Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summer Reading

Long time since last I posted anything.  I guess it's about time I wrote up something, and what could be easier than giving a run down on what I've been reading lately (or at least since I last gave such an update).

I've actually read quite a bit.  One of the benefits from being in multiple book clubs and having an academic career.  But I'm only going to focus on what I read for fun, only throwing in a few of the books I've tackled for school.  If anyone wants to keep up with my reading life in real time, just hunt me down on Goodreads, as I use Goodreads regularly to track my reading progress.

Also, I should say that I've committed myself to reading all the Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction, so that's also given me a goal that has been directing my reading.

The last time I provided an update was nearly a year ago, in September of 2013, so I'll use that date as my starting point.

I'll link each book to its site on Goodreads, and you can find any reviews I might have posted about the book there.

Here goes ...

Warren Moore's Broken Glass Waltzes - "4" star ranking (out of five possible stars) - (This was a crime noir novel that I read on my Nook.  I'm not much for this kind of literature, but it was a book published by a blogger whose writing I have come to like, so I figure I'd give it a go.)

James Martin, SJ's My Life with the Saints - "4" star ranking - (From my spiritual readings book club.  Wonderful, engaging writing.  I really enjoyed it.)

Juan Gabriel Vazquez's The Sound of Things Falling - "4" star ranking - (From another book club.  A great addition to the Latin American literature collection.)

C. Alan Ames's Through the Eyes of Jesus: A Trilogy - "2" star ranking - (Bordering on the lowest "1" star ranking.  Another book for my spiritual readings book club; but one which I didn't pick.  I only read the first of the Trilogy and that's all I think I ever will read of it.  I found it to be less than inspiring and very poorly written.  Out of charity, I won't say anything else about it.)

Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones - "4" star ranking - (From the couples book club.  A hurricane Katrina novel.  Very worthwhile read.  Jesmyn Ward will now be teaching at Tulane University, which is very exciting.)

Miguel A. De La Torre's Reading the Bible from the Margins - "4" star ranking - (My pick for the spiritual readings book club.  Vociferously despised by my more conservative, orthodox brothers in the club.  If you want a radical re-reading of the bible as a testament to its social and political emphasis on solidarity with the poor, this book is for you.  It's sometimes a bit in-your-face, but its liberation theology message is one that really resonates with me.)

Roberto BolaƱo's The Savage Detectives - "4" star ranking - (A selection for my men's book club.  Loved it. Unique style of writing.)

Georges Bernanos's The Diary of a Country Priest - (One I have started on and off since college and finally just buckled down and read it.)

[NOTE: I'll have to come back and flesh out the details and links for the following books appearing below that I've read, but I'll just simply list them for now.]

Michael Cunningham's The Hours - (Pulitzer winner for 1999)

Booth Tarkington's The Magnificent Ambersons - (Pulitzer winner for 1919 and my selection for my men's book club.)

Elizabeth Bowen's The Death of the Heart - (Couples book club pick.)

Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass - (My book club with my youngest daughter.)

Homer's The Odyssey (My book club with my oldest daughter,)

Ernest Poole's His Family - (First Pulitzer winner for 1918.)

Janet M. Tavakoli's Archangels: Rise of the Jesuits - (Spiritual book club selection.  Not mine.  Pulpy trash fiction.)

Robert E. Barron's And Now I See...: A Theology of Transformation - (Spiritual book club selection.  Very sophisticated theology and philosophy, but very good.)

Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex - (Pulitzer winner for 2003.  Excellent book.)

Eudora Welty's The Optimist's Daughter - (Pulitzer winner for 1973.)

Robert Graves's I, Claudius - (Couples book club choice.)

Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies - (Pulitzer winner for 2000)

Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlett Letter - (My book club with my oldest daughter.)

Thornton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey - (Pulitzer winner for 1928.)

Jack London's The Call of the Wild - (My book club with my youngest daughter.)

William Kennedy's Ironweed - (Pulitzer winner for 1984.)

John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath - "4" star ranking - (From the Pulitzer Prize winner collection and also  the quintessential American novel classic.  Definitely a worthwhile read.  Odd that I had never read it until now.)

Currently reading and almost finished with:

Thomas Pynchon's V - (Men's book club selection.)

Margaret Ayer Barnes's Years of Grace - (Pulitzer winner for 1931)