Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Melissa M

Members
  • Content Count

    872
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    1

Melissa M last won the day on November 19 2012

Melissa M had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

3,256 Excellent

About Melissa M

  • Rank
    Bookish and Odd

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling

Contact Methods

  • Location
    Chicagoland
  • Interests
    Books, bardolatry, backyard birding

Recent Profile Visitors

491 profile views
  1. Hello, BaWers! I hope you’re all doing well. Since my last post, I’ve finished fifteen books, which puts me at (drumroll, please) fifty-two. ■ Autobiography of a Face (Lucy Grealy; 1994. Non-fiction.) RFS p. 7 The cruelty of children is immense, almost startling its precision. The kids at the parties were fairly young and, surrounded by adults, they rarely make cruel remarks outright. But their open, uncensored stares were more painful than the deliberate taunts of my peers at school, where insecurities drove everything and everyone like some looming, evil presence in a haunted machine. But in those backyards, where the grass was mown so short and sharp it would have hurt to walk on it, there was only the fact of me, my face, my ugliness. ■ The Plot Against America (Philip Roth; 2004. Fiction.) RFS I had thought this would be a reread but then realized I had confused it with American Pastoral. The book is practically perfect, so although the first episode of the new HBO series was solid, it’s unlikely that I will continue watching. p. 114 Turned wrong way round, the relentless unforeseen was what we schoolchildren studied as “history,” harmless history, where everything unexpected in its own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable. The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic. p. 300 Whether outright government-sanctioned persecution was inevitable, nobody could say for sure, but the fear of persecution was such that not even a practical man grounded in his everyday tasks, a person who tried his best to contain the uncertainty and the anxiety and the anger and operate according to the dictates of reason, could hope to preserve his equilibrium any longer. p. 316 To have enslaved America with this hocus-pocus! To have captured the mind of the world’s greatest nation without uttering a single word of truth! Oh, the pleasure we must be affording the most malevolent man on earth! ■ Aimless Love (Billy Collins; 2013. Poetry.) RFS Billy Collins is a treasure. ■ My Dark Vanessa (Kate Elizabeth Russell; 2020. Fiction.) ATY Read in two sittings. Timely and disturbing. Related links here and here. ■ Severance (Ming La; 2018. Fiction.) RFS Prescient and gorgeously written. I cannot recommend it enough. Mr. Nerdishly agrees, wryly adding, “It’s also scary as hell.” Review here. ■ Trees, Vol. 3 (Warren Ellis; 2020. Graphic fiction.) LIB Strong addition to the series. ■ Oblivion Song, Vol. 4 (Robert Kirkman; 2020. Graphic fiction.) LIB Less so. ■ Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (Patrick Radden Keene; 2019. Non-fiction.) RFS Related links here and here. ■ Catch and Kill (Ronan Farrow; 2019. Non-fiction.) RFS This reminded me of my experience reading Bad Blood: I could not put it down; hours disappeared. A review and an article about the related podcast. ■ The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway; 1952. Fiction.) ATY This is another of those books that I have reread as an adult and realized, “Wow, that was clearly wasted on my teenaged self.” No one should be alone in their old age, he thought. But it is unavoidable. ■ Postal: Deliverance, Vol. 1 (Brian Edward Hill; 2019. Graphic fiction.) LIB The owner of the comic book store we patronize has fruitfully recommended several series to me, so it’s odd that he didn’t mention that Postal, a series on my shortlist, had continued. Well, it was a treat to discover the first volume on Hoopla. ■ The Nose (Nikolai Gogol; 1835. Fiction.) RFS We saw some of William Kentridge’s The Nose Series at the Milwaukee Art Museum, but a search of the museum’s website yields only a tax document mentioning that the printswere there. Weird. Well, in any event, I now plan to watch the Kentridge production of the Shostakovich opera via Met On Demand. But nothing lasts long in this world, and so even joy is weaker one minute than the last, and by the third it has become something fainter still, until finally it fades imperceptibly back into the more usual state of one’s mind, just as a ripple on water, born from the drop of a pebble, will gradually merge back into the smooth surface of the lake. ■ The Book of M (Peng Shepherd; 2018. Fiction.) RFS Too long by one hundred pages, and, boy, is the chapter for each narrator device one of the most overused in contemporary fiction, or what? Add to that the fact that I grew impatient with the fantastical elements by the final third, and you have the recipe for a Meh rating. ■ The Lion in Winter (James Goldman; 1966. Drama.) RFS Reread one of my favorites because this is a season that requires such indulgences. Act II, Scene 1 Eleanor: I adored you. Henry: Never. Eleanor: I still do. Henry: Of all the lies, that one is the most terrible. Eleanor: I know: that’s why I saved it up for now. (They throw themselves into each other’s arms.) Oh, Henry, we have mangled everything we’ve touched. ■ The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe (Kij Johnson; 2016. Fiction.) RFS My ticket stub from Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s 2016 production of Tug of War: Friendly Fire marked page 41. My best guess, then, is that I began this unusual book four years ago and set it aside. Written as a feminist counterpoint to H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, this short novel is certainly not my usual fare, but I returned to the beginning and gave it another shot. Still not my cuppa, but, hey, I finished it this time. Related article here. ————————————— ATY Acquired this year LIB Borrowed from library (including Hoopla and Overdrive) OTH Other RFS Read from shelves
