Friday, September 01, 2023

August 2023 Ear and Eye Reading

 I'm so glad that my blog is my blog and not my job or a class. Still having trouble writing, and I can't think why. I'm not sick. It's just that when I sit down to write, my vocabulary stands up and marches out in unison. Then all my thoughts and opinions are up there going, "What the hell?! Are we just supposed to stand on this platform forever???" Kinda looks that way, guys.

I finished 3 books in August:

1. Gain - Richard Powers. Novel, Audiobook. After more than 25 fears (I mean years, of course) I'm no longer too intimidated by Richard Powers to read one of his novels. I'm impressed and astounded, but not intimidated. Now I see how his novels work: Two storylines: One is about a person, or a few people, such as a family, and the other is about a huge topic. HUGE. The history of something like science or business or history itself. In the case of Gain, the person story is about Laura, who is battling advanced ovarian cancer, and the other story is about Clare, a modest soap making company started in the early 1800s that morphs into a giant conglomerate by the end of the 20th century. The two storylines eventually converge. When it comes to historical fiction, Powers did not come to play. He unpacks all his research and hangs it up so the reader can admire it. It's sort of like being run over by a truck, but strangely, I want more.

2. All You Can Ever Know - Nicole Chung. Memoir. Audiobook. In 1981, 2-month-old premature baby Nicole was adopted from a Seattle hospital after being abandoned there by her Korean immigrant parents. Like so many adoptees, she wanted to learn about her birth family, so she made contact after she was grown. The memoir is intelligent and forthright, but seemed to drag a bit because whenever Nicole is in dialogue with another person, she'll say something, then go up in her head and worry about how she came across to the person and rifle through all the possibilities of what they might be thinking and how they're going to react. In other words, what introverts or empaths go through on a daily basis, but it's torturous to read -- or listen to.

3. Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoirs of Mary Rodgers - Mary Rodgers and Jesse Green. Memoir. Boy, does she deliver on that title! In a series of conversations with theatre critic Jesse Green over a period of years until her death in 2014, Mary Rodgers let everything about her life hang out. No subject was off-limits. She was irrepressable, and really, who would want to? Her famous parents, Richard Rodgers (as in Hart, as in Hammerstein) and Dorothy (author, inventor) both wrote memoirs that must have come across as dull and starchy, and Mary, who rebelled against becoming like them her entire life, is anything but. As mentioned before, Mary Rodgers died in the midst of doing this book, so Jesse Green who is a brilliant collaborator, finished it with the best footnotes ever. If you're a theatre nerd, Shy will make you swoon. If you enjoyed Freaky Friday, you'll recognize Rodgers' boisterous, buoyant voice. I'd love to have my own copy of this book, but I might hold out for the audiobook read (perfectly, I'm sure) by Christine Baranski. Excuse me while I swoon.

Here's what I'm working on:

Child Star - Shirley Temple. Not a memoir. It's a autobiography.

Playing for Pizza - John Grisham. would be like a Hallmark movie, except they don't really make them for men. 

I need to schedule a "July Try Try Again" post.


Video Roulette said...

Thanks for your passion and enthusiasm in writing this blog

Sam said...

You're ahead of me when it comes to Richard Powers. I've considered him for a long time from afar but never pulled the trigger on one of his books. What you say about him here is kind of intriguing, though, so maybe it's time to at least offer one of his novels a home here for a while.