30-32 Reading Catch-Up

30. Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows. This is a really interesting book, and I find my own difficulty in digesting and applying its concepts frustrating. I think I just need to… think about it more? Digest it more? Maybe try writing about it?

31. Guards, Guards! Pratchett is my go-to comfort author. When I want something to read before bed, something that’s like a mental cup of herbal tea, Discworld is there.

32. The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin. I have owned this book for so long that the cover is bleached — memento of a reading list of classic women SF/F authors that I never actually got around to, er, reading any of. I finally opened this up last week and was blown away by the deftness and depth of her writing. No wonder this won (really) all the awards.

Last year I read 30 books, so things are looking good for my 2021 reading numbers.


28. Wanderlust

One thing I have managed to do in the course of this weird summer is read. Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking takes me a few further steps (ha) along the trail I have been following with Kimmerer, Abrams, and Odell. Call it a reaction against the virtualization of so much of life due to the pandemic, but my non-fiction reading has centered life in the physical world, in the body as a site of movement and volition. It has been about slowing down, stepping back, conserving space in which one can exist as a physical entity in relation to other physical entities, whether those are Odell’s birds or Kimmerer’s mosses or the sidewalks, streets, and paths.

Continue reading “28. Wanderlust”

27. The Wind in the Willows

Another old favorite, read during a drowsy, overcast summer afternoon by the lake. The copy here was given to my husband’s aunt by her aunt long ago. It has been some time since I read it, and I had forgotten some of the later adventures of Toad. Along with Tolkien, this book early on formed my concept of the English landscape and its inhabitants, at least the rural parts thereof.

There isn’t a whiff of irony to be had among its earnest, loving descriptions of kindly landscapes, simple pleasures (largely involving food), and the virtues of a modest, respectably idle sort of life. (It need hardly be said that the book has a narrow perspective and is outrageously dated in a number of ways.) A homebody myself, I can appreciate the deep satisfaction taken in comfortable rooms and well-stocked pantries, but “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” and “Wayfarers All” are my favorite chapters.

However, while I am prepared to accept forest gods and animals possessed of waistcoats, rowboats, garden statues, and all manner of other paraphernalia, I am eternally perplexed by the existence of Rat’s miniature armory.