23 November 2011

You Are Always On My Mind...

Our girl, Roxanne.  She's a sweet, sweet mastiff. And very large.
It's been a relatively quiet blogging month here at As the Crowe Flies & Reads.  Not too unusual for November, when the days get shorter, the darkness creeps in a little earlier each night, and my attention gets directed towards surviving the craziness of the winter holidays (and the customers who go hand-in-hand).

It has also been a relatively slow reading month for me, for all of the reasons listed above. I'm sure it has nothing at all to do with the fact that my last two weekends have been dedicated to watching the BBC show Being Human, courtesy of Netflix streaming. Nope, not a bit.  And if I were cool and tech-y like Reading Rambo, I'd be providing you little moving photos of the show for your viewing pleasure. But there are two books that are really staying with me, never far from my thoughts, since I've finished them this week.

I was awake very early this morning, courtesy of my dog Roxanne who needed to go outside around 5:00 a.m. She's a big girl, and when she's earnest about going outside, you don't want to call her bluff.  Believe me, she  leaves very big messes behind if we don't read the signs accurately. At first I grumbled about it but then I realized that in fact she gave me the perfect opportunity to finish reading a riveting new book I'd picked up a couple of days ago called Running the Rift. It's Naomi Benaron's Bellwether Prize-winning debut novel, set in Rwanda in the 1990s.  I'd been reading it in 100-page chunks but I didn't want to push through to the end last night when I was so sleepy. 

Well, it was a thoroughly engrossing read.  I'll need to mull it over a bit before posting a full review 'cause right now I'm still reeling from it.  It's one of those books where you know exactly what's going to be happen, even if you don't know the particulars, and the narrative tension builds both from within the story and from without, based on your own knowledge of actual historical events.  Like a novel that opens in Honolulu in 1940, or one that features the Warsaw Ghetto in the late 1930s, you know what you're gonna get with a book featuring Rwanda of the early 1990s.

All I can say is, read it if you believe in the importance of literature in understanding the human condition and the role it plays in creating empathy & dispelling fear.

The other book that has been always on my mind just lately is The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson.  Just finished this book a few days ago after wrestling with it for about a week.  It's a pretty dense book, so despite its political intrigue and rather action-y plot, this was not a fast read for me.

The Orphan Master's Son is unlike anything I've read before.  Then again, I've never read a book set in North Korea before.  The entire country is impossibly mysterious and exotic and disturbing to me.

I'll put more thoughts together on this one later, too, but for now suffice it to say that this is a book that will raise eyebrows and turn heads and generally make itself known in the world.  I think it's poised for something big.


  1. Sold! Now I know why you are a bookseller-I'm completely persuaded! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Oh, yeah, this time of year is what I don't miss about being a bookseller....But you will probably have a few more good stories by New Year's day.

  2. THanks, bibliophiliac! I'm already working out how I'm gonna write my next one--had a totally awful woman in the other day and I kinda want to skewer her. The good thing is that she'd never recognize herself!

  3. You have a mastiff!! I love them! How much does she weigh?

    And dude, I am so not techy. I steal all my gifs off tumblr, and the only way I'm able to get them to move on blogger is by uploading them to photobucket and linking from there in the HTML section.

  4. Aren't mastiffs great? She's the third one I've lived with. We adopted her 5 years ago from www.petfinder.com. At about 145 pounds, she's much smaller than the other two we had, who topped out around 180 pounds each. But then again, they were male.


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