August Awakenings

What can I tell you about August? I still have moments of wanting to hurl myself off a cliff. But, but. But! The good news is, by default, that recklessness has made me shed my fear of flying, ants, and flying ants. I went zip lining in Alaska and found myself the first to volunteer; literally throwing myself off every platform.
I was forced to dedicate more time to the run while I punished myself with late-read books from July. As a result of all that, August’s mileage was decent considering 10 days were spent traveling (25 – the most since April) while the reading list was a little lackluster:

Fiction:

  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein (AB left over from July)
  • In Tragic Life by Vardis Fisher – such a sad book!

Nonfiction:

  • Hawthorne: a Life by Brenda Wineapple (left over from July)
  • Miami by Joan Didion

Series Continuations:

  • The Eagle Has Flown by Jack Higgins
  • Henry James: the Middle Years by Leon Edel (left over from JUNE)

Early Review:

  • Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea J. Ritchie

For Fun:

  • Pharos Gate by Nick Bantock – I know, I know. I shouldn’t be reading anything for fun while I had so many July books still on my plate. This took me all over an hour to read and besides, Bantock is one of my favorites. How could I not?

Hawthorne: a Life

Wineapple, Brenda. Hawthorne: a Life.New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.

Reason read: Hawthorne was born in the month of July – read in his honor.

While I haven’t read any other biographies of Hawthorne (so far) I predict Wineapple’s is going to be my favorite. For starters, while Wineapple delves into Hawthorne’s lineage she isn’t bogged down with multiple generations of pre-Nathaniel Hawthorne history. In fact, she begins Hawthorne’s biography with the briefest of glimpses into his childhood before launching into the period when he first started dabbling with the art of writing (keeping a journal and drafting poetry). Mercifully, a writer is born almost immediately. Wineapple’s biography reveals Hawthorne’s contradictory character with thorough grace, revealing his charms and follies. It’s a shame most of his letters were destroyed, not allowing Wineapple to delve deeper into his psyche. I can only imagine what she would have revealed! I was most touched by Hawthorne’s over-35 year friendship with President Pierce. While Pierce was not the best president of this country, his relationship with Hawthorne was exemplary.

Confessional: July seemed to be the month for reading about writers. In addition to Hawthorne I read about Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Tom Eliot, D.H Lawrence, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Herman Melville and Morgan Forster. Within Hawthorne I also read about Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville,  and William Shakespeare. All these writers!

Author fact: Wineapple has written several other books. However, Hawthorne is the only one I’m reading for the Challenge.

Quote I liked, “Free trade, free labor, free soil, free men and women: 1848 was a year of revolutions abroad and at home” (p 202).

Book trivia: Hawthorne includes photographs and illustrations.

Nancy said: According to Pearl, Wineapple makes it clear in Hawthorne that the writer was much more than his work, The Scarlet Letter.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Literary Lives: the Americans” (p 144). If you are keeping score, I’m also reading Edel’s Henry James biography from this same chapter.


July Unraveled

What can I tell you about July? What a crazy effed up month! For my state of mind it was better than the last simply because the Kisa and I ran all over California for a week. I was terribly distracted from the run and the books. Once you see the numbers you’ll understand. For the run I conquered only two runs in sunny CA and totaled 20.5 miles for the entire month. Here are the books:

Fiction:

  • Anna and Her Daughters by D.E. Stevenson
  • The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins

Nonfiction:

  • Pacific Lady by Sharon S. Adams
  • Hawthorne: a Life by Brenda Wineapple

Series Continuations:

  • Moment of War by Laurie Lee

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • The World Broke in Two by Bill Goldstein

Did Not Finish (still reading):

  • Henry James: The Middle Years by Leon Edel -STILL! Since June!
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

Never Started (didn’t arrive in time):

  • In Tragic Life by Vandis Fisher

July with a Bang

The one good thing about July is that I am starting to train for a half mara in October. I am praying this gets me out of my funk…

Here are the books:

Fiction:

  • The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins ~ in honor of Higgins’s birth month
  • Anna and Her Daughters by DE Stevenson ~ in honor of July being Ice Cream Month (this is further explained in the book review).

Nonfiction:

  • Hawthorne: a Life by Brenda Wineapple ~ in honor of Hawthorne’s birth month
  • Pacific Lady by Sharon Adams ~ in honor of July being Ocean Month

Series Continuations:

  • Henry James: the Middle Years by Leon Edel (didn’t finish in June) ~ to continue the series started in April in honor of James’s birth month.
  • A Moment of War by Laurie Leeto continue the series started in honor of April’s Madrid festival.

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • The World Broke in Two: Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, E. M. Forster, and the Year That Change Literature by Bill Goldstein