Saturday, June 2, 2007

June Is Bustin' Out All Over




We're into June, which means...gloom, around here. June Gloom, or the marine layer, causes gray, cool mornings all over the L.A. area for some or all of the month of June. Or, as this year, most of May, too--much to the dismay of the tourists. I don't find it gloomy, however, and the longer it lasts, the better I like it. I'm not eager for our unrelenting summer to begin, since it won't be over until some time around November.

June seems to have brought out all the purple flowers, too. Here's a shot of a hydrangea in my yard, and a jacaranda tree in my neighborhood. Every once in awhile I'll drive down a street lined with jacarandas and the purple craziness takes my breath away.

My mooched copy of Fair and Tender Ladies (Ballantine Reader's Circle) by Lee Smith arrived just in time for me to start the Southern Reading Challenge, hosted by Maggie at Maggie Reads, which began on June 1st. See my sidebar for my list of Southern books.

I'm almost finished with Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell. I was happy to see that Matt at A Variety of Words finished it recently. I'm eager to finish this strange and wonderful book so I can discuss it with Matt, and others.

I've never sought out dystopian fiction, but it's been finding me lately. I've noticed that while reading Cloud Atlas, and other books with a dystopian view, I tune into world events with a different ear. I'm more prone to spin out worst case scenarios, certainly, but I also take news about far-flung conflicts, strange diseases, natural disasters and global warming more seriously, more personally. It tends to make me feel all global problems (like politics) are actually local. Which I think has got to be a good thing.

And speaking of local, I am trying to eat more food that is grown locally. I haven't even started my next Non-Fiction Five challenge book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, but I can guess how I'm going to feel afterward. Everyone seems to be reading this book at the moment. Robin at A Fondness For Reading just wrote about it, and you can read her eloquent post here.

15 comments:

litlove said...

Hi! I'm visiting for the first time with the blogroll game, but am sure I will return to your lovely site without it. I haven't read any David Mitchell, but I possess Cloud Atlas and would really like to get around to it. He strikes me as a risk-taking author who is nevertheless accessible.

Gentle Reader said...

litlove--"a risk-taking author who is nevertheless accessible" is a great way to describe Mitchell. I'm really enjoying Cloud Atlas! And thanks for visiting, I'm so glad you found me! Now I'm going to visit you...

tanabata said...

What a beautiful shade of purple!
I was lucky to meet David Mitchell at a signing and he is a really nice guy. I really need to both reread Cloud Atlas someday and read some of his other books.

Matt said...

I will probably be posting my review of Cloud Atlas today. Glad to see your enjoying it as I thought it was a very good book. I think the next Mitchell book I read will be Black Swan Green.

Gentle Reader said...

tanabata--I'm always glad to hear when authors I like are nice people. Glad you like the purple--there's so much purple blooming around here!

matt--I look forward to your review! I think Black Swan Green will be my next Mitchell, too, as it is already sitting on my pile!

Imani said...

I'm glad there's at least one other person who still hasn't read Cloud Atlas. (Hey litlove! :p) It's another one of those books I should get around to reading, that just about everyone loves.

Robin said...

Wow! Thanks, Gentle Reader. I did enjoy reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and I'll be very interested in your response to it. Your June hydrangea is lovely!

Gentle Reader said...

imani--the "everyone seems to have read it" factor definitely played into my reading Cloud Atlas. Fortunately I wasn't disappointed :)

robin--now I just have to get down to reading the book! Looking forward to it :)

stefanie said...

I don't miss much about southern CA, but I sure do miss the jacarandas and the giant magnolia trees with blossoms the size of dinner plates.

Camille said...

I've always wanted to know what a jacaranda tree looked like. I've read about them in the settings of books, but I don't think I've ever seen one in real life.

I know what you mean about tuning in to world events while reading dystopian books. I've been reading a bunch of them lately and everything you hear on the news sounds like a clue or foreshadowing to some kind of big change with far-reaching effects.

Gentle Reader said...

stefanie--did I miss something somewhere? Did you live in So Cal? Did you hate it? (Tell all--I won't judge!) And I like the magnolias, too--the flowers are hilariously huge, and some of the trees grow to gargantuan proportions.

camille--I wonder if it would feel the same while reading dystopian fiction in another age, or if it's particular to ours, but you're right, everything on the news sounds like it should come with bad movie foreshadowing music :)

You don't get the full effect from my kinda pathetic photo of the jacaranda tree. I'm going to see if I can take a picture of the blossoms up close and post it for you.

Lotus Reads said...

gentle reader - I have just ordered my copy of "Animal, Vegetable Miracle" and I so look forward to reading it. If you finish it before me I will look forward to your review!

Gentle Reader said...

lotus--you'll probably finish before I do, so I look forward to exchanging ideas about it whenever we can!

cloudscome said...

I found you through the blogroll game too, even though I am not officially playing. I love your purple flowers. I wish you would join my Sunday Garden Stroll. I am a flower and book nut too.

Gentle Reader said...

cloudscome--glad you found me! I just went to your blog--love it! Will join in the Sunday Stroll at some point :)