If you faithfully read every new entry you may be wondering if we have cut down on table reading in the abbey. We have not, but alas I have not been keeping up with my entries of some good and not so good books. In addition to some writings by Pope Francis, these three books were read at table this year (in addition to the ones I have previously blogged about):
Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin. I would say this is a book that did not work terribly well at table, despite some interesting material.
The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution: 1783-1789 by Joseph J. Ellis. This made for very engaging table reading. We have had good success with books about US presidents and the period of the founding. As a political scientist I was especially taken with a well-told narrative of how the 1789 Constitution came to replace the original Articles of Confederation. The quartet referred to consists of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay.
Fortune’s Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt by Arthur T. Vanderbilt II. This is our current table reading, which dominated the Advent Season. While a fascinating take on the Gilded Age, it does make for odd monastic table reading, given the author’s joyous descriptions of mansions and jewelry and yachts and marrying off your daughters into the English nobility.