Where do I begin with this freakin’ month. It went by way too fast, I’ll tell ya that much! When I look back on what I read, what I did, it’s all a gigantic blur. I am still mourning the loss of my cousin; still haven’t found the strength to search death certificates to find out what really happened to him. Maybe I, deep down in the depths of my soul, really do not want to know how he met his demise. Maybe I am not strong enough to handle the truth or his tortured life.
I’m also in denial about the runner I used to see everyday on my way into work. His case is a little harder to wrap my heart around. He is a complete stranger who made an impact on me with his little red hat and bony knees. I don’t know his name. I don’t know if he’s dead or alive. All I know is that the tenacious, determined soul I saw every morning is gone. I have to admit I am a little less inspired to start each day.
Given all that, my reading hasn’t been inspiring either:
- Death at an Early Age by Jonathan Kozol (oh how ironic). I enjoyed this as much as anyone could reading about an underfunded urban school trying to serves underprivileged kids.
- Primary Colors by Anonymous. This is one book that I actually read during the proper month – on honor of Election month, something political.
- Victorian Lady Travellers by Dorothy Middleton. I think I mentioned this before but I was really disappointed Middleton used so many quotes from the ladies she was writing her about. They wrote more of the book than she did.
- By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I think when I read this I was looking for some relief from the woe-is-me I had been reading earlier.
- Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This was a reread from my high school days. If I had been following the reading schedule this would have been read in December in honor of King Arthur but since this wasn’t about King Arthur per se I guess I am okay.
- Beyond the Bedroom Wall by Larry Woiwode. My one incomplete of the month. I just couldn’t get into it. Shame on me.
- Nop’s Trials by Donald McCaig. Shame on me (again) for ended with another tearjerker of a story. Yes, it ends happy but it definitely has it’s sad moments.
So, there is it. What else happened in November? I got to see some really great music – Futhur and Bela Fleck (not together, although that would have been freakin’ ah maze ing). Kisa and I tried to make it up to Monhegan for Thanksgiving but ended up being here. Again. Sigh. Of course the weather was perfect for days afterward….c’est la vie.
December is all about ME this time around. I am going to be taking care of my health, my family, my friends, my marriage, my house, my education, my employment…in other words, my life! My well-being is up to me, myself and moi starting in the month of December. Why December? Why not!
For books it is:
- Crazy in Alabama by Mark Childress ~ in honor of Alabama becoming a state
- Made in America: an informal history of the english language by Bill Bryson ~ in honor of Bryson’s birth month
- Best nightmare on Earth by Herbert Gold ~ in honor of December being one of the best times to visit the Caribbean.
- Apology by Plato ~ in honor of the first Chief Justice (John Jay) of the United States. John Jay was born in December 1745.
For ME it is:
- much, much more!
**Edited to add: I just received word that I also have a LibraryThing Early Review selection! It’s called My Nine Lives by Leon Fleisher. It’s his memoir about his music career and dealing with focal dystonia. I’m really excited. This will be my 46th book for the Early Review program. While I am really, really honored I also feel a little guilty for being “chosen” so many times. But, here’s the thing – when people ask me why I request books (if I feel so guilty) I tell them it’s the only way I can read something NOT on the Book Lust Challenge list!
Dunn, Stephen. “A Secret Life.” Landscape at the End of the Century. New York: W.W. Norton, 1991, p 72.
“A Secret Life” has got to be one of my favorite poems of the month. Stephen Dunn isn’t exactly explaining why people have secret anythings. He’s more of the understanding nature. He simply gets it – the idea that people simply must have something they keep to themselves. The line, “It becomes what you’d most protect” defines the secret life perfectly. It isn’t wholly formed from the start. It grows and progresses. It becomes. I think a secret life starts early in the way that an obsession starts without notice. There is no cause for concern when the hoarder furtively buys and smuggles home one china cat, but about the 1001th one when it comes tumbling out of a closet?
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter, “Poetry Pleasers” (p 188).
Hirshfield, Jane. “Rebus.”Given Sugar, Given Salt. New York: Perennial, 2002. p. 12
I took Jane Hirshfield’s “Rebus” quite literally. Picturing clay and honey to mean words like emotions. “You work with what you are given,” she says. I took that to mean your life is what you make of it. Feelings like grief and stubbornness are something to work with, an element of something bigger. I liked the imagery of a river best of all. The idea that we are what we make of ourselves and that are choices can go either way – much like the unpredictability of a river’s current.
