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Friday, July 10, 2015

The Answer to the Question, "What's in your Book Bag?"

Litchfield Independent Review
July 16, 2015 Edition
News from the Litchfield Library
By Jan Pease

Sometimes I like to peek into my book bag and share what is there, just in case anyone wonders what I’m reading in my spare time.  My book bag has gone digital, which is a good thing because I have entirely too many books in my “library.”
I’m reading “Seveneves,” by Neal  Stephenson.  This is an epic sci-fi story with excellent world-building.  Mr. Stephenson puts the entire human race to death except for a handful of survivors, who just happen to be able to tinker with genetics.  He jumps ahead to 5000 years in the future, when seven races each have their own distinct languages, customs, culture, and appearance.  I’m not done with this one yet, but I’m 600 some pages into it and still interested. 

“Why I don’t Write Children’s Literature,” by Gary Soto, is a collection of his essays on life in general.  The essay mentioned in the title is darkly funny, and shows that Mr. Soto could and probably should write for younger readers.

“Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell,” by Susannah Clarke, is another long, long fantasy novel.  800 some pages, in fact, but I want to read it because I’ve been watching a series based on this book on BBC.   Two magicians begin as teacher and apprentice, and become rivals as they use magic to help England win the war against France. 

“Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint,” by Nadia Bolz-Weber, is an interesting read.  I don’t see eye to eye with everything the author writes, but she intrigues me because she was raised in the same conservative denomination in which I was raised.  Now a Lutheran pastor and founder of a church, her faith is profound; so is her profanity.  

The book I should be reading is “Letters to a Spiritual Seeker,” by Henry David Thoreau.  My book club is meeting on July 19th at Main Street CafĂ©, so I have to do some fast reading.  This is a collection of letters written by Mr. Thoreau to Harrison Blake about 100 years ago.  I would have found it interesting to read Mr. Blake’s letters in response, as it's been like experiencing one half of a conversation.  I’m finding it slow-going, but I’m sure that I need to read this collection of Mr. Blake’s mail.    

A friend recommended “Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body,” by Martin Pistorius. Mr. Pistorius was mentally completely alert and trapped in his own completely unresponsive body.  His parents never gave up on him and his world opened up when he was able to communicate by using a computer.  He is now married, living in the UK, and owns his own business.   Let me never, ever complain about my life after reading this memoir. 

 What’s in your book bag this summer?