering in a Sea of Netflix

booksI spent a lot of time watching Netflix movies & television shows. To try and not get too far behind, I have abandoned McElroy’s Women and Men to go back and finish reading Wallace’s Infinite Jest. This obviously resulted in many of the titles I had planned to consider reading still waiting on my virtual bookshelf. Should I pass all of them forward or should I select a bunch of new books? In keeping with my current direction, I have compromised and taken both options.

So here is my own personal reading pool for the month of August.

Continue reading

Who Should Be Kicked Out of the Canon?

1001_Books_You_Must_Read_Before_You_Die_(cover)There is a big heavy book that professes to illuminate the 1001 books that everyone should read before they die. Well, the reality is that this is a joke for most people since they will actually read very few books of fiction after leaving school and very few of those books would qualify for any recommendation list other than a short-lived publisher’s marketing hype. But there is a subtle problem with the 1001 list: it has been revised.

It struck me as odd that I should definitely read a book that was then dropped in the next edition of 1001 Books. I can see adding books that might have been published since the previous edition and even books that might have been overlooked, but I cannot accept telling me I had to read something worthwhile and then saying never mind. Is it possible that the books themselves (which do not change) are less important than our attitude towards those books?

Continue reading

“God Bless America” Redacted?

Planned ParenthoodYesterday I was visited by a neighbor who was violently incensed by the news that Planned Parenthood was killing babes in order to sell the baby parts. She insisted that the video exposing this horrendous activity was absolutely true (you could tell because when people said words their lips moved). A rational discussion of the origin of the video and how that organization was known for highly editing their films to match their agenda was dismissed. A discussion of the current state of film editing was rejected since only crooked politicians did things like that. The level of discourse (in terms of vocal intensity) grew and grew until doors were slammed and feelings were probably hurt.

The last thing I heard was that we could never say “God Bless America” any more because God would never bless a country that allowed and even funded the killing of babies (which only God can create, of course) and the selling of the resultant baby parts.

This altercation emphasized to me the power and efficacy of out-and-out lying, or as Mark Twain is reported to have said,

The history of our race, and each individual’s experience, are sown thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal.

Continue reading