Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

never let me go

“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.” 
~ Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

This is the beautifully written story of a group of private school children, completely isolated from the outside world, in a very unique circumstance. The prose is lyrical and in striking contrast to the children’s destiny.  Read it without reading any reviews or seeing the movie….it needs to begin at the beginning to really be appreciated.  If you don’t intend to read the story (a pity), you can watch the 2010 movie.  The trailer is below.

about reading



I love books.  Not just reading, but actually the books themselves.  I buy books everywhere and keep them forever…even my grandmother’s 1953 Encyclopedia Brittanica collection.  Growing up we had 2 massive bookshelves in our family room and my mom was an avid reader.  As a teenager I preferred laying on the rug under the piano reading to being outside with friends (I was a bit of a late bloomer).  So in my house we build bookshelves.  When I’m starting a project my first stop is always a book.  When I need to relax, I find a book.  When I’m making dinner, I’ve got a book on the counter.  When I’m standing in line, I’m reading a book.  There aren’t enough bookshelves so books are stacked on tables, on top of other books, littering my desk.  Steve laughs because I can read anywhere, even in the middle of my family’s chaos.  And I’m always bringing more books into our not so huge house.


For those of you who are also readers, ‘good reads’ is a place for me to share books I’ve read and loved.  Check back to see what’s on my bedside table.  And let me know if you read something amazing so that I can read it too.



warning about dragon tattoos

Oh dear…here it is the 12th already and I still haven’t posted last week’s portion.  I’ve been distracted.  Someone told me not to start The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo until I could focus and expect to do nothing else.  Of course I didn’t listen.  So for a week I read both the first and second books of the series.  I stayed up until 2 every morning, reading until I couldn’t read any more.  I barely bathed.  Or ate.  Or even noticed my family.

There’s a third book.  I’m not going to get it until I really do have a few days to do nothing but read.  If you have time to do nothing but read, this is the series for you.  Tell Lisbeth I said hello.

New Orleans….sigh….

New Orleans is a town that has a remarkable ability to capture your heart.  It did mine in a visit of only one week in April this year.  The same way that San Francisco announced itself to my heart as home two decades ago, New Orleans has also claimed me.

When I left New Orleans to board my flight back to San Francisco on April 17, I did as I always do:  stopped at a bookstore.  Gumbo Tales, by Sara Roahen, caught my eye and I’ve been reading it ever since.  If you know me, you’ll know that it never takes me two months to read a book that I’m enjoying.  But in this case, I read it slowly.  Very slowly.  And today I finished the last page.  I was tempted to read the entire bibliography as if it were prose so that the book would last longer.

But it’s over now, and I’ve had to leave New Orleans again.  Along with Sara, who left New Orleans at the end of her story to follow her husband.  With great regret, my connection to New Orleans is severed.

Then I read the back cover.  Sara and her husband moved back to New Orleans the year after they left.  Sara, who I don’t even know and will likely never know, is in New Orleans.  Somehow that makes me really happy.

Gumbo Tales, Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table, by Sara Roahen.  It’s not just about the food, it’s actually only very little about the food but rather more about the table and the people around the table.  I can’t recommend this book highly enough.  I hope that one day I will have the chance to write about New Orleans.

I am deeply deeply sad

I just finished the third of the Rashi’s Daughters trilogy.  As a matter of fact, I may be so sad that I’ll just start all over again.  What amazing writing….history….learning.  I love my jew-ness even better.  If you’re interested in France in the middle ages, read these books.  So cool.

the list

This is today’s list:

  • take a shower
  • keep an eye on son’s temp
  • write
  • update blog
  • think about important stuff like what’s beyond pluto, the meaning of god, why prejudice exists, the middle east
  • write about important stuff

These are today’s accomplishments:

  • take shower
  • keep an eye on son’s temp

I keep trying to write but that leads me to laundry, cleaning out the refrigerator, checking email, responding to emails that don’t require response.  It’s not a productive day.  And I’ve been reading such great stuff lately that makes me want to think about important things.  Check out the list of books on my bedside table.  “Finding God” is an amazing book about various Jewish intellectuals’ attempts to define who or what God might be.  Horrible title, though.  It’s off-topic and sounds like a self-help book title.

The phone rang.  Five minutes with a nice voice who was calling someone else.  When wrong numbers get in the way of my list, my day is doomed.  Best to just give in and get on with the stuff that’s not on my list that I’m going to do anyway. 

Tomorrow, when my son’s temp is normal and he goes back to school, I will write something important.

it is Titanic cold…

Yesterday was a Titanic day and it’s been Titanic cold here in northern ca.  We saw the Titanic exhibit then rented the movie (not the real one, the Leo diCaprio one) which is very long, by the way, and today I am tired and cold.  And images of people bouncing off giant rudders and into foamy waves are rolling around in my head along with the frozen icicle haired people gently holding their no longer cooing babies.  Bless their little unfrozen hearts, both my kids now want to see the “real” movie.  You know, Mommy, the one with people who were really on the boat.

I’m reading “A Night to Remember” by Walter Lord which is about the real people.  If you have interest in the story, not just the facts, of the people on board that famous boat, this is a great book.  It was written in the fifties, long before the wreck was found (1985 I think).  The story is based on hundreds of interviews that the author did with survivors.  It reads like a novel, although you don’t follow just one person through the story.  You bounce from person to person, situation to situation on all of the various decks from first class down to third.  Between the book and the exhibition, I’ve learned all kinds of interesting facts:

sos was first used to call for help by the Titanic.

the saying “and the band played on” probably came from that fateful night.  The musicians on the ship played until the boat sank, taking them down with it.

the Unsinkable Molly Brown kicked some upper class butt in her lifeboat, getting the ladies to “row, row, row”.

salt water freezes at a lower temperature than ice, so the water that people floated in once off the boat was colder than the iceberg itself.

most people who survived the sinking, but were not in lifeboats, only lasted about twenty minutes in the freezing water.  The longest survivor in the water was a man who had been drinking all night.  He lasted over two hours.  My son (he’s seven) says that if we ever take him on a cruise he’ll stay drunk the whole time.  Possibly a good reason not to take him on a cruise….