SUMMER thread neverstopreading
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Business trips, vacations, I haven't read much this month, and I haven't had a chance to get on LT much.
But here is my summer thread...June, July, August....
I'll update it tonight and tomorrow.
Here's to the heat!
2018 Categories Challenge
...the counters are moody...
January - May total: 99
January - May total: 17747
Books of the Bible are classed as they are in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha
39 Books of Hebrew Bible/Protestant Old Testament
20 Books of Deuterocanonical/Apocryphal Status
27 Books of the New Testament
I'm setting a bold goal for the second half of the year: read twice as many books as the first half.
Late May I was in Oakland for business. The hotel had a great view of the bay and bridge. I don't have any pictures. I spent the next two weeks finishing up work from that trip and preparing for a family vacation.
We started out camping in Corpus Christi.
And we saw the release of the Kemp's Ridley sea turtles. This is a 40-year ongoing repopulation effort at Padre Island National Seashore.
The evening before we left my glasses got taken by the sea. Luckily, Eyemart in Corpus was prepared, since that happens quite often apparently. They got me a new pair in half-an-hour.
At 6 the next morning a thunderstorm came. The strong, persistent winds blew in our tent and a lot of stuff got wet. Since we had a long drive ahead of us and the storm wasn't leaving soon,
We drove about 7 or 8 hours west to Alpine, where we went to the McDonald Observatory for a tour and the Star Party, and then to Big Bend National Park.
Big Bend at Chisos Mountains:
Then we drove the 8+ hour drive back home.
I thought I would have gotten more reading in when I wasn't driving, but that was when I slept.
It was a great trip. I highly recommend any of those stops on your next vacation.
A Short History of the Headship Doctrine in the Seventh-day Adventist Church - Gerry Chudleigh - *** - The author gives a decent analysis and rebuttal of the so-called headship doctrine, which teaches that the wife is subservient to the husband who is subservient to Christ. Many forms implicitly place women in a status that is "lesser than" man.
Chudleigh argues that this is a wholly new concept that arose in the 20th century. For better or worse, it's not, and plenty of historical evidence can be given. It is true that its modern form is a reaction to feminism, but it's also true that feminism is a result of the ancient, implicit forms of this idea. Chudleigh, unfortunately, fails to recognize this dialectic and comes to some clearly false conclusions.
Amazonia by James Rollins - **** - I'm always amused at those who want popcorn fiction to be Dostoevsky and base their reviews on this. James Rollins is fun reading. His books are like a summer blockbuster. They're supposed to be. There's nothing wrong with that. If you don't like those types of books, that's fine, but don't read them and gripe about that it's not Dostoevsky or whatever.
But yes, while Rollins is known for the Sigma Force series, this book is an early stand-alone. It is like his other books: there are secret forces of nature, mysterious plant and animals species, heroic men and animals, and intelligent women who aren't bra burning feminists, and the romance that results in an unplanned pregnancy and willing marriage. If you hate these tropes, move on. If they don't bother you, and you enjoy a good action-adventure story, then read Amazonia and every other Rollins' book you can get.
I'm listening to Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. At the very beginning (pun intended) NDT says that the universe went from 1/1,000,000,000,000th the size of a period to a few light-years across in a single second.
How is that possible? Is it that the laws of physics were different at the beginning of the universe, so the speed of light wasn't the speed limit of all things?
I'm wanting to use these threads to journal ideas about anything I come across in what I'm reading. Feel free to chime in.
"After the laws of physics, everything else is opinion." - Neil deGrasse Tyson.
A lot of things we think are certain most certainly are not, but physics is not our only certainty.
After all, our understanding physical laws rely on our laws of thought: everything is what it is (identity), something cannot both be and not be (non-contradiction), everything either is or is not (excluded middle).
Is it opinion to say that gravity is what it is (force between the mass of objects)? No. Is it opinion to say that it is impossible for gravity to keep my feet planted but is also fake, pseudoscience? No. Is it opinion to say that either gravity exists or it doesn't? No.
It is an opinion for me to say it is wrong to reduce all epistemological certainty to the laws of physics.
