Winter evenings…..time for reading….. and that Reading Challenge on Goodreads! One year I reached a goal of 24 books, but last year, well, I did not even get close. To remedy this underachievement I set this year’s goal at a measly 15 books. Yes, I admit I did that. However I am on a roll this year.
A little over one month into the year I’m delighted to have read 5 books. Each one has taken me on a journey to another time and place.
The Naturalist by Alissa York, took me back first to Philadelphia 150 years ago, and then to Para, Brazil, and into the Amazon Jungle. It made me long to visit this green and living forest during a time when fewer people inhabited this space or traveled its winding rivers. Of the three main characters, Rachel is the true naturalist passionaltely observing the rivers, the forest, and the creatures that inhabit the land. Iris the artist, records the beauty and striking features of the creeping, crawling, hopping, flying and slithering life they discover. However it is Paul whose journey reveals and opens to him his early childhood in jungle before he was brought to America. Vivid pictures filled my mind as read this novel.
“Orange – a bed of it, a pool, hot as flame against the bone-white sand. It’s not until they are in the monetaria, yards from the shore, that its meaning becomes clear. …….. Butterflies. Hundreds, thousands of them, packed tight, holding their bright wings erect. ……. The flock stays long enough for Iris to complete a handful of studies and one watercolor sketch. Lift off begins with a flicker. A ripple along the margins and the whole mass rises, peeling away from the beach. Iris and Rachel stand to watch it float out over the river, where it unravels in a trailing cloud.” Page 179 Chapter 24
Raj, by Gita Mehta, was fittingly purchased in a cluttered bookstore in Jaipur, India. India had captured my imagination in every way. Who lived in the ornate rooms of the forts and palaces we explored? Who were the women hidden behind the purdah screens? My brain was abuzz with the mystery and mystique of ancient kingdoms in this exotic land. Raj, written from the perspective of Jaya Singh, born to the Maharajah of Balmer a fictional kingdom, gave me the insight I longed for. Through Jaya’s life I learned about the wealth of royal India, the impact of colonialism, Indian soldiers fighting bravely as part of the British Empire, and the bitter struggle for independence.
So there you have it, the beginning of my 2017 Reading Challenge.