Tuesday

Reader Recommendations: April

March is going to be a busy month for me in terms of reading (I am reading about one hundred pages a day of a number of different books as part of my Lenten discipline), and I still have The China Study to work on, so I have decided to forego taking recommendations for this month.

Another problem is the issue of availability. Sometimes the books I select end up - through no one's fault, of course - being very popular at the OPL, and so I have to wait to get my hands on them. It was something like four, or maybe even as many as six, months before I got my hands on Ender's Game, for example.

With that lengthy preamble out of the way, let me say that I am opening the floor to your recommendations for the month of April. I'll collect recommendations for about a week, and then post the selections early in March.

As always, the suggested guidelines for making recommendations are here, and the list of books I have already read for The Marginal Virtues is here. Of course, you can also find the links at the top of the sidebar on the right-hand side.

For April, I am looking for recommendations about choice. This is a bit of a broad category: strictly speaking every book has to do with choice, somehow. What I am looking for, for lack of a better way to put it, are books that you've read that had an impression on you with respect to making choices, decisions, or changes in your life. Such books need not have Changed Your Life; but if they did, so much the better. Feel free to recommend works of fiction or non-fiction. Maybe the book changed your convictions about something, or caused you take up a new activity or way of life, or made you reflect philosophically on the nature of choice, or else brought you into a world in which the choices of the characters were made to matter to you.

As always, I look forward to receiving your recommendations!

Sunday

The Glass Castle

First, my thanks to Kathy for recommending this book!

The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls, is only the third autobiographical book I have read for The Marginal Virtues, the others being Hitman (by Bret Hart) and The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen (by Jacques P├ępin). The subtitle indicates that The Glass Castle is a memoir; and, if its overall style is any indication of the genre, The Apprentice, which possesses a similar style, is also more of a memoir than an autobiography. (This is assuming that there is any real distinction between the genres, which there may not be.) Whatever the question of genre, like both of those other books, The Glass Castle is written in the first person, from Jeannette Walls's perspective.

The edition from which I shall quote passages was published in 2005 by Scribner.

The dust jacket begins thus:
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation.
Reading The Glass Castle immediately following The Rebel Sell was certainly an interesting contrast. The Wallses - the parents of the author - certainly come across as textbook countercultural 'rebels'.

As an editorial note, I have given this post the label 'profanity' because the Walls's frequently curse, and it is both tedious to omit their profane language, and it is necessary to include it to give you a sense of what they are like. (Not that their use of 'cussing' is necessarily bad, just that it expresses something characteristic about them.)

Wednesday

February Update

I am working away on the marginal commentaries for The Glass Castle and The China Study, so keep your eyes peeled.

I have a few other posts on the go, and between that and the fact that it is now February, I won't be canvassing for recommendations for this month, because it won't be 'til the end of February that I'd be likely to get my hands on the books selected, let alone read them and write commentaries on them. I have trouble enough finishing the commentaries for the books selected for any given month as it is (e.g., it is now February and I haven't yet finished two commentaries for books I meant to publish posts on in December).

By mid-month I will be looking for recommendations for March, but I very likely will be changing, at least for the time being, how many reader recommendations I call for.