Why a blog for books I’ve read?

Welcome to Reading Now. It seems that as I read I keep finding recurring themes. Maybe a blog is the best place to track and share the great themes or waves of literature. I have often kept records of my reading, but limited myself mostly to tracking the quantity of pages read. Here I can categorize and summarize books by themes, make recommendation, make a few comments, and even share some memorable quotations. After all, it isn’t how much you read, but what you learn from your reading that is important.

I tend to read books that are similar in genre. I have tagged entries by genres, maybe not using standard categories, but making my own as I go along. I have extensive collections of eBooks and print books. I have created two lists of books indexed by author. First a list of conventional print books and then a list of eBooks. All entries are tagged by author’s name so you can find all entries about an author’s books by clicking the author’s name.

As We Were Saying — Charles Dudley Warner

As We Were Saying is another collection of Warner’s quaint essays.

The Contents:

AS WE WERE SAYING

ROSE AND CHRYSANTHEMUM
THE RED BONNET
THE LOSS IN CIVILIZATION
SOCIAL SCREAMING
DOES REFINEMENT KILL INDIVIDUALITY?
THE DIRECTOIRE GOWN
THE MYSTERY OF THE SEX
THE CLOTHES OF FICTION
THE BROAD A
CHEWING GUM
WOMEN IN CONGRESS
SHALL WOMEN PROPOSE?
FROCKS AND THE STAGE
ALTRUISM
SOCIAL CLEARING-HOUSE
DINNER-TABLE TALK
NATURALIZATION
ART OF GOVERNING
LOVE OF DISPLAY
VALUE OF THE COMMONPLACE
THE BURDEN OF CHRISTMAS
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF WRITERS
THE CAP AND GOWN
A TENDENCY OF THE AGE
A LOCOED NOVELIST

Warner, Charles Dudley. As We Were Saying . Kindle Edition.

The last article was of interest because is speaks of a weed that grows locally in the West.

There grows upon the deserts and the cattle ranges of the Rockies a plant of the leguminosae family, with a purple blossom, which is called the ‘loco’. It is sweet to the taste; horses and cattle are fond of it, and when they have once eaten it they prefer it to anything else, and often refuse other food. But the plant is poisonous, or, rather, to speak exactly, it is a weed of insanity. Its effect upon the horse seems to be mental quite as much as physical. He behaves queerly, he is full of whims; one would say he was “possessed.” He takes freaks, he trembles, he will not go in certain places, he will not pull straight, his mind is evidently affected, he is mildly insane. In point of fact, he is ruined; that is to say, he is ‘locoed’. Further indulgence in the plant results in death, but rarely does an animal recover from even one eating of the insane weed.

Warner, Charles Dudley. As We Were Saying (pp. 102-103). Kindle Edition.

Warner suggests that isolation of individuals such as shepherds and novelists can have the same effect as this noxious plant.

As We Go — Charles Dudley Warner

As We Go is a series of essays such as one might have seen in newspapers or magazines a hundred years ago.

The titles of the essays:

OUR PRESIDENT
THE NEWSPAPER-MADE MAN
INTERESTING GIRLS
GIVE THE MEN A CHANCE
THE ADVENT OF CANDOR
THE AMERICAN MAN
THE ELECTRIC WAY
CAN A HUSBAND OPEN HIS WIFE’S LETTERS?
A LEISURE CLASS
WEATHER AND CHARACTER
BORN WITH AN “EGO”
JUVENTUS MUNDI
A BEAUTIFUL OLD AGE
THE ATTRACTION OF THE REPULSIVE
GIVING AS A LUXURY
CLIMATE AND HAPPINESS
THE NEW FEMININE RESERVE
REPOSE IN ACTIVITY
WOMEN—IDEAL AND REAL
THE ART OF IDLENESS
IS THERE ANY CONVERSATION
THE TALL GIRL
THE DEADLY DIARY
THE WHISTLING GIRL
BORN OLD AND RICH
THE “OLD SOLDIER”
THE ISLAND OF BIMINI
JUNE

Warner, Charles Dudley. As We Go . Kindle Edition.

From the Whistling Girl:

The wisdom of our ancestors packed away in proverbial sayings may always be a little suspected. We have a vague respect for a popular proverb, as embodying folk-experience, and expressing not the wit of one, but the common thought of a race. We accept the saying unquestioning, as a sort of inspiration out of the air, true because nobody has challenged it for ages, and probably for the same reason that we try to see the new moon over our left shoulder.

Warner, Charles Dudley. As We Go (p. 33). Kindle Edition.

To examine one of them is enough for our present purpose.

“Whistling girls and crowing hens
Always come to some bad ends.”

Warner, Charles Dudley. As We Go (p. 33). Kindle Edition.

If you want to see what old Charles Dudley has to say about whistling girls, you are going to need to read this book for yourself.