>9 neverstopreading: Reply from dypaloh:
I’m not qualified to give you a good answer, but I will share something I read in Brian Greene’s The Fabric of the Cosmos:
So I may know a bit more about this than the original poster, and yep, that's my understanding. I'd phrase it a little differently. Expansion of space is not the same as moving in space, so isn't bound by the same relativistic speed-of-light speed limit. So think of two ants on a balloon. The ants can move on the surface, and the speed limit applies to that motion. But if the balloon expands, even stationary ants (relative to the surface) will move apart - and that isn't bound by the speed limit.
The Beedog by Addie Broussard - **** 1/2 - This short, beautifully drawn, children's book introduces children in a playful way to the sand wasp in particular, and biology and entomology in general. I read it with my 4 year old son who enjoyed it. A criticism I have is that the appearance would look nicer if the text was hand written in. As it, it looks pasted in using MS Paint's text took.
3. Read a book with a cryptogram of D-A-D hidden in its title - Amazonia by James Rollins
5. Read a book about the environment - If I Ran the Rain Forest: All About Tropical Rain Forests by Bonnie Worth
9. Read a book set in at least three different time periods - Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson - This may not be what the challenger had in mind, but it spans the entire history of everything! Come on!
10. Read a book where the author's name has the same vowel in first and last name - A Short History of the Headship Doctrine in the Seventh-day Adventist Church by Gerry Chudleigh
12. Read a book that takes place in or around a beach/ocean - The Beedog by Addie Broussard
13. Read a book from a series of more than 5 published books which is not the first in timeline or written order - Protectors by Kirsten Beyer
>3 neverstopreading: go for it!
It's been pretty hot here in NC, too.
I enjoyed reading about your travels. We saw evidence of turtle nests on the Outer Banks last year, lots of areas on the beach were roped off to traffic.
We're heading out ourselves next week, so I've been busy away from my books.
>16 fuzzi: Are you still on vacation? Where are you going? I hope you're enjoying yourself!
Reading with kids:
What you gonna do with all that belly? - This is a cute and wonderfully drawn book about moderating in sugar consumption. My 4 year old (Sam) said he didn't like it, but less than 5 minutes later wanted me to read it to him again. Kids!
Space Jokes for Kids - I don't think kids will get all the jokes (a wailing wall pun? really?) but there are enough dad-jokes and groaners to entertain me and them.
The Council in Question - This book consists of letters between an SSPX-sympathizing traditionalist an a orthodox Catholic priest. The former rejects portions of Vatican II, and the latter accepts it. While the book is interesting, I came across nothing new to me. Doorly (the former) doesn't ever (attempt to) prove (to me) that Vatican II ever changed or rejected any official church teachings, whereas Fr. Nichols dances around the issues and often doesn't reply directly. The book is a bit of a disappointment.
Thomas Merton and Desert Spirituality - This is one of Merton's first recorded lectures. The quality is mediocre, but that's forgivable. The bits of church history - and the lives of the saints involved - are wonderful treasure. Some of those guys were just bizarre. Merton recognizes this, and knows not to take many things too seriously.
... a couple of anti-trump books. I am a Republican, but not one who has ever had much love for Trump, but bullshit is bullshit, whether it comes from the right or left.
Hope is the Root - This is a collection of awful poems for "The Resistance." The first section is nothing but bumper sticker slogans. Then there are limericks, which would indicate to me that this book was written by a right-winger who wants to mock the left, but I don't think so. The last couple of sections actually have some occasional decent poems, but then a lot of haikus, which are also out of place. It's as if the writer's only exposure to poetry, before writing, was 5th grade English.
Take me to your Trump - What if easily offended aliens, who obliterate what offends them, landed on Earth and demanded to see President Trump? "Uhh..." you'd say, "He's busy today. How can I help you?" Short and funny with fake tweets that are 100% believable.
It's not all about you - This short book of parenting tips has quality content but could stand some better formatting.
Cancer Prevention - Like most home-remedy books, it's long on claims and short on studies. Take it with a grain of salt (pun intended).
No Fourth River - If you can tolerate the first half of the book, and the stories of Christine Clayfield's abuse and suffering, then I recommend it. It's highly inspirational, but tragic and difficult to get through at times.
