9 Quick Takes (6/28/13)

— 1 —

Terribly sorry for the lack of posting (and the tardy responses to the Turing Test players).  I took a trip back to the East Coast and promptly got sick when I returned.  On the plus side. a mere four months after I moved to Berkeley, I finally have furniture, so I thought I might give you an updated tour of my room.

Or, at least the most important part.

— 2 —

My bookshelf starts off with Sondheim’s two volumes of annotated lyrics (Finishing the Hat and Look, I Made a Hat, both highly recommended. and includes other guides to artistic endeavors like singing, embroidering, and hitting people artfully.

— 3 —

Next up are my math books (including Naming Infinity which I turned out not to like at all, which, I’m sorry to say, has been what’s delaying running the promised bookclub).  Music of the Primes is quite good, and next time I won’t propose book clubs for things I haven’t read, no matter how enticing.

— 4 —

Next up, all my books on disease and philosophy of medicine.  Almost.  The last few are on language, but I decided they could hang out with fun folks like The Ghost Map and Pox Americana because they all touch on what it is to be human and embodied.


— 5 —

Taking up more shelf than it did in my last-preconversion bookshelf picture, is my religion section.  (About a third of which appears to be Lewis, which doesn’t even count the ones of his I have on my kindle like Of Other Worlds and Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer).


— 6 —

And, just filling out the shelf, is the fiction section.  Appallingly small, for me, but it turns out that fiction is usually the easiest to get my hands on at the library, so I culled more aggressively here.  The rest of the books are much more likely to be hard to get on short notice or frequent references.  (Yes, including the book on yellow fever up in the history of medicine section!)

— 7 —

The catch-all section includes general nonfiction, plays, dvds, and Acting with an Accent (Irish) CDs.

— 8 —

And safe on the end are books I have on loan (from friends or libraries).  Last on the end is on the recommendation of and for discussion with my gentleman caller.

— 9 —

And for one glimpse of the rest of my room, here is a shelf with the steam engine I machined in college, an icon of St. Augustine. and some armor.  Pretty much sums it up.


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  • Martha O’Keeffe

    I hope you’re feeling better, and I’m fascinated by your “learn to speak with an Irish accent” book. I see by the Amazon page it teaches “step-by-step lessons to learn the Southern Irish dialect”, but that’s a very broad geographical territory.

    Southern Irish encompasses everything from Dubbalin to are ‘oo from Corrrrrk? to No, boy, I’m from Kerry!

    • Randy Gritter

      I wondered about that. My wife is Irish and always complains about how Americans can’t get the Irish right. They have 32 counties there with about 6 million people. They can pick up accents form all 32.

      Then there is Hollywood Irish. It sounds like exactly zero of them. The thing that always drives her nuts is the phrase “Top of the morning to you.” Every Irish character uses it all the time. Nobody in Ireland ever says it.

      It can be done. Daniel Day Lewis is from London. He played and Irish man in The Name Of The Father. He was totally convincing. I saw the moving in Dublin and the whole group said he could pass as a Dub anytime.

  • Y. A. Warren

    I love that you took photos of your book collection. We lost all our books to Hurricane Katrina, but we had photos of all of them, so my husband counted every one of them for our insurance claim. We are busily replacing the best of them.

    • LeahLibresco

      Good luck!

  • TheodoreSeeber

    I like the Chesterton and Lewis. Despite not speaking from your personal faith journey though, you really need to do yourself a favor and check out some Scott Hahn. I’ve found his books especially useful for that all important distinction between rational and irrational Christianity.

    • Mike

      Agree about Hahn; although: disclaimer: don’t be freaked, he’s not Ned Flanders.

  • turmarion

    I’d have to agree with you regarding Naming Infinity. I read it in anticipation of the bookclub, and it was quite a letdown. The authors didn’t seem to do a good balance in discussing math so that it’s not too technical for the general audience, but so that it also conveys what it’s talking about. It mainly seemed like a history of French and Russian mathematicians, and the religious aspect of it was, IMO, very shallow and undeveloped. Oh, well.

    • grok87

      Naming Infinity wasn’t quite the book I hoped it would be. I’m still glad I read it though. I found the story of Egorov and Chebotaryov quite touching.


      Egorov was a famous mathematician forced out because of his religious beliefs and exiled to prison in Kazan where he basically died of neglect.

      Chebotaryov was an atheist and appointed by the Soviets to replace Egorov as someone more suitable politically. But he resigned on principle because he objected to Egorov’s persecution over his religious beliefs. Chebotaryov’s career was then effectively over- he was posted to a academic post in Kazan- the boondocks.

      “eventually, [Egorov] by this time close to death, he was taken to the prison hospital in Kazan. Chebotaryov’s wife, Maria Smirnitskaia, was working as a doctor in the prison hospital and she recognised the famous mathematician. He was too ill to be saved, but Maria Smirnitskaia signed Egorov’s death certificate before his death and told the guards that he had died. She then took him to her own home where he died the following day in Chebotaryov’s arms. Egorov was buried in the Arskoe Cemetery in Kazan after a funeral attended only by Chebotaryov and Egorov’s wife.

      Naming Infinity, basically concludes, based on some primary evidence that Chebotaryov placed the cross on Egorov’s grave…

  • MeanLizzie

    Hope you’re feeling better. Me likee your bookshelfee

  • Mike

    Hi, death and life was the first book i read in U; I studied Urban Planning. It was nice to see it in the picture. Anyway, hate disqu bc i can’t access it at work, but, i guess that’s for the best. Hope you’re doing well and Calif. treating you well. We’ve never been there but hope to drive the coast one day. God bless and take care.

  • Beadgirl

    Tam Lin! One of my favorites.

    • LeahLibresco

      I don’t know what it is about the tone of the novel, but it totally ensorcelled me the first time I picked it up. I’m always breathless when I read it. (And now I’m tempted to reread)