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:
- The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest Gaines (AB & print)
- 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
- Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons (started with Hyperion).
- White Nights by Ann Cleeves (started with Raven Black).
- Wonder by RJ Palacio
- 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.
Neale, Tom. An Island to Oneself. Woodbridge, Connecticut: Ox Bow Press, 1966.
Reason read: In January I read The Book of Puka-Puka by Dan Frisbie. Pearl recommended reading Tom Neale after, so I did.
I didn’t understand what would make a person pick up and leave all aspects of civilization until I read An Island to Oneself. Even Frisbie’s account in The Book of Puka-Puka didn’t answer the question because at least Frisbie lived and married among the natives. There were people to talk to. On the atoll of Suvarov in the South Pacific Tom Neale had (on his first visit 1952 – 1954) two cats, chickens & a wild duck he tamed for companionship. The occasional freighter would deter from its shipping lane, but those visits were few and far between. And yet, Neale thrived in that environment. Survival was his challenge and he prided himself on his ingenuity, creativeness and sheer willpower to make his self imposed solitary confinement comfortable. He spent his days keeping his abode spotless, working the land for farming, and fishing (the pig slaughter was a little difficult to read). On his second journey to Suvarov (he left the first time due to illness), Neale came back a smarter man. He built a better cook stove, brought more appropriate supplies and was better prepared for the wild weather that could batter his island from time to time. This time he stayed from 1960 to 1963. It wasn’t that Neale didn’t like people. He enjoyed the “tourists” who ended up visiting him. It was just that he wanted to do his own thing. Being alone wasn’t lonely.
Best quote I liked, “Mine was a simple existence” (p 24). No kidding!
AS an aside, I just learned Neale went back a third time and this time stayed ten years. Amazing.
Author fact: Tom Neale didn’t mind being naked. An Island to Oneself has 17 pictures with an almost naked Neale.
Book trivia: As mentioned before, there are great black and white photos, mostly of Neale, included.
Nancy said: Nancy called Island to Oneself a “classic account” (p 128).
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Islands, Desert and Otherwise” (p 128)
Happy birthday to me & moi. This month we celebrate…everything. Here are the anticipated books:
- The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J Gaines ~ in honor of February being Black History Month (AB).
- An Island to Oneself by Tom Neale ~ Nancy Pearl said to read this after Puka-Puka. So I am.
- Travels with Tangerine by Tim Macintosh ~ in honor of Feb being exploration month
- Song of the Dodo: Island Biography in an Age of Extinction by David Quammen ~ in honor of Quammen’s birth month
- Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende ~ in honor of February being national science month.
- Antarctic Destinies b y Stephanie Barcweski (also in honor of exploration month…it’s a long story).
- Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons ~ in honor of January being Sci-Fi month
- White Nights by Ann Cleeves ~ in honor of January being the month of Up Helly Aa fest in Shetland
- Wonder by RJ Palacio ~ ever since Natalie explained the premise of this book as being based on her song, “Wonder” I have wanted to read it.
- Supposedly, the January book is Ma Speaks Up by Marianne Leone (LT spells it ‘Leonne’). Since half a dozen ER books have gone missing or never mailed I’ll wait until it is in my hands before I announce I’m officially reading it.