The most nostalgic and reflective of Evelyn Waugh's novels, Brideshead Revisited looks back to the golden age before the Second World War. It tells the story of Charles Ryder's infatuation with the Marchmains and the rapidly-disappearing world of privilege they inhabit. Enchanted first by Sebastian at Oxford, then by his doomed Catholic family, in particular his remote sister, Julia, Charles comes finally to recognize only his spiritual and social distance from them.Our next book club selection — and one I've tried to read several times in the past. Because it is "assigned" I've been forced to get past the first two chapters that always turned me off before. Now, about halfway through the book, I'm enjoying it more as I go along. Partly that is because I have been listening to the Close Reads podcast episodes* on it, which helped open up themes. Partly it is because I recently realized how very much I do not care about Sebastian (who was the main focus for a lot of the beginning.) I won't go so far as yet, since I'm not finished, to say I dislike Sebastian, but it is the way I'm leaning. Anyway, I'm just so happy not to dread picking this book up every day — that in itself is a win.
*(Close Reads is also on iTunes. Their Brideshead Revisited episodes aired during the summer of 2017.)
Wizard and private detective Harry Dresden has squared off against a multitude of supernatural bad guys. You might think nothing could spook him. You would be wrong.I read this series avidly when the books came out, until Changes (#12) which I didn't care for at all. I'd had enough of Harry and felt I knew the books well enough from rereading, so I gave mine to my daughter in one of my regular bookshelf purges.
Something is stirring up angry apparitions all over town. Something that can break all the laws of supernatural physics. Something that doesnt like Harry. His closest friends are being targeted. The net is closing in. Harry must find a solution soon or find this is one Nightmare from which he will never waken.
Recently I read Melanie Bettinelli's interesting posts on Harry's character development after the point where I quit reading. My interest was piqued, but it took an in-person conversation with a couple of people about how those last books were insightful about faith and religion to make me want to revisit the series.
I thought I could just look over the Wikipedia book summaries but ... my goodness the series got complicated early on! Luckily the library has James Marsters' excellent audio of the book so I've begun my slow way into the series from close to the beginning. And, I can't deny, it is a nice light counterbalance to working my way through Brideshead Revisited.
Award-winning Professor Charles Mathewes of the University of Virginia offers a dynamic inquiry into Western civilization's greatest thinking and insight on this critical subject, the question of evil.I loved Charles Mathewes course on Augustine's City of God so much that I picked up his only other course on Audible. I'm not necessarily attracted to the topic, but the reviews were so uniformly good and, as I said, I like the teacher so much that I opted on for the 36 classes ... so it's gonna take a while. In the first four lessons, Mathewes has been riveting and really good at delineating how various ancient cultures viewed evil, as well as relating these points of view to their modern equivalents. I'm really enjoying it.
And now I realize I never told you about that first course, here's a brief review:
Books that Matter: The City of God
This class did what I never thought possible - make me want to read The City of God.
Professor Mathewes is insightful, giving this ancient work an understandable context and connecting it to modern life. He's got an accessible lecturing style and an elegant turn of phrase that helps open up the material. What is more he makes a compelling case for why The City of God is relevant for understanding not only the ancient, but our modern world. Highest recommendation.
Because, you know, when you've been reading Brideshead Revisited and listening to courses about Evil, you want something less taxing for bedtime reading.
Advertising man Sam Moraine wants to tag along when his poker game is broken up by a call for his buddy D.A. Phil Duncan to look into a kidnapping case. Duncan agrees and Sam soon finds himself taking cash to trade for the victim. But all is not what it seems (no surprises there) and Sam soon is conducting his own amateur investigation. And that puts him at odds with both the law and the bad guys. This is a stand-alone and I am really enjoying it. It's just perfect for reading right before lights out.
A delectable, rollicking food memoir, cookbook, and loving tribute to a region, a vanishing history, a family, and, especially, to his mother.I'm really loving this which is much more memoir than recipe book. There is plenty of personality, old customs, and living through hard times in Rick Bragg's family tree. I am not one who likes stories of dysfunctional families and I appreciate that the dysfunctions are smoothed out or merely hinted at because the emphasis is on how the recipe came into the family or how someone learned to cook. By wrapping the stories around the kitchen we can take the good with the bad, especially when it comes with a helping of Axhead Soup or Chicken and Dressing.
Margaret Bragg measures in "dabs" and "smidgens" and "tads" and "you know, hon, just some." Her notion of farm-to-table is a flatbed truck. But she can tell you the secrets to perfect mashed potatoes, corn pudding, redeye gravy, pinto beans and hambone, stewed cabbage, short ribs, chicken and dressing, biscuits and butter rolls. The irresistible stories in this audiobook are of long memory -- many of them pre-date the Civil War, handed down skillet by skillet, from one generation of Braggs to the next.