March 11, Tuesday evening -- Reading Rodney Stark

I honestly haven't been seeking out people reading religious books, yet here it is, four of the past six readers are reading books that deal, in one way or another, with religion. I know the sample size is minuscule, but, is San Francisco having a spiritual renaissance? Across the country, also, during my trip last summer I photographed a lot of religious books. Has it always been this way?

When I choose a reader to photograph I don't look at book covers. Sometimes I try to find people who I think are unlike me in ways like age, ethnicity, the way they dress. And, sometimes I look for people reading in beautiful or interesting or unconventional places. If there was any sort of picking and choosing tonight it was this: The last three readers have been women, let's photograph a man.


Reading Discovering God: The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Belief, by Rodney Stark. Though he was raised Christian, he is not a believer. He is reading this because he feels that you have to be knowledgeable before you can be critical.

Usually he reads geography, history.

His favorite book of all time--The Little Prince, by
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. He read it for the first time when he was twelve, in French, his native language.

Have you read anything lately about subjects you're critical of?

29 Comments:

A. Stageman said...

I am an ardent lover of Ernest Hemingway. His book "The Garden of Eden" is centered around a subject that I am a bit critical of - no boundaries, open sexuality. Though it did not change my opinion, I absolutely love the book because it pushes the limits and it made me think.

Fade In said...

I just came across your blog. What a great idea. I love to see what people are reading.

Anonymous said...

In Japan people read in train in the bus taxi, parks you name it but, do you know what the read? comic books l swear it.

Didgeridoo Bornabaloo said...

hey great blog idea... i plan to read Air Guitar this week, during my last week in Australia...

Any good suggestions for a read while hiking in the Hinterlands of Australia?

Cheers!
Zach

Didgeridoo Bornabaloo said...

also, not alot of reading in the trams of melbourne. instead, much phone blabbering and staring. hm.

Sass E-mum said...

Ha, ha! I sometimes read (other people's) Daily Mail newspaper. Drives me nuts, but I like to have an idea what the lunatics are going to say next.

grellgrün said...

Sonya, I immensely admire your blog!

Personally, I spend most of my time on public transport reading whatever I happen to have with me. Though, thinking about it, generally people in Austria (that's where I'm living) don't seem to be reading much while on the bus etc.

Sonya said...

A. Stageman,
Thanks for sharing that. I haven't read The Garden of Eden, but would like to.

Zach,
I read a book when I was in high school called Mutant Message Down Under, by Marlo Morgan, about a western woman's walkabout with the aborigines. I remember enjoying it.

Does anyone else have any book suggestions for Zach to read in the hinterlands of Austalia?

Anonymous,
Is it just young people who are reading the comics in Japan, or people of all ages?

Grellgrun,
Why do you think it is that Austrian's don't read much on public transit? Someone told me that readers are everywhere in London.... What size city do you live in?

Mary J. said...

Yay! I just found your blog, too, and will come back often. Lately, I've just felt the overwhelming desire to READ, to consume words and pages! Currently reading *Into the Wild* and *The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles* and *Satanic Verses* (for almost a year now!). Take care and keep blogging!

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Insolent Muffin said...

This is such a fun blog! I live in Orlando, and around here, I never see anyone else reading, for some reason. It's nice to know that people definitely do still read.

Come to think of it, I've read a few books on religion in the not-too-distant past. I'm pretty easily influenced and can see the strengths of both sides in an argument, so it's fun to try and keep an objective point of view while reading anything controversial.

Nono said...

I don't want to be a party pooper, I love your blog, I find myself always wondering what other people are reading around me :0) but the full name of the author of 'Le Petit Prince' is 'Antoine de Saint-Exupéry' do not forget the 'de'!
Not much difference you'll say but in French it is impotant :0)
It is interesting as I also read this book when I was around 10 years old in French my native language as well and it definitely holds a top spot in my list of favorite books...

