19 April 2008

Busy, busy, busy

A month gone by and rather quickly I might add. So many books so little time. However, the semester is fast becoming a memory with summer on the horizon. Although, with El Nina messing with the weather today felt more like late winter than spring. One good thing about cool/cold weather is that it encourages one to snuggle up somewhere quiet with a book.

Six entries this go round. The first is "Light at the Edge of the World" by Wade Davis. He has led an interesting career living with and studying indigenous peoples. He's got an interesting talk on TED Talks (along with a large variety of other folks). This book sort of gives short pieces on 13 different cultures being affected by modern consumerism and encroachment. It really got me thinking about the idea of what I called "Moral Intelligence" in a paper. The combination of reason and will to form and act out the moral responsibilities we have to each other and the ethnosphere in totality. Good book though not a link to Merry Old England unless it's through the ethnosphere.

Second book was "Makers of Rome" by Plutarch. A standard that was for a class. Been working on it little by little this semester. Every time I learn more about the Roman Emperors I am astounded at them and the culture in which they existed. Who was my favorite Emperor? Augustus or Hadrian or maybe Trajan...unless I stretch "Emperor" out and include Charlemagne. I have been to Rome and other places that were once part of the Roman Empire, aqueducts in Spain amazed me as a young woman. Mostly, I am interested in the people and places where Christianity and Rome met or collided. As in Britannia of course!

Third book was stretched out throughout the semester as well. "The Twelve Caesars" by Suetonius. Sort of the National Enquirer of his day. This guy had all the smut as well as facts about those delightful rascals we know as the "Caesars" who ruled the Roman Empire. What a lot of rascals! Julius always gets the celebrity. He and Anthony and Cleo make for good story. Augustus was far more and competent but it's all downhill from there. Amazing what the common folk will put up with.....

Fourth book I was still in Rome. It was "Basilica" by RA Scotti. the making of St. Pietro's church is a wild ride of all sorts of good and bad Popes and the most talented artists that ever graced this planet. I love Bernini, Raphael, Michaelangelo, Bramante. Aside from being the center of the Holy See and the Catholic Church it's an astounding architectural and artistic inspiration. The book does a good job of wrapping it all together and presenting it in an enjoyable read.

Fifth book was "Frances Warde" by Sr. M. Christopher. This is an older book I found about the Irish Nun (from Dublin) who came to Pittsburgh and from there, over time, fanned out to create a multitude of foundations to serve the poor and others of 19th Century America. She was an energetic and giving dynamo. An amazing woman.

The last book is also about a Dublin native. "Bono" by Michka Assayas. I've loved U2 for years and admired his tireless work for the people of Africa. It was interesting to learn more about the mans personal life that formed the drive that the public sees. He's a spiritual man, father, husband with a lot of drive. "Pride" still makes me get teary eyed. This world needs more men like him.

As you can see I haven't spent much time reading about England, what warms me heart the most. More time for that this summer.

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