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter, “Poetry Pleasers” (p 188).
For the sake of sanity I have to recap the entire summer. Summer as we think of it in terms of the calendar, not the temperature. June. July. August.
June can only be thought of as a dark and hellish tunnel. In that case, July was the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. As a result, August was not only getting out of the dark and hellish tunnel but moving as far, far away from it as possible. August was an amazing month!
August was music (loved the Avett Brothers and had a great time at Phish). August was homehome with my best boys. August was also a group of good, good books:
- The Moviegoer by Percy Walker ~ interesting story about a man watching life go by rather than living it.
- Turbulent Souls: a Catholic Son’s Return to his Jewish Family by Stephen J. Dubner ~ this was fascinating.
- The Professor and the Madman: a Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester ~ another fascinating nonfiction with great illustrations.
- The Mutual Friend by Frederick Busch ~ a novel about Charles Dickens that I couldn’t really get into.
- Those Tremendous Mountains: the Story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition by David Freeman Hawke ~ another nonfiction, this time about the Lewis and Clark Expedition (like the title says).
- Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Expery ~ all about war-time aviation.
For the Early Review Program:
- Sandman Slim: a Novel by Richard Kadrey ~ absolutely crazy good book.
- Off the Tourist Trail: 1,000 Unexpected Travel Alternatives ~ an amazing travel book! Really beautiful!
- Finished reading Honeymoon in Tehran by Azadeh Moaveni ~ part political, part personal, this was great.
- My First 100 Marathons: 2,620 Miles with an Obsessed Runner by Jeff Horowitz ~ funny and informative, too!
- Running and Being by George Sheehan ~ funny and sarcastic and informative all at once!
Stevens, Wallace. “Table Talk.” Opus Posthumous. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1957.
I like the first line best, “Granted, we die for good.” I can just imagine two people sitting around a kitchen table talking about why they like certain things and how it all matters only when you are alive. While all poetry can be manipulated to suit the reader, I believe that Wallace’s philosophical nature comes through in “Table Talk.” There is an awareness to the good things in life; the joys of being alive. It’s almost as if this poem is more than good timing.
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter “Poetry Pleasers” (p 189).
You could say my obsession is my abode. You could say I’ve been too wrapped up in work. You might even say I have been a little fixated on health issues. All of the above I say. All of the above. Luckily, the proof is only in the house. I haven’t been keeping tabs on work or the workings of me. But, here’s the house and how it’s been:
2/23 Closing day. Breasts aside, we are a go.
2/24 Where to begin?
2/25 We have a phone
2/26 Get another truckload from the apartment
2/27 Get another truckload from the apartment
2/28 Get another truckload from the apartment
3/1 Seller here. First visitors. Washer/dryer are in
3/2 First snow storm. How do they handle snow around here?
3/3 Get another truckload from the apartment
3/4 Did first load of laundry
3/5 First cat puke – Get another truckload from the apartment
3/6 Change the freaking locks already
3/7 First day alone
3/8 Get another truckload from the apartment
3/9 Cat comes out
3/10 Ran on tread for the first time – mail didn’t go
3/11 Mail didn’t go
3/12 Mail didn’t go
3/13 mail went- get another truckload from the apartment
3/14 Double apartment trip – in-laws see the place
3/15 Dining room set came – faucet trouble
3/16 Get another truckload from the apartment
3/17 Hate not having the dish
3/18 Really hate not having the dish
3/19 Loving the microwave
3/20 Get another truckload from the apartment – Hello Coldplay
3/21 Get another truckload from the apartment – living room end tables arrive
3/22 Get another truckload from the apartment – Zeke comes home
3/23 This kitchen isn’t working
3/24 This kitchen isn’t working
3/25 This kitchen isn’t working
3/26 Thanks for the manuals
3/27 Get another truckload from the apartment
3/28 fixed the shed window – new security system
3/30 This kitchen might work
3/31 can we get rid of more boxes?
4/1 Hello chocolate for cheaper!
4/2 You shouldn’t have…
4/3 The first turtles come out. Art comes in!
4/4 More turtles
4/5 Get another truckload from the apartment (when will it end?)
4/6 Art gets its place