The Catcher in the Rye | Recommendation

Books I am reading.

Here are some recent books that have interested me enough to mention them to you:

The Catcher in the Rye.  Yes.  The recent PBS  special on Salinger hooked me, so I bought the book by the same name (co-authored by David Shields and Shane Salerno) along with a new copy of Catcher.  I want to give some serious time to  Salinger and thought that a re-read of Catcher would launch me into the proper mood.  It did.  I loved it.  Moreso than my memory of past readings.  I had forgotten the humor.

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  This book is so contemporary what with the early 20th century effort to rein in private excess.  It gave me a deepened appreciation for TR and an introduction to WHT whom I had previously stereotyped as an overweight golfer – true, but there’s so much more.  The poignant part of the book for me was  the central role of investigative journalism.  I worry about its present decline, especially in small communities where subscription-based newspapers are dwindling in circulation.

Zealot   A fascinating look at the historical Jesus by a Muslim.   I have enjoyed discussing and learning from this book with friends in a reading group.

Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson.  The author’s book on Steven Jobs interested me enough to read it twice.  I am so impressed by Isaacson’s ability to dig into complicated topics and pass on his understanding to lay readers.  I have Isaaacson’s Kissinger and Benjamin Franklin on my to read list.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.  A Righteous Gentile vs The Third Reich by Eric Metaxas.  I had recently read Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison and had to learn more about him from another source.  This worked, but I was surprised at how few biographies exist on this fascinating iconoclast.

One on One: Behind the Scenes with the Greats in the Game by John Feinstein.  I like his golf articles and thought this foray into several other sports might not appeal to me, but it did.  Now will Feinstein ever write a [definitive] probing, objective biography of Tiger Woods?

Flight Behavior: A Novel  by Barbara Kingsolver.   Her scientific background and creativity with words bring me back to her.   I’d put this book just a tad below the masterpiece, Lacuna.  Not a bad place to be.

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks.  Like his Uncle Tungsten, this book explores a topic close to the neurologist’s heart while applying his diagnostic, scientific, and story telling skills.

Christmas | Tom Warren Family

Looking back … WAAAAY back

Here’s a sizable chunk of our annual holiday letter for 2013.   This year it’s easy for us to mix personal highlights with those acted out on a larger stage:  

Two thousand thirteen has been a noteworthy year for us highlighted by our fiftieth  wedding anniversary celebration, a delightful gathering with much of Mim’s family joining us up north.  Fifty years . . . Good grief.   The nineteen sixties don’t seem that far back into the past for us, but it must look like ancient history for many.   When we were married on June 29, 1963, fifty years back from then was 1913 – before World War I. . . . ancient history.  The older we get, the closer even those times are through the rear view mirror.   Interesting.

Nineteen sixty-three registered as a special year for us in other ways.  The JFK assassination was burned into our memories, and we relived the scenes in November this year as if it were yesterday.    And reliving the 1963 March on Washington made us thankful for progress but frustrated by the increasing gap between rich and poor.

Twenty-thirteen kept up our sweet rhythms of recent years: spending lots of time at our Lake Superior cabin, visiting our relatives in Chattanooga over Thanksgiving, and welcoming our English “brother” Mike Savage during late summer.  We also became better acquainted with the ancestral land and family history of Rachel’s husband, David Morrissey, during a fascinating visit to Ireland with his parents, Ann and Michael.  (They could be professional tour guides).

We stay active on various fronts in Beloit, and like what we see happening here.  Lots of new families have re-energized the place with their time and talents. Our favorite vocation is still occasional kid-sitting grandsons Jack & Will in Wheaton, Illinois.  That’s a bit of paradise.