Thursday, January 3, 2013

Books for Grown-ups!

Sunrise is at 7:58, sunset will be at 4:31.

On the Yesler overpass looking south.
Walking to work every day gives me the chance to connect with nature in a way I haven't in a number of years.  When I worked at All for Kids, I would set out in broad daylight, reading as I went, it was a long walk and I didn't pay much attention to what was around me.

Now, I leave well before sunrise, walking along streets empty of people into the quiet heart of Seattle's Pioneer Square, then onto a ferry that sails across the Puget Sound. We board in the dark arriving on Bainbridge Island 35 minutes later in the clear early light of morning, Seattle shining against the Cascades, the snow on Rainier blush pink or steel gray depending on the weather. 

On the ferry looking back at the city.
This gives me time to watch the sunrise and sunset times, marking the moments they occur, looking to see where the sun lightens the sky between buildings or where the pinkening of windows begins as the sun sets.  Over the last couple of months I've watched the leaves start to fall and finally bare the trees, I've felt crispy air flick my lungs on the first step off the porch, and walked in deluges that filled my rain shell's hood and spilled out over my head when I bent to clear a drain.  Cold, bright days, pea-soup fog, leaves falling like snow, skyscrapers brilliant in both sun rise and set.  I watch the moon, I track the planets, I notice the flocks of birds heading away from the cold.

The world is an amazing place, the planet turns and rolls, the birds head south and the very universe changes above us.  We're lucky we evolved in such a way that we can so totally enjoy the journey.

I'm the new head buyer at Eagle Harbor (and one of the new owners.  Have I said that before?) and I've had to start reading more grown-up books.  I'm alternating reading one grown-up book with one YA/kid's book, so I may write about those every so often.  Books for adults are so much longer! There are so many more words written just to get to the end of the story.  That's not bad, just different.

Here are a few of my favorite recent books for adults (in order of date read, not favor):

Dolls Behaving Badly, by Cinthia Ritchie.  Funny, heartbreaking, it's a seriously good read about a woman who needs to make a change.  Carla lives in Anchorage, works as a waitress, has a gifted son, still sleeps with her ex-husband, and is absolutely broke.  She makes erotic dolls to keep herself above water and paints to keep her soul intact.  It's a big, messy story filled with big messy relationships and problems, a book I could definitely relate to.  I loved these characters, so very flawed and confused, and find myself thinking about them over and over.  Grand Central Publishing.  $13.99.  Available February 5, 2013.

Still Points North:  Surviving the World's Greatest Alaskan Childhood, by Leigh Newman.  What a book!  Still Points North is a memoir about growing up in the Alaskan wilderness and trying to find out where home really is.  Leigh grew up learning and mastering the skills it takes to survive in a world that seems to aimed at killing her:  fishing in rivers that toss bodies over rocks, bears wanting to eat her, and staying calm when the prop plane stalls out. Her life as a child was mostly a series of "Don't tell Mom" events.  When her parents divorced, she clocked many hours in flying back and forth between Baltimore and Anchorage.  When she became an adult, she was able to track tigers, swim with dolphins and face a mafia boss.  She can survive living off the land but not a relationship with the man she loves.  How do you learn to navigate the terrain of the heart?  How do you share a life with someone when you've always been alone?  Great read, great descriptions of landscape.  It's funny and sad and I dog-eared pages I wanted to re-read and post-it notes (with exclamation points!) stick out of the edges.  I am really hoping she'll be on tour!  Dial Press.  $26.00.  Available March 13, 2013.

Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick.  I love Matthew Quick's books.  He's written two books for middle grades and young adults (Sorta Like a Rock Star and Boy21) and this one for grown-ups.  Had to read it when Nancy Pearl said it was one of her favorites.  It's the story of two broken people trying to find their ways in a world full of hurt.  Pat has been in a mental institution and has come home to live with his family until the "apart time" with his wife is over.  Tiffany, a very odd woman, is also home recovering from a break with reality. The two of them are introduced and over the course of time become what I guess could be called friends.  It's actually a very sweet, endearing novel and I can't wait to see the movie.  Farrar Straus and Giroux.  $15.00.  Available now.

Go.  Read.  Enjoy.  Let me know what you think.  I'll add two more books for grown-ups in the next roundup.

No comments:

Post a Comment