Book Adventures

In between the business of life I have managed to finish reading two major books from my lists as well as some lighter

Superiorland ground by Ellen Schneider

fare for fun in the last couple of weeks. On July 30th, 2011, I finally finished reading The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki Shikibu. It took me two months to read all 1,135 pages as well as various online sources, papers, and a book of artwork entitled The Tale of Genji: legends and paintings, edited by Miyeko Murase as supplemental material to better understand all 1,135 pages of Genji. It was a long journey. Indeed it has rather overshadowed my summer. I have dragged that book along with me to almost all my regular haunts. Sometimes I do a double take when I realize my bag is unusually light and easy to hold. Now that I’m done, I have a lot of thoughts brewing which will erupt into a proper long post dedicated to my reading experience in time. Teaser for you: there will be dew drops.

Birch bark scrolls by Ellen Schneider

Today I finished reading The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. It was sublime. I copied out more quotes from the book into my reading journal than I’ve done for any other book this summer. This is a book I will cherish and reference. I am even tempted to embroider some of those quotes, embroidery is not my favorite pastime but Bradbury’s turns of phrase are very worth remembering. I’ve been meaning to read this book for years, ever since I read “There Will Come Soft Rains,” in middle school English composition. Yet, I’m glad it took this long. I’m glad I read it this month, this summer, this year of my life rather than any previous one. I think books, like people, sometimes come into a life exactly when they are meant to do so to effect the greatest impact on that life. Being an optimist by nature, I will go as far as saying that this miracle of timing happens when the most good is meant to be done, can be done, for that particular person. I needed Bradbury’s words from this particular book at this particular time. This year has been a rough ride and it’s not over yet but I’m glad I have this book in my heart for ballast. I have more to say but that too will come after more time for pondering.

Superior tableau by Ellen Schneider

To recover from the experience of Genji I read a pile of Agatha Christie novels which I haven’t read in years. Like a sorbet after a heavy course my reading palate feels cleansed. These are pure fun for me. I delight in watching  Christie’s narrative sleight of hand as she plays with train schedules, minutiae of meals, and human caricatures which she contrives to have heart all the same. I love how her books almost always have a touch of acerbic humor, English mannerisms, witty dialogue, and almost always a sweet romance. I love Poirot and Miss Marple. I love their staunch opposition to evil and wickedness as well as their human foibles, their distinct personalities. After reading about the excesses and stupidity of the super rich of ancient Japan,  a dose of plain English traditions coupled with a solid whodunit was a welcome change. I read The Third Girl , The Seven Dials Mystery, and A Pocketful of Rye. They are all splendid and heartily recommended by me.

Next up, I will embark on Gravity’s Rainbow and Briar Rose from my respective lists. I am still plugging away on Voyage of the Beagle which I am determined to finish before summer’s end. Some might say that summer is over when school starts but since I’m not confined to a big yellow school bus any longer I say that summer is over at September 1st and not a day before. I still have three weeks and four days worth of summer left and I mean to make the most of it. According to my calculations, I have read 3,348 pages worth of text this summer, not counting science papers and fun books like Agatha Christie. I am determined to see how many more I can yet cram into these warm breezy days and I encourage all my dear readers to do the same.

Cirrus clouds and prairie by Ellen Schneider

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3 thoughts on “Book Adventures

  1. You’re really plowing through your reading list. Sadly mine started to languish in the realm of “I Really Should Read This Because It’s An Advanced Copy And The Publisher Is Expecting My Thoughts”. This slowly turned into “I don’t want to read this pile of turds so I’ll just stop reading altogether”.

    I’m fairly lukewarm about Bradbury. I really did not enjoy “Fahrenheit 451” when I read it and could only make it through about a tenth of his short story omnibus, which now sits mockingly on my shelf. I’m glad that you enjoyed “The Martian Chronicles”. Maybe I should give it a shot.

    • I have decided that my superpower is the ability to read books regardless of how insane my real life can be. I just can’t help myself. It probably helps that I don’t have cable T.V. or many local friends and the majority of books on my personal reading list are relatively slim volumes. I daresay Bradbury isn’t for everyone. I read “Fahrenheit 451” when I was in HS and I really liked it but I don’t remember it in detail. What didn’t you like about it? “The Martian Chronicles,” can be rather dark at points with a sort of grim sense of humor but they are also amazingly poetic. My favorite story in the collection is “The Fire Balloons.” I hope you’ll give it a try some time. =)

  2. Pingback: A Sand County Spring, A Whale of a Summer, a Utopian Autumn, and an enchanting winter: my 2014 seasons of books | technicolorlilypond

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