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, July 07, 2008

So many books, so little time! (cont'd)

Now for the ones I'm working on. (It remains to be seen whether my orgy of suspense/thrillers is over, since I still have a couple from the library.)

The Quiet American by Graham Greene. Carol and I saw the movie and the next day I was at the AAUW book sale and there was the book, so I thought I'd get it and compare. So far it seems like Michael Caine was a perfect choice for the reporter, but the title character (Pyle) seems much more naive and vulnerable in the book than Brendan Fraser made him in the movie.

Emma and Knightley by Rachel Billington. Obviously, a sequel to Emma. It seems to read pretty well so far, but I'm not too happy with the fact that the first thing she did was kill off Jane Fairfax. Evidently she doesn't know (or doesn't care) that according to Jane Austen, Jane F.'s marriage to Frank Churchill lasted ten years, not one.

The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot by Naomi Wolf. Perfect reading for the 4th of July weekend, but extremely disturbing, as she outlines the ten steps by which democracies turn into dictatorships.

Dark Cosmos by Dan Hooper. To be fair, I've only read the introduction on this one, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep going. A point in its favor for immediate reading - it's not very long.

I am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter (library book). I'm not very far into this one so it remains to be seen whether I'll finish it this go round, but what I've read so far is fascinating. It addresses the nature of identity and consciousness, a subject (along with evil) that I've always been a sucker for. (Sorry, Esther - "for which I've always been a sucker" just doesn't cut it.)

A Nation of Wimps by Hara Estroff Marano. Subtitled The High Cost of Invasive Parenting. Need we say more?

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff (library book). On the day that Willie (Wilhemina, I think) Upton returns to her hometown, pregnant by her dissertation adviser, the remains of the town's legendary monster surface in the nearby lake. Her hippie-turned-born again Baptist mother then informs her that Willie's own father isn't some random pickup from the West Coast, but a local man who is somehow related to them, and Willie sets off through the family history to discover who he is, something her mother refuses to tell her.


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