Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reading News

It appears that in attempting to widen the spectrum of mysteries I'm willing to read, I have given myself murder mystery poisoning by reading too many books in a row with a high body count and an excessive ugliness quotient. Ick. Think I will stop and read about conifers for a while; to wit, Farjon's A natural history of conifers. Its British author has informed me in the book's front matter that in Britain conifers are little known but have a very bad image problem having been the subject of much litigation (huh?), and that there are only 630 species worldwide. Really? Just 630 kinds of conifers? Already I feel better. Two things I didn't know, and the book hasn't actually started yet. Also there are a lot of beautiful photos.

Have known no other forest except coniferous forests and mixed coniferous forests all my life, whether Florida piney woods, coastal redwoods, the Douglas fir forests of the Siskiyous, the endless kilometers of taiga stretching away from Great Slave Lake; and duh, a year ago I moved to Giant Conifer Land. It's impossible to think of them as just the angiosperms' outnumbered archaic cousins... We'll see.

Then might read Doris Lessing's new work, and Ellen Gilchrist's new work, then possibly move on to the several juvenile-fiction authors on my list (Christopher Paul Curtis, Lawrence Yep, Cynthia Kadohata, Kirby Larson; lookit that, they're almost all people of color) before resuming mowing my way through stacks of mysteries. If in fact I do resume.

Larry McMurtry said in his Books memoir that he had written something like 250 reviews of novels, and it burned him out for reading fiction. When his editors send him a novel to review, even if he knows it will be a really fine novel, he just sends it back. Can't read it. He's reading history and biography, and expects to keep on with the Great War and its historical environs for the rest of his life.

1 comment:

samcandide said...

I am like a diabetic in a candy store these days. I can't read anything much, for very long. I've never been a fiction afficionado, really, just sometimes. I just started E. Fuller Torrey's _The Roots of Treason: Ezra Pound and the Secret of St. Elizabeth's_. It had a promising momentum to it, but then I mislaid the book. Which is what I do ...
Conifers are cool. Ever had pine needle tea? Only made with new bright needles. And not too often. I had 8 white pines on my farm. Mostly I had balsam poplars. I always love conifers because they are the winds' vocal cords, & vocalize chords when the air moves.