December 2017 books read

  • Out of the Silent Planet (1938), Perelandra (1943), That Hideous Strength (1945) – C.S. Lewis. Re-re-read. I love these so much still… weaknesses and all.
  • The Flight of Dragons – Peter Dickinson, 1979; illustrated by Wayne Anderson. I read this book many times at FNAC while we were living in Paris (I was 15 or so), very tempted to buy it but it was out of my price range. Scientifically-plausible (kinda) theory of how legends of dragons could be true.
  • Lab Girl – Hope Jahren, 2016
  • The Light That Did Not Fail – Clarence Hawkes, 1935. Hawkes, “the blind poet of Hadley,” lived just across the river. I first heard about him because of an inscription on a boulder on the upgraded Norwottuck Trail, and found out much more at the Hadley Historical Society. I have a genetic risk for blindness so I was particularly interested in this book, but it’s actually a hodge-podge of reminiscences with a lot of extraneous content like flattering letters from other famous people to Hawkes, and not much about how he dealt with his blindness. It sounds like Hitting the Dark Trail is more what I’m looking for.
  • The Hogwarts Collection – J. K. Rowling, 2017. I was eager to read the extra content on Pottermore when it opened, but a whole bunch of it reminds me how good the books themselves were and how unnecessary the backstory is.
  • The Crying of Lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon, 1965
  • The Sparrow – Maria Doira Russell, 1996. I didn’t realize how old this was–just heard about it a few years ago–and so the near-future (late 2010s) confused me at first. Interesting, weird, not top-notch.
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens, 1843. One of my all-time favorites, re-read for the umpteenth time.
  • Banker (1982), Forfeit (1968) – Dick Francis. Two I remembered particularly fondly, but my taste for Francis (picking up one used to lead to re-reading all of them) is on the wane.
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking – Samrin Nosrat, 2017. Wow! Highly recommended!
  • Weathercraft (2010), Fran (2013) – Jim Woodring. I love Frank in general, but the earlier stuff feels fresher to me… good Pupshaw and Pushpaw action in these, though.
  • Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown – Carl Barks, Fantagraphics collection 2012. Matthew and I grew up on the French Scrooge McDuck comics, Picsou, which were primarily translated Carl Barks (the “good duck artist”). A taste once in a while is good enough, but I’m periodically on the hunt for my favorite story from back then. As I recall, it featured a fruit like a pineapple which made the eater super-intelligent. Scrooge ends up needing to feed it to sled dogs so they can get the ducks out of a predicament. No search strings have pulled this up yet…

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