shiny things in messy little piles

Category: #FridayReads (Page 2 of 5)

The Books of December

These are the books of the mid­dle of the grey sea­son here in Seat­tle. It’s been a good month for reading.

Books that I read:

Best American Poetry 2016 — Edward Hirsch, ed. (2016)

Not as love­ly and full of sur­pris­es as the 2014 edi­tion edit­ed by Ter­rance Hayes. This is more pre­dictable poet­ry from the major venues and it lacks the punch and pull of some ear­li­er vol­umes. Nonethe­less, there are fine pieces of work here. And if you’re look­ing for a new to you poets this is always a good way to find them.
* why is the default orga­ni­za­tion alpha­bet­i­cal? sure­ly there are more inter­est­ing ways to arrange a vol­ume of poetry *


Visiting Privileges: New and Collected Stories — Joy Williams (2015)

What can I say? — Joy Williams con­tin­ues to pro­duce sto­ries and vignettes that chal­lenge our ver­sion of what a per­son­al nar­ra­tive means. And our notions of how peo­ple are con­nect­ed and dis­con­nect­ed from their milieu and from them­selves. I just read an essay that dis­cuss­es the sense of self vs not-self in regards to men­tal ill­ness. (See next mon­th’s reviews for more.) There are thin places in the psy­che where “I” rubs up against “not‑I” and the dis­tinc­tions become prob­lem­at­ic. This hap­pens in many of Williams sto­ries. And then there is the sim­ple joy of her language.
* who am I, when I am not who I am? and who are you? *

Eleanor and Hick: The Love affair that Shaped a First Lady — Susan Quinn (2016)

I stopped part way through this. The rela­tion­ship between Eleanor Roo­sevelt and her friend Lore­na Hickok has been dis­cussed to death by ER schol­ars and while this book makes a good case for a tight­ly inti­mate rela­tion­ship bor­der­ing on a love affair between the woman it’s actu­al­ly a pret­ty dull book. How any­one can make sto­ry of a life­long rela­tion­ship between two pow­er­ful women who go on to change his­to­ry seem so dull? By mak­ing it most­ly a list of dates, and places, and excerpts from let­ters that pro­vides no great insight into either woman.
* reads like a trav­el­ogue to a dull country *


The Round House — Louise Erdrich (2013)

The very short ver­sion: a bru­tal attack on a woman results in a changed rela­tion­ship between a father and son. There are many char­ac­ters famil­iar to read­ers of Erdrich’s sto­ries here. They pop­u­late the edges of the sto­ry and bring per­spec­tive to a sto­ry of a woman trau­ma­tized, her hus­band who won­ders how to bring his wife back from the abyss, and their 13-year-old son, Joe who is thrust pre­ma­ture­ly in the adult world of imper­fect jus­tice. Fine writ­ing and char­ac­ters that we can care for, and Erdrich’s insight­ful exca­va­tions into the inte­ri­or of the human heart and what it means to love.
* what hap­pens when ado­les­cence runs up against the adult world *

Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer — Fredrik Backman (2016)

A novel­la. Told in the voice of man who is slip­ping into demen­tia. Grand­pa sits in a square in a park with his grand­son Noah­Noah. It’s a square that grows small­er and small­er each day as the mem­o­ries of his life time slip away. You’ll fall in love with the boy who sits watch­ing his grand­fa­ther and not quite under­stand­ing what’s hap­pen­ing to his hero. As well as feel a touch of com­pas­sion for the son who watch­es as his father con­fus­es his grand­son with him­self. It’s a sto­ry about slow­ly say­ing goodbye.
* Poignant. I read it on Christ­mas Eve — in one sitting. *


Wishful Drinking — Carrie Fisher (2008)

Car­rie Fish­er is hon­est, tough on her­self, and fun­ny. The book is relat­ed to the one-woman show that she did in 2008. (Filmed by HBO in 2010). While it retains many of Fish­er’s char­ac­ter­is­tic fun­ny moments, it lacks the vocal and ges­tur­al tricks that Fish­er used in the show to make the thing hang together.
* watch it, don’t read it *



As always click on the cov­er to see the book at Amazon.

The Books of September

Sep­tem­ber — the end of sum­mer — and still busy like sum­mer. A hand­ful of books read but noth­ing in the audio book list. I bought a lot of music this month.

