Friday, August 04, 2006

Would you like to peek...

at my summer reading list? It's not a list, really, but a stack of books in the living room, plus one or two which I plan to buy in a more prosperous time.
My summer reading began with Blue Monday, by Rick Coleman (see post, "Of Domino and rock 'n' roll"). Having had a glimpse into the rich gumbo that is the blues and early rock and roll whetted my appetite. Perhaps my appetite can be slaked by my future purchase, The Language of the Blues: from Alcorub to Zuzu, by Debra DeSalvo. So many words and phrases, common and uncommon, originated in one place or another, were then picked up by blues artists and continue today, though frequently not with their original meanings. This book is a blues dictionary, backed up by painstaking research. I'm in love with dictionaries anyway, and this one will make a fine addition to my collection.
My current read is from the true-crime bookshelf. Eye of the Beholder, by Lowell Cauffiel, details the gunshot murder of Michigan television news personality, Diane Newton King. Clues are sparse; there seems to be no motive. Ms. Newton King left a husband and two babies. Are their lives also endangered by her killer? Did the police manage to stitch together what happened from the patches of evidence they collected, or did this remain a mystery? Well, you'll just have to read for yourself and learn. caveat: Mr. Cauffiel needed a crack editor, but didn't get one.
Next in my book stack is another self-improvement guide. You see, I'm hopelessly reclusive and socially backward. But perhaps reading the critically-praised The Art of Civilized Conversation will give me a modicum of sophistication on the rare occasions I do venture Out Among People. If so, I can thank the author, Margaret Shepherd (with Sharon Hogan). Ms. Shepherd also wrote The Art of the Handwritten Note, in case you, dear reader, wish to polish your epistolary skills.
Attempting to educate myself is an ongoing process, as the book above shows. The next two books in my stack are also self-improvement tomes. The first is The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had, by Susan Wise Bauer. The second is an older book that was rereleased recently, The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric, by Sister Miriam Joseph, CSC; PhD. Can I play Pygmalian to my own Galatea? Maybe. I'll let you know how educated and sophisticated I become, dear reader.
A friend recommended the last book in my stack, The Seven Levels of Intimacy, by Matthew Kelly. The book's subtitle is The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved. The dust jacket notes say this book is "a brilliant and practical guide to creating and sustaining intimacy," and go on to say that this intimacy can be between romantic partners, parents and children, or in other love relationships. I missed seeing the author speak several months ago, but my friend's recommendation intrigued me enough that I bought the book.
There may be other books in my stack, but these are enough for now. Now if you'll excuse me, I want to go read...


teabird17 said...

What an ambitious and eclectic list! I'm fond of Margaret Shepherd myself, both for The Art of the Handwritten Note, and for her witty calligraphy manuals. (Would that I would acquire some of the calligraphic elegance, thus easing the eyestrain of my correspondents!)

I'll be interested in the book on classical education, especially.

I hope you'll post some suggestions for those of us who are classically challenged.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for buying my book, The Language of the Blues! I hope you are enjoying it...please let me know when you get a chance. :-)

There are reviews & interviews at and Happy Holidays!
Deb DeSalvo