By July

June was an interesting month. Ran 43.5 miles. But, for the reading it was full of short stories and quick reads. Finished:

  • The Millstone by Margaret Drabble
  • Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill
  • Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
  • Yocandra in the Paradise of Nada by Zoe Valdes
  • A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan (AB)
  • A Death in the Family by James Agee
  • Edge of Time by Loula Grace Erdman – probably my favorite

Short stories:

  • “A perfect Day for a Bananafish” by JD Salinger
  • “For Esme – with Love and Squalor” by JD Salinger
  • “The Orphan” by Nell Freudenberger
  • “Outside the Eastern Gates” by Nell Freudenberger
  • “Four Calling Brids, Three French Hens” by Lorrie Moore
  • “People Like That Are the Only People Here” by Lorrie Moore
  • “Mr Squishy” by David Foster Wallace
  • “The Suffering Channel” by David Foster Wallace
  • “Blight” by David Bezmozgis
  • “Hot Ice” by David Bezmozgis

For fun I read two books related to running:

  • Anatomy, Stretching and Training for Marathoners by Dr. Philip Striano
  • Rocket Fuel by Matthew Kadrey, MD

And for the Early Review program with LibraryThing, another book about running:

  • Off the Beaten Trail by Meghan Hicks and Bryon Powell

Thirty-Three Teeth

Cotterill, Colin. Thirty-Three Teeth. New York: SoHo Press, 2005.

Reason read: to continue the series started in April in honor of Rocket Day in Laos.

Thirty-Three Teeth takes up exactly where The Coroner’s Lunch left off. It is now March 1977 and an Asian black bear has just escaped from somewhere. Is this the terrible beast that has been mauling unsuspecting victims to death?

Adding to Dr. Siri’s title of reluctant coroner is confused psychic – “for reasons he was still trying to fathom he’d been delegated Lao’s honorary consul to the spirit world” (p 13).

Siri still has his sidekicks, Nurse Dtui, Mr. Geung and even Saloop, the dog who hated him in the beginning of Coroner’s Lunch. Nurse Dtui and Saloop have bigger roles this time around.

As an aside, the title of the book comes from the belief that if someone has 33 teeth it is a sign they were born as a bridge to the spirit world. You guessed it, Dr. Siri has 33 teeth. One of the best scenes is when he is trying to run his tongue along his teeth to count them.

Spoiler alert: Revenge is a powerful thing. I was very sad by what happened to Saloop.

Lines that made me laugh, “Diarrhea, in it’s most vindictive state, can erase even thoughts of terror” (p 20), “Siri was impressed that the department of information could provide so little of it” (p 31), “Honesty can be a dirty gift” (p 65), and one more, “When you befriend a man whose mind lives on a distant star, you deserve whatever you get” (p 159).

Author fact: at the time of publication of Thirty-Three Teeth Cotterill was living in Thailand.

Book trivia: Thirty-Three Teeth is short; easily read in one day.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Laos” (p 128).


A Fresh Start for June

May is ending with disappointment. The caboose of the story (instead of the whole train) is that due to work obligations Kisa & I were not able to make it to Maine for a long weekend over the holiday. As a result I had to burn two vacation days at home. June will be a better month. But, to be fair – May wasn’t so shabby for books:

  • Brilliant Orange by David Winner
  • Bold Spirit by Linda Hunt
  • Jordan by E. Borgia
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandre Solzhenitsyn
  • Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • Map of Another Town by MFK Fisher
  • All the Rage by Martin Moran (ER)

ADDED:

  • Arab and Jew by David Shipler
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower by¬† David Chbosky

DNF:

  • Master of the Senate by Robert Caro

For JUNE, here are the books & why:

  1. Yocandra in the Paradise of Nada by Zoe Valdes in honor of Caribbean Heritage Month
  2. Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill to continue the series started in May
  3. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich in honor of her birth month
  4. The Millstone by Margaret Drabble in honor of family month
  5. A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan in honor of World War II (D-Day)

