B side. Books: found and to keep

30 May

Mitch Albom.  The Time Keeper.  The inventor of time becomes its keeper until freed when he brings a sad teenage girl and an ill mogul back from the brink.

Rudolfo Anaya. Bless me, Ultima.  The curandera, Ultima, comes to live with her relatives and the youngest boy becomes her attendant.  Eventually she tangles with the father of some local witches by saving a young man who had seen too much of their antics.  It was a pretty good movie too!

—–.  Randy Lopez Goes Home.  More thoroughly mythopoetic than Ultima.  Randy comes home to build a bridge to cross over to Sofia after having lived among the gringos.

Mary Austin.  The Land of Little Rain (1903). The Owens Valley as far as to Bakersfield.

David Baldacci.  The Innocent.  Hitman Will Robie and 14 year olf Julie Getty figure it out.

Dave Barry. Tricky Business.  The tongue-tied guy gets the girl.  What’s with the font?

Josh Bazell.  Wild Thing.  The appendix is a good summary of our failure to cope with environmental collapse/global warming.

Peter S. Beagle.  The Last Unicorn.  As plausible as any fairytale and surprisingly moving.

Beowulf (Heaney trans.)

Lawrence Block.  A Drop of the Hard Stuff.  pg 56 Buddha:  It is your dissatisfaction with what is that is the cause of all your unhappiness.

—–.  Hit Me.  The assasin Kellere specializes in colonial stamps.

Marie Brennan.  A Nautral History of Dragons.  A la Victorian era woman on an expedition.  Lovely depiction of marriage.

Simon Brett.  Blotto, Twinks and the Bootlegger’s Moll.  Over the top upper- crust high jenks.

George Washington Cabel.  The Freedman’s Case for Equity.  Pro-integration late 19th c.

Humphrey Carpenter.  J.R.R. Tolkein: A Biography.

D. Chamowitz.  What a Plant Knows.  Senses of plants — all but hearing.

Drew Chapman.  The Ascendant.  Internet spy thriller.

Wu Cheng-en.  Monkey (Waley trans.)

Lee Child.  The Affair.  How Reacher’s military career ends.

—–.  81 Hours.  What does Reacher look like, vis p 230.

—–.  Never Go Back.  At his best, Reacher is at his most emotionally engaged.  An LA daughter, the woman on the phone in VA, a couple of attorneys — good portrayals of women.

Classical Hindu mythology: a reader in the Sanskrit Purāṇas (Dimmitt and Buitenen trans., Temple U.)

Andre Codrescu.  Bibliodeath.  First an intersting psychological history of his writing and publishing, then a sudden leap to pathological dislike of computer technology.  Too bad.  I’ll read a bit farther, but don’t expect to finish it.

Tom Coyne.  A Course Called Ireland: A Long Walk in Search of a Country, a Pint, and the Next Tee.  Coyne walks from course to course around Ireland.  Very light hearted, frequently funny.  He often plays in the rain, spends time drinking in the clubhouses.

Robert Crais.  Taken.  Joe Pike, Elvis Cole; honorably not depicting violence against women while employing it to denigrate those who are.  It seemed dangerous to trust him to do so.

Charles Darwin.  Origin of Species. p 127 “Natural selection acts only by the preservation and accumulation of small inherited modifications.”

Philip K. Dick.  Ubik.  Re-reads very well.

The Diné: Origin Myths of the Navaho Indians (Aileen O’Bryan, BAE Bull. 163, 1956).  Told by Sandoval (Hastin Tlo’tsi hee), trans. by Sam Ahkeah.  How is this available for inexpensive purchase?  The place of emergence into the present world (the 5th) was a lake near Pagosa Springs

Genesis.  (R. Crumb’s illus., he does like the farm girl too!)

Rubén Darío.  Selected Writings.  (Penguin)

Neil Gaiman.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  A normal boy and Lettie Hempstock send unwelcome mythic beasts away.  A plausible description of mythic action and pleasant descriptions of a seven year old boy’s world view — ‘… I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I found joy in the things that made me happy. The custard was sweet and creamy in my mouth …’

—–. Stardust. Tristran Thorn travels into Faerie to get a falling star who turns out to be the object of his travels. “…while Septimus wore a black doublet and hose, a black hat with a black feather in it, and looked for all the world like a foppish assassin from a minor Elizabethan historical play.”

Gilgamesh (Mitchell compiler).

E. H. Gombrich.  A Little History of the World (ca. 1938).

Dave Goulson.  A Sting in the Tail.  British bumblebee natural history and preservation.  A cliff-hanger in that the restoration efforts had only just begun when he wrote the book.

Sara Gran. Claire Dewitt and the City of the Dead.  Surprisingly affecting solution and denouement.

John Hansen.  Fadeout.  The first of the Brandstetter mysteries written in the 1970s.  Wonderfully frank description of serious homosexual love affairs.

—–. Death Claims.  I never would have guessed who knocked him on the head and drowned him.  Brandstetter’s emotional life continues to evolve.

Nick Harkaway.  Tigerman.  Posted to a backwater as a Consul, the Sargeant and his young side-kick kind of save the day as Tigerman.

Robert Harris.  The Fear Index.

M. John Harrison.  Nova swing.

Michael Harvey.  We All Fall Down.

Dana Haynes.  Ice Cold Kill.  Thriller in which we learn not to set up people like Daria Gibron.

Robert Henryson.  The Testament of Cresseid and Seven Fables (Seamus Heaney trans.).  Swell fables!

Illiad (Mitchell new trans.)

Kevin Jackson.  Constellation of Genius 1922 Modernism Year One.  The news of Modernism by day then European capital.

