Mental Day Off, and a Good Read

Every now and then, we just need a mental day off. Sometimes we indulge in them after a long work week, or when feeling sick. It’s been that kind of weekend here.  

As a genealogist, I have a hard time escaping completely from my obsession. Many of my diversions hint at genealogy, including a good portion of my reading selections. I often choose mysteries, stories that delve into family connections, or those that explore an historical period.

Some of my favorites from a genealogist’s perspective were gifts, but others were found by chance. Bookstore browsing. Catching sight of an appealing cover. That is how I discovered All the Names.

The story involves one man’s quest. Sr. Jose, a records clerk, lives in a room behind the vital records office. His days consist of documenting births, marriages, and deaths. He secretly ventures into the archive after hours to collect information from records for a personal collection. He stumbles onto a document that causes him to become obsessed with an individual’s life. He sets out to solve the mystery he has discovered, and to some degree, created.

When I picked up this book and read the back cover blurb, I was hooked. The genealogist in me couldn’t resist a novel with a protagonist living in a room behind an office filled with vital records. Of course he’s going to sneak in after hours!

All the Names is the sort of book that I like to linger in, enjoying the prose. Literary style is a matter of personal taste. Some might dislike the style. I love reading sentences that I wish I had written.

I dug into boxes today, trying to find my copy of All the Names. Much of my fiction is boxed and waiting for the day that my dream library is a reality. Most are boxed somewhat alphabetically by author. Several boxes break that mold — the ones assembled in a hurry, after stacks of books reached a precarious height and needed to be put away. Mish-mosh.

All the Names eluded me today, and I am disappointed. I was hoping for that mental day off.

All the Names. José Saramago. Mariner Books, 2001. Translated by Margaret Jull Costa. 264 pp. Saramago, a Portuguese author, received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998.  Paperback $13.48

Kindle $2.99, kindleunlimited free

Audible $11.95, free with Audible trial

I listened to a preview of the Audible version, a mistake after reading the book. The reader’s voice was nothing like the one I imagined narrating the story.


 

Content written by Debbie Mieszala may contain banner advertisements and some text links that point to commercial enterprises via an affiliate relationship. Readers of these might follow an affiliate link and visit a commercial web site. Any resulting purchases made by a visitor might result in a commission being paid to Debbie Mieszala. Every effort is made to identify pay-for-use commercial web sites as such within descriptions. The existence of these links does not imply endorsement of the services or products provided by those commercial enterprises.

© 2015, Debbie Mieszala. All rights reserved.

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4 Responses to Mental Day Off, and a Good Read

  1. Kendra Schmidt says:

    Thanks for the book suggestion. Like you, I enjoy reading books that have an element of family history. I just added All the Names to my wish list on Amazon.com.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      You’re welcome! I have a book to add to my wish list now, too. A reader suggested it — The Girl on the Train. Looks fun! The public library might also have these books, adding a free option to obtaining them.

  2. Donna Robinson says:

    Debbie you have a gift when comes to writing no matter what the subject. Write some books, make some big, big bucks! You can do it, seriously.

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