Spring Reading

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Seagulls watching lake Michigan’s waves by E.A. Schneider

Hello, dear pond readers! I hope your spring is off to a terrific start. Here in the upper midwest we are enjoying a roller coaster ride of weather. I woke up yesterday to a world newly blanketed in snow but left the house in the afternoon to blue skies, green grass, and pleasant breezes. What else is there to do but dress in layers and smile? Read, of course.

My reading is off to a slow start but I’m plugging away. My Goodreads goal this year is 52 books, one a week for a year, but, as Goodreads is in the habit of reminding me, I am six books behind schedule and only through 13% of my goal. I’m sure I’ll catch up eventually.

Here’s what I’ve read this year so far with some brief thoughts:

  1. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
    1. Elements of this book are incredibly poignant and interesting, Carson is a good writer, but others are clearly outdated relics of the time. As a historical artifact, this is a good reference but I don’t know that I needed to read the whole thing to get an understanding of it and its importance to history.
  2. Uprooted by Naomi Novak
    1. This is an enchanting fairy tale with a bevy of strong female characters. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to find their way through the deep, dark woods with a stellar heroine.
  3. The Eye of the Heron by Ursula K. LeGuin
    1. A lot of heavy political and social theory questions are being discussed in LeGuin’s usual thoughtful, character-driven stylish prose. The elegance of this book astounded me, she packed so much into such a brief novel.
  4. Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
    1. This book is beautiful, the ending brought me to tears in a good way. But, I think the impact of the book suffered from Mitchell’s reluctance to  commit fully to the weird and wonderful of his premise. Bone Clocks is also at least 250 pages too long for what it is doing as a narrative.  Though, Mitchell is a master of voice and dialogue so even a rambling, indulgent section is a pleasure to read.
  5. Shaman by Sandra Miesel
    1. I bought this book for the cover art (I will be doing a separate post geeking out on the artistry of book covers soon) but I actually found its content to be shockingly resonant to my life experience as well as a genuinely entertaining story. The ending veered a bit from what I thought it was building towards but it was a fun piece of fiction all the same.
  6. The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R. Tolkien
    1. Absolutely charming! Tolkien’s labor of love for his kids is incredibly beautiful and sweet though some of Father Christmas’ adventures do veer in some unexpected directions. I highly recommend this for all Tolkien fans but I don’t think they have a general audience appeal.
  7. Kwaidan: Japanese Ghost Stories by Lafcadio Hearn
    1. This book was mostly a charming collection of spooky pieces of folklore, albeit a poorly copyedited collection in the edition I read, until the final chapter on ants. Things got weird. After an entire book pretty much devoted to a translation of folklore with only little asides for context, the chapter “Ants” had pretty much no folklore and consisted of Hearn’s utopian musings on the virtues of ant societal life as inspired by Herbert Spencer. I have to say that I was not expecting that and it was a weird way to end the collection. The foregoing stories were lovely overall and I can see the enduring appeal of the collection.

I’m in the midst of reading Stars in my pocket like grains of sand by Samuel R. Delaney but I haven’t started reading anything else yet. What about you, dear pond readers? What are you reading this Spring? Do you have a goal for reading this 2016? Leave a comment below and thanks again for stopping by the pond.

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Sun, ice, and seagulls by E.A. Schneider

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4 thoughts on “Spring Reading

  1. Your “slow” is as fast as a galloping horse compared to me. But I did re-read Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, which is a fascinating and unusual look at Christianity.

    • Cool! That sounds like a challenging read. I have yet to attempt Chesterton, it’s on my radar though. I got frustrated reading Delaney and have set it aside for now. I finished “The Mermaid’s Madness” by Jim C. Hines and am reading “The Song of Roland.” I think you’d like Hines as an author, he writes great stories.

      • Not at all! Chesterton is sometimes confusing, but extremely readable. The title seems to make people avoid it, thinking that it is some dense theological document, but it is quite the opposite. It’s a wry, exuberant, playful book. He has a penchant for overstatement-to-make-a-point, but he also has a way of making me look at things in ways I never considered before. Even when I disagree with him, it’s enlightening.

        So far, I have read his essay on Cheese, which I suggest you read immediately: http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/cheese.html

        “Everlasting Man”, which is interesting, but also has a lot of elements that bothered me. “Orthodoxy”, which is downright fantastic, and some of his other essays and fiction, of which I liked “Ballad of the White Horse” the best. ^_^

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