Michael Koryta.  Envy the Night.  I don’t know about the title, but the characters were pleasant and the outcome was satisfying.  An unlikely young woman bodyshop owner and revenge-seeking young man stumble into a violent bunch of people.

Susan Krinard.  Mist.  Valkeri challenges Loki for Earth.

Benjamin Kunkel, How Much Is Too Much?, London Rev. Bks.  3 Feb. 2011.

Donn Kushner.  A Book Dragon.  1987, testament to Max’s notion that kids’ books can retain their appeal.  Especially pleasant portrait of a mother dragon.

Tony Kushner.  Brundibar.  Maurice Sendak reported that this was his favorite book.  Kids need help to chase off a bully so they can sing for milk to heal their sick mother.

John Lardiner.  Northwest Passage.  A clear and affectionate description of the US deployment to Australia, New Zealand, and PNG at the start of WWII — light hearted until near the when he meets the nurses who evacuated Bataan.

Patrick Lee.  Runner.  Sci-Fi, esp and the friendship between a teenage girl and a ptsd warrior.

Percival Leigh, “The Chemistry of a Pint of Beer.” Household Words No. 47 (15 February 1851): 498-502.

Elmore Leonard.  Raylan.  Author as an indigenous speaker p 163 [break] “What Raylan did the next morning, he watched the house where Carol was staying from a patch of trees in Woodland Hills, kept watch close to two hours before the limo arrived. ”   I wonder how vernacular American English sounds in Delhi.  And Rita is so nice to Pervis.

—–.  Valdez Is Coming.  Internal dialogue makes this book,  also the woman Gay Erin.

Elias Lonnrot. Kalevala (Bosley trans.)

Lumino Press, Santa Barbara.

Caroline Preston.  The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt.  Lovely 1920s graphic novel based on Preston’s collection of debris from the era.

Lisa Lutz.  Trail of the Spellmans.  Best of the series for her affection for the characters.

Julie Mars.  Rust.  Touching sketch of attachment and affection.  Margaret has Rico teach her how to weld.

H. L. Menken.  Days trilogy, American Library.  Lovely prose.

Jason Moran & The Bandwagon.  Improve trio w. recorded Spanish phone conversation.

Walter Mosely.  Inside a silver box.  Lorraine and Ronnie work together to overcome the Silver Box and its maker, Laz

—–. Merge and Disciple.  Extra-terrestrial mind-melding.

Ryu Mitsuse.  10 Billion Days & 100 Billion Nights.

Niebelungenlied (Hatto trans.)

Odyssey (Fagels trans.)

Robert B. Parker.  Rough Weather.  Spencer, Hawk and Susan; Rugar kidnapping.

—–.  Sixkill.  A flawless private eye procedural novel.

Thomas Perry.  The Informant.  The Butcher’s Boy meets Elizabeth Waring DOJ.

Alice and Martin Provensen.  Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm.  Arguably one of the best books to read with a toddler at your side.

Barbara Pym.  Excellent Women.  A gentle and perceptive description of a near spinster Anglican woman in London shartly after the war.  The protagonist, Mildred, observes men’s limited capacities to communicate in emotional and social spheres .  “I went on my way feeling a little less confident than when I has set out, though the interest of hearing about Allegra Gray help a little to take my mind off my appearance.  I felt more kindly disposed towards her now that she was removed from us and did not grudge her the flat in the best part of Kinsington or the three unmarried priests.  I had no doubt that she would eventually marry one of them.” p 250.

Stella Rimington. At Risk. Liz Carlyle and her boss, Charles Weatherby, ever get together?

—–.  Close Call.  Liz and Peggy save the soccer match, but a moment of sadness along the way.

—–.  Rip Tide.  Realistic espionage

Gillian Royes.  The Goat Woman of Largo Bay.  Set in small town Jamaica, an outsider spends time isloated on an island recovering from the death of her college age daughter amidst the local scene.

Thomas D. Seeley.  Honeybee Democracy.  Princeton 2010.  Bees reproduce by swarming.   Seeley describes the science of discovering how they decide on a new hive and how they get to it.

Shakespeare. Much Ado About Nothing.  Joss Whedon’s movie was wonderful, modern setting, b&w.

—–. Romeo and Juliette.  Royal Shakespeare Company.  I always wondered who Romeo’s first love was.  So, Romeo just walks up to Juliette and starts kissing her while her nurse stands by?  If Juliette had told her nurse what she was doing Romeo would have lived.

Robin Sloan.  Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.  Gerritszoon’s type font.  What a goofy adventure.

Wallace Stegner. Wolf Willow. Autobiography laced history of Saskatchewan. p 17 “I half suspect that I am remembering not what happened but something I have written.”

O. Steinhauer.  Nearest Exit.  On conspiracies, p 237, “The CIA couldn’t have pulled it off; not JFK, not 9-1, not Katrina.”

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.  The Hidden Life of Deer.  of monarch butterflies: “struggling on with their astonishing, important lives.”

—–.  The Social Life of Dogs.

—–.  Tribe of the Tiger, Cats and Their Culture.

Leo Tolstoy.  the Law of Love and the Law of Violence.  My early pacifist leanings would certainly have benefitted from this.

Ferdinand von Schirach.  The Collini Case.  German legal procedural — short, clear, relevant to WWII.

G. Willow Wilson.  Alif the Unseen.  430pages, but describing it to people as you read it is a series of fun misdepictions.  The attraction the being Sakina has as a cat to Alif, the hero, is interesting.

Laozi. Dao De Jing.  aka Lao Zu, Tao Te  Ching.  Lovely translation and commentary by Charles Q. Wu.

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