  2. Hello, BaWers! I hope you’re doing well. Illinois is under a stay-at-home order, effective an hour ago. The Chicago Tribune article about the order has given me a recurring case of the chuckles, as it includes this assertion: Here are some of the books I’ve finished since my last post. ■ The Truants (Kate Weinberg; 2019. Fiction.) LIB A quick, entertaining read. I particularly relished the idea of Agatha Christie as a subject of academic inquiry. ■ Women and Power (Mary Beard; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS Mary Beard is a genius. Related link here. ■ Men Explain Things to Me (Rebecca Solnit; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS Related link: “Before there was mansplaining, there was Rebecca Solnit’s 2008 critique of male arrogance. Reprinted here with a new introduction.” p. 10 Dude, if you’re reading this, you’re a carbuncle on the face of humanity and an obstacle to civilization. Feel the shame. p. 62 Gay men and lesbians have already opened up the question of what qualities and roles are male and female in ways that can be liberating for straight people. When they marry, the meaning of marriage is likewise opened up. No hierarchical tradition underlies their union. Some people have greeted this with joy. ■ The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Muriel Spark; 1961. Fiction.) RFS Muriel Spark was a genius, too. ■ The Lady from the Sea (Henrik Ibsen; 1888. Drama.) RFS Read in anticipation of seeing the Court Theatre production. ■ Five Days at Memorial (Sheri Fink; 2013. Non-fiction.) RFS Related link here. ■ The Taming of the Shrew (William Shakespeare; 1592. Drama.) RFS Reread in anticipation of seeing the Royal Shakespeare Company at Chicago Shakespeare. ■ Zeitoun (Dave Eggers; 2009. Non-fiction.) RFS This was the perfect companion to Fink’s Five Days at Memorial and Patricia Smith’s Blood Dazzler earlier this year. ■ As You Like It (William Shakespeare; 1599. Drama.) RFS Read in anticipation of seeing the Chicago Shakespeare production. Act III, Scene V But, mistress, know yourself: down on your knees, And thank heaven, fasting, for a good man’s love: For I must tell you friendly in your ear, Sell when you can: you are not for all markets: Cry the man mercy; love him; take his offer: Foul is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer. ■ American Dirt (Jeanine Cummins; 2020. Fiction.) ATY From the NYT review by Parul Sehgal: But does the book’s shallowness paradoxically explain the excitement surrounding it? The tortured sentences aside, “American Dirt” is enviably easy to read. It is determinedly apolitical. The deep roots of these forced migrations are never interrogated; the American reader can read without fear of uncomfortable self-reproach. It asks only for us to accept that “these people are people,” while giving us the saintly to root for and the barbarous to deplore — and then congratulating us for caring. It certainly was “enviably easy to read.” p. 50 What a waste of time it had all been. Lydia feels annoyed that her niece won’t get to see the music box she purchased for her special day. How expensive it was! She realizes, even as this thought occurs to her, how bizarre and awful it is, but she can’t stop it from crashing in. She doesn’t rebuke herself for thinking it; she does herself the small kindness of forgiving her malfunctioning logic. p. 276 He’s a philosopher, she thinks. He’s rough, but he means what he says, and his openness is a provocation. Despite everything, he likes being alive. Lydia doesn’t know whether that’s true for herself. For mothers, the question is immaterial anyway. Her survival is a matter of instinct rather than desire. ■ Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey (Alberto Manguel; 2007. Non-fiction.) RFS We’ve had our tickets to the Court’s sold-out, site-specific remount of An Iliad since September. It was more than worth the wait and the price. p. 2 We don’t know anything about Homer. It is otherwise with Homer’s books. In a very real sense, the Iliad and the Odyssey are familiar to us prior to opening the first page. Even before we begin to follow the changing moods of Achilles or admire the wit and courage of Ulysses, we have learned to expect that somewhere in these stories of war in time and travel in space we will be told the experience of every human struggle and every human displacement. Two of our oldest metaphors tell us that all life is a battle and that all life is a journey; whether the Iliad and the Odyssey drew on this knowledge or whether this knowledge was drawn from the Iliad and the Odyssey is, in the final count, unimportant, since a book and its readers are both mirrors that reflect one another endlessly. p. 88 A book’s influence is never straightforward. Common readers, unrestricted by the rigours of academe, allow their books to dialogue with one another, to exchange meanings and metaphors, to enrich and annotate each other. In the reader’s mind, books become intertwined and intermingled, so that we no longer know whether a certain adventure belongs to Arsilaous or to Aquiles, or where Homer ends Ulysses’ adventures and the author of Sinbad takes them up again. p. 226 The scene of war, says Homer, is never only that of war: it is never only that of men acting out in the present the events of the day. It is always the scene of the past as well, a display of what men secretly once were, revealed now in their ultimate moments. Confronted with the imminence of violent death, war also confronts them with the memory of days of peace, of the happiness that life can, and should, grant us. War is both things: the experience of an awful presence and the ghost of a beloved past. ■ The Iliad (Gareth Hinds; 2019. Graphic fiction.) RFS I did not appreciate this volume as much as Hinds’ graphic retelling of The Odyssey, which I read last year. ■ Why We Can’t Sleep (Ada Calhoun; 2020. Non-fiction.) LIB p. 221 Could we even see our newfound midlife invisibility as a source of power? In Harry Potter’s world, one of the most prized magical tools is an invisibility cloak. There are great advantages to being underestimated. Two of the best reporters I know are women in their fifties. They look so friendly and non-threatening, if you notice them at all. They can lurk in any room without usually wary people remembering to keep their guard up. Then they write devastating whistleblowing articles. The world ignores middle-aged women at its peril. ■ Vinegar Girl (Anne Tyler; 2016. Fiction.) RFS Read as a companion to my Shrew reread. This was also “enviably easy to read,” and that’s not a criticism. ————————————— ATY Acquired this year LIB Borrowed from library OTH Other RFS Read from shelves ————————————— Talk about serendipity, synthesis, and synchronicity… Not long after I finished reading Mary Beard’s slim volume, Women & Power, I visited the MFA, where the Head of Medusa (Arnold Böcklin, 1894) held my gaze.
