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CollectionsUnowned (amazon available) (2), Location: Canada/Australasia (2), Location: American South (12), Location: American West (1), Location: US Midwest (12), Location: US Northeast (29), Location: US West Coast/Florida (14), Location: Mediterranean/Middle East (38), Location: Northern Europe (13), Location: England (26), (At least partially) Entertainment (24), Learning (book/author knowledge) (63), Understanding (the world) (70), Paper Library (18), Nook (116), AppleBooks (3), Internet Archive (1), Mostly Before 1700 (44), Mostly 1700-1830 (7), Mostly 1830-1910 (22), Mostly 1910-1975 (28), Mostly after 1975 (56), Female lead (42), Male lead (115), Africa (2), Asia/Pacific (6), Latin America/the Caribbean (2), World Religion (5), Eclectic Spirituality (13), Judeo-Christian Left (15), Spiritual Center (22), Religious Right (8), Secular Left (10), Secular Center-Left (22), Secular Center (46), Secular Center-Right (11), Secular Right (5), Race/Gender I (white men) (95), Race/Gender II (white women) (39), Race/Gender III (colored men) (19), Race/Gender IV (colored women) (5), Chronology I (Pre-Victorian) (18), Chronology II (Victorian) (18), Chronology III (Post-Victorian) (31), Chronology IV (Contemporary) (90), Not owned (nook available) (20), Secular (95), Spiritual (62), All collections (160)

Reviews117 reviews

Tagsnonfiction (95), ‘fiction’ (65), spiritual nonfiction (50), secular nonfiction (45), secular fiction (38), Christian spirituality (30), elder lit (22), psychology (20), younger lit (16), true story (16) — see all tags

MediaBook (160), Paper Book (44), Ebook (116)

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About meIt’s not about me.

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Although I probably give my opinion too much; I’ll end up being one of you smug bastards. 😐

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“.... the Sisters are thoughtful and reflective, slow to speak what is so etched so deeply in their hearts.”

*beat*

*beat*

*beat*

“Mommy, my sister is making me look bad, again.” 😐

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(update begins)

1/1/20:

BYE BYE LIBRARYTHING! 👋

I AM THIS PROFILE NO LONGER BYE BYE!

🎈

(update ends)

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“I often think my most valuable credential is my vast reservoir of stupid mistakes through the years, mistakes that can’t help but teach their perpetrator something the hard way.” Brian McLaren

You mean I shouldn’t just give up and go watch TV just because you guys are proud as pie?

You mean I shouldn’t give up on Jesus and harass girls instead of working on something constructive just because some old white lady assumes that no Democrats are Christian?

🤯

Stick with me, kids: we’ll cycle through some really stupid ideas—it’ll be an adventure! 🐉

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~ How can I show love to my enemies. I know. I’ll ask them about their beliefs. *beat* Hey man. What do you believe.
@ I believe that your personality type is doomed. Doomed, I tell you. Doomed.
~ *that really makes me angry* Well, goodbye!
# And would you call that a successful operation, dearie.

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Factionalism is comparatively easy to spot; what’s harder to erase is the idea that you deserve glory for putting it all together (since it should all be put together).

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I think I’ve gotten wiser over time—but not less weird.

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HELEN BURNS#: When people talk about food or the weather*** for three hours, and after awhile you feel your brain start to shut down.

Nigella Lawson (Evil Version): Now we can talk about.... *evil laugh* .... food!
Helen Burns: *tied to a chair under a bright light, gagged* *(can’t talk)!* *(can’t talk)!*

I mean, Nigella Lawson I can find entertaining for a good twenty minutes, but Helen Burns can do God without being a prick, you know.

*** or poop

#: it’s a demotivotional poster: ‘Helen Burns’ in all caps, a nutrition facts as the picture, and the small text as the small text (minus the footnote)

.... And then, you know.

“Only ignorant, stupid, malicious people disagree with me.”
“Only ignorant, stupid, malicious people disagree with *me*, sir, if you don’t mind my saying.”

*long pause*

Nigella Lawson: *enters room, says, in fluent Italian, to the effect of* Chicken pasta, anyone?
Helen Burns: *wearily* There’s a grenade without a pin on it on the floor, so you’ll be wanting to drop the chicken pasta and run.
Nigella Lawson: *cocks head* But *you* don’t seem to be going anywhere.
Helen Burns: *shakes head* My personality type is finished. You’ll have to go on without us.

