September ’10 was…

Sorry – forgot to post this!
September. As the song goes, “wake me when September ends” (thanks, Green Day). I got married in September just so I would have one happy memory (my wedding was freakin’ awesome). It is the one good thing to look forward to celebrating each year. Except this year. Considering how bad this September has been I am amazed I even remembered I got married in this damned month. Between Indiana being sick dying (on our anniversary no less), the anniversary of my father’s passing (18 years), my grandfather still being in hospice and my other insane family issues I can’t sleep straight. I don’t know when I’ll find mind rest again. But, here are the books that kept me somewhat sane:

  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre ~ I feel bad not being able to finish (or even like) this book. For years I’ve wondered about it.
  • Moo by Jane Smiley ~ was this ever a movie? I still can’t get over how caustic it was!
  • Wild Life by Molly Gloss ~ this should have been a movie, too!
  • Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott ~ just told my mom about this book last night. Something I would reread if I had children.
  • Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide by Robert Michael Pyle ~ this had me believing…for a minute.
  • The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty ~ my biggest head-scratcher this month. Seems like I have read this before somewhere.
  • The Clock Winder by Anne Tyler ~ it is interesting the way people have influence over others without wanting (or even trying). I read this in four days time.
  • The Heartbreak Hotel by Anne Rivers Siddon ~ a little redundant but I read this in honor of back to school month and because I had it ready on a shelf.
  • Report From Ground Zero by Dennis Smith ~ because I haven’t been sad enough

For LibraryThing’s Early Review Program:

  • Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine by George Dohrmann ~ this was intense!

I was supposed to get another book but I haven’t seen it yet. I am not going to even mention the title in case it never arrives. Even if it does comes I won’t be reading it in September.

For fun (started):

  • The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver ~ my husband bought this for me as an anniversary present because he knows I love, love, love Ms. Kingsolver’s work. And to think I didn’t get him anything. I did end up making one of this favorite meals for the very first time, chicken pot pie.

Where Bigfoot Walks

Pyle, Robert Michael. Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1995.

Where Bigfoot Walks is much more than a search for Bigfoot. It’s more than a need to discover the existence of a legend. Robert Michael Pyle was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship to investigate the mesmerizing myths that bring Sasquatch to life in the minds of millions. The grant basically allowed Pyle to take a leave of absence from ordinary bill-paying work (other writing) to pursue Bigfoot’s legacy across the Dark Divide and beyond. In that time Pyle met a variety of individuals most of whom fervently believe. If you are looking for a recount of all the Bigfoot/Sasquatch/Yeti sightings in glorious detail, Where Bigfoot Walks is not the book for you. Pyle traverses the landscapes that hold the myths but his attention is more on what he can see rather than what he cannot. His lovingly vivid descriptions of birds, plants, flowers, rivers, mountains, animals, trees and grasses are tantalizing as is his equally scornful descriptions of bike tracks, logging scars, and other man-made abuses against nature. Only a couple of times were his attention to detail distracting – I didn’t need to know how many times he remarried nor did I care about his bodily functions along the trek(s).

But, there is no doubt Pyle is a skilled and entertaining author. Here are a few quotes that had my attention: “My tent was a hammock suspended between the sun and the moon, guarded by three volcanoes” (p 27), ” But unless I caught an arrow in the ass from some wannabe Robin Hood who mistook it for an elk’s rump, I was at little risk” (p 80), and “Anyone who sneers and never embraces a tree is missing out on one of the finer sensual compensations for life in a mortal body” (p 116).

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called, “Companion Reads” (p 63). I read this with Wild Life by Molly Gloss.

Wild Life

Gloss, Molly. Wild Life.New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

I suppose I could make some wiseazz crack about my college days, but I will refrain 🙂 for your sake.

Wild Life takes place in the wilds of Oregon/Washington state in the early 1900s. Charlotte Bridger Drummond is a feisty, independent, feminist, single mother of five (all boys) who supports her children by writing dime store novels. She has a bit of an ego and flies the feminist flag a little too frequently, but has a good heart. When her housekeeper’s granddaughter goes missing in the logging hills of the Oregon/Washington border she bravely joins the search believing her strength and savvy will bring the child home. To her utter surprise Charlotte gets lost herself and must depend on a group of shy Big foot-like beasts for survival. While the overall premise of Wild Life is fascinating and the strength of Gloss’s writing is intoxicating, the mishmash of storytelling misses its mark. Interspersed between Charlotte’s tale (in the form of a diary) of her search for the missing child and her adventure with the wild ones is a third-party narrative about barely related characters, short literary quotes, science related newspaper and journal clippings, and substantial excerpts from CBD’s current in-the-works novel. Much like I wanted to see the Ya-Ya scrapbook in The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells I think Wild Life would have benefitted from a scrapbookish approach (think Nick Bantock).

I am in love with how Molly Gloss writes. Here are a few of my favorite one-liners. First, “They wrestled daily over important matters such as whose arrow came nearest to killing a particular Indian or slavering wolf, and trivial matters such as who wiped whose snot on whose trousers” (p 25). I instantly thought of Silas and Atticus. Here’s another, “There is something about a lighted room when you are standing outside it in the cold night” (p 32); and one more, “I’m a notoriously poor friend where tears are concerned” (p 54).

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called, “Companion Reads” (p 63). I’m reading Where Bigfoot Walks by Robert Michael Pyle as the companion to Wild Life.

September ’10 is…

September is the storm before the calm – literally since Earl is raging up the coast! School is back in session. A new hire is on the premises. Things are a little crazy right now. Here are how things look for books at the moment:

  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre ~ in honor of the Cold War starting in September
  • Between Parent and Child by Haim G. Ginott ~ in honor of National Family Month
  • Where Big Foot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide by Robert Pyle ~ in honor of Bigfoot being spotted on September 16, 2007 in Pennsylvania (yay for the Northeast Sasquatch!)
  • Wild Life by Molly Gloss ~ a companion read to Where Big Foot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide.
  • Moo by Jane Smiley ~ in honor of school being back in session

I’m also in the process of reading a few food books and an Early Review book. More on all of that later.