Life is Belief & Struggle - Ahmed Shawqi

Thursday, July 21, 2016

These Days

I don’t blog much because I am too busy reading, writing for hire, and generally just trying to live my life.  I never realize until I starting going to synagogue and actually attempting to live a Jewish life, just how much time it actually takes to live Jewishly. Even the simplest of tasks, like washing the dishes, become a herculean time eater.

I have literally hundreds of unfinished blog pieces, but time, ah there is the rub. And just where is my time best spent? Often, finishing those pieces is just too far, as in way, way, down the list of things I need to finish.

One of the reasons blogging lost part of its appeal was that I started to repeat myself. Saying the same thing over and over again is not compelling or particularly appealing to me.  So I am going to make some changes.  Instead of opining on whatever, I thought I would share what I am reading, whether it is a book or an article.

So what am I reading? Lonely Ideas by Loren Graham which asks the compelling question; Can Russia Compete? I am half-way through the book and am utterly fascinated by history of Russian innovation in science and technology while utterly failing to translate and apply that knowledge to improving ordinary life.  

I just finished Sebastian Junger’s ‘Tribe’. It’s a quick 2 hour read, tops.  Junger’s style is what makes it so easy to read.  I have a lot of thoughts about it but those thoughts are just churning around in my mind.  I do wish he had fleshed it out more and taken a tad more of a scholarly approach to it.

I just had a 54th birthday, and whether I have another 10, 20, 30 years of life left to live, I remain in the last third of my life. How I live the last third of life is one of the questions I grapple with. Tribe raises this same issue in the context of American soldiers returning home from war but offers few solutions and a stern warning that we need to figure this out - and soon.

Though, I have learned some interesting little tidbits. Bless, my ‘white privilege’, I never realized ‘going native’ was an actual issue in colonial America, much like the drug use and trade is today. This goes a long way in explaining the need to destroy, contain, and isolate Aboriginal life in North America.

Then there is Sapiens; A Brief History of Humankind  by Yuval Noah Harari. My Israeli friends have been raving about this man’s book and lectures for the last three years or so. Sapiens came out last year in English and was relatively successful, for a history book. I literally just started.

I have a biography on Rabbi Kook that I am half-way through which is curiously unsatisfying, and Caroline Glick’s The Israel Solution which is on my shelf just begging to be read.


  1. At last, some new ideas for reading.
    I am currently reading "Wages of Rebellion...the moral imperative of revolt" by Chris Hedges,
    and "The Rise and Fall of Communism" by Archie Brown.
    By the way K. Shoshana, it's National Tequila day!...
    I shall toast your birthday. :)

  2. Actually, there are two more books I am reading,
    " Madness, Betrayal, and the Lash, the epic voyage of Captain George Vancouver" and "Nancy, the story of Lady Astor" by Adrian Fort.
    Both are interesting in a historical sense, but incredibly boring.

    My plea...please bring books.

  3. Toss the boring, any historian who can't makes these historical figures interesting doesn't deserve royalties.