Home > In Our Strange Gardens – The 52nd Book

In Our Strange Gardens – The 52nd Book

December 30th, 2009 - written by Brian Utley

I’m really tired but also a little anxious and quite a bit relieved. Reggie and Bob weren’t doing it for me either. A commenter posited that it was so hard to find a book because #52 was supposed to mean something more, something to speak for the previous 51 books, to represent. And yes, I agree. I couldn’t choose a book that seemed appropriate for the final book.

I was avoiding reading In Our Strange Gardens because of it’s length. It’s only 80 pages when translated from French. How could I end the resolution with an 80 page book? But all day today I was telling myself that the resolution was over, that 51 had to be where it ended. I even got into bed telling myself it was over, you can relax now, it’s done and 51 is just fine. I hadn’t completed a book in almost a month.

Then I looked over at the book that my sister let me borrow and I just started reading. She really beamed up when she loaned it to me, and I still hear those words that I so often say to other people, “I can’t tell you why I loved it, I just did”. I guess that stuck with me.

So, resigned to failure I started reading the book and a few hours later I had it finished, and yes, it is a wonderful book. So simple and true, and much more full of life than other books with a higher page count with more to say that is quickly forgotten. But not here, not with these characters and these sacrifices and how the story is told, with the end at the beginning, the beginning in the middle, and the end back where you started the whole thing. And through this whole circuitous read you are totally engaged, and time fades away, and before I knew it, I had my 52 books.

In Our Strange Gardens – The 52nd Book

Book Thoughts

  1. December 30th, 2009 at 10:58 | #1

    Awesome idea. Do you have a favorite or two from the list you can recommend?

  2. December 30th, 2009 at 11:20 | #2

    Congratulations Brian. I did this once while I was in college, but reading and studying) was sort of my job then. I can’t imagine doing it now. I consider myself lucky to get through 25 a year these days.


  3. david
    January 3rd, 2010 at 21:36 | #3

    Congratulations! I’ve been following your site throughout the year and it’s inspired me to read more during whatever free time I may encounter. I’ve also taken some recommendations from your list. Thank you for putting creative thinking above our all-too-easy saturation of the senses. Also, I just finished Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood and highly recommend it. Happy New Year.

  4. January 5th, 2010 at 18:02 | #4

    Thank you! I’ve heard great things about Murakami.

  5. June 6th, 2011 at 23:16 | #5

    Love the resolution, being a book junkie myself. Well read Brian. Love from Norway.

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