Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 222597 times)

Offline Sempronius

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2145 on: May 29, 2019, 06:39:49 AM »
The life of Benvenuto Cellini, written by himself.

Interesting character. Lived in 16th century Florence. Together with Michelangelo and other famous painters and cardinals. He had a very fierce temperament and he brags about everything that he has done.

Some excerpts.

He gets into a fight to defend his brother:

"AT that time I had a brother, younger by two years, a youth of extreme boldness and fierce temper. He afterwards became one of the great soldiers in the school of that marvellous general Giovannino de Medici, father of Duke Cosimo. [1] The boy was about fourteen, and I two years older. One Sunday evening, just before nightfall, he happened to find himself between the gate San Gallo and the Porta a Pinti; in this quarter he came to duel with a young fellow of twenty or thereabouts. They both had swords; and my brother dealt so valiantly that, after having badly wounded him, he was upon the point of following up his advantage. There was a great crowd of people present, among whom were many of the adversarys kinsfolk. Seeing that the thing was going ill for their own man, they put hand to their slings, a stone from one of which hit my poor brother in the head. He fell to the ground at once in a dead faint. It so chanced that I had been upon the spot alone, and without arms; and I had done my best to get my brother out of the fray by calling to him: Make off; you have done enough. Meanwhile, as luck would have it, he fell, as I have said, half dead to earth. I ran up at once, seized his sword, and stood in front of him, bearing the brunt of several rapiers and a shower of stones. I never left his side until some brave soldiers came from the gate San Gallo and rescued me from the raging crowd; they marvelled much, the while, to find such valour in so young a boy."

He relates how he punched Michelangelo in the nose. And actually the broken nose is visible in his portraits.

"NOW let us return to Piero Torrigiani, who, with my drawing in his hand, spoke as follows: This Buonarroti and I used, when we were boys, to go into the Church of the Carmine, to learn drawing from the chapel of Masaccio. [1] It was Buonarrotis habit to banter all who were drawing there; and one day, among others, when he was annoying me, I got more angry than usual, and clenching my fist, gave him such a blow on the nose, that I felt bone and cartilage go down like biscuit beneath my knuckles; and this mark of mine he will carry with him to the grave. [2] These words begat in me such hatred of the man, since I was always gazing at the masterpieces of the divine Michel Agnolo, that although I felt a wish to go with him to England, I now could never bear the sight of him."

And another fight. But this got me wondering - Was it morally right of the monk to help Cellini disguise himself and escape the authorities?


"I WENT off in the direction of Santa Maria Novella, and stumbling up against Fra Alessio Strozzi, whom by the way I did not know, I entreated this good friar for the love of God to save my life, since I had committed a great fault. He told me to have no fear; for had I done every sin in the world, I was yet in perfect safety in his little cell. Frate Alessio disguised me like a friar and gave me a lay brother to go with me. [3] Quitting the convent, and issuing from the city by the gate of Prato, I went along the walls as far as the Piazza di San Gallo. Then I ascended the slope of Montui, and in one of the first houses there I found a man called Il Grassuccio, own brother to Messer Benedetto da Monte Varchi. [4] I flung off my monks clothes, and became once more a man. "
 
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Offline Heinrich

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Lex Orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.
"Die Welt sucht nach Ehre, Ansehen, Reichtum, Vergnügen; die Heiligen aber suchen Demütigung, Verachtung, Armut, Abtötung und Buße." --Ausschnitt von der Geschichte des Lebens St. Bennos.
 

Offline MilesChristi

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2147 on: June 05, 2019, 08:26:00 PM »
Finished The Temple of Dawn
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
 

Offline Jacob

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2148 on: June 06, 2019, 10:34:37 AM »
...now working on Catch-22.

Would have been finished with is a long time ago if I was still in my reading prime. :(

Going very well.  Getting into the second half of the book where things are darker.
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Offline MilesChristi

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2149 on: June 06, 2019, 11:30:44 PM »
Thé Long Loneliness
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
 

Offline Maximilian

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2150 on: June 07, 2019, 12:06:17 AM »
Thé Long Loneliness

A story about tea, and the long loneliness it brings in a world full of coffee lovers.

Or it could be read as Thé Long Loneliness -- while drinking "Dragon Tea" one is overwhelmed with a sense of isolation from humanity. Like the herbal tea made from lime leaves that stirred up a flood of memories in Proust, Thé Long, i.e. "Dragon Tea," awakens one's sense that we are born alone and must die alone. Just as the bitterness of kudingcha reminds us that pleasure is a delusion, so Thé Long reveals our inability to bridge the chasm that divides us.

