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It has been suggested that a list of proposed books to be discussed would be helpful for those who wish to read along and contribute to the discussion. Seemed like a good idea to me, so I have put together some of the books I am reading, or have read, with those of other contributors for the next couple of months.

But the one thing I learned from the Monday Night Mystery series is that what is written is not always what will happen. Life sometimes interferes, a new, exciting book is published, someone forgot a deadline, etc. But it always helps to have a guide of some sort.

The list that follows is not all inclusive, and should you have a personal favorite, please mention it in the comments, where you could also volunteer to write a diary for this series yourself, if you are so inclined. I am also very interested in hearing about books that you absolutely hated, as Dem Beans showed in The Reagan Diaries. Please give it some thought and let me know if you have any ideas.

On to the list:

  • ask has volunteered, after a little gentle arm twisting and flat out begging, to write about The Swerve, How The World Became Modern, winner of the Pulitzer and National Book Award, by Steven Greenblatt. The Swerve is the story of a book collector, Poggio, who in the early 15th century found Lucretius' long poem On The Nature Of Things, written during the time of the Roman Empire.
  • The Church of Scientology has been hit pretty hard lately with some powerful works on its inner structure, its teachings and its policies as well as some high ranking defectors and a new lawsuit. Three new books that have been published in the last couple of months and one from 2009 all seem to fit a pattern. I will probably cover this topic over two weeks, starting with the personal narratives and then moving on to the journalists' reports.
    • Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill and Lisa Pulitzer. Jenna Hill is the niece of the current head of the church who was raised from birth as a Scientologist and only escaped a few years ago. Her story is the most affecting, perhaps due to the sure touch of her co-writer, Lisa Pulitzer.
    • Also included is Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology
      by Marc Headley, another Scientologist from infancy, he escaped from the Hemet compound with a police escort after Scientology Security officers tried to run him off the road.
    • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief by Pulitzer Prize winning author Lawrence Wright is the best overview of the Church. Going back to the days before L. Ron Hubbard fled to the sea, Wright examines the roots of the movement, its history, including Opertion Snow White, the largest domestic surveillence effort in US Histroy, its battles with the IRS,and its perceived enemies and the current leadership's troubling behaviors.
    • And Church of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology by John Sweeny. A reporter for the BBC who had covered wars, revolutions and chaos in more than 60 countries including Romania, Algeria, Iraq, Chechnya, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Bosnia, lost it when he was forced to deal with Scientologists. On film.

  • Tom Reiss, author of The Orientalist, has written The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, using the father of Alexander Dumas to explore the issues of slavery, race and society in the late 16th and early 17th century France and Europe.
  • Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time, by Ira Katznelson looks at the New Deal Era from a different perspective than most past works on this time period. At 721 pages, I expect to report on this one some time in May.
  • Also in May, I hope to have Diana in NoVa's diary on Jan Reid's biography of the brilliant Texas Governor, Ann Richards ("Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."), Let the People in: The Life and Times of Ann Richards.
  • And, from bekosiluvu, a look at Margaret Rossiter's three volume study of Women Scientists in America. Part III was just published last month so we may not get this one until later in April or perhaps May.
  • Also on my kindle waiting to be read and discussed is Kurt Eichenwald's 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars (e-book currently on sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the iBookstore for $2.99.)

If you are interested in reading any of the previous entries in this weekly series, or any of the other series of the Readers and Book Lovers Group, just click on the name of the series and you will be whisked away to a list of the diaries for that series.

Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule




DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
MON 11:30 AM Political Book Club Susan from 29
Mon 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery Susan from 29, michelewln
Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
TUES 5:00 PM Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left bigjacbigjacbigjac
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM All Things Bookstore Dave in Northridge
Tue 8:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views bookgirl
WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
Thu (first each month) 11:00 AM Monthly Bookpost AdmiralNaismith
Thu (third each month - on hiatus) 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
Fri 6:00 PM Books Go Boom! Brecht
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.

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