Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How are we feeling about December?

I think we're starting our list over again this month--which makes me chooser.

But is December too busy? Want to wait until January?

I plan to do much reading this month either way. On my list, if any of these should appeal to this group:

My copy of Heather King's "Parched" finally arrived, as did my copy of Jonathan Potter's "House of Words" (poetry).

ALso on the list:
1. Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi--started this last night and didn't want to go to sleep. Funny and dry, full of interesting passages, though Steven Riddle says it might get rough in the middle.

2. "Comedy in a Minor Key" and/or "Death of the Adversary" by Hans Keilson--these just came in on my interlibrary loan, and Francine Prose said they're genius. I'll read anything Francine Prose tells me to.

3. Still wanting to read Murial Spark, Dorothy Sayers, and Marilyn Robinson's "Gilead."

4. Something "Advent-y."



Jamie said...

Would love to read Parched along with y'all. It's not explicitly Advent-y but it sure is about light breaking into darkness.

Emily J. said...

I finished Po'on on the Thanksgiving weekend drive and kept meaning to find time to say something about it, and now the conversation has shifted. Blast. I can't believe Thanksgiving was a week ago. I still have unpacked bags. I haven't swept the floor since we've been home (and my husband, fiend with a broom, hasn't been home to do it, either, since he left for the week after driving us home and sleeping a few hours.) I did unearth the Advent wreath, but I haven't put away the gourds and paper turkeys.

Complaining finished. I did truly enjoy Po'on. Thanks, E. Now I don't have a coherent thought to post, other than when I sat the book down, I had to pause and feel wretched for a few minutes for being an imperialistic American - not only as an inheritor of the bloody victories of the Americans in this book, but also in a very literal sense if we end up moving to Guam so my husband can help build a military base. The Americans seem to be the most coarse and bloodthirsty of any of the nationalities represented. But although the Spanish are infinitely more refined, they are vicious in their domination. I found it interesting that Jose doesn't exempt the natives from the ranks of oppressors when he depicts the thieves who rape Dalin and the tribe that attacks the journeying clan. Dark hearts imperil every race.

I loved the lovestory of Dalin and Istak. The transformation of Istak from near-priest, to leader in exile, to healer, to soldier was fascinating also. And it is fascinating that in such a small country, so many languages are present. But onward.

I'm happy to read another book, even though it is a busy month. Right now I'm racing to finish The Lost Hero before it has to be turned in on Friday. You've listed some interesting books, Betty, but since it is already into December, can you pick something that doesn't have to be ordered online but can be picked up at the local library or Barnes and Noble? That's my only request. For now.

BettyDuffy said...

Emily, I liked your reflections on Po-on. My response was similar, in feeling guilty after reading and all that--and then I wanted to make excuses for everyone--the Church, the Americans, the Spaniards. Our Church has been watching this CHurch History video through our adult religious ed program, and the moderator on the video puts all the great scandals of the church into their proper context, but something about even doing that is unattractive. So only 3000 people were killed during the Inquistion rather than hundreds of thousands? An average of 12 per year? What about that is supposed to make me feel better? Anyway, you're right: "Dark hearts imperil every race."

I'm leaning towards "Parched." I'll pass on my copy to you, Em, when I'm done. I think it might be interesting to compare with Mary Karr's "Lit."

Melanie B said...

Parched sounds great to me. I was wondering about the Lit connection as well.

Emily, I so agree about the Istak & Dalin love story. And can I say how relieved I was when the initial conflict with his brother over her resolved so smoothly? One of my favorite moments is when the brother tells the raped girl that she is not soiled in his eyes and that he will marry her.

Sadly, my copy of Po'on went back to the library and I can't find the notebook where I wrote down my notes as I read. Little hands must have absconded with it or else it fell behind the bed.

Enbrethiliel said...


And I am relived that everyone ultimately liked it! I was a little worried, when I first suggested it, that the portrayal of the US army might be a little too much.

Betty, I know what you mean about the way putting history in perspective can seem like defensive rationalisation. I have more thoughts about this, but I'm in a bit of a rush right now (I just popped in for a minute) so I'll flesh them out when I get back.

mrsdarwin said...

I was about to weigh in for Parched, but I see Betty has read my mind and selected it.

BettyDuffy said...

Just FYI if anyone's thinking of reading Jeff in Venice on their own...the rough parts are REALLY rough. But the good parts are really good.

Meredith said...

I am fond of this little story of Belloc's... I put it on my blog years ago. At the time I found it "Advent-y."