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Chaparral 2016-2017: 25.4 What Are You Reading?

What Are Your Reading?

GCC roundup column written by you!

1.    What are you reading (name and author and/or link if it’s on the web)?
2.    Would you recommend it?
3.    What do you like or find interesting about it?


The Northern Clemency

Power cuts! Maggie Thatcher! Young love! Kitchy 1970’s Northern British party food like vol a vents!  Snakes! A sprawling domestic novel clocking in at 736 pages… Are you intrigued?   

I recommend you check out the Man Booker Prize finalist for 2010, The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher.  Novels characters are well developed and I enjoyed reading about the growth of the novels central figures: members of two neighboring families evolving during the 1970s and 1980s in Sheffield, England.  Don’t be put off by the length.  The novel goes by quickly.  I would highly recommend it to all.


Sarah McLemore


Galileo's Dream

 What are you reading?
Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson

 Would you recommend it? Yes, with reservations.

What do you like or find interesting about it? The novel is equal parts historical fiction in an Italian Renaissance setting, time-travel science fiction, and a meditation on the scientific method and mathematics. The book bring Galileo joyfully to life in vibrant color. I'm finding the science fiction passages less interesting than the historical sections that deal with Kepler, the Inquisition, and Galileo. However, my guess is that GCC's mathematicians will be fascinated by the discussions of the scientific evidence that, as Galileo puts it in the novel, "God is a mathematician."

Michael Reed

Field Marshal: The Life and Death of Erwin Rommel

I am reading Field Marshal: The Life and Death of Erwin Rommel by Daniel Allen Butler

This is a good overall biography of the famous World War II German general (aka The Desert Fox). In addition to the military history, the authors seeks to answer the question: was Rommel a Nazi, or a German nationalist caught up by historical circumstances. He would like the reader to feel that Rommel never bought into the ideology of the Third Reich, and in fact became appalled by the actions of Adolf Hitler as early as late 1941. A well-written book that, nevertheless, generates more questions than it answers.

Roger Bowerman
Social Sciences

The Little Paris Bookshop

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George is about a bookseller who (struggling with his own impactful loss) recommends books from a shop on a barge to individuals with particular needs; advising that the book will help them overcome and achieve. 

The Bookseller, Monsieur Jean Perdu (last name meaning "lost") allows two other beneficiaries of his literary apothecary to travel with him while they come to terms with their losses.

My interest is piqued by the notion of literature assisting human development and recommend this book for this reason!

Theresa Lorch

A Pocket History of Gaelic Culture

I’m currently reading A Pocket History of Gaelic Culture, by Alan Titley

This is an excellent summary of Irish-Gaelic culture going back from the Iron Age to the present. It is scholarly, yet fun, mixing prose and poetry as befits the subject,- a great overview for those interested in their Celtic roots of Ireland and Scotland and the troublesome past with England. Prof. Titley is a professor emeritus at University College, Cork Ireland and a columnist for the Irish Times.  He writes well in both English and Irish Gaelic.

Dennis Doyle

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

1. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
2. Highly recommended
3. If you like very British country life novels, you'll love this one. A curmudgeonly, old widower with a small estate near small town England falls for a Pakistani shopkeeper. You can't help but like this retired Army Major, even when he fumbles through life. The characters, setting, and writing are full of charm.

Emily Bergman

Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom

I am currently reading Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom by Acharya Shunya.

I was fortunate to meet a wonderful Ayurvedic doctor under whose care my overall health turned around. What you eat, when, and how changes not only your body but also your mind and your emotions. I’d never experienced such almost magical transformation before.

The book is a repository of enchanting wisdom.

Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom: A Complete Prescription to Optimize Your Health, Prevent Disease, and Live with Vitality and Joy Paperback – February 1, 2017

by Acharya Shunya  (Author), David Frawley D.Litt. (Foreword)

Dominique Margolis
English Lab

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

What are you reading ?

My family – Kale’a 7 & Griffin almost 4 – has been re-reading the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay by Newt Scamander and J.K. Rowling.

Would you recommend it?
I would definitely recommend it!

What do you like or find interesting about it?

We read the book before the film came out. Now the kids have seen the film. We are re-reading it with a new appreciation of the screenplay format because it affords us the chance to role play and add our own dramatic effects to the process of experiencing the wild adventures of Newt, Tina, Jacob, Queenie, and the beasts in 1926’s mag and no-mag (wizard terminology for magical and non-magical ;o) New York. I love how my daughter has embraced the character of Tina as her newest heroine to idolize – a strong, smart, quirky woman of integrity! On a more mature humanistic element, I just read an article about how the book carries a theme regarding the dangers of anti-Semitism. So there – sadly apropos for our modern times!

Funny thing is, I was an English lit major in undergrad, but I think I got burned out on reading between that and grad school (occupational therapy), so I don’t do enough pleasure reading. Thank goodness my kids came along to remind me of how much I enjoy it! This is the first time I’ve replied to the call for reading interests – fun, thanks for letting me share!

Laura Matsumoto

My Antonia

It's not new, but I am rereading My Antonia by Willa Cather. It's at least my third time reading it.  Yes, I highly recommend it, and most anything by Cather. I love her writing, her perspective and this intimate look at a different time in America's history. It's also interesting reading it today, as we are continuing to grapple with assumptions and biases in regards to immigrants in this country.

Mary Jane Biancheri
Child Development

Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams

As a joke, I bought a Best of Dean Martin CD for 99 cents, then became intrigued, and inhaled a half-dozen fast-read Martin biographies before finding Nick Tosches’ exhaustively researched and scathing Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams. Winter break over and thoroughly disillusioned, I then read Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, blurbed by the publisher as “a genre-bending memoir . . . a work of ‘autotheory’ offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of the author’s relationship with artist Harry Dodge . . . who is fluidly gendered.” I am now recovering from the challenging Tosches and Nelson brainburns—Arrggh! Who was Dean Martin, really? Who am I, really?—by moseying through More than Fine Writing: The Life and Calligraphy of Irene Wellington, “one of the truly original figures in the development of calligraphy in [the 20th] century.” Ask me about seasoning vellum and the joys of resharpened crowfeather quills: truly,“That’s Amore.”

Michael Falcon

Ghost Train to the Eastern Star and Paris at War


I am currently reading:

1.Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux (He revisits his journey across Europe and Asia by train... told a few decades ago in THE GREAT RAILWAY BAZAAR. He is one of the world's great travel writers. A must read for those so inclined.

2. Paris at War by David Drake (Highly recommended for  Paris lovers, Francophiles in general., and World War II and Nazi era and Holocaust readers)

Richard Seltzer
Professor Emeritus, Credit ESL

House of Leaves

I'm currently reading House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, an experimental horror novel that plays with form, language, and intertextuality. Structured as an academic paper about a lost documentary exploring a labyrinthine house, the novel also includes a frame story of the man who is reading the academic text, told through footnotes, as the text itself drives him insane. While by no means a light or easy read, it is at once fascinating, maddening, mind-bending, and terrifying. Particularly enjoyable are the parts where the formatting of the text itself begins to mirror the movement through the endless house. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a challenging and unique reading experience.

Joanna Parypinski

Chaparral April 2017

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