"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Bookends---my readings in 2020

Last books completed in 2020

is a favorite song of my favorite singers, Simon and Garfunkel, and the title and mood fits as I think about the books that have helped me survive this pandemic year.

I finished the last two books of the year yesterday, bringing to a total of 49 completed. When the pandemic got serious in March, I determined to read a bunch of books I should have read and hadn't...and early on I accomplished some of that. 

But these last two are about art. One, At Home on the Great Plains of Texas, by Laura Lewis and Christina Mulkey, is a Christmas gift from my daughter Dallas Bell, owner of Burrowing Owl Books www.burrowingowlbookstore.com in Canyon and Amarillo. 

It features some of the dramatic paintings of West Texas, an easy read, but inspiring. She proves you can find beauty and subjects to paint anywhere, if you just look and see, even on what many people consider the monotonous Llano Estacado.

The other book, a gift from beyond the grave from my Dad, is Elementary Principles of Landscape Painting by John F. Carlson. I first wrote about 10 years ago this month. You can read about those discoveries on the post linked below. But this time, I read it all the way through, part of my continuing Do It Yourself art school, still learning.

This book was first written 97 years ago; my Dad bought it in February, 1943, and inscribed it to me in October, 1969. 

From both of these gifts, I've learned much, and found more inspiration for the coming years.

The other books I've completed since early November:

  • This Tender Land, novel, by William Krueger.
  • The the Days of Our Unrest, poetry, by Nathan Brown, written about yesterday.
  • Ghost Ways, non-fiction about two unsettling places in Britain, Robert MacFarlane.
  • Black Sunday, poetry, Benjamin Myers, written about yesterday
up the year, I read:
  • 7 books of poetry--plus three partial which don't count
  • 9 art books
  • 12 novels, plus one unfinished (Moby Dick--half read--too wordy)
  • 2 books of short stories
  • 13 books of non-fiction plus two unfinished which do count
  • 4 books of inspiration and wisdom
  • 1 book discarded after one page--doesn't count

keep track of these in my little Book Journal, purchased about this time last year from bestofbooksok.com in Edmond. Highly recommend. You keep track up to 100 books, and then there's a section for more details and comments, etc.

I buy most of my books from Best of Books, avoiding at almost all costs  the A*****n monster.

P.S. There are three already just begun books, two novels and one history that will begin my new year.
Most recent, again from my daughter for Christmas, is Stephen Harrigan's monumental, 850+ page history of Texas, Big Wonderful Thing (a quote about Texas from Georgia O'Keeffe when she taught in Canyon)--as a Texan I've naturally already read the chapters on The Alamo and San Jacinto; and two novels from Best of Books, The Tinderbox, Lou Diamond Phillips, and  Below Zero, C.J. Box 

Here's the lint to the post about my Dad's book:

Here are the links to two earlier posts on my readings this year:

Readings to November

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