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Monday, March 11, 2013

365 Poems: Reading edition

Day 70

As I mentioned on Twitter, Sunday just flew by! It was like I lost an hour ... somewhere.

That and a houseful of family for dinner cut into writing time. AND reading time. And what am I reading this month?

Well, for one book club, it's Hare with the Amber Eyes:
Edmund de Waal is a world-famous ceramicist. Having spent thirty years making beautiful pots—which are then sold, collected, and handed on—he has a particular sense of the secret lives of objects. When he inherited a collection of 264 tiny Japanese wood and ivory carvings, called netsuke, he wanted to know who had touched and held them, and how the collection had managed to survive.
And so begins this extraordinarily moving memoir and detective story as de Waal discovers both the story of the netsuke and of his family, the Ephrussis, over five generations. A nineteenth-century banking dynasty in Paris and Vienna, the Ephrussis were as rich and respected as the Rothchilds. Yet by the end of the World War II, when the netsuke were hidden from the Nazis in Vienna, this collection of very small carvings was all that remained of their vast empire.
I'm nowhere near finished with this book and have already had to look up three words. It's a fascinating story, but he's one of those authors whose is kind of in love with his own writing ... and intellect. Also ... 'world-famous ceramicist'? Those words are fighting each other.

For the other book club we're reading The Tiger's Wife. I'm just getting started -- I'll speed read it tonight and tomorrow night. But so far I get a sense of magical writing -- kind of like, Like Water for Chocolate, only in the Balkans, and with no chocolate.
In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.
As usual I've read a lot of other stuff the last few weeks, some fluffy cheap romance novels on Kindle -- Louise Gluck's Wild Iris -- Philosophy for Dummies (I bought it a long time ago because I've always regretted not taking philosophy in college, and it's coming in handy as background for my Coursera class). But more about those later.

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