A Quick Review Of What I Read in 2009

Ok, these aren’t the deepest reviews, I admit, but if you just want an  impression of a particular book from a random stranger, and you appreciate brevity (because you could have Spark Noted it or gone to the Wiki) you came to the right place.

Candide – Voltaire.  Downright disturbing.  The illustrations in the edition I read magnify the creepiness.

The Master and Margarita – Bulgakov.  I think you need to be Russian to understand all the cultural references.  Closest comparison to something else I’ve read is the Gods, the Little Guys and the Police by Roberto Costantini.

The Gods, the Little Guys and the Police – Costantini.  If you like Greek mythology and magical realism and are interested in the period of the dirty wars in Argentina in the mid 70’s and early 80’s, pick up this little masterpiece.

Democracy Matters – Cornell West.  Because democracy matters – or at least it should, especially relevant now as our nation seems as divided as ever.

The Magic Mountain – Thomas Mann.  A masterpiece.  I sipped this one sentence by sentence like a fine port wine and it took me about 4 months to complete.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Volume II, started in 2008, but I can only read one or two stories at a time.   I think I like Doyle’s writing style more than the adventures…or maybe I have ADHD.

The Civil War, A Narrative Red River to Appomattox by Shelby Foote.  I started the third in the series in 2008 and am only on page 390 with 670 to go.  I pick up this book every couple of weeks and try to read ten pages or so, but with all the battle strategy minutia, I tire quickly.  I keep plodding along because Foote occasionally pens a memorable line or sketches a fascinating  psychological profile of one of the principle figures.  It may take me another 2 years to complete the book, or 20.

A Day in the Life of Ribbie

Here’s a list of stuff I need to do today:

  • grade papers.
  • cook – it’s my turn.
  • watch football.
  • grade more papers.
  • watch more football.
  • read The Master and Margarita if I can wrest it away from my cat.
  • help my daughter study for the SAT II U.S. History exam.
  • grade more papers.
  • prepare lesson for tomorrow night’s class.
  • rake leaves or leave them to blow in the wind – which reminds me of a novel I read in the late 80’s by Richard Brautigan, So The Wind Won’t Blow It All Away a novel I loned out to a friend, who must have thought it was a gift because she never returned it.
  • supervise the assembly of a chest with 5 drawers called a Kullen made in Denmark –  designed and sold by the Swedish company Ikea.   Kullen – does that mean chest of drawers in Danish or Swedish?  Actually, according to an entry on Wikipedia, Kullen is the name of a lighthouse equipped with one 1,000 watt light bulb on the coast of Sweden.  So watt’s the connection?  I should add that yesterday my wife, who is a fine carpenter, assembled an Ikea designed Polish made chest of drawers called a Rast.  An internet search of the word rast revealed no connection whatever to furniture. In fact,  the rast is a blood test for allergens, a musical mode in Arabic and a reference to an outsider in the fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons.  Perhaps rast is an inside reference for Swedes that no outsider could ever hope to understand.
  • Watch the show Chopped.
  • Watch more football.
  • Watch 60 Minutes and The Amazing Race right after.
  • Watch Iron Chef and more football – flipping between the two.