Library Loot: June 6-12

Despite having a ton of library books piled by the door, four recently purchased books currently sitting unread by my bed and a small collection of advance copies from last week’s BEA/Book Bloggers Convention stacked in my living room, I went a little crazy during yesterday’s library visit. I’m hoping with summer on the horizon, this latest haul of books will provide an ample supply of reading material as I lounge in the park reading the hours away before the arrival of fall.

I’ve been wanting to read David Grann’s The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness and Obsession ever since I saw him interviewed on The Charlie Rose Show. Who knows, if I enjoy his collection of articles I might go on to read his The Lost City of Z.

One day while browsing the bookstore across from my workplace I spotted a discounted copy of Lisa Miller’s Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife happened to catch my eye. Being the cheap skate that I am, I went looking for it at the library and much to my joy I was  able to find a copy. Looking forward to giving it a shot.

I’m a huge sucker for memoirs and autobiographies by Middle Eastern authors, especially Israelis. I’ve had my eye on Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness for several years. Maybe it’s about time finally I read it.

Lemme see, a book that weighs the evidence both for and against the existence of God. And it’s by the same guy who wrote Helter Skelter? If that’s the case then Divinity of Doubt: The God Question by Vincent Bugliosi should be very interesting. Can’t wait to start reading this one.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Renaissance. I’m hoping The Renaissance: A Short History by Paul Johnson as part of Modern Library’s Chronicles series doesn’t let me down.

What the heck, let’s add another book on the Renaissance, shall we? The Renaissance is also short and it comes from the folks at Greenhaven Press, the ones who publish the Opposing Viewpoint and Current Controversies series. I’m thinking about reading this at the same time as Paul Johnson’s book and doing one review that encompasses both books.

I knew Bart Ehrman’s book Forged had recently been released, but I had no idea there’s another new book of his floating around. I’m about 50 pages into Did Jesus Exist? and so far I’m liking it.

Months ago I was excited to join Kinna’s African Reading Challenge, but unfortunately so far I haven’t done squat about it. Shame on me. Maybe grabbing Nigeria: Current Controversies will inspire me to finally read a few books about Africa.

After having pretty good luck with Tim Harford’s The Undercover Economist and The Logic of Life as well as Levitt and Dubner’s Freakonomics, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that The Economic Naturalist will also provide me with a trained economist’s take on those little mysteries of everyday life.

Back in December I received as a Christmas present a copy of Charles C. Mann’s 1493. Before I finally read it, I think it would be cool to read his earlier book 1491 in addition to Barnet Litvinoff’s 1991 book 1492: The Decline of Medievalism and the Rise of the Modern Age. By reading these two books first, I’m hoping I’ll gain a greater appreciate and understand what Mann has to say in his book 1493.

Well, this should hold me for a while. If anything I have no shortage of books to read at this time and quite a summer of reading ahead of me. Therefore I better get to work. Fall will be here before I know it.

9 thoughts on “Library Loot: June 6-12

  1. I like Charles Mann’s 1491 quite a lot and have assigned the article-length overview he wrote for The Atlantic to first year undergrads. They like it, though it works best as part of a set of readings.

    I’ve read some of the primary literature that forms the basis of 1491 and appreciate Mann’s take on the material. He certainly has a point of view but he does not try to hide it and instead discusses the data and scholarly disagreements about how to interpret it. I appreciate that, both when I do and when I do not agree with his conclusions. In my estimation, Mann’s analysis stands up well in the light of more recent academic research.

    1493 is about to come out in paperback. I’m looking forward to that.


    • Excellent! As always, I appreciate it when you bring your scholarly perspective to our frequent discussions. This is great information. You’ve also inspired me to read Mann’s books!


  2. This should keep you busy, indeed! I’m excited to see I’m not the only one whose library list is directly impacted by The Charlie Rose Show, though I think I’ll probably take a pass on the Grann book. I really enjoyed The Lost City of Z but I am laughably easy to scare and anything subtitled “Tales of Murder, Madness and Obsession” promises more sleepless nights than enjoyment for me. Enjoy your loot!


    • Thanks! I’ll see if I can bump it up to the top of the reading list. BTW, I’ve heard the Lost City of Z is terrific. I need to put that one on my list, too.
      Nice to hear from you! Drop by again!


  3. Pingback: Library Loot: July 4-10 | Maphead's Book Blog

  4. Pingback: My first journey to the land of (Amos) Oz. | Maphead's Book Blog

  5. Pingback: The Devil and Sherlock Holmes by David Grann | Maphead's Book Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s