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What We’ve Been Reading

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In our travels thus far, we’ve had much time at the end of our days without the distractions of phone or internet. So, we play cards regularly, be it hearts or cribbage; we sing church hymns or ’90s pop anthems or whatever comes to mind; and we read.  We would like to recommend our current reading list to you.

On our drive up to Alaska, I read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. In the fantasy novel, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a child, is Earth’s last hope in defeating an alien world threat. Utilitarian ideals abound in the novel and are ultimately challenged by Ender’s experiences. That, in addition to values of love and friendship, combine to make this a gripping novel.

I am currently reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac. It follows Jack on his quest for meaning and identity across North America in the late 1940s and early 50s. It’s a novel full of surprising and powerful on-the-road experiences. “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”

Nathan is reading Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun.  It’s the story of a Norwegian man named Isak who ventures out to find a homestead in the wild and raise his family.  So far it is a testament to the cooperation of man and earth through his hard work and available resources. “Many things he had thought of doing. But hard as he worked, unreasonably hard–what did it help against time? Time–it was the time that was too short.”

Isaiah has read Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom, a convicting jeremiad of the modern university and the liberal arts.   Bloom writes that, “Education in our times must try to find whatever there is in students that might yearn for completion, and to reconstruct the learning that would enable them autonomously to seek that completion.”  As it stands now,”There is no vision…of what an educated human being is. The student gets no intimation that great mysteries might be revealed to him, that new and higher motives of action might be discovered within him, that a different and more human way of life can be harmoniously constructed by what he is going to learn.”

Isaiah is finishing Blank Slate by Steven Pinker, a convicting exploration of the sciences of human nature.  If you are interested in social and evolutionary psychology, behavioral genetics, and the social sciences you will find this book incredibly rewarding.  It will inform your worldview.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. krista #

    You guys play cribbage?! Game time, when you return.

    Alex loves the Ender’s … series and really enjoys them, which I have heard from several people, so apparently it is time to check it out.

    As far as the genetics subject, I am reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks currently, which is incredibly informative as well as interesting. +suggest

    September 6, 2011
  2. sarah daeuber #

    Ender’s Game is one of the best Sci Fi novels ever written!
    On the Road is perfect for this kind of trip.
    Bill Bryson is also a popular travel literature choice.
    Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail)and I’m a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away are good ones.
    Right now Andrew and I are reading Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality. So far it is extremely interesting.
    Stay safe and warm.
    Sarah

    September 8, 2011

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