WHAT ARE YOU READING? - Part 4
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Stay cool if you are in the Northern hemisphere (and stay safe in the Southern one I guess) and stop by and tell us what you are reading these days.
The summer reading program at my public library has been in swing for just over a week, and I've been having fun logging my reading for that. This year the library is using a new service to manage their reading programs, and it has a convenient tracking app for patrons to use. I'm still maintaining my analog records, though, since I like having a backup.
Right now, I am nearly finished reading Recursion by Blake Crouch, and I am listening to A Scone to Die For by H. Y. Hanna. On the non-fiction front, I am reading The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll and A Case for the Book of Mormon by Tad R. Callister.
At some point in the near future I need to start in on The Count of Monte Cristo, which is the book my local book group will be discussing in October. It is the club's 100th book, and we've been meeting since 2006.
I also started Ruth Bader Ginsberg's memoir My Own Words for my book club selection.
I do plan to read The Luminaries this month.
I did just finish Good Omens, which is hilarious. I watched the Amazon mini-series, which was written by Neil Gaiman, and it was very good. The acting was brilliant.
I'm kind of deep-seatedly opposed to reading plans around numbers etc.—my lineups have to do with either what I've got on deck to review, what my book club is reading, maybe something I've just been given as a gift that I want to dive into, or whatever strikes my fancy. Right now I'm reading the 2019 O. Henry Prize Stories (not in the LT system for a touchstone and I don't have time to input the work right now) for a review next week, and then my book club is reading the humongous Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art for our August meeting, so I might as well get started on that—I'm guessing I'll want to read some shorter fiction in between chapters.
I started and finished Of Blood and Bone (borrowed) yesterday and started Babylon's Ashes (pre-2019) today.
Reading your post inspired me to figure out how many of my owned books read so far this year were acquired before the start of the year, and how many were acquired during the year (this is something I track, but it's very much a visual thing on my spreadsheet, rather than a neat column of numbers). So far this year, 52% of my read books were obtained pre-2019, 29% were obtained in 2019, and 19% have been borrowed. I am happy with these trends; at this time last year, only 27% of my read books were obtained prior to the start of the year, 26% were obtained in 2018, and 47% of the books I read had been borrowed.
I finished A Scone to Die For on my commute in to work this morning, and I will be starting Tea with Milk and Murder on my drive home. I'm quite enjoying this cozy mystery series.
This week I’ve started Nobody Knows My Name, essays by James Baldwin, and My Antonia by Willa Cather. And this week will be act iii of Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, his problem play where he makes fun of a tragedy...maybe.
I seem to be on a bit of a Spanish/Latin American roll, I'm sure there will be more of that coming up. And I need to brush up on what's been happening in postcolonial lit in the last 25 years for the RG theme read, and I want to catch up a bit on my Zolathon (8/20 after 18 months, a little behind my non-binding target of finishing in 3 years...). And there's that TBR shelf!
Anyway. I've recently finished On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks, and am now reading The Dog Stars by Peter Heller, which I've been meaning to get to for ages.
And on audio I finally finished Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. Now on my commute I’m listening to Stamped from the Beginning: The definitive history of racist ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendy, it won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 2016.
The author is an English Professor at the University of Edmonton whose specialty is early modern English literature. He is also a motorcycle rider. The book is about a literary trip he took by motorcycle from his home in Edmonton to Austin, Texas to do some work in the Stirling Archives. He had purchased a Ducati motorcycle and it was his inaugural trip with that machine. Along the way he stopped at other literary places of interest -like the New Mexico ranch of D. H. Lawrence. In the course of the book, he took a trip to Europe for a literary conference and visited the Ducati factory and museum. The book was full of side trips and lots of motorcycle stories. It was also full of thoughts about archives, books, and the art of reading. It was quite philosophical - even about motorcycling and motorcycles.
This one is the last of this series. I shall miss Zen and these well crafted mystery novels. Dibdin brought the Italian life to the page and gave me characters I loved to read about. I like these Italian mysteries better than the Guido Brunetti series. They seem more realistic to me and I like the fact that Zen was transferred all around Italy in an attempt to get him out of the way. Now all of these books are gone off my shelves. I shall donate these last two books in the series to the used bookstore run by my local library so somebody else can enjoy them. I hope that they do enjoy them. They are to good to just lay around and not be read.
Now reading Mary Gabriel's Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art for my book club. This will be my second 900+ page book this year! But since it's mine, and not a library book (and since I don't think my book club is meeting again until August), I can dawdle a bit and leaven it with a little fiction and catch up on some New Yorkers/NYRBs in between chapters. This is very much up my alley, though, both time period and subject matter. Art ladies! I'm in.