And when you can find the people who are positively proud about how petty they are, you know.

First Monk: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
Second Monk: “Those that exalt themselves shall be humbled, and those that humble themselves shall be exalted.”
First Pirate: *takes a knife and buries it in the table* We’re talking about MONEY, dammit!
Second Pirate: You two are weird, like, foreign.
Third Pirate: *throws his head back and shouts* DON’T YOU KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY THERE IS NOW!!!!

Yes, and how much grace.

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To be a non-specialist is an experiment in vulnerability.

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Sometimes I wonder if my work consists merely of a series of facile comparisons.

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I believe each of my opinions to be true, and I expect some of them to be wrong. (Jordan Ellenberg)

{“I’m sure I am wrong about many things, although I’m not sure exactly which things I’m wrong about.” Brian McLaren}

[“I write down these opinions, not because I believe that this or any other thing was so, because I thought so; but only because I did think so, and I want to be quite candid about all I thought and did.” (Esther Summerson).

And also because the *process* of growing the whole thing and then harvesting and going through burning the weeds and leaving the wheat alone, provides a sort of desirable rigor, where it would otherwise be lacking.]

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The part cannot be understood without reference to the whole.

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There is no great learning without great love.

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Let me be more watchful over my faults, more willing to live in obscurity. (Fenelon)

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‘ “Ah, my father,” said the lady, “how happy you are, to love nothing on earth!”
“You are mistaken,” answered the monk; “I love all those who are in sorrow or suffering.” ‘

~ from “Legends and Romances of Brittany”

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I weep over my sins.

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May I not seek honor.

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‘“I can never make out what you mean by a prig,” said Rosamund.
“A fellow who wants to show that he has opinions.” [said Fred].
“Why, my dear, doctors must have opinions,” said Mrs. Vincy. “What are they there for else?”
“Yes, mother, the opinions they are paid for. But a prig is a fellow who is always making you a present of his opinions.”’

~ “Middlemarch”

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“‘I can’t understand,’ Ilagin went on, ‘how it is other sportsmen are so envious over game and dogs. I will tell you for myself, count. I enjoy hunting, as you know; the chase in such company.... what could be more delightful’ (he doffed his beaver cap again to Natasha); ‘but this reckoning up of the skins one has carried off—I don’t care about that.’”

~ “War and Peace”

About my libraryI used to read like a lawyer in prison.

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I often delete reviews and/or re-review.

I never promised you a single draft.

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Sometimes even when I (“the book fool”) know that I don’t need more material now, and I’m not set-in-place to use the new brain now, and really I should be training the elephant (c.f. “The Happiness Hypothesis”) in remembrance of Christ, I just like the familiarity and the sense of accomplishment of reading.... Like if I’m washing dishes and can’t be thinking too directly, (although I get the oddest and sometimes most delightful, other times almost terrifying, bubblings-up from below kind of thoughts, then), I just wish that I could go on eating and eating and eating, expanding and turning everything into me, right. It really is pride, just like they said of old.

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In any feud, there isn’t really any difference between hurting your enemy and hurting your friend.

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There’s always something left off the catalog, even books on a catalog of books.

“I can’t guarantee that’s it's bad, necessarily, but it just doesn’t seem to fit.”

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Sometimes reading a new book cancels out the view that you had in the beginning. (Ironically, because I have lost my acceptance of the new age credo of ‘reject organized religion and worry about yourself’, this reminds me of the line from the Tao Te Ching that says that the false way accumulates and the true way turns things over until there’s less and less.

Paradox of the ages.]

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Is this my ego mask?

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I do write a lot, some of it crap that gets deleted. I no longer think that my thoughts are so sacred and in danger of being lost. If I think something for long enough I eventually write it down, and revise, something I enjoy completing to the extent that this is indeed what happens! I feel like if I feed a million bugs to a larva eventually it’ll turn into a fish.

At the same time the world would roll on well enough without most of these books—somebody else could have written lively nonsense if Jane Austen had died of the plague, and even the spiritual book that *sanctificates* (🤪) your soul isn’t necessary individually, as even the specialist could never read them all, and certainly wouldn’t *have to*—let alone without my occasionally half-baked reviews.

