That's where a Kindle really comes in handy. I read seven books, five of which I am going to review in this post.
The first book I read was during our layover in Charlotte, North Carolina, and flying across the Atlantic to Ireland. It was the perfect prelude to our vacation. Mark Twain's A Tramp Abroad describes Twain's own travels to Germany (our final destination) and all the idiosyncrasies of German culture from an American's perspective. He describes university life at Heidelberg, with the customs and practices of students (they enjoy dueling and have their own prison for miscreants), Wagnerian Opera (he doesn't hide his distaste for what he considers a lot of incomprehensible screaming), the various Germans he meets while he floats along the Rhine, climbs the Alps, and tries to communicate in very bad German. His funniest chapter is devoted to "That Awful German Language" in which he describes how miserably different German is to English and how long it would take an American to master the German language ("about thirty years"). Twain enjoys mocking other people but he balances it out by mocking himself just as much.
After a couple of days in Dublin, we rushed to the airport at 3
am only to discover our 5:45am flight had been canceled. Over the next ten hours, in between dozing and conversing with Josh, I read a enjoyable book titled, The Best American Humorous Short Stories, by various authors of the nineteenth century. Most of the authors I had never heard of but a few like O Henry, Bret Harte, and Oliver Wendall Holmes were familiar to me. It also includes Mark Twain's The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. Much of the interest I had in these stories was the time period in which they were set (post civil war). Some would seem antiquated to a twentieth century reader but I found them funny and many of them endearing. One such story was about two boys who try to court the same girl but haven't got the nerve and WI Lampton's How the Widow Won the Deacon. In this story, a widow finally wins a man over by sacrificing her dignity by jumping out of his wagon as he races his horse against another man's in order to lighten the load.
By the time I finished that book we had finally arrived in Frankfort and were on the boat, floating down the Rhine River. We spent most of our time in Germany biking down the Rhine and visiting the medieval towns there. After spending an afternoon in Worms at the Nibelungen Museum I spent the evening on our boat reading The Nibelungenlied by Anonymous. I want to do full justice to reviewing this book, so I'll save my comments for the next book review post.
Two more books I read while we were in Frankfort and while spending a long, uncomfortable night back in the Dublin airport. They are by R.C. Sproul. The first was Five Things Every Christian needs to Grow. The five things are: Bible Study, Prayer, Worship, Service and Stewardship. My own beliefs most closely align with Reformed Theology so I found a lot of useful insight in Sproul's discussion of these various topics and how to implement them in your life.
The other book by Sproul was The Prayer of the Lord. Here Sproul takes the reader step by step through each statement in the Lord's prayer, what they mean, and how to use each in sentence personally when applying it to our own prayers.
One last book I read on the flight back across the Atlantic was by Ralph Adams Cram: Black Spirits and White: A Book of Ghost Stories. This collection, while written by Cram, are based on stories he heard during his world travels. They include a demon possessed house in Paris, the wandering spirit of a nun in Italy and a horror tale told by a Swede that is worthy of Lovecraft. Interestingly, Cram was a theologian a hundred years ago, so while his stories are interesting they are from a perspective that the supernatural and evil are real, unlike Lovecraft who attempts to apply naturalistic causes to the horrific beings he creates in his stories.
One final book I read from Charlotte to Dallas was A Confession by Leo Tolstoy. This book also deserves a longer review so I will wait to post it as well.
Next post I hope to have photos of our Honeymoon trip to an 1830 log cabin in central Texas and also our trip to Europe.