Saturday, July 27, 2013

Summer Reading

Nothing much is going on except two dozen very important and highly confidential work things that I can't tell you about.  Yes I write under a pseudonym, but more careful people than me have been unmasked online, and frankly there is just too much at stake to risk unburdening myself here.

Therefore.  Instead of hearing about all the things that are breaking my heart (in both the good and bad way, depending on the day and time) and all the dramatic triumphs and defeats, you are going to get a (hopefully) entertaining précis of my reading so far this summer.

Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee: A novel starring a narcissistic English professor who is hateful to those around him and is hated in return.  The English major in me is impressed by how Coetzee explores the murky depths of human motivation and demonstrates how there is often not a clear line between Good Guys and Bad Guys.  The escapist reader in me found it a total downer.  Unless you feel like meditating on death, selfishness, violence, and humanity's lack of self-awareness, maybe skip this one.

Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala:  A charming tale of romance and young fools, set in India.  Coetzee, take a lesson from Jhabvala.  It is possible to delve into the dark depths of the human heart without getting completely lost in that darkness.

The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar by Stein and Lang.  A non-fiction account of how Canada got sucked into the war in Afghanistan.  It's one of those books that wasn't easy to read, but I'm glad that I read it.  I learned quite a bit about Canadian politics, a topic I find difficult to study without falling asleep.  The main thing I learned is that at the Federal level our government spends a lot of time wringing its hands and asking itself "But what will the U.S. think?"  And then their guesses regarding what the U.S. cares about turn out to be wrong.

The Voice of the Infinite in the Small (Re-Visioning the Insect-Human Connection) by J.E. Lauck.  It's officially non-fiction, but if you know anything about the publisher, Shambhala Publications, you'll understand when I say there's a lot of speculation in there.  The author looks at humans' relationship with bugs (basically summed up as "Ew! Bugs!  Kill them!") and reminds us that we should appreciate bugs' role in the overall planetary ecosystem.  I agree with this point.  I am a little less convinced by her argument that we should see mosquito stings as spiritual lessons.  I'm all for loving bugs, and would much rather escort a fly outside than kill it, so in that sense she's preaching to the choir.  I guess I just get put off by too large a helping of New Agey jibber-jabber all in one sitting.  I'm skipping the sections that I don't like and homing in on the weird stories of people who believe that they can communicate with bees.  I mean, neat!  Who wouldn't want to talk with bees?

There have been a couple of other books too, but this post is long enough now.  Excuse me, I'm going to go practice my waggle dance.


Warped Mind of Ron said...

For the record I have no idea what the US Government is thinking and I live here... I'm guessing it's mostly about money and power, sad really.

DarcKnyt said...

I wouldn't want to second guess the US government at this point. It wouldn't make much sense. This administration...well.

And I'll say a prayer for you about work stuff. I could use a few myself, so I can relate to what the things breaking your heart might be like. Or not. Either way, I'll say a prayer. :)

Adam said...

I would assume Canada's NATO membership was a big player.

Granny Annie said...

Let's get to the heart of this post...What's a "waggle dance"?

Sparkling Red said...

Ron: Yeah, that sounds about right.

DarcKnyt: Thanks. You will be in my prayers too.

Adam: Absolutely correct!

Granny Annie: Bees communicate with their sisters about the location of food sources by doing a dance. I have heard it called "rhumba" and "samba" dancing, but this particular author referred to it as waggle dancing. :-)

Lynn said...

I'm quite impressed with your reading list! Me - I've just been wanting to read fluff like Dorothea Benton Frank.

Vanessa T said...

Ha! I bet your waggle dance is cute, too! LOL

I'm sorry about all the heart breaking sorts of things you have on your plate right now. I'll pray for you, for those situations. *hugs*