"A girl was never ruined by books," my mother used to say. I've spent most of my life trying to prove that wrong.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

On the Road toward Road through Time

For the last few days I've been correcting the copy edit of my new book Road through Time: The Story of Humanity on the MoveAnd just as I was finishing up, I received the cover.  Pretty nice, eh?

Here's the bumph from the University of Regina's Spring 2017 catalogue:

In this thoroughly researched and beautifully written history of roads as vectors of change, Mary Soderstrom documents how routes of migration and transport have transformed both humanity and our planet.
Accessible and entertaining, Road Through Time begins with the story of how anatomically modernhumans left Africa to populate the world. 
She then carries us along the Silk Road
in central Asia, and tells of roads built for war in Persia, the Andes, and the Roman Empire. She sails across the seas, and introduces the  rst railways, all before plunking us down in the middle of a massive, modern freeway.
The book closes with a view from the
end of the road, literally and figuratively, asking, can we meet the challenges presented by a mode of travel dependent on hydrocarbons, or will we decline, like so many civilizations that have come before us?
Sound interesting?  If I hadn't written the book, I'd want to read it, says she, smiling!  The catalogue gives the pub date as April 15, 2017, so I guess we'll have to wait a bit to do that!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Spring Means Book List Time

Been discussing what to read in the 2016-2017 season of the book discussion groups I lead in Montreal-area libraries.  Here's the list of suggestions so far, in no particular order:

The Green Road by Anne Enright
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
               or Half of a Yellow Sun
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
The Golden Son : a novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout
The Illegal by Lawrence Hill
An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris
The Children Act by Ian McEwan
Solomon Gursky Was Here by Mordecai Richler
The Plot against America by Philip Roth
Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
The Sweetness by Sande Boretz Berger
Lost Boy by Camilla Lackberg
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar
Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
Martin John by Ankana Schofield
The Storyteller by Jody Picoult 
Go Set  A Watchman by Harper Lee
Fates and Furries by Lauren Grof
Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan
February by Lisa Moore
Euphoria by Lily King
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes  

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Ithaka and Various Journeys

In addition to the usual daily living stuff, I've been become deeply involved in research for a new book, to be called Unidentical Twins.  It's about States and states that have a lot in common but which are different, and working on it is fascinating and absorbing.  Therefore, I've not thought much about this blog.

However, I do find time for a few frivolous things, and this week I've found myself involved in a literary chain letter, inviting poems and book recommendations.  My thought was that perhaps I could get some good recommendations for the book discussion groups I lead: this is the time when we start drawing up next seasons' lists.  The poetry I didn't care much about.  But this was shared this morning, and while I'm not a poetry lover, I am swept away.  I guess it's more or less the way I've come to approach life.

By Constantine Cavafy

When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, what joy -
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don't in the least hurry the journey.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn't anything else to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn't deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you'll have understood what these Ithakas mean.