Sunday, December 29, 2019

December reading

I read two books in December.  That doesn't seem like much for me.  I guess that I was busier than I thought!  Plus both books were ones that had to be read quite purposely/slowly.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin OlympicsThe first book I read in December was The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.  Yes, I know, I was slow to come to this book.  First of all, it is non-fiction and secondly, it is about rowing.  Neither of which I really care about.  However, thanks to one of my book groups, this book was chosen!  I found the story to be a very interesting one.  It is about the Rowing team from the University of Washington who made it to the Olympics in Germany in 1936. It is based on the life of Joe Rantz, one of the nine rowers.  The loyalty, compassion, and trust the team had in each other led them to the Olympics.  I wish that the book had covered more of when they were actually in Germany, rather than (what seemed to me) the focus on the day-to-day rowing events.  It is truly an inspiring story of what these working-class guys in the Depression were able to do with their lives.

The second book I read in December was Inland by T'ea Obreht.  I initially had some difficulty figuring out the story, but it was good enough to persevere and I caught on and read on! The book is really two stories that intertwine together over one day. 

Inland (Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition)

One morning, in the Arizona Territories in 1893, Nora's youngest son Toby (age seven) came running from the creek to tell her that he saw tracks of "the beast".  The family had concerns about Toby's obsession about this beast that he would report seeing.  meanwhile, Nora's husband and two older sons had left the homestead.  Her husband Emmett had left sometime before to find water and as time went by, the two older sons left to try to find their father.

Meanwhile, one of the survivors of the Camel Corps was telling his story of how he had gotten involved with camels and how the Camel Corp had been organized to help clear the West of Indians. This is based on an actual true story! Because the camels could survive so long without water, it was determined that they would be much more useful than horses or mules as the military headed further west.

There are a host of characters who play notably in the stories.  There is a bit of mysticism in the stories.  It is hard to describe all that went on! This is a book that I will return to read again.

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