Storms, heat, and things going ‘Bang!’. That’s the summary of my week. Because I only had one day off for Independence Day on Wednesday, I didn’t go anywhere except over to my friends’ house for dinner and the lighting of small fireworks. Their neighbors had plenty of larger fireworks, so I don’t feel like I missed out for not going to see the city’s display on the third. It was really hot and humid, even at night, and I was grouchy because of it and didn’t feel like going outside.
We had more storms last weekend. They dropped a bunch of rain on us- enough that some of the streets flooded, along with low-lying areas. I went for a walk after the biggest one cleared, and the sky looked amazing! I got my sandals soaked, though, because I walked up a ramp that didn’t appear to be as wet as it was, but water was running down it like a river. Oops.
Also, another cat!
Onto the books!
It was a decent reading week, in spite of the heat and the holiday. I finished three different titles and am about a third of the way through another. And because I can’t stay faithful to one book at a time, I’ve started two others in addition to the two I’ve been working on since last week.
What I finished:
- Headache by Julio Cortázar, translated from the Spanish by Michael Cisco
- Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children #2) by Seanan McGuire, audiobook narrated by the author
- The Polish Boxer by Eduardo Halfon, translated from the Spanish by Thomas Bunstead, Lisa Dillman, Daniel Hahn, and Anne MacLean
Headache (Cefalea) is a short story by the Argentinean author Julio Cortázar. It’s available on Tor.com. It is quite short, about ten pages, but in that short span Cortázar manages to conjure a strange world where a man cares for fantastical creatures that may or may not be causing his illness. It’s a story that demands to be read slowly, and then read again, though its ambiguity and eerie nature almost ensures that you’ll never really figure it all out.
The Polish Boxer is a short novel by and about Guatemalan author, Eduardo Halfon, who seeks to solve the ambiguities of his own life through his encounters with various people- a Mayan student torn between continuing his education and family duties, an Israeli tourist in search of her own answers to life’s questions, and a Romany-Serbian musician torn between his lost culture and the rest of the world. It reads like a strange memoir at first, but as the story unfolds you begin to wonder how much of it is truth and how much of it is fiction. Perhaps it is all truth. Perhaps it is all fiction.
I enjoyed the philosophical parts of this book, regarding the ephemeral and transformative nature of literature and music. It is funny at times and heartbreaking at others, and I can’t help but roll my eyes at the literati who dissect Mark Twain’s writing while missing the point altogether. I would have rated it four stars, but it’s one of those stories where all the women the male main character encounters want to have sex with him. Why does this happen so very often? I realize that the ‘is it fact or fiction’ element is part of the story’s point, but why do all the women always want to sleep with the male protagonist? I ended up giving it three stars on Goodreads.
- Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende
- My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
- The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan, audiobook narrated by Katy Townsend
- The Tale of Aypi by Ak Welsapar
Apparently noticing that I was barely a third of the way through my Read the World challenge at mid-year lit a fire under me, because pretty much everything I’ve picked up in July has been by a non-US/UK author. Almost everything. Kirsty Logan is Scottish, and Seanan Maguire is American.
In other bookish news, I’ve done some work in the background of my blog and whatnot to bring all my bookish stuff under one ‘brand’. It’s not really a brand, though, it’s just me centralizing things so I can keep track of my bookish stuff more easily. I also started an account on NetGalley, though I haven’t requested anything yet. Right now I’m learning how to do things like edit my account. I’m looking forward to requesting upcoming titles, though. Since I started taking this blog more seriously in the last year and a half, I’ve gotten to be a more critical and more thoughtful reader. And reviewing helps to solidify the details of a story in my head, as well as helping me realize why I like or dislike a story.
The second half of this week is going to be super busy at work, so we’ll see if I get any reading done between Thursday and Saturday. I may just want to flop on the couch with a good movie and a glass or three of wine on those nights.
What are you reading this week?