Book Corner 2022.52

by Jennifer Worth

This is categorized as non-fiction/memoir. But I would have enjoyed it more if it had been told in a more true-to-memory fashion, without all the manufactured dialog that makes it feel so “ready for TV serialization”.

I also would have liked just a little more backstory on the writer, the doomed relationship she occasionally alludes to, and how she got into nursing and midwifery. Not a ton of backstory, just a little. For the most part I appreciate her letting her own character recede into the background so often.

There is honesty in her multi-chapter remembrances of befriending an innocent Irish girl led into prostitution – she admits her interest bordered on voyeuristic. And the stealing of said girl’s child to be put up for adoption in a good Catholic home was dealt with in a refreshingly open-eyed manner. The writer is righteously and rightfully indignant, but accepts that the real evil is that there is no other course available.

Somehow the story of the non-English-speaking Spanish lady who prematurely gave birth to her 25th child (yeah, right…) made me feel ticked off. A one-pound baby and she raises it to at least six pounds (we only assume he lived a full life – her story ends when he is six pounds) simply by swaddling him close to her and feeding him colostrum and milk drop by drop. Hell, why do we have NICU’s, after all? What a waste, when it’s so easy! I don’t know why this story out of all the stories in the book annoyed me the most, but I just wanted to smack that woman when she refused to let go of her one-pound baby. I knew he would survive, given the type of book this is and how the story was set up, but I wished the poor infant ill, through no fault of his own.

Book Corner 2022.50

by Bob Dylan

You have to read this book like you would listen to a Bob Dylan song. Don’t study it and wait for brilliance and look for the nuggets of awesomeness, although they will be there. Because doing it that way you will struggle through a lot of, “Is this brilliance or nonsense?” Just let it wash over you.

At first I was puzzled, but I just had to get into the groove. Then I felt like I was listening to “Theme Time Radio Hour”. I could hear his one-of-a-kind voice rambling through it all.

I think my favorite line is, this being a close paraphrase – people always ask the songwriter what the song is about. If we had had more words to explain it, we would have put them in the song.

While I wish for the purposes of this review that I had bookmarked more great one-liners, that would have interfered with my experience.

It’s Not Your Job

Think of sleep as a bodily function.

When you have a wound, it’s not your job to heal it. It’s your body’s job to heal it.

When something flies up your nose, it’s not your job to sneeze. It’s your body’s job to sneeze.

When it gets dark and night rolls around, it’s not your job to sleep. It’s your body’s job to sleep.

Your body’s failure to sleep is not a referendum on your life.

Are people who are not currently hiccupping morally superior, more “zen”, living their best life, moreso than people who are currently hiccupping?

Are people who have not just stubbed their toe morally superior, more “zen”, living their best life, moreso than people who have just stubbed their toe?

People who do not (currently) have sleep issues are not doing the life thing better than you. This isn’t a referendum on your life. It’s a stubbed toe, basically.

Book Corner 2022.49

by Hermione Hoby

I feel this book really didn’t work. It’s told in a big foreboding tone, but “what eventually happened” didn’t really come across as believable or well-told.

And it was hard to read an entire story with such an insecure young narrator always doubting himself and never happy. Even when he pops into the present tense, he’s still unhappy. I think his descriptions of the wife and marriage he ended up with are cruel.

I only bookmarked one part, a passage which I guess gives lie to my claim that Luca is never happy. Describing an impossibly beautiful summer, “I felt a kind of benevolence so acute that I sometimes wanted to cry. It felt like all the days came with fat apples in their mouths. It felt like everything was made of poetry.”

Thing is, in the day-to-day passages, he is always self-doubting and never really conveys this happiness which is described above so well in theory. It all just didn’t work for me.