Saturday, March 8, 2008

Reading Update: March 8

Arthur Conan Doyle -- The Hound of the Baskervilles

I don't know how I've managed to have never read a Sherlock Holmes mystery before, but somehow I hadn't. I picked this one up off the shelves at work because I was reminded that I hadn't ever read Doyle as I was editing our new middle school booklist, which includes a few Sherlock Holmes books. Anyway, this was a nice diversion today, when I was awakened by a massive migraine. I was supposed to spend the day drinking lots of wine in the Russian River Valley, but instead I slept and read all day. The story was mildly amusing, and it was fun to read something more "old-fashioned" than I usually do. Sherlock Holmes, though, is kind of an arrogant asshole. And Doctor Watson is a slightly annoying little toady who needs to get a life of his own. Who knew.

Richard Preston -- The Wild Trees

Several months ago, when this book first came out in hardcover, I heard an NPR story on it, and was instantly fascinated. Basically, it's a nonfiction book about the people who climb in redwoods and other massive old trees, in search of the tallest trees in the world. As a kid, I spent a pretty substantial percentage of my days secreted away in a tree somewhere. I would even sometimes climb up into a tree with a book, wedging myself into a sturdy crook so I could lay back and read. In fact, my love of tree-climbing persisted all the way into high school, when my friends and I would often spend our lunch hour up in the branches of this massive old beech tree at the edge of campus. (There weren't really many climbable trees on my college campus. Otherwise, I'm sure I would have continued to spend time monkeying around in trees). So this book held enormous appeal to me. The people who study these trees have elaborate rope rigs and all sorts of secret tricks of the trade. They even sleep in the tops of redwoods, 30 stories up. It's totally given me a new perspective on the trees I see when I'm out hiking around here. And it's given me a taste for tree-climbing again. Apparently, you can actually take classes in tree climbing, like you can with rock climbing. Sign me up!

Kevin Brockmeier -- The Brief History of the Dead

A lovely, haunting little book. The first page drew me right in, and it really never let me out of its grip. Lyrical writing, a totally unique take on life and death. Definitely great.

Full Disclosure: I've been having trouble keeping up with NaBloPoMo, as my internet connection at home is less-than-reliable. So I've sort of "cheated" this post. Wrote it Saturday, dating it Saturday, posting it Monday, now that I have internet again.

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