Servant of the Secret Fire

Random thoughts on books and life in the reality-based community

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Location: New York, United States

The name I've chosen comes from "Lord of the Rings," when Gandalf faces down the Balrog in the Mines of Moria. My Hebrew name is Esther (which is related to the word for "hidden" or "secret") Serafina (which means "burning"). This seems appropriate because although I don't usually put myself forward, I do care very passionately about a lot of things. Maybe through these blogs I can share some of these passions, as well as less weighty ideas and opinions, with others.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Books that I need to put on a fast track

These are books that I am really enjoying but for some reason just keep getting distracted from and have yet to finish. Of course they’re all quite long and just packed with information - maybe it’s some kind of overload. I suppose that what I should do is put them at the top of my list and not even touch anything else until they’re done, but somehow I doubt that will happen.

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll. I love this book and its writer, especially some of the columns he’s published in the Boston Globe. Unfortunately, it had been so long since I had left off on the book that I had to start it all over again, and I was just as impressed the second time around. However, I have now reached just about the same point, and I haven’t picked it up for a couple of weeks.

Ghosts of Vesuvius by Charles Pellegrino. This is really the one I was thinking of when I said “packed with information.” There’s almost enough in here to blow the circuits in your brain, but his description of the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, based on what science knows about the physics of it, eyewitness accounts from authors such as Pliny the Younger, and archaeological evidence, is riveting.

The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins. A fascinating journey backwards in time, based loosely on the framework of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. There is a lot of info in here to assimilate too, particularly scientific.

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