September 2009 was…Back to school. I spent the first part of the month concentrating on hiring for the library and avoiding tragedy. Kisa and I took a much needed vacation – first to Fenway park (go Red Sox!) and then to Baltimore for a little getaway. September is the month I will always mourn my father, but now I add Mary Barney to the list of tears. As I have always said, everything bad happens in September. This year was no different. As you can tell, I buried myself in books.
The Escape was:
- The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka ~ I had completely forgotten how disturbing this book was!
- The Reivers by William Faulkner ~ a southern classic that almost had me beat.
- A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby ~ funny tale about a first-time expedition
- Out of the Blue: the Story of September 11, 2001 From Jihad to Ground Zero by Richard Bernstein and the staff of The New York Times ~ an unsettling journalistic account of what really happened on 9/11/01.
- The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough ~ a nonfiction about what happens when mother nature meets bad human design.
- Off Balance: the Real World of Ballet by Suzanne Gordon ~ a nonfiction about the ugly side of dance.
- Sarah Canary by Karen Joy Fowler ~ magical book about three very broken people (in honor of real character month).
- A Student of Weather by Elizabeth Hay ~ Hay’s first novel – one I couldn’t put down it was that good! This was on the September list as “the best time to visit Canada.”
- Native Son by Richard Wright ~incredibly depressing. I’m almost sorry I read it this month.
- The View From Pompey’s Head by Hamilton Basso ~ a last minute pick-me-up, read in honor of Basso’s birth month (but also doubled as a “southern” read).
For LibraryThing and the Early Review program: Day of the Assassins by Johnny O’Brien. Geared towards teenage boys, this was a fun, fast read.
For fun, I read a quick book called Women Who Run by Shanti Sosienski . Since our flight to Baltimore was only 40-some-odd minutes I didn’t want to bring a lengthy read. This was perfect.
Gordon, Suzanne. Off Balance: the Real World of Ballet. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983.
Yet another book I wasn’t supposed to read this month. I have no idea how it got on the list because it’s designated for October – National Art Month. Woops. Luckily, this was easy to read and I got through it very quickly. It didn’t take away from the books I was supposed to read.
I had only read one book about ballet and all about how difficult it is to be a dancer before reading Off Balance. Off Balance: the Real World of Ballet was pretty much the same theme. I found the entire book to be well written but extremely depressing. Having no experience with the world of ballet (“real” or otherwise) I had to take Gordon’s word for it. According to everything I have read dancers are unhealthy, prone to injury, anorexia, and mental issues; they are socially stunted and obsessed with pleasing their teachers. Dancers don’t have formal educations, family lives, or productive interests outside of dance. The family of a dancer makes sacrifices above and beyond normal expectations. Dancers earn woefully little and they don’t get vacation pay. Workloads are exhausting yet they can get fired at a moments notice. The entire book is like this. Open any page and you will find something negative about the world of ballet. It got to be so depressing and negative that I couldn’t wait to finish the last page. I started to believe that any self-respecting person should not want to be involved in the world of ballet and if he or she did it was sheer stupidity that drove ambition. After all, as Gordon herself writes, dancers don’t think for themselves – they receive constant direction from their teachers.
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called, “Dewey Deconstructed: 700s” (p 74).