Friday, March 20, 2009

so many books, so little time

I'm in trouble. I have six books on my "currently reading" Goodreads list right now. And yes, I'm reading all of them, except one that I'm listening to on the school commute. I don't think I've ever done this before.

In the order that I started them:

Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. Nearly finished. I love how it puts Joseph Smith in the context of the times he lived in. I haven't finished it because I became completely fascinated with the information about the fairly widespread use of magic in the early 1800's. So that led me to...

Early Mormonism and the Magic Worldview. Exhaustively researched. And exhausting. This is a new edition in which the author, Michael Quinn, responds at length to criticism of the first edition. I've learned to skip those parts. Fascinating, though, is the information on folk magic of the time. This is probably not quite the right book for me because I'm not that interested in the Smith family's connection to folk magic. I need to find a book about how run-of-the-mill Christians of the time practiced folk magic. I look forward to more research! I'm 3/4 through.

Farm to Factory: Women's Letters, 1830-1860. This is about the New England mill girls. I've read 1/2.

Way too much non-fiction for my taste, so I started reading...

The Three Musketeers, highly recommended by Georgie and J. Entertaining and sly. 1/2 way done.

Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving. I'm going to southern Spain next month, and a friend told me this is a must-read. I love it! 19th century writers were so romantic and atmospheric. Very sensual.










The Dragonfly Pool, Eva Ibbotson. I just read a friend's negative review of this one on Goodreads and it threw me a bit. Lidia and I are really enjoying the audio version read by Patricia Conolly. It takes place in Europe at the start of WWII. It's about some students at a "progressive" boarding school in England who go to a folk dance festival, meet a crown prince, and help save him from the Nazis. Eva Ibbotson just turned 84. She based some of this book on her own experiences at Dartington School. One reason I love Ibbotson's writing is that her heroines always remind me of Lidia. Another is that Ibbotson reveres the natural world. That sense of wonder comes through in every book. I also thinks she's really funny in a quiet, sometimes sly way. [Edit: I think Lidia loves Ibbotson's books because of how empowered and independent the children are. They solve their own problems and seek their own adventures. And they do so with kindness, selflessness, and creativity. We are not quite to the end of Dragonfly Pool, but so far I like the theme of friendship triumphing over war.]

8 comments:

ML said...

Hey--I was a New England Mill girl once! :)
I loved The Three Musketeers too--I tried to share it in a R.S. book swap once, but nobody was interested...too bad for them! Alexandre Dumas came up with wonderful tales.

Mallory said...

The Three Musketeers should be in the canon. I don't really see why it's not. I loved it!

Mike is slowly making his way through Rough Stone Rolling. He's liking it, but it's just so hard to read anything for pleasure during the semester. I don't even try, aside from my scriptures, which is hard enough.

Gabriela said...

Wow-lots of books at once. I've been wanting to read Rough Stone Rolling but I had forgotten about it-I'll put in on my list for this summer.

The last one sounds really interesting too.

dave said...

After reading Rough Stone Rolling, I requested (thru inter-library loan), Bushman's book On the road with Joseph Smith, in which he describes his experience publicizing the book. He also talks about his views on the gospel. Bushman is a patriarch in the Church and very active and I found the book both interesting and very insightful. I photocopied several parts to keep for the future. I recommend it.

I should read the World View book.

Calandria said...

dave, a warning on the World View book. It's like walking in to the middle of a heated debate. Lot's of, "He said/ He said." :-) Quinn is obviously brilliant and he appears to be a responsible scholar. But he takes immense pleasure in spearing his adversaries over at FARMS. He makes it personal, which is off-putting to me.

Ave said...

Isn't he a disfellowshiped or excommunicated member? I am always leary of those authors, like they are trying to justify their case and so on.

ML said...

I worked with Mike Quinn when I was a secretary in the BYU History department. I had great respect for him--he was passionate about his research. In fact I would say that the research became his guiding passion. In the 25 years since then it seems he has lost his family, his tenure, and his faith, but he still has his passion.

Brenda said...

Tim really liked Quinn's book and research. We both want to read Rough Stone and I am currently in beginning of Undaunted Courage(Merriwether Lewis),middle of Palestine Peace not Apartheid, and middle of A Far Country and need something for when my mood is lighter so thanks for the two other suggestions.