These posts are really more for my own reference than anything, but I figure it’s good to share them all the same.  Here’s a bunch of books that I’ve chewed through recently.

East of Eden – is this my first Steinbeck ?  It might be!  I’m glad I read it now, though, since I’ve lived in California a bit and have a much better mental context for the setting.  It was exciting when Nick and I took the train to San Francisco and passed Salinas.  The character of Cathy Ames was so horrifying, though, that I almost ended the book prematurely.  I stuck it through!

The Snow Fox – sometimes when I don’t have any ideas of the next book I should read, I wander the aisles of the library and randomly pluck out titles, then try the first one that has a blurb of interest to me.  This book was a love story between a samurai and a poet in medieval Japan, and had wonderful imagery.  They did some playing around with time jumps, though, so occasionally I wasn’t sure when I was reading, but the story was nice, if not somewhat melancholy.

Cat’s Cradle – I usually have a really hard time with Vonnegut, but I really enjoyed this one.  The whole Bokononism thing was really fun, and a clever lens through which to interpret the world

Trickster Makes this World – I was actually kind of disappointed by this book.  I am really interested in trickster stories and was hoping to learn more about their origins and their relations to each other across cultures.  There was some of that, but he would get so swirling and deep and metaphysical about the interpretations of just a few key trickster stories that they felt worn out and uninteresting by the end of it.  Pretty “meh,” and I probably should have just stuck to reading actual trickster tales.

To Kill a Mockingbird – another classic story that I realize I’d never read.  This book is wonderful, but it’s also pretty depressing to see that many of the uglier aspects of how human beings treat each other still go on today.  Sigh

Neverwhere – I generally enjoy Neil Gaiman but just had never gotten around to reading this one.  It was awesome.  I liked it.

Magic Street – I always think I’ve read more Orson Scott Card than I actually have.  I always think I’ve read Ender’s Game when it was really The Worthing Saga that I read.  Anyway.  I love fantasy books that spin on the traditional Tolkein-inspired notions of fantasty, and this story is a prime example.  Highly recommended!

As always, if you have a good read to suggest, please do so!

February Free Event

This month’s free event was a Nature Photography Workshop at Franklin Canyon, which is a little nature preserve snugged away in the middle of Beverly Hills that I had no idea existed.  The local canyon parks have various hikes and workshops every month, and they always catch my eye as I scan EyeSpyLA for free events. 

It was a pretty casual arrangement.  Basically one of the park’s volunteer naturalists led the group on a trail and gave tips here and there.  She also worked with people individually to help them learn how to use their cameras.  I was able to finally get some guidance on taking distant shots and landscapes to some success, but man I’m starting to crave a zoom lens!

Anyway, it was super fun and I’m really glad I went.  Here are the results from the day:

With a few favorites:

Anyone recognize this place?

Looking ahead to March, I most definitely want to return to the Annual Festival of the Kite.  Still, I’ll keep an eye out for any other interesting events that show up.