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.
Faulkner, William. The Reivers. New York: Vintage, 1990.
I’ve never had great luck with Faulkner. It takes me longer to read anything he has written because of his plots, character genealogies, and confusing dialogues. The Reivers was no different. Scottish for robbers, The Reivers blends a tangle of genealogies – everyone seems to have some blood link to someone else- with a complicated, detail packed plot and lots of run-on, rambling conversations. The Reivers is told from the point of view of eleven year old Lucius Priest. He gets involved in first the theft of Grandfather’s automobile, then after running away to Memphis, prostitutes, horse smuggling and the long arm of the law. Then there is something about a stolen gold tooth. Trust me, it’s funny. In the beginning I found plot and dialog cumbersome. It took me several chapters to get into the cadence of Faulkner’s writing, but once I settled in and became familiar with his style it was highly enjoyable.
Moments I liked: “I’m sure you have noticed how ignorant people beyond thirty or fourty are” (p 5). I have no idea why this struck me as funny…I’m beyond 30 or 40!
“…they-we-would load everything into pickup trucks and drive two hundred miles over paved highways to find enough wilderness to pitch tents in; though by 1980 the automobile will be as obsolete to reach wilderness with as the automobile will have made the wilderness it seeks” (p 21).
BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called, “Southern Fiction” (p 222). You don’t get more southern than Faulkner!
Incidentally, this was Faulkner’s last book. Somehow, I find that sad.