Thursday, September 10, 2009

In Which Diane Keeps Reading, at least for a little while longer...

My reading this summer has taken a few twists and turns.

28. The Daily Coyote. Shreve's Stockton's memoir of raising an abandoned coyote pup out in rural Wyoming is part dog-training manuel (ratcheted up to the nth degree), part love story, and partly theological (although she might deny it). Besides the obvious lessons in a story about a love that will not give up on the other (and a coyote is sure "other"), I was intrigued by her frequent citing of the messages on the reader-board at the local Methodist church. She treated them a little like zen koans from God. Makes me realize that people are always paying attention to the church and what we say and do, even in this post-modern era.

29. Julie and Julia (the hardcover edition) (and no, I haven't seen the movie yet). A friend from my church loaned me her copy at the beginning of the summer. It took until August (and I was finally finished with that large large book Pillars of the Earth), but I finally got to read the book, and found it delightful. Actually, at the beginning, I just "liked" it, but at one point I started laughing hysterically (probably it was the story about the marinating lamb), and now I find myself reading cookbooks. It was really a fun book, even if you aren't ever going to cook anything from Julia Child's cookbook.

30. In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan. I haven't read the longer (and more highly praised) The Omnivore's Dilemma yet), but I picked up this book for a number of reasons: 1) since Julie and Julia, I'm suddenly into food, 2) stepson #2, Young Man of Value, is becoming Vegan, and 3) I am interested in more intentional eating, even if I'm not really interested in becoming vegan. I did really resonate with his idea that we should eat more real food and less processed "stuff". Michael Pollan asserts that that the highly processed diet that most of us are eating now is about the only diet that our bodies are not becoming adapted to.

31. People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks. This was our August book club book, and I loved it. But I'm a sucker for illuminated books, historical novels, international intrigue: what's not to like? I'm also becoming a Geraldine Brooks fan. A woman who visits our church on occasion came to our book club for the first time and brought along some information about the St. John's Bible (this is one of the links at the side of my blog). She's an art teacher, and we all hope she will return again.

32 and 33. Messenger of Truth and An Incomplete Revenge, by Jacqueline Winspear. I'm almost at the end of the available Maisie Dobbs mysteries. I really enjoyed An Incomplete Revenge, but was not as excited about Messenger of Truth, which I thought moved kind of slowly. Both novels have the same excellent attention to detail and thoughtful insights regarding the human toll of war. I am considering a break before the last Maisie Dobbs novel because 1) it's still only available in hardcover, 2) I'm getting a little frustrated by Maisie's inability to find love (I was disappointed that she spurned Dr. Andrew Dene). I'm really hoping that Ms. Winspear finds it in her heart to give Maisie a companion; I know it's difficult, but she seems awfully lonely to me.

There you have it! I'm afraid that reading may fall off slightly this fall: I hope not, but I'm looking at the schedule and seeing the handwriting on the wall. We'll see.

I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, which of these books have you read? What did you think? Any recommendations? (Please, books shorter than 973 pages, only).

7 comments:

Jan said...

I love the Maisie Dobbs books and have read them all. I read "The Omnivore's Dilemna" and was enthralled but didn't change my eating habits.

A new mystery author I am enjoying is Colin Cotterill who has written six books about Dr. Siri, a 73 year old coroner in 1970's Laos. They're fun.

A really really good book is "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett.

Presbyterian Gal said...

I have Julie and Julia yet to read. Puttin' it up next on my pile now. Thanks for the reviews.

Jennifer said...

I loved Little Bee by Chris Cleve. It's an amazing story.

I also enjoyed The Florist's Daughter by Patricia Hampl. I thought of you when I read it this summer, because you both write memoir well.

Juniper said...

adding these to my "to read" list - thanks!!

Mrs. M said...

Wait! Go back and read Julia Child's My Life in France. It's even better than Julie and Julia (which, to be honest, I was lukewarm about).

Diane said...

Mrs M -- I have been thinking about that one...

lindyoftexas said...

So, what about "Pillars of the Earth"? I've picked it up a couple of times at the book store but it IS so very big, and there are so many other books I want to read and re-read... Worth the time, or not?