Saturday, January 29, 2011

“If you read a lot of books you are considered well read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you're not considered well viewed.” -Lily Tomlin

I finished reading Condoleezza Rice's book, Extraordinary, Ordinary People last night. It was enjoyable, educational and insightful.

I was particularly fascinated by her insider's recounting of the fall of the Berlin wall, of segregated Birmingham through the eyes of a well-loved child, and making tough financial cuts while provost at Stanford.

A few weeks ago I read Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence. Ms. Wharton has been described as one of America's greatest writers. She was the first woman to win a Pulitzer for fiction. She is an extremely talented in her ability to tell it like it is. Her observations of the natural man are the best I've read. This book deals primarily with the disastrous consequences of completely bowing oneself to social expectation. I agree that we ought to make our own well informed decisions, but where the author and I differ greatly is that I believe we ought to make our decisions and then consult our Father in Heaven whether or not they are what he would have us do. If her main character had done this, his life would have been so much better! (And she probably wouldn't have won the Pulitzer). She is stating a message, a cautionary tale if you will. Well written, it really made me think. It certainly isn't my favorite book, but I do appreciate the fact that it caused me to reflect on life and things that I value.

I am currently reading Wild Nights (Nature Returns to the City) by Anne Matthews. I've just started it, but I LOVE IT. This non-fictional book is about wildlife returning to New York City. She writes about deer in Manhattan, a corn field growing in a median strip in upper Broadway, and my favorite so far "By 1999 coyotes and wild turkeys had began to roam Central Park. ("How did they get there?" demanded The Wall Street Journal. "Crosstown bus?"

Ms. Matthews divides her book into 3 sections, summarized by me as
1: nature's return to the modern city
2: the historic struggle of nature vs. man in NYC
3: possible outcomes of nature returning to the city

So far her writing is gripping, humorous and educational. She really knows how to tell a story, and I'm really enjoying it.

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