Time passes. It hasn’t been a quilting slump, but a reading frenzy. Starting with last month’s book group book, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. I didn’t expect to like this one (don’t like football or war stories), but it ended up more about marketing war and personality interaction, so proved interesting. I don’t always make it, but I do try to finish books for a group.  This month’s book was Parts Per Million. The title sounds like there will be large focus on environmental activists, but it turns out mostly about protests to the second Iraq war.  Another book with interesting character interaction–and set in Portland.  It is always fun to recognize landmarks.

I had been sent a review copy of Aging: An Apprenticeship, a collection of essays grouped by the ages of the writers. I’ve learned that collections of essays are best read separately, so finishing this one took a while, but it has been read and reviewed now (here).

This is my stack of owned books that I intend to read “someday.”


They keep getting set aside for library books on hold that come available, some of which have other holds on them so that I cannot renew. So my book reading priorities keep shifting. Occasionally several holds come available at once in spite of my trying to pace them by how many holds ahead of me.  For example I am currently 600th in line for Woodward’s Fear, and I’m guessing that will be about 4 months (there are 100 copies). I have skipped the other “tell all” books, but Woodward is a different matter.

After hearing an interview with Yossi Klein Halevi, I had to read At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden.  I recommend it to anyone interested in interfaith dialogue. Of course as the author admits, it is about encounters with selected, not necessarily typical, members of Islam and Christian communities. All were those interested in dialogue.

I’ve read mostly fiction lately: Map of Salt and Stars, an interesting mix of ancient myth of a mapmaker and Syrian refugees who follow similar travel routes. I enjoy books that intersperse then relate stories of past and present. Lavinia. I had to read that one after learning that Ursula Le Guin took a character that Virgil had named, but left silent, in the Aeneid and created a whole life and story for her. Because I had liked The English Patient, I had to read Warlight when it came out. I was not as impressed.  On first reading, it seemed the 14-year-old section was too long. I was losing interest about halfway through it, but kept on because the blurb promised adult reflections on it for the second part, and it did seem better in the second half.  Of course that kind of book makes me want to go back and reread the first part for cues I’d missed on first reading. And I may do that, but not now. And I reread Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna.  On first reading, when it came out, I’d been so enthralled with the (then unknown to me) history of Rivera/Kahlo/Trotsky that that was all I had remembered. It was like a first reading for the rest of the novel. And that provided an amazing look at how facts could be distorted in the McCarthy era.

And tucked among the more serious books were mysteries by Louise Penny.  I am curently reading the next to the last, so I hope she has another coming out soon.

It’s been a good month and a half.


Filed under books

3 responses to “Books!

  1. quilt32

    I was 139th in line for the e-book version of Woodward’s book, but somehow got it this week and have been reading it with much interest. I think he does a good job of reporting in an interesting way without having it sound like a tell-all book.

  2. dezertsuz

    Oh, how marvelous! I’ve been reading like crazy, too, and still have a pile on the piano. I need to get to A Gentleman in Moscow right away, because there are dozens of holds on that, too. So yes or no on Livinia?

    • I found Lavinia fascinating. I have not read the Aeneid , but references were explained enough so that it didn’t matter. (I do suppose it would be more fun to a reader who recognized scenes.) Le Guin did an interesting thing and made Virgil a character in the book. Going to the sacred springs to commune with the oracle –and ancestors–also let Lavinia commune with what would be to her the future author. There was a chapter or two of war strategy, not my favorite thing to read, but probably quite a condensation from the original.

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