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ExUrbanis

Urban Leaving to Country Living

Books I’ve Read in the Past (Feb – June 1998)

December16

 photo Books Ive Read text 400c_zpsrnpovccu.jpg

I first started keeping track of the books that I read in 1997 when I was already in my ’40s. These early records are incomplete, and some of the brief comments are laughable. But, inspired by JoAnn of Lakeside Musing who has shared her older journals in a series that she has named Pages from the Past, I’d like to share my journals with you. Herewith, a small sample from February through June, 1998. My record-keeping was thin on the ground!
 

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller (Non-fiction, Autobiography)

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller photo helen keller_zpsuftcm1nz.jpgWritten when she was 22; includes various letters she sent as a girl and young woman. I was prompted to read by seeing a performance of Miracle Workerat Theatre Aquarius.

It’s really remarkable what this girl learned. In future I’d like to read the books she wrote later in life.

[2016 notes: I’ve known about Helen Keller all my life – well, at least since I saw the Patty Duke version of The Miracle Worker when I was eight years old. Keller was an incredible woman.

I never have gotten around to reading more of Keller’s books, so I guess that’s an oversight to correct.]
 

The Ragged Way People Fall Out of Love by Elizabeth Cox (Fiction, Southern USA)

The Ragged Way People Fall Out of Love by Elizabeth Cox photo ragged_zpsaaksgbzp.jpgRealistic, but not earth-shattering. I read the last half of the book while I was coming off Effexor [an anti-depressant] and perhaps I was not in a condition to grasp the story. Everything seemed strange.

[2016 notes: I cannot express how glad I am to be free of that incapacitating condition (clinical depression), and I’m sorry that I can’t comment further on this book.]
 

How to Make an American Quilt by Whitney Otto (Fiction, Women’s)
How to Make an Ame4rican Quilt by Whitney Otto photo quilt_zpslzihb8g4.jpgA good, quick read. I thought sometimes that the sections of “instructions” were overdone and too ethereal. But the stories of the people pieced together in this small town were fascinating.

[2016 notes: I remember little of this book, but it was made into a 1995 movie with Winona Ryder, Anne Bancroft, Claire Danes, Ellen Burstyn and Maya Angelou. I don’t think I saw the movie.]

 

Dogs Never Lie About Love) by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (Non-fiction, Animals)

Dogs Never Lie About Love photo dogs_zpsyncct9f5.jpgThis was really interesting for the first half-dozen chapters, then it seemed to become a lot of padding and unsupported theories. In the end, no one really knows what dogs think or feel – we are limited by being able to think only in human terms. This I knew before I read the book!

[2016 notes: I had a spurt of rating my books around this time, and I see that I gave this only 2 stars out of 5.]
 

That’s all for the first half of 1998. Does anything interest you?

 

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog

Books I’ve Read (in the Past): January 1998

September29

 photo Books Ive Read text 400c_zpsrnpovccu.jpg
I first started keeping track of the books that I read in 1997 when I was already in my ’40s. These early records are incomplete, and some of the brief comments are laughable. But, inspired by JoAnn of Lakeside Musing who has shared her older journals in a series that she has named Pages from the Past, I’d like to share my journals with you. Herewith, a small sample from January, 1998.
 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (Fiction, Semi-autobiographical)

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath photo bell jar_zpsdpv7jrnq.jpgFinally got around to reading this ‘classic’. Plath’s description of Esther’s descent into depression was so accurate a mirror of my own feelings, it was at once frightening and comforting. How far I could have fallen!

[2016 notes: I suffered from severe clinical depression for several years and read this while I was crawling out of that black hole.]

 

Away by Jane Urquhart (Fiction, Historical, Canadian)

 photo away_zps8dm6s6ig.jpgRecommended by my daughter. My first Urquhart. Set between Ireland and Canada in the mid-1800s. Thought-provoking and enjoyable. Made me want more specific history.

[2016 notes: I still remember the complete break-down of the Irish peasant farmer’s food supply (which was much more than potatoes) when the potatoes failed. I’ve since read many more Urquhart novels; she is a favourite of mine.]

 

Box Socials by W.P. Kinsella (Fiction, Historical, Baseball, Canadian)

My first Kinsella. I had to reread the first chapter, since I was so busy paying attention to the run-on sentences the first time through that I lost their meaning. A look at life on the Prairies in the ‘40s – non-idealized, I think. Well worth the read.

Box Socials by W.P. Kinsella photo box socials_zps2tapyymx.jpg[2016 notes: Amazon says “Here’s the story of how Truckbox Al McClintock, a small-town greaser whose claim to fame was hitting a baseball clean across the Pembina River, almost got a tryout with the genuine St. Louis Cardinals — but instead ended up batting against Bob Feller of Cleveland Indian Fame in Renfrew Park, Edmonton, Alberta.”

It’s odd I didn’t remark on the baseball in my notes because I love baseball!]

 

That’s all for January 1998. Does anything interest you?

 

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Books I’ve Read (in the Past): 1997

June11

 photo Books Ive Read text 400c_zpsrnpovccu.jpg

I first started keeping track of the books that I read in 1997 when I was already in my ’40s. What a foolish woman I was to not have started in my teens. How I’ve wished (over and over) that I had.

And my early records are incomplete, and some of the brief comments are laughable. But, inspired by JoAnn of Lakeside Musing who has shared her older journals in a series that she has named Pages from the Past, I’d like to share my journals with you. Herewith, a small sample from that first year, 1997.

death of a salesman 125 photo death of a salesman_zpseoca2nz8.jpg

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (fiction, play, drama, tragedy) Viking Press 1948/1970
Pulitzer Prize winner
** Very dark–not just about aging, but also madness. Would like to see it performed when in a better state of mind.
[2016 notes: Most everyone will have heard of Willy Loman and his family around whom this play is centred. Hard work and chasing the American dream have not rewarded Willy; neither have his sons turned out as he had hoped.]

illustrated garden book photo garden book_zpsegcb52cn.jpgThe Illustrated Garden Book by Vita Sackville-West (non-fiction, essays, gardening)
** An anthology of her newspaper columns from the 1940s and ’50s.
A window on a different life–English gentility; and a different climate, where she could arrange some plants to cut for indoor ‘flowers’ every month of the year!
[2016 notes: I remember that I immensely enjoyed this book, which I dipped into an essay at a time, and fell in love with Vita Sackville-West’s writing.]

and ladies of the club photo ladies of the club_zpsenzzavqu.jpg

And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer (fiction, saga, drama)
** My second time through this – the first over 10 years ago. I still enjoy the development of multi-generational characters; and I think I was more touched this time by the fleetingness of life. The U.S. politics still could not hold my interest, though.
[2016 notes: This story centres around two women (and eventually their families) in the years before, during, and after the American Civil War. I’m not sure why I was intrigued enough with this to reread it since it’s over 1300 pages.]

That’s all I recorded for 1997 although I know I read lots more than that. What do you think: shall I continue posting these old reading journal entries?

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

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