The books I read:

Dogsbody — Diana Wynne Jones (1975/2012)

A pleas­ant young read­ers book. Not near­ly as sim­plis­tic as some of the stuff being churned out today. You’ll have to do some think­ing to fol­low along. It also helps if you know a lit­tle about dogs. The dogs here are very dog­gie, even if the dog at the cen­ter of the sto­ry is actu­al­ly a star that’s been sen­tenced to live a dog’s life on earth until he man­ages a seem­ing­ly impos­si­ble task. The child at the cen­ter, Kath­leen, is a young Irish girl bil­let­ed unhap­pi­ly with her uncle’s fam­i­ly some­where in middle(class) Eng­land. No one is hap­py about the sit­u­a­tion. Kath­leen’s res­cue of a near drowned pup­py only makes the sit­u­a­tion worse.
This is one book that man­ages to vio­late my num­ber rule one about dogs in books (thou shalt not kill the dog) with­out mak­ing me want to throw it across the room. Yes, I just spoiled it for you. Except that the dog does­n’t real­ly “die”, he… well it’s com­pli­cat­ed. Though I have to admit that Kath­leen’s reac­tion at the end of the sto­ry is a lit­tle hard to com­pre­hend. I think it’s just a slight weak­ness in the writ­ing that makes Kath­leen’s reac­tion seem so blank.
Real­ly though, if you need a lit­tle some­thing to kill off an after­noon of couch slouch­ing while slight­ly ill you could­n’t do bet­ter than Dogs­body. (Or almost any Diane Wynn Jones book.)
* All dogs are stars fall­en to Earth *

The Poet, The Lion, Talking Pictures, El Farolito, A Wedding in St. Roch, The Big Box Store, The Warp in the Mirror, Spring, Midnights, Fire & All — C. D. Wright (2016)

Where­in one of the most influ­en­tial poets of the 20th cen­tu­ry and beyond lays out her the­o­ry of poet­ry in a series of prose poems and frag­ments that exam­ine not only her own work and that of her col­lab­o­ra­tions but also the work of a hand­ful of poets who influ­enced her. For a woman who died so sud­den­ly it seems pre­scient that she would have writ­ten a last book that so much serves to indi­cate the way for future read­ers and schol­ars to con­sid­er her work. If you are con­cerned with the poets men­tioned or the act of mak­ing poet­ry it’s a worth­while read. The Ques­tion­naire of Jan­u­ary that ends the work will pro­vide you with a life­time’s worth of inquiries onto the ways and means of mak­ing poet­ry. It also the longest title of any book that I have read. (That does not include titles that use a colon to make two sep­a­rate titles appear as one. Which I con­sid­er cheat­ing in the truest sense.)
* Wright’s Ars Poetica * 

The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish — Linda Przybyszewski (2014)

What can I say… it’s a his­to­ry, most­ly, of the Home Eco­nom­ics move­ment and the pow­er­ful influ­ence it had in ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry Amer­i­ca seen through the lens­es of a hand­ful of women who taught, wrote, and lec­tured about the art dress­ing well on a rea­son­able bud­get. Here is where I have to admit that I am an absolute suck­er for old Home Ec pam­phlets and such. (Did you know that there is an entire dig­i­tized library of them?) This book is about the women who cre­at­ed them. And I would have loved it for a his­tor­i­cal sur­vey. If the author had left it at that. But it feels as if half the book is tak­en up with her histri­on­ics of the “mod­ern women are shame­less and ill-dressed” type. Yeah, I know — I have some pret­ty dire opin­ions on the mat­ter myself, but I’m not writ­ing a his­to­ry of the women who wrote about and influ­enced the lives of mil­lions of mid­dle and low­er class women in the first half of the 20th century.
I’m glad I read the book, it’s right up in there in one of my favorite guilty plea­sures but I’d have liked it a good deal more if it had stuck to its stat­ed top­ic. If you’re a fan of all things dress and dress­mak­ing you’ll enjoy it. If you look­ing for his­to­ry you’ll find the author’s con­stant inser­tion of her­self and her opin­ions unbear­ably unprofessional.
* Yeah, I’m old enough to have made that apron in Home Ec * 

