Avidmom's Reading Refuge 2020

KeskusteluClub Read 2020

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Avidmom's Reading Refuge 2020

helmikuu 6, 2020, 11:03pm

helmikuu 10, 2020, 9:55pm

Due to some insanity on my part, I decided to finish my BA. It's a totally online program and so far I have one class under my belt and another one in the works. I ask myself over and over why am I doing this to myself? But then I can't figure out any good reason NOT to do it. But I've always told my two boys that I was going to finish my college education ---- even if I'd be the 98 year-old walking across the podium to get that degree. If all goes according to plan I'll be done by Christmas of 2021.

Anyway, I think my reading will come to a screeching halt. Right now I am a declared English major.

Last year's reading quilt:
2019 Reading Quilt

maaliskuu 2, 2020, 7:05am

Congratuations on your decision to finish your bachelor's degree, avidmom!

maaliskuu 3, 2020, 12:00am

>3 kidzdoc: Thanks kidzdoc!

maaliskuu 3, 2020, 1:02am

Good luck with your studies!

maaliskuu 3, 2020, 1:18pm

It’s a good kind of insanity. Echoing the above, congrats and good luck.

maaliskuu 3, 2020, 5:21pm

>2 avidmom: Congrats on that decision! It's worth it, if t's not too financially burdensome. I finally finished mine in '06 (after waiting for all three of my offspring to finish their degrees) English, with minors in art history & women's studies.

maaliskuu 5, 2020, 1:17am

>5 AnnieMod: Thank you!

>6 dchaikin: Thanks Dan.

>7 avaland: I'm in the same boat. My oldest has his AA (actually two AA degrees) & my youngest is almost done with his BA in creative writing (probably by this summer or next fall). At my age, I figured it was now or never! Fortunately, I do qualify for some financial aid.

huhtikuu 1, 2020, 2:24pm

I think we could all use a little Psalms 91 right now!

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 13, 2020, 5:45pm

I hope everyone is OK and maintaining sanity during this insane time. I'm rejoicing in the fact that I've made it through 3rd session at school! It's been a long time coming but here is this year's reading quilt so far:
The first two were required reading for the Bible class I took last session. Robert Reich's Aftershock was a source for a research paper I had to write, but was glad to finally be able to read it in its entirety.

1. The IVP Introduction to the Bible edited by Philip S. Johnston
2. God's Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible by Vaughan Roberts
3. Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert Reich
4. Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge
5. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
6. Frankenstein (Second Edition) Norton Critical Edition by Mary Shelly
7. Jane Eyre (Fourth Edition) Norton Critical Edition by Charlotte Bronte
8. Hamlet (No Fear Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare
9. The Norton Anthology of World Literature
10. The Norton Shakespeare

huhtikuu 28, 2020, 1:44pm

Congrats on finishing your session and getting some reading time. Curious about all three books you have pictured.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 29, 2020, 3:35pm

>11 dchaikin: Thanks Dan. I have a few days before it all starts over again.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 29, 2020, 5:00pm

The IVP Introduction to the Bible edited by Philip S. Johnston

Two books were required for my "Overview of the Bible" class, this one and God's Big Picture. Of the two, this one was more of a textbook approach to the book. It is written from a Christian perspective but the objectivity of it, I thought, outweighed any "preachiness.". I think this book would be accessible to anyone of any faith who was simply curious about the Bible.

The book divides the Bible into Old and New Testaments and then goes on to categorize the books within those sections. For instance, the OT is divided into prophetic, poetic books; the NT is divided into the gospels and letters, etc.. Each section provides a history of each book listed in that section, who authored it, and the historical setting of the book. If there were/are any controversies over date, history, and authorship, this is spoken about as well (usually briefly). It is very much an outline of the Bible. As an "Introduction," it provides a bit of a framework for the whole thing so those new to the Bible have a way to understand it in its context, and those who are old readers of the Bible may get a better grasp of its historical significance and how all the books fit together. There is even a nice section "Between the Testaments" that informs us as to what was going on in the world between OT and NT, so that when we get to the NT, the historical/political climate is a little better understood.

The book also gives a quick overview of how the Old Testament and New Testaments came to be. The differences between the Catholic Bible, with its apocryphal books, and the absence of those books in the protestant Bible are explained. (Years ago I bought an inexpensive Catholic Bible so I could read Maccabees since those books are not in my protestant Bible).

Of the two books (excluding the Bible itself) we read for this class, this one was my least favorite. Not that I didn't learn a lot from this particular book, I certainly did, but I often thought it was trying to sound "intellectual" without really needing to be. For instance, 1 John 4:20 says "If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." The IVP Intro., in their section on the letters from John intellectualizes this with " claims to know God are vacuous without the evidence of transformed relationships." I like the way John said it better.

