Sunday Salon

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Wow, what a week.  Temperatures in the triple digits and stagnant air.  We are just not used to this. I spent sometime organizing books for the school library.  We will have fewer shelves and will have to cull some books.  That is really okay, as some paperbacks are old and falling apart and some titles just don’t work for middle grade readers.  It is also a fine chance to create a list of books that we really need.  Books that students will find exciting and interesting.

Finished reading The Part About Fate for the Bolano 2666 read-along and am now struggling to put my thoughts into words.  I also reviewed three books and joined another challenge.  Ridiculous.

I am reading a wonderful book called “The Road To Oxiana” by Robert Byron, first published in 1937.  It is about a journey across the Middle East into Persia (now Iran) and Afghanistan.  I love his irreverent tone and his descriptions of the land and architecture. I wonder how much of what he saw on his journey is still standing.

Baalbek is the triumph of stone: of lapidary magnificence on a scale whose language, being still the language of the eye, dwarfs New York into a home of ants.  The stone is peach-coloured, and is marked in ruddy gold as the columns of St-Martin-in the -Fields are marked in soot.  It has a marmoreal texture, not transparent, but faintly powdered like bloom on a plum.  Dawn is the time to see it, to look up at the Six Columns, when peach-gold and blue air shine with equal radiance, and even the empty bases that uphold no columns have a living sun-blest identity against the violet deeps of the firmament.  Look up, look up; up this quarried flesh, these trice-enormous shafts, to the broken capitals and the cornice as big as a house, all floating in the blue.  Look over the walls, to the green groves of white-stemmed poplars; and over them to distant Lebanon, a shimmer of mauve and blue and gold and rose.  Look along the mountains to the void: the desert, that stony, empty sea. Page 42.

Have a wonderful reading week!

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “Sunday Salon

  1. I have alot of respect for all of you reading that monstrous novel, and have made peace with the fact that I will have to enjoy it through you. I doubt I would ever pick it up, but it is starting to sound really good! Don’t feel too bad about those darned challenges…I think we all fell subject to them this week!

    • Even though I has the paperback set of 2666 I’m not sure I ever would have read it on my own. I am grateful to all those reading along with me!

  2. Gavin, getting giddy about seeing your reaction to last month’s Bolaño reading! Also glad to hear that The Road to Oxiana is so good; it’s a book that always catches my eye when I thumb through the travel books in the stores, but I always put it down because of my reading backlog. One of these days….

    • Richard – I’m working on writing up my thoughts on Fate, my thoughts are scrambled. I think last week’s heat got to me! The Road to Oxiana is quite good. I’ve borrowed it from the library and am trying to find a used copy for myself.

  3. Ann

    I always had a problem when I was turfing books out of the school library. My Head expected me to sell them to the children to make money to buy more, but some I was getting rid of because they were bad books. Should I really try and persuade children to buy them? Some just got ‘lost’.

    • Ann – I’ve traded some books in and giving the rest to Goodwill. Unfortunately the bookstore where I trade is going out of business so I’ll have to find another source of used books. Thanks for stoping by!

  4. Triple-digit heat is becoming old hand here. We’ve hit 36 days of 100+ this year, tying the old record. Today it’s sure to be broken, and at least half of August is going to be 100+. It’s brutal…

    • Yikes! 36 days of 100+! The heat really gets to me after a while. I get all crabby and my brain stops working. Try and stay cool.

  5. I with Sandy. Looking forward to hearing what you think.

  6. I hope your temperatures start to cool down. My area has been seeing triple digits as well, but it’s pretty much the norm this time of year. Still, it’s definitely stay inside where it’s cool weather. Enjoy your reading and have a great week, Gavin!

  7. It’s hot here, but not THAT hot! It seems like I spent last summer outside, but I can hardly bear to go out this summer at all.

    And I absolutely cannot imagine reading 2666 in this heat!

    • Debnance – You’re right, I just want to stay in in the super hot weather. Sometimes I don’t even want to read. It’s cooling off now, thank goodness.

  8. I remember really struggling with my Part 2 thoughts, so no pressure on you! Take your time and if you don’t want to do it, no problem at all, just have a happy week, Gavin! :)

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