Marching Out

March was one of those weird months. A few Nor’Easters. A few miles run. A few books read. We had two school closings in back to back weeks so that helped with the reading, but not the run. I finished the St. Patrick’s Day Road Race just two minutes off my time last year. Considering I didn’t train (again) I’m alright with that. There’s always next year! Here are the books:

Fiction –

  • The Good Son by Michael Gruber
  • Roman Blood by Steven Saylor
  • White Man’s Grave by Richard Dooling
  • Witch World by Andre Norton
  • Cards of Identity by Nigel Dennis

Nonfiction –

  • All the Way Home by David Giffels
  • Slide Rule by Nevil Shute

Series Continuations –

  • Coast of Incense by Freya Stark – to finished the series started in honor of her birth month in January.
  • Entranced by Nora Roberts

Early Review for Librarything –

  • Oneiron by Laura Lindstedt (started)
  • Infinite Hope – Anthony Graves

Poetry –

  • New and Collected Poetry by Czeslaw Milosz (not finished)

Fun – I’m not finished with either fun book so I won’t list them here.


White Man’s Grave

Dooling, Richard. White Man’s Grave. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994.

Reason read: this explanation is a little convoluted: Dooling was born in Nebraska. Nebraska became a state in March. Nebraska has nothing to do with the plot of White Man’s Grave.

When Peace Corps Volunteer Michael Killigan goes missing the people in his life react very differently. His father, Randall, a high powered bankruptcy lawyer, throws money and power at the situation, hoping he doesn’t have to get his hands too dirty with his son’s failings.  Meanwhile, best friend, Boone Westfall, does the exact opposite. He throws himself headlong into the West African world of witch doctors and supernatural voodoo. Interestingly enough, the voodoo comes to Indiana. Randall receives a strange package; a bundle of black rags soaked in what looks like human blood. And that’s when the hallucinations start. Meanwhile, across the world the Liberian rebels are taking over Sierra Leone, corruption is leaking out from every corner. Secret societies of leopard men, bush devils, human baboons and witches prevail. In the midst of it all one question still remains, what happened to Peace Corps volunteer Michael Killigan?

Confessional: I got a little weary of the repetitive descriptions of gory witchcraft. Everything was matted in hair and blood and teeth.

Two quotes to quote: “His wife was terribly calm, almost formal, which told him something was terribly wrong, and she didn’t want to tell him on the phone, because she was afraid he would lean out of the clouds on Olympus and throw lightning bolts at her” (p 18), and “Randall held his breath and mastered a rogue emotion, which threatened to bolt from his stables and make an ass of him” (p 242).

Author fact: The photo Dooling used looks a little like Matt Damon. Another Dooling trivia: he lived in Sierra Leone in the early 1980s.

Book trivia: The cover of my edition of White Man’s Grave is creepy. A baboon with bleary eyes stares out from on top of a man’s muddied torso. The man is holding a bowl of bones and a picture of a man. Underneath the man’s torso are bare legs, one wearing a sneaker, the other barefoot. None of these images are proportional to the other so the overall effect is very disjointed and disturbing.

Nancy said: Nancy includes White Man’s Grave because it is one of two satirical novels about the culture clash in Africa.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “African Colonialism” (p 14). As an aside, this is the first book I am reading from this chapter. Isn’t it amazing? After almost 18 years of reading I finally chose a book from “African Colonialism.”


Marching with Words

The only run I have planned for March is St. Patrick’s Day. No surprise there. Here are the books planned for March:

Fiction:

  • The Good Son by Michael Gruber (AB) – in honor of the start of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
  • White Man’s Grave by Richard Dooling – In honor of Dooling’s birthplace (Nebraska) becoming a state in March.
  • Roman Blood by Stephen Saylor – in honor of Saylor’s birth month in March.

Nonfiction:

  • All the Way Home by David Giffels – in honor of Ohio becoming a state in March.

Series continuations:

  • Coast of Incense by Freya Stark – to continue the series started in January for Stark’s birth month. This will end the autobiography.
  • Entranced by Nora Roberts (EB) – to continue the Donovan Legacy started in February in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Early Review:

  • Infinite Hope by Anthony Graves

Poetry:

  • New and Collected Poems by Czeslaw Milosz – in honor of National Poetry Month.

If there is time:

  • Slide Rule: the Autobiography of an Engineer by Nevil Shute – in honor of the birth month of William Oughtred
  • Which Witch? by Andre Norton – to remember Norton (who died in the month of March).
  • Cards of Identity by Nigel Dennis in honor of Reading Month.