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What stood out for you this quarter? Did you discover any new to you wonderful authors? Will you continue on with any of the Q2 reading in Q3?
- Marie Nimier's La reine du silence, an autobiographical account of her relationship (or lack thereof) with her father, cult writer Roger Nimier, and of her reaction to his early death in a car accident. I had never read anything of hers before, because I was led to believe that her writing was in the same line as her father's, and right-wing, royalist anarchism (wouldn't that be an oxymoron?) with a side helping of machismo didn't appeal. In fact, it was very thoughtful and moving, and not at all reactionary. I will be looking out for her other books.
- La bibliothèque enchantée by Mohammad Rabie
- Ibn Tufayl's Hayy Ibn Yaqzan: A Philosophical Tale by Ibn Tufayl
I also really liked Les jardins statuaires by Jacques Abeille.
Nothing really stood out on the non-fiction side.
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
The Prestige by Christopher Priest
The Quite Nice and Fairly Accurate Good Omens Script Book by Neil Gaiman
Exit West by Moshin Hamid
(OK, that second-to-last one may say more about how much I liked the TV show than anything, but still. )
The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson
The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery
The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall
Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia
House of Assassins by Larry Correia
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
I don't envision a whole lot changing in my reading behavior as I move into Q3. I'm going to keep reading the books I'm reading, focusing on books I own.
The Spanish Tragedy Thomas Kyd - amazing 5 stars.
Tamburlaine the Great Christopher Marlowe four stars but I think he can do better.
Books off my shelf
Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter Simone de Beauvoir hits the top with 4.5 stars
Dead Man in Deptford Anthony Burgess 4 stars
Nightwood Djuna Barnes - 4 stars again
Red Cavalry Isaac Babel - 4 stars
Gabriels Lament - Paul Bailey - 4 stars
Well what do you know five books from my shelves and all four stars or more, shows I know how to pick good books.
French language books
Le Grand Meaulnes - Alain-Fournier - 5 stars
perhaps I should read more French books, unfortunately I manage only one a quarter and so it has to be good. This next quarter its Vingt mille lieues sous les mers by Jules Verne this one might take half a year.
non listed as four star reads, but hang on a minute I have just finished Childhood's End by Arthur C Clarke and I could squeeze this in, its a five star read.
- Christine Brooke-Rose - still working through her novels, enjoyed the later ones almost more than the ones from her middle period I was reading in Q1
- Ali Smith's Spring
- short stories by Roberto Bolaño and Jorge Luis Borges
- Jane Glover on Mozart's Women (specifically the opera section)
- David Crystal's excellent The stories of English
And I should give a mention to Robert Löhr's very funny historical novel Das Erlkönig-Manöver, which encouraged me to read the oddest book of Q2, Goethes Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde, Bettina von Armin's very strange (but weirdly gripping) 600-page fan fiction epic...
Soooo, I'd pick out just two favourites:
- although my love for it proved controversial on my thread, I really enjoyed A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Emotionally manipulating? No doubt, but it was a real page-turner nonetheless.
- I'm loving Lionel Shriver more and more with every book of hers I read. So Much For That was enjoyable: probably not my favourite to date, but still a good read.
The Innocents by Michael Crummey (Nov. 2019, fiction, Newfoundland) Absolutely riveting historical fiction.
The Hungry Ghosts: Seven Elusive Comedies by Joyce Carol Oates (1974, short stories) Ironic humor featuring academics in their native habitats with all their insecurities, foibles...etc. These were written in '70-74 so I enjoyed the revisit (descriptions of clothes & hair, snobby attitudes towards the young of the day..., never mind the references to carbon copies...)
Dear Evelyn by Kathy Page (fiction, 2018, Canadian/UK) A lovely, but not romantic story, about a long marriage.
All that Remains: A Renowned Forensic Scientist on Death, Mortality, and Solving Crimes by (Dame) Sue Black (2019, UK, nonfiction). Probably not for everyone, but likely to be my nonfiction book of the year....
Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side by Julia Shaw (2019, nonfiction) Succinct, accessible and thought-provoking book on the subject.
Wow, that Verne is a long one! Even as a native French person it took me a while to read. Don't let yourself get bogged down by the science words and let your eyes skim those massive paragraphs as they don't really add anything to the story other than ambiance. But overall I was really happy to have read it so I hope you end up enjoying it as well.
I read no books in the 2nd quarter so I have nothing to contribute unfortunately.
Red Clocks by Leni Zumas (probably my favorite of the entire quarter)
Exhalation by Ted Chiang
Pretend I'm Dead and Vacuum in the Dark by Jen Beagin
Darwin: An Exceptional Voyage by Fabien Grolleau
Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America by Karine Jean-Pierre
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor (Novel)
La place by Annie Ernaux (Novel)
A second chance at Eden by Peter F. Hamilton (Collection)
Sveket by Birgitta Trotzig (Novella)
The beauty by Aliya Whiteley (Novella)
And while this wasn't good, properly speaking, it was sheer, unbridled fun to read, and that deserves recognition, too:
The Young Visiters or, Mr. Salteena's Plan by Daisy Ashford (Novella)
The Moor’s Last Stand: How Seven Centuries of Muslim Rule in Spain Came to an End by Elizabeth Drayson
The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
Queen of the Sea: A History of Lisbon by Barry Hatton
Lanny by Max Porter
Lord of All the Dead by Javier Cercas
Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
When Will There Be Good News, Kate Atkinson. The 3rd Brody Jackson book was a great read that I never wanted to put down.
The Naked Swiss: the Nation Behind 10 Myths, Clare O'Dea which is great if you're interested in learning about Switzerland, and probably a big nothing if you're not.