Thursday, October 4, 2018

First Lines: September 2018 edition


As we lurch toward November 6th, this Common Household Mom has many deep thoughts, but not a moment to write them down.  I have time to read, only because it (sometimes) helps me fall asleep.

Here are the first lines of the books I finished reading during September.

Book 1
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

Book 2
The gate was packed with weary travelers, most of them standing and huddled along the walls because the meager allotment of plastic chairs had long since been taken.

Book 3
Prologue
In early September 2017, in the eighth month of the Trump presidency, Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs and the president’s top economic adviser in the White House, moved cautiously toward the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

Book 4
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

Book 5
The Forethought
Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being black here at the dawning of the Twentieth Century.  This meaning is not without interest to you, Gentle Reader; for the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.




The titles and authors revealed:

Book 1
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling.  © 1997 (or 1998 in US).  Delightful to read again.  It was calming to spend time with these well-known characters who face evil and adolescence all at the same time.  But in this case we know that they will eventually vanquish the evil and become functioning adults. I am eagerly awaiting the library’s kindle copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  I am 49th in line. 

Book 2
Skipping Christmas: Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham. © 2001
Either I was in a foul and desperate mood when I read this, or Grisham dropped a brick on his foot during the writing of this book, and he was in a foul mood.  It was supposed to be funny, but I found it quite annoying.   I don’t know why, but I did finish it.

Book 3
Fear: Trump in the White House, by Bob Woodward  © 2018.
This was the first book I have ever bought in advance of the release date.  I wasn’t interested in the other tell-all books about the Trump Administration, but this one promised to be assiduously researched and truthful.  Since Woodward is, in fact, a writer of integrity, there are holes in the narrative where I wanted to understand better just what was going on - if he couldn't say it with certainty, he's not going to conjecture.  Filling in the missing info will have to wait for the historians.  But on the whole, my reaction to the book is: Oh, my Lord, save us.  This was a book I could not read at night with any hope of peacefully falling asleep.

Book 4
Colossians (NRSV), by a follower of Paul, or maybe Paul.  ©~50 to 80 C.E.
After reading the Woodward book, I needed something very holy to read.  Colossians was a reasonably good antidote to the subject matter of Woodward’s book.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on earthly things.  These days, I’m finding it hard to do that.

Book 5
The Souls of Black Folk, by W.E.B. Dubois © 1903
I started reading this book in March, and it took me this long to finish it, not because it was a slog to read, but because other more pressing reading kept coming up.   This is a book that is possible to read in spurts, the way I did.  Even though it was written over 100 years ago, much of it is still pertinent today, sadly.  Du Bois has insights about humanity in general, and American society in particular.  I recommend this book.

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