  3. Hello, BaWers! So far, I’ve read twenty-three books this year, fifteen of which are from my shelves and eleven of which are non-fiction titles. I’m off to a promising start, eh? ■ Highlights of the Collections of the Oriental Institute (Jean M. Evans; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS We revisited the Oriental Institute in December in anticipation of seeing An Iliad there next month. ■ The Mousetrap (Agatha Christie; 1952. Drama.) RFS Read in advance of seeing the Court Theatre production. ■ Trust Exercise (Susan Choi; 2019. Fiction.) RFS Interesting review here. ■ Rutherford and Sons (Githa Sowerby; 1912. Drama.) RFS Read before seeing the TimeLine Theatre production. ■ Richard III (William Shakespeare; 1592. Drama.) RFS Reread before seeing the Shakespeare Project of Chicago production. ■ In the Heart of the Sea (Nathan Philbrick; 2000. Non-fiction.) RFS In a weird twist, I watched the movie before reading this terrific book. My interest was, of course, fueled by my Moby-Dick reread late last year. ■ Dear America (Jose Antonio Vargas; 2018. Non-fiction.) RFS Related link here. ■ A Long Way Gone (Ishmael Beah; 2007. Non-fiction.) RFS Arrived at this book a bit later than most. Here’s a related link. ■ Frogcatchers (Jeff Lemire; 2018. Graphic fiction.) LIB Another of Lemire’s meditations on death, regret, and letting go. ■ On Tyranny (Timothy Snyder; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS Again, arrived at this later than most. I began marking passages for the commonplace book and soon realized I’d copy the entire text. Review here. ■ Tomten Tales (Astrid Lindgren; 2017 ed. (1960 and 1966). Juvenile fiction.) LIB Small gnome ornaments topped the holiday gift bags I distributed this year. In a lovely note, my music teacher thanked me for, among other things, “the adorable tomten.” In pursuit of a definition, I stumbled on this delightful children’s book. ■ An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (Chris Hadfield; 2013. Non-fiction.) RFS My younger daughter (insistently) recommended this. p. 267 If you start thinking that only your biggest and shiniest moments count, you’re setting yourself up to feel like a failure most of the time. Personally, I’d rather feel good most of the time, so to me everything counts: the small moments, the medium ones, the successes that make the papers and also the ones that no one knows about but me. The challenge is avoiding being derailed by the big, shiny moments that turn other people’s heads. You have to figure out for yourself how to enjoy and celebrate them, and then move on. ■ Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates; 2015. Non-fiction.) RFS p. 51 Poetry aims for an economy of truth — loose and useless words must be discarded, and I found that these loose and useless words were not separate from loose and useless thoughts. Poetry was not simply the transcription of notions — beautiful writing rarely is. I wanted to learn to write, which was ultimately, still, as my mother had taught me, a confrontation with my own innocence, my own rationalizations. Poetry was the processing of my thoughts until the slag of justification fell away and I was left with the cold steel truths of life. ■ Keep It Moving (Twyla Tharp; 2019. Non-fiction.) LIB Meh. ■ The Passengers (John Marrs; 2019. Fiction.) ATY Flawed and a bit predictable but an altogether entertaining way to pass a Sunday evening. ■ Digital Minimalism (Cal Newport; 2019. Non-fiction.) RFS This book is partially responsible for the gap in entries here. ■ We Should All Be Feminists (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; 2014. Non-fiction.) LIB p. 18 Today, we live in a vastly different world. The person more qualified to lead is not the physically stronger person. It is the more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, more innovative. And there are no hormones for those attributes. A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, innovative, creative. We have evolved. But our ideas of gender have not evolved very much. ■ Daughter of Time (Josephine Tey; 1951. Fiction.) RFS I reread this after rereading Richard III. p. 33 It was shocking how little history remained with one after a good education. p. 196 “No, that doesn’t matter at all. Most people’s first books are their best anyway; it’s the one they wanted most to write….” ■ Blood Dazzler (Patricia Smith; 2009. Poetry.) LIB Excerpts here. ■ Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (Carolyn Criado Perez; 2019. Non-fiction.) RFS Wow. Wow. Wow. This will certainly top my list of memorable reads this year. Related link here. ■ The Whisper Man (Alex North; 2019. Fiction.) ATY Another meh. ■ The Warehouse (Rob Hart; 2019. Fiction.) LIB Although I’m weary of the narrative device of alternating voices, it worked in this was near-future dystopian novel. ■ Emma (Jane Austen; 1815. Fiction.) RFS Austen’s prose sparkles; her wit pierces. But I wonder if I am too old to appreciate Emma. I reread the novel before seeing the new Chicago Shakespeare musical. ————————————— ATY Acquired this year LIB Borrowed from library RFS Read from shelves
  4. “The University of Illinois is home to 26 Pulitzer Prize winners, 23 Nobel Laureates, the inventors of YouTube, PayPal and a long list of game-changing innovators.”
  5. Moby-Dick is, among other things, a witty book. The humor is sometimes ribald, sometimes punny, sometimes quiet, sometimes laugh-aloud... you get the idea. But it is funny, and the audiobook narrated by William Hootkins successfully uncovers every note of humor (to say nothing of pathos, weirdness, irony, universality, and more). Melville would have loved hearing Hootkins interpret his work, and I so appreciated having it underscore my book-in-hand reread. I may reread Middlemarch in 2020. I will also reread Emma and some Shakespeare in anticipation of plays we will see this season. Per your recommendation I am revisiting Agatha Christie, beginning with The Mousetrap.
