March of the Books

Here’s the singular thing I love, love, love about March: the St. Patrick’s Day Road Race in Holyoke, MA. I adore running this race. Runner’s World magazine has mentioned it more than once, calling it the mini Boston Marathon for it’s toughness. I PR’ed this year! But what I am more excited about is that this time I was only five seconds away from breaking an hour. Unlike last year (1:07:and something seconds) I was 1 hour and a measly four seconds. But, enough about running! Here are the books finished for March, 2017:

  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (AB +EB)*
  • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (AB + print)
  • Falling Angels by Barbara Gowdy*
  • Treachery in the Yard by Adimchinma Ibe*

Nonfiction:

  • Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam (DNF)
  • Big Empty edited by Ladette Randolph and Nina Shevchuk-Murray (EB)
  • No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin (AB)

Series continuations:

  • Red Bones by Ann Cleeves
  • Hall of a Thousand Columns by Tim Mackintosh-Smith (DNF)
  • Endymion by Dan Simmons

Early Review “won”:

  • Ma Speaks Up by Marianne Leone (received and finished)
  • My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul (This has arrived & I have started it)

*Short enough to read in one day.


Hall of a Thousand Columns

Mackintosh-Smith, Tim. Hall of a Thousand Columns: Hindustan to Malabar with Ibn Battutah. London: John Murray, 2005.

Reason read: to continue the story started in February in honor of travel adventure.

Following in the footsteps of Ibn Battutah, the year was 1333 Battutah had now traveled to Delhi, India. Some 600+ years later and Tim Mackintosh-Smith is “hot” on his heels. Smith continues Hall of a Thousand Columns with the same wit and humor found in Travels with a Tangerine. For example here’s a line that made me giggle, “For a ship supposed to be leaving on her maiden voyage, she was being annoyingly coy about her virginity” (p 17).
Mackintosh-Smith titled his continuation of Tangerine Hall of a Thousand Columns because he felt that when IB came face to face with the hall he also came face to face with his destiny (p 31). As much as I liked Tangerine is wasn’t able to finish Hall.

More lines I liked, “Some things are meant to be found, not looked for, and this was one of them” (p 37).

Book trivia: The illustrations are great. Martin Yeoman was Smith’s companion for most of the travel.

Nancy said: Hall of a Thousand Columns was a “pleasure” (p 101).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “In the Footsteps Of…” (p 100).


Spring Forward

I’m really looking forward to spring. The chance to run outside (sorry, New Guinea) & a little more green in my life. Here are the books planned:

Fiction:

  • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel ~ in honor of the best time to visit Mexico (AB). I think this will only take a few days to read so I’m adding:
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (AB) as a backup ~ in honor of the Oscars (even though they just happened, embarrassingly so).
  • Falling Angels by Barbara Gowdy ~ in honor of the time Niagara Falls stopped flowing, and,
  • Treachery in the Yard by Adimchinma Ibe ~ in honor of Nigeria’s president as of 2015.

Both of these fictions are short-short so I should be able to read them in a day or two each.

Nonfiction:

  • Breaks in the Game by David Halberstam ~ in honor of March Madness (basketball)
  • The Big Empty edited by Ladette Randolph ~ in honor of Nebraska becoming a state in March.

Series Continuations:

  • Red Bones by Ann Cleeves ~ to continue the series started in January in honor of Up Helly Aa.
  • Endymion by Dan Simmons ~ to continue the series started in January in honor of Science Fiction month. This sucker is 600 pages long. Not sure I’ll finish it in time…
  • Hall of a Thousand Columns by Tim Mackintosh-Smith ~ to continue the series started in February in honor of Exploration month. This is an ILL and it hasn’t arrived yet, so I’m not sure I will finish it in time.

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • Ma Speaks Up by Marianne Leonne ~ maybe. I “won” it in February but it hasn’t arrived yet.
  • EDITED to ADD: I just got word I also “won” My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul. It isn’t expected to arrive for awhile so this is really an April book.

I Heart Books

I heart books…a February recap of reading.
February was an odd month. Our first serious snow storm gave me an extra day off. With all the other holidays & my birthday off I feel as though I’ve been more out than at work. At least in the last two months it does. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining for it certainly has given me more time to read! Case in point:

Fiction:

  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest Gaines (AB & print)

Nonfiction:

  • Island to Oneself by Tom Neale (as a followup to The Book of Puka-Puka.)
  • Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende
  • Travels with a Tangerine by Tim Mackintosh-Smith
  • Song of the Dodo by David Quammen
  • Antarctic Destinies by Stephanie Barczewski

Series continuations:

  • Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons (started with Hyperion).
  • White Nights by Ann Cleeves (started with Raven Black).

Fun:

  • Wonder by RJ Palacio

LibraryThing:

  • Nada. I “won” Ma Speaks Up by Marianne Leonne but it hasn’t arrived yet.

As an aside, I ran 36.25 miles for the month.


Travels with a Tangerine

Mackintosh-Smith, Tim. Travels with a Tangerine: from Morocco to Turkey in the Footsteps of Islam’s Greatest Traveler. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2004.

Reason read: Admittedly, this is an oops read. I had Hall of a Thousand Columns on my list a few years back. At the time I didn’t realize you must read Travels before Hall so I vowed when the subject of “exploration” was to be honored again, I would circle back to Mackintosh-Smith and read Travels. The mistake lies in the fact I forgot to remove the other exploration book I had slated for 2017, Antarctic Destinies. As a result, I am reading them both.

Travels with a Tangerine takes us back to the year 1325 when the “greatest Islamic traveler” Ibn Battutah departed from Tangier on a pilgrimage to Mecca when he was 21 years old. There is nothing astonishing about someone wanting to take a pilgrimage to Mecca. What is so remarkable is where Ibn Battutah ended up. The trip took him almost thirty years and 75,000 miles. He spent his life on the road. At the same age, author Mackintosh-Smith sets out to follow in IB’s footsteps, admittedly taking short cuts because he doesn’t want to spend his entire life on this journey. But the result of this fascination is an interesting look back at the Arabic fourteenth century with eye an toward the future. Mackintosh-Smith’s humor makes it an easy read.

Quote to quote: “Then there were those reports of violence against Maghribi immigrants in Paris and Marseille, the deportations, the unimaginable shittiness of being an illegal alien” (p 31). Think about that sentence for a second. What has changed? Here’s another one, a little more lighthearted, “Defecation and ingestion of knowledge are such complementary activities” (p 105). So, that’s why men bring newspapers in the bathroom!

Author fact: Mackintosh-Smith is the winner of the Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Award

Book trivia: Illustrations by Martin Yeoman. They are delightful. I especially liked the monkey on page 249.

BookLust Twist: Twisted twice – once from Book Lust in the chapter called “Here Be Dragons: the GReat Explorers and Expeditions” (p 110) and once in Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “In the Footsteps Of…” (p 100-101).