Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Book Stack ~ November 2020

A monthly list of books read. Previous months here: JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptember, October.

November's book stack is not so much a stack as a teeny, tiny little pile. What was I doing in November instead of reading. There was, of course, the dollhouse project. And a fair amount of work on The Book. And, if I'm being honest, an awful lot of television.

In the fiction department, I finished up the last two of the Flavia de Luce novels that I've been devouring over recent months (the last that I'm aware of anyway). These, The Grave's a Fine and Pleasant Place and The Golden Tresses of the Dead, were as entertaining as ever, although I admit to kind of losing the thread of the mystery in the latter one. Also, earlier books have veered a bit into espionage and these veered right back out again. I'm curious what that's about (market research?) and I'm also curious if there will be more.

For nonfiction, I finally read Robin Wall Kimmerer's Brading Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants. Though it came out in 2013 and I've had it in my possession since last Christmas (or maybe the one before???) I had been saving it up, in the weird way I have of delaying gratification. It was worth the wait. The essays within are lovely meditations on the author's life, her heritage as a Native American, and the interrelationships of plants and culture. This book may be another reason my November stack is small--this book is weighty, both in size and in content, and each essay demanded slow savoring and quiet reflection.

I also read Entangled Live: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake (isn't that the perfect name for a naturalist???). This one was less memoir-ey than the nature writing I normally read, and more straight nonfiction (though the author does not remove himself completely from the narrative). Nevertheless, it was a completely fascinating deep dive into a kingdom we so rarely notice or think about and the many ways our lives are entangled with the fungal world. Ever since reading it, I study the fungi growing in containers in the refrigerator before dumping them in the compost and, when I walk in the woods, I think of the vast networks of mycelia underneath my feet. Also, isn't the cover one of the most gorgeous you've ever seen?

What have you been reading lately?

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