Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Blood Meridian


The kid set out for the West, fleeing violence at home.  He found a place with the Glanton gang, a band of murderous Indian-hunters paid by the scalp.  He did violence and violence was done to him, and whether there was more of the one or the other is impossible to say.  With Glanton rode the expriest, who was never a priest, and the judge, though what he is a judge of is never revealed.  The kid became the man, and was swallowed up by darkness.

What is written in the blood and fire poured out across the West?  Cosmic wisdom?  Gibberish?  McCarthy asks his questions amidst a pounding, numbing succession of atrocities.  A novel of terrifying ideas, not for faint hearts.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Going for Kona

Going for Kona by Pamela Fagan Hutchins   273 pages

When I was a young girl (I think the term is tween now), among my favorite authors were Dorothy Eden and Phyllis Whitney. I devoured their novels as much as I did the Nancy Drew Bobbsey Twins mysteries. Now as an adult, I’ve stumbled onto author Pamela Fagan Hutchinson (thank you, Shelf Awareness!), whose stories remind me a lot of Eden and Whitney. From the first line of each of her novels, (Going for Kona is her fifth), I’m immediately pulled into the story.
 
In this new romantic mystery series, Michele Lopez Hanson is riding high. She and the love of her life, Adrian, have just published a book of training for Ironman triathlons; she has won a lottery to run in in the Kona (Hawaii) Ironman Triathlon beside Adrian; and  her blended family is close and happy.
 
One day when Michele and Adrian are training on the bikes, a white Taurus slams into Adrian then speeds away. Adrian is dead, leaving Michele to pick up the pieces. Suddenly, white Taurus’ seem to be everywhere. Were the Hanson’s being stalked. Who could want to harm them, especially Adrian? The cops have an eyewitness, but without the vehicle, there’s not much they can do.
 
As much as Michele wants the world to leave her alone, it doesn’t stop. She has to complete the publicity campaign for their book, mother her son and daughter, and try to find out who is stalking her family. Her tragedy becomes national sports headlines as Adrian was a well-known champion in his field and rumor and conjecture spin the story out of control.

Clear your calendar before you begin this romantic mystery. It’s a un-put-downable read. I laughed; I cried.  It’s not only a book about loss and picking yourself up, it’s a story of finding yourself during and after loss.

April Totals!

Congrats to Krista R, who read the most books and pages and earned the most points in April!  Molly P, Steve J and Jeff S are the winners of our random drawings this month - we'll be contacting you about claiming your prizes shortly! Check out the rest of April's results below:

BloggerBooksPagesPoints
Krista R319,29831
Jason S145,99814
Ed W155,43115
Dennis M123,31014
Jeff S92,8299
Molly P92,5529
Julie E-C31,1363
Christina S28422
Steve J27142
TOTALS9732,11099

Monday, May 4, 2015

Portico of the Mystery of the Second Virtue

The Portico of the Mystery of the Second Virtue by Charles Peguy, translated by Dorothy Brown Aspinwall, 158 pages

This is Peguy's song of Hope, the "little sister" of Faith and Love, who dances between her sisters and hides beneath the skirts of Night.  It is Hope that Peguy treasures above all, childlike Hope who does not know the ways of the world and plays in happy disdain of them.  His Hope is not merely for himself, but for his native France, eldest daughter of the Church, and for the poor, who commit themselves to Hope.  At its center is a poetic reflection on the three great parables of Hope - the lost sheep, the lost drachma, and the lost child.  The last is not retold, only alluded to, the power of the promise, rendered so commonplace by familiarity, given a new, shattering impact by the poet's indirectness.

The poem makes use of Peguy's customary repetition, although less so than some of his other works, making it somewhat more accessible than The Mystery of the Holy Innocents or The Mystery of Joan of Arc.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Analects of Confucius

Cover image for The Analects by Confucius, translated by Raymond Dawson, 103 pages

The Analects is one of the "Four Books" that form the core texts of Confucianism, the dominant ethical and political philosophy of East Asia.  The Analects collects a set of aphorisms and anecdotes attributed to Confucius - the Latinized name of "Kong Fuzi" or "Master Kong" - or those in his immediate circle.  The quotations range from the profound ("The people may be made to follow something, but may not be made to understand it.") to the enigmatic ("How timely is the pheasant on the mountain bridge!") to the seemingly trivial ("When the Master was singing with others, he always had the good bits repeated before joining in.").  Throughout, the focus is on the maintenance of tradition, the role of the "gentleman" in government, and the cultivation of "humaneness", the key virtue of the gentleman.

The eclecticism of this work, its multiple layers of meaning, and its deeper harmonies all combine to draw in the reader even aside from its historical importance.  Obviously, people can and have dedicated their lives to studying it in conjunction with its philosophical siblings.  Dawson's notes, while brief, are invaluable for their explication of the cultural context of China in the Spring and Autumn period, without which any reader would be hopelessly lost.