So we are about three months into the off season. To say I am at all impressed with this lovely late arrival of Winter would be a lie. For having always (ALWAYS) lived in cold weather climates, I can truthfully say, I am so over the snow. It’s about 58 degrees in London today. 58. That’s about 14ish for Celsius folk. I won’t even mention that it was 70 in Phoenix. (Well, yes, I guess I will mention that). It is currently a brisk 2 here in Gardiner. (disclaimer-these were temps all gotten from the interwebs, if they aren’t accurate, oh well-it won’t change the fact that I am not even close to living in the warmest place on earth right now.) But, this blog was NOT intended to be about my distaste for cold-that would be a very long blog indeed. Because we are in the off season, I have a fair amount of time on my hands. Don’t get me wrong there will never be a shortage to the amount of stuff I could clean, fix or organize around this old house, but I’m also a procrastinator, so that stuff will get done when it gets done. I thought I would put out a reading list. Sort of like what Obama does, but really mine is way (WAY) less heavy hitting in subject matter. I’m not so much of a non fiction reader, so whats on my list is actually entertaining. And mostly fun.
First of all, my favorite book of all time is (and always will be) A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY. I love that book. When I was 19 I tried to move to Canada because of that book. Canada didn’t want me, btw, which left me with bad feelings towards our Northern neighbor for years. I have since gotten over it. I also (almost) became an Episcopalian because of that book. And while I found the Episcopal church in Greendale, WI to be very welcoming, I am not what you’d call a church goer. I’d reconsider if churches held their services at any time but in the morning. But I digress. I read OWEN MEANY about once every 3 years. I cry every time I read it. I am not a big fan of John Irving, but damn, he sure did hit it out of the park with this one. So I HIGHLY recommend this book. To everyone.
I am currently working my way through a book list. I started this list at the beginning of 2018. I have read about 17 books on this list so far. It’s actually pretty cool, it doesn’t assign specific books, but criteria instead. So, for example, I read ARE YOU THERE GOD IT’S ME MARAGARET for the “book from my childhood” category. I don’t necessarily recommend that book. Maybe to children or preteens. I could have used that book to fulfill the “Book I could read in a day” category, but I read Siddhartha for that. And I will state, it took me about a week to read it, but I could have read it in a day if I wanted. I am currently reading THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM OF NANTUCKET by Edgar Allen Poe. This probably makes me sound pretty darn smart. LOL That book will fulfill the “book written over 100 years ago” category, and it sets me up for the next book I’ll be reading called PYM. Which relates back to the Edgar Allen Poe book.
This leads me to the 2nd book on my reading list. THE BROTHERS K by David James Duncan. I hadn’t even heard of this guy until I decided to read this book. It fulfills the “book I own, but never read” category. It is one of the Boo’s books. He hasn’t read it himself. (He will read it when he finishes “THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRE(A)Y) Anyway, I went into this book barely half heartedly. It’s fairly heavy with baseball talk, and because I hadn’t heard of the author, I didn’t know what to expect. Needless to say, OMG, what an outstanding book. I laughed (a lot) I cried (a lot). I would have balled like a baby towards the end, but I was distracted by the Boo and Lou having an altercation over bedding. But I definitely recommend this book to anyone. And this author lives in Montana somewhere. That’s pretty cool.
My 3rd recommended book is actually a book of non-fiction. It’s called EMPTY MANSIONS and it’s about Huguette Clark and her many houses. As many of our guests might know, I love Butte. A lot. And Huguette Clark is the daughter of W.A. Clark, who built the Copper King mansion in Butte. A house I have toured no less than 3 times. It’s my second favorite house, next to our old girl of course. Anyway, Huguette owned a lot of homes, that she never lived in, and an apartment (or two) in New York City that she did live in. She led a very interesting and odd life. And honestly, if the folks in Santa Barbara still don’t know what to do with Bellosguardo, I’d be more than happy to move in for a while. If you read the book you will learn that Bellosguardo was her home in California that she never lived in. But for years the staff were supposed to always be “at the ready” for her to visit.
The 4th book on my list is COMMONWEALTH by Ann Patchett. I heard of this book from someone in my book club. And if I remember correctly she didn’t think it was as good as other Ann Patchett novels. I will be honest, I had never heard of Ann Patchett until this person mentioned this book. And I hadn’t really thought much about it, except that Overdrive (the ebook, audiobook extension of the library system) had it available as an audiobook. I tend to listen to books while I clean and hike. So I decided, what the hell. I fell in love. Both with this book and with Ann Patchett. I will always associate this book with the Garnett Hill hike in the park, because I listened to it the whole 8 or 9 miles. I have since read RUN (LOVED IT!!), and I started PATRON SAINT OF LIARS, but my mind isn’t quite focused enough to listen to books right now, and the library will be taking that one back soon. I am pretty sure I won’t be able to renew right away. Sad for me for sure.
So there you have it. A small list of books I totally recommend. And (for the record) a few books that I don’t. A trilogy actually. It’s the Discovery of Witches trilogy. I sort of liked the first one, but as I started getting through the second one, I was not enjoying it at all. But, unless a book is super horrible, I’ll finish it. But I mention Discovery of Witches, more for this reason. I was having a hard time checking the last book out from the library. I would put it on hold, but I couldn’t get out to Livingston within a week to pick it up. So I posted on the community page if anyone had this book I could borrow. Someone I didn’t even know had it on her Kindle and she lent her Kindle to me, and that was a very sweet thing to do.