Monday, July 16, 2007

Where's the southern part?

Well, I started reading Lunch at the Picadilly and I have to say, I'm not really enjoying it. For one thing it just doesn't seem to be very southern in flavor - definitely not as identifiable as the Faulkner I read before. I am not sure that I want to keep reading - maybe the time should go to finding another Southern read to replace it? I am going to give it another try tonight and maybe it will hook me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Finished Faulkner!

Well, I stayed up late and finished As I Lay Dying. I really enjoyed the book and it ended with a trademark quirk. Some of the the end was a bit disconcerting - Darl getting arrested for arson I never saw coming and poor Dewey Dell and her quest for a solution to her "problem". Anse comes out the best of the lot in the end - another classisc instance of God providing for him! LOL I have to say I'm become a Faulkner fan and I never thought I'd say that!

This is my first completed read for the Southern Reading Challenge - now it's a debate between Queen of the Turtle Derby by Julia Harris or Lunch at the Picadilly by Clyde Edgerton. I think Lunch is going to win!

Maggie, thanks for the TAB hint - it worked!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

For some reason, Blogger is not letting me put titles in tonight so I'll just leave that be.

I was going to title this post "As I Lay Dying" because that's what I'm reading right now. I must say it's different from The Rievers, the only other Faulkner novel I've read but I am really enjoying it. Faulkner has such a unique style of writing yet you get a fully formed picture of the characters and the land. The Bundren family is certainly an interesting clan and I'm finding the story flows despite the fact that each chapter is told from a different person's point of view and is sometimes only one sentence or just a stream of consiousness narrative.

I love this passage from Tull, the Bundren's neighbor's POV, which takes place on the porch outside the Bundren house after Addie has died and the preacher has come to hold a service. The men are outside talking:

"What's Anse so itching to take her to Jefferson for anyway?" Houston says.
"He promised her," I say, "she wanted it". She come from there. Her mind was sent on it."
"And Anse is set on it, too," Quick says.
"Ay," Uncle Billy says. "It's likea man that's let everything slide all his life to get set on something that will make the most trouble for everybody he knows."
"Well, it'll take the Lord to get her over that river now, " Peabody says. "Anse cant do it."
"And I reckon He will," Quick says. "He's took care of Anse a long time, now."
"It's a fact," Littlejohn says.
"Too long to quit now," Armistid says.
"I reckon He's like everybody else around here," Uncle Billy says. "He's done it so long now He cant quit."

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Progress Update

Well, I've finished Silent Spring by Rachel Carson which was quite a sobering book to read. It deals with the impact of pesticides and their effects on both nature and potentially people. The scarey thing is that it was written in the 60s and I wonder if we're not seeing the results of all those pesticides now.

As of July 1, I know of 6 people who have been diagnosed with cancer since Christmas. That is pretty frightening. I think Rachel Carson's message is as relevant today as it was 4o plus years ago and corresponds to all of the concern over global warming. We can't mess with nature and not expect to have something happen.

Now I'm on to As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner - my first Southern Reading Challenge book. I'm enjoying it so far.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Summer Reading Challenge Update

Well, I managed to finish two of my Challenge books in June - The Road by Cormac McCarthy and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. Neither of these was particularly uplifting reading but I am glad I read both. Next up is As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner which is a double entry - for the Summer Reading Challenge and for the Southern Reading Challenge.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Finished My First Summer Reading Challenge Book!

Sunday night I finished The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I'm not sure what to say about this book but here are some random thoughts:
  • Oprah picks the most depressing books ever
  • I can see why it won the Pulitzer Prize
  • What could ever be in someone's mind that they would write a book like this?
  • What does this say about current society that I could picture this happening?
  • This book will stay with me for a very long time
I think I am the first from our book group to have read the book and I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks on July 9th. I'd love to hear what others who've read it think as well.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mid Week Progress

I finished The Highest Tide on Sunday - just in time for my book group discussion on Monday night. I have to say I enjoyed this book just as much the second time around as I did the first. Of the 7 people present for book group, only 2 of us really liked it. Ah well, it's on to The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I've also made a little bit more progress on Silent Spring and started into The Memory of Running by Ron McClarty which I think is going to be enjoyable.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Southern Reading Challenge Books

Well, all three of my book choices for the Southern Reading challenge have arrived and I'd really like to start all three but I must finish rereading The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch as the book discussion is Monday. I'm also continuing to read and enjoy The Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. I'm not sure which of my souther books I will start. I'm tempted to start with As I Lay Dying by Faulkner as technically it is probably the "hardest" read.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

I've started reading Silent Spring by Rachel Carson as my first book for the Summer Reading Challenge. I'm also rereading The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch. I first read The Highest Tide in February and it was chosen as the May choice in my book group so I'm rereading it. It was the catalyst for my wanting to read Silent Spring as the young boy in the book is a huge fan of Rachel's.

I got my copy at the used bookstore in town and it is copyrighted 1962. What's quite frightening is that only 30 pages in, her topic is still so relevant - the devestation of our environment at the cost of man and the effects of DDT and other pesticides on our environment. I was very surprised to learn that she died of breast cancer.

I'm looking forward to reading more of Silent Spring. This Wednesday, I will be visiting here as part of United Way Day of Caring work crew to help get the place in shape for the 100th year anniversary of her birth. It's funny how life is such a series of connections isn't it?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Finished Just in Time

Last night I finished The Mixquiahuala Letters by Ana Castillo just in time to start reading for the SRC 2. I saw this on BooksFree and the name and premise intrigued me - a story about the relationship between two Chicana women told through a series of letters. Each letter has a number and the author gives you three options for reading through them, leaving out some chapters, rearranging the order, etc. Being the type A person I am, I read them straight through which was not one of the options recommended by the author!

The back of the book states "Controversial and pioneering, The Mixquiahuala Letters is widely studied as a feminist text on the nature of self-conflict, and is considered an essential work of Chicana fiction". I'm not sure what I thought of it - sometimes I just like to read something different. The author is a poet and some of the letters are poems which was interesting. I'm glad I read it but I don't think I'd recommend it.

I had planned to start my summer reading with Rachel Carson's Silent Spring but I found The Road by Cormac McCarthy on the new book shelves at the library today so I am going to start that. Who knows, I may start both of them!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Summer Reading Challenge 2

I have once again joined the Summmer Reading Challenge hosted by Amanda. I've also decided to incorporate the Southern Reading Challenge into my SRC 2 reading. I decided it would be much easier to have a separate blog to track my progress hence "books make life better"!

The SRC 2 kicks off tomorrow and here is my reading challenge list. I plan to start with Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.

I have three books to read for my book group:
The Road
Water for Elephants
A House for Mr. Biswas

and three others from my TBR pile:
Everything is Illuminated
Silent Spring

and my three books for the SouthernReaders Challenge:
Lunch at the Picadilly
Queen of the Turtle Derby
As I Lay Dying

At three per month, I think this is a pretty doable list!