Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Love Poems from the Japanese translated by Kenneth Rexroth. Poetry.
Not anywhere near the standard of the previous book of Rexroth-translated Japanese poetry I’ve read, One Hundred More Poems from the Japanese. All of the best poems in here were also in that one. So read that one instead.
“Your hair has turned whiteWhile your heart stayedKnotted against me.I shall neverLoosen it now.”—Kakinomoto no Hitomaro
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Thumbs up for The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Literature.
I was strangely attracted to this book in spite of the fact that both my coworker and my boyfriend said the same thing about it: “That’s an AMAZING book. Don’t read it, you won’t like it.” This is because they know I assiduously avoid depressing novels. However, what they didn’t realize is that I have no objection to bleak survival stories – and this book is bleak, bleak, BLEAK – it’s dysfunctional interpersonal dramas I hate.… >> Read more
Two big thumbs up for Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, translated by Edith Grossman. Literature.
I won’t lie: I probably would not have assayed a 940-page book at this point in my life had it not been a Christmas present from my boyfriend. He has excellent taste in books so my reaction was more an intrigued “hmm!” rather than a horrified “aaaagh!” – but it’s still a daunting prospect.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth. Science fiction.
This one was in the top fifteen of a “Best Classic Science Fiction Novels” list I am working through (I need a project in my reading, or else I’ll be too scattered: as you may have noticed). I was sucked in from the first page and read happily all the way through, feeling undistracted by the other fine things in my “current reading” pile, which is a high compliment.… >> Read more
In keeping with the theme of tasty low-budget meals, this is something that I made last night that I think is worth sharing. It’s an adaptation of a sandwich recipe I found in Gourmet some years ago, but like all Gourmet recipes it had too many ingredients and was incredibly fussy. (Mix the tuna salad and the bean salad separately, when they have near-identical ingredients?… >> Read more
A somewhat tentative thumbs up for The How and Why Wonder Book of North American Indians by Felix Sutton. Children’s nonfiction.
Well, I didn’t know as much as I wanted to about the history of Native Americans, so a children’s book seemed the best way to dip into the subject. It’s an old book, but I can’t imagine there are really that many more modern interpretations of “…and then they were all dead.” Oy vey.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson. Science/nature.
It showed up as five stars on the Goodreads feed of someone I know, and I had just happened, the day before, to see a copy lounging around at the bookstore where I work. I was in the mood for nonfiction, so it was a happy confluence of events.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Science/nature.
Okay, okay, pop statistics books are a weakness of mine. I admit it. But Freakonomics was just so dang much fun. And so was this one. Though it should all be taken with a grain of salt – it is statistics, right?… >> Read more