29th November 2007

Posted in

Blog :: For Cheryl

Blogging tip #143: When people at your Church are complaining about the lack of content on your blog - you've got a problem.

It hasn't been a lack of topics that's kept me from blogging lately - I have list! But the list has started to feel overwhelming lately: I have six or seven different posts mentally composed in my head just waiting for the three hours of writing required to get them all out of my head and onto the screen.

But who has three hours? I think I'm flushing the list and clearing out a little mental space... Ahhhh, I feel better already!

Now - what's been going on lately?

At the In-Law Thanksgiving evening we dropped in on we got an abbreviated version of last years What are You Reading/Book Recommendations talk. The recommendations (that I can remember) are as follows:

The MetaWife is reading Charlemagne. It's a bit of a polemical biography by Derek Wilson arguing that the 8th century Frankish King is basically responsible for the Concept of Europe. I guess we can blame the EU on Charlemagne! Anyways this has been academic (it's taken a couple of checkouts from the library to get through) but interesting (she's still at it).

Kristen is reading Neil Stephenson's Snow Crash and finding it tough going. Here I must confess myself biased (I think she's reading my copy the copy I bought for my wife) - Snow Crash rocks! The cyberpunk side is among the best I've read (read this and Gibson's Neuromancer and The Matrix seems a lot less original) and the meatspace r/l side is a great action yarn. The political anarcho/libertarian u/dystopia is drawn with a Heinleinian eye for quirky details. Add to this a dose of mind-bending neurolinguistics (brief summary: the tower of babel story and Sumerian mythology detail real history in which humanity lost the original hardwired proto-language/verbal virus due to the work of a primitive neuro-linguistic hacker (the Sumerian god Enki). No really.) Keep at it Kristen! (Why do I see A Girl of the Limberlost on your current reading list?)

Delbert is reading another Paul Theroux - last year it was Dark Star Safari (Theroux's account of bumming rides across Africa). This year we have The Old Patagonian Express. Who knew you could take the train from Chicago to Argentina? I love that there are still people with a personal sense of adventure - to go out the door and head someplace taking whatever comes along the way...

I've been reading more biographies lately - Bill Donovan, Francis Drake, and most recently Richard Brookhiser's Alexander Hamilton. Brookhiser writes a pro-Federalist, anti-Republican account of Hamilton and his well known political struggles with Jefferson, etc. Among the tidbits I've discovered while reading the biography (and this is why I value biography: the random connections that flesh out history): that the execrable Aaron Burr is Jonathan Edwards grandson and that Hamilton (who famously fired into the air in his fatal duel with Burr) had advised his 19 year old son Philip to do so as well in his own fatal duel a year previously!

For the rest - Caroline was reading the American Century series by the prolific Gilbert Morris. I may have missed a review or two - Cheryl and I got into a conversation about founding fathers (she having recently read a John Quincy Adams biography) and I lost track of the conversation. Email me if I've missed anybody with a recommendation.

Update: Oh, and I did have one other recommendation to make. Mark Helprin is one of the few recent authors I've read whose powers of prose are arresting. The MetaWife and I recently read A Soldier of the Great War and had to constantly read passages to each other. I must confess to not liking Winter's Tale but I am reading and enjoying a short story anthology of his The Pacific and Other Stories that has also proved riveting. Very strongly recommended.

Posted on November 29th 2007, 06:25 PM