Sunday, September 20, 2009

Summer Reading Challenge results

It doesn't seem possible, but it's September already. In June, I started the summer reading challenge hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer Reads. This was the list of what I had planned to read:

1. Swan Peak by James Lee Burke
2. Rain Gods by James Lee Burke (to be released July 24th)
3. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
4. A Darker Domain by Val McDermid
5. Life Sentences by Laura Lippman
6. Meely LaBauve by Ken Wells
7. Wormwood by Susan Albert Wittig
8. Reading Lolita in Tehran

This is what I managed to read:
1. Swan Peak by James Lee Burke
2. Rain Gods by James Lee Burke
3. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
4. A Darker Domain by Val McDermid
5. Life Sentences by Laura Lippman
6. Meely LaBauve by Ken Wells
7. Junior's Leg by Ken Wells
8. All the Colors of Darkness by Peter Robinson

I didn't get to Wormwood or Reading Lolita in Tehran. They are still on my to be read shelf.

I really enjoyed reading all of these, and finding a new voice that I really like. When I finished Meely LaBauve by Ken Wells, I got in the car, drove into Austin to my favorite used bookstore, and picked up the sequel "Junior's Leg". These books are set in the swamps of South Louisiana, and Ken Wells' ability to conjure the landscape and people of this area is amazing.

Three Cups of Tea was a truly mind opening book. This book should be required reading for every American. The story of a young mountain climber whose life is forever changed by the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan, this book made me understand for the first time how fanatic fundamentalists have been able to come into power in this region. Reading about the deprivation of the people in this area, and the simple desire to learn among the children was truly eye opening.

Two of the books on my list are by my favorite author, James Lee Burke. His writing is absolutely lyrical at times, even when writing about dark and disturbing subjects. Here is my favorite passage from Rain Gods by James Lee Burke (published 2009 by Simon & Schuster)

"If someone were to ask Hackberry Holland what his childhood had been like, he would answer the question with an image rather than an explanation. He would describe a Saturday afternoon trip to town to watch a minor-league baseball game with his father the history professor. The courthouse square was bordered by elevated sidewalks inset with tethering rings that bled rust like a ship's scuppers. A khaki painted World War I howitzer stood in the shadows of a giant oak on the courthouse lawn. The dime store, a two-story brick building fronted with a wood colonnade, featured a popcorn machine that overflowed onto the concrete like puffed white grain swelling out of a silo. The adjacent residential neighborhood was lined with shade trees and bungalows and nineteenth-century white frame houses whose galleries were sunken in the middle and hung with porch swings, and each afternoon at 5 pm the paperboy whizzed down the sidewalk on a bicycle and smacked the newspaper against each set of steps with the eye of a marksman.
But more important in the memory of that long-ago American moment was the texture of light after a sun shower. It was gold and soft and stained with the contagious deep green of the trees and lawns. The rainbow that seemed to dip out of the sky into the ball diamond somehow confirmed one's foolish faith that both the season and one's youth were eternal."

When I read this passage, I felt that the author had looked directly into my soul and saw what I feel whenever I walk through this place we call home. And it just doesn't get better than that!

I hope everyone had a good time with this challenge. I certainly did, and want to thank Susan again for hosting such a fun event. Stop by
to check out everyone's list of summer reading!


prof en retraite said...

Oh Kat! I can't believe that you found time to do all of that reading with your busy schedule! I will have to check out Ken Wells because he sounds like he might be a lot like James Lee of my favorite authors, too! Funny...when I was reading the passage you quoted for us, I was thinking how much like that sounds like the picture you have painted for us of your home town! :-) Happy week!...hugs...Debbie

ann said...

Hello my Kat.Thank you so very much for a the grand support,prayers,and have truly been a fabulous friend.thank you a million times for your loyalty.
i am on my way back now.feeling better most days.asp i will be as good as ya...anniepoo

xinex said...

Hi Kathy! I am really impressed! How did you ever find time to read all those books? I only read when I am flying, to keep from being bored while traveling. You did really well! BTW, if you have a chance, come visit my latest Sightseeing Sat. post. I posted our recent U of M visit and loaded more mraching band videos....Christine

Dixie said...

Kathy... reading is another of those fun things I like to do rather than housework! LOL

Laura Lippman is one of my favorites. (though I have to admit that sometimes her storytelling can be a little unsettling).

I've added a couple of your favorite reads this summer to my own list... somehow I missed Susan's reading challenge... probably due to my blogging break... so I'll have to stop over and check out what others enjoyed reading this summer...

let's pray for Autumn... hugs. Dixie

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Kathy, you read a lot of books and really made me want to get back to my reading. I love to read, but I haven't been doing as much of it as I like, because I'm reading blogs so much of the time! That passage you quoted was beautiful and made me really want to add that book to my reading list. Thanks for the reading inspiration. laurie

DesignTies said...

Wow, you did a LOT of reading over the summer!! I'm ashamed to admit I haven't picked up a book for ages :-( The last book I started to read was 1-1/2 years ago -- I got about 1/3 of the way through, and then never picked it up again. I'm bad!!!

Maybe your list will inspire me to get back to reading!!


Lynn said...

Three Cups of Tea is sitting on my "Next" pile.

Now it really will be next.
You aren't planning to run for the school board, are you????
Dear God, I would never put myself through such torture!
Not unless I get to be Boss of the World the same time!

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Kat thanks so much for coming by girl...and you do read alot my you know since I started blogging I haven't found time to read like I use to...I love Danielle Steel and had read all her books for over 30 years now...I just got like 5 new ones on decorauing from Amazon and still have yet to open them...Girl I'm so far behind in every thing right now ha ha!!! But I do so love blogging...but I'm thinking of quitting after my 1 year anniversary...just can't do it all any more and I'm alot older than you...but have found my house has been suffering from it ha ha!!will see how it goes in the next 3 weeks tho...Hey I can always change my mind its what I do best ha ha!!I hope and pray all is well on your side of the mountain my dear friend...May the rest of the week be a great one for you...Thanks again for popping in....Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

Joyce said...

You certainly did a whole lot of reading this summer. I agree about the 3 cups of tea book. I have written down your suggestions. I keep a pretty notebook on my bedside table for writing down the book and author and a short blurb about the book and then I rate it. It helps to look back when I know I have read the book or the author. I also put the date I read the book. When I look at this journal it always amazes me how many books I have read and also makes me know why my house is not spotless as I would rather read then clean:)

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Hi Kathy, what a wonderful accompolishment. What a grand list of books. I've managed to throw in a couple of books myself this summer. Seems to take me away to more calm places.. lol. I love Nora Roberts, James Patterson just to name a couple. lol... hope your days are smooth..hugs ~lynne~

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Hi Kathy!
Thanks for stopping by. Boy have you done a lot of reading over the Summer. Bravo honey. You have kept your mind stimulated. I have been busy, but didn't pick up one single book over the Summer. Shame on me.

When you stopped by you asked me about my pumpking cursor. I will email you the code. Country hugs, Sherry

Bill said...

Hi Kat,
Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such thoughful comments!

That's a VERY impressive reading list. I'm amazed you can find time to blog when you're doing THAT much reading! I hope you're still managing to sleep a few hours here and there!!! ;)


JennyMac said...

Such great lists...I loved Reading Lolita and just picked up Three Cups of Tea. Have a great weekend!

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Beautiful post !! Great one..Your List is fantastic..Unseen Rajasthan