Wednesday, July 1, 2015

52 Weeks of Reading - June

Happy July!  June was sure a busy month for us, but a good one.  We're looking forward to good live music, visits with friends, and a few tie-dye gigs this month.  I am sure it too will fly by!  Summertime always does!  Below is my reading recap for the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge through the public library.  This month's recap comes along with the garden photos I wanted to post on Monday--good news!  My camera survived the rainstorm!  Huzzah!
Garden overview.  Matt is pulling peas and Ginger is looking back at me, waiting for me to catch up and join them.  June 27, 2015
June 1-6
*None

June 7-13
*The Passion of Alice by Stephanie Grant
*Sleepless by Charlie Huston

June 14-20
*Too Much Happiness: Stories by Alice Munro
*The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

June 21-27
*Positive by Paige Rawl

June 28-30
*The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
Our community garden plots.  We have four adjacent 8 foot by 8 foot plots there.  We're growing potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, nasturtiums, and marigolds.  We're trying to get better about growing flowers, too...even if we can't eat them.  The nasturtiums you can though, I am told!  June 27, 2015
My favorite book was The Cellist of Sarajevo.  I found it to be a very moving, interesting, and at times terrible story.  While the story is a work of fiction is it based on the Bosnia War and follows four very different people as they live their lives in war-torn Sarajevo.  The fellow risking his life to gather water for his family was particularly powerful, I thought.  Its a life I cannot being to imagine, thank heavens.  Its also a very recent conflict which I don't know much about.  I did a little research along with my reading so that I could have a better understanding of what both sides was after--not that I can ever make much sense of war...  Reading the book made me remember reading a different book when I was in, oh, 6th grade, I think, called Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo.  After we'd read it as a class we did a reenactment of sorts, bringing in foods mentioned in the books, and well, huddling on the floor behind a barricade of desks in a darkened room.  It was interesting, though not likely all that realistic.  But it stuck with me.  It made an impression.  I am so blessed with peace and safety in my life.  That is always a good thing to remember.

Sleepless was also pretty good, but in a disturbing sort of way.  Its a novel about a global pandemic of perpetual insomnia, which is almost always fatal.  People are so sleep deprived they make bad decisions, have slow reactions times, or, quite often, kill themselves because they're so tired and miserable.  With my arthritis I suffer from chronic fatigue and often sleep poorly.  As such, the whole concept was especially horrible as I could extrapolate out from how tired I am after weeks of not sleeping well--and I still at least get some sleep!  Oh, it was a terrible concept for a disease.  The story has a dark underbelly, too, as is the case with most post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction.  It was pretty good.
Last year we got seven currants, if memory serves.  We may only have gotten a shade over a half pound this year, but hey!  Its more than seven!  June 28, 2015
My least favorite book was Positive.  This was the story of a midwestern teen born HIV positive who was bullied after revealing her status to a friend.  While I like the positive-love-and-acceptance-because-we're-all-fighting-some-kind-of-battle message I just didn't find the writing all that compelling.  She used the same expressions too frequently, and well, it sounded like it was written by teenager...which it was...so take that for what its worth.  It is pretty crazy that people still think you can catch HIV from sharing pens and water bottles and stuff though.  So, hopefully the book will serve as education for young people on that front at least.
I snapped this photo, set my camera on the porch, started pick the currant, and promptly forgot about it.  Memo to self--pockets are in place for a reason!  June 28, 2015
Too Much Happiness was much darker than I expected it to be.  I knew it had some dark stories, but I guess I wasn't expecting them to all be so terrible--infanticide, children who kill, etc.  I'd heard a lot about Alice Munro though and I must agree they were compelling stories, just not really my cup of tea.  I did like the title story though.  It was a historical fiction based on the life of Sofia Kovalevsky, a nineteenth century Russian mathematician and author.

The Robber Bride is a modern twist on the tale The Robber Bridegroom, made famous by the Grimm brothers.  I've never read it.  In fact, I'd never even heard of it before picking up The Robber Bride.  I just, generally, enjoy Margaret Atwood books.  It was good, but not the greatest Atwood I've read--though maybe I would have gotten more out of it had I read its inspiration.  It did have two characters I liked a whole lot though--a new-age earth worshiper type who was laughably mystical sometimes in a way that I am sure some people think I am.  The other character was a history professor who liked to spell/say words and names backwards, something my friends and I did back in high school and college.  My name never went very well, but I really liked Lav, Mada, Nelg....  That made me reminisce about some good times.

The Passion of Alice was a novel about a teen suffering from anorexia, being admitted in-patient for treatment.  It was an interesting read, disturbing at times, but gave some insight into the (false) logic behind the choices the main character makes in her dedication to thinness.  As someone who loves food anorexia is hard for me to understand, though as a woman in the modern world I can understand the pressures to be in control and look a certain way.
A different angle on the community garden.  June 27, 2015
Weeks Passed: 24 weeks (plus two days)
Books Read: 36

Recaps for the previous months of the 52-in-52 challenge can be found by following these links: January, February, March, April, May

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