Relentless, restless reading confessions

People with blogs often tell other people, with or without blogs, about what they are reading. This may be to come across as a clever, readerish type or out of a genuine attempt to stimulate reading and discussion.

In my case I’m going to tell you what I’ve been reading because the litter of books next to my bed could be ignored no longer. I suddenly noticed it one day and thought, mmmm.

Anyway, here’s what I’m reading and feel free to use the comment facility with this post to inflict on me what you are reading. No, seriously, I’m generally interested! By the way, this reading does not include the portions of novels I am required to read for the publishing and editing courses I am doing which so far has included Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, James Bradley’s The Resurrectionist and Brett Easton Ellis’ Lunar Park (and that’s just the first week…). And then there is the constant noting of books other people are recommending in my lectures so that I now have a list of about 37 books that simply must be read…

But back to the leaf-litter around my bed:

The Aunt’s Story by Patrick White – part of my commitment to reading Australian novels. Bought second-hand at a bookstore in Mogo and three-quarters finished. But there I will stop as, unlike other White novels which I have enjoyed, this is beyond even my appetite for psychological description. If you were here Patrick I would say, ‘who cares?’

Selected Poems by Glen Harwood – a high school text from my children’s high school days. I open it randomly from time to time as poetry still holds a fascination for me – whether reading or writing. Here’s a random section: My friend and I, put out/ from the Old Testament/ lesson for giggling, went/ and made ourselves from clay/ a fine hermaphrodite/ idol: huge breasts, the lot. From Seven Philosophical Poems, section IV. No kidding, I just opened the book and pointed!

The Broken Shore by Peter Temple – I saw in Berkoulow his latest book, Truth, which won the Miles Franklin Award, unusual for a crime novel, so went back to this earlier book which I read in a few days. Not really a big reader of crime fiction but Temple has a certain literary appeal that is selling across boundaries. I bet Harper Collins regret selling his rights to Text!

The Reason for God by Timothy Keller – Keller is an inner city minister as I have been, only in the less attractive city of New York. This book may well be the 21st century’s Mere Christianity and is an excellent read although I’ll admit I’m only half way through after several months. This has more to do with my love of a story than the quality of the book and I promise to finish it… soon.

Western Front Diaries by Jonathan King – bought in a bookstore in the Hunter Valley while away for the weekend with my wife. This is a large book that moves chronologically through WWI using diary entries from Australian soldiers. I’m nearly finished what is a moving and powerful account of the atrocities of this war. As my great-uncle died in, and my grandfather returned from this war, and I have copies of their war records, I can match their movements with the accounts recorded in this book, bringing to life what they experienced.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy – I must admit this is now out of the litter around my bed as I read it in under 24 hours and my son now has it. If you only saw the movie (which I did after reading the book) you missed the best of the two. This is a truly great novel and contains deeper despair and intimacy and much more faith than is conveyed in the movie. For example, in the scene at the end where the boy joins the family, the movie has a rather tepid, almost unbelievable conversation. However McCarthy has this: The woman when she saw him put her arms around him and held him. Oh, she said, I am so glad to see you. She would talk to him sometimes about God. He tried to talk to God but the best thing was to talk to his father and he did talk to him and he didn’t forget. The woman said that was alright. She said that the breath of God was his breath yet though it pass from man to man through all of time.

Stacked up in my bedside table also in various stages of unread, are the following books which I believe I may or may not finish at some stage: The Great Generational Transition by Darlene Zschech; Finding Organic Church by Frank Viola; Mean Streets, Kind Hearts – The Father Chris Riley Story by Sue Williams; The Story of India by Michael Wood; and Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo.

You may wonder where the Bible is. I don’t leave it beside my bed, I carry it around.

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