Saturday, October 16, 2004

Today's book list

In stacking order, from smallest to largest, with a nod to Mental multivitamin.

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, by Alexandra Fuller. Why? Because an aunt is reading the autobiography for her bookclub and asked me to read it and send her my comments.

The Writer and the World: Essays, by V. S. Naipaul. Why? Because it's by Naipaul, it includes essays of "Africa and the Diaspora," and it was recommended at Blog of a Bookslut.

Breaking the Fall: Religious Readings of Contemporary Fiction, by Robert Detweiler. Why? Because of the subject matter and because it received the American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in Publishing.

King of the Two Lands: The Pharaoh Akhenaten, by Jacquetta Hawkes. Why? Historical fiction about Egypt by an archaeologist, an interesting woman who was married to J. B. Priestly, whose novels I thoroughly enjoy. An American first-edition, 1966, for $10.

The Shape of Living: Spiritual Directions for Everyday Life, by David F. Ford. Why? Because I feel like I'm being shaped too much by my full-time, corporate job. Ford uses images of flood and the computer to describe the sense of being overwhelmed. He states:
The issue at stake is the whole shape of living. To attend to that when we are being overwhelmed is no easy matter. But it is hard to imagine any adequate way of coping that does not try to answer the big questions about life, death, purpose, good, and evil. So the basic conviction of this book is that we need to attend to the shape of living. We do not need to drown in what overwhelms us, nor is the solution to fiddle with some of the details [....] [T]he main task is to stretch our minds, hearts, and imaginations in trying to find and invent shapes of living. It is a task as old as the flood and as modern as the computer. (pp. 16-17)
The Comforter, by Sergius Bulgakov. Why? Because I want to keep reading in Orthodox theology and the cover picture, an anonymous 1517 painting of Pentecost with the Holy Spirit pictured as dove with wings outspread. Last week, at her farewell party, my pastor had us quote with her these lines from Hopkins:
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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