Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'm Back

Wow, it's been a long time! First the holidays, then we moved. New house, new neighborhood, new city - there has been a lot going on over here.

There are many exciting things about the new house, but one of the great things about it is that I now have my own office. Which means that I no longer will have to take over the dining table to sew, I have someplace to keep my yarn, fabric, books, and photography equipment, and I can close the door (actually, doors, since I have lovely French doors on my room) and just enjoy myself in there.

I still need to do a bit of organizing, though.

Anyways, with everything going on, I haven't worked on any project, and the next few ones I plan to start will likely be home related, such as curtains and chair covers.

I have been doing lots of reading, since we didn't have internet for about a month. It's amazing what one can get done without the internet. I've been working through several books at once, mainly because they are all related. And I say 'working' because these are some heavy duty books, which is actually what I usually read.

I'm a big fan of Karen Armstrong. She a former nun who decided to leave the orders, went to Oxford, and according to her bio, is "one of the foremost commentators on religious affairs." I'm not sure what her current beliefs are, but she has written major works on the history of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, among other things. She has a fascinating way of placing religion in its historical context, explaining how such things as science, philosophy, nations, and wars formed the religions that we know today.

I picked up The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism more than a year ago. The cover has a picture of a Star of David, a cross, and a crescent, and the book details how modern fundamentalism in the three major monotheistic religions developed over the course of many centuries. The book is literally about battles between and within the religions over the ages and how nation-building, power, and subjection created various segments of each religion. It's amazing to follow an almost linear line between conflicts from over a thousand years ago and conflicts from today. Actually, it's somewhat shocking to me that those hatreds and rivalries still exist.

I haven't gotten very far in the book, it's rather dense, so I will give an update once I read more. So far, it's absolutely fascinating.

Duty calls, so I'll share my other readings another day.

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