June Books

I wrote a lovely long post about books yesterday, uploaded it, and . . . it disappeared.  And then I wrote most of it again, and lost it again — I think in both cases my internet connection cut out just as I was saving the draft.  Alas.  Which means this will be a bit shorter than I’d planned, as I’m going to go to the gym and if I leave it longer I will be sad with myself.  Still, I wanted to say: isn’t it cool the people at the Large Hadron Collider may have found the Higgs boson?  I need to read up on the Standard Model, but how amazing it is that people can look into the hearts of atoms and see what it is that makes matter material.

There is a staggering lack of science among the books I read in June, as I now note.  Well, I can remedy that this month if I try.  At the Atlantic Theological Conference someone asked the room how many people owned A Brief History of Time — I put up my hand — when asked whether we’d finished it, I was ashamed to have to put my hand down again.  I read half of it in grade eight, and about 2/3 of it some years ago when I thought I’d better try again, but I don’t recall finishing it that time and in my method of accounting, that means I didn’t.  It’ll go on my pile to be read this month.

So, a little late, but nevertheless: here are my June books. Underlined for those new to me, with some comments in case you’re interested in following up on any of them.

Present Concerns, C.S. Lewis (to help me prepare for the theological conference);

The Iliad or the Poem of Force, Simone Weil (loaned me by my neighbours, and still needing to be returned; interesting and short, if decidedly mid-twentieth-century in tone);

Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine (bought at the junior high’s yard sale);

King of the Wind, Marguerite Henry (bought at the same yard sale, this was one of my favourite childhood books and was still a delightful read);

So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish, Douglas Adams (continuing my reading of the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy from the end of May);

Eight Skilled Gentlemen, Barry Hughart (bought online when I acquired A Pattern Language; a comic romp through ‘an ancient China that never was but ought to have been’, as the blurb put it aptly);

An American Childhood, Annie Dillard (not quite as good as Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, but solidly enjoyable and interesting; bought in Toronto in March, if I remember correctly);

Writing and Being, Nadine Gordimer (also bought in Toronto but I think last fall; by a South African Nobel Prize-winner, superb both for the essays and for their interconnected structure, which you don’t often see in a collection of essays);

Talking About Detective Fiction, P.D. James (inspired by Writing and Being, I borrowed several books on writing from the library; this one gave me a list of detective novels to go try);

On Becoming a Novelist, John Gardner (library; one of the better writing books, just what I wanted to read at this stage in my life; recommended);

Fern-Seed and Elephants, C.S. Lewis;

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien;

No More Sleepless Nights, Peter Hauri and Shirley Linde (bought from Value Village, and seemingly helpful with my sleeping habits);

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien (for the . . . eighth time?  Not sure, I’ve read this so often.  I think it counts as three books for this month, though);

Book of a Thousand Days, Shannon Hale (this and the next four were all borrowed from the library on the recommendation of The Book Smugglers; I enjoyed them all);

The Rose Revived, Katie Fforde (a romance, thus broaching the dyke in my reading of that genre, already weakened by my delight in the movie Romancing the Stone, which I enjoyed way too much);

Resenting the Hero, Moira J. Moore (silly and delightful, pleasingly the first in a series — less pleasingly, my library doesn’t have any of the others except the fourth; I’ll keep an eye out for them in used book stores);

Jasmyn, Alex Bell (a modern fairy tale involving swan princesses and Neuschwanstein and violins; very good);

Just the Sexiest Man Alive, Julie James (another romance, this one involving a movie star and the sexual harassment lawyer who ends up helping him with a film against her will; not very well written overall, but I enjoyed it a great deal and actually read it again yesterday, but that’ll go in the July books list);

The Well-Tempered Critic, Northrop Frye (from the library; reminding me that I want to read more of his work on and of criticism, since it is both enjoyable and instructive to read);

Get Real, Donald E. Westlake (from the library, alas, since it’s difficult to find Westlake’s books; the newest Dortmunder novel, a crime caper that in this case also involves reality tv);

Writing Life, ed. Constance Rooke (bought used in Charlottetown last week; an excellent series of essays on writing and the writing life, mostly by Canadian writers, that helped me make a friend at the Atlantic Theological Conference, which was a bonus I wasn’t expecting of being early one day with a book to hand).

There!  I think I managed to do that without losing the text again.  Twenty-four books this month, of which fifteen were new, five of which were ones I own — a goodly amount, though lessened on the reflection that I bought three of those during the course of the month.  I’m still working through my bookcase, though!

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