  6. Merry Christmas, BaWers! And, Robin, thank you again for keeping this going. With a week remaining in the year, there is little question that I will finish Providence of a Sparrow: Lessons from a Life Gone to the Birds, so I am calling it at 121 books read this year. (As always, I have included only cover-to-covers.) Here are a few numbers: — 50 novels (not including graphic works) — 38 non-fiction titles (not including graphic works) — 3 poetry selections — 6 plays — 24 graphic works (six of which were non-fiction selections) As I mentioned back in October, I crafted a bold reading challenge this year: Read one hundred books from my shelves (i.e., books in my collection before the end of 2018), including at least 24 non-fiction titles and at least one book from each of the following “special collections”: Shakespeare, poetry, NYRB, Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, philosophy, art, and children’s / YA. I also planned to make short work of 2018’s unfinished business and to closely (re)read Moby-Dick. Knowing that my daughters’ relocation would consume a great deal of my spring and summer, I chose a goal of 104 books total for the year, but I happily surpassed that goal by 17. So, yes, I missed my goal of one hundred from the shelves (by 46), but what a fascinating and productive year of reading! While I only read 19 non-fiction titles from my shelves (missing my goal by five), the 44 non-fiction books I did read this year represents a substantial increase over previous years. I had completed the books I carried over from last year well before my October review, and I completed my reread of Moby-Dick on Christmas Eve. I met all of my mini-challenges, too: Shakespeare RFS: Hamlet Poetry RFS: Lunch Poems (Frank O’Hara) NYRB RFS: The Summer Book (Tove Jansson) Vonnegut RFS: Player Piano Joyce Carol Oates RFS: The Rise of Life on Earth Philosophy RFS: Letters from a Stoic (Seneca) Art RFS: But is it art? (Cynthia Freeland) Children’s / YA RFS: Milkweed (Jerry Spinelli) Here are a few more facts about this year’s 121 books, 32 of which were published this year: — 54 read from shelves — 31 acquired this year — 28 borrowed from the library — 8 other And here are the standouts: Even better on rereading: ■ Moby-Dick; Or, The Whale (Herman Melville; 1851. Fiction.) ■ Beowulf (Trans. Seamus Heaney; 2000. Poetry.) ■ Oedipus the King (Sophocles (Trans. Ian Johnston; 2007); 429 B.C. Drama.) The most engrossing books I read this year (not including rereads): ■ Ghost Wall (Sarah Moss; 2018. Fiction.) ■ A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family (Lou Ann Walker; 1986. Non-fiction.) ■ The Wall (John Lanchester; 2019. Fiction.) ■ Charmed Particles (Chrissy Kolaya; 2015. Fiction.) ■ Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America (Beth Macy; 2018. Non-fiction.) ■ An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic (Daniel Mendelsohn; 2017. Non-fiction.) ■ The Mighty Franks (Michael Frank; 2017. Non-fiction.) ■ In the Woods (Tana French; 2007. Fiction.) Honorable mention: ■ The Story of Arthur Truluv (Elizabeth Berg; 2017. Fiction.) ■ American Spy (Lauren Wilkinson; 2019. Fiction.) ■ Wild Game (Adrienne Brodeur; 2019. Non-fiction.) ■ All the Names They Used for God (Anjali Sachdeva; 2018. Fiction.) Fabulous story for a long car trip: ■ Paddle Your Own Canoe (Nick Offerman; 2013. Non-fiction.) Fabulous story to read while waiting in airports: ■ My Sister, The Serial Killer (Oyinkan Braithwaite; 2018. Fiction.) Cannot stop talking about the ideas in these books: ■ Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality (Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton; 2013. Non-fiction.) ■ The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged (Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison; 2019. Non-fiction.) ■ The Years That Matter Most (Paul Tough; 2019. Non-fiction.) ■ The Privileged Poor (Anthony Abraham Jack; 2019. Non-fiction.) Best graphic works I read this year: ■ Nobody’s Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead (Bill Griffith; 2019. Graphic non-fiction.) ■ They Called Us Enemy (George Takei; 2017. Graphic non-fiction.) The list (not including Providence of a Sparrow): January ■ The People in the Trees (Hanya Yanagihara; 2013. Fiction.) RFS ■ A Sorrow Beyond Dreams (Peter Handke; 1972. Fiction.) RFS ■ Upgrade Soul (Ezra Claytan Daniels; 2016. Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ Fieldwork (Mischa Berlinski; 2007. Fiction.) RFS ■ Becoming (Michelle Obama; 2018. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ The Widower’s Notebook (Jonathan Santlofer; 2018. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ Reasons to Stay Alive (Matt Haig; 2015. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ Paper Girls, Vol. 5 (Brian K. Vaughan; 2018. Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ Fear: Trump in the White House (Bob Woodward; 2018. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ The Shakespeare Requirement (Julie Schumacher; 2018. Fiction.) RFS February ■ Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning (Gary Marcus; 2012. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ Ghost Wall (Sarah Moss; 2018. Fiction.) LIB ■ A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family (Lou Ann Walker; 1986. Non-fiction.) ATY ■ Gone for Good (Harlan Coben; 2002. Fiction.) RFS ■ The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty (Simon Baron-Cohen; 2011. Non-fiction.) ATY ■ First, Learn to Practice (Tom Heany; 2012. Non-fiction.) ATY ■ The Current (Tom Johnston; 2019. Fiction.) LIB ■ How to Love Your Flute (Mark Shepard; 1979. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ The Sirens of Titan (Kurt Vonnegut; 1959. Fiction.) RFS ■ Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (Carlo Rovelli; 2014. Non-fiction.) RFS March ■ Man-eaters, Vol. 1 (Chelsea Cain; 2019. (Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ Paddle Your Own Canoe (Nick Offerman; 2013. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ Why Art? (Eleanor Davis; 2018. Graphic non-fiction.) LIB ■ The Silent Patient (Alex Michaelides; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ The Walking Dead, Vol. 31 (Robert Kirkman; 2019. Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ All Systems Red (Martha Wells; 2017. Fiction.) LIB ■ Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? (Frans de Waal; 2016. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ Grass Kings, Vol. 2 (Matt Kindt; 2018. Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ The Wall (John Lanchester; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ Inspection (Josh Malerman; 2019. Fiction.) LIB ■ D’Aulaires Book of Norse Myths (Ingri Mortenson and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire; 1967. Fiction.) RFS ■ Sweat (Lynn Nottage; 2015. Drama.) LIB ■ Norse Mythology (Neil Gaiman; 2017. Fiction.) RFS ■ The Orchid Thief (Susan Orlean; 1998. Non-fiction.) RFS April ■ The Story of Arthur Truluv (Elizabeth Berg; 2017. Fiction.) ATY ■ Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America (Beth Macy; 2018. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ Crow Lake (Mary Lawson; 2002. Fiction.) RFS ■ Grass Kings, Vol. 3 (Matt Kindt; 2018. Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ Charmed Particles (Chrissy Kolaya; 2015. Fiction.) RFS ■ How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals (Sy Montgomery; 2018. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home (Nora Krug; 2018. Graphic non-fiction.) LIB ■ Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality (Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton; 2013. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ To Walk the Night (William Sloane; 1937. Fiction.) RFS ■ The Awakening (Kate Chopin; 1899. Fiction.) RFS ■ The Pigman (Paul Zindel; 1968. Fiction.) ATY ■ Gideon Falls, Vol. 2: Original Sins (Jeff Lemire; 2019. Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ The Test (Sylvain Neuvel ; 2018. Fiction.) ATY ■ Nobody’s Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead (Bill Griffith; 2019. Graphic non-fiction.) LIB ■ Hey, Kiddo (Jarrett J. Krosoczka; 2018. Graphic non-fiction.) RFS May ■ Still Life (Louise Penny; 2005. Fiction.) ATY ■ The Uses of Enchantment (Heidi Julavits; 2006. Fiction.) RFS ■ Hamlet (William Shakespeare; 1602. Drama.) RFS ■ Where Reasons End (Yiyun Li; 2019. Fiction.) LIB ■ The Farm (Joanne Ramos; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ The Last Stone (Mark Bowden; 2019. Non-fiction.) ATY June ■ A Fatal Grace (Louise Penny; 2007. Fiction.) ATY ■ Oblivion Song, Vol. 2 (Robert Kirkman; 2019. Graphic fiction.) ATY ■ The Suspect (L.R. Wright; 1985. Fiction.) RFS ■ True West (Sam Shepard; 1980. Drama.) RFS ■ Beowulf (Trans. Seamus Heaney; 2000. Poetry.) RFS ■ Man-Eaters, Vol. 2 (Chelsea Cain; 2019. Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged (Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison; 2019. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ The Rise of Life on Earth (Joyce Carol Oates; 1991. Fiction.) RFS ■ Recursion (Blake Crouch; 2019. Fiction.) ATY July ■ American Spy (Lauren Wilkinson; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic (Daniel Mendelsohn; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ The Odyssey (Gareth Hinds; 2010. Graphic fiction.) ATY ■ Women Talking (Miriam Toews; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ The Wicked and the Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act (Kieron Gellen; 2014. Graphic fiction.) LIB August ■ The Mighty Franks (Michael Frank; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ My Sister, The Serial Killer (Oyinkan Braithwaite; 2018. Fiction.) ATY ■ The Art of Racing in the Rain (Garth Stein; 2008. Fiction.) RFS ■ The Walking Dead, Vol. 32: Rest In Peace (Robert Kirkman; 2019. Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ The Cruelest Month (Louise Penny; 2008. Fiction.) ATY ■ Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Maria Semple; 2012. Fiction.) RFS September ■ Audubon: On the Wings of the World (Fabien Grolleau and Jérémie Royer; 2017. Graphic non-fiction.) LIB ■ Howards End (E.M. Forster; 1910. Fiction.) RFS ■ Hope Rides Again (Andrew Shaffer; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ Outcast, Vol. 7 (Robert Kirkman; 2019. Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ Orange Is the New Black (Piper Kerman; 2014. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ American Prison (Shane Bauer; 2018. Non-fiction.) ATY ■ A Doll House (Henrik Ibsen (Trans. Rolf Fjelde); 1879. Drama.) RFS ■ The Testaments (Margaret Atwood; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ Milkweed (Jerry Spinelli; 2003. Fiction.) RFS ■ Ulysses (James Joyce; 1922. Fiction.) RFS ■ They Called Us Enemy (George Takei; 2017. Graphic non-fiction.) LIB ■ Lunch Poems (Frank O’Hara; 1964. Poetry.) RFS ■ The Summer Book (Tove Jansson; 1972. Fiction.) RFS October ■ Joyce’s Ulysses (James A.W. Heffernan; 2001. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ Paper Girls, Vol. 6 (Brian K. Vaughan; 2019. Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ Oblivion Song, Vol. 3 (Robert Kirkman; 2019. Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ But is it art? (Cynthia Freeland; 2001. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ Player Piano (Kurt Vonnegut; 1952. Fiction.) RFS ■ Gideon Falls, Vol. 3: Stations of the Cross (Jeff Lemire; 2019. Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ Old in Art School (Nell Irvin Painter; 2018. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ A Rule against Murder (Louise Penny; 2009. Fiction.) ATY ■ Mere Motherhood (Cindy Rollins; 2016. Non-fiction.) RFS November ■ Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare; 1597. Drama.) RFS ■ Wild Game (Adrienne Brodeur; 2019. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ The Years That Matter Most (Paul Tough; 2019. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ Who Was Andy Warhol? (Kristen Anderson; 2014. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ Oedipus the King (Sophocles (Trans. Ian Johnston; 2007); 429 B.C. Drama.) RFS ■ Man-eaters, Vol. 3 (Chelsea Cain; 2019. (Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ The Privileged Poor (Anthony Abraham Jack; 2019. Non-fiction.) ATY ■ Tell No One (Harlan Coben; 2001. Fiction.) RFS ■ An Iliad (Alessandro Baricco; 2006. Fiction.) RFS ■ Letters from a Stoic (Seneca (Robin Campbell, ed.) c. 65 A.D. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ In the Woods (Tana French; 2007. Fiction.) RFS ■ No Small Gift (Jennifer Franklin; 2018. Poetry.) ATY ■ All the Names They Used for God (Anjali Sachdeva; 2018. Fiction.) ATY December ■ The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse (Charlie Mackesy; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ Ascender, Vol. 1 (Jeff Lemire; 2019. (Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ Universal Harvester (John Darnielle; 2017. Fiction.) RFS ■ Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now (Jaron Lanier; 2018. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ A Warning (Anonymous; 2019. Non-fiction.) ATY ■ The Book of Job (Trans. Stephen Mitchell; 1979. Poetry / Religion.) RFS ■ The Late Starters Orchestra (Ari L. Goldman; 2014. Non-fiction.) ATY ■ Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (Herman Melville; 1851. Fiction.) RFS ■ Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick (George Cotkin; 2012. Non-fiction.) ATY ■ Shortest Way Home (Pete Buttigieg; 2019. Non-fiction.) ATY
  7. @Robin M The Gamache books. What treasures! I think I have you to thank for them. Thank you, thank you. I have the fifth in the series in queue.