The King of Ireland’s Son — Padraic Colum

Padraic Colum has come up with a fairy tale that is to fairy tales what War and Peace is to novels. The tale Colum tells becomes more complex as it is told. First there is the King of Ireland’s son, then there is a boy called Gilly who doesn’t have a name, nor does he know who his parents are.

Some of the tales are familiar. Seven brothers who were turned into seven swans, except that the sister who was to make them shirts for seven years without talking or singing or crying failed. These brothers are doomed to be swans for another generation.

If you want to find out whom the son of the King of Ireland marries, and who is his unknown friend and whom does he marry, and how the swans become men again, and what happened before and after the unique story, this is the book for you to read.

Early Kings of Norway — Thomas Carlyle

Carlyle picks up the history about where Cooper in After the Flood left off. Here is the struggle between fathers and sons, fathers and brothers, uncles and nephews that goes on for three hundred years.

Some of these kings were wise rulers who led their lands in eras of peace, usually to be attacked by their own jealous kinsmen. The peacemakers generally found room or made room for eager relatives, no matter their character. Carlyle ends the book with a warning:

The History of these Haarfagrs has awakened in me many thoughts: Of Despotism and Democracy, arbitrary government by one and self-government (which means no government, or anarchy) by all; of Dictatorship with many faults, and Universal Suffrage with little possibility of any virtue. For the contrast between Olaf Tryggveson, and a Universal-Suffrage Parliament or an “Imperial” Copper Captain has, in these nine centuries, grown to be very great. And the eternal Providence that guides all this, and produces alike these entities with their epochs, is not its course still through the great deep? Does not it still speak to us, if we have ears? Here, clothed in stormy enough passions and instincts, unconscious of any aim but their own satisfaction, is the blessed beginning of Human Order, Regulation, and real Government; there, clothed in a highly different, but again suitable garniture of passions, instincts, and equally unconscious as to real aim, is the accursed-looking ending (temporary ending) of Order, Regulation, and Government;—very dismal to the sane onlooker for the time being; not dismal to him otherwise, his hope, too, being steadfast! But here, at any rate, in this poor Norse theatre, one looks with interest on the first transformation, so mysterious and abstruse, of human Chaos into something of articulate Cosmos; witnesses the wild and strange birth-pangs of Human Society, and reflects that without something similar (little as men expect such now), no Cosmos of human society ever was got into existence, nor can ever again be.

The violences, fightings, crimes—ah yes, these seldom fail, and they are very lamentable. But always, too, among those old populations, there was one saving element; the now want of which, especially the unlamented want, transcends all lamentation. Here is one of those strange, piercing, winged-words of Ruskin, which has in it a terrible truth for us in these epochs now come:—

“My friends, the follies of modern Liberalism, many and great though they be, are practically summed in this denial or neglect of the quality and intrinsic value of things. Its rectangular beatitudes, and spherical benevolences,—theology of universal indulgence, and jurisprudence which will hang no rogues, mean, one and all of them, in the root, incapacity of discerning, or refusal to discern, worth and unworth in anything, and least of all in man; whereas Nature and Heaven command you, at your peril, to discern worth from unworth in everything, and most of all in man. Your main problem is that ancient and trite one, ‘Who is best man?’ and the Fates forgive much,—forgive the wildest, fiercest, cruelest experiments,—if fairly made for the determination of that.

Carlyle, Thomas. Early Kings of Norway (Kindle Locations 1477-1495). Kindle Edition.

After the Flood — Bill Cooper

Amazon’s description:
At last, the creationist classic, After the Flood, is available on Kindle in a specially expanded and revised edition. Containing an added chapter on historical dinosaurs, After the Flood demonstrates from ancient records the historical integrity and reliability of Genesis 10 and 11 (The Table of Nations), and shows from pre-Christian records outside the Bible how various nations have traced their ancestry in meticulously kept records from Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth. This unique book is required reading for anyone who wishes to delve deeper into the subject of the Bible’s authority and historical accuracy.
I became interested in the Table of Nations when speakers of one of the language groups walked into my store a number of years ago. I had been standing at my counter reading Barry Fell’s America B.C. I was actually reading the account of the rock writing in Newport, Rhode Island, that is engraved, “Sailors of Tarshish,” when people right in front of me were talking to one another in Tartessian, the language of Tarshish.
While Cooper demonstrates that the early setters of England and Ireland were descendants of Japheth the son of Noah, I have neighbors in Southern California who are also descendants of Japheth, and still speaking their tribal language after three thousand years in America.

Two Little Knights of Kentucky — Annie F. Johnston

Malcolm and Keith MacIntyre have come to LLoydsborough to spend the winter with their grandmother. They have traveled the world with their parents, and now their parents are traveling without them.The boys have bundled up warmly to make their way to the train station to meet their aunt and cousin who will be arriving soon on the evening train.

A couple tramps quietly enter the waiting room followed by a bear. The two boys take pity on the freezing young tramp and a strong curiosity in the bear. They miss meeting their aunt and cousin.

