Book Notes

I’m hoping to make this a regular feature, just short notes on what I’ve been reading lately (potentially on movies, tv, etc. as well).  This week’s notes are fairly scanty.  Hopefully, I’ll figure out what precisely I’m trying to do, how I want to organize things, and so forth over the next few posts.

  • In Patagonia – Sometimes you simply encounter a book at the wrong time.  You can’t crack the prose, the thread slips through your fingers no matter how hard you concentrate.  Sit the book down for 20 minutes and you’ve forgotten why you started.  In Patagonia was like that for me.  It never connected.  Sometimes books like this end up being my all time favorites, sometimes I try to read Dead Souls six times over the course of a year and finally toss it on the donate pile.
  • Josey Wales– Honestly, nothing special.  It’s pulp and not particularly interesting pulp at that.  Josey is an uninteresting superman, barely a character at all.  I’ve been on a bit of a westerns kick, reading Deadwood and The Shootist in the past month as well. Both were far superior to this.
  • Mission to Asia – Medieval travel literature fascinates me, and I might try to make it the topic of some conference papers next year.  I’m planning on writing about this book in more detail sometime in the near future,
  • The Rings of Saturn– One of my favorite books.  I’m utterly unable to describe why I love it. Instead, here’s a quote:

    The lake is encircled by deciduous woodland that is now dying, owing to the steady erosion of the coastline by the seas.  Doubtless it is only a matter of time before one stormy night the shingle bank is broken, and the appearance of the entire area changes.  But that day, as I say on the tranquil shore, it was possible to believe one was gazing into eternity.  The veils of mist that drifted inland that morning had cleared, the vault of the sky was empty and blue, not the slightest breeze was stirring, the trees looked painted, and not a single bird flew across the velvet-brown water.  It was as if the world were under a bell jar, until the great cumulus clouds brewed up out of the west casting a grey shadow upon the earth.  (59)

  • Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands – I don’t enjoy Scruton’s writing style and already recognized the general worthlessness of most of the authors he discusses here.  So, not a particularly satisfying read.
  • In the Beginning God – Interesting enough, but I wonder if it wasn’t asking the wrong questions.  I think a case might be made that medieval missionaries presume a sort of primal monotheism in their audiences, and it might be worth taking this understanding seriously.  I’ve been kicking around some vague ideas for a project on the subject down the line and may touch on it in the promised post(s?) on Mission to Asia.
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