What are you reading?
By the time my son was two or three years old, he knew books were always going to be part of the holiday gifts he’d receive from me. This year, I sent him three by Colm Toibin–the novels “Brooklyn” and “The Master,” and the story collection “Mothers and Sons” (couldn’t resist). I guess I give books because I love receiving them.
My son often recommends books to me–which makes me happy, of course, because it means he reads. Most recently, he suggested “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” by Stephen Greenblatt, which won the non-fiction Pulitzer. Greenblatt explores the influence of the book “The Nature of Things” by Lucretius on modern western civilization, making a case for the importance of Epicurus, as his world view has reached us through Lucretius. This may all sound kind of off-putting, but it’s actually a fascinating read. I’m about halfway through it and learning a great deal about the lost and found culture and wisdom of the Greeks and Romans; why monasteries preserved “pagan” papyrus scrolls and how they did it; and, how popular understanding of the teachings of Epicurus is quite simply wrong and fails to recognize the philosopher-poet’s impact on all of us.
My husband just finished a book given to him by friends, “The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood” by David R. Montgomery. Bill is a devoted amateur geologist (part-time student with the St. Lawrence University Geology Department). I noticed he was reading this book at every free moment and actually managed to stay awake at night for more than two paragraphs. He liked it because the geology is there, of course, but he found Montgomery’s exploration of creation stories respectful and interesting. Bill says this one is good for non-geologists, too.
Your turn. What books came your way as gifts? What are you reading during the holiday season?