Some of the interesting events that follow:

A Valentines Day party.
A fire and a rescue.
A grand benefit for the victim of the fire.
Two rescues of The Little Colonel.
An afternoon of Indian play in which the young squaw is tied to a tree and forgotten.
A glorious estate for the rescue of homeless slum children.

Through all the activities the two young knights learn what it means fo live a life with meaning. Oh, and what did become of the bear?

Travelers Five Along Life’s Highway — Annie F. Johnston

This is a collection of the stories of five travelers along the road of life. There is a forward that tells a bit about why we are interested in the people we see struggling along the road.

Forward

…. And what is at the base of our sympathy and interest? Nothing but our common life. They, too,—all the glad or sorrowing children of imaginative literature from Helen of Troy to Helena Richie—are travelers like ourselves on the great highway. We know well how difficult a road it is, how rough, how steep, how dangerous, how boggy, how lined with pitfalls, how bordered with gardens of deadly delights, how beset by bandits, how noisy with fakirs, how overhung with poisonous fruit and swept by devastating storms. We know also what stretches of happiness are there, what days of friendship, what hours of love, what sane enjoyment, what rapturous content.

How should we not, then, be interested in all that goes by upon that great road? We like to sit at our comfortable windows, when the fire is alight or the summer air is soft, and “watch the pass,” as they say in Nantucket,—what our neighbours are about, and what strangers are in town. If we live in a small community, there is the monotony of our daily routine to be relieved. When an unknown figure passes down the street, we may enjoy the harmless excitement of novelty and taste something of the keen savour of adventure. If we are dwellers in a great city, where every passer is unknown, there is still the discoverer’s zest in larger measure; every moment is great with possibility; every face in the throng holds its secret; every figure is eloquent of human drama. The pageant is endless, its story never finished. Who, indeed, could not be spellbound, beholding that countless changing tatterdemalion caravan go by?…

Johnston, Annie F. (Annie Fellows). Travelers Five Along Life’s Highway (Kindle Locations 71-83). Kindle Edition.

Contents

The First Traveler.
Jimmy On the Trail of the Wise Men

The Second Traveler.
Gid Wiggan In the Wake of a Honeymoon

The Third Traveler.
The Clown Towards His Accolade

The Fourth Traveler.
Wexley Snathers By Way of an Inherited Circus

The Fifth Traveler.
Bap. Sloan To His Mount of Pisgah

The Story of the Red Cross as told to The Little Colonel — Annie F. Johnston

The Story of the Red Cross as told to The Little Colonel is included in one of The Little Colonel books.It tells the story of how Lloyd met the old soldier who had an ambulance dog as a pet. This huge St. Bernard had trained as a police dog and then as an ambulance dog. Hero, as this dog was named, had injured a leg while on training missions and the old major had adopted him to keep him from being destroyed. Subsequently the major found a surgeon who was able to operate and completely restore Hero to vitality.

Lloyd one day heard people call Hero a Red Cross dog, while she knew him to be a St. Bernard dog. In answering her question about what kind of dog the Major told her the story both about how the St. Bernard dogs came to be developed and how the Red Cross came to be.

An interesting part of the story for me was the story of Clara Barton the war nurse. She rescued to many soldiers in Europe that she destroyed her own health. After recovering herself and learning to walk again, she came to America and started the American Red Cross. This impressed me for my own elementary education was earned at a school named for Clara Barton. History came home to me.

The Story of Dago — Annie F. Johnston

The Story of Dago is a story told by a ring tale monkey to his twin in a mirror. Dago was rescued by a gentleman who had a large garden after the circus owner he previously served went bankrupt.

The old man’s daughter came to live with him in California. But even the wonderful sunshine did not restore here. The woman’s family came to visit, but she soon died and was buried. Dago and another monkey were given by the old man to his grandsons as pets to compensate them for the loss of their mother.

Dago and the other monkey travel to the boys’ home with them on the train. The other monkey grabs the bell rope on the train and brings the train to a sudden stop. After that Dago and the other monkey are taken to the luggage car for the rest of the trip.

Once arrived Dago tells his own story. Will a monkey who can remember the freedom of the jungle survive in captivity?

Songs Ysame — Annie F. Johnston with Abion Fellows Bacon

Here is a change of pace from Annie F. Johnston. Not a story, nor a play, but a collection of poetry.

A poem about a shipwreck:

Stranded.

WE found a wreck cast up on the shore,
Battered and bruised, and scarred and rent,
And I spoke aloud, “Here was worthless work,
And a barque unfit to the sea was sent.”

But he said, my friend, in his gentle mood,
“Nay, none may say but the barque was good,
For none can tell of the seas it sailed,
Of the waves it braved and the storms withstood.”

Then we spoke no more, but I mutely mused
And thought, oh, heart and oh, life of man
That we find wrecked! we may never know
How brave you were when your course began.

Bacon, Albion Fellows. Songs Ysame (Kindle Locations 738-743). Kindle Edition.

Well, poetry is OK, sometimes. Other poems were not as interesting, and some maybe were better.