Spring Sprung Titles

What to say about April? I ran my fastest 10k while ill (go figure). I met two new runners and may have convinced someone to at least try. I don’t know where this acceptance to run with others is coming from. To share a conversation I had with someone: I asked where she runs. She replied she doesn’t have my pace, “nowhere near it” were her exact words. I answered I don’t have that pace all the time either. Me & my pace visit from time to time but we don’t make it a thing. She laughed and I saw myself ten years ago talking to someone who face-times with friends while running. I worried about her relationship with pace. But, this blog is turning into a thing different from reading.

So, without further ado, here are the finished books:

Fiction:

  • Diplomatic Lover by Elsie Lee – read in one day
  • Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez – read in two days
  • Celibate Season by Carol Shields and Blanche Howard – read in four days (this book annoyed me and I kept having to put it down)

Nonfiction:

  • Lost Upland: stories of the Dordogne Region by W.S. Merwin – confessional: DNF (bored, bored, bored)
  • Coming into the Country by John McPhee
  • Henry James: the Untried Years by Leon Edel
  • Another Part of the Wood by Kenneth Clark – this was cheeky!

Series continuations:

  • “F” is for Fugitive by Sue Grafton (I’m calling this a continuation even though I read “A” a long time ago.)
  • Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons (AB + print so I could finish on time – today!)
  • Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves – another quick read (finished in four days)

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul

Another Part of the Wood

Clark, Kenneth. Another Part of the Wood: a Self Portrait. New York: Harper & Row, 1974.

Reason read: I am reading this in error. See BookLust Twist at bottom of review for explanation. By the way, April celebrates libraries and libraries mean books.

Kenneth Clark’s childhood reads like a demented fairy tale. He was brought up in Edwardian times when people ironed the newspapers and drank tea-time whiskies. His parent often left young Clark alone with the help while they spent their time living on yachts. As a child he gallivanted about the French Riviera, attended shooting parties and wandered music halls. But something happened when he reached the age of seven. Suddenly, works of art had the power to move him profoundly. He had the ability to recognize real talent. This exceptional gift developed with time, scholarship and good old fashioned experience until, at the young age of thirty, he was appointed Director of the National Gallery. After that, Clark fills his pages with a who’s who of artists and others he has met. It’s a fascinating story which Clark tells with such animation and enthusiasm.

As an aside, as I was reading Another Part of the Wood I was reminded of Kevin Spacey’s character, Francis Underwood, in the Netflix political drama “House of Cards.” Every once in a while Underwood breaks from character and looks into the camera to address his unseen viewing audience. Clark does this with footnotes and side comments with enough frequency to imply a certain concern for his reader’s opinion of him.

As another aside, I had to smile when Clark mentions his home in Grosvenor Square. How many other people thought of Robert Hunter or Adelai Stevenson when they read that? I instantly was reminded of scarlet begonias and a man telling his mistress not to walk so fast.

Quotes to quote, “Leigh spoke no foreign language correctly but, with his musical ear, he could make noises that sounded exactly like the language in question” (p 118), “I went to most of the concerts, and have been a little sniffy about other performances of Beethoven’s symphonies ever since” (p 158),

Author fact: Clark wrote a plethora of books. I am only reading this one.

Book trivia: There are a smattering of great photographs in Another Part of the Wood. My favorite is of Jane and the twins. She is looking at them as if to ask, “who are these creatures and why do I have them?”

Nancy said: Pearl quotes Clark in his love for the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (p 62).

BookLust Twist: erroneously from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Dewey Deconstructed: 000s” (p 62). In the Dewey decimal system, 000 is where you will find books about books. In this category you will find Pearl’s own Book Lust. You would not, however, find Another Part of the Wood (it would be in the 700s for museums, the arts and such). Pearl includes Another Part of the Wood in the 000s because Clark loved his edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.


April Snow Job

As we move into April I am not confident we won’t get another 26″ snow storm. If we ever joked in the past about not being able to predict the weather, now it is impossible. It’s no laughing matter. My rose bushes, right now struggling under the weight of frozen water, could tell you that. But never mind the weather. Let’s talk about the month of April. April is another 10k for cancer. I’m hoping to break the hour time since I was five seconds away in March. April is also Easter. April is my sister’s birth month. April is also books, books and more books…of course:

Fiction:

  • ‘F’ is For Fugitive by Sue Grafton ~ in honor of Grafton’s birth month. Technically, I should have read all the “alphabet” books by Grafton one right after the other, but I didn’t have that system when I read “A” is for Alibi. I think it goes without saying I do now.
  • The Diplomatic Lover by Elsie Lee ~ in honor of Lee’s birth month. I am not looking forward to this one even though it looks like a quick read.
  • A Celibate Season by Carol Shields ~ in honor of April being Letter Writing Month. This is so short I should be able to read it in one sitting.

Nonfiction:

  • Henry James: the Untried Years (1843 – 1870) by Leon Edel ~ in honor of James’s birth month. This first volume chronicles James’s childhood and youth.
  • Coming into the Country by John McPhee ~ in honor of the Alaska trip I’m taking in August.

Series continuations:

  • The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons ~ this is to finish the series started in January, in honor of Science Fiction month. I liked Endymion the best so I have high hopes for The Rise of Endymion. I am listening to this on audio and reading the print because I know I will never finish the 575+ pages by April 30th.
  • Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves ~ this is to finish the series started in January, in honor of Shetland’s fire festival, Up Helly Aa. This is another one I should be able to finish in a day or two.

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul

Extra (for fun):

  • Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara- ~ my sister sent this in my belated birthday package. Whatever she recommends I usually end up liking whether it be music or books. For those of you who really know me – I know what you’re thinking. Yes, my birthday was in February. I got the birthday package over a month later. It’s what we do.

If there is time (since three books are really, really short):

  • Another Part of the Wood by Kenneth Clark ~ in honor of National Library Week
  • The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez ~ in honor of April’s Mathematics, Science and Technology Week
  • Lost Upland by WS Merwin ~ in honor of well, you know the song…April in Paris. Cheesy, I know.