FF: Gardens and Games

The long weekend didn’t give me quite as much reading time as I’d hoped, but I managed some.

Reading Among the Flowers

For those of you just discovering this feature, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.

The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

Quartered Safe Out Here by George MacDonald Fraser.  Audiobook.   A look at the campaign in Burma during WWII, from the infantry, non-officer level – very intimate.    I think it could be subtitled: George MacDonald Fraser is not Flashman and wants you to know it.

In Progress:

Gardens of New Spain: How Mediterranean Plants and Foods Changed America by William W. Dunmire.  This is really excellent because in addition to the subject in the title, it talks about how plants spread, why, and their cultural impact.  Additional bonus: histories – going back to earliest cultivation – of various key plants.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  Audiobook.  Re-listen.


Reading back issues of Smithsonian.  I’d gotten amazingly behind.  Now reading about the Liberty Bell’s coast-to-coast tour.

7 Responses to “FF: Gardens and Games”

  1. chadmerkley Says:

    Gardens of New Spain looks fascinating. I’ve just requested my local library to try and find a copy.

    I also recently walked into a conversation about William Faulkner. When I mentioned I’d never read any of his stuff, I was told to try The Reivers. I finished it yesterday. Really enjoyed it. It takes a while to get the plot going–setting the scene and introducing the characters makes the opening slow. But it rapidly becomes hilarious. I’m undecided about whether the narrator’s asides about morality and virtue add or subtract from the book–maybe some add and some don’t? I found out that the book was made into a Steve McQueen movie. Anyone seen it? It is it worth watching? I imagine some scenes would work great on screen, but some would just fall flat. How can you maintain the first person POV in a movie?

    Any other Faulkner recommendations from anyone?

    • Louis Robinson Says:

      GoNS is still available from UofT Press, as a POD title – and you can get it direct for less than Amazon charges, oddly enough. The robots are slipping 😉

      I’m wondering if the author pays any attention to the fact that, proportionately, far more American foodstuffs went the other way and, arguably, had a far greater effect. You’ll find the Three Sisters, plus potatoes and tomatoes, in every European supermarket. How many European crops do you find in a market in the Maya or Zapotec highlands?

      • chadmerkley Says:

        Thanks for the heads-up on the POD. Either price is still enough of my disposable income this month to make me hesitate. I’ll see what the library can do.

      • janelindskold Says:

        Louis, Yes, the author does pay attention to influence in both directions. He also includes short essays on various plants featured in a chapter at the end of each chapter in which he traces the history of a plant back as far as he can. I just finished the book last night and it’s one of my favorite reads of the year. It may even beat out the fox domestication one, and I thought that would be impossible!

    • janelindskold Says:

      Chad, I enjoyed both The SOUND AND THE FURY and AS I LAY DYING. But I have a weakness for odd narrative structure, I’ll admit. I don’t know anything about the movie.

  2. Paul Says:

    Reading one of Lillian Jackson Braun’s “The Cat Who…books for library mystery book club.

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