Sunday, October 03, 2010

A Beautiful Day! (and a few words about reading)

Geez! The time really does get away from me. I can't believe that it's been almost a month since I've posted anything here. I've been doing lots of reading but not much writing about it.

Before I start going on about the books that I've read recently, I have to share what a beautiful day it was here in Houston. Check out these photos from the day. Valerie and I went to the final Astros game of the season, something that has become a kind of tradition for us. Before the game, we decided to eat at Market Square, a recently re-opened park in downtown. It was a perfect day to eat outside and a perfect day for the roof to be open at Minute Maid. To top it off, the Astros ended the season with a win against the Cubs. Yea!!

After the game, I cooked vegetable soup (well, Valerie did add some seasonings, but I did all the peeling and chopping) and baked cornbread. Both were delicious! And we have leftovers for lunch tomorrow and there was enough to freeze too. A satisfying ending to another good weekend in my good life. :-)

Now for those few words about reading. I think that after having read so much this summer that I kind of lost momentum once I started back to work. I have actually read more YA books in the past two months than adult books. But one reason for that was that my book club picked Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, a very long book, to read for our September meeting. I had to put almost everything else on the back burner for a few weeks to get it read, and I still didn't have it quite finished in time for our meeting. I have finished it since then, however.

The novel is narrated by Marion, a twin whose mother died in childbirth. His mother was a nun from India and his father a doctor from England, both of whom were working in a hospital in Ethiopia at the time of the birth. I really enjoyed most of the book, and I thought the book had enough great characters for several books. BUT I was a bit annoyed by the first person omniscient point of view. At times, I read the book as if Marion was relating what had been told to him and could accept that the teller(s) were able to remember their exact thoughts as well as feelings, but other times, especially late in the story when Marion is in a coma, I just couldn't accept his omniscience. In the end, though, I really did like the story that Verghese told.

After their father abandons them and the hospital, Marion and his twin brother Shiva are adopted by two other Indian doctors and have a rather idyllic childhood despite the poverty and political struggles that occur in their adopted country of Ethiopia. Both of the twins become doctors.

Reading this book, I started thinking about other books that I have read about doctors. I really couldn't come up with a very long list. Then I came across a post about five books of doctors novels on A Commonplace Blog. I had only read one of them, Waiting by Ha Jin, but the post included a link to Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database, which contains a very extensive, annotated list of books. Thanks to this list, I was able to add a few more.

Here's my list of doctor novels:
  • Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham.
  • Coma by Robin Cook. I know this is not great literature, but I think this might be one of the non-classic adult book that I read. My mom loved popular fiction thrillers, and I'm fairly certain that I got this book from her when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school.
  • Cider House Rules by John Irving.
  • Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.
  • Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot. I haven't finished this yet and don't see it as a doctor novel, but according to the blog post that I mentioned above, a Dr. Lydgate ends up being a very important character in the novel.
If you can recommend or remind me of others, please do. Now, I think I'll go to bed and read some of Middlemarch. Later.