Sunday, January 11, 2015

Some books

I'm reading two interesting books right now.

One is on my Kindle. It's Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi and it's written by Amy-Jill Levine, who is a New Testament professor at VanderBilt Divinity School. She is Jewish, and it's informative to read her analysis of what the parables meant to First Century Jewish listeners. She's completely respectful of Christianity, and take it on its own terms when she talks about it. She has little puns and jokes throughout her writing that I enjoy.

I already own a print book by her, The Jewish Annotated New Testament, that I have only dipped into.

The second book I'm reading is a print book, and it is The Decoration of Houses by Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman, Jr. Edith Wharton, of course, wrote those great books about New York society life, The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence, and another of her best known works is Ethan Frome. I believe Ogden Codman is the photographer who took the pictures that are included in the book. I wanted a print version rather than an e-book precisely so I could see the pictures. Wharton is writing for a wealthy turn-of-the-(last)-century audience, so she talks about your drawing room, dining room, ballroom, and so on. Not entirely relevant to my late 20th Century ranch house, but I am hoping to gather some useful principles, even if the details vary. And it's interesting just to read her descriptions of architecture and decoration.

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