this month

It’s been a month since I last wrote, so it seems I’m past due for an update….

Recently finished – I wrapped up both Freedom  and the third Flavia de Luce recently, which was better than the second but still not quite as good as the first.  Still, a charming series overall that I definitely plan to stick with as new installments come out.  My final impressions of Freedom weren’t terribly different than my initial ones.  A few of the characters did become more sympathetic, but never quite likable, and I didn’t quite see the level of literary genius that I felt has been so often proclaimed of Franzen.  Overall, it was a decent read, one that was timely and witty, but not one that has considerably impacted my life or even my month.

Currently in progress – I’ve been listening intermittently (on long car trips) to Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains with my husband.  He was assigned some of Paul Farmer’s writings, which are largely academic but very interesting nonetheless, for one of his graduate courses, and we listened to Infections and Inequalities together on a car trip during his spring semester.  Infections and Inequalities was thought-provoking and intriguing, and I’m glad I listened to it with him, but because of that academic slant, I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who didn’t have a serious interest in infectious diseases or health care or developing nations in some way.  But Paul Farmer, a physician anthropologist, is a fascinating person who does monumental work, and Mountains Beyond Mountains  is a look at both his life and his work that I think just about anyone could enjoy and appreciate.  Kidder paints a picture of Farmer and his work in Haiti that is absolutely compelling…and completely humbling.

I’ve also started reading Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer-prize winning A Visit From the Good Squad.  I’m not far in yet, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read.  I’m also about two-thirds of the way through Sloane Crosley’s second book of essays, How Did You Get This Number?   I had my reservations about her first collection, but either this is a stronger outing or her voice is growing on me, because I’m appreciating this one more.  She’s probably the first writer of this genre I’ve read that I share a generational framework with, and I’m feeling that come through more distinctly this time around.

About to start: I recently received a signed copy of Ann Rinaldi’s The Last Full Measure through a blog giveaway.  Rinaldi was one of my go-to young adult authors during my own adolescence, and while I haven’t kept up with her books as much in recent years, it was still a thrill to win a signed copy.  I’m looking forward to reading it soon.

But that may be about all I have time for in the coming weeks (if that, even), because June is looking to be a busy month.  With the birthdays of my husband, two sisters, and father-in-law all within two weeks, it’s always eventful, but this year we’re adding in the college graduation of my baby sister and the wedding of my middle sister.   The next few weeks will be filled with dinners and parties and presents (sadly, none of which will be for me).  And hopefully sunshine.  Lots of sunshine.  Because otherwise, all those other things get kind of complicated.  (Fingers crossed, everybody!)

So… Congratulations, Meg!  Read Mountains Beyond Mountains – it’ll show you what people can do if they’re passionate and committed to an idea.  (Though don’t hold yourself to Farmer’s standards…that’s just a recipe for depression.)

And best wishes, Katy and Steven!  I would recommend NOT taking Freedom (or any of the other books on this list) with you as a beach read on your honeymoon…savor your time together, treasure each other, and keep your reading light.  You’ll have to come back to the real world soon enough.

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~ by Molly on June 8, 2011.

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