Friday, September 29, 2006

On My Nightstand and Almost Due at the Library...

...are books I've just finished, or that I'm in the middle of, and many that I plan to read soon.

I still like doing the random quote thing that Mental Multivitamin did on her "On the Nightstand" entries, so I'm going to page 29 (or thereabouts) and taking the first complete sentence. Then I'll do a little blurb on each book to share what I think about it, why I'm reading it, etc. in lieu of a real review. Because if I did real reviews on every book I read I'd never have time to vacuum or mow the lawn or pick my frost-bitten tomatoes.

Song of the Water Boatman: & Other Poems, by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beckie Prange

slants low,
chill seeps into black
water. No more days of bugs
and basking. Last breath, last sight
of light and down I go, into the mud. Every
year, here, I sink and settle, shuttered like a
shed. Inside, my eyes close, my heart slows...
(from Painted Turtle, the last fall poem in the book,
which doesn't have numbered pages.)

This is a gorgeous book and I am so grateful that Jennifer (Under the Ponderosas) recommended it. It has the most beautiful, strong, graceful woodcuts I've ever seen, and such lovely, whimsical poems and wonderfully descriptive blurbs on natural history for kids. I think I like this book more than my kids do, though.

The only problem with the book? It's too short. I want it to be about five times as long as it is. Do you hear that, Ms. Sidman and Ms. Prange? More, please.

Upside Down: Seasons among the Nunamiut, by Margaret B. Blackman

If not, then the CB radio has provided them a weekend of mental journeys to Qalutagiaq, Masu Creek, and Narvaksrauraq through other villagers' shared experiences.

I think I saw this advertised in a University of Nebraska book catalog, and I vaguely remember ethnographic articles by Blackman from an ethnohistory course. Upside Down makes a nice counterpoint to Ordinary Wolves - although Upside Down is not nearly as well-written nor as graphic as Kantner's novel (and really, how many books could be?). I'm sure this is at least partially because Upside Down is non-fiction. It is definitely much more engagingly written than most anthropological writing, and should interest those who like stories about the arctic. It also makes a nice follow-up to Jodi Picoult's The Tenth Circle, which was a fairly gripping fast read with a main character that is a lot like a combination of Cutuk from Ordinary Wolves and the cartoonist from Stephen King's Cell.

Ghost in the House: Motherhood, Raising Children, and Struggling with Depression, by Tracy Thompson

And so I retreat to the safety of what Cusk calls my "coven of co-mothers, " where we cackle at our private joke.

I have been on the waiting list at the Ann Arbor District Library for this book for months. Finally, it occurred to me that I could request that the Saline Library buy it - and within a week, it was bought, processed, and in my hands. I'm impressed - by both the book and my little local library.

The Lake, the River & the Other Lake
, by Steve Amick

You live with two different parents, she figured, you can't expect the place to stay like a museum.

This is my book club's choice for October. I hope they like it as much as I did. I'm looking forward to re-reading it. The whole summer-place thing is so interesting - I loved Timothy Noah's "Summer-House Lit" articles in Slate. I really need cabin on a lake up north to be able to write more about this, I think.

1 comment:

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

My kids and I went to the river today with one of my friends and her son. As the boys threw rocks into the water I overheard Blake talking about predacious diving beetles.

Proud mama! Proud!