July 2023 books read

  • The Dispossessed – Ursula K. Le Guin, 1974. Another re-read (since April 2022), this time for Calmgrove’s #LoveHain.
  • Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie, 1981. Quotes pulled, TBD.
  • The Colony – Audrey Magee, 2022. For Second Monday – good discussion, but I didn’t love it and didn’t flag a single passage.
  • In Spite of All Terror – Hester Burton, 1968. A comfort re-read of an old favorite that holds up very well. Burton was prolific – Castors Away! is probably the most well-known of her books – but this is the only one I’ve read. I should try more!
  • Permaculture Promise: What Permaculture Is and How It Can Help Us Reverse Climate Change, Build a More Resilient Future on Earth, and Revitalize Our Communities – Jono Neiger, 2016. Read for the¬†Massachusetts Center for the Book¬†July challenge, “A book borrowed from your local library.” It was also the Nature & Environment selection for the month, so there are quotes TBD, but here’s my one sentence review for now: “With brief text and lots of color illustrations, this book gives a high-level overview of dozens of ways the principles of permaculture design can help address climate change, strengthen communities, and build resilience into systems from water to energy to finance.”
  • Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection – A. J. Jacobs, 2012. Very entertaining, like all of Jacobs’ self-experimentation books, and I learned a few things. His wife, Julie, sounds awesome.
  • Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy’s Progress – Charles Dickens, 1838. Quotes pulled, TBD.
  • On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation – Alexandra Horowitz, 2013. I’ve been meaning to read Horowitz’s book on smelling, specifically (she is a dog researcher), but didn’t realize she’d written this – I loved it! It’s a wonderful exploration of noticing all kinds of input, through the senses but also learning how to understand what’s going on. The intro is a description of a brief walk in New York City, and each chapter revisits aspects of that walk alongside an expert in a relevant field (e.g. sound design, typography, geology). I gasped out loud and grinned like a maniac when a chapter on insect signs introduced my acquaintance / local hero Charley Eiseman. Plus she’s describing where I grew up, so my enjoyment was overdetermined.
  • A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers, 2016. This, #2 in the Wayfarers series that I discovered in May, stands on its own, barely overlapping with the characters of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, but it’s equally delightful.
  • The Eye of the Heron – Ursula K. Le Guin, 1978. Re-read for Calmgrove’s #LoveHain.
  • Footfall – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, 1985. An old favorite I picked up again because of seeing Oppenheimer – there’s an equivalent to the Manhattan Project I wanted to revisit. I finally assembled a list of the roman-a-clef science fiction writers who appear here (what wish-fulfillment: SF authors are brought in by NASA to help deal with an alien race, and they are the key to victory!), thanks to this discussion:
    • Robert & Virginia Anson: the Heinleins (this one I knew)
    • Wade Curtis & Nat Reynolds: Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven (this one I guessed)
    • Sherry Atkinson: presumably C. J. Cherryh
    • Joe Ransom (“he had a gaudy mustache”): probably Joe Haldeman based on commenter dlc1119 saying “you ‘Hold a Man’ for Ransom”
    • Bob Burnam: either Greg Benford or Robert Forward