Sunday, April 27, 2014

Re-Reading Anne McCaffrey

I discovered Anne MacCaffrey in college and read through as many of her books as I could get from the local library.  I loved her strong female protagonists and they often inspired me to forge my own paths in difficult times.  I often thought, "How would Menolly handle this? Or, what would Lessa do?"  In the years since my first readings of the Pern series, I've finished college, worked, got my Masters degree, worked in three different countries, returned for my doctorate, and am now instructing at the college level. Returning to favorite characters and places and see how they fit in my new world view could be either disappointing or rejuvenating.  Fortunately, immersing myself in Pern was comforting and like meeting a long-lost friend.

In the past few months, I've read or re-read the following Pern books (I tried to do them in Pernese chronological order:
  • Dragonsdawn 
  • The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall 
  • Dragonsblood 
  • Dragonseye
  • Dragon's Fire 
  • Dragon's Kin
  • Dragon Harper
  •  Dragonheart
  • Dragonsblood 
  • Dragon's Time
  • Sky Dragons 
  • All the Weyrs of Pern
  • The Dolphins of Pern 
  • The Skies of Pern (2001)
I've been craving tubers and klah, so I looked up some Pernese recipes and some of the axillary books such as The People of Pern by Anne McCaffrey and Robin Wood (a portrait book of some of the major characters).

Klah Recipe - a cinnamon coffee
Meat Rolls - a compact meal (with pictures on this blog)
Multiple recipes from the fan forum

I've also re-read Killashandra and for the first time, read the two sequels,  Crystal Singer and Crystal Line.   In college, when I first read Killashandra, I admired the audacity and fearlessness of Killashandra.  But in this second reading, I was a bit more sympathetic to the complaints of her peers and trainers.  She was arrogant and inflexible in the first book, though she mellowed through the others.  It is interesting how a reader's perception of a book can change over time.  And, if a book is good enough, it is worth a second or third read.

As Joan Wickersham, in her blog post,  "The joy of re-reading" states, "Re-reading never gets old. The books change because we change."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Imperfect BIrds, Imperfect People

Title: Imperfect Birds: A Novel
Author: Anne Lamott
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
ISBN: 1594485046
Pages: 336

Anne Lamott is best known for her writing advise book, Bird by Bird. But, my book club raved bout some of her other works. The digital library had this one available, so I tried it.

I had a lot of difficultly getting into the book at first. The main character, Elizabeth, a middle-aged wife and mother, has difficulty dealing with reality. After her first husband died, she began drinking and had a break down. Her second husband, a writer, helped her pull through it, but she is still quite fragile. Her daughter, Rosie, portrays herself as a good girl, but has fallen into the drug scene in the town and frequently betrays her parents.
 For the first half of the book, her parents are in denial, but when confronted with reality, they have to make difficult decisions about her fate. The narrative and believability picks up in the second half of book. As does the likability of all the characters. It is a challenging book to read, as it reveals nasty parts of human nature, ones I prefer not to dwell on. But, there are glimmers of hope for healing at the end.