What is everyone reading?

TinaG

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scamandrius said:
A (Catholic) student of mine gave me a book called O, Holy Mountain! by Fr. Basil Pennington, a Trappist monk who lived on Mt. Athos for an extended period, much longer than normally granted non-Orthodox visitors.  It is essentially is daily journal.  He records his conversations with various monks and spiritual fathers, as well as other guests to the Holy Mountain, whether Greek, Russian, American, etc.  It is a good read and really quite descriptive as to what goes on on the Holy Mountain, though this was published over 30 years ago.  Although he is quite frankly mistaken on many Orthodox beliefs and he goes to great simplistic lengths to comment on why union with Rome should no longer be an obstacle since he thinks all of our beliefs are the same, it is quite obvious that he is touched a great deal by his stay on Athos and I can only hope that what I read here prepares me for when I have the opportunity to visit the Holy Mountain for myself.
It's got to be better than a book I read a few months ago called Paradise Besieged by Richard John Friedlander.  Think Anthony Bourdain meets Athonite monk.  So many people want to read about Mount Athos from an insider's view but it's only edifying when the person doing the chronicle has a solid, stable Orthodox faith, isn't prone to unhealthy zealotry and obsessiveness that eventually turns into cynicism, and doesn't bore you to death with his sexual stuggles and conquests.  There were a few moments of genuine insight and edification, but if you're a new convert or not too strong in Orthodoxy, this book is a soul killer.
 

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"Night Watch", by Sergei Lukynenko.

In the process of reading "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief". Finding it interesting, but I have been sidetracked by "The Mummy", by Anne Rice, "The Alchemist's Daughter", by Katharine Mcmahon and "Twilight", by Stephanie Meyers (so rivetting, that I have ordered two more in the series). I had better get LOG finished before they arrive. ;D

 

TinaG

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Riddikulus said:
"Night Watch", by Sergei Lukynenko.

In the process of reading "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief". Finding it interesting, but I have been sidetracked by "The Mummy", by Anne Rice, "The Alchemist's Daughter", by Katharine Mcmahon and "Twilight", by Stephanie Meyers (so rivetting, that I have ordered two more in the series). I had better get LOG finished before they arrive. ;D
R - the slash and burn comments of Stephen King obviously didn't put you off reading Twilight did they.  He really slammed the books for their writing which I thought was a little like the pot calling the kettle black.  Who cares what someone thinks about another authors' story or writing style, you're the one who's enjoying it.  Each to his own.
 

Riddikulus

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TinaG said:
Riddikulus said:
"Night Watch", by Sergei Lukynenko.

In the process of reading "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief". Finding it interesting, but I have been sidetracked by "The Mummy", by Anne Rice, "The Alchemist's Daughter", by Katharine Mcmahon and "Twilight", by Stephanie Meyers (so rivetting, that I have ordered two more in the series). I had better get LOG finished before they arrive. ;D
R - the slash and burn comments of Stephen King obviously didn't put you off reading Twilight did they.  He really slammed the books for their writing which I thought was a little like the pot calling the kettle black.  Who cares what someone thinks about another authors' story or writing style, you're the one who's enjoying it.  Each to his own.
Nah, I don't let any critic put me off deciding what I will read. My enjoyment of a book isn't anchored on it being great prose. If I can't stop turning the pages, it was something I consider it a good read. As you say; each to his own.  ;D
 

DerekMK

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Heorhij said:
Right now - my sudents' midterm exam  ;D

The Homilies on Hexaemeron of St. Basil the Great, in a Russian translation (http://www.wco.ru/biblio/books/vasilv2/Main.htm).
Yikes!  I just finished the third week of my semester and you're already giving midterms!? 
 

Heorhij

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Νεκτάριος said:
Heorhij said:
Right now - my sudents' midterm exam  ;D

The Homilies on Hexaemeron of St. Basil the Great, in a Russian translation (http://www.wco.ru/biblio/books/vasilv2/Main.htm).
Yikes!  I just finished the third week of my semester and you're already giving midterms!? 
Ah, that's just another experiment... dividing the material into smaller portions and giving more exams during the semester...  :-\
 

Fr. George

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I'm taking a break from Washington's bio to read Eisenhower's memoirs from the war - Crusade in Europe.
 

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I just read a short story by Andrei Platonov called "The River Potudan" (Река Потудань).  All I could find was this summary in English:
https://segue1community.middlebury.edu/index.php?action=site&site=dparker&section=20785&page=90984

Unfortunately it focuses on the sex way too much (which was a minor part of the story) and misses the big picture to an extent.  The idea one of my professors put forth is that Nikita was suffering from PTSD and this is Platonov's literary presentation of it, long before psychologists began to understand it.  It is definitely worth the read, and it is quite brief. 
 