*Early Reviewer March 2018*
The Authentic King Solomon - Israel Drazin - **** 1/2 - Dr. Drazin argues a potentially dangerously controversial notion: the wise King Solomon wasn't that wise at all, and Biblical references (at least in the books of Kings) are meant to be ironic, i.e. the writers knew he screwed up a lot.
His argument is compelling, and unlike a lot of writers who argue contrarian positions, he does not come across as having an attitude of, "I've figured out what thousands of people before me just didn't get! Look at how much smarter I am than them!"
In fact, he rarely asserts anything definitively, and prefers to rest with simply presenting the question and the reason for doubting the traditional narrative.
I was afraid this would be just a standard bit of demythologizing. Yes, there is a good deal of that, but ultimately, his goal is to get the reader to re-think the Sunday School narrative for a view that might be, just might be, more biblical.
I Shall Wear Midnight - Terry Pratchett ****1/2 - The Tiffany Aching series' of Discworld is my favorite so far largely because of the performance of Stephen Briggs on the audiobook. While the books are excellent, funny stories, they're made much better when I can hear the shouts of Crivens! for myself. I've got one book left in this series, The Shepherd's Crown, and I can't imagine reading it on paper (or e-ink) at this point.
I'm reading several of the shorter deuterocanonical books which are considered canonical by Catholics and Orthodox Christians, but not by Protestants or Jews, such as Baruch+Letter of Jeremiah and additions to Daniel. They all center around the Babylonian Exile.
One of these is Susanna, which is included in the book of Daniel in Catholic and Orthodox bibles.
The notes describe this as "the first detective story." I think it could also be described as the first "#metoo" story. A woman (Susanna) is sexually assaulted by the elders of the community who blame her, and "because they were the elders of the people and judges, they assembly believed them and condemned her to death" (v. 41b).
I've heard this story before...somewhere...
At the moving of the Spirit, Daniel comes forth and demands that this miscarriage of justice be corrected. He questions the men separately and discovers that their testimonies contradict, thereby proving Susanna's innocence.
This could be an episode of SVU.
Another addition to Daniel is the Song of the Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael. These form such an crucial part of the Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours that I forgot that it's not in Protestant Bibles. It's a great prayer regardless, which takes the form of a litany exhorting all of creation to praise God - very Franciscan.
Finally, the last addition to Daniel, Bel and the Dragon (which I will forever associate with a pub in Windsor that my cousin took me to many years ago) contains a story that reminds me of one of James Randi's exposes.
In the story, Daniel laughs at the king for worshiping Bel, a statue. Bel supposedly eats food offered to him every night. The king demands that the priests prove it is really Bel eating it. So they leave out food and seal the room, but Daniel also spreads ashes around. The next morning, the room is sealed, but there's footsteps present from where the priests, their wives, and children went in and ate the food, like they'd done every night.
One recurring topic this year has been Vatican II.
I've read, The Rhine Flows into the Tiber, The Council in Question, and listened to Vatican II and the Third Millennium. There's also a lecture by Thomas Merton I'm going to be listening to soon, and yesterday I got Ian Ker's book Newman on Vatican II in the mail yesterday (FWIW, John Henry Newman died about 70 years before the council, so he didn't really have anything to say about it.) I've read the four constitutions and some of the decrees, but at some point I'll want to read all (again).
I finished listening to Thomas Merton on Vatican II. What's interesting about this lecture is that it reflects Merton's reactions to the council as the council is going on. Mostly it's focused on the liturgy and the effect on monastic life.
Merton's tone is optimistic and hopeful, but cautiously so. He fears that the liturgy might lose some of its contemplative nature, especially with respect to silence in the Mass. Most Sunday Masses contain very little silence today, whereas in the old High Mass, with all its singing, still had at least the silence of the canon, and often some period of silence after the homily and communion.
The canon in the Ordinary Form is spoken audibly, and it is much less common to have silence after the homily or communion. At the church I first attended, I was struck by the fact that there was silence during this time, versus all the music I was used to. I don't know if it was due to a the priest being conservative, old, or both. Nevertheless, it was not typical.
