A weird coincidence resulted in three dystopian future books hitting my reading list in the last month. First there was Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel that was a Blevins Book Club selection. Then there was The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch then Ready Player One by Ernest Kline.
Normally I like the dystopian future genre but by the time I got to the end of Ready Player One, I was ready to renounce any other titles that come my way. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m feeling like a dystopian future is already on our doorsteps or if it was just too many of these books in a row. Whatever the reason, I’m looking forward to a Jane Austen title I just picked up from the library!
Do you have a favorite genre? Do you ever get tired of it?
Last week when I was in Madison, my friend and I spent a couple of hours yakking in her bedroom. At one point she had to take a phone call so I was left to let my mind wander. That was when I noticed that all her books are sorted first by fiction/non-fiction and then alphabetically by author and THEN alphabetically by title.
Except for putting titles by the same author together (mostly), my books are not categorized at all. My fiction and non-fiction are wantonly cavorting together and nothing is alphabetized at all. I feel so inadequate.
On Tuesday afternoon I stopped at the library and it started to rain a bit right then. As I was leaving, I was behind a young mom and her daughter, who was maybe 7 or 8. As they reached the end of the covered portico, the mom said “It’s sprinkling a little. There must be a rainbow somewhere.”
Most people would say “run quick to the car” or “let’s get home before it really starts”, perfectly acceptable. But I was struck by this mother’s wonderful way of looking at life. It there is rain, there must be a rainbow.
About 15 years ago, we planted two rhododendrons named Pohjola’s Daughter. They were Finnish cultivars said to be cold hardy. They were sort of root bound, and I remember thinking that I could have done a better job freeing the roots when I planted them. Well, I was right, since they didn’t get appreciably bigger or bloom until this May, despite my constant fertilizing and fussing. The flowers were so pretty. It was a long wait, though, and I thought they were aptly named when I researched the story of Pohjola’s Daughter, and how she kept suitors away by giving them impossible tasks to complete before she would marry them. The story comes from the Finnish epic The Kalevala. Sibelius used the story for a tone poem. According to Wikipedia:
The tone poem depicts the “steadfast, old,” white-bearded Väinämöinen who spots the beautiful “daughter of the North (Pohjola)”, seated on a rainbow, weaving a cloth of gold while he is riding a sleigh through the dusky landscape. Väinämöinen asks her to join him, but she replies that she will only leave with a man who can perform a number of challenging tasks, such as tying an egg into invisible knots and, most notably, building a boat from fragments of her distaff. Väinämöinen attempts to fulfill these tasks through his own expertise in magic; in many of the tasks he succeeds but he is eventually thwarted by evil spirits when attempting to build the boat and injures himself with an axe. He gives up, abandons the tasks and continues on his journey alone.
I find our translation of The Kalevala pretty tedious to read, and I think I need to find a new one, since the stories are so interesting. I also find it interesting when life imitates art the way our rhododendrons did.
What is your favorite epic poem or story to read? When have you seen life imitate art?
As I was reading this morning (Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith [aka JK Rowlings]), the narrator casually mentions watching a show about art and the camera pans the room, to include a bust of Beethoven. There is a smidge of discussion about how the protagonist looks a bit like Beethoven and then the story moves on.
But as the story continued, I was distracted by the thought of the Beethoven bust. Hadn’t a bust of Beethoven just been a book I finished last week? And wasn’t there a bust of Beethoven in a book I read a couple of months ago. Time to backtrack in my reading history.
There was indeed a bust of Beethoven in Transcription by Kate Atkinson. It was included in a description of a room and then later was used by a Nazi sympathizer to try to escape from the MI5 agents who had uncovered her treachery.
The previous literary bust turned out to be Baudelaire, not Beethoven, in The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. In that book, the Nazi (yeah, I know you ‘ve all heard me say I’m sick of WWII books, but apparently not that sick) uses a bust of Baudelaire to break the fingers of the young spy. Gruesome.
I have no idea what this means to the larger world, that busts of Beethoven and Baudelaire have shown up repeatedly in my reading the last few months, but it’s fascinating to me.
Pick a bust for your living room… any composer, artist, writer or super hero. Living or dead. Who is it?
Daughter found a wonderful bookstore when we were in LA. It is downtown, and is called The Last Bookstore. It boasts 250,000 volumes in 22,000 sq. ft. of space, including new, used, rare and antique books, vinyl LP’s, and graphic novels. It is in an old bank. The mystery novels are shelved in the vault. It claims to be the biggest bookstore in California.
There are overstuffed chairs all over, and a small stage area for poetry readings and lectures. People came in with bags of books to sell, and left with bags of books to read. It was a wonderful place. I especially liked the used book sculptures.
Today’s post is Part Two from Barbara in Rivertown
Today we have a pictorial history to go with Tuesday’s written one. Thanks to all baboons who sent me photos – I’ve used only those that have two or more baboons in them.
There have been a number of events that didn’t get photographed: PJ organized a Guthrie outing for, was it? H.M.S. Pinafore? There have been game nights at tim’s, a painting party at Steve’s before he moved, Pi Day at Sherrilee’s.
and a few went south to Donna’s cabin at Spirit Lake, IA – but no photo!
There have also been sad times… not only the ending of The Late Great Morning Show, but also the memorial after
And we even had a congratulations gathering when Beth Ann won the Kemps State Fair Ice Cream contest
What’s been your favorite Baboon gathering or outing? What/who got left out here? (I’m sure I’ve left out some baboons…)