Posted in Books in General

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make Me Think

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week’s topic is books that make me think.  In some cases, it’s easier to come up with an author that makes me think as opposed to one book, but here goes in no particular order other than when they popped into my head:

1.  The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

2.  Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis

3.  Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard

4.  The Stranger by Albert Camus

5.  Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

6.  Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

7.  The Chosen by Chaim Potok

8.  We Make A Life By What We Give by Richard B. Gunderman

9.  When I Was A Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson

10.  The Sea Wolf by Jack London

Posted in Essays, Fiction, Non Fiction

Intelligent playfulness at its best

Kurt Vonnegut’s collection of writing Armageddon In Restrospect proved to be as thought-provoking as I thought it would be – and as funny.

Most of his writings here are fictional stories revolving around American prisoners of war in Dresden, Germany during World War II.  One of my favorites was “Guns Before Butter” in which three POW’s discuss their first meal when they get home much to the confusion of their lackadaisical German guard.  The POW’s write down the recipes in notebooks and draw pictures of their first meal.  I would have to go along with the private who wants a stack of twelve pancakes with fried eggs in between.  He wants chocolate syrup – I’d want maple.

Another story set in medieval England has Elmer and Ivy and their son, Ethelbert, deciding how to act when Elmer is forced to be tax collector for Robert the Horrible.  A trap Ethelbert sets for a unicorn brings all their problems to an end.  From a literary standpoint, I would put this one at the top of the collection.  It’s amazing how well-developed the characters are in spite of the brevity of the story.

Vonnegut has grown on me over the years.  I read Slapstick probably over twenty years ago and was mildly entertained by it.  I’ve been exceptionally impressed by the short stories I’ve read both in this collection and in Bagombo Snuff Box.   In the story from which the title of this book comes, a doctor states that “I think you’ll find that most of the really big ideas have come from intelligent playfulness.”  I think “intelligent playfulness” is the best way to describe much of Vonnegut’s writing.

Posted in Books in General

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Fall “To Be Read” List

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week’s topic is books on my fall “To Be Read” list.  I have to admit that I did a decent job of getting through my summer TBR list.  I only missed one:  Charles Dickens’ Bleak House.  Guess which one is first on my fall list?  I also have an abundance of authors from Indianapolis, IN, one of the handful of cities/towns I consider home.

1.)  Bleak House by Charles Dickens:  I was less than thrilled with Hard Times so I think I’m a little hesitant to get started on this one.  My copy has a great preface by Vladamir Nabokov, though!

2.)  Armageddon In Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.:  I just started this one.  So far, it’s typical Vonnegut (an Indianapolis native) – very funny.  

3.)  The Fault In Our Stars by John Green:  Another YA novel that I’ve seen all over the blogosphere.  As he’s from Indianapolis, also, I thought I’d give him a try.

4.)  Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes:  A book I read as a kid that I’ve decided to re-read.  A nostalgia read-along is being hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

5.)  Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: As mentioned previously, Vonnegut is an Indianapolis native.  I’m going to re-read this one in honor of Banned Book Week at the end of September.

6.)  Awaken Your Senses by J. Brent Bill and Beth A. Boorman:  Brent led a book group I attended when I lived in Indianapolis.  He has written several books about Quaker traditions that I’ve found fascinating.  I’m looking forward to reading his latest book.

7.)  The Death of Adam by Marilynne Robinson:  This is another book of Robinson’s essays of which I’ve found to be very thought-provoking.

8.)  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

9.)  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

10.)  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy