My Summer Reading






I admit to having a particularly eclectic reading list this summer.  Here it is, in no particular order:

Al Gore’s The Assault on Reason is an important, factually supported indictment of the Bush Administration.  A must read, regardless of your political affilation.

Three books on Maimonides:

Kenneth Seeskin’s Maimonides: A Guide for Today’s Perplexed, is a clearly written, relatively short monograph that ties together some of the key themes in The Guide for the Perplexed— such as why literal iinterpretation of the Bible is not only senseless, but is contrary to G-d’s intention.  Yeshayahu Leibowitz’s The Faith of Maimonides, and David Bakan’s Maimonides on Prophecy.   If you are into Maimonides (yes, there are a few of us who aren’t Rabbis), philosophy, or general deep thinking, you will enjoy these books, which were recommended to me by a new friend who is a Maimonides expert.

In the "I wish it really was fiction" category, I read, in one extremely long sitting (while flying across the country) Khaled Hosseini’s powerful A Thousand Splendid Suns.  This novel takes you through 30 years of Afghanistan’s chaotic history, as experienced through the personal tragedies of several families.  The novel combines factual historic detail with an emphasis on the abrogation of women’s rights under Shar’ia as applied by the Taliban.  I agree that it is better than The Kite Runner, which I also devoured and found disturbing and enlightening.

On the lighter side, for the fisherman in you, there is Sex, Death, and Fly-Fishing, by John Gierach, who is the great scribe of all that makes trout-fishing a religion, as opposed to a recreational sport.  What do I mean by that?

"The wool sweaters and millar mitts came off shortly aftrer the sun was up, and we were squinting and sweating by nine-thirty when the Callibeatis mayfly spinner fall should have started,  but wouldn’t.  Not in that heat and piercing sunlight.  That’s why we were up so early in the first place."

Comprende?  If not, don’t read this book.

And finally, for paperback Ludlum-style mystery lovers who also enjoy a religious conspiracy that ties together the Holocaust, Pope Pius XII, professional assassins, the Mossad, Bernini, and the Jewish Ghetto in Rome, read Daniel Silva’s The Confessor— it’s actually quite good.

Looking back at this reading list, I can see why I don’t feel that I rested much this summer.

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