Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reviewing The Situation

Being sick leaves me with not much in the exciting blogging department. But it did give me time to catch up on some reading and movies, especially after figuring out that the new-to-us TV will talk to my computer now so we can watch the streaming Netflix movies whenever we want. That was a treat. Other than that, things have been pretty slow. So let's start with the books:

How The Irish Saved Civilization: slow to start, with the necessary Roman background, but compelling by the second section (when we finally get to Ireland). The author brings up some fascinating points, the basic premise being when the Roman empire was falling apart, Irish monks were transcribing the written treasures of Western culture. It's pretty interesting reading the Amazon reviews as the book gives Irish monks a lot of credit, but I will still call it a well-written and interesting read if you can get past the first section.

This reminded me how much I love mythology so I had to dig out one of my favorite children's books, The Hounds of the Morrigan. An awesome quest with a brother and sister through mythic Ireland, this book makes me want to be 10 again. Or read some more good Irish mythology. I am thinking I need to check out those Dark Is Rising books, on a similar note.

Then I hit one of my Christmas books - a very pretty reprint of Eleanor Perenyi's Green Thoughts. I have to say, it's a little depressing to read this when snow is still on the ground, but it did make me start on my garden To-Do list for the spring. It's a collection of her essays on everything from weeds to pruning to buying from garden catalogs. It's a little bit dated partially just because it's 30 years old and partially because her focus is on much more traditional gardening - I've hardly ever bought anything from a garden catalog and rarely if ever start anything from seed other than veggies as the growing season is so short here. But some of the stories she has are fantastic - growing standard rose trees and then in the winter having to bend them down to the ground and bury them so they will survive the bad weather. Does anybody do that kind of stuff any more? It is a great read, and a nice segue into my next book.

More Was Lost, also by Ms. Perenyi, but fully autobiographical. This reads like it should be a black-and-white movie, from her meeting the son of the snobby Hungarian baron, to her moving to his estate in then-Czechoslovakia and learning to speak Hungarian and interact with the locals. The people are wonderfully written and I definitely stayed up until midnight last night reading this one when I should have been sleeping. Now all I can do is hope that Hollywood doesn't make this one into a movie. I'll probably finish this one tonight so I will update if it suddenly veers into disappointment. But so far, I doubt it. I don't know if it gets all the way to her time in the U.S. and her tenures at Harper's Bazaar or Mademoiselle, but so far, so good.


lauralynne said...

I pull out the Dark is Rising series every couple of years. They do make me feel about 11. I have not heard of the Morrigan book--I will put that on my list.

Anne (in Reno) said...

Thanks lauralynne, I just put the first couple of book on hold at the library. I highly recommend the Morrigan book but I am a huge fan of a. mythology and b. kids' books. So keep that in mind ;)