October 26, 2004

Llama Reading Corner

I was rather horrified to read one of Terry Teachout's recent posts on how fast he reads. Apparently, Terry reads a whoooole lot faster than I do. On the other hand, it's difficult to put to the test. Terry says he can polish off a standard book in three or four hours. Perhaps I could do that, but I can't remember the last time I had three or four consecutive, uninterupted hours to devote to the task. Most of my reading these days comes either in half hour blocks on the Metro, or else in the time I can make for it in the evening, which usually is not much owing to my inability to keep my eyes open. (For example, I sat down with a book last night at about 8:30 and dozed off over it by about 9:15.)

Nonetheless, I forge ahead. I always try to keep at least three books active in the rotation at any one time. By coincidence, I have just started three completely fresh reads. Here is the current starting line-up:


One of my evening reads is The Journals of Lewis and Clark, edited by Bernard DeVoto and with a forward by Stephen Ambrose.

I suppose it was recently finishing off The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico by Bernal Diaz that left me with a hankering for even more first-hand accounts of exploration. From what I've heard of the L&C journals, I won't be disappointed. BTW, the introduction to this edition provides an excellent overview of the geopolitical tussle over the Missouri River Basin at the time and its ramifications in world history, something most people today don't think much about.


My other evening book is The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions, by Marcus Borg and N.T. Wright.

This book encapsulates a good deal of the controversy swirling around the Episcopal Church at the moment and was recommended to me by the Assistant Rector at my Church. Borg and Wright basically square off against each other, debating the role of Christ in Christianity. I can tell you that I am no great fan of Borg, from what I've read of his work. He strikes me as embodying precisely that kind of overemphasis on reason in faith that bubbles over into mere cleverness and ultimately, in my humble opinion, cripples the faith. I don't know anything about Wright, except that he comes highly recommended as a top-notch traditionalist. I'll let you know how it goes.


My Metro reading now is Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. All this talk about Plum 'round here lately has whetted my appetite to go through the cycle again.

Oddly, it was in the very first minutes of the episode of Jeeves and Wooster based on this novel that I realized I was going to hate the dramatization. In the novel, Bertie is chucked from his apartment (and loses Jeeves) owing to his infatuation with playing the banjolele. In the tee-vee series, the writers apparently thought this wasn't silly enough and substituted a trombone. Visigoths.

Posted by Robert at October 26, 2004 12:08 PM | TrackBack

Love N.T. Wright. Was introduced to him by the wife (my best friend) of this pastor (godfather to our children).

I also love reading about Lewis and Clark and missed being in MO this last year with all of the celebrations going on.

Looking forward to your reviews :D

Posted by: Rae at October 26, 2004 02:50 PM

I've heard good things about Wright. My Mom actually took a course from Borg at Oregon State University, and she hold him in high regard. I do not share the sentiment, but I'm a tad more conservative than my Mom.

Looks like an interesting read, Borg seems to be a little less looney than the rest of the historicaljesus/gospelofthomas/jesuscorpseeatenby dogs/jesusseminar types.

Posted by: Jon at October 26, 2004 03:06 PM

Please do report back on your take on Wright. I get a lot out of his interpretive insights, but I have to work hard to suppress what I've heard from him when he ventures into party-line political commentary on current events.

Posted by: Chan S. at October 26, 2004 08:54 PM
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