Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Vacating, Reading and Cleaning

I've had the last few days off from work and I've spent it reading, cleaning and relaxing. This is good.

Recent reading:

The Red Tent by Anita Diamond. Had this for several years but just couldn't get into it. This time I plowed my way through it. Ho hum. This would probably be a lot more interesting to me if I had been steeped in the stories of Jacob and Joseph and needed a feminist antidote to all the testosterone. But since I haven't suffered the disease, the cure is pretty much useless. I had the same response to Ursula LeGuind's "The Mists of Avalon" -- a feminist retelling of the Authorian Tales. Since I hadn't been enthralled by King Arthur, I had no need of the feminist response. Bah!

The Day Philosophy Dies" by Casey Maddox. This is a distopian tale about a superstar who is kidnapped to help bring down the world's "addiction to Western Civilization". It is a good suspence novel, leaving us wondering what the fuck is going on half the time but wanting to read more and learn more. The climax, a sort of deep ecology distopia akin to the goals of Edward Abbey's The Monkeywrench Gang is basically kind of ... dull. Oh, well.

The Known World by Edward P. Jones is a marvelous book about freed blacks who owned slaves in the years leading up to the Civil War. All about class analysis, class collaboration and the generally fucked up world that comes from separating people into classes. The author has several ownderful techniques that imply much research and follows several plot threads through history to the present day. All of which are totally fictional. What a wonderful way to "authenticate" a story that is so very true, despite being entirely made up by the writer. Read this book.

In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming won all kinds of awards as a first mystery novel. The main character is an episcoplian priest -- a nice switch from the norm. She is also a former Army helicopter pilot. And so very unexpectedin a lot of ways. She becomes close friends with the Chief of Police in the small town in upstate New York where she is assigned to a church. This book gives a wonderful description of male-female friendship and I love the way the two main characters communicate past their various roles in society. Gonna have to read more of these.

Yesterday I wandered through some of my favorite indepedent bookstores and I must say the Twin Cities have an abundance of good people doing good things for the world of books. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Meanwhile I am working on parts of this crazy house I call a home. Today I managed to clean up our bedroom and dig through piles of clothes I had buried over the weeks and months. Did some laundry. Did some more cleaning. Read some more.

Life is good.