Thursday, August 18, 2011
Book 18 for the year
Did you ever hear that quote about the wind off a butterfly's wings causing a hurricane in across the globe? Seemingly inconsequential things causing other things. The interwebs are like that. Ravelry is really like that. On Ravelry I have friends that, even geography aside, I don't know that I'd ever have made friends with. A relocated midwest raised public health professional? A stay at home mom then wife, who's 10 years older than me? 2 librarians separated by 1000 miles? A child social worked? A minister? A Floridian IT pro? A Hummer driving CPA? Becoming friends with these people - some of whom are RL friends now, allows me to be exposed to all different things. One of the groups I am in on Rav was reading and discussing Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann. Let me say that if I had to read this for school when I was younger - I wouldn't have.
The book starts out with the true event in 1974 of a tightrope walker who walked between the World Trade Center towers. 12 characters, who have nothing to do with the walker - other than mostly being in NYC at the time - are unwrapped through the book. An odd priest, his brother, 2 hookers, A judge and his wife who have lost a son in Vietnam, her group of friends who also lost their sons in the war, 2 artists high on coke, a Guatemalan nurse, a phone hacker in California. In the beginning of the book 2 characters die. The other characters all have their disconnected chapters. In Parts 2 & 3 the characters begin converging, their lives connecting in invisible ways. We learn of the 2 dead characters through memories, impressions and flashes back in time.
The first 3/4 of the book is depressing, full of despair. The seedy, the illegal, the drugs, the people trapped in their lives by their decisions, or by the decisions they were born into. Trapped by world events, city events, random events. It is pretty hopeless. A hooker's child, despite her mother's attempts to stay clean, to get a real job, the mother fails and eventually her daughter falls to drugs and prostitution. The priest wrestles with and fails his vows. All starting to be connected outside of the rope walker.
The last part of the book takes place in 2006, through the eyes of a woman who was a child mentioned, but not in depth in the beginning. She has taken the sacrifices of others on her behalf and seized the opportunity. She still is fighting her demons, but is starting to win the battle. Many of the original characters are gone, one is dying. Yet somehow in her, we find hope.
I had set a goal in January of reading 24 books in 2011. Last year, I started reading more, but not consistently. I wanted to begin reading again, I used to love losing myself in a good book. This book was #18 for the year. Technically I am 3 books ahead of the pace I need - although with both my siblings getting married and other things in life I think I need to have 22 read by the beginning of November.