Thursday, December 09, 2010

New on the Book Table

Perhaps the most cherished and coddled of all my vices is the buying of many books. In these straitened times, however, I have had to apply some much-needed discipline to my excessive book-purchasing. The rule I try to hold is this: I keep what I am currently reading on a side table next to my favorite chair, and I do not purchase new books until the table top is emptied. I recently passed that milestone when I finally finished up with History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides (skimming over the battlefield maneuverings and savoring the speeches.)

The previous reading list is now off the table and on the shelves. I found some good bargains online, and Eighth Day Books' annual 15% off sale came along at just the right time, bringing a couple of volumes within the arc of affordability. So, the books I will be reading for the foreseeable future--in no particular order--are as follows:

1. Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse by Roger Kimball

2. Early England and the Saxon English: With Some Notes on the Father Stock of the Saxon-English, the Frisians by William Barnes

3. Christianity and Culture by T. S. Eliot

4. The Message in the Bottle: How Queer Man Is, How Queer Language Is, and What One Has to Do with the Other by Walker Percy

5. Orthodox Psychotherapy: The Science of the Fathers by Metropolitan Hierotheos

6. When Church Became Theater: The Transformation of Evangelical Architecture and Worship in Nineteenth-Century America by Jeanne Halgren Kilde

7. The End of Suffering: Finding Purpose in Pain by Scott Cairns

8. The Pillar and Ground of the Truth: An Essay in Orthodox Theodicy in Twelve Letters by Pavel Florensky

9. The Synaxarion: The Lives of the Saints of the Orthodox Church, Volume Three (January, February) by Hieromonk Makarios of Simonos Petra

10. The Lives of the Monastery Builders of Soumela: Saints Barnabas and Sophronios of Athens and Christopher of Trebizon

11. Nights of the Red Moon by Milton T. Burton

These books will keep me occupied and out of trouble in the days ahead. If I hold to my discipline, Florensky's volume alone will keep me out of the book-buying loop for quite some time to come.


cdgilpin said...

I am reading Orthodox Psychotherapy for my thesis work right now- I will have to take a look at the other boks you have listed (especially Nights of the Red Moon- I am always open to a good Texan tale.)

Steve Robinson said...

For some reason I can't bring myself to read a book for the last couple years. I have a half dozen started and can't seem to pick them up even though I'm interested in the topics. "Orthobookburnout" I guess.

"Hey" to cdgilpin... how's the thesis going?

Terry (John) said...

I have wanted to read Orthodox Psychotherapy for some time, but put it off due to the price. What is your opinion of the book? As for a ripping good Texas tale, Milton's book can't be beat.

Is heresy!
This from St. Ephrem the Syrian (supposedly):

Let books be your dining table,
And you shall be full of delights.
Let them be your mattress,
And you shall sleep restful nights.

Becky said...

I had a class in college titled "Christianity and Culture", but for the life of me I can't remember if we used or referenced that Eliot book. Now I'll have to go look it up...

Not much book-buying around these parts either, though a few will be purchased for Christmas...thankfully, the Longview library is quite good.

Clint said...

I am a book-o-phile of the first order.

I am always reading 2 or 3 books at a time. I seldom don't finish a book.

Getting in good with the nearest used book shop is a must for me, though that doesn't help with the ortho stuff very often.

I gave away thousands of books to people when I went overseas in 2002. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I am not very good at getting rid of them, though. Perhaps I should start a used bookstore...

Steve Robinson said...

John, Orthodox Psychotherapy is good. He's actually written several hundred books but only a few are in English. His latest on "The Person in Orthodox Theology" (IIR the title correctly) and "Hesychasm and Theology" I think are better. They contain the same material but much more expanded. I'd go for Hesychasm if you're going to read one of his books.

Sophocles said...

I'll second s-p endorsement but expand it a bit and just say I recommend anything Metropolitan Hierotheos.

I am currently reading "Entering the Orthodox Church-The catechism and baptisms of adults".

Good stuff.

Sophocles said...


I hit a similar rut but have forced myself to return to prolific reading.

As well, what has helped me is spending less time online.

I would be interested to know if there are any existent studies on the adverse effects upon concentration, comprehension and general lessening of interest in such activities as reading posed by spending time on the Internet.

elizabeth said...

Your list causes book-drool. NICE list. :) I have Met. H's book on the 12 Feasts... even in translation his capture of language shines through and I find this book in places to be lyrical and incredibly refreshing.


I find I have many books on the go but it takes me a while to get through one...


Oh and I think I have a copy of Eliot's books; guess I should read more of it sometime! :)

Do enjoy those books and if you can let us in on your experience in reading them... :)