  8. How can it be two months since I lasted posted in the BaW threads?!? Well, hello! Here I am! While I typically read between 120 and 150 books each year, I knew that serving as move coordinator for my daughters and spending nearly the entire summer away from home would likely cut into my reading time. I settled on a more realistic goal of 104 books in 2019, and at ninety-five books read and a little more than two months remaining to read at least another nine, I think I chose well. I’m not doing quite as well with my “Read from the shelves” challenge. I tasked myself with reading one hundred books from my shelves (i.e., books in my collection before the end of 2018), including at least twenty-four non-fiction titles and at least one book from each of the following “special collections”: Shakespeare, poetry, NYRB, Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, philosophy, art, and children’s / YA. I also planned to make short work of 2018’s unfinished business and to closely (re)read Moby Dick. How am I doing so far? Here are a few numbers: Total number of books read to date: 95 Read from shelves (RFS): 42 Non-fiction RFS: 15 Shakespeare RFS: Hamlet Poetry RFS: Lunch Poems (Frank O’Hara) NYRB RFS: The Summer Book (Tove Jansson) Vonnegut RFS: Player Piano Joyce Carol Oates RFS: The Rise of Life on Earth Art RFS: But is it art? (Cynthia Freeland) Children’s / YA RFS: Milkweed (Jerry Spinelli) I finished the seven books I carried over from 2018, and the Melville project is slated to begin next weekend. I selected Letters from a Stoic as my philosophy RFS. By completing it and the three other non-fiction titles on my nighstand, I would reach nineteen non-fiction works RFS. It remains to be seen whether I can read another five non-fiction titles from the shelves before the end of the year. (Although it was not a goal specific to this year, it is worth noting that I have already read thirty non-fiction works this year, even before the four on the nightstand, so I am poised to outpace previous years’ goals in that area.) Clearly, though, I will not meet the goal of one hundred books read from the shelves. The fact that so many of the books I had been reading in recent years were newly published and / or acquired in the year they were read had largely informed my “Read from the shelves” challenge (that and the embarrassment of riches that is my home library). It was never my intent to cease acquiring new books, only to acquire more thoughtfully and to make better use of the library. That said, of the ninety-five books I’ve read so far this year, only twenty-four were published this year. Twenty-three books on my 2019 list were acquired this year, ten of which were published in 2019. Twenty-three of this year’s books were borrowed from the library. Oh, and here are the books I’ve read since I last visited the BaW threads: ■ Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Maria Semple; 2012. Fiction.) RFS ■ Audubon: On the Wings of the World (Fabien Grolleau and Jérémie Royer; 2017. Graphic non-fiction.) LIB ■ Howards End (E.M. Forster; 1910. Fiction.) RFS ■ Hope Rides Again (Andrew Shaffer; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ Outcast, Vol. 7 (Robert Kirkman; 2019. Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ Orange Is the New Black (Piper Kerman; 2014. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ American Prison (Shane Bauer; 2018. Non-fiction.) ATY ■ A Doll House (Henrik Ibsen (trans. Rolf Fjelde); 1879. Drama.) RFS ■ The Testaments (Margaret Atwood; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ Milkweed (Jerry Spinelli; 2003. Fiction.) RFS ■ Ulysses (James Joyce; 1922. Fiction.) RFS ■ They Called Us Enemy (George Takei; 2017. Graphic non-fiction.) LIB ■ Lunch Poems (Frank O’Hara; 1964. Poetry.) RFS ■ The Summer Book (Tove Jansson; 1972. Fiction.) RFS ■ Paper Girls, Vol. 6 (Brian K. Vaughan; 2019. Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ Oblivion Song, Vol. 3 (Robert Kirkman; 2019. Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ But is it art? (Cynthia Freeland; 2001. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ Player Piano (Kurt Vonnegut; 1952. Fiction.) RFS ■ Gideon Falls, Vol. 3: Stations of the Cross (Jeff Lemire; 2019. Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ Old in Art School (Nell Irvin Painter; 2018. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ A Rule against Murder (Louise Penny; 2009. Fiction.) ATY ————————————— ATY Acquired this year LIB Borrowed from library OTH Other RFS Read from shelves
  9. Hello, BaWers! Were your ears ringing? This weekly gathering was the subject of all my best compliments in a recent conversation about books and book clubs. In the month since my last post, I finished nine books, bringing my year-to-date total to seventy-three. ■ An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic (Daniel Mendelsohn; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ The Odyssey (Gareth Hinds; 2010. Graphic fiction.) ATY ■ Women Talking (Miriam Toews; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ The Wicked and the Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act (Kieron Gellen; 2014. Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ The Mighty Franks (Michael Frank; 2017. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ My Sister, The Serial Killer (Oyinkan Braithwaite; 2018. Fiction.) ATY ■ The Art of Racing in the Rain (Garth Stein; 2008. Fiction.) RFS ■ The Walking Dead, Vol. 32: Rest In Peace (Robert Kirkman; 2019. Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ The Cruelest Month (Louise Penny; 2008. Fiction.) ATY ——————- ATY Acquired this year LIB Borrowed from library OTH Other RFS Read from shelves
  10. Ayup. Most people didn’t want to hear my advice sixteen years ago, when I first maintained that college would not happen at the expense of my well-being and retirement. They probably don’t want to hear it now that my daughters have graduated. Heh, heh, heh. In an unrelated discussion, a poster pointed out that, on a plane in an emergency, you must put on your oxygen mask before you can fruitfully help others. Yet a frightening number of parents fail to don their financial oxygen masks. Worse, un(der)prepared for retirement and already living at (or above) their means, some help their children choose colleges based on a fatal combination of flawed advice from guidance counselors and admissions representatives and what will fly in their social circles. They maintain that it’s worth the cost for their kid to “follow his dream,” and they sign on to pay and pay and pay. The results will be disastrous.
