Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mid-week review on library books

Of the three books that I checked out from the Petaluma Library, I've read two, having learned from Susan Taylor Chehak that starting a book doesn't require finishing it. So many fabulous books & so little time... what's the point in completing a book that doesn't grab you by the short hairs?

Didn't finish "the kind i'm likely to get" by ken foster (all lower caps from him). It was written well enough, but the characters - meh. Although others, like Lucy Grealy, Luc Sante, Chuck Palahniuk disagreed. Go figure. I liked the first story, "keep it from the flame," but after that my attention began wandering.

I did finish "Brain Wider Than the Sky," because brain function fascinates me. (So why, you ask, didn't I become a brain surgeon? shaky hands, a wandering mind -see above- not so good with the gore and gobbits of brain-gunk, just a few of the reasons). The author, Andrew Levy, driven by his own migraine experiences (including a 4-month stint of daily hide-in-the-dark, sick-until-puking headaches), researches the historical record of megrims, as they were once called, reviews cures from the past (shudder), covers the current neurological state of affair and introduces us to some well-known migrainuers, which sounds like a fabulous, groovy club, but isn't. An enlightening read. I realized that those god-awful, eye-crossing thunder-headaches that I'd get on the East Coast were in fact migraines brought on by low air-pressure and humidity. Not the worst migraines on the planet, as I learned from the book, but enough that I feared and hated them and moved to West Coast to get away from them. Among other enticements.

Haven't yet cracked "the life all around me by Ellen Foster" as written by Kay Gibbons; it's a treat reserved for this three-day weekend, with at least one afternoon spent as Sandy Reader and Sandcastle Voyeur out at Drakes Bay.

This past weekend was another retreat unexpected but glorious,to the Research Station, which is one reason why I finished not only that migraine book from the first batch of books, but also made headway into the second batch, finishing "Plum Lucky," dipping deeply into Updike's poems and starting P.D. James' book, "The Murder Room."

I enjoyed "Plum Lucky." It was a fun read: quirky, fast, funny, perfect for the hot-as-the-dickens afternoon and evening on a hilltop amongst oaks, deers and ticks. Lots of lounging around, beating the heat by never being vertical for more than a few minutes. I'd definitely read more Evanovich; there's a lot of craft and skill in getting a book to move this smoothly, engagingly and quick.

But I'm going to have to cut back on my book selections, if I'm going to read something from every library I visit. I'm lagging behind and I've only just started the Sonoma County Library Tour.


  1. Lakin, you are reading, reading, reading. And reading! You put me to shame!

    Keep it up, as I now have more books on my list thanks to your reviews.


  2. holy moley, yes! my little eyeballs are getting a workout. Glad you like my list-more suggestions will arrive soon. But I bet you have some favs to share too...what books have you been reading?

  3. Actually, the lower case title is from the book designer, not the author.

    But I do like "meh" as a literary term. It really articulates so much.

  4. well, I wondered about that lower-case trend; I've seen it on many a bookcover and I'm never sure about it. I can see it being more of a designer-choice than an author-choice.

    As for "meh," yeah, it's lazy. I'm around too many kids, I guess. And my "review," wasn't really much of a review, more like my reader's reaction-in-the-moment.

    However, I was quite taken with your first story of the collection; you captured for me that unconscious, inarticulate need to punish one's betrayers, even if detrimental to one's self. ( In trying my best to return books asap, thus avoiding my usual state of Library Fugitive, I no longer have the book, so not certain of the story's title.)

    Also found your blog and saw your commendable work with and writing about pooches; I'll look for your newest memoir, "Dogs I Have Met," in my library travels.

    Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting! I appreciate hearing from folks and especially from writers and authors; it's nice to know I'm not just shouting down an empty well.


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