2/1 - 2/4 What are you reading to start this month?
2. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld audio -- a YA book; it is the 2nd in the series; I am debating if I will finish the series
3. If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende NF KTM 8/3/17 [281 pages] -- almost 1/2 way through this book; I am making it a goal to read a lot of my books from other BCers. I have too many of them - around 70. I have read 7 so far this year.
ALL YEAR: Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles Cowman
Nonsense novel on the Kindle for carrying around and when I'm in the right mood at home as well: Once Upon a Time Travel by Sariah Wilson which is Very Silly!
Because both nonfictions I've chosen for this month are episodic, one started life as a regular column in The Times and the other's mostly diary extracts, so both are more suitable for reading in short bursts than long stints, I've decided to run them in tandem:
The Last Word by Ben Macintyre
The World of Samuel Pepys by Robert and Linnet Latham
Amy Snow by Tracy Rees on the Kindle next.
A nice light read. I enjoyed it. It took me to Victorian York, one of my favourite cities, although I know it in the present not the past, of course! Some of the action was actually in Heworth, then a separate village, now part of the suburbs, where I was yesterday, not knowing I'd be back there in my book this morning!
Nothing else on my Kindle fits plum's February reading theme, so I'll probably read my oldest unread download next, On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry.
I've learned that this novel was the 1st banned book in Russia and that this novel was the direct nspiration for such works as:
Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932)
Ayn Rand's Anthem (1938)
George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano (1952)
Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed (1974)
I have about 28 pages left to read of this novel and am hoping to finish reading it today.
The e-book is easier to carry for the commute as this one is 529 pages.
As the Crow Flies ( https://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14891327/ ), a graphic novel about a girl, "13 years old, black, queer, and questioning what was once a firm belief in God", on a camping trip with an all-white church group. So far the story focuses on Charlie's uncertainties and fears, mingled with the well-intentioned but sometimes clumsy statements of the group leader, and the ups and downs of an arduous multi-day hike...
Linda was next to the window, and I sat in the middle. Next to me on the other side was a very quiet, always reading, work-shirt-corduroy-pants type of guy. He managed to see past me, which was not easy to do, right into Linda’s eyes. They talked over my stomach.
“Is this your first trip?” (Him)
“Yeah. I’m so excited I could die.” (Linda)
“Me too.” (Me)
“You’re going to love it. I’ve been going every year for the last five years, and each year I love it more.” (Him)
“You’ve been there five times? How fantastic!” (Linda)
“What’s your name?” (Him)
“Linda. What’s yours?” (Linda)
“I’m Sheila.” (Me, Sheila)
Do I have to tell you that when I got up to go to the bathroom, he moved over into my seat? Do I have to tell you that when we landed, Charles got his luggage and Linda’s luggage and that I schlepped my own through customs and to the cab? Do I have to tell you that he suggested a small boardinghouse, very nice, very clean, very cheap, including breakfast, with adjoining rooms? Do I have to tell you that Linda and Charles skipped around town together night and day in each other’s arms, their London Fogs flapping in the breeze? And do I have to tell you that I saw the Tower of London, the Palace, Parliament, Soho, Piccadilly Circus, etc., etc., etc. all by myself, alone, on a crowded bus tour? Do I have to tell you that I have a lot of strangers in my slides?
End of excerpt.
A general prejudice about the French has them as being unbearably smug, arrogant and superior in their attitude that their country is the best at everything. However, even though he was born in France, Brillat-Savarin admitted that his language wasn’t always adequate as a tool for conveying his ideas. In fact, he scoffed at his contemporaries who argued that French must be kept pure and unsullied because it is the best that it can be and needed no improvement. Quelle surprise!
I am completely persuaded that the French language, my own, is comparatively thin. And what can be done to strengthen it? Borrow or steal!
I do both, since such borrowings are not subject to repayment, and the theft of words is not punishable by law.
I well know that the classicists will call up the names of Bossuet and Fénélon to shame me, of Racine and Boileau and Pascal and others of the time of Louis XIV. I can already hear them, making a frightful fuss about it!
