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

The Millstone

Drabble, Margaret. The Millstone. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1965.

Reason read: June is national family month.

Rosamund is pregnant. In her world, this might be okay if she was married and looking to start a family. The problem is, she is a Renaissance literature scholar pursuing her doctorate and living off mommy and daddy while they tour Africa. She only became pregnant right after her first and only sexual encounter. She’s as naive as they come. She had been dating two guys at once and was still a virgin…until she met George (who she thought was gay and therefore had nothing to worry about). It is very telling when she asks herself, “I wondered on how many other serious scores would I find myself ignorant” (p 44). Just wait until you read how she thought she could make herself miscarry.
But, all is not lost. When Rosamund decides to keep the baby and starts to experience motherhood first hand a new personality emerges.

Lines I liked, “The gin kept me gay and undespairing and I thought that I might ring up George and tell him about it” (p 20), “She just stared straight ahead and the word that was written on her face was endurance” (p 75), “I knew something now of the quality of life, and anything in the way of happiness that I should hereafter receive would be based on fact and not hope” (p 158).

Author fact: A.S. Byatt and Margaret Drabble are sisters.

Book trivia: Drabble writes in pages-long paragraphs that I sometimes found distracting. Of note: there aren’t any chapters so finding good stopping points was tricky.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “All in the Family: Writer Dynasties” (p 6).


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