Reads and Recs (and the New Camera)

January 19, 2015 § 1 Comment

Some recently read works and pieces you may enjoy:

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2014) — A beautiful book that most writers can only dream of penning. Sure to be a classic, it’s not surprising it was on many end-of-year lists as one of the best books of 2014. As two separate stories before and during the dark days of World War II unfold — one about an exceptionally smart boy in Germany, the other focused on a blind girl in France — the two protagonists finally come together in the final chapters. Without giving anything away, I’ll simply say the conclusion was not tied up in a neat, tidy bow, and the book is that much better because of it, for, like war, the climax is complex and never really ends easily. Side note: Doerr’s exquisite descriptions of Saint-Malo, the French city where the key scenes in the novel take place, have me dreaming of a visit overseas.
  • The Big-Eyed Children: The Extraordinary Story of an Epic Art Fraud” by Jon Ronson (The Guardian, October 26, 2014) — I haven’t seen Big Eyes yet, the Tim Burton bio-pic about the painter Margaret Keane whose husband, Walter, took credit for her famous paintings of big-eyed children. This article is a good introduction to the backstory of their relationship and how a manipulative egomaniac convinced his talented wife to agree to the deception not just while they were married, but also for a period of time after they were divorced. Although she endured years of misery and abuse, in the end, she came out of her relationship with Walter intact and vindicated.
  • My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward” by Mark Lukach (Pacific-Standard, January 15, 2015) — Lukach describes the quick onset and painful breakdown his wife Giulia suffered, supposedly triggered by the stresses of a new, demanding job. He does his best to navigate the unknowns of what mental illness afflicts her and how to treat it, and he agonizes over her care after she suffers a second episode shortly after the birth of their son. Lukach frets over the change in dynamic of their relationship, evolving from one of equality to one of authority — take your pills; go to bed, you need your rest; follow your treatment plan. He beautifully writes about the worry of caring for someone who can’t care for herself during her episodes, but offers hope that, now that his wife is healthy again, they can develop a care plan together that will help lessen the blow if or when the next episode occurs.

All the Light We Cannot See
* * *

If you follow this blog, you know how unremarkable the camera on my old iPhone has become. I’ve been relying on it lately to take photos when I don’t have the opportunity to lug my big camera around, but I’ve been so disappointed in the results. This weekend I finally purchased a new phone, and the difference in quality borders on perfection.

Such a simple subject from a walk this afternoon, but the clarity fills me with glee.


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