Friday, July 2, 2010

summer reading

Look what arrived at my door from today!  If I cannot open my door to loved ones or to nature, opening it to a box full of good books is just the best.  Voila a treasure box of good summer reading:

"The Journal Keeper" and "The Book of Not Knowing" were recently recommended to me.  I am not familiar with the authors or their previous works.  The four others I stumbled upon while meandering through Amazon's seemingly limitless choices and either knew the author and was ready to read whatever they might write, or I just got lucky and knew by Amazon's description the book was something I would enjoy. 

"Buddha's Brain - the practical neuroscience of happiness love & wisdom" had great reviews so I thought I would give it a try.  I love anything Wayne Muller writes so was thrilled to see he had a new book on the market, "A Life of Being, Having and Doing Enough".  And the book, "Digital Expression" looks like it could be a relevant read after I finish my Internet course on digital editing in Photoshop Elements. 

Last but not least is "Hitch 22", a memoir by Christopher Hitchens.  I think I am one of the few people that love much about this man.  Yes, he is a bit of an intellectual snob - but I love listening to his arguments with regard to politics, religion, morality and God.  He unflinchingly stands up for his beliefs and will demolish you like a gnat if you float an ill-considered opinion.  I do not always agree with his points of view, but I am always intrigued to hear his take on any issue.  You can rely on him to be provocative and to make you think.  I just read that he has had to cancel his speaking tour promoting this book due to a diagnosis of esophageal cancer.

After briefly leafing through each book I am sure I want to keep five of them.  One I am considering returning.
Can you guess which one is on the chopping block?

Three of these books have an immediate magnetic draw and will compete for my attention at the same time.
Two others will be put on the shelf to enjoy later in the summer.  Can you guess which three are immediate must reads for me?  I will post again to share my perceptions of each book later this summer. 

What are you planning on reading during the next couple of months?  Let's construct a great suggested reading list that we can all reference.

A few hours later: 
Thank you to those of you who shared some of your personal reading list for this summer.

The three immediate must reads for me are the Wayne Muller book, the Christopher Hitchens book and the Digital Imaging in Photoshop Elements book. 

The book I plan to return is the Ralston Book on 'Unknowing'.  It just doesn't appeal  'in person' - and - having read most of Ken Wilber I do not feel the need to be instructed on levels of consciousness by Ralston.  It also seems a bit absurd to have to digest over 500 pages of knowledge to learn about 'unknowing'.  

I recall how indignant I was after plowing through all of Ken Wilber's material in one book for him to say in the final pages that all of the previous pages were irrelevant because everything is essentially nothing.   Grrrr.  The thing that finalized this decision, is the way Ralston has numbered his chapters and paragraphs as if they were the books and verses of the Bible.  Hmmmmm ... no thank you ... back you go.


  1. Hmmmm....nice selections. Ironically I have been looking for some good reads to curl up with lately. A couple of those look intriguing.

  2. oh i love visits from amazon...been a while since i had one...hitch-22 sounds will have to let us know on these...

  3. Hey Bonnie,

    Yes, Hitchens sure speaks his mind in interviews. I love people who are unapologetic, especially about a somewhat taboo subject like atheism. I guess I'm a bit biased because I'm an atheist! "The Journal Keeper" looks interesting. I think I will check it out. Thanks for sharing!


  4. My latest Amazon delivery contained two books recommended by my friend, Robert, at The Solitary Walker: "The Wild Places" and "Mountains of the Mind," both by Robert MacFarlane. I'm also planning to read Hitch-22, but not without ambivalence. I find Hitchens to be a bit too caustic, cynical, and arrogant for my taste, but he is redeemed by his fine intellect, his extensive knowledge of literature and history, and the indisputable quality of his arguments, many of which are at odds with my own views. Some of the books you have chosen, particularly "Buddha's Brain," sound interesting and I would welcome any relevant postings after you have delved into the new offerings. With respect to your comments yesterday, I have read "Thoughts Without a Thinker," but not "Going on Being." Maybe I will also read the latter this summer.

    Books, books, books -- how impoverished my life would have been without them. I am always fascinated by the fact that some of the most depressed people I know are people who read very little.

  5. I think you are going to return digital Expressions. And your three must reads are The Book of Not Knowing, Buddhas Brain, and Muller's book.

    I just finished Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini (The Kite Runner) and have The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards next. CAn you tell I've been perusing the Book Club section of the library?

  6. Your post title hooked me immediately – I love summer reading. You have an interesting selection and what a great idea to share our lists. Here’s my stack:

    Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (reread classic)
    Promises to Keep by Jane Green (beach book)
    Tinkers by Paul Harding (latest Pulitzer Prize, lit fic)
    A Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet (historical fic)
    Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (historical fic)
    Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro (stories)
    The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (young adult fiction)
    The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister by Charlotte Agell (children's chapter book)
    Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord (children's chapter book – August release)

  7. I won't be reading the Hitchens, that's certain - not keen on either him or his brother! I know he's a bit of a maverick and loose cannon, and you often can't tell what his opinions are going to be on a subject - but essentially, despite some laudably individualistic leanings, I find him a bit of a 'Daily Mail', populist ranter with a brusque style that turns me off completely. I don't like his move from the left to the right over the years, and I didn't like his support of Bush and the Iraq war. Also his anti-religious diatribes are just way over the top, typical of how absurdly extreme he can be.

    Books I'm planning to read? Oh dear, too many. And most that I end up reading will probably be the unplanned ones!

    Here are just a few - Kim Taplin: The English Path; Francis Pryor: The Making Of The British Landscape; Geoffrey Murray: The Gentle Art Of Walking; Stephen Graham: The Gentle Art Of Tramping; Karen Armstrong: A History Of God.

  8. Nothing better than getting a box full of new books!

    I want to finish Eat, Love, Pray before the movie comes out. I just finished Harlan Coban, a great mystery writer. There are so many good fiction books that just came out; I have too many to list here!


Comments are always read and appreciated.

(I am grateful for all awards received. However, I ask that this be an "award-free zone" and meme-free zone. Thanks for understanding!)