THE NEW LIFE
THE WINTER QUEEN
GATHERING THE NEXT GENERATION
Essays on the Formation and Ministry of GenX Priests
Nathan Humphrey, Ed.
J. M. Coetzee
THE ROAD TO SAN GIOVANNI
Italo Calvino (re-reading)
THE DA VINCI CODE
GOD'S BANQUET: Food in Classical Arabic Literature
Geert Jan Van Gelder
BRANCHING STREAMS FLOW IN THE DARKNESS
LIVING BUDDHA, LIVING CHRIST
Thich Naht Hanh
THE COURAGE TO BE
PICASSO AND MATISSE
MATISSE AND PICASSO
Felix Reuse, Henri Duchamps, Erich Franz, Ulrike Gauss
THE NEW CHINESE PAINTING
Joan Lebold Cohen
ELEGY FOR THE DEPARTURE and other poems
REPORT FROM THE BESIEGED CITY
THE BARBARIAN IN THE GARDEN
THEY CAME TO SEE A POET
VIEW WITH A GRAIN OF SAND, Selected Poems
NEW AND COLLECTED POEMS 1931-2001
THE CAPTIVE MIND (essays)
MYSTICISM FOR BEGINNERS
TALKING TO MY BODY
Anna Swir (Swirszcynska)
THE MATURE LAUREL: Essays on Modern Polish Poetry
Adam Czerniawski, editor
MAGNETIC POLES: Essays on Modern polish and Comparative Literature
POLISH POETRY OF THE LAST TWO DECADES OF COMMUNIST RULE
An anthology edited by Stanislaw Baranczek and Clare Cavanaugh
MORAL GRANDEUR AND SPIRITUAL AUDACITY
Abraham Joshua Heschel
FLOWER HERDING ON MOUNT MONADNOCK
BEGIN AGAIN, New and Collected Poems
CONJECTURES OF A GUILTY BYSTANDER
PORTS OF CALL
THE ROCK OF TANIOS
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY: Comparative Perspectives
Winston Davis, ed.
An academic but enlightening series of essays by different authors that look at the origins of the concept of responsibility (response – ability) in Western democracy, and how responsibility is interpreted, or not, in non-Western societies.
PORTRAIT IN SEPIA
I keep waiting for her to write a book that is up to the stature of House of the Spirits; this one doesn’t make it – Allende is so deft it feels like she’s just tossing off page after page -- but it’s entertaining and has an occasional beautiful descriptive passage.
WHAT DO WE KNOW: Poems and Prose Poems
I generally admire Oliver very much, and if that’s like admitting you like a modern-day Frost, well, OK. There are some gems here; I like the prose poems less than the others.
SILK DRAGON (Chinese poetry)
Arthur Sze (trans.)
Wonderful poems, an overview of the tradition.
Drinking Wine (II)
I built my house near where others live
but without noise of horse or carriage.
You ask, how can this be?
A distant mind leaves the earth around it.
I pick chrysanthemums below the eastern fence,
then gaze at mountains to the south.
The mountain air is fine at sunset,
flying birds go back in flocks.
In this there is a truth;
I wish to tell you, but lose the words.
A romance set against WWI and the Halifax explosion of December 6, 1917. I’m trying to read more Canadian fiction… was more fascinated by the history in the book than by the novel’s storyline, which was a little too pat; MacLennan’s style, though, is impressive for a first novel.
RAY OF DARKNESS
Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Dense essays that reveal Willams’ complicated thinking and theology; often very moving and profound. I’m banking on him to help rescue the Anglican church and mainline Christianity from the conservatives and from a long period of attrition due to the failure to speak to modernity, and was happy with what I found here.
THE MANTLE OF THE PROPHET: RELIGION AND POLITICS IN IRAN
Amazing book that weaves together an inside look at the rigorous education of Shiite clerics and the history of Iran. One of my top choices for this year.
THE NOISE OF TIME
Mandelstam was one of the greatest Russian poets of the early 20th centuty; he died in one of Stalin’s death camps. This is a book of his luminous and sometimes difficult prose, of which the best are the title essay, a memoir of childhood in St. Petersburg; and Journey to Armenia.
THE RAFT IS NOT THE SHORE
Conversations with Thich Naht Hahn and Daniel Berrigan
ONE, NO ONE & ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND
The Italian existentialist proves he is everyone in the title…
Well, it’s something to read this again. A different book now -- and it has to be the source of more quotations in the English language than anything escept the Bible. About one per page. I was dumbfounded.
MALLOY, MALONE DIES (parts 1&2 of Beckett’s Trilogy)
Strangely comforting. Yikes, what does that say about me? Beckett rises to the top of my esteem.
HENRY IV PART 1
I haven’t read all the histories and after re-reading Richard II thought I’d start back at the beginning. Immediately bailed on King John, loved Richard I and Bolingbroke’s ascent to the throne, then got bogged down – bored? -- in Henry IV Part II. But the above are compelling and fresh: how little has changed in the lives of kings.
ISRAEL/PALESTINE: HOW TO END THE WAR OF 1948
Reinhart is right. Is anybody listening?
No, I didn’t finish but I want to list it so I can whine. Bailed out for the second time in my life, this time on page 247, and on the recommendation of a friend picked up Beckett’s Trilogy and the Pirandello instead. A good move, in my estimation, but you can argue of course…
A friend asked, "What do you read for fun?" Well, actually, I read all of the above for pleasure, if not exactly "fun". But to relax, I read (and use)... cookbooks. The best new acquisitions of 2003:
A TASTE OF PERSIA: An Introduction to Persian Cooking
Najmieh K. Batmanglij
Everything I've made out of this book so far has been delicious, and has even met with the approval of my Iranian friend who is the best cook on the planet. Especially good are the many recipes for khoresh, or various Persian stews with vegetables and meat.
THE MOROCCAN COLLECTION
Beautiful pictures and easy-to-follow recipes for tagines, couscous, chermoula...
AUTHENTIC VIETNAMESE COOKING
Authentic means not only terrific recipes for lemongrass chicken and summer rolls, but also for frogs legs, snails, and a treatise on dogs...
THE BOOK OF JEWISH FOOD: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York
An astounding book, divided into Ashkenazi and Sephardic sections, that not only gives family recipes with many variations, but tells the story of the people and their migrations. Winner of the James Beard cookbook of the year award, deservedly so. This is really a history of the Jewish people told through food.
FLATBREADS AND FLAVORS
Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
Wonderful book with recipes for breads and stews and other foods to go with them, as well as stories of the couple's world travels. The recipe for Afghani bread is worth the price of the whole book.
A NEW BOOK OF MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD
An update of Claudia Roden's previous Penguin classic; the indispensible "Joy of Cooking" for Middle Eastern food.
2002 (notes to come)
THE CAIRO TRILOGY
RELIGION AND COMMUNITY
SEASON OF MIGRATION TO THE NORTH
THE NAUTICAL CHART
THE FENCING MASTER
ZEN AND THE ART OF KNITTING
NINE PARTS OF DESIRE: The Hidden World of Islamic Women
MY NAME IS RED
INTERPRETER OF MALADIES
WHY CHRISTIANITY MUST CHANGE OR DIE
John Shelby Spong
THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
WE BELONG TO THE LAND
GRANTA 77 / SPRING 2002
What We Think of America
A CONFESSION AND OTHER RELIGIOUS WRITINGS