I think this year I'm going to forgo the 'monthly' part of this series and just share books whenever I have four new great ones to share. Sound good? (It always feels like I read a bunch of great books all at once, then go for stretches of time where none really move me, then the pattern repeats. Is it like that for you, too?) Here are the books that have most recently swept me away...
1. Someone (Alice McDermott) – "I deployed all my excuses in a rush: the water was too hot, the house too cold, I'd had a bath last week, I had a stomachache, I was sleepy. But my mother had a grip on my arm, and my thin legs were all obedience. They raised themselves against my will, up over the cold rim of the high tub and into the steaming water, where the pain from the heat became a chill in my spine and my thin body – bright red to my calves but pale white, nearly blue, through my chest and my arms – became no more than a scrap of cloth, a scrap of cloth caught and shaken and snapped by a sudden wind."
2. Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life (Dani Shapiro) – "Fill your ears with the music of good sentences, and when you finally approach the page yourself, that music will carry you. It will remind you that you are part of a vast symphony of writers, that you are not alone in your quest to lay down words, each one bumping against the next until something new is revealed."
3. Dog Songs (Mary Oliver) – "You may not agree, you may not care, but / if you are holding this book you should know / that of all the sights I love in this world — / and there are plenty — very near the top of / the list is this one: dogs without leashes."
4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Ken Kesey) – "The Big Nurse is able to set the wall clock at whatever speed she wants by just turning one of those dials in the steel door; she takes a notion to hurry things up, she turns the speed up, and those hands whip around that disk like spokes in a wheel. The scene in the picture-screen windows goes through rapid changes of light to show morning, noon, and night – throb off and on furiously with day and dark, and everybody is driven like mad to keep up with that passing of fake time..."
If you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them, too.