April 2023 books read

  • Re-read City of Illusions (Ursula K. Le Guin, 1967) again just a few weeks later, in order to better participate in Calmgrove’s #LoveHain. Unlike the first two of her Hain novels, I want to do a separate post on this one… TBD!
  • Lud-in-the-Mist – Hope Mirlees, 1926. A friend sent me this fascinating article. I recently found out about Mirlees because of her surrealist poem, Paris, which my mother quotes in a forthcoming book of essays I’m helping her copy-edit. But I had never heard of this remarkable fantasy, which I enjoyed quite a bit. My favorite aspect was the delightful names, up there with Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle but not intended to be funny:
    • Ranulph and Prunella Chanticleer
    • Polydore and Dreamsweet Vigil
    • Florian Baldbreeches
    • Ambrose Fliperade
    • Moonlove Pyepowders
    • Peregrine Laquer
    • Goceline Flack
    • Endymion Leer
    • Ebeneezor Spike
    • Lettice Prim
    • Captain Mumchance
    • Clementina Gibberty
    • Primrose Crabapple
    • Diggory Carp
    • Hyacinth Quirkscuttle
    • Christopher Pugwalker
    • Ivy Peppercorn
    • Farmer Jellygreen
    • Sebastian Thug
    • and some exclamations: “Toasted cheese!” Busty Bridget!” “By my Great-Aunt’s Rump!”
  • Cecily G. and the 9 Monkeys – H.A. Rey. This came up when we were looking up what kind of monkey Curious George is – this is his origin story. It’s very weird, especially the monkeys each having a pair of skis in their belongings, and making stilts for the giraffe (then she “doesn’t fit on the page”).
  • Spring – Ali Smith, 2019. Read for 2nd Mondays, post TBD
  • Fathoms: The World in the Whale – Rebecca Giggs, 2020. Read for Nature Enviro, post TBD.
  • The Quarter-Acre Farm: How I Kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn, and Fed My Family for a Year – Spring Warren, 2011. An impulse checkout from the garden display at Forbes. Right up my younger self’s alley, but now it’s just vicarious interest – and a bit of jealousy that in California the author can grow artichokes, citrus, figs, and olives in her back yard. Yummy-looking recipes!
  • The Innocents Abroad – Mark Twain, 1869. Read for Great Books, post TBD.
  • The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin, 1969. Read for Calmgrove’s #LoveHain – another one I commented on but want to turn into a full post at some point.
  • Residues – R. S. Thomas, 2002. Read for the Massachusetts Center for the Book April challenge, a poetry collection. My one-sentence response: “Brief, evocative, melancholy poems on themes like religion, WWII, and marriage, assembled after the poet’s death.” “Dreaming” is the only poem I actually liked:
    I lean over the fire; a smell
    as of frost comes, sparks embroidering
    the soot. It is a tapestry
    of the past. How many men
    have leaned, spat, dreamed
    by a fire, remembering love,
    youth, victory, happier
    times, and the uselessness of remembering?

    There is a flower of bright flame
    asleep in a log, one, many
    of them. It is a garden
    to sit by, for thought to wander
    in seeking for the lost innocence
    at the centre, where the tree
    was planted for the naked
    conscience to conceal itself under
    from the voice calling.

Articles, short stories, etc.

  • In the New Yorker story “Alisa” by Lyudmila Ulitskaya, a “hefty candy” is called “Russian Bears in the Pine Forest.” Presumably it’s this “Clumsy Bear,” which sounds delicious – I will look out for it.
  • I skimmed Losing Ourselves: Learning to Live Without a Self (Jay L. Garfield, 2022) – the author teaches at Smith and they tweeted about a podcast interview with him. Very interesting ideas, but the philosophy was a little too dense for me.

One thought on “April 2023 books read

  1. As ever, I especially appreciate that you’re continuing to support #LoveHain with reads, reviews and commentary, and pleased you’re enjoying the readalong! Hope you’ll link to any future reviews you do too. Incidentally I really loved the Hope Mirrlees story (which I reviewed: https://wp.me/s2oNj1-lud) and similar to you delighted in the extraordinary names.

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