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02 February 2009 @ 05:49 pm
 
Since I left the bookstore, I've been reading very little. Not cool. As of last week, I've been making an effort to find time - twenty minutes here, forty there - to sit down (usually with a kitty cuddled up beside me) and read. It might not have been the best idea to start with Timothy Egan's The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl. It was well written, to be sure, but the subject matter was so bleak, so frustrating, so heartbreaking that I had to put it down to give myself a bit of time to shore up my reader-ly fortitude. Once I finished, though, it left me wanting more. I want to see 'The Plow That Broke the Plains' and the American Experience piece on the Dust Bowl. Photos. Stories. Bring 'em on. It was like this when I first started reading about the 1918 Influenza, too. I swear, I'm not morbid. I'm just fascinated by how people deal with such stark adversity, and it's all the more compelling when we're talking eras or events of which I know very little.

It's rare I've already read the Newbery Medal winner when it's announced; I've often read a few of the honor books. Since I'd already read - and utterly adored - Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, I thought I'd check out some of the Honors from this year, none of which I've yet read. I just started Kathi Appelt's The Underneath. She had her hooks in my heart from the first line: There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road. Forty five pages in and I'm not sure if I'm going to make it. Oh, it's gorgeously written. Lovely language, richly drawn characters, a wonderful mythic thread weaving throughout the story... but it's about animals. A maimed bloodhound (sorely neglected by his viciously cruel owner) and a wee, pregnant calico cat who finds this hound, singing his despair to the uncaring bayou. There are the kittens, and an hundred-foot long alligator, and an ancient presence, buried in a red clay jar entangled in, but slowly working its way free from, the roots of an thousand year old tree recently felled by lightning.

I can deal with human misfortune. Melina Marchetta's Printz winning Jellico Road had a fair share of tragedy. I read on, rapt, wanting - needing - to know what happened next, and what happened twenty years past, and how one tied in to the other. Fantastic story, by the bye, and more excellent writing. The point is I made it through this gladly, if a bit tearfully. Bring animals into the picture, though, and I fall to bits. It's utterly irrational. I am utterly irrational.
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I feel: worriedworried
 
 
 
Dark Angel: FacePainteuph0ra on February 3rd, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
Don't worry, you are not alone. I am the same way when it comes to critters ;)

As an aside this isn't a book and it's fiction but have you seen seasons 1 & 2 of Carnivale? It's about a traveling carnival during the time of the dust bowl. Really good series. Sadly it ends abruptly after season 2 because it got canceled (Which is a travesty lemme tell ya) but it is worth watching none the less.
awomanthatsblueawomanthatsblue on February 3rd, 2009 12:40 am (UTC)
I read about half of The Grapes of Wrath last month, and it's really, really good, but I haven't been able to make myself finish it because I know how sad it's going to get. Someday I will persevere!


You should give a listen to The Grapes of Wrath: opera version. It's very accessible, and there are a couple of really gorgeous bits. I'm sure there's a recording out there somewhere.
(no subject) - punkishfaery on February 3rd, 2009 06:28 am (UTC) (Expand)