Below is an email from Stefanie Carnes (author of Mending a Shattered Heart), daughter (I think) of Patrick Carnes, author of Out of the Shadows about the World Health Organization classifying compulsive sexual behavior as a mental health condition.
Last night my wife wanted to see my reading log that I keep on a spreadsheet.
I was shocked to see that very few of the books I've read (less than 10) are books that I owned as of Jan 1, and are hard copies...ie - off my bookshelves
I need to read more of my own tomes the rest of this year...I'll think of a goal later.
Summer keeps going....
When I go anywhere, everywhere:
Truth is, I'm fine with the heat as long as the air is moving.
Or maybe I should read a book with a winter setting.
H2G2 + Doctor Who
Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen - James Goss and Douglass Adams - (****)
Take an idea for a Doctor Who movie that was later written into Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, turn it into a book. What do you get? A story that's very similar to Life the Universe, and Everything where The Doctor replaces Arthur Dent. It's similar, very similar, by design (down to 42 chapters), but not the same. It's got its own Doctor Who-style uniqueness to it.
The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (*****)
Imagine that today children around the world went missing on account of their new toy. They are gradually brought back, but they've discovered that there are a seemingly infinity number of parallel earths ("The Long Earth").
The reviews on this book is decidedly mixed. How the world has changed! Thi It is slow paced and exploratory. It's an adventure in curiosity, not action. If this sounds boring to you, you'll probably want to pass on the book. If you're fascinated already, like I was, take it, devour it, love it.
I finished Terra Stands Alone by Chris Kennedy for my second TIOLI sweep for 2018. This is the third in a series I started some time ago, The Theogony, which is a further continuation of the Occupied Seattle series. The books aren't great, but they are a fun mix of military sci-fi and ancient aliens.
TIOLI for July 2018
1. Read a book whose title’s opening letters names an animal - msg #1 Terra Stands Alone (Terra - type of butterfly) by Chris Kennedy
2. Read a book with a word in common with your most recently finished book - msg #3 Night Journey from Rome by Clark Butterfield - (Night by Elie Wiesel)
3. Read a book you find on the top shelf - msg #5 - Scrambled Eggs Super by Dr. Seuss
4. Read a book where the author's first and last names have the same number of letters - msg #8 No Fourth River by Christine Clayfield
5. Read a book with at least two identical words with 4 or more letters in the title not including the subtitle - msg #11 - Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
6. Read a book with a word in the title that is also contained in a song title on Billboards Top 100 week of June 23, 2018 - msg #12 - word list Between One Faith And Anotherby Peter Kreeft
7. Read a book that relates to a New Year's Resolution you made this year - msg #15 You CAN be a writer!
8. Read a book that appears on the same LT list as a book you've read this year - msg #16 I Shall Wear Midnight
9. Rolling Challenge: Red White And Blue - msg #18 The Council in Question by Aidan Nichols; Space Jokes for Kids by Nina Riddle; The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis; Take Us To Your Trump by Andrew Stanek; The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
10. Re-read a book - msg #24 Night by Elie Wiesel
11. Read a book that has been on your shelves for more than 5 years - msg #25 Bunnicula by Deborah Howe
12. Read a classic novel about the history of your country - msg #28 Our Town by Thornton Wilder
13. Read a book by an author you follow online - msg #34 That Cat Is Mine! by Daniel Georges
14. Read a book won from the Member Giveaway or Early Reviewer in 2018 - msg #47 - separate thread It's Not All About You by Jamie Pancake
15. Read a Book where a name in the title or author matches a close family relative - msg #51 Murder in a Very Small Town by Greg Jolley
16. Read a book with a warm colored (red, orange, yellow, peach or pink) cover - msg #61 Desert Spirituality by Thomas Merton
17. Read a novel where a named domestic animal is a secondary/important character - msg #69 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum
18. Read a book with a wordy beginning - msg #79 - The Authentic King Solomon by Israel Drazin
Summer vacation part 2. This time we were in Galveston, but we weren't camping on the beach. Instead, we got to watch someone else's tent float away from the comfort of a beach house.
