Thursday, April 27, 2017
Reading Not Stitching
January 9 The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family, Josh Hanagarne (****) A memoir by a librarian with Tourette's, a love story to books and libraries. A conversational and funny exploration of how Hanagarne tries to control his Tourette's.
January 11 The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (****) A great many echoes of African American literature haunted my reading of this book. Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, for example, shows up in the movement from place to place signifying historical moments. While Ellison's work is about alienation, Cora seeks to find community because in doing so she will mark her own humanity. (Lots of reviewers compare Cora's stay in the attic to Anne Frank, but y'all Harriet Jacobs (Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl) stayed in an attic for seven years while escaping slavery.) I read this book for a book group, and I liked it much better after I had the chance to talk about it.
January 23 Normal, Warren Ellis (**) I really didn't enjoy this one. I didn't think it was well-written, and I wasn't that interested in it. Sci Fi is not my thing.
January 23 Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz (****) The big thesis of this book, that physicians can learn about human medicine by reading the work of veterinarians could have been handled in a short academic paper. What I found so interesting about this book were the fascinating examples and ties between the human and other animals. If you have a medical or scientific background, you might not enjoy it as much as I did.
January 25 Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko (****) I read this for a book group, and it wasn't clear how it met the theme of the club, but it was a beautifully written exploration of the lives of Native American WWII vets.
February 1 Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (***) I was fascinated, but then again, I'm fascinated by the pictures I get biennially of my colon.
February 9 Touchstone, Laurie R. King (****) I was charmed by Harris Stuyvesant, the lunkish-appearing American detective gallivanting through the country houses of England. Deftly plotted.
February 10 A Long Way Home (***) What a remarkable story. Although there was a lot of repetition, it was utterly compelling.
February 14 Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? Mindy Kaling (**) Light and fluffy. I haven't really seen Kaling in anything, so I wasn't particularly attached to her as a writer or actress.
February 20 Pretty Little World, Elizabeth LaBan and Melissa DePino (***) Great beach read. I loved the ending, where we find some nice, perhaps philosophical, conclusions. What we gain--and give up--living communally.
February 26 The Bones of Paris, Laurie R. King (***) The sequel to Touchstone, good read. This book was not as well-plotted nor the characters as well-drawn as the first in the series.
March 5 The Book of Speculation, Erika Swyler (****) Um, I meant to read The Department of Speculation but this speculation was really very good. A librarian, a book, a family mystery, and an old house crumbling into the sea. Enjoyable.
March 9 The Zookeeper's Wife, Diane Ackerman (***) This book needed a judicious editor, but the story of the family--which I am sure is the only part that ended up in the movie--was captivating though harrowing. But there was far too many asides...seriously at one point she's talking about one of the friends of the Zabinskis who was an entomologist who gave his bug collection to a museum and I think she names all 30,000 bugs. Individually, with nicknames and dates of birth. It got in the way.
March 18 The Moor's Account, Laila Lalami (****) This books was so imaginative--the historical representation of a slave on an ill-fated expedition in Florida in the 16th century. Marvelous.
April 19 Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates (*****) Beautifully written. How different the world is for people. You may think we are all living in one America, an equal America, some sort of meritocracy, but Coates demonstrates powerfully that we are not.
Started, will not finish
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, Thom Hartmann This was assigned for my work book club, with the theme of sustainability. I had so many objections to this book, as did my group. Anyway, I couldn't finish it in time for the group, and I refuse to finish thereafter.
Started, will finish
Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation, Andrea Wulf I started this on my trip (Kindle edition) but the book expired and I had too many other books to read on deadline (for three book clubs) that I just couldn't get to it. I'll re-borrow it this summer.
EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want by Frances Moore Lappe This was also for the sustainability book group. I felt so bad about hating Last Hours so much, I read a little less critically. Still, this book is much less all-or-nothing than some environmental books about how we should be living our lives. (I'm very close on this one.)
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee. I was listening to this one on audio and there was a horrible skip in it. So I am waiting for a new edition.
The Mothers, Brit Bennett. I couldn't get into this book at first, so I missed the book group meeting. But eventually I grew to be interested in the characters and the gossipy mothers who begin each chapter. Still, I might have to put it aside to read the last book for my sustainability book group.
I am planning a trip to the stitching store this weekend. I am going to buy what I need to stitch the anniversary sampler. I'm hoping that will get me back into stitching.