A very quick update post on what’s going on in my reading world:
- I finished The Bhagavad Gita a while back. I read it twice, actually, once quickly and another time at a slower pace. It’s short (maybe 80 pages), so it wasn’t a challenge to do this. What is there to say about this book? Lots, of course, but not in a brief summary. I didn’t understand everything I read, but much of it is a very lucid introduction to some of the core beliefs in Hinduism.
- Last night I finished Mary McCarthy’s collection of linked stories The Company She Keeps. I love McCarthy and am happy reading pretty much anything she’s written. This book was great: her main character is fascinating (and seemed very much like McCarthy herself — who is fascinating), and what I liked about it in particular is the amount of analysis it contains, analysis of ideas, social situations, people, politics, psychology, relationships, and love affairs. Often in these stories not a whole lot happens, but I was pulled along by the forcefulness of the author’s mind at work.
- Yesterday I also finished Ben Yagoda’s book Memoir: A History. I was disappointed, although that may not be the book’s fault. I’m not a huge memoir reader, but there are some I absolutely love (including those by Mary McCarthy), and I was hoping to be able to add to my list. There were very, very few that Yagoda inspired me to read, however. It was a good overview of the genre, but it turns out that an overview is not really what I wanted.
- I just picked up Elif Batuman’s The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them. I’m only 40 or so pages in, but so far I’m liking it a lot. She’s a very smart writer with an interesting voice and the ability to move smoothly among various modes of writing — personal narrative, literary history, intellectual contemplation. It’s the kind of nonfiction I like very much, and I have high hopes for the rest of the book.
As for cycling, I’m riding like mad. I rode 170 miles this week — on three rides. There was the cupcake ride with two others on Tuesday for 50 miles, a 30-mile loop with my cycling BFF on Thursday, and today a 90-mile ride with a group of six. I’m getting used to long rides, and although I began to get tired toward the end today, I was able to push hard right up until we returned.
I raced last Saturday in my first Pro123 race. My results reflected this lack of experience — 23rd out of 31 starters — but I rode hard and felt fine about it (I averaged 19.6 mph for 48 miles and 2,500 feet of climbing, which for me is fast, even if most of the others were faster). I have no idea when I’ll race next, excluding the Wednesday night training races, which don’t feel much like a race for me, as I’m not in contention to win. I like this uncertainty about racing, and instead of anticipating a race, I’m looking forward to another long ride next weekend, perhaps 100+ miles.