Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I have been tagged by fellow Watcher's Council member Dave Schuler at the Glittering Eye. to admit which books adorn my shelves, what I hope to derive from them, and yet which remain unread.

A question was posed originally by Mark Safranski as to the books we have that remain unread. I am an avid reader, and under normal circumstance, I consume books shortly after taking ownership. Most of my library, which occupies the vast majority of wall space in my bedroom and work area and more than a few ungodly heavy boxes in the attic, have all long been digested, though few unread remain atop my desk, staring at me in mute remonstration for my neglect.

They are:

1. Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Law. I have always meant to read the Summa Theologica that Aquinas started writing in 1265. I love medieval history, and the Summa Theologica is a summary of the knowledge and philosphy of the towering Christian philosopher of that period. This Treatise on Law is an excerpt from that masterwork that I found in a bookstore a month ago. It is dense and requires a deal more focus than I could have given it during the chaos of the last thirty days. I suspect that I will have time to digest it by June.

2. Deen Koontz, The Darkest Evening of the Year. What can I say. I like Dean Koontz. And I love anything about dogs, sharing as I do my humble white trash abode with three labs. One of the reasons I appreciate Koontz is that it only takes a few hours to read any of his novels. Thus, I usually save Koontz novels for airline flights - which is what this novel awaits.

3. Bernard Lewis, From Babel to Dragomans, Interpreting the Middle East. A friend sent this to me recently, and I am eagerly anticipating reading it, as Lewis is possibly the greatest historian of the Islamic world. He has been writing on the topic for over half a century, and I have read many of his works, though not this one. I expect that I will break the cover on it over the next week.

4. Roger Morse, Making Mead. I just got this at the homebrew shop the other day. I have been making mead and beer for years, and this book looked like a good one, with some fine historical recipes and hints for improving the quality of the end product. I have not opened it yet, but will do so before spring brewing season begins with the first of the new honey crop.

5. Hughes, John Milton - The Complete Poems and Major Prose. This was another gift that, I am loathe to admit has been perched atop my stero unread for over a year. I love poetry and particularly English poets of the last millenium. I read much of Milton years ago, but it has been a very long time. His work is dense. It requires effort to tease the meaning from his prose, though my experience has been that it is worthwhile effort. My heart has just not been in it to make that effort these past weeks and months.

As Dave asks, "So, what’s in your anti-library? Books you own but haven’t read. What do you hope to learn or accomplish by reading them?"

I will pose that question to some of my fellow bloggers,

Soccer Dad
Shrink Wrapped
Seraphic Secret
Colossus of Rhodey
Dinah Lord

and if any other are interested in this exercise, I urge you to take up the task and link back.


Dave Schuler said...

A brewer?! So am I! You're a man of parts, GW. I've never made mead. I've been very tempted to try melomel. Have you ever made it?

I love Aquinas. I read the Latin when I've got the time--he's a great stylist.

Dave Schuler said...

And dogs! We've got a lot in common. I, too, am a member of a dog pack. We have three Samoyeds.

GW said...

Dave - I have seen the pics of your dogs that you've posted. They look great. I must admit, though, I have no experience with the Samoyed breed. I have only had labs, which are in essence two year old children in 90+ pound bodies and unlimited energy.

So what do you brew? Lagers, ales or stouts? There is little as satisfying as a good homebrew.

As to me, what I brew strong ales and, for mead, what I make is melomel. You are one of the few people I have ever had contact with that knows the difference.

I usually use about 5 lbs of asian pears and a pound or two of ranier cherries along with 15 lbs of honey for a 5 gallon brew. I am planning to make a barrels worth this year and age it for a few years in a used Jack Daniel's cask. We will have to see how that one comes out.

Dave Schuler said...

Sams are, of course, northern breed dogs. They are much less predatory, more pack oriented, and more gregarious than other northern breed dogs. They'd make great family dogs except for one little detail.

They are extremely high maintenance animals. They need lots of grooming and exercise to stay fit and happy. to that end my wife grooms dogs two or three times a week and I walk dogs 3-5 miles a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year.

I brew mostly ales or stouts. It used to be much harder to get bitter here than it is now and so I used to brew that. I had enough pils when I lived in Germany to last a lifetime.

Your melomel sounds magnificent.

Dinah Lord said...

Isn't it funny how you two have discovered that you are both brewers? Sounds like you need a drinker. Hah-hah. That would be me.

This looks like great fun GW-however after looking at your list I'm guessing I will win in the most lightweight category. Yes, there is a bodice ripper or two in my pile! I'll try and get back at ya later today or manana.

(As a birthday present to myself I go to a local bookstore and buy all the books I can carry. My birthday was last stack is still high.)

Cheers - Dinah

Dinah Lord said...

Lord GW - my anti Library list is half done. I ran into a Sam's Cherry Wheat on Saturday afternoon and didn't get back to it. ha-ha.

(Never having had a Cherry Wheat before I wondered aloud to my husband whether it tasted it like mead... Am I right?)