Ivanhoe at nine

The latest crisis around these parts? The Commander is out of books! The Comm is an *avid* reader who claims to have read the book Ivanhoe at the age of nine. I think I believe her. At any rate, The Commander’s birthday is coming up in the next couple weeks and I want to ship her a bunch of big thick books to help alleviate the hardland of the winter.

The Comm has esoteric taste when it comes to books but she greatly prefers *literature*. You know, the sort of stuff that you can sink your teeth into. No romance novels or insipidly cute little aminal stories. Or fluff. When I was a young teenager, The Commander began sharing the books she was reading with me — that is, I got to read them when she was finished. She was reading all kinds of stuff including a few sci-fi things back then and I think that it was *she* who introduced me to Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. So when she bought the bestseller Portnoy’s Complaint, she said something like, “Of *course* you can read it when I’m finished.” But then. I never heard anything more about it. And it disappeared… I found it in a drawer, sneaked it out, and read it. Aaannnddd understood why she preferred not to share it with me. Interesting how kids learn about the birds and the bees. I didn’t *learn* it from that book but I also didn’t learn it from The Commander… It’s okay, I didn’t learn it by personal experience either.

I am more or less out of touch with literature these days. So, what are y’all reading these days? And what can you recommend for a 90-year-old intellectual who craves books?

P.S. We dropped Lizard Breath off at Metro this morning. She texted around two that she had landed at SFO and she is now at her home in the Mission district. Do I miss her? … … …

P.S. News from the north: Dramatic improvement.

8 Responses to “Ivanhoe at nine”

  1. Pam J. Says:

    I wonder if she’d like “Lost Memory of Skin” by Russell Banks. I’ve loved every book he’s written, and this — his most recent — is no exception. Topic sounds depressing (it’s about convicted sex offenders who live under a bridge abutment in south Florida — based on a real life story) but the book isn’t. And you learn a LOT about The Everglades.

    Another good book I read in 2011 was “Hitch-22,” a memoir by the late (as of a few wks ago) Christopher Hitchens. Wickedly funny but he’s not to everyone’s taste. He was truly an intellectual though. And controversial to the max, and to the end.

    And “The Bastard of Istanbul” by Elif Shafak was a great read, plus you get a healthy dose of that whole historical Armenian-Turkish thing, which to me is endlessly fascinating.

    I could go on and on but I won’t.

  2. Marquis Says:

    By happenstance, I considered renting “Ivanhoe” last night, the one with Liz Taylor. Family activities intervened instead. I’ve seen the movie before and read the Walter Scott novel too. While rummaging about, I happened upon a related, “Prince Valiant” animated cartoon series that looks interesting. It’s on Netflix online.

  3. Margaret Says:

    Cutting for Stone!! Greatest book ever. Does she like books where she learns about places like Ethiopia? Has she read any Ivan Doig like The Whistling Season. (about teaching) Amazing writer.

  4. Kathy Farnell Says:

    Took me a few minutes to realize that you took a picture of my wind spinners! They look neat when they are spinning in the wind. Why are they on top of the wine rack? Who knows! I have not read any good books lately I’m sorry to say. I might try a few of the suggested books myself. Does your mom have a Kindle? My kids all think they are wonderful and many of the older books are free. The Commander could choose one and download it at will and never run out of books again. Lightweight too so her hand won’t get tired. Just a thought.

  5. grandmothertrucker Says:

    I remember…… when Lizard was just in kindergarten or thereabouts…. as she sat in an old rocking chair at HL, reading a book…. I dared to ask. ” What are you reading there little girl?” the answer…. ” Jurassic Park, it’s a novel. I’m going to be a Paleontologist!”

    Not your average answer from a little kid. Most kids that age do NOT read NOVELS. I am so happy that my family loves books….. but those evil KINDLES are part of the reason that book stores that we loved so much are all closed or closing.

    BUT, those Kindles, it would be a good idea for the Commander. There is a store called Big Lots that has some cheaper, Aunt Liz has one, called a NextBook. Same thing. The commander can Skype with it too!

  6. pooh Says:

    Glad to hear Fran is feeling better!!

    I just read “Perdido Street Station”, by China Mieville. It’s in the steampunk fantasy genre, and Rey gave it to David for Xmas. (Hey, why is my picture here in the dictionary next to the definition of “biblioklept”? ) Thanks, Dave and Thanks, Rey! Not sure if the Comm would like it, but it was interesting. Next on my list is “Textiles: the Whole Story” by Beverly Gordon, which looks wonderful. Thanks, Dan!

    I always enjoy reading (and rereading) Barbara Kingsolver’s books, especially “Prodigal Summer” and “The Poisonwood Bible”. I’m sure the Comm has already read “Ursula, Under” by Ingrid Hill, but parts of it are set in the Sault and the UP. Harry checked it out for me from the Sault library last summer, b/c my copy had gone walkabout. (Which is okay – books should circulate. Besides, it gave me a chance to inform the librarian that one of the characters worked in the Sault library!) When I subbed for one of the English teachers, his Eng. III kids were reading “The Things They Carried” and the AP kids were reading “Madame Bovary”.

    You could check with my folks and Jane. I happen to know my parents got books for Xmas, and Jane did her best to keep her former employer afloat. They could probably put together some books to take to the Comm. Regarding devices to make reading easier physically. One of the catalogs had a reading pyramid, where the book rested on the pyramid, and there was a rope at the top to keep the pages open. Don’t remember which one though.

  7. gene Says:

    I read newspapers in the winter and books in the summer where we don’t get papers. Five that I got for Christmas are-

    The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal and the Darkest Hour. By Robert L. O’Connell

    The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us. by Jeffrey Kluger

    Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. By Robert K. Massie

    The Prague Cemetery. By Umberto Eco

  8. pooh Says:

    Today, I did a google search for book pyramid pillow, and found not only lots of commercial ones, but this how-to site.
    I might have to get off my duff and make one for myself. I’m guessing maybe there is some fabric around your place or Mouse’s that would work, if you thought this was something you wanted to do.