Summer

I think frequently about posting here. But when it comes time to decide what I’m going to do with my two free hours in the evening once Cormac has gone to bed, I almost always pick up a book. I’m sure you understand. I apologize for not commenting on posts, fellow bloggers, and for not answering comments here very well. I do read your blogs regularly, though! It’s easy to read your posts with my phone in one hand, and Cormac’s bottle in the other, but commenting is much more challenging.

Here he is, exploring the bookshelf:

Cormac 6 months 2

And here he is in his pack, which we bought for him a couple months ago. My goodness, does he get a lot of attention in that pack. He gets attention no matter what, but something about putting him in his pack, which is an elaborate affair, designed to carry baby plus cargo up and down mountains, or wherever we want to take him, makes him irresistible:

Cormac 6 months 3

And one more picture, just for fun:

Cormac 6 months

We are having a very good summer, complete with visits from friends, trips to see family, and vacation in Maine. Cormac traveled with us to Vermont, to Rochester, New York, back home, then to Bar Harbor, Maine, and back home again, and he did fabulously well. We are lucky to have a happy, even-tempered baby who can handle pretty much whatever we ask of him.

In my two hours in the evening, I’ve been able to read a fair amount. Lately, I’ve torn through books #5 and #6 in Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne series. These aren’t great, great books, I don’t think, but they are a lot of fun and kind of addictive. I think I’ve read three in the series this year, which is unusual for me. I have one left, plus a new one coming out this fall. Spencer-Fleming knows how to keep dramatic tension going throughout a series. I don’t think I’d read these for the mysteries themselves — they are fine but nothing spectacular — but they are well worth reading for relationship between her two main characters.

I picked up my first Georgette Heyer novel in a while — my third ever, I think — and enjoyed it tremendously: it was The Talisman Ring, and I laughed my way through it. The other Heyer books I’ve read were entertaining, but not laugh-out-loud funny, but this one was hilarious. She has two heroines, a spirited, naive young woman, and an older, wiser, friendly but sharp-witted friend. The interplay between the two is where the fun lies.

I finally got around to reading fiction by Geoff Dyer, a favorite nonfiction writer of mine (especially Out of Sheer Rage). I picked up Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi and thought it was fascinating. As the title suggests, the novel has two parts to it, and each part individually is fine, interesting, well-done, but it’s the connections between the two, and simply their presence together, that really make the book. The first half is celebratory, sensual, sexy — and also frivolous — and the second half is much weightier and darker. They are two perspectives on life and death, each of which would be incomplete without the other.

Other books I’ve enjoyed: This is Running For Your Life, by Michelle Orange, is a fabulous essay collection. The essays include film criticism — a topic that doesn’t interest me much, but which Orange makes compelling — cultural commentary and personal narrative, and what I admired most was Orange’s confidence, erudition, and intelligence. She writes in a personal, informal way, but the sentences are meaty nonetheless. The book asks you to slow down and take your time with it.

Also: Enon, by Paul Harding, a follow-up to his Pulitzer-winning novel Tinkers (very beautifully-written, a novel about place, as well as about character), Submergence, by J.M. Ledgard (another novel about place, although in an entirely different way — a very smart, thinky novel that weaves together various themes, including people’s relationship to the natural world), Blankets, by Craig Thompson (a graphic novel that looks huge but which reads quickly — a compelling coming-of-age story; the text and images work well together), Tampa, by Alissa Nutting (Wow. The subject matter is tough, but Nutting handles it perfectly. This is an intensely uncomfortable read — brave and incredibly well-written).

There have been other books, but these are the highlights. And now on to the fall semester….

6 Comments

Filed under Books

6 responses to “Summer

  1. Cormac just gets cuter and cuter. Love his little bandanna! It sounds like you’ve been reading some good books too. Maybe it’s better for my TBR list that you don’t post often but the Harding and Ledgard sound especially intriguing! I have already read and enjoyed Blankets so there is one at least I don’t have to investigate further!

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  2. He is just too cute! I think it’s wonderful that you are still finding time to read. I’ve read a couple of the Julia Spenser-Fleming books – you are right, they aren’t great but they are entertaining. I need to add that Georgette Heyer book to my list. It’s been a while since I’ve read one of her books. Great to hear from you!

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  3. What a cutie he is–he is getting so big! It sounds as though he is very even tempered and a good traveler–a nice combination! I love his bandana, too! I don’t blame you for wanting to read in your limited free time–I am not online as much as I would like (rather not commenting on blogs, etc as much as I would like), but there is just not enough time for everything! I really need to try Julia Spenser-Fleming–she sounds like perfect travel reading and I’ve not read a Georgette Heyer in ages and must add that one to my list–I can always use something laugh out loud funny and I don’t often come across those sorts of reads! I’m curious about Tampa, too. Glad to hear all is well with you! Have a great semester–this summer has really flown by, hasn’t it!

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    • I think you’d like Spencer-Fleming — they are very absorbing books — and the Heyer is really great. I’m not easy to make laugh, so it really is funny, or at least it touches my sense of humor. Thanks so much for commenting!

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