Thursday, March 25, 2010
What's Mt. Airy reading?
A selection of books that our community was reading last year:
"I'm reading For Decades I was Silent: A Holocaust Survivor's Journey Back to Faith by Rabbi Baruch G. Goldstein. It's an amazing firsthand story about how a young man survived 2 1/2 years in Auschwitz, including the final Death Marches to lose his faith in the D.P. camps and eventually regain it and become a Rabbi and teacher. It's beautifully written and overwhelmingly positive and loving in outlook."
"I have just begun to read the biography of John Nash, the mathematician and Nobel Laureate featured in the movie A Beautiful Mind. I'm not far along in the book but several things predict it as a fascinating read. The author, journalist Sylvia Nasar, takes the time to describe a vivid picture of Nash's personality. She shares her interest but especially her compassion for her subject."
"I'm re-reading Love by Toni Morrison."
"To Love What Is: A Marriage Transformed by Alix Kates Shulman (author of Memoires of an Ex-Prom Queen) -- Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2008. In this memoir, Shulman writes about her experience of being in love with and married to Scott, both before and after a very tragic accident that led to his mental deterioration. It has touching details about how love and commitment extend into a very different and often difficult phase in her life. Shulman describes how she makes it her mission to optimize her husband's chances of a recovery at the expense of her own sense of self. She then describes the shift that takes place inside of her when, after over a year of 24/7 care, she realizes her husband has sustained permanent damage that has rendered him completely dependent on her. She concludes with a very touching chapter entitled "Amor Fati" -- how one learns to not just accept, but love one's fate. Great book!"
"Pity the Nation by Robert Fisk."
"Right now I am reading The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark. It's a short book and a quick read- but I can't seem to get through it. It is supposed to be a suspenseful thriller and is described as a book 'to make the flesh creep' but I am nearly through the thing and it has not crept for me yet. I'll keep you posted."
"I'm reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. It's a great book on getting in touch with your authentic voice and on writing down the juicy details. She also is a practicing Buddhist and encourages readers to concentrate and be fully in the moment.."
"I am currently reading Annie Proulx's early book, Accordion Crimes. She is one of my favorite writers. Her amazing ability to describe the intricacies of the activities and emotions (loneliness, sacrifice and passion) of everyday lives of average Americans, while tracking the impact of a particular culture's impact on this country's evolution is profoundly moving."
-Susan Arthur Whitson
"I'm reading Steve Lopez' The Soloist. The book explores the effects of the intersection of race, class, and giftedness through the life of a black male classical music prodigy who ends up being homeless on the streets of Los Angeles. In the telling of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers' story, I appreciated Lopez' introspection about his role (as friend, advocate, columnist) in the "big picture.""
"Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert Ed by Margaret Cohen; a norton critical edition second edition, 2005: A middle class, French, 19th century lady trapped by birth in an undistinguised life. Style! Besides the translation of the text, there are letters by Flaubert about the writing enterprise - 5 pages a week. . .a transcription of his trial, commentary by several critics including Baudelaire and Henry James, and a Flaubert Chronology."