books and reading · television

Snorting Books

Because some people’s lives are better than soap operas!
I am absolutely obsessed with Philippa Gregory novels. My sister gave me a copy of “The Queen’s Fool,” about a Spanish Jewess escaping the Inquisition in Queen Mary I’s England, and then my mother-in-law lent me her copy of “The Other Boleyn Girl,” about those infamous Boleyn sisters and Henry VIII. (And no, the movie was not this good.) If this continues, I’m not going to get any kind of writing done this summer. And did I mention that I picked up copies of three of her other books? “The Virgin’s Lover,” “The Boleyn Inheritance” and “The Constant Princess” are next on my hit list.

When my husband asked “why the hell” I was buying so many books at Barnes & Nobles, I explained that I sheepishly explained that I had a coupon. No need to explain that I was emotionally cheating on my life with my latest addiction. Seriously, I can’t leave the house while I’m reading these books. I can’t get out of bed. I can’t eat. (Okay, well I have a Book Chair and I eat in front of it.) 

You know I’m a fan of vampires but lately, my hunger for historical fiction knows no bounds. Did I mention I actually picked up Philippa Gregory books INSTEAD of starting another vampire book, the first of the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris that my sister loves so much she’s got every single one on her Kindle? And no, I won’t be watching the “True Blood” TV show based on the novels–I hear it’s too steamy for my blood.

I read somewhere that reading is antisocial behavior. But it feels so good!
What are you reading?
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17 thoughts on “Snorting Books

  1. As a man I find Gregory’s books “offensive.” The men are for the most part stupid and incapable of putting their minds to much else besides for chasing the nearest skirt. While the women, those not under the control of patriarchy, are held to be models of virtue and reason. I have no problem with this as long as we agree that mildly misogynistic literature where the women are sex kittens always in need of rescuing is also ok. So the only people who should be allowed to enjoy Gregory are those who have never taken swipes and male dominated literature. Anyone else who does is a hypocrite.
    All of this is besides for the history issue. Gregory does not understand the sixteenth century and what made people tick then. She is too caught up in her modern biases.
    Well to each their own. Enjoy!

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  2. You will love the Sookie Stackhouse books. They are a quick read, and lots of fun.

    And Aliza, we have got to whip you up some troll repellent. The infestation on the blog lately esta fuera de control.

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  3. My summer reading has sucked my focus of attention away from anything important (like, oh, I don't know, doing the work required of me to earn an income…ha ha ha)…I am just grabbing books left and right and devouring them….I too get trapped in my own internal reality when reading and I find it hard to disconnect for anything — even to eat!

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  4. Izgad, when you wrote that stuff about men in her books, I had to really stop and think if I could remember any male characters. There really haven't been any strong male characters with the except for Mr Stafford and George in The Other Boleyn Girl or Hannah's father and husband in The Queen's Fool and even that's a stretch.

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  5. Ruby, as of today I'm going to start moderating comments before they hit the blog. Feels gross but these people really can't control themselves. Now that I won't let them say mean comments about non-Orthodox Jews, they've resorted to just making mean comments about me.

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  6. I'm reading “Every Book Its Reader” by Basbanes (excellent) and “God in Search of Man” by Heschel(life changing).

    Glad to hear that you love books so much!

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  7. I don't like the Sookie Stackhouse books, although I might check out the tv show True Blood once its out on dvd. Two supernatural series I like are Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld and Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series.

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  8. R' Abraham Joshua Heschel is one of the most brilliant and under-appreciated Jewish thinkers and scholars of the 20th century. He was a master of Aggadah, Chassidut, Zohar, and overall, the Spiritual and Emotional aspects of Judaism. Like the Lubavitcher Rebbe, he viewed pnimiyut ha torah as the Neshama of Torah, and the halacha as the Guf, neither of which can exist independently of one another. Part of why I think he has been rejected by Orthodoxy is that he was able to articulate these ideas so clearly; he viewed Shabbos as an island of time, whereas Rav Soloveitchik rebuked him and stated famously that it is not anything more than the Lamed Tes Melachos. I commend you for delving into Heschel, but I would like to caution you: his books are seforim, not books that you would necessarily curl up to on a recliner. Being a teacher of this text, I will tell you that the extensive footnotes at the end of the chapters (if you have the Macmillan ediiton) require analysis, when applicable, to fully understand the text. You need to understand his source material in order to fully appreciate and understand what he is saying, which is true of any book or sefer of this nature. For an interesting counterpoint, I would read Ish Ha Halakha, and then after, maybe Hartman or Greenberg, in order to have a fuller understanding of contemporary Jewish Philosophy. You have nonetheless made a fine choice and I wish you hatzlacha with your learning of this sefer. If you want to see Heschel at his finest, check out “Torah Min Ha Shamayim: Be Aspaklariah shel Dorot,” available in English as “Heavenly Torah: As Reflected Throughout The Generations.” That will REALLY change your life, and will keep you busy for a while.

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  9. Me Never!

    As I vigorously attempt to rub out the pentagram made from kitty stew ashes on my carpeted floor. My landlord might object to my empirical experimentations with my field of study. 😛

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  10. Izgad, you think that's a joke only because you haven't met my Mama and the altar she's making offerings to so I can “burn in hell” for my sins. And I didn't even tell her I converted. Never will. That would just put her over the edge. It's a good thing I ran away before she took my sisters for an exorcism.

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  11. I loved The Constant Princess, though it was not really historically accurate – but who cares? it was fun! Gregory is enjoyable, and yeah, the Boleyn movie was nowhere near as entertaining as the book. I found it kind of painful, actually. I'm stalking Wideacre via interlibrary loan, but it hasn't come in yet.

    Right now I'm pretty much reading a steady diet of soul and mind enriching stuff. My current English class is based around reading nightly essays that deal with Important Themes, plus we're reading Brave New World (disturbing). I'm studying developmental psychology for my other class, so plenty of reading there. And I'm reading a book about Jewish life and practice on the side outside of school.

    Naturally, I had to go out and buy the latest two Kitty novels by Carrie Vaughn, plus a new Nora Roberts, just to keep the fats and sugar coming to the ole brain pan.

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  12. Gee, now I have to run to the bookstore before Shabbos. Thanks.

    If you like a good read, esp. historical stuff, try Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I have addicted…I mean introduced dozens of people to the series, and it's the type you can read multiple times and find something new each time.

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  13. A Weiss-ass,

    Funny! My sister said much of True Blood is gratuitous sex. I could barely deal when it was in Sex & The City and I'm sure I would barely deal now. Remember how I grew up Catholic? My mother trained me to cover my eyes during those steamy scenes. I still can't even look at them.

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  14. Aliza
    Your mother sounds like some of the people I study. Of course the people I study have a really “scientific” way of going about it. Can we try your mother as a witch? I have the Monty Python routine down by heart.

    Rainy
    The Constant Princess was the one that I read. I am in middle of watching the first season of the Tudors, which covers the same story line as Gregory. I figured I should watch it as I teach the period and have already been asked about the show. The acting is excellent; at least the parts that I see when I am not covering my nice Jewish boy eyes. The problem is that it runs over history with a truck. Even when dealing with issues that are not important to the plot.

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