  11. Hello, BaWers! It seems impossible, but to the best that I can determine, I last contributed to the discussion during Mother’s Day weekend. !! Things did get a bit hectic, for me: I am the move coordinator for my daughters’ relocation to the East Coast. I finally have a bit of time to breathe — that is, read — again, though. I should finish Daniel Mendlsohn’s memoir An Odyssey tonight. At this moment, I am at sixty-four books. Here are the titles I’ve read since I last checked in: ■ Where Reasons End (Yiyun Li; 2019. Fiction.) LIB ■ The Farm (Joanne Ramos; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ The Last Stone (Mark Bowden; 2019. Non-fiction.) ATY ■ A Fatal Grace (Louise Penny; 2007. Fiction.) ATY ■ Oblivion Song, Vol. 2 (Robert Kirkman; 2019. Graphic fiction.) ATY ■ The Suspect (L.R. Wright; 1985. Fiction.) RFS ■ True West (Sam Shepard; 1980. Drama.) RFS ■ Beowulf (Trans. Seamus Heaney; 2000. Poetry.) RFS ■ The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged (Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison; 2019. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ The Rise of Life on Earth (Joyce Carol Oates; 1991. Fiction.) RFS ■ Recursion (Blake Crouch; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ American Spy (Lauren Wilkinson; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ——————- ATY Acquired this yearLIB Borrowed from libraryOTH OtherRFS Read from shelves
  12. What led you to homeschool? Briefly, we knew we could provide a better education than the schools available to us. How was your child homeschooled in the high school years? (Did you use WTM as a guide? Did your child take out of the home, online classes, or college classes?) The WTM informed our studies through the middle school years; less so during high school. Both the oldest and the youngest entered the local college as dual enrolled students for their senior year of high school. What did your child do after graduating? What is your child doing now? My oldest became a Marine after earning his Associate of Science (AS) with high honors. As many WTMers know, he died nearly nine years ago. My daughters transferred to the state flagship after earning their AS degrees, also with high honors. Both were in the University honors program, which, as it turns out, is not common for transfer students because of the difficulty one faces in meeting the program challenges in a compressed time frame. Both succeeded. The older daughter graduated last year with a BS in psychology and several academic honors in addition to the honors program designation. She has worked as a public school paraprofessional educator for the last year. This summer, she is working in the school’s extended year program. The younger daughter graduated this May with a BS in physics, several academic honors (including highest distinction departmental honors) in addition to the honors program designation, several offers of admission to PhD programs (all fully funded), and an invitation to return to the national laboratory at which she interned last summer (an invitation she happily accepted). The PhD program she chose has set my daughters, who are best friends, on a path to the East Coast, where the older daughter will work for one more year before beginning her Masters in Teaching and the younger will begin her PhD in physics.
  13. Happy Mother’s Day, BaWers! With my reread of Hamlet today, I reached fifty-two books. And Robin, I finished the Gamache challenge by reading Still Life; it was terrific. Here’s what I’ve read since my last post: ■ Crow Lake (Mary Lawson; 2002. Fiction.) RFS ■ Grass Kings, Vol. 3 (Matt Kindt; 2018. Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ Charmed Particles (Chrissy Kolaya; 2015. Fiction.) RFS ■ How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals (Sy Montgomery; 2018. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home (Nora Krug; 2018. Graphic non-fiction.) LIB ■ Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality (Elizabeth Armstrong and Laura Hamilton; 2013. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ To Walk the Night (William Sloane; 1937. Fiction.) RFS ■ The Awakening (Kate Chopin; 1899. Fiction.) RFS ■ The Pigman (Paul Zindel; 1968. Fiction.) ATY ■ Gideon Falls, Vol. 2: Original Sins (Jeff Lemire; 2019. Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ The Test (Sylvain Neuvel ; 2018. Fiction.) ATY ■ Nobody’s Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead (Bill Griffith; 2019. Graphic non-fiction.) LIB ■ Hey, Kiddo (Jarrett J. Krosoczka; 2018. Graphic non-fiction.) RFS ■ Still Life (Louise Penny; 2005. Fiction.) ATY ■ The Uses of Enchantment (Heidi Julavits; 2006. Fiction.) RFS ■ Hamlet (William Shakespeare; 1602. Drama.) RFS ————————————— ATY Acquired this year LIB Borrowed from library OTH Other RFS Read from shelves
  14. Robin, cyan... the color of technology but as old as nature itself. Wait, what? 🤣 Oh, and postscript... A few weeks back, you were doing a challenge that included an option to read the first book of a series. I chose Louise Penny's Still Life to be read sometime this year. Which challenge is that?
  15. Hello, BaWers! It's been a long time since I have been able to stop by, but I do so appreciate this space. As always, thank you, Robin, for bringing us together in this comfortable corner of the virtual living room. (1) Elsewhere, I participated in a discussion about an article by Simon Fraser University professor Hannah Macgregor, “Liking Books Is Not a Personality.” The piece is thought-provoking, and the conversation it inspired was terrific, too. My acquisition process has become more stringent with each passing year, and my weeding is rigorous, too. The shelf space is finite, so the volumes in the permanent collection either “spark joy” or serve the antilibrary definition ascribed to Umberto Eco early in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?” and the others — a very small minority — who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary. (Have you seen this clip of Eco walking through his vast collection? I first saw it via the wonderful Brain Pickings.) (2) My "Read from the shelves" challenge is going... sort of meh. I've read thirty-five books so far this year, and seventeen of those were already in my collection at the conclusion of 2018. Here's my list: January ■ The People in the Trees (Hanya Yanagihara; 2013. Fiction.) RFS ■ A Sorrow Beyond Dreams (Peter Handke; 1972. Fiction.) RFS ■ Upgrade Soul (Ezra Claytan Daniels; 2016. Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ Fieldwork (Mischa Berlinski; 2007. Fiction.) RFS ■ Becoming (Michelle Obama; 2018. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ The Widower’s Notebook (Jonathan Santlofer; 2018. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ Reasons to Stay Alive (Matt Haig; 2015. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ Paper Girls, Vol. 5 (Brian K. Vaughan; 2018. Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ Fear: Trump in the White House (Bob Woodward; 2018. