More book notes

■ Wednesday is comics day. This week, my pull list comprised Saga #42 and Revival #46.

■ Crouch’s Dark Matter entertained three of us late last year, so I chose Pines for an easy, escapist read.

■ Move Evicted to the top of your TBR pile. Now. Really. I’ll wait. From my commonplace book:

p. 256
The Hinkstons expected more of their landlord for the money they were paying her. Rent was their biggest expense by far, and they wanted a decent and functional home in return. They wanted things to be fixed when they broke. But if Sherrena wasn’t going to repair her own property, neither were they. The house failed the tenants, and the tenants failed the house.

p. 257
Substandard housing was a blow to your psychological health: not only because things like dampness, mold, and overcrowding could bring about depression but also because of what living in awful conditions told you about yourself.

p. 285
Poverty could pile on; living it often meant steering through gnarled thickets of interconnected misfortunes and trying not to go crazy. There were moments of calm, but life on balance was facing one crisis after another.

p. 291
The home is the wellspring of personhood.

■ We will see the world premiere of The Book of Joseph at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater next month. The play adapts the correspondence collected in Every Day Lasts a Year.

■ Our family book club chose The Handmaid’s Tale for our winter selection. We listened to the audiobook for a bit during each of our drives in and out of Chicago and on the way back to campus. (Claire Danes does exceptional work with the narration.) My husband completed the audiobook, my daughters are reading the rest in between classes and research, and I finished by rereading my thirty-one-year-old hardback. Since I first read Tale, it has been a looming part of the landscape of my imagination, yet I was unprepared for how much more horrifying it seems now — now that I am the mother of adult daughters, now that the world appears to have gone a bit mad.

p. 181
No mother is ever, completely, a child’s idea of what a mother should be, and I suppose it works the other way around as well. But despite everything, we didn’t do too badly by one another, we did as well as most.

I wish she were here, so I could tell her I finally know this.

■ I picked up Bird Watching from a bargain table at the university bookstore. I want to adore McCartney’s playfulness, but I do not.

■ Maybe I should have declined the invitation because I knew I would not be able to give the “Shakespeare in a Year” project my complete attention until this weekend, but I am confident I will be completely caught up by Groundhog’s Day.

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