What Are You Reading?

It’s been awhile since we last asked you to tell us all about what you’re reading at present (or what you’ve read lately, or what you’re planning to read very soon), so today seemed like a good time. Now that summer is winding to a close, what books did you take with you on vacation? Read anything good while you were at the beach? Spend time trying to sneak in a few pages of something while you were holed up in your cubicle? (Not that we would ever endorse such behavior. Ahem.)

So, what are you reading? Anything good? Do tell…

22 Responses

  1. sacred ice by adam josephI am
    sacred ice by adam joseph

    I am reading the above book should you wish to read modern lit in entertaining form, i love this book.

  2. Rules For Old Men
    Rules For Old Men Waiting

    …story about an old man on Nantucket (or the Vineyard, I forgot which) who is dying and comes up with rules to make his last days meaningful, interwoven with his stories as young lad fighting the bad guys in WWI.

    It’s trying my patience in the beginning, but I’m holding out that something bigger will happen. Seems that way at least.

  3. Douglas RushkoffNothing
    Douglas Rushkoff

    Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism by Douglas Rushkoff.

    The title sounds a little forboding. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this is actually a very refreshing and well-written book. Granted, I’m not Jewish. I would love to hear what some of my Jewish brothers & sisters think about it.

  4. Several booksI tend to read a
    Several books

    I tend to read a number of books at a time. Currently going through Proust, (second time around; currently on Volume 4), Dr. Faustus (Mann), the Neal Cassaday bio, and The Judgement of Paris (about Manet, Messionier, et al, and their world).

  5. Mao II and H.James’
    Mao II and H.James’ Ambassadors, Chekov

    Mao II is chillingly representative of 2006 although it came out in ’91, as though history is repeating itself. In the Ambassadors, my mind keeps skipping everything but the dialog. Just today I scored a collection of Chekov, although sadly it is missing his seminal story The Bet.

  6. Foucault’s Pendulum by
    Foucault’s Pendulum by Eco

    I’ve caved into the Davinci Code hype, so I’m reading Foucault’s Pendulum (still can’t be bothered to read Dan Brown). And it’s going by much faster than Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle.

    I’m also reading a play-draft by friend for my dramaturgical input. It’s a I showed you mine now you show me yours deal.

  7. Boyling OverBillectric: As a
    Boyling Over

    Billectric: As a Jew who’s still trying figure it out at age 42, I thought Nothing Sacred was the best book about Judaism I’ve ever read. I don’t necessarily go in for all of the “open source” stuff Rushkoff loves so much, but he’s dead on about why the US version of our religion is so fucked up, namely, because we’ve gotten away from our core values, esp iconoclasm and social activism.

    I’m reading The Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle. He’s my new favorite writer. Highly recommended.

  8. Paul Auster and HerodotusI
    Paul Auster and Herodotus

    I just finished reading Leviathan by Paul Auster. He is very popular here in France, so I thought I’d give him a try. I really liked the book, but I’m still pondering some of the ways luck and/or coincidence played out in the story. I just started reading The History by Herodotus. I’m at the beginning where he is speculating about the source of the Nile. At the time of writing (454 BC?), none of the Greeks or Egyptians had a clear idea about what lay beyond Ethiopia. So I’m sort of in a modern/ancient groove.

  9. 3 booksthe Hand of
    3 books

    the Hand of Poetry…..5 Mystic Poets of Persia….Coleman Barks translations and comments, Inayat Kahn’s lectures on the poets. Sanai, Attar, Saadi, Hafiz, and Rumi whose the Reed Flute is perhaps my favorite poem in the collection. Very enlightening reading to say the least.

    a Zen Wave…..Basho’s haiku and zen by Robert Aitken is not only a great lesson in haiku, it is also an invaluable source of information on the greatest haiku master of all time, Basho.

    Sacred Architecture…..by Caroline Humphrey & Piers Vitebsky. Great commentary and exquisite photos of the worlds most sacred structures. A constant source of inspiration.

  10. great stuffSummer of the Mets
    great stuff

    Summer of the Mets by Levi Asher is a great book; a powerful, moving story that comes close to approaching reality (as I understand it). It starts off slowly as the writing mirrors the lost soul of a young boy adrift in his own passionless world. But the journey explores with brilliant intensity the core issues of humanity, such as how do we extend beyond our limited selves and find a common voice to share this daily bread of life.

    Fire on Ice by Sasha Cohen is a lovely little book by a lovely little person. It’s a wonderfully written, behind-the-scenes look at how a rich kid from the OC grows up to be an international hero. What’s missing in the book – is why. Why all the sacrifice and endless hours of hard work; the physical injuries, the struggles? If I were to guess, I would say that Cohen is one of the very few who understands what the human potential really is – what level of greatness people can achieve, if they want to. And she has a relentless determination to exemplify that as a role model for others. To me, championship caliber skaters, such as Cohen, are among the greatest of performing artists of our time; as they combine unexcelled athletic ability with unparalleled artistry. Sasha’s book is an insight into these ideals; and it makes you feel like – not giving your best effort at everything you do would be a waste of time, or personally insulting.

    I also read some pre-release chapters of Bill Ectric’s new book Tamper, which promises to be another great work by a masterful storyteller.

  11. It’s a summer thingEvery now
    It’s a summer thing

    Every now and again, I find myself craving something.

    You know that rapturous feeling you got reading a your very first Harlequin as a girl? Um, well ok, maybe not.

    But for some reason in the summertime I find myself looking for one book that will spark that flickering light called romance; at least one! Everything is lush, abundant, and so alive in the summer, so why can’t I feel alive too?

