Aardy R. DeVarque (aardy) wrote,
Aardy R. DeVarque

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Books that I read in August

Books that I read in August:

34. Defoe, Daniel. A Journal of the Plague Year (240 p.)

35. Hutchins, Robert M. The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal Education (Great Books of the Western World, vol. 1) (131 p.)

35*. The Great Ideas: A Syntopicon I (Great Books of the Western World, vol. 2) (49 p. [out of 1082 p.])

35*. The Great Ideas: A Syntopicon II (Great Books of the Western World, vol. 3) (80 p. [out of 1345 p.])

36. Sakai, Stan. Bridge of Tears (Usagi Yojimbo, bk. 23) (246 p.)

37. Moore, John Hammond. The Faustball Tunnel (268 p.)

38. Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray (188 p.)

[*] For now, I've skipped the 700 academic essays that make up the rest of these two volumes--2,300 pages of high-level essays is a bit beyond my interest right now--so I'm counting them for number of pages read, but not for number of books read.

August total: 1,202 pages
YTD total: 10,648 pages

I started reading A Journal of the Plague Year on a lark, albeit a morbid one, given the recent worries about swine flu. It's not a fun, happy book, but taking that into account, I got more out of it than I thought I would.

kateshort picked up a set of The Great Books of the Western World several years back from a library that was getting rid of it. It's been sitting in our dining room looking impressive but otherwise gathering dust, so I thought I'd try to take a crack at reading as much of it as I could. So far, these are very long books that are very slow reads, however, so I'm probably just going to sprinkle them in here & there as I get to them, as I prefer my free-time reading be mostly for entertainment rather than edification. Next up: The Illiad & The Odyssey (which I've read before, but I think only in abridged or adapted versions.)

In 1944, 25 German sailors, including four U-boat captains, escaped from a POW camp in Arizona by digging a 178-foot-long tunnel, and then tried to get to Mexico. The Faustball Tunnel tells their (true) story, from the beginning of the war to their eventual return home to Germany. It has a lot of potential for good suspense & humor, and is a story that could make for a great movie (it's "The Great Escape", except with the roles reversed), but the book itself is often a somewhat dry reconstruction of the timeline & facts of the case, with some hilarious and some thought-provoking anecdotes tossed in. I thought I'd read somewhere that a movie had been or was being made of this, but now I can't find anything about that. Done up right, it'd be a great film. If you can find a copy of the book, it's worth a perusal, both for shedding light on a little-known story (most of the facts of their adventures were classified until the 1970s) and as a comparison of the treatment of POWs then to that of enemy combatants now.

Feudalism: Serf & Turf
Tags: books

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