You would have been the same, but I would not so have been.

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If I want to forget about a book, I delete it.

(I try to be inclusive of whatever I can, but I also try not to accumulate lots of angry reviews.) (*)

[‘Love keeps no records of wrongs.’]

(*) For this reason it is more of a catalog of recommended books, albeit some more highly recommended than others. It’s not really a complete record of all books purchased or read, however. One has to avoid being tiresome— one has to give it over completely, for the sake of one’s peace.

I try to keep the proportions pretty too, although there’s no set ratio of anything and everything is naturally always in flux.

[But sometimes I restore a book I delete. I don’t know why.]

[[There are still quite a few that I delete, even stuff that I could have bragged about, stuff that for that reason I could have whined about, but which really simply doesn’t quite fit.]]

~ Sometimes the book ends up being cynical or degrading—non-elevating is fine, but anti-elevating is bad, and this is the stuff that gets deleted. I try not to name names and shame, but I make it disappear.

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At least partially entertainment= fun
Book/author knowledge= learning
Understanding the world= love

Although it would be easy to collapse these into two, learning and entertainment, but.

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“Whatever things are true.... think on these things.”

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I only catalog books I like, (2) and I only review the books I like the best, (1) so it's not really a complete catalog of my opinions, still less of every book I've ever bought or started. Specifically, it also only includes books I was at least part of the way through reading on the date of the creation of this page. I’ve learned the hard way that trying to create an exhaustive life reading list is a sure ticket to grief, if not insanity. (“Oh, there’s that book I hated reading again! Un-read, un-read!”)

It does not include books that I have not started reading, even if I’ve already paid for them in full. ;)

(1) Actually I've decided that I might review some of these others, even though I will only rate the books I like the best.

(2) Certainly nothing that's merely boring. Some books are so objectionable that reading them is a sort of exercise.

[Almost any book can be read profitably, unless it’s not a book in some way.]

{I don’t really rate books poorly, although there are certainly ones done poorly, and sometimes I’ll delete a book if I decide that I don’t like it. There are exceptions though, when I do have something to say about a disappointing book.}

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Memoir is going with fiction. [Fiction & Story, basically.] I'm not even going to bother to be correct about it, as though they were two different things.

Memoir is a good example, because it’s basically like a novel that really happened, but actually I’m going to put a couple of different, technically “nonfiction”, categories in with “fiction”, if their central aim is to tell a story, as opposed to what I call nonfiction proper, which is to speak about some topic or another. So I'm now putting fiction in quotes to underline the broad way I use the word.

{I’ve half a mind to call it “narrative” and “nonnarrative”.}
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Also, I only call it “history” if it’s the work of a historian; “primary sources” or whatever you want to call them, (unless it’s an ancient historian), are works on politics or whatever they’re about.

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The politics section is also broad and largely sociological.

