Field Notes, vol 15
I went on a bit of a novel binge since my last field notes. I was struggling with my health, so I loaded up my Nook and got a few audiobooks, and lost myself in the magic of fiction. I just managed to update my books read page, and as far as I can recall, I’ve read all of since then:
- Death at Wentworth Court by Carol Dunn
- Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo by Ntazake Shange
- Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard
- Confronting the Classics by Mary Beard
- The Wave in the Mind by Ursula le Guin
- The Blacker the Berry by Wallace Thurman
- Died on a Rainy Sunday by Joan Aiken
- Blood Child by Octavia Butler
- Some Kind of Fairytale by Graham Joyce
- Dead Wrong by Eleanor Taylor Bland
- To Dwell in Darkness by Deborah Crombie
- Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold
- Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold
- Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold
- A Distant Mirror by Barbara Thurman
- Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
Note that out of sixteen books, only three are nonfiction. And two of those nonfiction are bookish! This isn’t typical of me, but it’s what I needed at the time, and I loved just revelling in stories. Of course, this leaves me witha dilemma; how on earth to I blog about all of those books in just one post? I don’t know; I hope to figure that out in the future during a reading lull. For now I’ll just say that of these books, I loved almost all of them, and would heartily recommend them to anyone intrigued by a publisher summary. The exceptions would be the Joan Aiken, which I thought was a bit thin, although it was certainly creepy at times and the Thurman, which involved a bit too many specifics of 14th century military battles to win my heart. Both of those are still worth reading, I just didn’t love them wholeheartedly!
The past few days I’ve returned to my more usual fiction/nonfiction rhythm, as well as adding international and classic authors back into the mix. I’m almost through The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol (trans. by Pevear & Volokhonsky of course), and they’ve surprised me. A pleasant surprise, to be sure! I just began writing about them, but I was at five hundred words and just delving into their heart, so I’ll save that for a different post. ;) Let’s just say that I’ve been happily picking it up, even though it’s an epically large hardcover that might otherwise make my arthritic hands shudder. In between, I’ve been delving into two very different nonfiction books: Bernd Heinrich’s Winter World and Rosalind Mile’s The Women’s History of the World. I must confess Heinrich is not my favourite natural history writer, but I do love the topics he chooses to write about, so I read him anyway. Winter World is my favourite of the ones I’ve read, and it’s quite fun to see hints of what he’s talking about in my own small urban woods. I definitely like it more than Summer World, but then I prefer cold to heat and snow to deserts, so I suppose that’s not a complete surprise! I have quite mixed feelings about The Women’s History of the World: it contains so many massive generalisations, which while not unexpected in a world history of merely two hundred fifty pages, does make me question her scholarship. I also find it depressingly colonialist in its approach to cultures outside of Europe. That being said, I’m still reading it, because there’s something compelling about her anger and revisionist approach. It’s not the type of women’s history I’ve read in the past, and I’m fascinated by the contrast, even if I’m not terribly impressed by its academic credentials.
Apart from reading, I’ve finally begun to settle into a new daily routine, that leaves me plenty of time to enjoy the shift into late autumn. In a piece of sympathetic magic, as soon as I finished knitting some snowflake-bedecked mittens for myself, snow obliging appeared! So far it has just floated about prettily in the sky, giving me the chance to experiment with shutter speeds in an attempt to capture its beauty, but this week’s forecasts include the promise of several inches on the ground. I cannot wait to see what Thistle makes of it. Yes, November is shaping up into a beautiful month. I hope all of you can say the same.
P.S.: Does anyone have a good pumpkin bread recipe they’d like to share? I’d appreciate it!
P.P.S.: I’ve sent an e-mail into Vimeo, as I couldn’t determine the problem via their help section. Hopefully I’ll get the library loot vlog working very soon!