Ok, so this is the reading list since last September, 6 months ago. The last book I mentioned was by Frank Waters, "The Man Who Killed the Deer" . . . (Waters is a southwest U.S. Native American author, poet, philosopher--interesting fellow and great writer capturing life on the reservation and culture clashing), which I finished last September.
[Besides the staple--ongoing reading of scripture . . .
I generally have 3 types of books going, which I'm reading, simultaneously. One type is simply for fun--escapist . . . and these usually historical fiction based on historical events and characters, though sometimes good ol' fantasy and/or science fiction fills the bill.
The other type is spiritual . . . inspiring--usually the story and teachings of some saint or holy person from the past.
The third type is research. For a while this has been focused on Native American and paleo-indigenous peoples . . . ancient archeology/anthropology . . . etc., . . . AND books (and listening to recorded interviews and lectures) about the craft of writing . . . .]
So, since last September . . .
1--One of the most pleasurable reads I've had in a long time is a book sent me by K.S. It arrived out of the blue and sat around for a month or so before I had a chance to peruse it . . . and upon perusing, I was immediately hooked and had a hard time putting it down. I can't believe I hadn't heard of it before. "The Gurus, The Young Man, And Elder Paisios" by Dionysios Farasiotos. While the book is, generally speaking, from the Orthodox viewpoint, I found much in it with which I could relate. The author retells a prodigal spiritual journey quite similar to my own, tracing through worldly libertinism, the occult, self-help mind control techniques, and especially his journey to India and through "Eastern mysticism".
It's just a blunt, honest and incredible account of the supernatural happenings that attend that particular mindset and seeking, which I have been through myself. My oldest son Alexander borrowed the book and devoured it--loved it, and now his wife is reading it. It's just a great read. Enlightening, inspiring, haunting (the supernatural events described), but also simply fun--a page turner.
2--K.S. later sent another book which I read called "Orthodoxy and The Religion of The Future" by Fr. Saraphim Rose . . . written years ago . . . which fortells the anti-Christ spirit of the New Age and Ecumenical movements, among other things. Constance Cumby sites this book as the book which really woke her up to the same dire issues. Rose shows prophetic prescience in his vision of the flavor, style and "doctrine" . . . of the coming one world anti-Christ religion.
3--"Ghost Dance" by John Norman . . . a historical fiction novel . . . is about a Sioux warrior during the time of Wounded Knee Massacre . . . and his relationship with a homesteading white woman/teacher on the prairie . . . . decent book.....
4,5,6,--For several years now I've been on and off reading the colorful history of Scotland through the author Nigel Tranter, a most prolific writer and scholar . . . who has, it seems written about every single notable character in Scottish history. I found his books randomly . . . just grabbed one at a used book store because it had a guy with a sword on the cover . . . about Robert The Bruce . . . who'd I'd heard of and was intrigued by . . . and ended up reading the whole trilogy on "The Bruce" . . . . My wife has Scot blood and, I found out later, can trace lineage TO Robert the Bruce . . . and Mary Queen of Scots . . . so, that angle has interested me as well . . . . Anyway, last fall I read Tranter's trilogy about Rob Roy's clan "The MacGregors"--all three books a great and fun read based on historical events of tumultuous, family and freedom loving Scotland . . . .
"The MacGregor Trilogy: "MacGregor's Gathering", "The Clansmen", "Gold For Prince Charlie".
7--As part of my research . . . I read the short but eye-popping book "Lost World of Giants" by Jonathan Gray, which is just basically a laundry list of giant bones and giant archeology found but hidden, suppressed . . . . by the "scientific" party line . . . .
8--More research: "Unearthing Ancient America" compiled and edited by Ancient American magazine editor Frank Joseph. This is again a compilation of purportedly hidden, suppressed archeological "finds" which tend to show support the "diffusionist theory" . . . that there has historically been a lot more world travel and mingling of races and culture than what has been "officially" taught. There are biblically based archeologists and scholars, like Jonathan Gray and Steven Collins who I trust more in the matter, but the Ancient American magazine does add some interesting discoveries in the mix. Frank Joseph, however, is a dubious fellow . . . and knowing his troubled Nazi/pedophile background and current Pagan stance . . . well, this whole area of study is like a minefield. For instance, Wayne May, the publisher of Ancient American magazine is Mormon and many of the articles and stories found therein are crafted to support the Book of Mormon's authenticity. Also, that charlatan who makes my skin crawl Glenn Kimball is a buddy of these guys . . . . A lot going on in this field of study . . . which I parse through and, quite honestly, appeal to Holy Spirit Spirit of Truth . . . to guide me through to avoid the myriad agendas and mis-directions . . . .