June is National Short Story Month:

  • from Birds of America by Lorrie Moore:
    • Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens
    • People Like That are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk
  • from Lucky Girls by Nell Freudenberger:
    • The Orphan
    • Outside the Eastern Gate
  • from Nine Stories by JD Salinger:
    • A Perfect Day for a Bananafish
    • For Esme: with Love & Squalor

May I Read

I never recapped April nor predicted May. For the first time ever, April books are still being read. To be fair, the Lyndon Johnson series started in February so technically these leftovers are not specific either April nor May.

April was an oddball month in that my reading was all on the fly. I trained for another half marathon and that took a lot of my time. Not nearly as much as the full mara, but still…

Here are the Challenge books finished in April:

  • King Lear – Shakespeare (not scheduled)
  • Guernica – Van Hensbergen (not scheduled)
  • Grand Tour – Tim Moore
  • Green Thoughts – Eleanor Perenyi
  • Alice in Sunderland – Bryan Talbot
  • Considerable Town – M F K Fisher
  • Don’t Eat This Book – Morgan Spurlock

Here are the just for fun books:

  • Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work – John Gottman
  • Spark Joy – Marie Kondo (not scheduled)

Here’s what on tap for May:

For the Early Review program through LibraryThing:

  • All the Rage by Martin Moran

To celebrate May:

  • Brilliant Orange: the Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer by David Winner ~ in honor of the tulip festival in Holland
  • Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt ~ in honor of Just ‘Cause and their 60-mile walk (although this year it’s in June).
  • Jordan: Past & Present: Petra, Jerash & Amman by E. Borgia ~ in honor of Jordan gaining independence in the month of May
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandre Solzhenitsyn ~ in honor of Russia’s Victory Day (may 9th, 1945)
  • Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill ~ to celebrate Laos Rocket Day (already read – this took me less than a day)
  • Chosen, the by Chaim Potok ~ in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month (AB – already read)
  • Map of Another Town by MFK Fisher ~ to finished the Two Towns book started in April
  • Master of the Senate by Robert Caro ~ to finished the series started in February in honor of Presidents’ Day.

Coroner’s Lunch

Cotterill, Colin. The Coroner’s Lunch. New York: SoHo Press, 2004.

Reason read: Laos Rocket Day is in May. Coroner’s Lunch takes place in Laos.

This was one of those books where the plot steals you away. You sit down to read and before you know it your lunch break is over, your coffee is cold and a hundred pages have flown by before your eyes. It’s a fun read.
The year is October 1976 and Dr. Siri Paiboun is a reluctant chief police coroner for the Republic in Laos. He didn’t want the job. At 72 years old, he was ready to be a gardening, reading, coffee and brandy drinking retired physician. He lacked the qualifications to be a coroner, had next to no on-the-job training with dead people (in theory, as a physician he tried to avoid the dead at all cost) and truly lacked enthusiasm for the job entirely. Yet, when bodies suddenly start popping up with suspicious causes of death, with the help of few slightly charred textbooks from 1948, some ghosts, and his sidekicks, a Downs Syndrome technician and a dowdy nurse, Siri slowly embraces the role of detective/coroner. Complicating matters is the Communist Pathet Lao party. They want Siri to report on these deaths in only one way – natural causes. But thanks to Siri’s disregard for authority and his sly sense of humor he only wants one thing – the truth.
Yes, there is a paranormal element to The Coroner’s Lunch but it works. Everything about this book works. In fact. I read it in one day.

Author fact: Cotterill has one of the best websites I have seen in a long time here. I knew I would love it as soon as saw the “nose” joke. You’ll get it when you visit the site, so GO!

Book trivia: I got really excited when I read S.J. Rozen’s review of The Coroner’s Lunch because Cotterill was compared to Alexander McCall Smith, another favorite author.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter simply called, “Laos” (p 128).