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Background categories: In general this is the Hollywood philosophy where white means pale, because this is very influential whatever we think of it. Few people really think *well* of it, but black, brown, yellow and red really are different from white, sociologically. I make an exception for Hispanics, whatever they look like, after much thought; this is a reversal and in a way a concession because it’s not really how I think. (I’m not very linguistic anymore, and books that are translated tend to make sense even if they’re Russian.) Jews in general are not an exception, because mostly they are very assimilated and it doesn’t seem right to spy them out and declare them Jewish. However, I do plan on making an exception for the Talmud, or anything very religious or particularist—what I mean is anything that seems Jewish in the sense that the Greek mind has to be restrained from automatically making fun of it. [Jews usually fit in, but Jews in concentration camps are not fitting in. And I don’t think it’s a dead issue. Jews like Holocaust books, as a group, more than Aryans. It’s not like being Irish, where every time you eat a potato you say, You know we didn’t always use to have these! And you raise your arms in triumph because you live in an American town. Jews are different because they are not uncommonly afraid, and people react by being offended every time a town is too Jewish or whatever, the Jews who don’t seem too Jewish be damned.] And Greeks and several other off-white groups are white no matter what they look like, with the exception of the explicitly Muslim, by way of analogy. An Arab who’s Christian passes for white, any sort of non-particularist situation does that. But a Muslim isn’t really ahead of the Jews, and Jews are Jew-y, not Aryan, right. It’s the same with pale mixed people: lightly colored, but still colored. It’s one thing if you own the local pizza place or founded the college philosophy club, something else if you pray like a terrorist or if one of your parents or grand-parents is a nigger. If you don’t fit in because of your race, then how can you be white? It’s mostly about how you look, but not 100%. It’s like a wedding, mostly about blending in, but if you have a secret, that could become an issue too.... Sometimes these subtle things matter. Hispanics can be pale, but it’s still “black and Hispanic” because of the unofficial meaning of “Mexican”, and indeed, “immigrant”, although it is possible for whites to be immigrants. “Russian” doesn’t have the same connotation as “Jew”. Maybe this was different once, but it’s like being English; you can make fun of butlers but you can’t un-white them. Russians colonized the Siberian wastes, as the white man; it would be like saying communism is black because of un-Jewish Jews like Marx (Freud—father of an Aryan, Jung), who were white. Also, the bleeding heart doesn’t make you less white, because it’s not a category of philosophy. There is always something involuntary about identity; it’s not like playing “Dungeons & Dragons”; “I want to be an orc.” “I want to be a nigger.” Shut up white boy. Also, although Hispanics are colored largely because they’re closer to blacks than Asians, even, you also can’t just buy your way out. Million dollars, still just a nigger. Yellow people are colored. They’re Alliance, not Horde, but guess what.... They’re not white.... It’s not even a wedding-secret. It’s obvious. I have a secret. I’m Jewish. I have a secret. I’m mixed. O wow. I have a secret. I’m Chinese. Ha ha, I have a secret too; I’m a nigger.

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About left/right etc: Center-left and Left (unqualified) are important distinctions, although there are still even finer distinctions that I do not make within these groups. The Center, that controversial default, sometimes indicates that the thing simply is not delved into deeply and darkly enough to reveal its loyalties, or, more likely for me, that it is ambiguous and can go either way, or else is a sort of Establishment to the extent that it is not much of a partisan. These classifications are guesses before having read the book, and sometimes after too, but I like them.

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The categories interpenetrate each other. [In fact, often the dip into philosophy in a novel, or the teaching story in nonfiction, is more memorable than the rest.]

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My library reflects the various things that I like, which are various, but also the things which are and are to be found, since I desire to love all the things that are.

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Even fiction isn’t like real life; in a novel you are constantly learning what society would conceal, what people would lie about.

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It’s easy to dislike narrative for being too much like life, non-narrative for being too much like solving your problems.

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At the same time I’m trying to step a few steps away from my open-ended commitment to know everything about everything.

[“all saying must be balanced by silence” Sometimes I will specify that I won’t read something, some great bulk of nonsense or about which I am not sensible, because after a certain point you have to step away from trying to know everything about everything, only disastrous ‘relevance’ of trash and scary specialists who have no context or any sense of what they’re studying, knowing only that they *are* studying, right, would make you try, but.]

[It’s a clutter-bug thing, pretty deeply ingrained by this point. I had an experience in a house a used to live in, you know. I did.

And books aren’t really what make life good, you know; they just intensify whatever you’re like already.]

{I’ve also stepped away from the plan I had at one point, to prepare to write a book by reading lots of books. (Cf Mommy, my sister is making me look bad, again.) I still read books, but I’ve disbanded several of my reading projects, including several book-y all-the-books books. I guess I’m finally going to specialize: in God, since he holds all things together.... I might still finish ‘Pamela’, but I’m probably never going to read the criticism on ‘Clarissa’, as prep work for writing an epic novel of my own. I might still write a book, but it’s no longer my life-plan. Too much like ‘making a name for yourself’, only slightly less selfish than being the aristocrat of the breakfast table or whatever: “e’en da foo’ ha’ uh foo’” that has to listen—three or four or more if you have kids, right. (That’s John Stuart Mill into Scots dialect, by the way.... no, don’t ask me why.) That could have been a real disaster, at least for me, (the Beach Boy Tyrant), and “one day I’ll write a book or whatever” is putting off living, and to different degrees they’re both stupidly selfish. The only thing left for me is to give my life to God, a living sacrifice.}

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