Saturday, June 24, 2006

Books, books, books…and movies too!

Books I was reading in the last week:

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Finished it last Sunday. See my review below.

Max Weber’s Essays in Sociology. This one really exercises my reading muscles. Did not finish it before it had to go back Friday. Did not expect to. I’m sending for it again in a month or so.

Destroying World Order by Francis A. Boyle. A specialist in international law examines U. S. Foreign Policy regarding Iraq and the Middle East over the last half century. This one was supposed to go back today but I had two chapters left so the librarian renewed it for me again on the understanding that I really will finish and return it ASAP.

American Theology: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money In the 21st Century by Kevin Phillips. I’ve been eagerly awaiting my turn for this one. I got In queue for it months ago. I brought it home last Friday, knowing that I have only three weeks as there is quite a substantial queue behind me. I figured I would need to read 120 or so pages per week if I didn’t want to wait months for a second turn. I read less than twenty. Am still in the first chapter. Other reading, both on and offline, and a lot of writing and research this past week threw me off that schedule. I am especially interested in his theme. As an ex fundie myself I’ve seen first hand how radical religion operates. It is one of my personal nightmares that people like the people who once had dominion over my mind will gain enough political power to attempt to reinstate that dominion but this time with the power of the State and its concomitant powers to deprive me of life or liberty or livelihood.

The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe by Jane Wagner. This is the Broadway play from 1985 in which Lilly Tomlin played every one of its dozen or so characters. It is a critique of modern society that is very funny and yet very thought provoking. I watched a DVD video of one of the performances a few weeks ago and was awestruck by it. I am fairly sure that there are whole sections in this version that were not in that filmed version I saw. I’m awestruck by contemplating one woman memorizing over a hundred pages of text and then not just speaking it but performing it while switching back and forth among a dozen or more personas, on stage in one go in front of an audience.

Lupus: Everything You Need to Know edited by Sasha Bernatsky, MD and Jean-Luc Senecal, MD, FRCP, FACR. I’m reading this for research on two accounts. One of my favorite novelists, Flannery O’Conner, lived with this and died of it. And I’m am contemplating inflicting it on a character in one of my stories. Aren’t I diabolical?

A few of the books on this coming week’s agenda because I have limited time left with them:

Night by Elie Wiesel. This will be a re-read. I got in queue for it when Oprah announced it for the book club months ago. Am just now getting my turn with it and I know the queue behind me is still in the double digits. I once had my own copy of this one.

Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda by Noam Chomsky. My interests in writing, journalism, the media, politics, propaganda and much more intersect in this book’s theme.

Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts by John Dominic Crossan & Jonathan L. Reed. Just because I’m no longer a fundamentalist does not mean that I’ve lost interest in the stories that shaped my life. Far from it. They are more important than ever to me because they are the same stories that have shaped the world as we know it today.

All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror. by Stephen Kinzer. This story of American involvement in the overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister in August of 1953 and the subsequent installation of the Shah is the key to understanding current events in the Middle East.

The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney. The subversion of the principles of scientific inquiry and of the communication of relevant information needed by citizens in a democracy in order to fulfill their role as informed voters for those who will be making law and policy described by Mooney is chilling. Loosing free access to the facts that impact ones life is the first step towards loosing persona liberty.

Solstice Wood by Patricia A. McKillip. The last several novels I read were on the serious side. I’m in the mood for something light and magical. When I used to binge on fantasy, Patricia McKillip was a relative newcomer whose books I looked forward to.

The book that came home with me today that I am the most excited about is Gregory Maguire’s Son of a Witch. It is the sequel to his Wicked which is a retelling of the Oz story casting the Wicked Witch as the sympathetic protagonist. Maguire writes fantasy that is at once page-turning adventure and biting critique of society. My husband and I read Wicked around Christmas and have been in queue for our turn with the sequel ever since.

Saturday night though will be devoted to movies more than books. I’ve taken to spending part or all of the night I spend with my husband’s grandmother watching DVDs on my laptop. This weekend I am taking with me:

Point of Order. The story of the fall of Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Iron Jawed Angels. The story of women’s fight for the right to vote at the turn of the last century.
Ruby Bridges. The story of the African-American girl who was the first to integrate her New Orleans school.
Miss Congeniality 2. A comedy staring Sandra Bullock.
Twisted. A thriller starring Ashley Judd.

1 tell me a story:

Jamie 6/24/2006 5:07 PM  

Sounds like you have your eyes full for awhile. Lilly Tomlin is wonderful, I also like Steve Martin too.

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