Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I meant to post sooner, but I've been battling a head cold - yuck!!  Meanwhile, the queen of the basement study is on her throne as I type this:

Anyway, let's start off with a link to a wonderful tribute to Ray Bradbury. This piece appeared in Slate on Monday, and it is well worth sharing. I first encountered Bradbury's work in the early 1970s when I was an eighth grader. You remember how, when you were in school, there were different groups? There were the "cool" kids who dominated the lunchroom and most of the clubs; there were the "jocks" who spent their lunch hours shooting baskets; there were the "burn-outs" who slunk behind the school and passed around cigarettes. In junior high and high school, I was one of the "library kids;" we hung out at the same tables in the library, usually studying, but always reading and talking about books. This was the social group that passed around copies of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and George Orwell's 1984. It seems we were all reading science fiction, and Bradbury's books were part of that mix, along with Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and others. I have kept in touch with very few people from those years, but the books and authors we discovered together have sustained me through many a difficult day.

This week, I am reading two books - one I started sort of by accident, and the second is for my book club. At a used book sale last fall, I picked up a copy of Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. I am about a third of the way in, and it's pleasant reading, good for the end of the day when one simply needs a break from real life. She writes very well with quick sketches and happy wit.

The other book is Elizabeth by David Starkey. I am only a couple of chapters in, but I am already feeling pulled along by good writing and a cracklingly good story. If you were to lock me up for six months and tell me that I could read anything I wanted, but the books could only be about one century, I'd pick the 1500s. I mean, please, think about the people: Leonardo da Vinci, Henry VIII, Philip II, Charles V, Julius II, Michelangelo, Catherine of Aragon, Catherine Medici, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, Robert Bellarmine, Ignatius Loyola, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and so many more. This is the hinge century between the "Old World" and the "New World." Western civilization was a very different creature in 1600 than it had been in 1500, and we are still dealing with issues raised in that century. Anyway, I'm eagerly reading along.

I lasted about 20 pages into Barchester Towers before pitching it in favor of Elizabeth.

Finally, I wanted to show that I have been knitting. Here are the Helix socks (toes at this point) from Melissa Morgan-Oakes' book Toe-up 2-at-a-Time Socks.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I think my daughter would like that book. I'm going to recommend it to here. I have the Melissa Morgan Oakes book, but I haven't worked up the courage to start 2 socks and a time yet.