Sunday, March 1, 2009

In which Tim tells you, again, what he has been reading...

Here is the latest list of literary works that I have been immersed in lately. Let me know if YOU have been reading anything good, and I can try to track it down. I have a lot of time to read.

"Leaving Home" by Garrison Keillor
A written collection of "News from Lake Wobegon" monologues given by Keillor on the radio, during the '80s. Excellent writing. Funny, said, poignant. This man has quickly become one of my very favorite writers.

"Banker to the Poor" by Mohammed Yunus
The nobel-laureate founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh tells the story of how he decided to start lending money to poor people. Lots of interesting thoughts about development work and the nature of poverty, even if the author acts disgustingly proud of himself at times.

"The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis
An oldie but a goodie. Lewis employs his unmatched creativity in calling the reader to think deeply about the spiritual world.

"The Problem of Pain" by C.S. Lewis
I have read it before, but it was an entirely new experience to wrestle with it while surrounded by poverty and suffering that has an immediacy far behind what I have experienced in the past. This book will be a part of my library for a long time.

"The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" by Michael Chabon
Winner of the Pulitzer prize, this novel is about two young Jewish men in New York City during the Second World War. They start a comic book company, and become very successful. The book has all kinds of interesting history about comic books, how they were inspired, how they were initially received, etc. The book also deals with issues of the holocaust, immigration, and the way America was changing in the post war years. A great read.

"Watership Down" by Richard Adams
I hope my father is reading this entry, because I am rather furious that he never read this book out loud to me when I was younger. I could not put it down. It is about a group of wild rabbits who leave their home to start a new colony. It may sound silly, but this is an epic adventure on par with Lord of the Rings, or the Chronicles of Narnia. Exquisitely written, with vivid characters. This might be the best book I have read since coming to this country. Dad, what gives?

"The Nine" by Jeffrey Toobin
This new book is a well written history of the last several years of the United States Supreme Court. Toobin does a great job painting portraits of the Justices, their personalities, idiosyncrasies, etc. This book is a great way for someone who doesn't know that much about the Supreme Court to learn about the complex dynamics that have such a big impact on the country. I recommend it.

"The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
I had not read it since high school, and I found it a lot funnier this time around then I did the first time. It is a book that's worth going back to. I wonder whatever happened to ol' Holden Caulfield in the end.

"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien
I read Lord of the Rings fairly often, but it had been a while since I picked up the prequel. It is fun, but lacks some of the heart breaking beauty of its big brother.

"White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in 18th century India" by William Dalrymple
A fascinating book. Dalrymple tells the very well researched story of the romance between a British diplomat and an Indian aristocrat, the controversy it caused within both cultures, and the greater historical context that it all fits into. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in the history of the British in India, or just in issues of colonialism. Dalrymple talks about a generation of European "colonizers" who were far more interested in learning the language and culture of their hosts than anything else. These guys ended up becoming more Indian, rather than trying to make Indians become British. Really interesting.

More to come soon. Thanks to those of you who have sent books or made recommendations...

No comments:

Locations of visitors to this page