I would recommend this for people who have more than a passing interest in the Bible, or who need a jumping off point for further study. I thought it was a great pick for this particular class, but it is very textbook-y.

huhtikuu 29, 2020, 5:28pm

God's Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible by Vaughan Roberts

This book is based on a simple, but profound premise. The Bible and God's plan of salvation (from a Christian viewpoint) is all about the restoration of His kingdom. Roberts starts by defining the kingdom as "God's people, in God's place, under God's rule, enjoying God's blessing." This was an eye opener to me; I had never thought much on what the "kingdom" really meant. Roberts divides his book into sections. Each section corresponds with the Biblical Old and New Testament timeline and is classified into the "pattern, perished, promised, partial, prophesied, present, proclaimed, and perfected kingdom". Roberts puts together the edge of the jigsaw puzzle for us and then helps us fit in all the pieces.

Roberts is a very down to earth writer and his book is easy to read; he even includes graphs and charts along the way. This was the book I looked forward to reading each week. I learned some things here that I had never stopped to think about, (like how God never ended the Sabbath day in the Genesis creation story).

At only 170 pages, it is a pretty small book. My son made fun of it. He said, "If it's God's big picture, why is that book so small?"

I'll probably reread this one and would definitely recommend it.

huhtikuu 29, 2020, 8:04pm

I would have trouble with the religious pov in both of these, even if it’s carefully thought out, but I found your common really interesting.

huhtikuu 30, 2020, 3:52pm

>15 dchaikin: Thanks Dan. And, yes, understandable about the religious pov.

huhtikuu 30, 2020, 4:04pm

*comments (not common...) sorry

toukokuu 6, 2020, 10:12pm

Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert Reich

This is the book the movie, "Inequality for All" came from. I watched it a few years ago, when the world was a lot more "normal" than it is now, but when income inequality was certainly in the forefront of national consciousness with "Occupy Wallstreet" and the Occupy movement of 2011.

Reich has a list of credentials going for him; Clinton's labor secretary and a professor at UC Berkeley are just a few. He's no schmuck. Yet he is incredibly down to earth and accessible. I used this book for a source for a research paper in school and then went back to actually read it instead of just picking out the parts that were useful to me then.

There is a history lesson here about the eerie and disturbing parallels about the state of the 1928 economy and the 2007 economy; both years preceding the Great Depression & the Great Recession, respectively. In both cases, the 1% held most of the wealth & the common worker bees had little in comparison. Reich actually graphs the income out and both years look identical. Reich then introduces us to a historically forgotten figure, Marriner Eccles, who has a building named after him in Washington D.C., but who is not well known to your average American. Eccles went before the senate finance committee in the weeks prior to FDR's inauguration in 1933 and said the way to get the economy up and running was to get more $$ in the hands of the people who would spend it. Not a popular idea to the people in power at the time, who had all kinds of ideas about why America found itself in the state it was in ranging from too much spending and not enough saving in the 1920s and even a Biblical view that the country had experienced its 7 years of abundance, and now was time for the time of famine much like Joseph in Egypt. Eccles thought it all ridiculous. A successful millionaire (billionaire?), Eccles traced the root of the depressed economy to a lack of $ in the hands of the average Joe on Main Street, not on Wallstreet. Eccles was one of the first to propose things like minimum wage and low interest loans to average people. He would go on to be the chairman of the Federal Reserve under FDRs administration. And, while, his first audience at the senate finance committee were not on board with his ideas, most of Eccles ideas would become part of the New Deal. Reich calls Eccles one of the "architects" of the Great Prosperity post WWII. Eccles shifted the view from the economy as Wallstreet centered to Main Street centered.

Reich's book also looks at the economy from a psychological and political perspective too. If widening inequality continues and gets worse, Reich asserts (the book was written in 2010 and then updated in 2013), it would lead to anger among people who feel that not only is the playing field not level (Americans, Reich points out, more than any other citizenry are willing to accept some inequality) but, in Reich's words, feel that the "game is rigged" against them. It's the rigging of the game that causes the indignation. It would create the perfect set up for some kind of demagogic political party/candidate who could manipulate that anger and run on a campaign of anti-immigration and more isolationist policies. His hypothetical candidate runs on a platform of "zero tolerance of legal immigrants; a freeze on legal immigration from Latin America, Africa, and Asia; increased tariffs on all imports; a ban on American companies moving their operations to another country or outsourcing abroad; a prohibition on foreign 'sovereign wealth funds' invested in the United States. America will withdraw from the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, and the International Montetary Fund; end all 'involvements' in foreign countries; refuse to pay any more interest on our debt to China, essentially defaulting on it; and stop trading with China unless China freely floats its currency"(p. 79).

