Sunday, January 29, 2023

Rome - Baltimore

January 29, 2023 Peace and Good, I flew back to the States this past Saturday and early this week I had a number of doctors' appointments. Overall, nothing new and I have to arrange for some more follow ups when I am back in town, but that seems to be where things are right now. On Monday I spent some time with a prayer group. I love doing adult formation, and this was a long question and answer period. I am staying at a condo that the friars have in Ocean City, MD. The weather is cool, but so far there has been very little rain. I have been listening to tapes, and reading books, and resting, and walking. These days have been very good, and I will be here until the 9th when I head back to Rome. I have finished some reading: Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Roy Jenkins This is a short biography and account of the career of Roosevelt from his birth to his death. It speaks of his tendency to waffle on decisions, his highly political personality, his struggles during the Depression and World War II, etc. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen This is the first book that I have read by a Vietnamese author. The story begins with the evacuation of members of the Republic of Vietnam’s army. One of those evacuated is a communist spy who is to report to the Vietnamese government on the activities of the refugee community in the States. He does this, but is eventually sent by them to invade Vietnam where he is captured. Instead of being welcomed, he is sent to a re-education camp because they feel he has been corrupted by western society. This is one of those few books that caused me to think profoundly, to go beyond my cultural assumptions. Caesar Chavez by Charles River Editors This is a short biography of the civil rights worker and how he fought for the protection and dignity of farm workers, especially in the southwest of the US. The author speaks of how he worked so hard to identify the needs of that community. He speaks of his allies and enemies. Six Impossible Things by John Gribbin This was one of those books which was impossible to understand because it deals with quantum physics. Yet, the author intended one to be confused, for the topic is confusing even to those who are studying the issue. What I found useful was to see an area of study which goes beyond my ability to conceive. I often say that the true scholar is the one who knows what he does not know. The History of the Vikings by Christopher Fee This is a Learn25 course on the history of the Vikings. It includes information about whom they were, where they went, why they pillaged other countries, what their religion was, their mythology, why they are still a matter of interest to the present day. The course is very well organized, and I would like to read as many of Christopher Fee’s presentations as possible. Hemingway’s France by Winston Conrad This is an account of Hemingway’s formative years as a writer when he and many other American exiles spent time in Paris. Conrad speaks of the influences from art, sport and other writers. The presentation is sympathetic to his eccentricities, and tends to overlook some of his cruelties (e.g. his relationships with his wives). A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain This short book amounts to a short play on the early years of Madame Curie’s studies and experimentation in Paris, especially how she met her husband. She was a woman married to science and was afraid to open her heart to Curie when she first met him, but slowly through a respectful and slow courtship and through their mutual interests, they formed a strong bond of love and partnership. Alexandra Feodorovna by Hourly History This is a short biography of the last empress of Russia, the wife of Nicholas II. Even more than Nicholas, she fought to retain the rights of the autocracy against anyone who even suggested democratic reform. She is seen as a loving, and even doting mother. Her political influence, especially under the guidance of Rasputin, is seen as disastrously destructive. Whirlwind: War in the Pacific by Richard Freeman This is an account of the early naval battles between the Japanese Empire and the US during World War II: Pearl Harbor, the Coral Sea and Midway. The author tries to give the overview but then also enters into great detail at technical issues that can sometimes be confusing and boring. Have a good week. Shalom fr. Jude


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