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ The Shakespeare Requirement (Julie Schumacher; 2018. Fiction.) RFS February ■ Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning (Gary Marcus; 2012. Fiction.) RFS ■ Ghost Wall (Sarah Moss; 2018. Fiction.) LIB ■ A Loss for Words: The Story of Deafness in a Family (Lou Ann Walker; 1986. Non-fiction.) ATY ■ Gone for Good (Harlan Coben; 2002. Fiction.) RFS ■ The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty (Simon Baron-Cohen; 2011. Non-fiction.) ATY ■ First, Learn to Practice (Tom Heany; 2012. Non-fiction.) ATY ■ The Current (Tom Johnston; 2019. Fiction.) LIB ■ How to Love Your Flute (Mark Shepard; 1979. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ The Sirens of Titan (Kurt Vonnegut; 1959. Fiction.) RFS ■ Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (Carlo Rovelli; 2014. Non-fiction.) RFS March ■ Man-eaters, Vol. 1 (Chelsea Cain; 2019. (Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ Paddle Your Own Canoe (Nick Offerman; 2013. Non-fiction.) LIB ■ Why Art? (Eleanor Davis; 2018. Graphic non-fiction.) LIB ■ The Silent Patient (Alex Michaelides; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ The Walking Dead, Vol. 31 (Robert Kirkman; 2019. Graphic fiction.) OTH ■ All Systems Red (Martha Wells; 2017. Fiction.) LIB ■ Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? (Frans de Waal; 2016. Non-fiction.) RFS ■ Grass Kings, Vol. 2 (Matt Kindt; 2018. Graphic fiction.) LIB ■ The Wall (John Lanchester; 2019. Fiction.) ATY ■ D’Aulaires Book of Norse Myths (Ingri Mortenson and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire; 1967. Fiction.) RFS ■ Sweat (Lynn Nottage; 2015. Drama.) LIB ■ Norse Mythology (Neil Gaiman; 2017. Fiction.) RFS ■ The Orchid Thief (Susan Orlean; 1998. Non-fiction.) RFS April ■ The Stoy of Arthur Truluv (Elizabeth Berg; 2017. Fiction.) ATY ■ Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America (Beth Macy; 2018. Non-fiction.) RFS ————————————— ATY Acquired this year LIB Borrowed from library OTH Other RFS Read from shelves (3) Here's what I'm reading right now: ● Ulysses (James Joyce; 1922) When I learned that Bloomsday would be part of Remy Bumppo’s 2018/19 season, I resolved to reread Ulysses. James A.W. Heffernan’s lectures (The Great Courses) will supplement my reading. ● Alliance, Illinois (David Etter; 1983) My National Poetry Month selection. ● To Walk the Night (William Sloane; 1937) My youngest and I are reading this. ● Charmed Particles (Chrissy Kolaya; 2015) Fermilab! How could I not read it? ● The Pigman (Paul Zindel; 1968) To complement the surprisingly delightful novel The Story of Arthur Truluv (Elizabeth Berg). ● Providence of a Sparrow: Lessons from a Life Gone to the Birds (Chris Chester; 2002) My bird of the year is, once again, a house sparrow, so I remain optimistic about this. ● The Awakening (Kate Chopin; 1899) Selected as both my nod to The Great American Read and my 2018 Banned Book Week selection, this one, for no good reason, keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the pile. (4) Finally, here are some passages that made their way into my commonplace book since my last BaW post. From Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (Carlo Rovelli; 2014): p. 33 This is the world is described by quantum mechanics and particle theory. We have arrived very far from the mechanical world of Newton, where minute, cold stones eternally wandered on long, precise trajectories in geometrically immutable space. Quantum mechanics and experiments with particles have taught us that the world is a continuous, restless swarming of things, a continuous coming to light and disappearance of ephemeral entities. A set of vibrations, as in the switched-on hippie world of the 1960s. A world of happenings, not of things. p. 37 Physics is not only a history of successes. p. 63 Time sits at the center of the tangle of problems raised by the intersection of gravity, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics. A tangle of problems where we are still in the dark. If there is something that we are perhaps beginning to understand about quantum gravity that combines two of the three pieces of the puzzle, we do not yet have a theory capable of trying to gather all three pieces of our fundamental knowledge of the world. From The Story of Arthur Truluv (Elizabeth Berg; 2017): p. 14 Mr. Lyons’s first name is Royal. Maddy thinks that’s hysterical. She wishes she could ask him what’s up with that. Royal. He’s got white hair and he’s a little fat. Maddy likes people who are a little fat; it seems to her that they are approachable. He’s a little fat and he’s got awfully pale skin and the links of his wristwatch are twisted like bad teeth. He doesn’t care about such things. He cares about words. He taught her one of her favorite words: hiraeth, a Welsh word that means homesickness for a home you cannot return to, or that maybe never was; it means nostalgia and yearning and grief for lost places. He used the word in a story that he read aloud to the class, and when he looked up, his eyes were full of tears. Nobody made fun of him after class, which was a miracle. Nobody said anything to her, anyway. Not that they would. She’s the girl who sits alone in the lunchroom, acting like her sandwich is fascinating. Or did. She skips lunch now. She doesn’t know exactly why kids don’t like her. She’s good-looking enough. She has a sense of humor. She’s not dumb. She guesses it’s because they can sense how much she needs them. They are like kids in a circle holding sticks, picking on the weak thing. It is in people to be entertained by cruelty. p. 18 Arthur thinks that, above all, aging means the abandonment of criticism and the taking on of compassionate acceptance. He sees that as a good trade. And anyway, Lucille makes those snickerdoodles, and she always packs some up for him to take home, and he eats them in bed, which is another thing he can do now, oh, sorrowful gifts. From The Wall (John Lanchester; 2019): p. 139 I suddenly got it. Hifa’s mother was one of those people who like life to be all about them. With the Change, that is a harder belief to sustain; it takes much more effort to think that life is about you when the whole of human life has turned upside down, when everything has been irrevocably changed for everyone. You can do it, of course you can, because people can do anything with their minds and their sense of themselves, but it takes work and only certain kinds of unusually self-centered people can do it. They want to be the focus of all the drama and pity and all the stories. I could tell that she didn’t like it that younger people are universally agreed to have had a worse deal than her generation. From Dopesick (Beth Macy; 2018): p. 125 Those of us living highly curated and time-strapped lives in cities across America — predominantly mixing virtually and physically with people whose views echoed our own — had no idea how politically and economically splintered our nation had become. And also how much poorer and sicker and work-starved they already struggling parts of the nation truly were — because we didn’t follow that story. We may feel more connected by our cellphones and computers, but in reality we are more divided that ever before.
×
×
  • Create New...