Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My Very Portable Library

Thanks to my trusty Kindle, I've been roaming our world and beyond during the past seven weeks.

 A few years ago I began paying attention to sites like Book Bub, Book Perks, and Early Bird Books, all of which offer daily low priced specials on e books. And I began buying both books that sounded interesting to me as well as books that I loved and already had hard copies of, thinking ahead to some future day when, due to travel or incarceration or some other disaster, it would be good to have a virtual library at my fingertips.

And it is. With the dislocated shoulder (getting better now but still tender,) holding a 'real' book for any length of time is tiring. But the Kindle works one handed and I seem to have a book for every mood.

Currently re-reading HIS DARK MATERIALS (Pulliam) which is opening up to me so that I'm seeing much more than on my first read. Lovely, dense, imaginative world that takes me right out of my current surroundings.

I was pleasantly surprised by KITTY BENNETT'S DIARY (Elliot) -- it's not Austen by any means but it's a creditable and enjoyable modern look at one of the silly sisters from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Before that, I turned to comfort reads at a time I was feeling especially low (election, incarceration, screaming woman down the hall) and re-read for the umpteenth time THE UNCOMMON READER (Bennett) and THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS (Graham.)

Three James Bond books (THUNDERBALL, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, and YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE)were also rereads -- I loved Bond back in the early Sixties and now I read them trying to figure out why. It's complicated.

New to me was Theodore Sturgeon's GODBODY. Whether one of you recommended it or it was mentioned in Neil Gaiman's VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS or I just got it because I was a Sturgeon fan fifty years ago, I don't know, but it was an enjoyable and thought provoking read -- like Heinlein, a little juvenile but still enjoyable. (Heinlein wrote the intro and I wondered if it was the inspiration for STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND or vice versa. Then Mr. Google told me STRANGER came out in '61 while GODSBODY was published posthumously in'82.)

I reread ROOM (Donaghue) after talking about how my situation here in rehab was similar to that of ROOM (without the rapist, thank goodness.)

And I re-read three P.D. James novels -- THE PRIVATE PATIENT, THE LIGHTHOUSE, and THE MURDER ROOM-- all beautifully written but with a bit of sameness in the plots. Enjoyable, nonetheless.

Hillerman's THE BLESSING WAY was another comfort re-read. Hanging around Joe Leaphorn and the beautiful descriptions of the Four Corners area always lifts my heart.

Also a couple of Dorothy L. Sayers - CLOUDS OF WITNESS and WHOSE BODY. I've read everything of hers many times but Lord Peter always cheers me up-- just like Joe Leaphorn though the two could hardly be more different -- except in kindness and wisdom.

Anthony Bourdain's MEDIUM RAW -- fun but not as much fun as KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL. He's older now and kind of apologizing for the bad boy he used to be.

TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST -- which I read almost sixty years ago when I was first learning to sail. I'd forgotten most of it and found it pretty fascinating -- Harvard guy signs on as a seaman on a sailing ship for a trip around Cape Horn to California to pick up a load of cowhides. It's 1834 and California is a province of Mexico and only sparsely inhabited. There's lots about the every day working of the ship but the look at an undeveloped California was fascinating. In an after note, Dana tells of visiting California in 1859 -- after the Gold Rush. after the Panama Canal has made travel easier -- and the amazing transformation that has occurred. Even if you're totally uninterested in sailing ships, the California section is worth a read.

But wait, there're more!

Austen's MANSEFIELD PARK -- Jane is always enjoyable, if predictable.

ONLY BEGOTTEN DAUGHTER (James Morrow) What if an unexplained egg appeared in  a sperm donor's contribution? And what if, through a series of unlikely event, this egg matured and knew herself to be the daughter of God. . . . a female God, of course. This is a wild tale, full of interesting suppositions and a frightening look at religion gone awry. I could hardly put it down. A very odd book.

Another re-read (do you see a pattern here?) was Mary Renault's MASK OF APOLLO. I'm a long time fan and have many of her books in hard cover including this. For a quick look at Greek theatre -- and Syracusean politics -- one could hardly do better.

THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER I bought pretty much because of the title -- and because it was about time travel. I really enjoyed this.

And there was PUDDIN' HEAD WILSON -- but I already did a blog post on that . . .

There are lots more in waiting -- I wonder if I'm ready to tackle IVANHOE? I read it over fifty years ago and don't remember much except Rowena and Rebecca and Ivanhoe along with someone named Wamba. . . and iron collars on the Saxon (?) serfs.

So many books -- and, for once, so much time.


Barbara Rogers said...

Oh goodie goodi! More to put on my list. I've raead less than half of these! Thanks. Keep on kicking those legs, or whatever exercises you do!

Anvilcloud said...

So this is how you have kept your sanity.

Bernie said...

Always find the good in any situation. It's always there and now you have found a bit of good in your situation. I'm glad. 😊💞

Darla said...

Ah yes…the limited mobility person's best friends-- books! :) I'm glad you have your kindle to turn to (me, too). I'm intrigued by your choices; of the ones you've listed, I've only read Wind in the Willows, Mansfield Park, and Room. Which, of course, points out why there are gobs of books and book genres -- we're all so different! LOL Oddly, I've read very little fiction these past weeks; nearly all mine have been non-fiction. Sending you lots of good vibes for your evaluation on the 28th!

Stella Jones said...

Wonderful choices there Vicki. Have you read Stef Penney's 'Tenderness of Wolves'? Glad you are healing nicely.