I think I'm done asking people for book recommendations. At least when it comes to novels. I just finished A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. Very tough book to read. It's set in India and all I can say is that we have no idea what living in a third-world country is like. None. This book made me marvel and thank God that I live in the United States.
The book follows the lives of four characters -- basically from one misfortune to the next. I won't say there is no joy or happiness, because there is -- but it's always short lived. You might think that a book like this would read like a soap opera (which was what I felt about Winter's Bone -- horrible, horrible book) -- but I had every sense that the book spoke the truth.
Anyway, it made me sad and I honestly don't need any nudges in that direction right now. I'm RUNNING to Jane Austen for healing. I have two more of her books to read to complete my goal of rereading all six, so I'm just going to plunge ahead and read them both: Sense and Sensibility and (my favorite) Pride and Prejudice. Then I will regroup.
My experiment, if you want to call it that, of reading ten books recommended by friends ended up like this:
1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (recommended by an English professor, Bob Evans, who is a Facebook friend)
2. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (recommended by my sister-in-law Carol)
3. How It All Began by Penelope Lively (recommended by my old friend Barbarann)
4. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken (recommended by a poet named Bruce who is a Facebook friend)
5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (recommended by a former student, Melissa)
6. Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell (inexplicably recommended by my dear friend Elaine)
7. Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan (recommended by a young friend, Abby)
8. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (recommended by a smart political Facebook friend, Lisa)
9. Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel (recommended by my old, dear friend, Denise)
10. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (recommended by Rahnee, someone who works with Bruce and who I "know" via Facebook)
The book I'm most glad to have read: A Severe Mercy. I'd never heard of it and was very affected by it. The book that was worse than a waste of time? You already know: Winter's Bone. The only book I was likely to read on my own: Galileo's Daughter. Books that I didn't like but was glad to have read: The Road, A Fine Balance. Books that were mostly sad: The Road, The History of Love, Winter's Bone, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, A Fine Balance.
Odd experience. Maybe mostly good, but I'm not sure. I have a better track record when I select books for myself, I will say that. I will probably stick to my own selections for a while.
Last night we got our foam-gel mattress topper. It makes the valleys in the mattress less obvious, but I woke up stiff this morning. It's not necessarily unusual to need time to adjust to a new sleep situation, so I will give it some more time. Bruce likes it.
Alex and Alisha and Kael are leaving tomorrow for a week in Florida. I'm very excited for them and I really hope they have a great time. The reason for the trip is the wedding of the sweet girl who took the photographs at their wedding. They're going to see my folks, see old friends, go to the Florida Aquarium (Kael loves fish), go to the beach, maybe go to MOSI and the zoo. I can't wait to see pictures and hear all about it.
The black pepper and garlic tofu that I made the other night was very good. Last night we had bean burgers and French fries. Tonight: leftovers.