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Devshirme: Writings of a Greek Orthodox Priest
OrthoCelt


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Mon Jan 18, 2010

The Great War In Africa

My latest read is The Great War In Africa by Byron Farwell. The book is an engaging and fun read on a fairly obscure topic. You may remember that I blogged last year about An Ice Cream War, which is a novel that takes place in German East Africa. My grandfather (direct descent) fought for the US in WWI so perhaps my interest in the subject is some sort of atavistic phenomenon. In any case, below the fold is a sample paragraph that I chose at random to give a taste of how the book reads:

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Posted by: Fr. Gregory on Jan 18, 10 | 9:48 pm | Books


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Mon Jan 11, 2010

New Book From Fr. Paul

Fr. Paul Tarazi has a new commentary out on Genesis - check it out here and here. I remember Fr. Paul saying that when he finished his intro series he would start doing individual commentaries, so hopefully we can look forward to many more.


Posted by: Fr. Gregory on Jan 11, 10 | 10:34 pm | Books


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Thu Dec 24, 2009

The Blue Carbuncle

As always before Christmas I am rereading A Christmas Carol, but I recently read another story that is associated with Christmas though it really isn't a holiday-themed story; it just takes place during the season. We were in BJs recently and I swung the cart by the book section. I snagged a Sherlock Holmes book for a really cheap price. It had the ominous tag on the cover "now a major motion picture" or something like that - I have since learned that there is a movie opening on Christmas day that makes Holmes and Watson into James Bond-type figures - the stories are nothing like that at all. Anyways, I had read a few Holmes stories years ago but now am hooked. Sadly, I will seem like a bandwagon jumper but in my defense I did buy the book before I was aware a new movie was coming out! You can read The Adventure Of The Blue Carbuncle here.


Posted by: Fr. Gregory on Dec 24, 09 | 3:11 pm | Books


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Wed Dec 09, 2009

iPhones, Jesus, Shakespeare and Bishop Savas

Bishop Savas was in town for an event at St. George last Saturday (his nameday) and we had a fun time together going over what books we were reading (this is a ritual we have going back to when I was in the seminary). His Grace showed me a cool "app" on his iPhone - a Shakespeare concordance similar to this. For fun he typed in "Jesus" and the results came in: there are four mentions of Jesus in all of Shakespeare's surviving plays. This is a bit deceptive; there are references to Jesus and God using other names, but it is interesting that the specific word itself only pops up those four times. This page lists the references - you can click on them to read the passage - two are from Henry IV and two from Henry VI.


Posted by: Fr. Gregory on Dec 09, 09 | 7:30 am | Books


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Mon Jun 01, 2009

Pelicans

From New And Collected Poems: 1931-2001 by Czeslaw Milosz. Translated by the author and Robert Hass:

I marvel at the incessant labor of pelicans.
Their low flights over the surface of the sea,
Poising in one place, suddenly diving
For a singled-out fish, the white splash-
All day, from six in the morning. What are views
For them, what is blue ocean, a palm tree, the horizon
(Where, at the ebb, like distant ships,
Rocks crop out and blaze,
Yellow, red and purple)?
Don't come too close to the truth. Live with a representation
Of invisible beings who dwell above the sun,
Free, indifferent to necessity and hunger.


Posted by: Fr. Gregory on Jun 01, 09 | 8:52 pm | Books

[40] comments (402 views) 

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Tue Mar 10, 2009

Foucault's Pendulum Redux

I first read Foucault's Pendulum by the great Umberto Eco my first year in seminary when Fr. Pentiuc loaned me his copy. It was right when, fittingly, I started taking Hebrew and between trying to figure out the book and working on my Hebrew lessons it is a wonder I had time for anything else! Anyways, I am rereading the book and "get" it this time around. I don't envy the person who has to translate Eco into English - he is an incredible writer, but there is so much arcane material. I have found quite a few words that I was not too familiar with - famulus is one that springs to mind - it means a personal assistant. There is much on the Templars, the Rosy Cross, Cabala, the Crusades, Nazis, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the Eiffel Tower, all sorts of wild things. I definitely prefer it to the Da Vinci Code and similar novels, although those have more action and adventure. And I daresay Eco is a much better researcher than Dan Brown. In one of his books he has an essay on how he writes and he mentions his painstaking research methods - he goes to every place he writes about to measure things and make sure he has it all down.


Posted by: Fr. Gregory on Mar 10, 09 | 3:41 pm | Books

[23] comments (606 views) 

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Thu Jan 08, 2009

A Great Coffee Table Book

I recently acquired A Vanished World by Wilfrid Thesiger, and it is a marvelous book to keep out for guests to thumb through. It is not huge and expensive like many such books and has stunning pictures. The book is a collection of shots taken by the famous author back in the day in several different places. Most feature people set against the stark landscapes of the Empty Quarter, the marshes of Iraq, the West Nile swamps, and the now very-much-in-the-news area of Darfur. I blogged a month or so ago about his book on the Marsh Arabs and will soon blog about Arabian Sands, another one of his that I am plowing through. You can check out many of the photos from A Vanished World at this site, which I believed I linked to earlier. Great stuff.


Posted by: Fr. Gregory on Jan 08, 09 | 10:50 pm | Books

[21] comments (447 views) 

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Fri Sep 19, 2008

Wilfred Thesiger And The Marsh Arabs

I was in a bookstore the other day and was delighted to find that Wilfred Thesiger's book on the Marsh Arabs had been reprinted - you can find it here. Thesiger was a fine chronicler of his many adventures, with an eye for interesting cultural details and an adventurous spirit that took him all over the place. He also was a talented photographer, and his pictures are available for viewing at the website of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. Here is a photo from the epic crossing of the Empty Quarter of Arabia:
image


Posted by: Fr. Gregory on Sep 19, 08 | 12:13 am | Books

[18] comments (381 views) 

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Mon Aug 04, 2008

A Special Book

I received a very special book in the mail today - In Search Of Anti-Semitism by the late William F. Buckley. I have not read it yet - probably will get to it later in the week - but what makes it special is that it is from his "personal collection". Now, I doubt this was sitting on his library shelf at home. He probably received a number of copies of whatever he wrote to give to friends or whatnot. National Review's website has recently put up notices that a particular book from his collection was up for sale, but they all sold out immediately.

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Posted by: Fr. Gregory on Aug 04, 08 | 10:31 pm | Books

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Fri Jun 13, 2008

RIP

I turned the computer on this afternoon to discover the terrible news that Tim Russert had died suddenly of a heart attack at age 58. He was a true gentleman and about as objective as it gets for the media. Although a surprise it is strangely fitting that his death comes on the weekend of Fathers Day. Russert wrote a book about his relationship with Big Russ, his dad, and then put out another book of letters that he had received in response to the first work. Russert clearly got the importance of responsible and caring fatherhood. I am putting the Big Russ book on my list of upcoming things to read. May he rest in peace.


Posted by: Fr. Gregory on Jun 13, 08 | 7:17 pm | Books

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