13 Clocks — James Thurber (Marc Simont — Illustrator) (original 1950)

I like Thurber. There I said it. I like the man with the fun­ny dog car­toons and a lot more. This lit­tle gem of a fairy tale is either a fairy tale or a satire of a fairy tale or some love­ly com­bi­na­tion of the two, con­tain­ing as it does an enchant­ed princess, a brave prince, and evil duke, and some­thing that might be a fairy tale troll, or the weird­est fairy god moth­er ever. What­ev­er it is we are assured that it is the only one of its kind. Full of love­ly mumblety-pumbelty lan­guage that begs to be read out loud.
* Fairy Tales nev­er go out of style * 

Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither — Sarah Baum (2015)

Two books with dogs in them in one month. That’s just not some­thing that should hap­pen. Two books with dogs in them that I actu­al­ly liked (well maybe not “liked” but appre­ci­at­ed) in one month is a mir­a­cle of some sort. I can’t say I liked this book. Liked would imply that it was a pleas­ant light-hearted read. This isn’t. It is any­thing but hap­py and light-hearted; it’s a dense, beau­ti­ful, lyric, trag­ic thing. In all the mean­ings of trag­ic. The pro­tag­o­nist has a trag­ic flaw that will guide and per­haps ruin his life. So does the dog. It’s odd to think of a dog as a trag­ic hero. But this one is. Per­haps through no fault of his own.
The writ­ing is lyri­cal. In the mode of poet­ry. In fact she uses a num­ber of poet­ic devices. There are many melod­i­cal­ly com­posed sen­tences, vary­ing line length, allit­er­a­tion. I even found pleas­ing exam­ples of slant rhyme. There is also a great appre­ci­a­tion of the nat­ur­al world fil­tered through malaise — is that the word that I want? The pro­tag­o­nist is some how very dam­aged and that dam­age col­ors his inter­ac­tions with the world in a fear­ful and awed way. His rela­tion­ship with the nat­ur­al world is some­thing that he’s build him­self. No one taught him about the birds and the plants that he so admires and that seem to bring him into touch with the only flow of time that he encoun­ters. All the rest of his life is a long, dull, fear-tinged now.

* A chal­leng­ing book to read but reward­ing in so may ways * 

The Books of May

Books I read in May:

xo Orpheus — ed. Kate Bernheimer

The edi­tor trans­lates “xo” as Good­bye but I’ve always thought that “xo” means a kiss and a hug. Which I think is actu­al­ly a bet­ter title for the col­lec­tion it being not so much a farewell to the myths, folk­lore and fairy tales as a con­ver­sa­tion with them. 50 “new myths” are arranged alpha­bet­i­cal­ly by top­ic. Start­ing with A … Anthro­po­ge­n­e­sis and Norse Cre­ation and end­ing with Z … Zeus and Europa after the D’Aulaires. By 50 dif­fer­ent authors. An uneven col­lec­tion but a few have stuck out enough to earn hav­ing the author’s name scrib­bled into a note­book for fur­ther investigation.
I dip in anf out of this and it might sev­er­al more months of idle atten­tion to finish.

* Not so much a good­bye as a love letter.

Best American Essays 2014 — ed. John Jeremiah Sullivan

Anoth­er col­lec­tion of essays. These cho­sen by John Jere­mi­ah Sul­li­van, whose intro­duc­tion is a yawn induc­ing recita­tion of the his­to­ry of the “essay”. I like Sul­li­van’s work as an essay­ist. I’m less enam­ored of his work as an edi­tor. More uneven than most of the col­lec­tions both in the high­lights (bet­ter than many years, but no sur­pris­es) and the bore­dom quo­tient. This series is always worth while for those look­ing to study the state of the art in essays and per­haps find a new author or venue for reading.

* mixed qual­i­ty, but what col­lec­tion of bests isn’t?

