This morning I finished Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a place where you can still get lost in the woods and lose cell phone reception. I love walking out through the woods, just like Dillard, and I thought this book would be about her adventures, but I was presently surprised.
Dillard does not just talk about her adventures in the woods, however. What I appreciated about Pilgrim at Tinker Creek was the details. Dillard’s stories about sitting on a bridge for 40 minutes to watch a muskrat, or thinking about the atoms in the tail of a goldfish. She appreciates all of the small pieces that make up her love of Tinker Creek. The best way I can describe this book is like a prayer to the mystery of the world.
I did not finish a single book during the month of February. But, I took my sweet time with Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, and enjoyed each and every page. All 559 of them.
I’m not into sci-fi, not just in books, but in TV and movies, as well. It’s just not usually my thing. I certainly do not have anything against the genre, but I’m just usually not compelled to pick it up, and leave movies saying, “that was alright.”
However, I truly enjoyed Doomsday Book. I would certainly call this sci-fi light. Kivrin, a student, decides she wants to study the middle ages, and will use time travel to fully immerse herself. However, as she arrives, she finds herself extremely ill, throwing off her entire trip. Meanwhile, back in Oxford, the virus Kivrin has is spreading and throwing the country into chaos.
While the virus spreads through Oxford, the historians who are working with Kivrin have to ensure they can set everything up to bring Kivrin home, but they realize quickly that something has gone wrong.
I can see one complaint of this book being that things move slowly, and the characters do a lot of waiting and guessing. I think that Willis used this approach to help the reader understand how the characters feel – just waiting to see what really happened, and how to fix it.
So, even though it took me a long time to get through this book, I would recommend it!
Tonight I finished Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. It is the third book that I have read this year. I feel as though I should have more books read, but life is busy, and I should not be beating myself up over only reading one book per week. This book is on both my books to read in your 20s list, and I am counting it as the dystopian novel in Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge. (Is it cheating to count one book on two lists?)
I read this book in three sittings. The narrator, Kathy, was conversational, which really kept me engaged. She would start to bring something up, then mention how she would explain that point later. This was always done when I wanted to know what was happening, so it was a great tactic to keep the reader engaged. Kathy is a young woman who is reflecting on her time in the boarding school she attended, Hailsham, and the years after. Kathy hints that the students at her school are different, but it takes a while for you to learn what is really happening in the culture Kathy is living in, and I do not want to spoil it. Even after I learned what was happening in Kathy’s world, I did not want to believe it, and continually hoped that I was wrong. I particularly enjoyed Kathy’s reflections on her childhood, but the last 50 pages or so I could not read fast enough, nor think about putting the book down. I had to know how it was going to end, and if Kathy was going to be able to change the course that her culture had planned for her.
This book will make you think about how science impacts culture. It will also make you wonder how humans can ignore what is happening to others when they know what happening, but are not directly impacted by it.
I feel like this is such a lame post, but I do not want to spoil this book, and think that if I say much more, I will.
Tomorrow I am off to the library to get a new stack of books on the books to read in your 20s list. What are you all reading right now?