Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Feed your head

Summer is a time for loafing, lounging, relaxing, sipping and reading! Anyone have favourite books they've enjoyed the last few weeks? Any nail-biting thrillers? Popcorn munching silliness? Deep philosophical quandries? Share!

I've been ploughing through books, savouring some, sitting on others. Earlier in the summer I was in a spiritual vein, mostly while travelling on the bus to and from work (which gave me almost an hour of reading time each day!) When I started getting dizzy, obviously, reading on the bus wasn't helping at all. Eventually I had to take up driving to work, so had to give up reading and travelling altogether (for safety reasons :-)

So, I read Ram Dass' "Journey Of Awakening", "Be Here Now", "Grist for the Mill" (with S. Levine) and "Miracle of Love: Stories about Neem Karoli Baba". One of the stories from "Be Here Now" that really stuck with me was an old Sikh legend, Dass recounted...


HERE'S A SIKH STORY ABOUT A HOLY MAN WHO GAVE TWO MEN EACH A CHICKEN AND SAID: "GO KILL THEM WHERE NO ONE CAN SEE." ONE GUY WENT BEHIND THE FENCE AND KILLED THE CHICKEN. THE OTHER GUY WALKED AROUND FOR TWO DAYS AND CAME BACK WITH THE CHICKEN. THE HOLY MAN SAID: "YOU DIDN'T KILL THE CHICKEN?" THE GUY SAID: "WELL, EVERYWHERE I GO, THE CHICKEN SEES."

I keep the Hazeldean Library phone system busy; every now and again I return home and the voice of Stephen Hawking would be on the answering machine saying: "THAIR- IZ- A- BOUK- WAITING- FOR- YOU- SOOZHAN- MAHRZDAHN- UNTIL- JOOLAI- 24TH.." and I'd go pick it up. And buy some books out on the little trolley for a couple of dollars (which is how I found a first ed. paperback copy of PC Wren's "Beau Geste". Wow :-O)

I just finished reading John D. MacDonald's "The Girl in the Plain Brown Wrapper", one of the later Travis McGee stories: very enjoyable read. Please, if you haven't read a John D. MacDonald...haunt used book stores, garage sales and the libelberry for any with a colour in the namesake. You will not be disappointed.

Previous to that, I savoured Charles de Lint's "Medicine Road" from the Subterranean Press. A library request, since I can't pick up his $40 hardcovers the way I used to. Beautiful story set in Arizona. If you want to take a road-trip and can't afford the gas, or the vehicle, or even to blow off from work for a month; pick up the book and de Lint will be your happy tour guide. His colourful characters channel his love for the SW, his delight in music, food, architecture, culture and faerie mythos. Lavish illustrations by the talented Charles Vess top a tidy book which is sort've a sequel to "Seven Wild Sisters". Finally, there is a wonderful sexy Bi Coyote-Woman in it too. Ya can't lose! :-)

Last but not least, if you have a penchant for complicated alien culture, or haunting Russian folk-tales, fantasy or s/f, deliver yourself into the skilled hands and imagination of C.J.Cherryh. I picked up "Rusalka" on the aforementioned Trolley, and it was part I of a trilogy: not cliffhanging like LOTR, each of the books are self-sufficient. BUT they do relate to each other ("Chernevog" is set 3 years after "Rusalka".) I finished the former and realized that I'd been holding my breath for like 3 days! Front covers by the master of gnarled trees and perfect light, the late Keith Parkinson, help to cap the beautiful descriptive words of Cherryh. Reading this stuff in the summer freaks you out because you want to huddle under a quilt and sip vodka by a fire. Even though it's 40 degrees outside: quite the feat!

So, what next? I have a tatty 1930's hardcover "Nevada" by Zane Grey, the aforementioned "Beau Geste", many comics to plunder, I wouldn't mind re-reading Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones", since I'm in a writer-mode. We'll see. What have you guys been reading? :-D

5 comments:

Rob A. said...

I think I'm in spy mode. Just finished Robert Ludlum's " the Bourne Identity" and I am reading LeCarre's " the Secret Pilgrim". Plus I have a few history books on the go and lots of comics too!

CLAE-TON the DESTRUCTOR said...

The last book I read was "Last of the Burma" by Alan Carter, a tight 127 pg. thriller from 1967. It's like a mini-movie, not too deep, but fun enough. And not TOOooo racist. No really, it wasn't . . . It's a war novel, they were the enemy, what do you want?

CJ

Troy Little said...

I'm trudging through a poorly written biography on Ted Gisel (Dr. Suess).

I plowed through all three Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" books not long ago. Pretty good once you get past the "If you like Harry Potter you'll like..." bit. They're not at all similar.

Also picking at "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac" to balance it all out.

Colleen said...

Hi Sue,
I posted a book review on my site for the horror novel "Forever will you suffer" by Gary Frank.
Good, gory fun.;)

Eifriger said...

Great hearing about everyone's books! I neglected to add that I'd also read all the Frank McCourt books (Angela's Ashes, 'Tis & Teacher Man.) The 1st book was heart-stoppingly good, the last; poignant and raw, the middle only so-so. Interesting really hearing a writer's "voice".

Sorry the Gisel book is so disappointing Troy. You'd think something about Dr. Seuss would be grand! :-P

Colleen, I find summer an ideal time for horror as well; I clearly remember my folks reading "The Stand" when I was like 13 at a cottage, some hot July.

Rob; spy-mode sounds cool! Could it be you're getting set for another rpg go-round based in a spy 'verse? Think we could bug Clay to dust off your Special Ops character? What was his name.. Steiner? That might be fun.... (We'll have to finish up with Keith first though!)

Cheers :-D