NEW BLOGGER URL: https://readerinthewilderness.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 26, 2016

About Summer Reading Lists

Why summer reading lists are--for me--a definitely superb idea:
  • I have been assigned a great deal of work this summer.
  • I've been struggling to achieve balance in my life.
  • Reading is a vital, integral part of my life. Being busy with work can make me neglect reading time, which is so important to me and my well-being.
  • Making a book list for the summer gives me a compass. Instead of reading just anything that drops into my lap, I have a list of books to refer to, which I have truly wanted to read. The list is my GUIDE.
Now you are expecting a list, aren't you?
I don't have one yet.
What has been staggering is the number of recently published books I'd love to read as well as the books to be published this summer, as well as my Classics List, not to mention all the other books I was hoping to read.

My partial beginning of a list:
O Pioneers!  Willa Cather  (Classics Club)
Serena by Ron Rash
Housekeeping by Robinson

I can face it-- It's a very miniature start, but I'm going to keep working  on it.




Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mid-June Reading and Ron Rash

Reading, eating, and breathing--in that order. The bare essentials of life, and without them my life feels out of control and downright crazy. (Work implodes.) So my highest priority has to be to hoist myself up onto the book train again.

I finished Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart, enjoyed it tremendously, and will write a brief blog post about it sometime in the next few days.

And what am I taking breaks to read at the moment? I fell into reading Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan, another gothic novel. The original UK title was The Girl in the Photograph. When I looked Riordan up on the Web, I discovered she's written a number of other books that sound as though they'd be perfect for my future contemporary gothic forays.

My next Classics Club read is O Pioneers! by Willa Cather. I'm looking forward to quieting my brain just enough so I can dig into this wonderful novel about settlers on the Great Plains. I know I've mentioned that I'd soon be reading this two months ago, but my rabbit-hole was cavernous.

I've been waiting and wanting to read a novel by the American and Appalachian writer Ron Rash for some time. (The link provides access to an interview with Rash.)  Most of his novels are set in wilderness or near wilderness and have themes related to the land and the wilds and rural America. I'm going to read Serena first, for which Rash won the PEN/Faulkner Award about 5 or 6 years ago. Serena is now or recently has been made into a motion picture. Rash's Above the Waterfall appeared this year, but I'm putting that one on hold, even though its story line is compelling. Rash is considered to be one of the country's best writers and poets. And he was born in that great vintage year 1953...

Sunday, June 5, 2016

June Reading: The Loney and Touch Not the Cat

The month of May was abysmal as far as my number of books read is concerned. (It  was superlative for hours spent in wilderness watching spring unfold.) I read The Lewis Man by Peter May, and L is for Lawless by Sue Grafton.  The Lewis Man was absolutely superb, but this particular Letter "L" Grafton book was pure tedium. I think I read one other dud in this series, but can't remember which one. I know, based on experience, that M is for Malice is certain to be much better, because that's how it went with the book following the only other clunker.
So what about this month of June? I have loads and loads of work this month and tomorrow morning I'm leaving for a week to research in southeastern New York State. Fortunately I've already dug into the extraordinarily fascinating book, The Loney, by Andrew Michael Hurley. It's a story of a retreat or pilgrimage for a devout group of orthodox, or fundamentalist, Roman Catholics in the far north of England, making their way to the bleak shores of Lancashire to a holy site during Easter Week. The time period is the 1970s. I read a review that said it had gothic undertones, and I went for it based on that. I never thought such a  story would grip me, but it's so artfully crafted, I'm amazed and I can't imagine what Hurley has up his sleeve.
I can't wait to read Touch Not the Cat by one of my favorite authors, Mary Stewart. Have you read this one? I bought it at a book sale about six years ago, and it's been lying untouched on my bookshelves ever since. No longer! Katrina of Pining for the West and I are reading it on and around June 15th. I'm bringing it on my research trip this coming week, so I can start reading. It sounds truly gothicish or gothicky. Neither are true adjectives, but perhaps some of you gothic-afflicted people will know what I mean.