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Reading Snapshot: July 7th

July 7, 2015


I always like to view the beginning of a month, a year, even a day, as the best time to start any projects or new habits. Holidays are markers of their own, particularly the solstices and equinoxes. But I miss nattering on about books now and don’t see the point of waiting for a tidier time to begin.

Late this afternoon, a rain storm suddenly blew in after a blindingly sunny and hot summer day. Of course this thrilled me, and after a bit of knitting, I quickly settled on the couch to read and listen to the rain and generally show my thanks for the weather change.

I began with nonfiction; I just finished up another nonfiction book I’d been reading, so it was time to begin a new one. I had high hopes for Here Lies My Heart, an essay anthology on marriage, because it was published by Beacon Press, one of my go-to publishers for thoughtful nonfiction. Unfortunately, the anthology didn’t live up to those hopes, and by fifty pages in, I was restlessly paging through, trying to find an essay I liked. Even jumping around didn’t improve matters, so I decided it’s going back to the library unread. Luckily, I’m also in the middle of Karen Armstrong’s excellent The Case for God, which is a sort of philosophy of religion primer that is just up my alley. I opened up the pages, eager to get back into it, only to discover halfway through a chapter, as Armstrong expounded on Thomas Aquinius’ theology, that my brain simply wasn’t up to it. I’ve been struggling with a flare up for quite awhile now, and while it’s gradually getting better, and today was a two steps back kind of day.

In the past I probably would have kept going, at least to the end of the chapter, but I’m currently practicing how to be gentle with my limitations, and I’d rather save the book until I find it a treat again. So I opened up yet another one: The Cold Song by Linn Ullman, trans. by Barbara Haveland. Ullman is a Norwegian author, and this is a vaguely disquieting book centered around the disappearance of a young woman from a small coastal town, and the people who knew her, particularly the family who employed her as an au pair. It’s not a thriller precisely, more like psychological fiction, and it has some traditionally gothic elements like weird children, quirky personal rituals, and the ability to make nursery rhymes sound creepy. All of which made it just perfect for a rainy afternoon; I’ve less than one hundred pages to go and expect I’ll finish it before bed time tonight.

Of course, no snapshot would be complete with mentioning the audiobook that’s currently keeping me company. After a couple disappointing ones by new-to-me authors, I treated myself to a reread of Passage, the third of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Sharing Knife quartet. I read them in print the first go round, so I thought an audio reread would be fun, and it has been. I’m only sorry that I’ve almost come to the end of it! If you haven’t read Bujold yet, you’re missing out.

With that, I’ll get back to my pets and my books and a cloudy summer evening. I love how long twilight lasts up here during these months. I’m thinking of crafting a little summer reading program for myself, to add more appreciation to my least favourite season. But more on that later.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. sallyjanevictorious permalink
    July 7, 2015 8:51 pm

    I’ve just started reading Bujold, following a recommendation by author Dana Stabenow, and I’m enjoying the experience. Hope you are at the top of your game soon.

  2. July 7, 2015 9:58 pm

    I’m hoping to finally read Armstrong’s The Case for God sometime this year. Wish me luck as I also wish you luck!
    Nice to see you posting once again! Keep up the good work!

  3. July 8, 2015 12:04 am

    It sounds like those first two books didn’t work for you; isn’t it nice how we can put them down like you did, and try another one. Some authors never fail me like Alexander McCall Smith, Victoria Twead, and Jan Karon, etc. Nice to see your post.

  4. July 9, 2015 3:10 am

    Eva, I’ve followed you for awhile bloglessly and this is my first official hello. Hello! W/r/t the marriage essays: I just finished reading Spinster by Kate Bolick, and while it was by no means a perfect read for me (I felt like she spent a lot of time too far inside her own privilege to see very clearly), it was an overall enjoyable read about the merits of single life. She focuses quite a bit on the ambivalence that a handful of female authors from the

  5. July 9, 2015 3:14 am

    Oof, sloppy thumbs. Anyway, the marriage habits of some American women from different eras are discussed, which can make for a nice interlude. Again, not perfect. A whopping sentence is dedicated to acknowledging non-white women in America. But if one can bite their tongue a bit, it’s enjoyable.

  6. July 9, 2015 3:20 pm

    A summer reading program sounds fun! Two of my friends and I are doing an Ada or Ardor readalong this summer, which I’m well excited for.

    We’ve been having nothing but storms lately, and it’s been glorious. There are still plenty enough times of sunshine and brutal heat that I don’t mind when the rain swoops in. I love the really intense thunder-booms the best. :D

  7. July 11, 2015 2:06 pm

    I don’t think the Ullman book is for me, but I’m pretty interested in her, because she is the daughter of Liv Ullman and Ingmar Bergman. :<)

  8. July 12, 2015 3:08 pm

    Who does the narration for the Bujold audiobooks?

  9. Allison permalink
    July 12, 2015 10:29 pm

    Hi Eva,

    How do you get your library audiobooks to play on your phone? Right now I just load each disc onto my MacBook into iTunes, and the sync it with my iPod…but I’m guessing there must be a more efficient way!

    Thanks :-)

Thank you for commenting! For a long while, my health precluded me replying to everyone. Yet I missed the conversation, so I'm now making an effort to reply again. It might take a few days though, and there will be times when I simply can't. Regardless, I always read and value what you say.

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