Thursday, March 30, 2006

Books, Movies, Puzzles and Daylight Saving Time

I’ve been doing a variety of readings lately, finishing two books this week. I came across the first, Water and Sky: Reflections of a Northern Year by Alan Kesselheim, in a museum last December. When I read the cover about them spending a year in northern Canada, I was hooked. One of my lifelong goals is to spend a winter in a northern cabin, something that has intrigued me since reading Bradford Anglier’s book, At Home in the Woods, as a high school student. With Kesselheim, I was in for a treat. His mastery of language is wonderful. The book describes a river trip he and his partner Marypat took across Northern Canada. Starting at Jasper, Alberta, they paddled northwest on the Athabasca River to Northern Saskatchewan where they wintered in a cabin. The next summer, they continued on, ending up at Baker Lake, deep in the Northwest Territories near the Hudson Bay. Check it out.

The second book sounds morbid. I came across Patience, Compassion, Hope and the Christian Art of Dying Well by Christopher Vogt while searching for information on Ars Moriendi (art of dying), which was a popular genre a couple hundred years ago. Although I enjoyed the book, I don’t know if I’d recommend it (unless you have an interest in Reformation era theologians or the changes in the way we die over the past several hundred years or ethics around the issue of death). This book reads like an excerpt from Vogt’s dissertation, which makes it a little dry. Vogt is a lay Catholic theologian.

I am currently reading Mark Kurlansky's, 1968: The Year that Rocked the World. So far, I'm enjoying it. I'm also enjoying listening to Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I'd read this book in college, nearly 25 years ago and it's good to regain familarity with it. I listen to it when in the gym, unless of course I'm swimming.

Last night, I finally got around to watching "The Scent of the Green Papaya," a Vietnamese film from 1993. The film that is about a young girl (she is 10 at the beginning of the movie) who experiences through the senses, the beauty and uniqueness of the world. There is no plot, but the movie is beautifully filmed and the sounds of crickets at night were so realistic that my dog keep waking up and looking at the television. It’s still a little early for such insects. I liked the way she prepared the papaya, by striking it with a knife long-ways, then shaving off noodle like pieces. There is little dialogue in the movie, the lines that are there are in Vietnamese which mean I had to read the subtitles. But since there was little talking, I got to starch a dozen shirts, catching up on my laundry, while watching the film.

Tonight we finished the fourth puzzle of the winter. It has puppies all over it (what can I say, my daughter picked it out) and looked to be easy. Looks can be deceiving and it was with this one. Now that days are getting longer and Daylight Saving Time takes effect on Sunday, we’ve at the end of puzzle season.

I'm now so sleepy, I'll need to come back tomorrow and edit this.


  1. I haven't read either of those two mentioned books about spending time in Northern Canada but that has always been a dream of mine too. For another excellent, but quick reading book in that same genre, try "One Man's Wilderness." I first saw it last year during PBS's Festival fundraising and saw it again this year. It is about a guy building a cabin in deep Alaska and wintering.

    You are such a prolific reader, I am going to have to start a list on my Blog of Lists of books to read recommended by you.

  2. I went ahead and just purchased them online. I love the ability to by used books for cheap prices.

    By the way, the last name is Angier. It through Amazon for a loop but I finally found it though they wanted $28 for a used one. I ended up getting both for $10 total elsewhere.

  3. I couldn't find my copy of At Home in the Woods, I haven't seen it in years and with so many moves across the country, there is no telling what happened or who I lent it to. I did find Angier's book, Skills for Taming the Wild.

    I often buy used books--which often allows me to get hardbacks for the price of a paper back and also to get books that are long out of print. $28 sounds a bit steep for a used copy of one of these books, glad you found it for a more reasonable price. The Water and Sky book was new (published in 1985) and hardback and only cost me $10.

  4. hey, thanks for these reviews. scent of green papaya sounds promising. i think i'll look for it this weekend! :)

    michele says hi!

  5. In Ars moriendi mode, a famous star of a UK soap (Coronation Street) is about to take the final dive and the TV magazine (radio times) has set a scene rather similar to a famous painting of the death of Nelson. Take a look.

    And Hi, Michele sent me!


  6. Rashbre, didn't Nelson get pickled in a barrel of brandy? So his body could be taken back to England (on what had to be a sober trip for the sailors, for you'd have to be hardcore to drink that brandy).