Saturday, May 26, 2012

Life in a British colony.

IIt's Memorial Day weekend and I'm finishing up Fuzz's nap before we have a cookout and relax with our friends and family. It is about 90 degrees and in the distance, I can hear the roars of the Rolling Thunder motorcycles as they come to their convention. That is Memorial Day weekend for me- our cookout and the Rolling Thunder.
I just finished reading Burmese Days, a novel by George Orwell set in the early 1900s in Burma, a British colony. This book amazed me simply by the different attitudes about different races that were so prevalent and accepted 100 years ago. Colonialism itself. The way the white inhabitants treated the natives. Even Flory, who seems to like native culture, treats his Burmese mistress terribly. It was an interesting book because it was so different than anything I'm used to in my life. I can't imagine just going a place and proclaiming my way of life to be superior.
happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Books 121-130

Here are the next 10 books on the list!  Almost to the C's!

121. The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe (1992)
122. By the Open Sea by August Strindberg (1890)
123. Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham (1930)
124. Call it Sleep by Henry Roth (1934)
125. Camilla by Fanny Burney (1796)
126. Cancer Ward by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1968)
127. Candide by Voltaire (1759)
128. Cane by Jean Toomer (1923)
129. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (1945)
130. Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres (1994)

Monotony is good!

Have you ever had a period of your life that was characterized by doing the same thing day in and day out?  Monotony doesn't bother me in the least.  I find comfort in it and find very mundane tasks particularly relaxing.  (I was an AWESOME administrative temp in college for this reason.  Need to organize thousands of batteries by country of origin?  I'm your girl.)

Edith Wharton's novella Bunner Sisters (do you italicize the title of a novella?) is a story of how a pair of sisters with a small shop change up their monotonous lives with disastrous results.  I have written before about how amazed I am that I hadn't read any Edith Wharton until beginning this project, and this novella yet again made me realize what a brilliant writer she was.  The whole picture of the sisters, their sad little lives, their sad little shop, just drawn so perfectly - and then just turned on its head as their circumstances change.  I really enjoyed this one.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sometimes you get it, and, well...

Sometimes you just don't.  The Buddha of Suburbia was not one of those crazy books that make absolutely no sense to me, stream of consciousness or with holes cut out (or pooping outside of a window).  It was a coherent story.

Unfortunately, it just didn't resonate with me.  It's narrated by a half Indian young man making his way in 1970s London.  The story was interesting, and his world was interesting, and the characters are all interesting, but I just was left feeling kind of meh.  I'm sure that for some people this was a fascinating social commentary, but I'm just not one of those people!

I'm definitely not going to like them all.

In other news, my daughter has just started reading!  I'm so happy and proud of her and we have been reading a lot of those decodable books.  She loves it so far.  The way she goes through a new library book at rapid speed enjoying every minute reminds me a lot of Marissa and me when we were little.  It's a very happy time here in my house.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


We have a picture of my little 2 month old son, his dad, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather all sitting together on the couch last Christmas Eve.  It's so amazing to look at these 4 generations of men and think about everything that has happened in their lives - and to think that someday my son might pose for a picture with his son, grandson, or even great-grandson.  I look at Great-Grandpa and think about what an interesting life he has had.  And I look at my son and think about what an interesting life he may also have.

Thomas Mann's novel Buddenbrooks has really gotten me thinking about family.  This novel was amazing.  So amazing in fact, that I read all 730 pages in less than 2 weeks.  I simply couldn't put this one down.  I obviously hope that my family doesn't turn out like the Buddenbrooks - the novel chronicles the decline of this once-illustrious German merchant family and ends with the typhoid death of little Hanno, the young son.  It was very sad.

But I liked how no matter what they were going through in the story, the family remained very close.  They had Thursday afternoons as family time when extended family members would come to eat.  They had this cool family chronicle book handed down through generations in which all the important events that took place were recorded.  And they generally had each other's backs.  Although Antonie had to deal with 2 very bad marriages, she knew she could always come back to the family home.  She could always count on her parents and oldest brother.  And she similarly could always be counted on to support her family and stand behind them no matter what they chose to do.  I liked their family closeness through good times and bad.

This is one of those books that I absolutely loved and would recommend to anyone.  I'll definitely be thinking about this one for a while.  This was among the best I have read so far for sure!