Manual for Cleaning Women — Lucia Berlin

The sto­ries  in this col­lec­tion need to read slow­ly. Three or four sto­ries in a row is over­whelm­ing. You’ll have to inter­sperse them with some oth­er mate­r­i­al, per­haps non-fiction.
Very close to auto-biography, Berlin’s sto­ries fol­low a series of char­ac­ters who walk through the author’s life begin­ning in the min­ing towns of the west, fol­low­ing her min­ing engi­neer father and broken-hearted, alco­holic moth­er to Chile as a teenag­er, then mov­ing back to the US. Fol­lowed by sev­er­al mar­riages, four sons, and her own bat­tle with alco­holism. With stops as a ward sec­re­tary in a hos­pi­tal, doc­tor’s recep­tion­ist, clean­ing woman, and artist’s muse among them. By turns har­row­ing and joy­ful and always sharply observed. Berlin’s lan­guage describes the every­day world’s par­tic­u­lars in fresh ways. For exam­ple her descrip­tions of peo­ple are dead on and utter­ly orig­i­nal. From the sweaty man­a­tee of a man seen at a bus stop, to the albi­no dinosaur girl, with stops at all con­di­tions and sorts in between. I can’t rec­om­mend this col­lec­tion high­ly enough. For enter­tain­ment and study as an exam­ple for your own stories.

* a styl­ist to emu­late and sto­ries that will make you smile with a wink. 

On the Move: A Life — Oliver Sacks

Straight up auto­bi­og­ra­phy, is not a genre in which I gen­er­al­ly read. If I’m going to spend time with some­one’s real life, I pre­fer biog­ra­phy with its out­sider’s per­spec­tive. How­ev­er, Sacks spent years observ­ing and writ­ing about the lives of oth­ers, and this lends his account of his own life a dis­tance and observer’s per­spec­tive. From his school days in Eng­land to his accounts of his first years in Amer­i­ca and his slow real­iza­tion that as a neu­rol­o­gist his strength lay in the obser­va­tion and syn­the­sis of mate­r­i­al rather than the hard sci­ence research that he ini­tial­ly set out to do.
You get a very real sense of the man him­self and his fas­ci­na­tion with the things that the brain/mind can do. The grownup Sacks is an out­sider to much of the med­ical pro­fes­sion and per­son­al­ly bit of a pill, which he seems to rec­og­nize. But the young Sacks, in his twen­ties, is a fab­u­lous study in intel­lect vs hedo­nism. I loved his Venice Beach, motor­bikes, hitch­hik­ing, and amphet­a­mine and LSD fueled self-exploration.
An espe­cial­ly nice read for any­one who has enjoyed his oth­er books.

* a charm­ing young man grows up to one of the great observers of the human condition

What is Not Yours Is Not Yours — Helen Oyeyemi

Short sto­ries by the author of Boy, Snow, Bird. I know that I enjoyed these sto­ries but some­how none of them stuck with me. I think this is a reflec­tion of my state of mind this month rather than any short com­ings of the sto­ries. I will reread the book in June and pro­vide a bet­ter report.

* some­times I suck as a review­er — ask again next month

Listened to:

Murder on the Orient Express — Agatha Christie

Clas­sic Agatha Christie. These audio books are nice­ly done ren­di­tions of the sto­ries with a good nar­ra­tor. But they are too expen­sive for me to want to lis­ten to too many of them. Besides if you want a Poirot fix you can watch the David Suchet/PBS ver­sions on Netflix.

* clas­sic mate­r­i­al, nice­ly conveyed

Harry Potter and the Everything — JK Rowling

All of Har­ry Pot­ter. Seri­ous­ly 120 hours of JK Rowl­ing. I seem to have need­ed a big chunk of the month to just go away. So I lis­tened to HP and his friends bat­tle the forces of evil and pre­vail. I also pieced three quilt tops.
I learned a good deal about the use of expo­si­tion in nar­ra­tive and the dif­fi­cul­ties and ben­e­fits of using a close, sin­gle per­son POV. You nev­er leave Har­ry’s side and that adds to the imme­di­a­cy of the books but makes some of the world build­ing dif­fi­cult. Rowl­ing com­mon­ly employs two tac­tics to deliv­er the infor­ma­tion that Har­ry does­n’t know. Sev­er­al of the books end with a chap­ter or two of expo­si­tion that explains the antecedents of the events in the sto­ry, gen­er­al­ly deliv­ered as friend­ly chats between Har­ry and Dum­b­le­dore. The oth­er dodge being the use of a mag­i­cal item called the “Pen­sive,” a mem­o­ry view­er that pro­vides a way to present sto­ry ele­ments that are not direct­ly avail­able to Har­ry. The sev­en book series pro­vid­ed a cou­ple of weeks of immer­sion in unre­al­i­ty and easy story.

