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June Reading Challenge from theUnreadShelf

I love the idea of a TBR Shelf reading challenge, and now that I’m listening to a lot of audiobooks and able to get to more of the books I’ve been dreaming of reading, I might actually be able to take part in something like this.

That’s the easy part. Now I have to decide what to read for it. I’m not really into travel writing though, so finding something in my TBR pile that is a “place you’d love to visit or a travel-themed story” isn’t that easy. When I first went into the Libby app to search travel nonfiction audiobooks the first thing that popped up was Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”, proving even algorithms have a sense of humor. But I just read that a few weeks ago, so I can’t claim it for this challenge.

But now I don’t know, I’ve narrowed it down to a few, but I’m leaning towards John Banville’s “Time Pieces”, a memoir of his life in Dublin. I’ve been interested in reading Banville’s fiction, particularly his Benjamin Black series, so it jumped out at me. This book wasn’t on my TBR, but the author was, so that counts. Right?

Runners up include “The Lost City of Z” and “Murder on the Orient Express”, both very much travel and travel themed books I’ve been meaning to read, even if they are both very morbid stories. Originally I’d thought I could read “The Electrifying Fall of Rainbow City” and travel to the Pan American Exposition of 1901 but that seemed to be playing a little loose with the rules. But it’s already on my loan shelf, so once I finish “Catch 22” it’s over to Dublin with John Banville for a few hours before heading into the spectacle and tragedy of 1901 in the Queen City.

Are you doing the UnreadShelf’s TBR Challenge, or any other reading challenge? What travel-themed books have you read or wanted to read?

Follow me on Goodreads to see if I actually read any of these books, and check out what else I’ve read.

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To Be Read | Sam Shepard’s ‘Spy of the First Person’

Reading the description for Sam Shepard’s posthumous short novel, “Spy of the First Person”, I’m immediately reminded of Paul Harding’s ‘Tinkers’, and C.S. Richardson’s ‘The End of the Alphabet’. Both novels feature main characters faced with their impending death, and forced to search their pasts and consider their limited futures for meaning and validation. Each goes about it in completely different yet equally beautiful ways and if you’ve read and enjoyed Shepard’s final book, I’d recommend checking both of those novels out.

How do you share the experience of dying? Of slowly losing control, not simply of your life, but of your body itself, and carry on knowing the end is bearing down on you? How does that change a person?

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From the Publisher:

“The final work from the Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, actor, and musician, drawn from his transformative last days

In searing, beautiful prose, Sam Shepard’s extraordinary narrative leaps off the page with its immediacy and power. It tells in a brilliant braid of voices the story of an unnamed narrator who traces, before our rapt eyes, his memories of work, adventure, and travel as he undergoes medical tests and treatments for a condition that is rendering him more and more dependent on the loved ones who are caring for him. The narrator’s memories and preoccupations often echo those of our current moment—for here are stories of immigration and community, inclusion and exclusion, suspicion and trust. But at the book’s core, and his, is family—his relationships with those he loved, and with the natural world around him. Vivid, haunting, and deeply moving, Spy of the First Person takes us from the sculpted gardens of a renowned clinic in Arizona to the blue waters surrounding Alcatraz, from a New Mexico border town to a condemned building on New York City’s Avenue C. It is an unflinching expression of the vulnerabilities that make us human—and an unbound celebration of family and life.”

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