I'm also working my way through Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James's foray into epic fantasy. This isn't my genre at all, but the fantasy version of Africa is interesting.
And I'm reading Klotsvog, a novel set in the Soviet Union by Margarity Khemlin about a Jewish Soviet woman doing what she needs to get by.
And, finally, I'm reading Belle Boggs's The Gulf, about two friends who open a writing program for Christians, set in a run-down motel on the gulf coast.
Oh well! It is a good novel, but so far not as good as I had hoped. I am also listening to Bloodwitch the latest in Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch series. I like the second one better than the first, but I think that is because I am more invested in this series. Bloodwitch is book 4 in the series and We Hunt the Flame is the first in a proposed trilogy.
I'm off on a few days' vacation soon. I'm not sure if that will help or hinder my progress through the TBR shelves, though. Depends how much reading I get done on the plane.
Back from holidays and have caught up on a few reviews as well.
Now starting my first Hemingway - A Farewell to Arms - with some trepidation given many less than rosy thoughts on him in many CR threads over the years.
The praise this book got from the reviewers did the book justice. It is well written and of course, it doesn't hurt that the main characters were fascinating people who lived a very different lifestyle than what was the norm for post-war Europe.
When I went to enter this book into my book diary (paper book diary) I noticed that it was published by Chelsea Green Publishing. This is a small environmentally certified green publishing company based in Vermont. The book was printed on recycled paper and all materials used in the book are certified sustainable. This is in total keeping with what Patience and Norman would have wanted and it is a wonderful tribute to them and their principles.
Next up a new title this year - Mud and Stars: Travels in Russia with Pushkin and Other Geniuses of the Golden Age by Sara Wheeler. My library bought this especially at my request and put my first in the queue to read it - you can't ask for better than that.
I'm also dipping in and out of Chi Running in an attempt to get my running going again without any injuries this time.
I finished "About Grace" by Anthony Doerr and I have picked up The Great Hunt now. Right now I am in a very confused state. I don't know which book to pick up to read along with The Great Hunt. I have shortlisted to two books: Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Shell Seekers. Still unsure which to read.
Oh, How I Wished I Could Read by John Gile
Franklin Goes to School by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark
Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates
Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind by Judy Finchler and Kevin O'Malley
I am also reading Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith.
>66 rhian_of_oz: Terra Nullius has been in the pile next to my bed for a long time.... I'll be interested in what you think.
I'm about to start Merry Wives of Windsor for a Litsy group and I think I'm about to start The Earliest English Poems (translated by Michael Alexander) to try to get me in the mood of Beowulf, one of my planned August reads.
This novel won the Harper Lee Legal Fiction Award in 2018. This award is given by The University of Alabama Law School for the best legal fiction of the year. In my opinion it deserves this award. An author who can make the mundane interesting has a talent for writing.
The author's first novel was just as good, Doubt by C. E. Tobisman so if you like mysteries or thriller - read or listen to both of them.
I listened to this novel, and the narrator of the recorded version does a really good job of bringing this novel to sound. This was a great commute listen.
Not sure what's up next, probably something else from the library pile. Or I might get sucked into chasing up what everyone else has been posting during July...
The Anatomy of Absurdity by Thomas Nash published in 1589
Mill on the Po by Riccardo Bacchelli published in 1952
Just started Berichten van het Blauwe Huis by Hella S. Haasse, a Dutch writer I've been meaning to get back to for ages.
I"m now reading The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman, which I'm liking better than I thought I was probably going to.
I'm reading a history of the California Gold Rush called Anybody's Gold by California historian Joseph Henry Jackson. The book was published in 1941, so events described were less than 100 years in the past, but already certainly the stuff of legend to a certain extent. Jackson makes good use of letters and journals, however, so there is a lot of first-hand description. I taught California history a couple of times almost 30 (!) years ago, so the material is mostly review for me, but I'm still enjoying it, though with reservations I'll go into when I review the book.
Now having a go at Il cavaliere inesistente because I haven't read any Calvino for ages, and it's about time I tried reading him in the original.
I'm also plugging along with the Frederick Douglass biography which is sometimes interesting but sometimes drags. I suppose that's to be expected with a 900 page biography!
>112 ELiz_M: Jahrestage has been on my virtual TBR for years - it sounds as though real-time should be a good way to read it. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say about it this time next year!
My TBR shelf is starting to creak, so I'm going to try really hard not to order anything else from the library from a while. I have so many books I can't wait to read that I've enlisted my nine year old daughter to choose my next book for a while, so next up is The American Boy by Andrew Taylor which I was supposed to read as part of my 50 book challenge when I first joined CR in 2015 but never got around to.
