Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Pre-pre summer reading

I am now living in the Chicago area (it has been pointed out to me that while I tend to blog inanely about food and books, I tend to leave out important things such as big changes, my daily existence and where that might be). I've been busy. Too busy to eat. Or read. Really. I have been attending the Suzuki Institute in Deerfield, Illinois, and learning how to teach the Suzuki method to piano students ages three and up. For more information on how this works and how amazing it can really be, I recommend you read Nurtured By Love by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. He was a very generous and inspiring man and he has quite a following today!

I did finish the book Deep Economy by Bill McKibben. I did this while sitting in my car and eating my lunch (I'm a bit of a hobo now, so this is quite a typical activity for me). This book was a simple and quick read that really took a look at how we live our lives today - the American way - the values that set us apart from the rest of the world in many good ways, and many destructive ways. It was a nice compliment to The Omnivore's Dilemma, which I read last November. Bill McKibben, in this book, studies the effects of many of our lifestyles on the world around us in terms of food consumption, energy consumption, and the values we have adapted ourselves to which have completely changed the structure of our communitites.

I also read The Unknown Masterpiece by Honore de Balzac. This is a really great short story that was translated by Richard Howard. Four characters are drawn together by their passion for art. One of them - the inspired genius - or the humiliated failure is the center of the work and who has served as an inspiration to artists as varied as Cezanne, Henry James, and Picasso. This short story is a bit of a study of the philosophy behind modern art and is supposed to be read with a rather tragic short story titled Gambara, also by Balzac. I have yet to read this story, but it is on my list of stuff to do.

In other news: President George Bush refuses to rule out pardoning ex-White House aide Lewis Libby, convicted of perjury; eight people arrested in connection with failed car bombings in Glasgow and London all have links with the National Health Service; Jessica Simpson has monster calves; and Slate has a Summer Reading list that I think we should all check out.


Kline said...

If Aubrey recommends reading Balzac's short story, then you can be sure that to do so will provide you with an experience that will influence your world view and give you conversational grist for all of your days. She recommended James Joyce's "Dubliner's" to me, and right here in Old Cheyenne, Wyoming I only just met Irish tourists from Dublin who were amazed that in a seedy Wild West bar they could meet an American who not only new of Dublin, but new of Joyce and had read his book. Doubtlessly, though the power of word of mouth and the domino effect, this simple interaction, emanating from Aubrey's literary suggestion, will improve Euro-American relations as those in the Old World recognize we are a more cultured and genteel society than they have been led to beleve! I'm on my way to the library now for the Balzac tale!!

Kline said...

Please forgive, all ye captious ones, the typographical errors contained in my previous blog, which may serve to call into question my syntax and spelling acumen.

I have read Aubrey's recommended Balzac tale. It undoubtedly has withstood the test of time not only because of its historical place for having been cited as an inspiration to manifold identified great masters, but also for its capacity to appeal to different persons on different levels. For the afficiando of Greek or Roman mythology, there are numerous references to enable self-flatter at the recognition and understanding of the reference. For lovers of Western history, there are passages to note. For the literatti the prose and the plot are compelling. For the artist, and for those lacking artisitic appreciation or understanding, there is instruction and conceptual fodder.
Another great Aubrey recommendation that must not go unread.

Shana said...

Food and books. Two of my favorite subjects. :) Just add hiking in the summer and you've got my life. LOL