Tuesday, July 24, 2012

cornflakes, cookbooks, and POWs

Oh, readers, I wish I could share with you some of the charming things going on in my life; however, those stories are not solely mine. Discussing Shakespearean sonnets with me and being adorable are not equivalent to relinquishing your privacy. The gentleman in question will receive a nickname if he becomes a recurring character on this blog, but other than that I will exercise discretion. (Unless, of course, he turns out to be a jerk. Then all bets are off!*)

My reading since last posting:

The Road to Wellville, by T.C. Boyle. I love Boyle's writing style madly, even though I am not sure I was a fan of the story in this book. It is about Dr. Kellogg's sanatorium in Battle Creek and the general madness which went on there, and Boyle clearly did a ton of research, although it's fiction. I found the patients' plots more interesting than the con men's, and the gender roles going on in all stories did not exactly delight me: possibly period-appropriate, but the closest creature we come to a hero has an undiagnosable ailment which, in the end, is explicitly shown to be the result of letting his wife boss him around. The second he takes charge in the relationship (which is only allowed to happen because she has been publicly humiliated for having sexual desires), he recovers. There is also a LOT about his erections, or lack thereof. Now, I don't know, maybe this is as fascinating to male readers as it is to the character and to Mr. Boyle. But to this lady reader at least it gets tiresome so fast. "Oh, our hero's penis again. Hooray."  

(See: my unfortunate experience with The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. After four pages of being blown away by Díaz's talent, I was unprepared for the next two hundred pages, which consist of, "Dominican women are hot and it's not fair if you don't get to have sex with one." I do know women who loved that book, but I was irritated and disappointed by it.)

Then I read At Home on the Range, by Margaret Yardley Potter. Potter was the great-grandmother of author Elizabeth Gilbert, and Gilbert discovered her cookbook in the attic and had it re-issued. I got this from the library because I do like Gilbert's writing when she's not writing about herself, so I thought the introduction might be amusing. And it was, but the book is charming on its own merits. Potter's voice is just fantastic, and reminded me a lot of my own grandparents and their witty acidic conversations over cocktail hour. Some of the recipes I'm actually tempted to try as well, though they weren't the primary reason I was reading the book. I can definitely recommend this.

And I just finished Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand. Telling the story of the Olympic miler Louie Zamperini, and his survival of a plane crash, his years in a Japanese POW camp, and his struggle to rejoin society while suffering from severe post-traumatic stress, it is very well done but grim, grim reading. Not sure what will come next; I've got several e-mails from the library saying my requested e-books are available. I swear, if you'd told my eight-year-old self that someday she would be able to get library books without interacting with a single human... oh, brave new world!

*I kid; I'm not proud of how much of Claudio's privacy I violated when I started this blog. I was hurt and angry but that's no excuse, and I'm determined to be more careful with others' information.

No comments:

Post a Comment