If you're going beach camping, remember that storms come up easily, and winds can get strong. It's critical to have your tent secured with stakes meant for sand. The ones that came with the tent probably aren't good enough.
After the rain, I went for a walk down the beach. By that time, the tent was still only 100 yards or so off shore, but it had floated much farther down the shore. I suppose if the owner was lucky, they might have caught a crab or two. 😏
>40 fuzzi: Other than getting rained out one day, it was a good vacation. The water in Galveston was bluer than normal and somewhat clear, as it's apparently been for much of the summer. If you've never been, there, you won't realize how bizarre that is. The currents around the coast in that area, along with the various rivers and bayous that dump into the bay and gulf, usually keep the water a nice, muddy brown.
>41 neverstopreading: I've never been to Galveston, just briefly to Houston and a few days in San Antonio to complete my experience with Texas.
>42 fuzzi: Galveston is a unique city, founded in the early 19th century, first settled by a French pirate, and later became a major port for Mexico, and then for Texas, and then became a battle site in the Civil War.
In 1900 was the great 1900 Hurricane, which every school child here learns about. Still the natural deadliest disaster in US history. In 2008, Hurricane Ike damaged large portions of the city as well, but they have recovered and were largely unaffected by Harvey in 2017 (unlike Houston).
In the 20th century it became known for illegal gambling and prostitution. This persisted for a long time, but now the city is known mainly as a vacation town with some nice examples of architecture:
From upper left: Galveston downtown skyline, Bishop's Palace, Ashbel Smith Building, Moody Gardens Aquarium, St. Mary Cathedral Basilica and Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier
The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter - (****) - Although I enjoyed the book, the title and description led me to believe it was going to be more about the conflict and struggles in the long Earth, and less about general, sometimes vague tensions between the Datum/Colonists and Humans/Trolls. The story felt like more of an extension of The Long Earth (no pun intended), rather than a real, self-contained story of its own with its own (literary) conflicts.
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk - (**** 1/2) - If you've seen the movie, rest assured that the movie is a faithful adaptation of the book, even trying to capture Palahniuk's writing style. The story is told from perspective of the nameless narrator, and the world is filtered exclusively through his eyes. We know something because the narrator knows it. The book is able to give us greater insights into the narrator's psyche, but the movie excels at conveying the raw intensity of the action (as is to be expected for its medium).
Charlemagne by Johannes Fried (**** 1/2) - This is a dense, heavily researched biography of a figure for whom little is known, thus Fried's work is, in many respects, much more of an exploration into 8th and 9th century Europe than it is into the life of one man.
Born this Way by Tammy Ferebee - (**) This book is a disappointment, filled with flat, stereotyped characters; and a jumbled, yet predictable, story-line.
Congo by Michael Crichton - (***) - This has been on my to-read list for 20 years. I enjoyed most it, but the ending felt like a huge let down. Overall, I liked it but was disappointed.
I found the August TIOLI categories to be difficult.
3. Read a book where the author’s last name starts with a vowel – A, E, I, O, or U and for this challenge Y is included - msg #8 - For Christ Assembled - Fr. John O'Malley
6. The Location, Location, Location Rolling Challenge! - msg #11 - Europe: Charlemagne by Johannes Fried
7. Read a book where the letters of the title on the cover are all black or all white - msg #13 - post pics - The President is Missing by Bill Clinton & James Patterson
8. Read a book first published in the decade of your birth - msg #17 - They Have Uncrowned Him by Marcel Lefebvre
9. Read a book where the first word rhymes with the last word of the previous title - msg #18 - The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
10. Read a local book - msg #21 - The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting by Brene Brown
11. Read a book found through a tag mash of humor and one of the following: mystery/horror/science fiction/fantasy - msg #33 - Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
12. Read a book with a multiple word title, with words of increasing length - msg #34 - Roman Catholicism by R. C. Sproul
17. Read a book with a 3-word-title which is an airport abbreviation (rolling challenge, travelling east) - msg #58 - Born That Way by Tammy Ferebee and Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
I started challenge 13 and finished the drink, but alas, not the book.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.