Thursday, June 28

Summer Reading

I've been away from blogging for a long time (long story) and now that I'm back, I'm almost overwhelmed with all the changes! I don't take to change too well so this is going to take some time getting used to!

The cats haven't been up to much, just sleeping, and I've been doing a lot of reading. Right now I've just begun Gai-Jin by James Clavell and it is one big book!

First, one of my favorite memes: Booking Through Thursday:

Who taught you to read?

I can't remember a time when I didn't love books! The answer to the question is: my father. He was Deaf and had gone to the state school for the Deaf during the 1930s-40s. Education for the Deaf has always been rather delayed and I think my dad read at no more than a third grade level. I remember sitting on his lap while he read Dr. Seuss and other stories to me. He would point at each word as he read. I quickly figured out that the word he was pointing to was the one he was reading out loud. I went back later and looked at the stories, picking out words I remembered. It wasn't long before I was able to piece together entire sentences. By the time I started kindergarten, I was a fluent reader!

I finished three books recently. The first was Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving. His writing is circular to me in that something happens to a character and it might seem like just an anecdote but the incident is always revisited somehow years later. Don't take anything for granted in any of Irving's books! The early part of the story focuses on a logging camp, the cook and his 12 year old son, Daniel. I really enjoyed this part of the book. You could tell Irving did his research and knew about logging camps. Anyway, there was a tragic accident which forced Daniel and his father to flee and start life over in another place to avoid a cop who is pursuing them. Irving's got an offbeat sense of humor and many times I found myself laughing in the midst of what was or could be a sad event. I liked the book a lot.

I turned to two books I'd gotten at a library sale. The first was Hotel by Arthur Hailey. I've read others of his books before and enjoyed them. I enjoyed this one too, about the inner workings and people of a hotel in New Orleans called the St. Gregory. The story's a little dated, though, because one of the big conflicts was that the St. Gregory was not integrated. It brought memories of the civil rights movement to me. A better book about civil rights, though, would be To Kill A Mockingbird.

The second book, Charleston by John Jakes, was totally disappointing. The book tells the story of the fictional Bell family from 1779 to 1865. It's divided into three sections, focusing on the family members. I thought the characters seemed flat and sometimes unbelievable. Ken Follett and Edward Rutherford are a lot better when it comes to plots of revenge and animosity between characters. Ho-hum.

I think I'm going to like Gai-Jin although at the moment I'm a bit confused with the Japanese characters. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed Clavell's other books so I'm hoping I won't be disappointed!

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