9-- "The Gila River" by Gary McCarthy . . . novel about Apache and Pima Indians interaction with Jesuits and white settlers along the Gila River....
10--"Columba" by Nigel Tranter . . . another in the Scottish history interest . . . about the great missionary Columba spreading the Gospel in Celtic Scotland . . . . This was a fascinating and even inspiring read showing the admirable zealousness of early Christian missionaries who braved pagan lands and culture, most times almost single-handedly . . . .
11--I have an affinity for the lost and forgotten . . . and so, on a lark, I will sometimes just pick up and read some obscure book . . . knowing that this was some person's, some writer's earnest endeavor--it was highly important to them, yet the book is barely read, if at all, anymore . . . and often I find rare gems this way and I love the idea of reading someone's work who has been lost in the dustbin of history, yet here I am giving it new life in my life, appreciating and respecting their effort . . . if ya know what I mean . . . . One of these was a beat up old book I grabbed used for a dollar called "Life of St. Stephen Harding" by J.B. Dalgairns published in the late 1800s. It is about Saint Stephen, one of the founders of the Cistercian monastic order in the spiritual volatile 12th century. Stephen "discovered" . . . St. Bernard of Clairvaux who is one of my favorite Catholic saints . . . .
12--"Empire of the Summer Moon" . . . a beautiful book about Quanah Parker (ca. 1845 or 1852 – February 23, 1911) who was a Comanche chief, a leader in the Native American Church, and the last leader of the powerful Quahadi band before they surrendered their battle of the Great Plains and went to a reservation in Indian Territory. He was the son of Comanche chief Peta Nocona and Cynthia Ann Parker, a European American, who had been kidnapped at the age of nine and assimilated into the tribe. Quanah Parker also led his people on the reservation, where he became a wealthy rancher and influential in Comanche and European American society. With seven wives and 25 children, Quanah had numerous descendants. Many people in Texas and Oklahoma claim him as an ancestor. [wiki]
13--"Skinwalkers" by Tony Hillerman . . . a book stumbled upon . . . but will be reading more from this author who turns out to be quite beloved and respected as a supsense/mystery writer . . . with his stories taking place on "the res" . . . Navajo Indian police investigator Jim Chee . . . the accurate portrayal of reservation life and old Indian customs . . . a good, clean, fun read . . . and helpful to study in relation to writing craft . . . somewhat related to my own area of study and fiction writing . . . .
14--"Madam Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert . . . I'm just finishing . . . is a book I'd of course heard of as a classic . . . but wow, it sure is! I include it as part of my research on the craft of writing--to analyze how a masterpiece looks . . . and, indeed the writing--the descriptions . . . and especially the psychology depicted by this 19th century author is astounding. And timeless! I've never read a more apt depiction of the "modern" . . . fallen mind. I could write a pages and pages about this book, but won't, thank goodness . . . but here is a tidbit from Wiki which roughly captures the essence: "Madame Bovary, on the whole, is a commentary on the entire self-satisfied, deluded, bourgeois culture of Flaubert's time period. His contempt for the bourgeoisie is expressed through his characters: Emma and Charles Bovary lost in romantic delusions; absurd and harmful scientific characters, a self-serving money lender, lovers seeking excitement finding only the banality of marriage in their adulterous affairs. All are seeking escape in empty church rituals, unrealistic romantic novels, or delusions of one sort or another."
