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50 Books: 4-18

I haven't forgotten the challenge. I've been at a cottage for the last three weeks with no internet connection but lots of time to read. Here's what I've managed in the interval.

Jenny Uglow. Mr. Lear: A Life of Art and Nonsense. Excellent and sympathetic biography. Highly recommended.

Parkman, Francis. The Oregon Trail. Disappointing. For one thing, he doesn't travel the entire Oregon trail, so the title is a bit of a misnomer, and it is full of a young man's prejudices. Still, I suppose it will remain useful to historians as a picture of the American West when buffalo still roamed the prairie in large numbers and the indigenous people were beginning to face the pressure of the eastward expansion of white settlement.

Bodsworth, Fred. Last of the Curlews. A nature classic. Awesome.

Palin, Michael. Erebus: One Ship, Two Epic Voyages, and the Greatest Naval Mystery of all Time. A birthday present from my wife who knows I love tales of Arctic exploration. Very readable.

Spong, John Shelby. Jesus for the Non-Religious. One of my father's favourite writers, so I thought I would give it a go. Interesting but not as reassuring as I think Spong meant it to be.

van Gulik, Robert. The Monkey and the Tiger, The Haunted Monastery, and The Chinese Maze Murders. Three novels I'm reviewing for a magazine, but highly entertaining.

Luis Borges, Jorge. Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings.

Harari, Yuval. Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind.

Watts, Alan. The Way of Zen.

Morris, William. A Dream of John Ball.

Purdy, Al. A Splinter in the Heart. The only novel by the noted Canadian poet. Set in Trenton, Ontario, during the explosion of a munitions factory in 1918. Uneven, but interesting.

Berry, Wendell. Jayber Crow. I'd read Berry's non-fiction and poetry and thought I would try one of his novels. I'm glad I did. This is my favourite book so far.

So far, so good. Only 32 more to go.


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