David Dykstal

📚 So Far, So Good Ursula K. LeGuin’s final book of poems. Each one a gem. #mbmay

📚If you haven’t read Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac. Read it. Read it now. #mbmay

📚Also finished Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. I should have read this years ago.

📚Finished the audiobook of The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas. Loved the narration by Bill Homewood. It was a bit commitment since the book runs about 55 hours. I was expecting a bit of a swashbuckler, but instead found a morality tale of the dangers of omnipotence without omniscience.

Local Bookstores - Fair Trade Books in Red Wing, MN

I admit that I’ve been getting most of my books from Amazon or from our library as ebooks. They are convenient for reading in bed or while traveling, but those are the only advantages. There is nothing to mark up and, worse, there is nothing to share.

I had a short list of books I wanted to buy that friends had recommended and decided to stick with paper this time. I could get that from Amazon as well, but there are still a few independent bookstores left in the area, including one in Rochester. All of these, even those in the Twin Cities, have become sanctuaries for used books. This is a good thing.

Sampling , Ann and I decided to drive up to Red Wing to Fair Trade Books. Although most of their stock is used I was able to find Richard Power’s The Overstory and Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass.

Fair Trade Books has a custom of giving you a free book on your first visit to the store. The book maven at the store asked what I was currently reading. I had been listening an audiobook version of The Count of Monte Cristo (excellent narration by Bill Homewood by the way). She suggested Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. I had already read that. She then pulled Eco’s The Prague Cemetery from the shelf. I would not have found that book on my own.

If that’s not enough, they even have Reveler, the bookdog.

As for sharing, I’m looking forward to slowly giving my collection away. I have enough books. Why keep them all? Someone else needs to enjoy them.

Check out and give a local bookstore your business.

My dear friend, Craig, wrote this plant book. It’s getting quite a good reception. Craig teaches at University of South Florida and St. Petersburg College. You can follow his tales of Florida gardening on his blog: There Were No Fences. #mbfeb

Catching up on the “classics”. Took a break from The Handmaid’s Tale to read On The Road. I liked Kerouac’s style, so it wasn’t a slog. Interesting in its time I suppose. 📚

In progress are “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Kindle), a graphic novel that purports to be a sequel to “Treasure Island” (Libby on iPad), a very entertaining audiobook version of “The Count of Monte Cristo” (iPhone), and several print books in various stages of consumption. 📚

Now starting “On The Road”. Don’t know how long I’ll last through Kerouac, but I found the first few pages to be pleasantly and surprisingly interesting. 📚

BTW. I just discovered the Libby app for obtaining books from our public library. Easy to use for a 14 day loan and a really decent eReader to boot. 📚

First book of the year finished. Nancy McLean’s “Democracy in Chains.” Recommended for US readers. 📚

📚 Books in progress
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (ebook)
The Poet’s Corner, compiled by John Lithgow (audiobook)
The Cruel Ever After, Ellen Hart (paper)
So Far So Good, Ursula K. LeGuin (paper)
You Come Too, Robert Frost (paper)
Figuring, Maria Popova (paper)

📚Finished the Audible “Ben Franklin”. Narration was good. The book seemed quite thorough and well organized. Ben is a complex character, not always consistent in matching word with deed. Sounds pretty human to me.

📚Starting “The Cruel Ever After” by Ellen Hart. Physical paper.

📚 Finished “Reckless Daughter”. I enjoyed the book, but it kind of leaves you hanging about Joni Mitchell since it ends in 2017 with her recovering from her aneurysm. However, I saw a photo of her out and about fairly recently so I assume her recovery is progressing.

One tidbit: I didn’t realize that Prince was a huge fan of Joni’s.

Current Audible Book: “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life”. 📚

Currently reading “Reckless Daughter: A Portrait Of Joni Mitchell”.📚

I am thoroughly enjoying Le Guin’s So Far So Good. I’m dipping into it, reading a poem every couple of days. I’m normally not a poetry reader and I am selecting poems at random. There do appear to be two sections of poems that are meant to be read in order: So Far and The Night Journey; I haven’t touched those yet. 📚

Just about to dip into Ursula K. LeGuin’s So Far So Good. I’m wondering if writing poetry is a craft you can learn or if it is a talent you nurture mostly on your own. Enlighten me, you poets out there. 📚

📚Next up on my reading list: Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography, when I can locate it.

📚 I loved Treasure Island as a kid. Still do. I keep wanting to recommend it to my grandson, but he’s still grappling with the concept of reading for fun. I realize my sample size is quite small. Is the current crop of middle schoolers indifferent to books?

📚I usually try to keep two books going. One from Audible and one on the Kindle. Currently listening to Ellis Peter’s The Pilgrim of Hate and reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

📚Finished the Audible version of The Three Musketeers a while back. Impressive narration by John Lee and a great story to boot.

📚Finished N. K. Jemisin’s The Obelisk Gate, and so on to another book. I’ll read The Stone Sky in a bit, but I’m going to tackle Bruce Catton’s Terrible Swift Sword first. It’s the second volume in his Centennial History of the Civil War. I read this quite some time ago, but memory fades.

📚Picked up The Obelisk Gate again after having set it aside for nearly a year. I was getting too deeply invested in the characters, so I left it for a time. Now I’m back to enjoying it. Anyone else left a book you liked for a while and then come back to it? Why?