Recently in Music and Literature Category

Review: The Indian Clerk

January 21, 2008

I cannot recall with clarity how I first became aware of The Indian Clerk by David Leavitt. NPR? Amazon? Whatever the case, I am very glad that I followed up on the lead.

Review - "Prophet's Daughter" by Janet Khan

December 7, 2007

PDT.jpg Bahíyyih Khánum, the Greatest Holy Leaf, daughter of Bahá'u'lláh, can be considered the woman of highest station in her father's faith, and yet the facts about her life are few. Owing primarily to cultural constraints on her sex, the story and character of her outstanding life must be teased out by the biographer through the scattered references of letters, diaries, and recollections. Armed with a mighty assortment of such citations, researcher Janet Khan weaves a moving tapestry of the Greatest Holy Leaf in Prophet's Daughter: The Life and Legacy of Bahíyyih Khánum, Outstanding Heroine of the Bahá'í Faith.

My deamon's name is Azaria (a Corvus)

December 4, 2007

According to the daemon selector in the Golden Compass website, my daemon is a crow named Azaria, because my profiles reveals that I am "modest, solitary, proud, shy, and fickle."

Finished It

July 26, 2007

On the Fourth night, Stephen was finished. Stephen looked around, and he was pleased. For JK Rowling had once again put together a stunning, compelling, engrossing novel about the intersection of the worlds of wizards, witches and wizards. About the horrors of warfare. About growing up, about enduring friendship, about dedication and follow-through. But who really knew what a hallow is? Here I was, thinking until the answer was revealed, about a wide shallow wooded area... but that's a hollow (or copse), not a hallow.


Reflection on War and Peace (the novel)

March 10, 2006

I first fell in love with Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Illych. Several years later I read Anna Karenina, and with it too I was, figuratively speaking, in love. Sure, it had had its slow moments—and what 19th century novel doesn’t?—and yet his characters were some of the most vivid and moving fictions ever portrayed. Recently I finally finished reading his other magnum opus, War and Peace. And I did not fall in love.

Review: A Sand County Almanac

November 25, 2005

Completed shortly before his death in 1948, University of Wisconsin forestry professor Aldo Leopold grants his readers the supreme privilege of seeing nature through the original ecologist's eyes. Leopold was probably not the first to use the term "ecologist", nor the first to be be so branded; surely he was the first to deserve it. Though it may appear a quaint historical piece at first glance, its message is no less potent and relevant in the 21st century: nature, the land, deserves full respect and love without regard to traditional economics. Without this, effort at conservation will be a vain half-measure at best.

Of Man and Beast

November 9, 2005

"To love what was is a new thing under the sun, unknown to most people and to all pigeons," writes Aldo Leopold in his Sketches Here and There. "To see America as history, to conceive of destiny as a becoming, to smell a hickory tree through the still lapse of ages — all these things are possible for us, and to achieve them takes only the free sky, and the will to ply our wings. In these things, and not in Mr. Bush's bombs and Mr. DuPont's nylons, lies objective evidence of our superiority over the beasts."

5 books significant in shaping my worldview

October 26, 2005

Responding to a reading list request at World Changing, here are 5 books that have been significant in shaping my worldview ("and how we can change it to be more sustainably prosperous, fair and free"), in no order:

  • Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien (facing up to life's challenges stoically, bravely, without regard for one's size, power, cunning, etc.)
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel, J. Diamond (for the strength of his analysis as well as his conclusions)
  • Web of Life, F. Capra (understanding the non-linearity / connectedness of the world)
  • Hidden Words, Bahá'u'lláh (aphorisms that teach us how to be in relation to the Divine, to ourselves, and to the external world
  • Sand County Almanac, A. Leopold (recognizing the simple beauty, diversity, and relationships suffusing all aspects of life).

The last was a tossup between Sand County Almanac and a book called Laboratory Earth, but I decided that Sand County is more important for others to read than Laboratory, so Leopold wins — even though I'm only half way through the book. Also nearly making my list, but not quite fitting the specific request ("sustainably prosperous" part), was Bahá'u'llá's Kitáb'i'Aqdas.

What books would you choose? Post them in a comment below! And don't worry about the "sustainable" part, just focus on the books significant in shaping your worldview...

Addicted to Reading

August 24, 2005

Are you addicted to reading? I am. I told myself a few days ago "don't do it! Don't pick up Order of the Phoenix right now, you have too much to do!" Alas, I listened to my external id/enabler and picked it up. Now, if my id is in the house, then I’ll feel shamed by her presence into putting the book down and getting on with other uses of my time. But since I dropped her off at the airport last night, I ended up spending the rest of the evening reading instead.

The Web of Life, a Review

December 5, 2004

In The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems, Fritjof Capra attempts to present a synthesis of systems models as a new (and improved) way of looking at life. While scientists will often speak of paradigm shifts within a field — for instance from Newtonian to relativistic physics, or Lamarckian evolution to the Darwinian kind — it is rare that they attempt to link these individual shifts to a wider movement. It is probably rarer still that they attempt to create the overarching paradigm, as opposed to simply documenting it.

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