We went to bed around 9:30, and I woke up at 3:15 to the beeping of my low-battery cell phone. Grrr. I’m filled with adrenaline because today is the baby shower and couldn’t go back to sleep.
Finished this week:
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – Two people in my small group mentioned this book when we were talking about books we had recently read, and both of them delivered copies for me to borrow! This rather thick tome of fiction follows three simultaneous storylines, starting with an unnamed female narrator who recalls discovering an odd book in her father’s library that only has a block print of a dragon in the center spread. Through the form of conversations and letters interspersed with the narrator’s own story, two more storylines unfold to reveal a previously untold season of her father’s own past and his professor’s mysterious disappearance. All of the storylines converge in a quest that involves her mother’s disappearance, the history of Vlad the Impaler (a real-life person from the 1400’s whose cruel methods of punishment gave rise to the Dracula story), and… vampires? History and vampire fiction intertwine for a fascinating read — I think I finished this in two evenings because I wanted to see what happened.
The Wild Out Your Window by Sy Montgomery – The last Montgomery book in our library system that I could find. This is a collection of articles previously published in her Boston Globe column. Each one focuses on a specific aspect of nature as expressed in the New England area, all with the intention of helping you to look at your immediate outside surroundings in a new way. Learn about turkey vultures, moles, lily pads, and shrikes — a carnivorous songbird which attacks smaller birds, mammals, and reptiles, killing them and stripping out their brains. Not only that, they take their prey and skewer them on large thorns or barbed wire (the book specifically mentions “Vlad the Impaler,” in a funny coincidence) to show their hunting prowess to potential mates — and possibly to eat their prey more easily. Yikes.
A great bathroom book because of the short chapters and interesting material.
An aside: Once you learn something new or hear about something, you start seeing it everywhere. After reading about Vlad the IMpaler in The Historian, I then read about Vlad the Impaler with feathers in this book, and then we watched Miss Potter on DVD where young Beatrix teases her brother (who likes to collect bugs) for being “Vlad the Impaler.” It’s a very tiny and quiet reference that I only caught because of having just read The Historian. Miss Potter was excellent, by the way — I’ve read some stuff about Beatrix Potter’s life and the movie seemed fairly true to the major events of her life. We thoroughly enjoyed the movie.
Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede – I just ordered this book from Amazon (to get to the $25 free shipping mark) as it’s one of my favorite young-adult fantasy (or children’s fantasy?) books. Kim, a street waif, is hired to snoop through Mairelon’s belongings by a shady character. As it turns out, she ends up joining Mairelon in a crazy quest to find some magicial articles and clear his name. In typical Wrede style, there is a regular comedy of errors resulting in a satisfying ending — while leaving room for its sequel, The Magician’s Ward.
With a bookmark:
(Books I just started reading, or books I’ve been “reading” for ages. Most recent first.)
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
- Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
- A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson
“Library” book box:
Not really from the library, but still in the book box.
- Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott – borrowing from a friend
- Cannery Row by John Steinbeck – got this in a book exchange in December and still haven’t read it! We’re going down to Santa Cruz and Monterey next weekend for our 5 year anniversary, so maybe actually being at Cannery Row will inspire me to pick this book up.