* because who does­n’t love being read a story

The Books of April

Things I Read:

Mir­ror, Mir­ror, on the Wall: Women Writ­ers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales
— Kate Bern­heimer, ed.
These essays about per­son­al rela­tion­ships to the genre of fairy tales might be okay as one-offs, but an entire col­lec­tion of rem­i­nisces about the role that fairy tale played in story-teller and aca­d­e­m­ic lives is cloy­ing and dead­en­ing. There’re only so many tales of moth­ers good and cru­el, and sex­u­al awak­en­ing, and preda­to­ry males that you can read before they all run togeth­er into one sad, homog­e­nized lump. Seek out the writ­ings of your favorite authors on all sorts of sto­ry telling and leave this col­lec­tion on the shelf.
* too many sim­i­lar essays *

The Fairy Tale Review — Ochre issue (2016)
A new to me annu­al pub­li­ca­tion that focus­es on new fairy tales, retelling of old fairy tales and fairy tale schol­ar­ship. This issue con­tains sev­er­al fab­u­lous pieces. The prize-winning Court­ney Bird’s The Dia­mond Girl, a retelling of the clas­sic Dia­monds and Toads tale, sings with orig­i­nal­i­ty and class. Also fairy tale poet­ry does­n’t have to suck.
* enter­tain­ing enough to order back issues *

Mr and Mrs Dog — Don­ald McCaig
McCain tells the  sto­ry of attempt­ing to get to the World Sheep­dog Tri­als in Wales with his two dogs June and Luke. McCaig knows his dogs well and his descrip­tions of them work­ing are lyri­cal.  Sto­ries about tri­als, and train­ing, and dogs he has known, alter­nate with some inter­est­ing insights into the var­i­ous dog train­ing “camps” (I say inter­est­ing because I do not always agree with him but he argues well.) He’s a lit­tle too fond of Kohler and too dis­mis­sive of the more recent pos­i­tive meth­ods. Though he, like I, find that the best train­ing method depends on the dog, the train­er, and the task. I just come down a lit­tle fur­ther away from the old­er Kohler school than he does.
The tales of sheep­dogs and sheep and the small world of sheep dog tri­al­ing are fun to read and his thoughts on dog train­ing will chal­lenge you no mat­ter what your philosophy
* if you like dogs or James Herriot *

A Plague of Doves — Louise Erdrich
Anoth­er tale of those who live on and near the reser­va­tions in North Dako­ta. Once again she uses mul­ti­ple nar­ra­tors — all them relat­ed in some way by either blood, mar­riage, or sto­ry. Each brings a par­tic­u­lar per­spec­tive on the cru­cial start­ing point of the sto­ry: the mur­der of a set­tler fam­i­ly and the sub­se­quent ret­ri­bu­tion hang­ing of the wrong Indi­an men many years ago. Which sounds ghast­ly when laid out so bare and bald but the sto­ries area typ­i­cal Erdrich, full of per­son­al­i­ty and ele­gant language.
* some of the most effec­tive braid­ed nar­ra­tive you will ever read *

Rose Met­al Press Field Guide to Flash Non-Fiction — Din­ty W. Moore ed.
Third of a tril­o­gy of books of craft essays address­ing very short forms of writ­ing. (Flash Fic­tion, Prose Poet­ry, and Flash Non-Fiction) Flash non-fiction is more actu­al­ly what we should call the very short essay. Things that man­age to express them­selves in less than 750 words. (Or so — oth­er venues con­sid­er the short essay to be any­thing less than 2000 words.) I found the dis­cus­sions of tech­ni­cal aspects — POV, tense, you vs I, fram­ing — to be the most use­ful. It’s a good resource. It will also point you to Brevi­ty mag­a­zine and it’s many excel­lent blog posts. The exer­cis­es are occa­sion­al­ly useful.
* bet­ter writ­ing man­u­al than most *

Things I listened to:

Zero His­to­ry — William Gibson
Last of the most recent tril­o­gy often referred to as the Blue Ant tril­o­gy — once again about brand­ing and mer­chan­diz­ing and secret mar­kets. Not my favorite of the three but always a good sto­ry from Gibson.
* more than you ever want­ed to know about secret mar­ket denim *


