Friday's Missive: What are you reading?
December 17, 2004

'Tis the season for me to catch up on my reading. With time off from work and a couple of long and weary plane rides over the next two months, this is usually the time of year when I read and finish all those books I've been putting off. Television has killed this society's love for reading. I'm not sure if my "love" was ever alive to be killed, but I can get fairly excited at the thought of an insightful book.

That said, I usually have to buy the books I want to read because I have this nagging need to highlight, annotate, and underline.

So I ask, what are you currently reading?

Posted by Ambra at December 17, 2004 9:49 AM in Life
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Titan--The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

Yeah I am a History Geek too.

1) The Da Vinci Code. (entertianment)
2) Principals of Emergency Mgmt - FEMA (don't ask)

The Source of Magic by Piers Anthony (it's book 2 of The Magic of Xanth series). I just finished two trilogies by David Eddings, the Elenium and the Tamuli. Before that I re-read all of Anne McCaffrey's Pern series. Hubby and I just got done reading Magic Kingdom for Sale Sold by Terry Brooks (technically he just got done reading the book, I fell asleep while he was reading the last page). We're waiting for the latest of Terry Pratchet's Discworld series to become available in paper back in the UK.

I'm a sci-fi/fantasy junkie.

The Three Battlegrounds By Francis Frangipane

A must read.

He may be as preachy and earnest in spots as a secular Robert Schuller. But I gained a lot of value from Stephen Covey's new book, The 8th Habit. All about finding one's voice in an organization or wider life. Not that Ms. A. has any difficulty finding it.

Samantha, have you read any other Piers Anthony books? I dabble some in art for game development and I loved Killobyte.

I've read some more of his books, but I was in like 6th-7th grade when I read them and I don't recall the names.

Another fave from '04- Sandra Miesel and Carl Olson's The DaVinci Hoax. A thorough dissection of The Bad Historical Novel That Won't Die. I've seen Ms. Miesel take apart DVC in public- the woman does not play. She's my choice for the author of the anti-DVC book- among many- who should debate Tom Hanks or Ron Howard on the morning chat shows when the movie will be released. She could be Sony's worst nightmare.

Reading the first two, recommending the last 2:

1. I am Charlotte Simmons by Thomas Wolfe.... dovetails nicely with your post about the disintegration of civilized life at Universities.

2. Love, Poverty, and War by Christopher Hitchens..... collection of this reformed liberal's essays- some good, some bad, all written well.

3. Anything by Neal Stephenson- a bit geeky, but the guy can craft some fine prose. Quicksilver is pretty good.

4. Anything by Robertson Davies- the guy is amazing- does a lot of stuff about free will versus fate and how that plays into religion and supreme beings and the like- trust me, it reads way better than it sounds. John Irving worships him and stole the idea for "A Prayer for Owen Meany" (openly admits it)... outside of beer and Kids in the Hall, the only good thing Canada has ever produced. Start with maybe the Deptford (?) Trilogy.

Alex, good choice with Frangipane.

Gerard-I'll check out " Sandra Miesel and Carl Olson's The DaVinci Hoax"
DVC was interesting but i wouldn't take it as historical by any strech of the imagination, although it did prompt me to "google" a few things in the book out of curiosity..

Got a few past favorites (at, just posted a list), and now I'm reading "The Last Partician: Bobby Kennedy and the end of American Aristocracy" by Michael Knox Beran, and "Wilt: Larger Than Life" by Robert A. Cherry, which arrived today.

Begin my mornings by reading your blog though.

I'm reading Maureen Dowd's Bushworld.

I've got to say I knew nothing about MoDo before this book.

And the conclusion I've come to is that she has more right in criticizing Bush than many on the left have.

Conservative criticize her...why I don't know. Her columns are amazingly entertaining and informative. She has been extremely close to the Bush family over the past two decades and makes note of it in her fascinating, 40-page introduction. In it she details conversations with both 41 and 43 (how she refers to father and son Bush).

In stunning detail she outlines a recent visit to Saudi Arabia where she feared for her life at one point. She rips Saudi Arabia the biggest a**hole I've seen since Starr took on Clinton.

I don't follow too many columnists, as they often tackle topics I've already read a researched. But, reading Dowd's book has invigorated me to find more she's written.

What's great is that though she may be liberal she takes no qualms in sticking it to both parties. I let my uber-conservative grandmother read a couple pages and she said "This woman makes sense." Dowd didn't convert my grandmother, but I think my grandmother now knows a bit more than the tunnelvision world of praising Bush she's been endorsing for the past four years.

The Left Behind series, book 4, I can't put them down.

Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

Picked it up as a "should read" (as in, I'm currently re-edumacating myself because I didn't take full opportunity in my college and grad school days) and I'm loving the story. I'm almost done and I'm planning on reading it again so I concentrate more fully on themes and such.