15--"No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf" ...what can I say . . . . occasionally I like to read the lives of people--icons . . . like Sinatra . . . Howard Hughs . . . Elvis . . . Bowie . . . . Piaf . . . I had heard of but before my time ... .but was intrigued for some reason and simple curiosity . . . and to just be random--read about something and someone I've had no interest in, because of no knowledge of . . . just to put stuff in my mind that I wouldn't normally be drawn to . . . for diversity's sake I guess . . . . A firebrand of a little, talented lady .. orphan . . . rags to riches . . . amazing talent . . . alchohol/drug abuse . . . same old tale "I did it my way" . . . crashed and burned . . . the arc of the charasmatic . . . so often . . . .
16--"The Way of the Pilgrim; And, The Pilgrim Continues His Way" R.M. French
[ The 19th century Russian spiritual classic on prayer, "The Way of a Pilgrim," and its sequel, "The Pilgrim Continues His Way," have long fascinated those who have stumbled on this winsome tale. First published in Russian in 1884 under the title, "Candid Narratives of a Pilgrim to His Spiritual Father," this religious masterpiece recounts the adventures of an anonymous Russian pilgrim who roams the vast Siberian steppes reciting the Jesus Prayer in order to obey Christ's injunction to "pray without ceasing."
CURRENT readings in progress: "The Dark Night of the Soul" by St. John of the Cross, "The Little Flowers of St. Francis" by Raphael Brown . . . "Totemism" by Claude Levi-Strauss . . . . "Monsters" by Brad Steiger . . . "Understanding the Bible" by John R.W. Stott . . . "Writing Historical Fiction" by Rhona Martin . . . .
"Writing A Novel" by John Braine . . . "If You Want To Write" by Brenda Ueland . . . "Setting" by Jack M. Bickham . . . . "How To Write Action Adventure Novels" by Michael Newton . . . "Conflict, Action & Suspense" by William Noble . . . . Various historical books on of Native American life and culture . . . .
And on CD audio book from the library, listened to during commercials on talk radio during my commute:
--"The Reformation" by Patrick Collinson ["In The Reformation, one of the preeminent historians of the period, Patrick Collinson, offers a concise yet thorough overview of the drastic ecumenical revolution of the late medieval and Renaissance eras." goodreads.com review]
--"The History Of Christian Theology" by Phillip Cary [Provides an overview of the development of Christian theology, from the writings of St. Paul and the formation of doctrines in the Middle Ages, through the Protestant Reformation, to the Vatican Councils. goodreads.com review]
Coming up I am looking at some Dostoyevsky . . . I read "The Idiot" in my early 20s . . . but really need to read "The Brothers Karamazov" . . . also Solzhenitsyn "The Gulag Archepelago" . . . some more Tony Hillerman . . . "Calvin: A Life" by Emanuel Stickelberger . . . "The Spirit Of Protestantism" by Robert McAfee Brown . . . "Solving The Mystery Of Babylon The Great" by Edward Hendrie more Indian books and more books by and about holy people . . . and whatever else I happen to randomly select to give life to some obscure forgotten author, heh . . . . .
And, of course, Bible reading and sermon listening and discussion . . . goes on apace . . . throughout......
take care, friends,
God bless you each one and all today and forever,
"The Way of the Pilgrim; And, The Pilgrim Continues His Way" R.M. French
[ The 19th century Russian spiritual classic on prayer, "The Way of a Pilgrim," and its sequel, "The Pilgrim Continues His Way," have long fascinated those who have stumbled on this winsome tale. First published in Russian in 1884 under the title, "Candid Narratives of a Pilgrim to His Spiritual Father," this religious masterpiece recounts the adventures of an anonymous Russian pilgrim who roams the vast Siberian steppes reciting the Jesus Prayer in order to obey Christ's injunction to "pray without ceasing." Apparently a wise old monk collected for posterity the captivating accounts of the pilgrim's exploits and his increasing understanding of God's providence as he commits himself to a life of prayer. The manuscript, which began to circulate privately after the pilgrim disappeared headed for Jerusalem, is reissued here in an updated translation adapted for American readers. The pilgrim's charming tales and dedicated life-style are an inspirational challenge for all who would discover their own spiritual roots, pursue the contemplative life or assimilate their piety to our modern society. Many keep this unique devotional book close at hand for they have found it a comforting source of hope when they encounter trials along life's way.]