 
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Offline Padraig

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2151 on: June 07, 2019, 03:03:41 PM »
I honestly thought you must have been quoting from a book review, and thought, "Wow, this sounds like one of the most fascinating books I've ever heard of, and one of the most poetic reviews I've ever read!"
That was a very clever joke :)
 
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Offline Prayerful

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2152 on: June 07, 2019, 06:27:10 PM »
Midnight in Chernobyl, interesting, a fuller back story having watched the series, and refreshing of memories of reading and watching it on the news.
Padre Pio: Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.
 
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Offline The Curt Jester

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2153 on: June 07, 2019, 10:39:43 PM »
A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan. 
The royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!"

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the Monarch's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: "O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!"
 
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Offline Prayerful

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2154 on: June 08, 2019, 08:34:48 PM »
Also intermittently Emperor: A New Life of Charles V, Geoffrey Parker. The Emperor was devoutly Catholic, but Lutheranism was bolstered rather than hindered by his ill-judged response to it, allowing the renegade monk to spread his errors before the Imperial Diet at Worms without making an effort to refute him, and later selling toleration in pursuit of troops and taxes from Lutheran princes. The savage 1527 sack of Rome when unpaid Lutheran German and Catholic Spanish troops under the command of the exiled Duke of Bourbon (although their talismanic white robed commander was shot dead before the walls of Rome) can be held against him, but it was substantially provoked by the grievous diplomatic and political blunders committed by Pope Clement.
Padre Pio: Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.
 
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Offline Heinrich

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2155 on: June 08, 2019, 10:27:18 PM »
Also intermittently Emperor: A New Life of Charles V, Geoffrey Parker. The Emperor was devoutly Catholic, but Lutheranism was bolstered rather than hindered by his ill-judged response to it, allowing the renegade monk to spread his errors before the Imperial Diet at Worms without making an effort to refute him, and later selling toleration in pursuit of troops and taxes from Lutheran princes. The savage 1527 sack of Rome when unpaid Lutheran German and Catholic Spanish troops under the command of the exiled Duke of Bourbon (although their talismanic white robed commander was shot dead before the walls of Rome) can be held against him, but it was substantially provoked by the grievous diplomatic and political blunders committed by Pope Clement.

This was the thing in the mid Middle Ages, huh. The German Investiture issue, which coulda been ended with Henry IV, appeared to have continued. I am drawing a 500 year old line, but this seems to have the same ingredients.
Schaff Recht mir Gott und führe meine Sache gegen ein unheiliges Volk . . .   .                          
Lex Orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.
"Die Welt sucht nach Ehre, Ansehen, Reichtum, Vergnügen; die Heiligen aber suchen Demütigung, Verachtung, Armut, Abtötung und Buße." --Ausschnitt von der Geschichte des Lebens St. Bennos.
 

Offline red solo cup

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2156 on: June 13, 2019, 06:42:43 AM »
Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick.
"It's so lonely 'round the fields of Athenry"
 

Offline MilesChristi

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2157 on: June 13, 2019, 06:30:58 PM »
Just finished:

The Decay of the Angel
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
 

Offline Sempronius

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2158 on: June 19, 2019, 12:58:03 PM »
From ancient Rome, written by Plutarch. Somehow this reminds me of something from our own time

”The law of Gracchus added three hundred equites to the senate, who were also three hundred in number, and it made the judices eligible out of the whole six hundred. In his endeavours to carry this law he is said to have made every exertion; and in particular it is recorded that all the popular leaders who preceded him turned their faces to the senate and the comitium while they were speaking, but he was the first who turned his face the other way to the Forum while haranguing the people, and he continued to do so; and by a small deviation and alteration in attitude he stirred a great question, and in a manner transformed the government from an aristocratical to a democratical form, by this new attitude intimating that the orators should direct their speeches to the many and not to the senate.”
« Last Edit: June 19, 2019, 01:01:26 PM by Sempronius »
 
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Offline Jacob

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2159 on: June 23, 2019, 10:36:56 PM »
Finished Catch-22.  Oh man!

Moved on to Dune.  Paul has discovered he has some terrible purpose.
“Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker's game because they almost always turn out to be—or to be indistinguishable from—self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”
--Neal Stephenson