So Long September

What an absolutely bonkers month. September was…How to describe September? The family had a reunion of sorts. The island suffered its fifth shock of the season with a quadruple murder. Running was another head-scratcher as I officially resumed physically therapy for my twisted hips. But. But, But! I was able to log over 30 miles. Nowhere near the 70+ I wanted, but it’s something. At least I haven’t stopped entirely. And the reading? Here are the books:

Fiction:

  • Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (AB/print)
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman
  • Burton And Speke by William Harrison (fictionalized history/historical fiction…whatever)
  • My Dream of You by Naola O’Faolain (AB/print)

Nonfiction:

  • O Jerusalem! by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre – Confessional: didn’t quite get all the way through this)
  • Everybody was so Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy, a Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill
  • Living Well is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins

Series continuations:

  • Passions Spin the Plot by Vardis Fisher
  • Henry James: the Treacherous Years (1895 – 1901) by Leon Edel

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Boat Runner by Devin Murphy (fiction!)

O Jerusalem!

Collins, Larry and Dominique Lapierre. O Jerusalem! New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.

Reason read: Read in honor of Collins’s birth month being in September.

Critics have called O Jerusalem! “massive” and “epic” in regards to its number of pages, but the scope of its topic O Jerusalem is singular: the year 1948. The year in which British rule ceased in Jerusalem and Arabs and Jews picked up their generations-long battle over the region. Written in four parts beginning with November 29th, 1947 to December 20th, 1947, O Jerusalem opens with the General Assembly of the United Nations voting in favor of partitioning Palestine. Joy and dismay alike reverberate through the ancient land. For this is a fate Jewish Jerusalem had prayed for for over two thousand years. That fact alone is staggering. Think of how many generations have lived through this struggle! Their joy reminded me of the Red Sox winning the pennant after 84 years, “Uri Cohen, a biology student at Hebrew University, happily kissed his way from his home to the city center” (p 42).
This reads like a adventure novel. You get to know people (Uri Cohen will come back again, not as happily).  As a reader, you will crawl into their lives and almost get inside their heads. This may be massive and epic but you’ll hang on every word.

Author fact: Larry Collins was born and raised in West Hartford, Connecticut – just down the road from where I work.
Author fact: Dominique Lapierre was friends with Collins before they coauthored Is Paris Burning?

Book trivia: O Jerusalem! includes a section of photographs.

Nancy said: O Jerusalem! is included in a list of books Nancy says are all “certain to broaden your knowledge, increase your understanding of this part of the world, and be enjoyable (if sometimes uncomfortable) reads” (p 143).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “A Mention of the Middle East” (p 142).


Back to School September

September starts out with sunny skies and a promise of a return to normalcy. What is “normal” anyway? I’m hoping to run without pain (have a whopping 72 miles scheduled). I’m also hoping to get back on track with the reading:

Fiction:

  • Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald –  in honor of F Scott Fitzgerald’s birth month.

Nonfiction:

  • O Jerusalem! by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre
  • Burton and Speke by William Harrison – in honor of September being Curiosity Month (and isn’t that what exploring as all about, being curious?)
  • Living Well is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins – in honor of F Scott Fitzgerald’s birth month (& the reading of Tender is the Night)
  • Everybody was So Young by Amanda Vaill – in honor of F Scott Fitzgerald’s birth month (& the reading of Tender is the Night)

Series Continuation:

  • Passion Spins the Plot by Vardis Fisher – to continue the series started in August in honor of the day Butch Cassidy robbed a bank in Idaho.

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • The Boat Runner by Devin Murphy (the first fiction I have received in a long time!)

Freedom at Midnight

Collins, Larry and Dominique Lapierre. Freedom at Midnight. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975.

Reason read: November is the best time to visit India…or so they say.

I have to admit I had a love-hate relationship with Freedom at Midnight. At times I found it incredibly interesting while other times it was as boring as taupe. This is the kind of book a historian could really drool over. Often times it reads like a novel in its detail.
My takeaways: It is profound to think that the age old antagonism between the millions of Hindus and millions of Moslems is seemingly irreconcilable and Freedom at Midnight provides a wonderful, if abbreviated, biography of Gandhi.

Author fact(s): Larry Collins was born in Hartford, CT and Dominique Lapierre was born in France.

Book trivia: Freedom at Midnight include some pretty interesting photographs as well as one or two disturbing ones.

Nancy said: Reading Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie led Pearl to read Freedom at Midnight (from the Book Lust introduction). She also said Freedom at Midnight was “required reading for those interested in understanding colonial and postcolonial India from a non-Indian point of view” (p 125-126).

Confessional: I started to read Freedom at Midnight five (yes, five) years ago. The start of this blog has been hanging out since 2011.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust and More Book Lust. In Book Lust in the introduction (p xi) and in More Book Lust in the chapter called “India: A Reader’s Itinerary” (p 125).


December Did Not

December did not suck entirely. I was able to run 97 miles out of the 97 promised. The in-law holiday party was a lot of fun and I got to most of the books on my list:
Nonfiction:

  • Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming (DNF)
  • Rainbow’s End by Lauren St. John
  • Paul Revere and the World He Lived in by Esther Forbes
  • On the Ocean by Pytheas (translated by Christina Horst Roseman)
  • Geometry of Love by Margaret Visser
  • Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre .
  • River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard (AB)

Fiction:

  • Tu by Patricia Grace – I read this in four days because it was due back at a library that didn’t allow renewals.

Series:

  • Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright. I listened to this on audio on my lunch breaks. It was a good way to escape for a little while each day. Confessional: I didn’t finish the whole thing but since it is a continuation of the series it doesn’t matter.

Early Review:

  • Yoga for Athletes by Ryanne Cunningham – this was an October book that took me a little time to review because I was too busy using it to run!
  • Disaster Falls: a family story by Stephane Gerson