April Comes Quickly

I don’t know where March went. I’ve looked under calendars and in date books and I still can’t figure it out. The month went by so fast! Here are the books finished for March:

  • Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
  • The Assistant by Bernard Malamud
  • Family Man by Jayne Krentz
  • Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (AB)
  • The Brontes by Juliet Barker (DNF)
  • Means of Ascent by Robert Caro (DNF)
  • Center of the World by Jacqueline Sheehan (Fun)
  • In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White (would have been an Early Review book a long time ago)

On tap for April (besides a little Noodle 5k run):

  • A Considerable Town by MFK Fisher ~ in honor of April being the best time to visit France
  • The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman ~ for fun
  • Green Thoughts by Eleanor Perenyi ~ in honor of gardening month
  • Alice in Sunderland by Bryan Talbot ~ in honor of April Fools
  • Don’t Eat This Book by Morgan Spurlock ~ in honor of April being Food Month (AB)
  • The Grand Tour by Tim Moore ~ in honor of Harvey Ball passing in April

In the Sanctuary of Outcasts

White, Neil. In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: a Memoir. New York: William Morrow, 2009.

Reason read: I was supposed to receive this as an Early Review for LibraryThing back in 2009. It never arrived. Out of curiosity I decided to borrow it from a library and review it. I think there was a part of me that was feeling guilty for the reading’s equivalent of a runner’s DNS (Did Not Start).

I have to admit now that I have read In the Sanctuary of Outcasts I can officially say I am bummed I didn’t receive this as an Early Review back in 2009. This would have been one of my favorites. Not just one of my favorites, but one of my all-time favorites, for sure.

Confessional: I sometimes skip the author’s note. I’ll admit it – I’m impatient to get to the heart of the story. Sometimes, if I particularly loved what an author had to say I will go back and read the author’s note afterwards. But not always. In this case, for some reason I read every word of In the Sanctuary of Outcasts. I started with the copyright page and I think that’s what convinced me to spend time with every word White wanted to utter.

Leprosarium. Never heard the word before. Doubt I’ll hear it again. They’ve been trying to call it Hansen’s disease. Who know there was a place on the Mississippi River called Carville, a place under one roof for Hansen’s disease patients and prison inmates? Neil White certainly hadn’t when he entered the community of Carville on May 3rd, 1993 as a convicted felon. He left behind a wife and two small children to serve eighteen months for check kiting. There is humor to White’s arrival. His initial observations of Carville are as touching as they are naive. But, the longer he stays within the walls of Carville the more he understands the people around him. They leave a lasting impression and dare I say, change his life.

Quotes that got me, “The last thing I wanted to discuss on my first day of prison was erectile dysfunction” (p 15), and “She stood fearless in the face of change and approached her own life as if it were a thrill ride” (p 174).

Book trivia: the photograph of the aging oak trees took my breath away.


Stop Drop and Reload

Has anyone else noticed this? My reading has gotten out of control. And when I say out of control I mean Out.Of.Control. Case in point: in 2013 I only read four books off the Challenge list. Natalie Merchant, my sister, my job and a friend all made book recommendations that I took. Four books. In 2014 I read ten books off the Challenge list. Five were all about running and five were gifts or recommendations. Ten books. In 2015 I read fifteen off Challenge list books. Fifteen books! We are only 2 1/2 months into March and already I have read nine off-Challenge-list books. This has GOT to STOP. At this rate I will never, ever finish the Challenge list. I keep spending time with books I shouldn’t. I’m pulling my hair out. You just can’t see me.

As of right now I am currently reading two books that are not on the Challenge list. Both are books that should have been Early Review books. So, here is the plan: I am going to finish up those books (In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White and Why the Grateful Dead Matter by Michael Benson) and then return to reading from the list as much as possible. I need to stop reading titles not indexed in the Lust books, drop books that have nothing to do with the Challenge and reload the ones that do. The end.