THE GIFT OF READING
I received several new books for Christmas. In addition, family and friends purchased gift cards for two leading national booksellers that I have yet to redeem. Among the books I was gifted with is Jimmy Carter's new book, Our Endangered Values. I just started this one. Carter defines a set of endangered personal, cultural, and national values differently than the set of values articulated and expressed by the right wing of the Republican party. It is the values of divisiveness on the right and left that Carter seems to want to see curbed.
GOOD POEMS. Another gift book, which I requested, is Good Poems for Hard Times selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor. I assume these are poems which Keillor has shared on his daily public radio segment "Writer's Almanac," which I listen to routinely (the local NPR affiliate is WFYI and it is typically on in my VW. I will add Keillor's volume to the poems I read as I retire each night.
BRYSON ON HISTORY. My neice and her husband gave me Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. I haven't cracked this one open yet, but I have enjoyed other books by Bryson.
INDIA IMMERSION. With one of my gift cards, I purchased the DVD movie City of Joy, the 1992 movie featuring Patrick Swayze set in Calcutta, India. On the one hand it's an inspiring story of overcoming caste, poverty, and personal burn-out, on the other hand it is one bit of info on Indian culture that I am immersing in as I prepare for a visit to India at the end of January 2006 and the 2000-mile fundraising bike ride in January-February 2007. I've been checking books and videos out of the public library as part of this preparation. I'm also reading some of the books by missionaries Wesley Duewel and E. Stanley Jones. I'm open to "must read" books on India. Suggestions, anyone?