Books I read in April 2010

In April, I read only 3 books, but one them was 22 CDs long…


I finally read Foulcault’s Pendulum, by Umberto Ecco.
This guys know how to write. It was helpful though to know some Latin, Hebrew, Greek, and a few other things. Sometimes it was kind of reading Ulysses.
here is a review posted on amazon:

Student of philology in 1970s Milan, Casaubon is completing a thesis on the Templars, a monastic knighthood disbanded in the 1300s for questionable practices. At Pilades Bar, he meets up with Jacopo Belbo, an editor of obscure texts at Garamond Press. Together with Belbo’s colleague Diotallevi, they scrutinize the fantastic theories of a prospective author, Colonel Ardenti, who claims that for seven centuries the Templars have been carrying out a complex scheme of revenge. When Ardenti disappears mysteriously, the three begin using their detailed knowledge of the occult sciences to construct a Plan for the Templars[…] In his compulsively readable new novel, Eco plays with “the notion that everything might be mysteriously related to everything else,” suggesting that we ourselves create the connections that make up reality. As in his best-selling The Name of the Rose, he relies on abstruse reasoning without losing the reader, for he knows how to use “the polyphony of ideas” as much for effect as for content. Indeed, with its investigation of the ever-popular occult, this highly entertaining novel should be every bit as successful as its predecessor. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/89. — Barbara Hoffert, “Library Journal”

The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova
I actually listened to it, 22 CDs, not boring one second.
She writes so well, and have you travel all over the world, in time and space. fascinating, very well researched.
I rigth away read her other available novel in English, see in the upcoming post of books read in May.

Here is an excerpt of a review posted on amazon. I don’t think any of their reviews really honor this book enough though.

The marketing campaign is underway and Elizabeth Kostova’s debut novel is already being hyped as the “Dracula Code” or some similar slogan. I disagree with that approach, not just because they are quite different in more ways than just storyline, but because “The Da Vinci Code” was a good thriller with elements of history mixed in, but it is not even in the same league with this book.

“The Historian” is an epic work of historical fiction that sweeps across Europe during the four decades between 1930 and the mid 1970s. It just also happens to involve the Dracula myth and a good dose of suspense. Now, some people may object to me calling this novel a work of historical fiction because it is mostly fiction and contains very few real characters. That is true, but Kostova does such an amazing job of making the Dracula myths come alive that you can’t help feeling that the legends and the story are real. Her research is stunning in its attention to detail and the wide range of topics Kostova must’ve studied. A previous reviewer slightly criticizes Kostova for spending too many pages describing the pilgrimage routes of monks hundreds of years ago. While sections like that do slow down the pace of the novel somewhat, they don’t distract from it.


Now, I start hearing so much about 2012 that I wanted to read something about it, to have an idea what this Mayan calendar was about.
So I read:

The Everything Guide to 2012, by Mark Heley
I think the author does a great job of presenting things impartially, at all levels, and telling you when some ideas are honestly gooffy.
The Mayan calendar explanation was inofrmative, but that was not at all the scary part of the book, rather it’s all the more natural events in our planet system, current and supposedly upcoming. Not to read if you are depressed!

Here is amazon presentation:

The winter solstice in 2012 is the end of the current Mayan calendar cycle. There are lots of theories about what will happen on this date. Will all life on Earth end? Will humans reach a higher spiritual plane? Will visitors from another planet arrive? Noted Mayan expert Mark Heley leads you through all the theories and debates surrounding this mysterious event. He takes a reasoned approach to the subject, relying on astronomy and climate changes, rather than myths and stories.

This book features fascinating information, including:

  • The Mayan cyclical view of time
  • Modern interpretations of prophecies and predictions of rapid change
  • Galactic alignment and Mayan theories on the origin of the universe
  • Earth changes, the fall of civilizations, and apocalyptic theories

You will learn about the possible cultural and social impacts of the predicted events. The author also shares his ideas on what life might be like around and after 12/21/2012. This guide also includes an easy-to-use Mayan calendar date conversion chart. With this chart, you can use the calendar as a personal predictive and astrological tool as you prepare for the quickly approaching date.

About the Author

Mark Heley (Glastonbury, England) has been a pioneering researcher of Mayan culture and the theories surrounding 2012 for nearly a decade. He is the producer and director of the 2012 documentary called Frequency Shift and has spoken at events and conferences across the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe, and the United States on the subject. He has been a professional journalist for twenty years and has an honors degree in philosophy from Cambridge University.



Matthew The Poor, Orthodox Prayer Life, pp.284-287

This post concludes my reading of this amazing book by Matthew The Poor. It was my Lenten book this year, and tomorrow is Pentecost! Just in time!

“…They are so enflammed by the Spirit
with such joy and love that,
if it were possible,
they could gather every human being
into their very hearts,
without distinguishing the bad and the good.”
St Macarius the Great, Homily 18.8

“What, succintly, is purity?
It is a heart that shows mercy to all created nature.”
St Issac the Syrian

“What is the sign that a man has attained to purity of heart?
When he sees all men as good
and none appears to him to be unclean and defiled.”
St Issac the Syrian, Homily 37

Matthew The Poor, Orthodox Prayer Life, pp.227-231

One of my favorite quotes from The Ladder:
“The man wearing
blessed, God-given mourning,
like a wedding garment,
gets to know the spiritual laughter of the heart.”
St John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, 7.44

We may liken fasting to a burning coal
and prayer to frankincense.
Neither has value without the other,
but together,
the sweet savor of their incense fills the air.

“When a man begins to fast,
he straightaway years in his mind
to enter into converse with God.”
St Isaac the Syrian, Homily 37

Matthew The Poor, Orthodox Prayer Life, Chapter 12, pp.215-228

If you want to read about Tears and Compunction, this is an excellent chapter

Matthew The Poor, Orthodox Prayer Life, pp.212

“The sun passing over the earth produces day;
and the holy and adorable Name of the Lord Jesus,
unceasingly shining in the mind,
gives birth to a countless number of sun-like thoughts.”
St Hesychius of Jerusalem

“A monk, whether he is eating, or drinking,
or sitting, or travelling,
or doing anything else,
must constantly cry out:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me!
that the Name of the Lord Jesus,
descending to the depths of the heart,
may humble the snake nestling in the fields there,
and save and vivify the soul.
Therefore continue unceasingly with the Name of the Lord Jesus,
that your heart may embrace the Lord,
and that the Lord may embrace your heart,
and that these two may be one.”
St John Chrysostom

Do not separate your heart from God,
but remain with Him,
and always guard your heart
with the remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ,
until the Name of the Lord
takes root in your heart
and it thinks of nothing else
– that Christ may be magnified in you.”
St John Chrysostom