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Most recent few, from the past week:

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America- Randall Balmer

American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon-  Stephen Prothero

There Goes the Hood: Views of Gentrification from the Ground Up - Lance Freeman

Prothero's was probably the most interesting. It explores America's changing understanding of Jesus from Jefferson to the present day ( It may suffer from taking too much of an emblematic approach, but still pretty good.) From amazon: From Thomas Jefferson's cut-and-paste Bible to Jesus Christ Superstar, from the feminized Christ of the Victorians to the "manly redeemer" of Teddy Roosevelt's era, from Buddhist bodhisattva to Black Moses, Prothero surveys the myriad ways Americans have remade Jesus in their own image.
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran by Elaine Sciolino.

Cafe Europa: Life After Communism and How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed both by Slavenka Drakulic.  I'm always amazed at the enigma that is the Balkans.  Truly amazing people.
 

Aristocles

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Continuing my reading of the Rutgers Byzantine Series I just completed Origins of the Greek Nation, The Byzantine Period 1204-1461 by Apostolos E. Vacalopoulos.
As a recent poster in this thread made comment that there were not enough reviews in this thread, I must elaborate on the work.
First, it dispelled some preconceptions, false ones, I had about "Greeks" - both ancient and modern. I had always assumed that modern Greeks were more of a recent invention with little real connection to the ancient Hellenes. AND I had assumed, as many here also, that "Roman", referring to Byzantine (East Roman),  meant a multi-ethnic political entity. In fact this was so, but not for the entire East Roman period. Vacalopoulos points out that by 1204 the empire had in fact been reduced to an area populated alomost exclusively by Hellenes who were awakening to their ancient Hellenic roots. Previously "Hellene" connoted pagan, while "Roman" meant Christian. By 1204, this had changed and the Greek Byzantines were employing BOTH terms in self description.
Yes, there was some absorbing of Serbs, Vlachs and Albanians, but for the most part the Greeks knew they were , well, Greek. Their 'country" was the empire (in reduced area). Now I understand the "Great Idea" of reconquering Constantinople, Pontus, Ionia. The empire - now less Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Armenia - was "Greek country" by then.
The book goes further detailing the effects of the Turkish take-over of the Hellenic area - the quick apostasy of the aristocrats wishing to preserve wealth and the migrations west for those who could afford to do so. Sad stories are related of many of the Greeks and what they had to do to survive in the west, (Venice, Genoa, Spain). Most interesting were his descriptions of the Church filling the void for the ordinary Christians, now deserted by their landlords, orphaned by the emperor.

I may be a "Greek"-American but I don't think I can quite be so quick to judge a real Greek when he views the "Greek Orthodox Church" to be his church, for Greeks. Not that I agree with that sentiment (I don't) but I can understand it much better now.
 

Heorhij

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Just discovered for myself this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Historical-Road-Eastern-Orthodoxy/dp/0913836478

Proropresbyter Fr. Alexander Schmemann, "The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy."

(I am, actually, reading it right now in its Russian original, Прот. о. Алeксандр Шмeман, "Историчeский путь Православия." http://www.wco.ru/biblio/books/shmeman1/Main.htm)

Incredibly beautiful, both content-wise and stylistically, narrative of the entire history of the Orthodox Church. Written in the form of lectures that Fr. Alexander actually gave, first at the St. Sergius Theological Institute in Paris and then at the St. Vladimir Seminary in Crestwood, N.Y., in 1945-1951.

I am not sure who translated this series of lectures into English (it could have been Fr. Alexander himself, or maybe someone else), and I actually do not even want to read it in English. For all of you who can read Russian, my very enthusiastic recommendation is to read this book in its original Russian. Fr. Alexander's language is just fantastically strong and beautiful. (Yes, that says I, the notorious Russophobe. :) )
 

Asteriktos

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Incredibly beautiful, both content-wise and stylistically, narrative of the entire history of the Orthodox Church.
We seem to have had very different reactions to this book ;)
 

Heorhij

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Asteriktos said:
Incredibly beautiful, both content-wise and stylistically, narrative of the entire history of the Orthodox Church.
We seem to have had very different reactions to this book ;)
Really? What is yours? I don't remember you expressing an opinion about this book, honestly.
 

Asteriktos

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Overall I guess I liked it to some extent (after all, I did go to the trouble of finishing it), though I seem to remember not liking the way he dealt with St. Justinian very much. I might have a totally different view were I to read it again though, this was probably 6 or 7 years ago that I read it.
 

Ebor

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I'm about half way through Little Brother by Cory Doctorow and I think it's very good.  It's about near future San Francisco where due to a terrorist attack the DHS has taken to tracking everyone as much as possible. A high school student and three friends were arrested during the first hours after and subjected to interrogation and suspicion that they were terrorists because the main character has his phone and other files on his electronics under good passwords and the feds want to know what he has. Doctorow writes well including about such things as Bayesian math (used in spam filters among other things) and the Paradox of the False Positive as well as speaking out on the Bill of Rights and personal freedom and privacy. 

 

Riddikulus

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Just finished the Twilight Series; a total of four books; Twilight, Eclipse, New Moon, Breaking Dawn. Personally, I find this vampiric saga commendable, especially as it's young adult fiction. While the prose might not be the greatest in the history of literature, this romantic tale is a compelling enough read to keep those pages turning. I particularly like the way that Ms Meyers has portrayed the prominent vampires in the books as determined not the take human life and retaining the moral standards of the bygone times when they were still human.
 

