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

Natasha: and Other Stories

Bezmozgis, David. Natasha: and Other Stories. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004.

Reason read: June is short story month.

Natasha and Other Stories is comprised of seven short stories. I read “Tapka” and title story, “Natasha.” The interesting thing about all seven stories is that they all center around one family, the Bermans. “Tapka” and “Natasha” center on Mark, the son.

“Tapka”
Six year old Mark Berman falls in love with Tapka, his neighbor’s tiny white Lhasa-apso, at first sight. He cares for this animal so deeply he and his cousin are bestowed care-taking duties of Tapka. Until tragedy strikes.
Best line, “With no English, no money, no job, and only a murky conception of what the future held, he wasn’t equipped to admire Tapka on the Italian Riviera” (p 5).

“Natasha”
Ten years later, sixteen year old Mark develops feelings for his fourteen year old cousin, Natasha. She is wise beyond her years; much more experienced than Mark. She teaches him a thing or two about coming of age.
Best line, “She was calibrated somewhere between resignation and joy” (p 90).

Author fact: Bezmozgis was born in Latvia.

Book trivia: Natasha and Other Stories is Bezmozgis’s first book.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Good Things Come in Small Packages” (p 102).