Hat Full of Sky — Ter­ry Pratchett
In the sec­ond book of Pratch­et­t’s series for younger read­ers, Tiffany, now age 11, is grow­ing into her role as the witch of the chalk. She leaves home to appren­tice with anoth­er witch and is men­aced by a being called a hive. Once again the Nac Mac Fee­gles help and hin­der in equal amounts. The sto­ry is sim­ple and a lit­tle didac­tic but many of us will rec­og­nize the world of pre­teen girls and enjoy the com­pa­ny of many of Pratch­et­t’s reg­u­lar cast of witch­es includ­ing Granny Weatherwax.
* who does­n’t occa­sion­al­ly feel beset by the Nac Mac Feegles? *

Har­ry Pot­ter Book and the Sor­cer­er’s Stone




Har­ry Pot­ter and the Cham­ber of SecretsJK Rowling.
I’ve actu­al­ly only read the first Har­ry Pot­ter. But I’ve seen all the movies. These great big (and get­ting big­ger books) pro­vide light enter­tain­ment to lis­ten to while I’m doing house work, etc. They are sim­ple enough that you can miss a few sen­tences when your atten­tion is drawn to some­thing else (How did the soy sauce get in the fridge?) with­out los­ing the plot.
I have to say that I now under­stand some of the crit­i­cisms of the movies — par­tic­u­lar­ly the flat­ten­ing of the char­ac­ters of Ron and Hermione.  So yes, this is pri­mar­i­ly enter­tain­ment but you can also learn a lot about how vast sprawl­ing fan­ta­sy sto­ries work by listening.
* yeah, it’s a lit­tle late for me to be get­ting around to these. *

The Books of March


The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Gar­den — C Valente
This is a reread. These are among the first of her books that I read and among the first that she pub­lished. The prose is not as mature as lat­er prose but the onion struc­ture of the book, with its lay­ers and lay­ers of tales each being told to the lis­ten­er whose own tale we are read­ing is fas­ci­nat­ing. The inter­wo­ven mytholo­gies of the steppes and the sea and the star­ry ori­gins of the world make me smile. I like it bet­ter than some of her more recent work, even if I do occa­sion­al­ly get sick of there being a sim­i­le for every noun.

* sooth­ing mythopet­ic tales *

The Gifts of Imper­fec­tion - Brene Brown
Not all that. In part because I’m a devout athe­ist and Ms. Brown relies on God. A researcher into var­i­ous human emo­tions, she is best known for her work on Shame. She’s well know and wide­ly respect­ed and I can’t under­stand why giv­en that there is noth­ing new in here. I think that this might not be her best book. Or at least not the best place to have start­ed look­ing at her work.
* no more inter­est­ing than most self-development books *

Cul­ture Clash — Jean Donaldson
One of the bet­ter books on canine eti­ol­o­gy. It’s been a while since I read it and I was prompt­ed to go back to it by the reports of some recent research into the effec­tive­ness of neg­a­tive mark­ers in oper­ant con­di­tion­ing. I want­ed to look back at some of the broad­er work on canine behav­ior and train­ing meth­ods. If you think of your dog as a fur­ry lit­tle child sub­sti­tute you’re not going to like much of what’s said here. But if you’re curi­ous about how it is that we try (most­ly on the suf­fer­ance of our dogs) to cohab­it with a species that has entire­ly dif­fer­ent rules for going along and get­ting along, this is for you.

* clas­sic in the field, rec­om­mend­ed for every curi­ous dog lover *

Listened to:

Ange­la’s Ash­es — Frank McCourt
Read by Frank McCourt. In a rever­sal of the usu­al Irish fam­i­ly moves to Amer­i­ca and makes good. Brooklyn-born McCourt’s fam­i­ly left the USA and returned to Ire­land  where they lived in the sort of oppres­sive pover­ty that most Irish were leav­ing the coun­try to escape. Opin­ions are firm­ly divid­ed on the mer­its of the book. Some claim­ing that it trades in mawk­ish clichés and oth­ers that it is tran­scen­dent. (Though why any­one would think that it is either of those two extremes I don’t under­stand.) I think it’s actu­al­ly a mid­dle of the road sort of book and that I prob­a­bly would have stopped about a third of the way through if I had been read­ing it. But I was­n’t read­ing it I was lis­ten­ing to Frank McCourt read it. And much like his Frank lis­ten­ing to his father’s sto­ries of Cuchi­u­lainn I could­n’t stop.
* Rather like lis­ten­ing to a rel­a­tive who’s lived and “inter­est­ing” life talk about the old days. 

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