Thursday, April 15, 2021

Reading Update

Book #28 of the year was Barbara Kingsolver's book of poetry How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons). I loved it, and shared a poem from it in this post

Book #29 was The Silence of the Girls, by Pat Barker. This retelling of the Iliad shows us that the story is, and always was, a tale of the exploitation and silencing of women. Told from the point of view of Achilles'  captive Briseis, this story is a violent one, full of rape and pillage, just like the original. While Natalie Haynes' A Thousand Ships, another retelling I read recently (the link is to my review) focuses more on some of the humor and ridiculousness of the characters' behavior (an approach I share when I'm teaching this story), Barker's vision is altogether darker - and perfectly true to her source material. The Trojan War is a story that can be told in countless versions and still be one of the best stories ever. 

Book #30 was Sea Wife, by Amity Gaige. This novel is the story of a couple with children and their attempt to live on a sailboat. There are already problems in this family (as in all families), and the intense setting and circumstances make things both worse and better. I found this a fascinating read.

Book #31 was The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. I read this over three months with a group that met weekly on Zoom to discuss it. I really recommend doing it that way. This book is quite woo-woo in the style of Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic. (Gilbert is a big Cameron fan.) Nevertheless it also includes a lot of very practical advice on creativity. I'm still writing my Morning Pages, even though the course is finished!

Book #32 was Just Getting Started, by Fiona West. This romance, which is coming out in May, was a sweet, believable story, with likeable characters who grew on me as I read. 


Book #33 was a reread, Graceling, by Kristin Cashore. I reviewed it here in 2010.


skanny17 said...

I am doing some catching up! I enjoyed this post with your books. Amity Gaige wrote a wonderful book of poems based on photos when she was in HS. It is called We Are a Thunderstorm from Landmark Press (I think its the title). Way out of print but can be found. I still love it. I was in touch with her eventually, one of the students in my last class's father new her and her husband in college. Anyhow....I have one of her novels so this one sounds intriguing. I wish she would still write poetry. She is a college Eng. prof somewhere like Mount Holyoke.
I am working backward. Thanks, Ruth,
Janet F.

Lisa notes... said...

How wonderful that you're writing morning pages after reading The Artist's Way! It's been awhile since I read it. I recently finished "The Power of Writing It Down" and it has prompted me to write on most days for 20 minutes.

The Runcible Pen said...

I'm intrigued by the Iliad retellings you mention! I read The Song of Achilles, and loved it.