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Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Munoz Molina - the author's ideas on James Earl Ray, some fact, some fiction, all compelling reading
Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney in a beautiful illustrated edition with artifacts from the era of the poem
- I would now love to hear him read it in audio
The Heaney audiobook of Beowulf is available on Scribd - I listened to a bit of it and liked the way he reads a lot. Very narrative-focussed, he reads it almost as if it were prose.
My favourite reads for this quarter are Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout and Abigail by Magda Szabó. I'm definitely going to read more of those two authors (well, I've been slowly making my way through Magda Szabó's translated back catalogue since reading Le vieux puits back in 2013...) I also really liked Autumn by Ali Smith, The Poor Christ of Bomba by Mongo Beti and The Testaments by Margaret Atwood.
On the non-fiction side, I enjoyed The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (his enthusiasm is infectious) and Le Ministre est enceinte by Bernard Cerquiglini.
For poetry, I found Luck is the Hook by Imtiaz Dharker really moving.
The Longest Debate: a Legislative History of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by Charles W. Whalen and Barbara Whalen. A fascinating inside look at the struggle to pass this historic legislation.
Anybody's Gold: The Story of California's Mining Towns by Joseph Henry Jackson. Entertaining history and also an interesting time-piece of the 1940s, which is when it was written.
The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde. Hope the next book in this wonderful, hilarious series comes sooner rather than later.
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (2009, T 2019, Polish) Brilliant book, terribly clever and often funny, with the hint of fairy tale about it - woods, animals, possibly crazy old woman.... Just a fabulous read.
In the Shadow of Wolves by Alkyds Slepikas (2011, T 2019, Lithuanian) Powerful, clever and riveting book about survival set in East Prussia as the Russians assume possession. This also has a whiff of classic fairy tale about it -- snow, woods, danger, cruelty... Did I say riveting?
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (2019, Canadian) A rollicking good read, a worthy sequel, but suspenseful without the same kind of power of its predecessor.
Although I listed this book with this quarter's reads, I have been slowly savoring it all year. Lovely book profiling 80 different trees noting biological, cultural and historical tidbits (great gift for a tree lover, I've bought at least four!)
Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori (2018, UK, nonfiction)
My favorites of the quarter:
All That Is Left Is All That Matters by Mark Slouka
Fight No More by Lydia Millet
A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher
Driving in Cars with Homeless Men by Kate Wisel
Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell
A lot of this quarter has been devoted to one (still unfinished) large book and parts of lots of short story collections, so I haven't been super prolific in terms of finishing. That said, I've enjoyed just about everything I've read lately. These were the tops, though.
Best non-fiction were Why Do the Swiss Have Such Great Sex?, Ashley Curtis, Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People, Tarnya Cooper, and Evil: the Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side, Julia Shaw
- French 19th century fiction took up a big chunk of the last three months, in particular I got a lot out of Nana, Pot-bouille, and Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes
- I read seven Muriel Spark novels in Q3 - all worthwhile, but the highlights were The Mandelbaum Gate and the re-read of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
- Some interesting travel/seafaring books, I think the ones that struck me most were Jacob van Lennep's diary of his walk around the Netherlands published as De zomer van 1823 and Henry Havard's sailing trip fifty years later, La Hollande pittoresque, voyage aux villes mortes du zuiderzeé.
- Also very interesting in this category was Dan Taylor's bike-ride through pre-referendum Britain, Island story
- Felicitas Hoppe's Prawda: eine amerikanische Reise was a fun entry on the borders of fiction and travel
- Two superb recent Spanish novels, Sefarad by Antonio Muñoz Molina and La forma de las ruinas by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
- Günter Grass's late novel Grimms Wörter and Rushdie's Quichotte: a novel were both unsurprisingly good.
- I rather got sidetracked away from the RG Turning the tables theme read, but In the castle of my skin and Demain j'aurai vingt ans were both very interesting, and I've got a couple more late entries lined up
I finally completed and wrote a bit about District and circle
I completed alchemical active imagination and also ally work - but both had been ongoing for since March and may reread them -- they've also opened doors to others, with Kingsley too.
I'm also loving getting to know Jackie Morris' work.
But maybe my favourite of the season has been A Honeybee Heart has Five Openings which really connected with me as personal journey and part of the world.
I'm glad you seem to be out of that book funk that seemed to last a few years (or is that my imagination?)
I'm nowhere near back where I was, but doing much better. I mean, my job expects me to be there all day, 5 days a week. I like it, and I like the people I work with, and it's interesting, but I still think that's a big ask for me to spend so much time there. Outside of work, I do get easily distracted by Brexit and Trump-shenanigans, which takes up my reading time. But doing better than I was a few years ago when my brain was very full of other things with no room for reading. That was awful.
A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J Gaines
The Cookcamp by Gary Paulsen
Prince Valiant, Vol. 8: 1951-1952 by Hal Foster
Pony Farm by Paul Brown
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
The Man Called Noon by Louis L'Amour
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Timothy, Titus Philemon, Hebrews (Bible books)
I was quite torn on this one, but there is a bit in the book that is certainly my favourite part in any book this year which is why it counts as a favourite for the quarter despite my misgivings. Plus I think it has an important message (certainly for Australians).