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

Well, I hope God will speak to him. To question is human, to have faith is hard. It's hard to be critical of a whole Religion without reading Gods word AND understanding it. Love the blog, everyone should read more.

TAB Photographic said...

maybe this is just something calling to you... Drop the world, drop your own thoughts and ways and join their religion... Maybe they're a cult and are totally onto what you're doing and are trying to get their ways blogged??? hmmm???

Cjm said...

this is a great blog, thanks for creating it.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and really like it. It's very interesting and sweet. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Recommendation for Didgeridoo: I don't think you can do much better than Bruce Chatwin's "Songlines." Published in 1988, it is an extended meditation written during Chatwin's travels in the Outback. I read it in its entirety during a return flight from Australia (I had planned on sleeping)!

ronjon said...

Love you blog, thanks! For the out back trek, how about The Blue Eyed Shan, by Stephen Becker? I'm reading The Reason for God, by Tim Keller and The Emperor of Ocean Park, by Stephen Carter and I just finished the His Dark Materials trilogy. I'm a Christian so it was interesting to read an atheists works and wrestle with his (Phillip Pullman's)ideas.

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Anonymous said...

If I don't have a book I'm reading, I'm lost. Reading books is my passion. A couple years ago, I read 54 books!!

Thank you for this blog. I am always looking for something new to read and something to expand my mind.

Austen Fields said...

I love everything about this blog. I just read "day of the triffids" by john wyndham. Great book!

Jane Hamilton said...

Great blog idea you have here. Enjoyed reading it. i love reading and this blog introduced me to some more good books out there, waiting to be read. Your blog sort of gives mini-reviews of the books! That's great! I think every avid reader should take a look at Ayn Rand. She is truly phenomenal!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sonya, I came across your blog accidentally. Oh boi! I must say, its very interesting and I have been following your blog regularly. Though I'm not an avid reader, I do make it a point to read a coupla pages everyday. Currently, I'm reading Orhan Pamuk's "Snow". I wish we had better public transportation(Pune, India), so that I don't have to use my private vehicle and utilize my time reading.

Sunil said...

Hey Sonya, I came across your blog accidentally. Oh boi! I must say, its very interesting and I have been following your blog regularly. Though I'm not an avid reader, I do make it a point to read a coupla pages everyday. Currently, I'm reading Orhan Pamuk's "Snow". I wish we had better public transportation(Pune, India), so that I don't have to use my private vehicle and utilize my time reading.

Carnation said...

hi this is my 2nd time to browse your blog. i have just finished reading "Remember Me?" It has one critical topic, re: adultery. I read fiction and there are some topics sometimes that I do not really agree with. It helps to know that it is just fiction . But of course most fiction are based on real life situations.

The Promiscuous Reader said...

Y'know, if faith were so hard, it wouldn't be so common. Doubting seems to be much harder, at least in some directions. As Nietzsche wrote somewhere, 'A very common error: having the courage of one's convictions. Rather, it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on one's convictions!'

I found your blog listed on blogger, and it is very interesting indeed.

I try to read about things I disagree with. Right now I'm reading on scientific racism, the belief that biology is behind human differences -- not just race as it's usually thought of, but between social classes and cultures; but also between the sexes, and the belief that sexual orientation is biologically determined. I just finished reading an interesting book called "The Invisible Sex" by two anthropologists and a science writer, on the prehistory of women and their contributions to human evolution. It's a nice corrective to scientific sexism; the authors mostly are careful not to claim to know more than they do. I've also been looking through Dawkins's The Selfish Gene and Pinker's The Blank Slate, among others.

Thanks again for such an interesting blog!

froglegs said...

What an interseting blog! I love the Little Prince. Great book. I even collect plates etc.. with the little prince on it.

Tanuki said...

"Corporate Dandelions: How the Weed of Bureaucracy Is Choking American Companies-And What You Can Do to Uproot It"

I despise bureaucracy.


Didgeridoo....I'm Aussie. One perfect for the hinterland, because it was written at least partially there is Peter Carey's "Bliss".

Also made into a move.