On the Love of Books

For one who reads widely, occasionally there are found passages so perfectly reflective of one’s own thoughts and feelings that they might have indeed come from one’s own hand. Case in point for myself, the opening sentence of the essay “Among My Books” by Leigh Hunt as published in the Literary Examiner, 5-12 July 1823: Continue reading

Melville on Natural Virtue

Melville’s Typee contains a number of disquisitions upon various topics of natural philosophy – particularly in regard to the effects of modernity upon both individuals and societies. Many of these divergences are quite eloquent as well as thought provoking, and I would think would have stood as a remarkable challenge to much of the conventional thinking of the day in America regarding the moral existence of the then so-called “less civilized” peoples. Continue reading

Why I’m Reading the Qur’ān

Not so very long ago, in the middle of a casual chat with a long-time acquaintance in a local café, I made a comment that changed the entire direction of the conversation, “You know, just this morning I read in the Qur’ān that…”

No sooner had I finished my sentence than my conversational partner – completely side-stepping the observation I had made – quizzically asked “Why are you reading the Qur’ān?” Continue reading

Books to Read in 2014

Most people make new year’s resolution; I make new year’s “to read” lists – a practice I’ve found to yield much more successful results than making resolutions. However as a significant portion of my reading time is now consumed with my half (if not in fact more) mad project of working my way through the entire St. John’s College reading list as well as reading all the books we’ve chosen for our daughter’s curriculum in order that they will be fresh in my mind when I discuss them with her, and all the books I’m called upon to read for my professional reviewing work, the amount of free time left for discretionary reading this year is significantly smaller than in the past.  Continue reading