Tuesday, October 18, 2016

August, maybe some September, books




Well, we're back, like just waking up from a long sleepless night. Clearly, it was spent reading.

Let's just get it out of the way - I didn't finish several of these books. It's like confession - feels better to be upfront about it. So here we go:

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold, by C.S. Lewis: Love this guy. Made it maybe past the fifth page. What can I tell you. Nothing. Because it's like I didn't even try. Honestly, it was right after I was trying to read Chaucer because a friend is teaching a class on it, and I never read it, and good lord, it's like a horse pill if you pick it up on the wrong day, so then I picked this up and.... Urghh.

At the Edge of the Orchard, by Tracy Chevalier: First off, huge fan. Loved the Unicorn one she wrote. This one was harder for me to get into. I got partway through. Let's face it - maybe I just didn't want to know what happened? Maybe later. Will put it on the list. I'm sure it's great. *facepalm

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr: Wild acclaim! Best novel ever! But, sadly, massively depressing, and according to my book club, it got even more so after I abandoned it, so... perhaps it's just better this way. However, the writing is tremendous. Just excellent imagery, and allegory and vocabulary usage. All excellent. Worth picking up! Bring tissues. Side note: apparently Kristin Hannah wrote a book on the similar topic, The Nightengale. I've heard recommendations to read both. I could make a claim that I will, but I think we all know the truth here... let me know how it is...

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Austere Academy, by Lemony Snicket: Yep, escaped back into the kid's section again. Didn't finish this one - what is it with the wildly depressing books this month - but it started out strong! I did finish the first one in the series, which you'll see there camped out at No. 2 in the stack. Did you hear they are coming out with a movie? Super curious at how they are planning to pull that off!

The Ultimate Bicycle Owner's Manual: The Universal Guide to Bikes, Riding, and Everything for Beginner and Seasoned Cyclists, by Eben Weiss: I'm not sure what possessed me to pick this up. Full disclosure - the bike I own was free. It's an orange beach bike with a couch-like seat, five dubious speeds and touring handles, which currently sports flat tires and let's face it, a missing basket. However, I'm appreciative those two times a year I break it out and take it for a 10-mile spin (cough). That said, I have dreams that I own a Trek and ride it like the wind. Miracles happen. This book is hilarious. Eben is great, and he makes you think you could not only own said Trek, but in fact fix it and have educated conversations at bike shops. Well, certain bike shops. He understands there are different types of bike shops. Anyway, it's great. Give it a go. And for pete's sake, don't lease a Subaru. (Book joke.)

The first phone call to Heaven: A Novel, by Mitch Albom: Is there anything this guy writes that isn't great? This is a fast read - also, it has an unexpected ending. And like most of Albom's books, it makes you really think. I found myself pondering this long after I put it down. Basically, it starts with a phone call to a woman... from a relative who is dead. The story moves in way you can't imagine from there.

Night Shift, Charlaine Harris: She of the Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood books. I picked this up on a whim, looking for (apparently) some brain junk food, and I hit the motherload. Witches, vampires, werewolves, intrigue - check. Set your mind to Easy, and sit down with some candy for a real Halloween treat. Fyi, went looking for more when this was done, and sure enough, I found it. Will update you next time!

I saved the best for last. Get ready.

Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars, by Nathalia Holt: Folks, get yourself to the library, or better yet, just buy this one. Give it to your sisters, nieces, daughters, aunts and anyone. This book, written by a science writer with a Ph.D. (!), is excellent. Ever wondered where they came up with the word "computer"? From the women who computed the earliest math for rocket propulsion. Ever wondered how we got to space, or how long that took? It's in here. This is the real battle not only for science, but for women in science, and the rise of mechanical computers in that journey. From the earliest testing of rockets in the desert to the launches into outer space - made while we were doing calculations by hand, by the way - this is truly a work of art in revealing the geniuses behind the curtain. I was blown away, no pun intended, that I didn't know these things before. This is what science education looks like, folks. Get yourself some.

And there it is. Much more for the September-October stack, which is currently due at the library any second. See you next time!


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Yarn






We have a lot of yarn now. It came from my dad's house.
It was Bonnie's. She died about a month and a half ago now.

She was so many things, and did so many things. She had a life well-lived.
And, she was fearless. We were in France, and she admired the coffee cups we were using in a restaurant. She said, I think I'll see if he would give some to me, and I laughed.

Guess who got the coffee cups.

We all went to Ireland several years back. We ended up sitting next to a family in a bar in Limerick. The father and daughter were at the head of the table, drinking and telling stories. They were there post-funeral, they told us, and they were singing songs and crying and sharing memories. They brought us in and we laughed and cried with them. I kept thinking about that night when we were having dinner after Bonnie's service.

She framed a picture of a cat I did freehand so long ago. She put it up right next to all the other art in the house, done by real live professionals. 

It felt weird to write another blog post without saying something about this. So, instead, I'm crocheting my fingers off. And reading library books. And taking a course. And drinking wine. And so on. More later.