Monday, May 26, 2008

What I'm Reading Now

Not that you asked, but here's what I'm reading (and I usually have 5-6 books going at once, a practice that drives some people with different reading habits figuratively crazy):

The Long Loneliness, Dorothy Day's autobiography--of interest to those wanting to know more not just about her but about radical politics in the early 20th century (socialism, anarchist-movements, organized labor, "distributism," anti-war movements, etc.), the Catholic Worker movement, whether politics and religion can intermingle effectively, women and religion, working-class life in Chicago and New York City, and the progressive/populist strain in Catholicism. Oddly enough, Day experienced the great S.F. earthquake, although she and her family were living in Berkeley, so their home wasn't destroyed. Apparently, the quake-proper lasted over 2 minutes. Of course, animals felt it coming as early as the evening before, she and others report.

Early Christian Rhetoric, Amos Wilder--older brother of Thornton.

The Beggar, by Naguib Mahfouz--Egyptian novelist, winner of the Nobel Prize.

The Walls of Jericho, a novel by Harlem Renaissance writer Rudolph Fisher. This partly for work, as I agreed to write an article on Fisher.

Selected Poems, A.R. Ammons. He was born in North Carolina but is associated, too, with New England. Free verse, but highly attentive to sound; rooted in everyday life, as W.C. Williams's poetry is, but Ammons strays from imagism and often writes tight little conceptual or meditative poems. I rather like this philosophical aspect of his poetry. He's also a master of very short poems. He can be whimsical, like cummings.

My books were finally paroled from storage, but they are in a half-way house situation--still sitting in boxes, awaiting the construction of shelves. More slowly than the tortoise, I'm cataloguing them on LibraryThing.

That's my bookish update. I'll leave you (or someone) with an epigram from Oscar Wilde: "A cynic knows the price of everything but the value of nothing."
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