September 2020 books read

  • The Day Gone By: An Autobiography – Richard Adams, 1990. I’ve been on an Adams kick and finally got a hold of this. I really enjoyed it but wouldn’t say it has a ton of appeal outside Adams fans and those who are interested in the natural history of Britain or English education (it makes perfect sense that his public school, Bradfield College, has an ampitheatre with a tradition of putting on Greek plays).
  • Watership Down – Richard Adams, 1972. One of the books I re-read the most frequently. Having just finished the autobiography, knowing the real-world inspiration for Hazel and Bigwig deepened my appreciation for them as characters.
  • Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future – Bill McKibben, 2007 – quotes pulled, tbd
  • Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland – Patrick Radden Keefe, 2018 – quotes pulled, tbd
  • Grass – Sherri Tepper, 1989. An SF classic I’ve always meant to read; glad I did, but boy is it weird in its pacing and atmosphere (I loved the descriptions of the grass landscape, which seemed to completely stop after the scene had been set).
  • Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition – translated by Seamus Heaney, illustrations edited and with an afterword by John D. Niles, 2008 – quotes pulled, tbd
  • Grendel – John Gardner, 1971 – quotes pulled, tbd
  • “Un Autre Monde” – J.-H. Rosny aîné, 1895. I’ve already forgotten what led me to this fascinating tale of a mutant human who can see invisible species sharing our world. Great early SF; I think I read other works by him when I was a kid.
  • Dune – Frank Herbert, 1965. Re-read prompted by the new Villeneuve movie trailer. I encountered the Dune series in my teens and persuaded my dad to read at least the first one; his major quibble with the sand worms (the friction!) has stuck in my mind all these years, but this time around it also sunk in that the scale of the worms makes the whole notion of hooking and riding them pretty ridiculous. The technique of epigraphs from future histories is brilliant – did Herbert pioneer that? – and it’s amazing how evocative a few well-chosen unfamiliar-yet-evocative terms and proper names (melange, Mentat, Bene Gesserit, etc.) can be.

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