The mid-winter blahs have arrived in full force this week! It’s also that time of year when I start to get antsy, wanting to get out in the yard or take a nice long walk (without an umbrella!!). So I’ve started my yearly ritual of thumbing through gardening catalogs and making wishlists of the plants and produce I would love to grow. Now, whether I actually get any of them is another story, but it does help me escape the winter doldrums for a bit!
The Week in Books
All Smoke Rises by Mark Matthews — 4 out of 5 stars!
I’ve read my share of truly fucked-up shit, but this probably ranks up there in the top five. It’s disturbing, haunting, and will strip you of your innocence. Yeah, once you find out what “milk blood” is, and the fact that it’s a real thing, you will never go back to the person you were before finding out. My only complaint is that I didn’t know about the first book, aptly titled Milk Blood, as I think this would have helped me understand a bit more about what the hell was going on. It’s still a good stand-alone read though, but may trigger a lot of things you didn’t think would trigger…don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of LIfe, Death, and Everything That Comes After by Julie Yip-Williams — 4 out of 5 stars!
Julie Yip-Williams documented her battle with colon cancer on her blog, which was compiled into this heart-breaking, powerful memoir after her death. What I appreciated most was her honest admissions of fear, her battles with depression, her day-to-day struggles just learning to cope with the knowledge of dying. The only thing I found a bit overdone and off-putting was her constant reference to being able to afford the treatments, that “money wasn’t a problem” (even to the point of paying $7,000 a month for experimental drugs!!). There are many people, myself included, who can’t afford to get sick so this started to grate on my nerves a bit. Otherwise, I highly recommend this one.
Finger of an Angel by Panayotis Cacoyannis — 3 out of 5 stars.
I almost went with 2.5 stars but there was some great imagery so I rounded up. This is a series of flashbacks and hallucinations that overcome a woman while she is driving home after having sex in the woods with a total stranger (who she now thinks is the love of her life). It’s really weird and at times confusing, but it killed a couple of hours on a rainy afternoon.
Elegy For Iris by John Bayley — 3 out of 5 stars
Another one I almost went 2.5, I must be in a generous mood this month!! I was expecting a bit more from this little memoir/”tribute,” but it just didn’t deliver. John Bayley, while claiming Iris Murdoch was the love of his life, showed little, if any, emotions in the writing (except for when he expressed his anger and frustrations over Iris’ declining health, seeming to aim it more at Iris than the disease). Pretty much, the only things I learned about Iris was her ambivalence towards sex (even though it was well known she carried on multiple affairs with men and women throughout their marriage) and she was a total slob, bordering on hoarder. Oh, and they went on walks, liked to swim, and rode bikes. That about sums it up.
Back to my hibernation routine, but only for a few more short weeks! Until next week, Happy Reading!