Saturday, September 01, 2007

Books and books

My summer reading:

Book #16 - Ghost by Piers Anthony. Another re-read from high school, another book that made me realize why I didn't remember it - there was little substance to it.

Book #17 - Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. An excellent study, exceptionally well written. J loves the simplicity of the language so much that he's reread his favorite quote several times and wants to contemplate it before moving on:
"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board."
I loved the use of language to convey the culture in black Florida in the 20's-30's. Janie's exploration of identity, of who she really is and how that is best expressed, is very revealing, as is her realization that a lot of her life was spent living the life others wanted for themselves, but that it wasn't what she wanted. My 2 favorite quotes:
"Her voice began snagging on the prongs of her feelings." - so visual and tactile!
"Love is lak de sea. It's uh movin' thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it's different with every shore."

Book #18 - In the Devil's Snare: The Salem witchcraft crisis of 1692 by Mary Beth Norton. A very interesting study that delves deeper than court transcripts and thus uncovers patterns others have overlooked - most notably the connection of many participants (accusers, confessors, accused, and judges/ jurors) to the Maine frontier and the Indian wars of the late 1600's. The conclusion is a great summary, though, and reading it covers the majority of the book if you don't need massive details on who accused who and had what spectres appear to them, etc.

Book #19 - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. The first half of this book made it very hard for me to keep reading. I really didn't see a story or a point to it and kept forgetting who people were and what was happening to them. After the halfway mark, it starts to pull together and actually becomes fairly compelling, even though not supremely deep and kind of typical.

Book #20 - Mysterious Marie Laveau, Voodoo Queen, and Folk Tales along the Mississippi, by Raymond J Martinez. I thought this would be an interesting collection of folk tales from New Orleans, but it spends too much space talking about how folk tales get the facts way wrong and didn't get into nearly enough good gritty stories.

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