Asteriktos

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Living Gnosticism: An Ancient Way of Knowing, by Jordan Stratford
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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The Path To Salvation; A Manual of Spiritual Transformation by St. Theophan the Recluse.  I'm so far from being even a third of where I should be as an Orthodox Christian.
 

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JoeZollars said:
This is just a thread to ask what everyone is reading.  Till Wendsday I will be reading nothing other than textbooks, but after that---ooh man do I ever have a stack to get through.  As soon as I am done with my finals, I am making it top priority to finish Law of God.

Joe Zollars
I hate to be dull, but as a private devotion for Great Lent, I am reading the Bible (the new OT/NT Orthodox Study Bible). Oh. I also picked up a copy of the Language of God, because I didn't read it when it came out.


 

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All of our books are still packed away in boxes, so alas, I am reading nothing at the moment.  As soon as I find the Bill Bryson box, though, I'll report back.  :)
 

ytterbiumanalyst

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EofK said:
All of our books are still packed away in boxes, so alas, I am reading nothing at the moment.  As soon as I find the Bill Bryson box, though, I'll report back.  :)
Yes, rub it in. I'm working on it. ;)
 

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ytterbiumanalyst said:
EofK said:
All of our books are still packed away in boxes, so alas, I am reading nothing at the moment.  As soon as I find the Bill Bryson box, though, I'll report back.  :)
Yes, rub it in. I'm working on it. ;)
A little nudge never hurt!  :laugh:
 

Asteriktos

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Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing, by Stephan A. Hoeller.

This is my second (and final) pro-gnostic book that I'm reading. Hopefully after that comes the more neutral, academic books. I have to say that I was very let down by Living Gnosticism. It's not that I expected to be convinced or anything, but I at least expected something a bit more informative. I left the book with little other than vague impressions about how gnosticism is more about myth and art than doctrine and dogma. So far, this new book seems to be a bit closer to what I was hoping for.
 

Jonathan Gress

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Well I just finished the Ladder of Divine Ascent (in time for the Sunday of John Climacus!).
It's obviously way too big to absorb in one reading. Since monastics traditionally read it every Lent, it obviously a lifetime, and more than a lifetime to fully assimilate. It's written with monastics primarily in mind, but any pious Orthodox can get something out of it (for instance, I already found it useful on e.g. the subject of attention in prayer and watchfulness over thoughts). But as a layman or laywoman, you should not immediately try to emulate the kind of asceticism he takes for granted!
 

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Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
by Sudhir Venkatesh

I've been meaning to read that Ladder book. I'll do that, after the Sociologist book and while I'm reading the writings I found on this website: http://www.orthodox.net/articles/index.html#S13
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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Myrrh23 said:
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
by Sudhir Venkatesh
I remember hearing an interview on NPR with the author of this book.  I was really intrigued by the author's experience and lesson's he learned.  How do you like it so far?  I might pick it up after Lent.
 

Myrrh23

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GabrieltheCelt said:
Myrrh23 said:
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets
by Sudhir Venkatesh
I remember hearing an interview on NPR with the author of this book.  I was really intrigued by the author's experience and lesson's he learned.  How do you like it so far?  I might pick it up after Lent.
G, the book is very engaging and down-to-earth! I like it very much! You should read it! :)
 

Papist

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Asteriktos said:
Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing, by Stephan A. Hoeller.

This is my second (and final) pro-gnostic book that I'm reading. Hopefully after that comes the more neutral, academic books. I have to say that I was very let down by Living Gnosticism. It's not that I expected to be convinced or anything, but I at least expected something a bit more informative. I left the book with little other than vague impressions about how gnosticism is more about myth and art than doctrine and dogma. So far, this new book seems to be a bit closer to what I was hoping for.
Are you considering Gnosticism as an option for your spiritual life?
 

scamandrius

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I just got through reading two booklets, written by Archimandrite George, abbot of the monastery of St. Gregorios on Mt. Athos.  The first is "The Lord's Prayer" and the second is "Theosis:  The Purpose of Man's Life."  Both are very short and are just filled with such riches.  I highly recommend "Theosis" since I can remember no other book which so succintly and clearly articulates theosis and how Orthodox praxis and belief is so opposed to Western forms of Christianity.  Pick them up if you can.
 

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Violence by Slavoj Zizek
How to Read Lacan by Slavoj Zizek
Lacan for Beginners by Various

I tend on a monthly basis to find some thinker to read and then abandon for the next one. I am slowly dumping Zizek for Lacan, and then I think it shall be either David Bentley Hart (again) or someone else for May...
 

Aristocles

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Rather than tell everyone what I am reading today, I thought I would post it (in its entirety).

Sailing to Byzantium - William Butler Yeats

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
Seems Yeats was not really a Roman Catholic Celt, or a Protestant one either, but like Tolstoy sort of invented his own religion. Here he seems on to something. This poem which was required reading in my high school junior English class has always been one of my favorites.

Later today I'll probably dig out some Howard Nemerov to read (for old times sake- I got literally quite intoxicated with Nemerov once).
 
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