In the last few chapters, Reich sets out his proposals on how to tilt the economy back to a more level playing field and how to "fix" the economic woes. Some of his ideas are common sense, and some are very liberal. But, the bottom line is the same: a healthy economy depends on the average worker having enough $$ to spend and keep the economy going. One of Reich's great examples is Henry Ford, who started paying his workers $5 a day, much more than most other factory workers were getting at the time. Ford understood that if his workers had enough $ to buy the things they were making, they would buy them and he would profit. It was a win-win situation. But, at the start, most thought Ford was being fiscally irresponsible. The scheme worked, however, and the workers making the Model-Ts, bought those Model T-s and Ford, well, I think he did OK for himself. ;)

Reich's thesis here seems pretty basic. He goes into detail about why things happen (or don't happen) as they "should" ideally. There is quite a discussion on globalization, automation, stagnating wages, etc. Reich's book reads like a crash course in 20th/21st century economics and all the components affecting it and how it, in turn, affects us psychologically, financially, and politically.

Definitely would recommend this book and/or the movie "Inequality for All".

toukokuu 7, 2020, 5:00am

>18 avidmom: Fabulous review of Aftershock, avidmom! Wow...that is chilling, and it sounds like a "must read" book.

toukokuu 7, 2020, 9:42am

Thanks for that review on what sounds like a terrific book. I follow Reich a little on fb and he’s quite interesting.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 7, 2020, 1:43pm

>19 kidzdoc: Thanks kidzdoc. It is very disturbing to see how recent events almost match exactly to his predictions.

>20 dchaikin: Thanks Dan. I follow Reich on FB too. I rarely watch all the videos, etc. that he post.

It must be quite interesting to be a UC Berkeley kid taking one of his classes!

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 7, 2020, 3:39pm

*snort* English major humor ..... :)

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 28, 2020, 9:47pm


The principal object, then, which I proposed to myself in these Poems was to chuse incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as was possible, in a selection of language really used by men; and, at the same time, to throw over them a certain colouring of imagination, whereby ordinary things should be presented to the mind in an unusual way;
(from the 1802 Preface to Lyrical Ballads http://www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer/Etexts/lbprose.html#preface)

Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

This collection of poems is required reading in my 18th & 19th century British Literature class. It is important in the history of literature because it marks a turning point at the end of the century (the book was published first in 1798 and a few years later in 1802 with a few new poems and the Preface added) where the authors produced a book of poems meant to be read by the masses in "mean language". Previous poetry in the century had a lot of references to classical Greek and Roman myth and was marked with some Latin phrases occasionally. The language of poetry during that time period was very "high minded". Here, we see poetry that tells stories of common people to common people. Wordsworth and Coleridge don't throw all the poetic "rules" out the window. Their attempt to appeal to write poetry in "language really used by men" is what makes this collection of poems a very big deal in literature.

The poems themselves differ in length. Some are stand alone poems and some are epics that tell a story (like the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"). There is an implied call for social justice in many of the poems. The poem "Goody Blake and Harry Gill"is a great example. Social justice is not an unfamiliar theme in previous poetry of the period, it's just handled a bit differently here. There's also a call to appreciate nature, which would come to mark the Romantic Period in literature that would rise in the first half of the 19th century. Often, regardless of theme or story, humour is incorporated too.

Believe it or not, this old book is a "fun" read (maybe that's just me or maybe I was just so excited to read poetry that I didn't need 600 footnotes to understand!).

This one is one of my favorites:

The Tables Turned
Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.

Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.

She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless—
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.


Definitely recommend for the good poetry here and the historic significance. Lyrical Ballads is fairly easy reading, compared to some of the earlier poetry of the century, even if some of the poems are long (like "The Idiot Boy") which tell stories.

toukokuu 8, 2020, 2:13pm

>23 avidmom: Yes, Wordsworth often turns out to be more fun than you were expecting! I read The Prelude last year and enjoyed it a lot.

toukokuu 8, 2020, 2:20pm

Enjoyed your review. Glad you explained the context, which is really interesting by itself.

toukokuu 11, 2020, 11:41am

>24 thorold: I was pleasantly surprised!

>25 dchaikin: Thanks Dan.

toukokuu 13, 2020, 6:08am

>23 avidmom: Enjoyed your post on 'Lyrical Ballads

toukokuu 14, 2020, 3:12pm

>27 baswood: Thanks baswood!