Sunday, 3 October 2010

Reading ideas for rainy October

Cynthia Stokes Brown. Big History. Attempts to present the scientific story, including various disciplines, from the big bang to the present. The depths of time and space from 13.7bya on through the formation of Earth and our solar system. Then on to the evolution of life to the hunting and gathering age, including organized agriculture 10,000 ya; from early agriculture to industrialization; China under the Tang dynasty, 618-907 CE; On Europe's conquest of the America"; On the end of slavery; On European domination and the rise of racism; On the expansion of science in the 20th century.

Orwell. Homage to Catalonia is Orwell’s account of his time spent fighting with the militia during the Spanish civil war. A most realistic portrayal of war at the front line, and a vivid description (from the view of an ordinary soldier) of one of the most significant political events of the 20th century.

Christopher Hitchens. Hostage to History. Hitchens examines events leading up to the partition of Cyprus and its legacy. He argues that the intervention of four major foreign powers: Turkey, Greece, Britain, and the United States, turned a local dispute into a major disaster.

Fatwa to Jihad. Malik's book is a political history of contemporary Britain tracing the legacy of the Rushdie affair into the post-9/11 present, a powerful critique of Islamic fundamentalism and showing that conflict rarely leads to enlightenment.

Salman RushdieThe Moor's Last Sigh. An epic work rife with wordplay and ripe with humor and encompasses a grand struggle between good and evil.

Tom Wolfe. In 1987, when The Bonfire of the Vanities arrived, the literati called Wolfe an "aging enfant terrible."

What digital camera Magazine.

David Remnick. The Bridge paints a portrait of Barack Obama. A definitive Obama biography is at least a decade or two away, but this is a good start.

Anthony O’hear. The Great Books is a journey through 2,500 years of the greatest classic literature of the West. The book begins with Homer and the first epic poems. It has sections on Greek tragedy (Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides) and Plato's writings on the death of Socrates. Latin literature is represented by Virgil's Aeneid, Ovid's Metamorphoses and St Augustine's Confessions. Then Dante's Divine Comedy, through to Chaucer, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Milton, Pascal, Racine and finally Goethe. These are books as powerful, thrilling, erotic and politically astute as any modern bestseller.

Rushdie. Midnight's Children is a masterpiece, brilliantly written, unpredictable, funny and heartbreaking in parts. This is Rushdie's irate, affectionate love song to his native land.

Steve Martini. Guardian of lies is a taut thriller with areas of implausibility but expands outside the usual court room thriller genre. Madriani gets caught in a typical web of deceit and murder.

The letters of T.S. Eliot. The second volume of TS Eliot's fiercely guarded correspondence reveals the terrible strain he was under caring for his wife and editing the Criterion.Volume Two covers the early years of his editorship of The Criterion, publication of The Hollow Men and the course of Eliot’s thinking about poetry and poetics after The Waste Land. These Letters fully demonstrate the emerging continuities between poet, essayist, editor and letter-writer.

Greil Marcus. Listening to Van Morrison. The book picks out particular performances by Morrison in his long career, and finds the singer on his quest to reach some artistic threshold.

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