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Monday Minutiae

Websites I’m visiting:

The Indextrious Reader Notes and Quotes from a Literary Librarian: I stumbled upon this site by accident and am hooked.  Written by a librarian in Canada, she offers regular book reviews and recommendations and every time I visit, I leave with another list of books to check out.  I particularly enjoyed her post on Categories of Wished-for Reading.  I love exposure to books I may not have thought to pick up on my own.

Kazooisms: This blog is kept by a mother of a three year old, who uses the space to chronicle all the delightful things her daughter says.  I do not know this woman or her daughter, but I love checking in periodically for a guaranteed laugh or two.

Library Thing – I’m thinking my friend Julie needs to sign up on this site.  It allows you to create a library quality catalogue of all your books, track what you’re reading, connect with other people reading the same thing, join book groups/challenges, etc.  I particularly like that to create a catalogue of your books, you can simply enter the ISBN/Author/Title and Library Thingfills in the rest of the data automatically.  Other cataloguing sites I’ve seen require you to enter all the particular details yourself.  This is much handier…

Books I’m reading:

Portable Dante

Dante’s Divine Comedy:  I’m almost through The Inferno, and on my way to Purgatory (there’s a sentence I hope never to repeat) and although it’s been a slow read, that’s due only to my slacker’s approach.  It’s the kind of book which requires one to really pay attention, so it’s nearly impossible to read with the television going, or during my lunch break at work, fraught with interruptions.  I need to carve some time out over a weekend and really delve in.  It’s truly been wonderful.

My Dearest Friend

My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams.  Another library find that I’m slowly reading through.  I think I’ve posted once before about how delightful I find the letters these two exchanged.  First and foremost the love and affection between the two is so evident in their words.  Secondly, and almost as important, the history and language of the times is equally interesting.

Books I wish I were reading:

I’ve added these to my stack of books to look for at the library:

Shop Class

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work – This is one of those books that just looks intriguing.  It doesn’t fall into any of my regular reading categories but that’s part of it’s appeal.  I love finding things outside my usual scope.  From Publisher’s Weekly: Philosopher and motorcycle repair-shop owner Crawford extols the value of making and fixing things in this masterful paean to what he calls manual competence, the ability to work with one’s hands. According to the author, our alienation from how our possessions are made and how they work takes many forms: the decline of shop class, the design of goods whose workings cannot be accessed by users (such as recent Mercedes models built without oil dipsticks) and the general disdain with which we regard the trades in our emerging information economy. Unlike today’s knowledge worker, whose work is often so abstract that standards of excellence cannot exist in many fields (consider corporate executives awarded bonuses as their companies sink into bankruptcy), the person who works with his or her hands submits to standards inherent in the work itself: the lights either turn on or they don’t, the toilet flushes or it doesn’t, the motorcycle roars or sputters. With wit and humor, the author deftly mixes the details of his own experience as a tradesman and then proprietor of a motorcycle repair shop with more philosophical considerations. 

Bastard Tongue

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English – I first saw this in Borders about a week ago and of course the title is what first caught my attention.  But the subject of the book is undeniably intriguing, even if you aren’t a linguist.

Unlikely Disciple

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University.  Ok, this I’d like to read just out of sheer curiosity.  From Booklist “Brown University student Roose didn’t think of himself as being particularly religious, yet he conceived the novel idea of enrolling at Liberty University, the school Jerry Falwell built, thereby transferring from a school “a notch or two above Sodom and Gomorrah” to the evangelical equivalent of Notre Dame or Brigham Young. His reasons were logical, though curious. To him, a semester at Liberty was like studying abroad. “Here, right in my time zone, was a culture more foreign to me than any European capital.” He tells his story entertainingly, as a matter of trying to blend in and not draw too much attention to himself. One hardened habit he had to break was cursing; he even bought a Christian self-help book to tame his tongue. Throughout his time at Liberty, he stayed level-headed, nuanced, keenly observant. He meant to find some gray in the black-and-white world of evangelicalism, and he learned a few things. His stint at Liberty hardly changed the world but did alter his way at looking at it. That’s a start.”

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