April 30th, 2015

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Books Read April

Only three books this month.

The Good Rain: Across Time and Terrain in the Pacific Northwest
Timothy Egan
Vintage Departures, 1990
Egan compares the state of the Pacific Northwest in the late 80s (when the book was written) to a travelogue written in 1853. The region doesn't fare well, after 130 years of serving various extraction industries which only get more rapacious with time. Beautifully written, at times very hard to read because of the beauty of the writing and the degradation of our landscape. Full review at http://www.natureintrudes.net/2015/04/12/the-good-rain/

The Bone Clocks
David Mitchell
Random House, 2014
Bounced off of this one, 117 (of 624) pages into it. The opening section didn't feel real to me, and although I liked the parts of the second section I got to, they weren't that thrilling. One of the bad creatures in the book introduces himself to the first protagonist by making the kind of leading statements I find really annoying -- "What did you do with Sacred Clock of the Timekeepers? You must have known it would all come to folly when the Psychopomps intuited your plot." Or something -- that's not a direct quote, just an example. Neither the reader nor the protagonist knows what the bad creature is talking about; it's all supposed to be mysterious and portending of danger, but it just feels to me like the seams are showing too obviously. Sometimes when I'm in the middle of a book, I look up other reviews. The New Yorker review convinced me to move on.

The Angel of Losses
Stephanie Feldman
Harper Collins, 2014
I liked this book, but think I'd have liked it better if I'd understood the cultural references more deeply. It did make me wonder why I'm more receptive to Jewish mythology in fiction but Catholic or Christian mythology make my skin crawl. Maybe it's that Jewish mythology is distant enough to accept as mythological, but having been raised Roman Catholic, Christian mythology is too close to me. Like someone who quits smoking and can't be around smokers ever again.