Not sure what's next - something off the e-reader, anyway, because there will lots of time on trains in the next few days.
I've now started The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden, and although I'm only a very little ways into it, I think I'm going to like it.
An interesting and thought provoking novel if you are willing to read through to the conclusion. I enjoyed it the further in I read. Of course I did not fully understand the denouement, but then I didn't expect to
It seems it does get better as you read through and the three strands to the story start to converge. I did note that many of the characters seemed to be obsessed by sex, with the physical act that is, and while that may be true for some of us, it does not always make for great writing
Good luck if you continue.
Just back from a week's vacation where I finished Jacob the Liar, My Sister the Serial Killer, Convenience Store Woman, and started Stories of Your Life and Others and La Bête humaine.
I finished Driving in Cars With Homeless Men, which I loved. Still reading Ninth Street Women, and now I'm about halfway through Zadie Smith's new short story collection, Grand Union.
I found Rosewater Insurecction to be an easier and faster read than the first novel (Rosewater) in the series.
Thnk I'll have to sit with Waste tide, or re-read it down the line - it did not tie up neatly for me, but is intriguing.
>122 BLBera: I'm happy to see someone else reading and enjoying The bird king.
>123 avaland: I listened to The strange bird last year, and it remains my favorite audio of the year.
Yesterday I enjoyed another short Dutch book about the early days of cycling, Voort in 't zadel, kameraden!, and today I re-read a couple of Muriel Spark novels from my shelves.
Remaining on my library pile I've got La verdad de Agamemnón, a collection of journalism by Javier Cercas, so I think at least a dip into that might be next.
Now I've moved on to an old Booker winner - How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman. Thinking in thick Glaswegian as I read is requiring some concentration in these first early pages.
I also have a good start on Travels With Herodotus and am really enjoying that book. I can see why it is so popular.
In incidently both books have a Polish person named Ryszard in them.
The Golden Oldies Guesthouse by Dee MacDonald
I'm also read Because Internet, written by a linguist who has studied the effect of the internet on written language. Very interesting and readable.
I started Lucky Jim last night from the 1001 books list, but I will set it aside when The Testaments arrives tonight. I have low expectations for the Handmaid's Tale sequel, but I want to read it before my opinion is skewed by too many reviews!
Current reading includes The Diamond Throne (a reread), The Count of Monte Cristo (also a reread, and my book group book for next month), and Timebound in audio. For the month of September I plan to focus almost exclusively on books I own. And maybe get my thread up to date.
For a complete change, I've started a smartphone-era crime story, Apocalypse bébé. Not sure if it's my kind of thing, so far...
Read Rion Amilcar Scott's The World Doesn't Require You on a recent work trip, which was a really smart, but definitely challenging, suite of stories and one novella that looked at race (and also religion, music, sexism, and academia) through a fascinatingly shape-shifting set of lenses.
Now reading Karen Russell's Orange World and Other Stories, a few of which I've already read elsewhere and loved enough to reread this time around. Still great stuff.
Now started Prawda : eine amerikanische Reise by Felicitas Hoppe, an offbeat travel book that turns out to be an hommage to a Russian book I didn't know about, Ilf and Petrov's American Road Trip. And it turns out that Hoppe has also done the container-ship thing, like Horatio Clare. Multiple rabbit-hole alert...!
I'm currently reading an SF novel from the 80s, Project Pope by Clifford D. Simak. Which is, to put it mildly, not one of Simak's better works.
It was tough to concentrate sometimes....
I started two more books during that time (sampling) Welcome to America by Linda Bostrom Knausgard and The Summer Isles by Ian R. MacLeod in between those books and will probably go back to the MacLeod first.
>182 dchaikin: I was unkind about Herzog recently - well, seven years ago, now I check...
Enjoy Quichotte! - I’ve got An orchestra of minorities planned in for the near future.
Seven years is probably beyond on LT memory capability...
Finished a (mostly re-) read of the classic post-colonial lit text The empire writes back yesterday.
Meanwhile I've started An orchestra of minorities on my ereader and on paper Island story, a good old-fashioned left-wing travel book (think JB Priestley, but on a bicycle, and without the gift for rhetoric).
>189 thorold: I really enjoyed Orchestra of Minorities (on audio). Haven't reviewed it here yet, though.
Keigo Higashino : Salvation of a Saint
John Wyndham : The Day of the Triffids
Ursula K. Le Guin : The Lathe of Heaven
Pearl S. Buck : The Good Earth
Sheila Heiti : Motherhood