The Valley of the Horses by Jean M. Auel

The sequel to Clan of the Cave Bear. With the current situation in the world and after some nonfiction, I needed escapism far removed from the present day. I like that this series offers some actual history and anthropology.

As mentioned in a previous post, I have been busy with work and have not had time to read as much. This book took a couple of weeks to finish. The first half was not that engaging for me. I missed the characters from the first book like Ayla did. I found her solitary adventures in the first half the book somewhat interesting, but I found the other stuff with Jondalar a tad slow.

I don’t think Jondalar is particularly interesting male lead. For the first half other book, he is defined mostly by his attractiveness and not being able to fall in love with a woman. Like the first book where Ayla was incessantly described as big and ugly (when she was not at all), this book kept reminding the reader how good looking Jondalar is and how he couldn’t seem to find a soul mate.

Things pick up when they finally meet and I liked their interactions as I can learn through them what it’s like for people in the prehistoric era. It also becomes a romance novel when they meet. I know that this series becomes more of a romantic one as it progresses. It does not interest me much. While Auel is a good at weaving things from the past into a novel, there is a lot of repetitiveness and somewhat cliched writing. I think the characters and relationship can be quite good but the prose leaves something to be desired.

A friend told me that she made it to book 5 and that I should probably stop at book 4. I will keep going until I can’t but I am starting to see how difficult it may be if the writing does not improve significantly.

Read May 9-May 26, 2020.

FO Fridays: Agnes

Originally, I had bought this yarn for Sylvi, a big cabled coat. I started it, but it was on hold for years. In the end, I decided to frog it and use the yarn for other things. I usually think of sweaters first when I have an abundance of yarn.

I wanted a cozy, easy house sweater. This is an easy and straight forward pattern. It’s a top-down raglan with pockets. I even made it one size larger so it can have positive ease so I can easily throw it over anything in the cold months.

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Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

This took me awhile to read because this is non fiction and even in this “Stay at home” life, I have been busy with work and general life.

I love this topic as I consider sleep is closest thing to a universal panacea. It’s delicious and wonderful. I love having a long night of uninterrupted sleep. Always have and always will. I’m also an avid dreamer and can lucid dream which makes my dream life fun. In the past year, I’ve become increasingly interested in sleep and dreams again.

This book has interesting academic and scientific evidence. It’s written well and very accessible. The author puts in a couple of personal theories and experiences, but he does it just the right amount without being dry or prosaic.

If I had more time, I would have read this book much more quickly. I’ve read a lot non fiction books and this is a good one considering the number of studies it cites. It is almost a must to read these in paper book form because he has a few footnotes and personal notes at the bottom of the pages.

Reading this book was a little like preaching to the choir for me. I do feel like on the whole people in the world underestimate the value of sleep. I know my sleep enough and when I don’t get it, I don’t dream as well or feel as rested. There are a lot of being reporting more vivid dreams and this is more a result of them getting sufficient REM sleep.

On a personal note, two people in my life have sleep apnea including my father. My dad snored my whole life and he got tested a few years ago. Within three to six months of getting a CPAP/APAP machine, he felt a huge change in his quality of life. He was able to remember things better. He lost weight more easily. His mood improved drastically. I am grateful to our family physician who noticed it and referred him to a sleep clinic.

Sleep is undervalued and I believe the author in that I think sleep deficiency is the cause of many problems, chief of which is car accidents. This book is popular at my library and I hope more people read into how important sleep is at a personal and societal level.

Read April 18-May 3, 2020.