Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Saturday, April 27, 2019

"The Philosopher and the Wolf: Lessons from the Wild on Love, Death and Happiness" by Mark Rowlands

This is a book written by a philosophy professor about the period in his life when he owned a full-blood wolf as a pet. It goes deeper than memoir, however; Rowlands explores many varied lines of thought related to his experiences with Brenin.

My mom picked this book up at the FOL bookstore in Los Alamos, read it, and passed it on to me. Normally I don't take book recommendations from my mom very seriously, but she didn't say she loved it and didn't push me strongly to read it (which means she didn't push me away from it), and the themes immediately made me think of a friend of mine--I thought I ought to read it to see if that friend might like it.

Reading the book confirmed my hunch. As I read, I alternated between marveling that my friend might have written exactly what I was reading and wondering at the fact that my friend hadn't already read or heard of this book. Well, it's on its way to her now . . . I hope she loves it.

I wish I had something interesting to say about my experience with the book but they don't call me the Literary Amnesiac for nothing. I enjoyed thinking through Rowlands' philosophical meanderings as I read, but unfortunately I didn't retain anything.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

"The Maker of Swans" by Paraic O'Donnell

I spent a lot of time reading this book. I spent even more time not reading it.

We didn't get off to a good start, this book and I. By page six I had decided the writing was too florid for my taste. As time dragged on, I finally figured out my biggest problem with the book was that I disliked one of the main characters, Crowe. It wasn't necessarily the type of dislike reserved for true villains who deserve it, which can actually be satisfying and maybe even exhilarating; it was more like an irritated annoyance rooted in disbelief that made me want to sigh and lie in bed with my face turned to the wall. Crowe just did not seem like a real person and it grated on my nerves every time he showed up. I have a feeling he was meant to be larger than life, but instead he was like a badly animated cardboard cutout trying to come across as a swashbuckling pirate. (Except that there are no pirates in this book.)

I feel like maybe I settled in by the middle of the book (quite possibly because the detested Crowe didn't appear as often) but by the end it was back to its old ways. By which, of course, I mean that Crowe was back, and had not become any more interesting or realistic in his absence.

I actually didn't hate this book as much as I may have made it sound. It has elements of mystery and magical realism that I usually enjoy, and I was mildly intrigued by the story. But I obviously didn't love it. Maybe that was my fault? I can't help but wonder if I could have invested more focus and thought and found it more engaging. But . . . I didn't. And I'm not going to bother trying again.

I really like the cover, though.