    This summer it was Sue Monk Kidd’s The Mermaid Chair.
    (Last summer it was a Nicholas Sparks title)


    I opened the book and came to a page with a snippet of Pablo Neruda poetry:

    I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz

    or arrows of carnations that propagate fire:

    I love you as one loves certain dark things,

    secretly, between the shadow and the soul

    as well as a little slice of Rumi:

    Lovers dont finally meet somewhere.

    They’re in each other all along.

    I figured any author who quotes two of my favourite poets, might have something interesting to talk about, so I bought the book.

    I turned to the first chapter and read this first paragraph:


    In the middle of my marriage, when I was above all Hughs wife, and Dees mother, one of those unambiguous women with no desire to disturb the universe, I fell in love with a Benedictine monk.

    The book reads beautifully. Sue Monk Kidd has a way of weaving her words around you, and before you know it, you find yourself enmeshed.

    I fed myself the ending of the book in tiny sips, not wanting to cut myself off too quickly for fear of withdrawal.

    Feeling all ‘girlie-girl’ (shhh) since reading it, I have since gone back to the bookstore to buy her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees.

    Bees and honey…hmm, I’m thinking this one might be a Fall book.

  12. God’s Little Soldier by Kiran
    God’s Little Soldier by Kiran Nagark

    That’s Kiran Nagarkar.

    It’s a beautifully insightful book about how we carry the germ of terrorism within us. If you have this germ inside you, religion, any religion, merely becomes an excuse.

    Its current relevance apart, this is a damn good yarn written with rare insight.

    The story travels from India to Pakistan to Afghanistan to America to England back to India, even as it goes from Islam to Christianity to Hinduism.

    A fascinating potrait of religious fanaticism examined from a personal, not political, point of view.

    Sorry for gushing on and on like blurbs on the back of bestsellers! I meant every word, though.

  13. I used to be confused about
    I used to be confused about who wrote Faust, Marlowe or Mann, until today. Reading your post prompted me to look up the subject. I see now that the Faust legend came from a 16th century German folk tale, most likely based on an alchemist named Johann Georg Faust. Many writers, including Marlowe and Mann, have written plays, poems, mucical compositions, and prose, based on the story. Interesting!

  14. Not to Hog the Responses,
    Not to Hog the Responses, BUT!

    I received my copy of Malcom and Jack, by Ted Pelton, yesterday (bought on Levi’s recommendation) — it is sensational. Bright, original, and totally engaging. I’m a fan of the beats but I think any lover of literature will enjoy this one. It’s great to see that new major novelists are still arriving. Buy it. Read it. Now. (And a big thanks to Levi for finding these books and reviewing them.)

  15. To Billectric -Yeah, the
    To Billectric –

    Yeah, the Faust legend is fascinating. The Mann book is a challenge but worth it. Most academic test questions want Goethe as the author of Faust, however. What else are you reading?

  16. danjazz, I’m looking for a
    danjazz, I’m looking for a way to send you an email. my email address is on my profile.

  17. What I’ve Been ReadingI’m
    What I’ve Been Reading

    I’m doing a survey of Southern literature. Currently reading, GO Down, Moses by William Faulner. I also read The Snopes Trilogy, The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Intruder in the Dust by the same. I just completed Ship of Fools by Katherine Ann Porter and her Collected Short Stories. Carson McCullers, Memeber of the Wedding, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Ballad of the Sad Cafe. Flannery O’connor’s collected short stories and both her novels. Robert Penn Warren All the King’s Men. Also found a great series called New Stories from the South. The stories are selected from certain literary mags for each year since 1987. The “Southern writers” have a lyrical style to their writer that is wonderful. This quality with the extensive and careful use of images helps show the depth of humanoty with all the faults, follies and keen emotions. The them of these writers scan be applied to all humanity, everywhere throughout history. Even though many see these authors as regional, they capture the unversal tragedies of life. Great reading!

  18. Cottage reading,
    Cottage reading, Cauthors

    Finished three books and started a fourth at the cottage we rented this summer. Capote, Cohen, Kerouac and… Davies. I call the first three cauthors because their names begin with a k sound. The Favorite Game by Leonard Cohen was wonderful and probably the best thing I read this summer. Summer Crossing, Capote’s manuscript which he didn’t want published when he was alive, was relatively good up untill the conclusion where it withered and died. I finally finished Davies Deptford trilogy with World of Wonders which was not disappointing in the least. I also started Big Sur a few days ago, Kerouac’s follow up to On The Road ten years later. A few weeks ago I finished Augusten Burroughs wonderfully sarcastic memoir Running with Scissors, it made me giddy.

  19. ModernistsI am having a sweep

    I am having a sweep over the modernists:

    1. The Secret Agent – Joseph Conrad
    2. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
    3. Tarr – Wyndham Lewis
    4. Women in Love – D.H. Lawrence
    5. A Passage to India – E.M. Forster
    6. To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
    7. Brighton Rock – Graham Greene
    8. The Heat of the Day – Elizabeth Bowen

    Also one day I was sitting in the “Charles Dickens Pub” and found in a glass case A Book of Classical Stories (Ed. A.J. Merson) (ca. 1936), all translations of Greek hero myths. Wild stuff.

  20. Use My Name: Jack Kerouac’s
    Use My Name: Jack Kerouac’s …….

    Forgotten Families? The title is sort of miscontrued but still makes for an interesting read. Jim Jones does his best to be completely neutral in his attempt to only state of the facts during a time period (1990’s) when Kerouac was even more popular than when he was alive watching the movement he created (and subsequently loathed). But, within three chapters, it becomes blatantly obvious which side he will take. Still, all in all, a good read.

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