Saturday, May 24, 2014

Summer Reading 2014:The Platypus Reads CCLIX

Well, the semester grades are in and that means it's time to begin thinking about summer reading.  The semester closed out with me working my way through the complete Calvin and Hobbes and I also managed to sneak in The Goblins of Labyrinth by Brian Froud.  So, to start off the official 2014 Summer Reading list, I'll begin with more Calvin and Hobbes and The World of the Dark Crystal by Brian Froud.  I'd also be terribly remiss if I didn't include the recently released Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Obligations out of the way, I'm also looking forward to a brilliant little micro-history of the town I grew up in written by the daughter of the founder: Saltbox House by Jane de Forest Shelton.  All things New England are welcome right now, so I imagine that there will also be a few volumes on the Puritans.  On the far side of my historical interests, I'm also contemplating a return to Chinese History with some Jonathan D. Spence.  Of course, I don't want to leave the Greeks out either, so there's Paul Cartlidge's Thermopyle and After Thermopyle too.  Not enough fiction you say?  Don't worry, Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft are always lurking in the wings along with a couple short story anthologies.

So there's the plan as it stands.  As you know, summer reading never goes exactly the way you think it will: that's the beauty of it.  So how about you?  What's on your list?    


Daniel Seehausen said...

I'm currently digging through Thich Nhat Hanh's Miracle of Mindfulness, and intend to read A Canticle for Leibowitz, our dear Justin Martyr, and everything from Dante to Chaucer to Luther to Calvin. It's going to be a lot of reading, but I intend to enjoy it thoroughly.

James said...

A Canticle for Leibowitz is brilliant. It's one of those books I don't feel compelled to read often, but it is one of the few science fiction pieces that I feel transcends the genre to stand in its own right (I think Dune might be another good example).

I remember many summers packed with honors reading. The worst was when my eyes would burn out (after junior and senior years), but I'd still have to do the slog anyway.

In the meantime, I haven't heard of Miracle of Mindfulness. What's the deal on that one?

Daniel Seehausen said...

Sorry for the long delay, I have been working in construction for a little while this summer and life got a tad crazy. It is by a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, and it explains meditation and proper breathing, but more importantly it focuses on how to live one's life mindfully. The concept of mindfulness that Thich
Near Hahn draws out is complicated, and when I see you next if you have time and are interested I will make an attempt to explain its oddly simple complexity.

James said...

No problem! Construction is hard stuff (but broadens your resume). I look forward to hearing more about Thich Near Hahn's concept of mindfulness. I know "right thought" is important in Buddhism and I wonder if the particular presentation you're reading has cross-over application to the Christian spiritual disciplines (see Richard Foster and Dallas Willard).

Daniel Seehausen said...

Sorry, my phone corrected his name automatically. Thich Nhat Hahn seems to be aiming this book at everyone, at one point he even says something along the lines of 'if you are a Buddhist you can say "I am at peace with this" and if you are a Christian you could say "our Father who art in heaven."' It doesn't mean that it definitely lines up with Christian disciplines, but Thich Nhat Hahn thinks it could at least.