To all of which I reply calmly that I am far from denying the merits of any of those writers, whether I named them or merely implied their existence. But what does that prove? Nothing at all, unless it is that although they did the best they could with an inadequate tool, they would have done incomparably better with a superior one. It is the same as saying that Tartini would have played even better on the violin if his bow had been as long as Baillot’s.
I am, apparently, on the side of the neologists and even of the romanticists; the latter discover hidden treasures in our language, and the former are like mariners who sail to far lands to seek out what we need.
Northern people, especially in England, have an immense advantage over us in this respect: there, genius is never hampered in its expression, but creates or borrows freely as it wills. One result is that our translators, especially of works of great depth and vitality, never make more than pale and twisted copies of the originals.
I once heard at the Institute a most expert discourse on the danger of neologism, the need to protect our language from inventions and to preserve it as it was when the writers of the Golden Age marked out its heights and depths.
As a chemist would, I passed this opinion through the crucible of my logic. Here is what was left in the ashes: We have done so well that there is no way to do better, nor to do otherwise.
However, I have lived long enough to know that each generation says the same thing, and is inevitably laughed at by the men who live in the next one.
Besides, how can words rest unchanged when morals and ideas show a continuous flux? Even if we do what our forefathers did, we cannot do it in the same way: there are whole pages in some of the old French texts that could never be translated into either Latin or Greek.
Every tongue has had its birth, its apogee, its fading, and not a single one, from Sesostris to Philip Augustus, exists now except in the monuments of its antiquity. It will happen thus to French: in 2825 A.D. I shall be read only with a dictionary, if at all…
End of excerpt.
I've also been enjoying George O'Connor's "Olympians" series, a graphic-novel re-telling of various Greek myths, with each book focusing on a particular god or goddess (though their stories intertwine so much that it can be tricky remembering who's supposed to be the star sometimes). Most recently, Aphrodite ( https://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14871015 ).
I have started John Mauceri's "Maestros and their Music: the Art and Alchemy of Conducting", and for light reading have picked up Margaret Maron's latest, "Take Out", a Sigrid Harald mystery.
Starch is the base of bread, of cakes, and of thick soups of all kinds, and for this reason forms a very great part of almost every person’s nourishment.
It has been observed that such a diet softens a man’s flesh and even his courage. For proof one can cite the Indians, who live almost exclusively on rice and who are the prey of almost anyone who wishes to conquer them.
End of excerpt.
Nor does he bother to hide his mild misogyny.
A few years ago I went to look at a country house near Paris on the banks of the Seine opposite the island of Saint-Denis, in a little hamlet which consisted mainly of eight fishermen’s huts. I was struck by the number of children who swarmed along the road.
I mentioned my astonishment to the boatman with whom I was crossing the river. “Sir,” he said, “there are only eight families of us here, and we have fifty-three children, forty-nine of them girls and only four boys, one of them my own.” As he spoke, he straightened himself triumphantly, and pointed out to me a little rascal five or six years old, stretched out on the bow of the boat, crunching away happily on some raw crayfish.
From this incident, which happened more than ten years ago, and from various others which I cannot very well recount with discretion, I have been led to think that the reproductive activity induced by a fish diet may well be more exciting than it is full-bodied and substantial; I am even more inclined to believe this since, quite recently, Doctor Bailly has proved, by a series of facts observed during almost a full century, that every time the birth of girls greatly outnumbers that of boys in an annual census, the overabundance of females is directly due to debilitating circumstances. This may well indicate to us the origin of the pleasantries which have always been made to the man whose wife has just presented him with a daughter.
End of excerpt.
then read "Thin Ice; The Complete, Uncensored Story of Tonya Harding"
by Frank Coffey/Joe Layden on Sunday. It was quite short. Somehow I thought the book was written recently, as it was a new release on Overdrive and the movie "I, Tonya" is on at the theatres, but it was written in the '90's soon after Kerrigan's assault. I am thinking about seeing the movie.