Jane Austen:A life by Claire Tomalin
The Pat Conry cookbook
Expecting Adam:a true story of birth, rebirth, and everyday magic by Martha Nibley Beck

Only Son by John Johnson
The Iliad by Homer

Rod: I just have one question. Are you reading The Illiad by choice?

Just curious.

I loved Beowulf though. Don't know why. Wouldn't read it again. I have this aversion to reading anything I was once forced to read by teachers. Gives me hives.


I didn't discover Piers Anthony until high school (some 10-15 years ago, that makes me feel so old). I've read his Mode series, Fractial Mode, Radical (Radial?) Mode, and Chaos Mode. I've been waiting for him to finish that series. I've also read two books from his Incarnations series, A Tangled Skein (about the fates) and the one about the devil (don't remember the title). I also read Blue Adept from the Adept series.

Ripples of Battle by Victor Davis Hanson.

Hanson explores how several landmark battles in history have shaped the world. In one instance, he points out that Socrates, had he not survived the battle of Delium, would not have have influenced classical knowledge the way he has, and his greatest pupil, Plato, would not have had the benefit of his influence.

He also points out how modern day terrorists were influenced by the Japanese at the battle of Okinawa, and how the Battle of Shiloh not only determined the outcome of the US Civil war, but how Sherman's rampage through the South would influence US Military doctrine for generations to come.

Yow, I feel like a lowbrow primate since my voracious reading usually involves mysteries, thrillers and nostalgic pieces about early 20th century England.

I always enjoy books by Nevada Barr (National Parks thrillers), Chuck Logan (Minnesota mysteries) and John Sandford (the Lucas Davenport thrillers). For "literature" I like R.F. Delderfield and Edward Rutherfurd. I read all of the Dick Francis "horsey mystery" books and loved them.

For more serious reading, I have shelves filled with stuff like a biog of Sir Christopher Wren and a book about the Great Fire of London.

Holiness, Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, John Piper
Prince Caspian, C.S. Lewis

Yeah I'm actually going to read the Iliad by choice. I partially read this book in high school and liked it and then I saw the latest movie and a few previous ones and liked those so I thought I'd read the book. Yeah I know.

Like you I have an aversion to reading a lot of the stuff I was forced to read by teachers but a select few have escaped the trap.

Animal Farm by George Orwell
1984 by George Orwell
Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Power of One by Khaled Hosseini
plus the abover mention books

Every week I go over to and see what is on the best selling non-fiction list. Then I reserve it at my library...:)

A few weeks ago I saw an interesting book which I have now obtained from the library about The Slow Movmement. It is called "In Praise of Slowness" and talks about how to slow down and appreciate the world and life around us. The section I like best is the food one. It challenges us to eat more naturally grown food for both our health and the health of the environment. It also talks about those who are sitting down for more than 15 minutes and gulping their meals down. People in the Slow Movement eat dinner for hours, actually talking to and getting to know their families and friends.

Reading Buckley Miles Gone By. Very good.

What to Expect When You're Expecting.

How nice of you to ask! Here's the next couple of weeks:
The Bible (ongoing, today John 4 is blowing me away)
Suprised by Joy - C.S. Lewis
God Songs - Paul Baloche (subtitled 'How to write and select songs for worship')
Da DaVinci Code - Da Dan Brown (Da Da because we are going to book club it at church. Da Da Da)
Reviving Ophelia - Mary Pipher (good, for a Hillary groupie, that is)
A Solitary Blue - Cynthia Voigt (part of the Tillerman Cycle - for our family book club)
Speak, Brother! - Roland Martin
On Writing - Stephen King
How to Talk to a Liberal... - Ann Coulter

Hey Ambra, check out this is my Seattle-based 'cause' a micro NGO. We need some more 'other than lily white' folks to get involved and get into Africa (travel, issues, advocacy, celebrity, the whole bowl of Matoke'...)

These books are all open around my house at the moment. I read a book from room to room then leave it there and pickup whichever book I have next left behind.
Study - The Everlasting Man by GK Chesterton
Bedroom - On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Family room - Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Laundry - The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Kitchen - Dixon of Botany Bay: The Convict Priest from Wexford by Vivienne Kelly.
I'm on holidays right now, so my reading levels are heightened.

I just picked up a book called "What Saint Paul really said" by N.T. Wright. It is a bit heavy but a great way to challenge and inform your thinking on how to understand Paul and the gospel.
JP: if you enjoy Anna Karenina I recommend "Resurrection" by Tolstoy as well. Fantastic!

Dear Ambra,

I just finished "State of Fear." Remember when I confessed that I would like to start a blog? I may have found a subject upon which I can produce meaningful blog site. I think that the subject of "State of Fear" is just that. Have you read it yet? Crichton puts "global warming" in its rightful place as a money-grubbing fear tactic not based on anything more than unprovable theories.

By the way, I just got my Christmas card/calendar. I am so darned proud of it and with your picture. thanks a million for my own personal handmade card. It means so much to me.


Aw man, you missed your chance!
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