Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Monday, February 16, 2015
The woodpecker brash and brawny
plans his attack on the cat food,
darting up and down and in and out,
snatching at the morsels
like avian ambrosia.
Red-hooded, white-throated, bodkin-beaked,
he flings his chirruping song into the air all around him.
How like him we are,
snatching at shards of bliss,
grasping, clutching, grabbing,
and the slivers slip ceaselessly from our hands.
Friday, January 30, 2015
This week, I had to shelve David Copperfield to read with my daughter. As this is her last year at home, and one of our favorite things to do is co-read, I decided I would try to keep up with her AP English reading. It's like having homework. I don't like someone dictating my reading choices and schedule (that's why I don't join book clubs). The sacrifices we make for our kids!
Don't tell the teacher, but I am behind. I'm about half-way through what is a re-read of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises for me, and so far I am yet again underwhelmed by Hemingway. I read an assertion once that readers like either Faulkner or Hemingway but never both. Well, I LOVE Faulkner, so you see where that puts me with Papa. I need someone to tell me what is so great about Hemingway. I'm trying to keep an open mind here. I'm trying to like his work. I even went into this reading determined to like this book. I just don't get it. Maybe I'm not hip enough. Maybe it's my small-town naivete, my lack of cosmopolitan flair.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I see no value in it, and I'm not saying it's not good. It's just not great to me, and I really want someone to explain to me what I am missing. The dialogue is abrupt, terse, even brusque and disjointed. He writes like drunk people think...scattered and overestimating their own wit. Reading Hemingway makes me feel like the only sober person at the party. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe I need to be drunk to appreciate it. I'll try that with the second half of the book and report my findings next week when I wake up.
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Friday, January 23, 2015
|photo by Anna Reavis|
"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see." John Burroughs
Sunday, January 4, 2015
|photo by Anna Reavis|
As a rule, I shy away from using the phrase "favorite book," as it would be impossible and I think unjust to choose a favorite, but My Antonia is certainly one of my favorite books, and it was pure serendipity that I read it at all. I had read Sapphira and the Slave Girl at Wake in some upper level English class (maybe Literature of the South), and I had read O Pioneers and Death Comes for the Archbishop at some point along the way on my own. Because I had not remembered loving any of the three, I may never have sought out more Cather. But...when travelling, I usually read some or all of a random book I find in the house or condo I am in. On a trip to Alaska in 2000, I found an old, slightly battered copy of My Antonia in the house I was in, started reading it, and fell in love. I have since shared it with my daughter, and it is now also one of her favorite books. I'm almost afraid to re-read it. What if it doesn't live up to the hype I've created in my head?
What I would really like to do is find out more about Cather and her life and then read all her works in order of publication to see if I can gain some understanding of the variance in her work. Maybe that can be a summer reading project. January will be spent finishing Dr Zhivago and David Copperfield, both of which I am loving, but neither of which is a quick read.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
|photo by Amy Brandon|
Job's epic came to mind as I read Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken. Having previously read her novel, Seabiscuit, I was looking forward to another good story and was not disappointed. For me, another draw to the book was the subtitle, A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, as the concept of redemption is one of my favorite subjects to savor.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Well and I surely do miss Old Wang Lung. Ken and I finished The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck early last week, and I realized a few nights ago that I missed my nightly visit with Wang Lung, the main character. Certainly he was an imperfect man, and sometimes hard to pity, but he was such a fully developed, well-rounded character that I feel as if I truly knew him, and now I miss him in my house. I miss hearing about his adventures and misadventures, his ups and his downs, and his endless, fruitless striving for peace in his house. And in the vein of most of the best novels, I miss a place and a time I've never actually experienced but feel as if I have.
So many themes were explored in this book: urban life versus rural life; leaving the land and returning to it; mobility versus being tied to the land; new ways and old ways; progress versus conventional wisdom; family values and loyalties and how we imperfect humans so often rip those suckers out and stomp them flat.
One strange thing about The Good Earth was the constantly repetitive use of the word "well" in the dialogue. I'd be willing to bet this book contains the word "well" more than any other book ever published. At first I found it distracting, but then I, well, I guess I just came to accept it. If anyone can shed any insight on this odd word overuse, I'd appreciate it.
The Good Earth is the first book in a trilogy about the Wang Lung clan, but the second and third book seem to be readily available only on Kindle. My mountainous TBR pile warns me against buying them. If anyone has read either of them (Sons or A House Divided) and would like to offer an opinion, please do so.
Well and I think I've said my peace for now. Happy Hibernative Winter Reading!