What are you reading the week of January 18, 2020?
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The first third of the book traced the rise of evangelicalism in America beginning with the Great Awakening in the post Revolutionary War period. The subject is fascinating. According to Hofstadter, in the late 18th century, during the Revolutionary War era, America was the least religious country in what we today call the western world. Only about one in 15 people were church members in 1790. That works out to a little more than 90% of the population having no religious affiliation. That's not the same as saying that they were agnostic or irreligious. They simply didn't belong to or attend a church of any kind. This is why The Great Awakening was such a big deal in American history.
I need to read more on The Great Awakening. Only having one perspective on an historical era such as this can lead to misconceptions. Every author has a point of view, and it's important to distinguish between that point of view and the facts.
The Nightingale Before Christmas: A Meg Langslow Christmas Mystery by Donna Andrews
(cozy mystery/interior decorators/Christmas showcase house theme)
>3 richardderus: Apnea is awful, no doubt about it. Been dealing with it for years, now.
I'm about halfway through the very entertaining mystery, The Black Camel, the fourth of Earl Der Biggers' Charlie Chan mysteries. This one was first published in 1929.
I think I'm going to read Lonesome Dove next. It's January, seasonal depression hangs heavily on me, and my brain is really picky about what I can concentrate on and what I can't.
Englishman John Howard, alone in life decides to take a fishing trip to France. On his way home, he is asked to escort a couple of children home to England. Unfortunately, Germany invades France just while he is trying to get the children home. Travel is very hard and along the way he picks up a few more children that desperately need to leave France. I enjoy Shute’s works and this one didn’t disappoint me. Poignant!
* “Hal Boyle Tells How ‘Shorty’ Plotnik Came a Long Way to Die” from A Treasury of Great Reporting: "Literature Under Pressure" from the Sixteenth Century to Our Own Time edited by Louis L. Snyder
* “Prices Must Drop 25% to Revive the Boom” from Magazine Digest - August 1949 edited by Murray Simmons
* “On Fear” from Leaves in the Wind by Alpha of the Plow (a.k.a. A. G. Gardiner)
* “Survival in the Wilderness” from Creek Walk and Other Stories by Molly Giles
* “War in the West” a letter from the collection, History of the First Regiment of Iowa Volunteers, by Henry O’Conner from The Union Reader edited by Richard B. Harwell
* “Down the Islands” A Winter Trip Through the West Indies” by Sherril Schell from The Mentor, November, 1924 edited by W. D. Moffat
I've now started Little Women. Hey! Better late than never. Thought I'd finally read it before seeing the new movie version.
*PBS, for the uninitiated, is Paperback Swap , which is only the best book swap site out there, IMHO!
This one centers on marriages and parenting rather than singles, but includes the sharp characterization and sly humor of 'Nina Hill'. I'm off to find The Garden of Small Beginnings now.
Next up is Tanith Lee's Night's Master.
ETA - Just finished 'Night's Master'. The goosebumps may recede by the end of the week. These very dark, very erotic fantasies are definitely NOT happy-ever-after stories, but rather intertwined tales of greed and evil, all stitched together by magnificent prose. Lee is not often read today, which is too bad, because before her death in 2015, she produced a body of work that is rich in allegory and texture.
A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America
by Philip Rucker
Scent To Her Grave – India Ink
Beginning of a new series starring Persia Vanderbilt, who, together with her Aunt, runs the local bath and body store -Venus Envy in Gull Harbor, WA.
I liked the basic premise and Persia's skill with scents and botanicals to create specialized compounds for her clients. I also liked the slow-burn potential romance. Her friend Barbara is a great sidekick.
That being said, the mystery was a little weak IMHO and the ending seemed rushed. Overall, it’s a decent cozy, but I’m in no hurry to read another in the series.
I have heard of the book but I just got around to reading it.
It's complicated, involved, mysterious, duplicitous, deceptive, murderous, convoluted, and absolutely fascinating. This is Charles Dickens on steroids. We're talking 780 pp of the smallest possible readable typeface, set with the tiniest of margins top and bottom and side to side,with minimum white space throughout. Maps, genealogical charts, index of characters, and Latin mottoes all over.
The time -- late Regency (early 1800s, think Austen)
The place -- village England and wicked London
The hero -- riddled with innocence
The "complication" -- Law + Equity = Fraud
The "titillation" -- "hidden" graphic clues (the coats of arms, perhaps?)
What could be better on a cold winter's night than a massive novel, a roaring fire, a cozy reading spot, with cats on one's lap and dogs at one's feet?
Desperate Creed by Alex Kava (4 stars)
(Ryder Creed, book 5/search and rescue dogs/tornado-torn area)
So, decided to throw a third in the mix, and have my first DNF in years... I pretty much complete every book even if it's difficult and I don't really 'like' it as long as it has some redeeming value or maybe I have to write a review for it... well, this one, The Brownstone by Ken Eulo, meets neither of those criteria.
Now debating whether I should replace it with something or just stick with the two I'm still reading...
An Irish Country Doctor – Patrick Taylor
Audiobook performed by John Keating
Taylor tells the tale of a young physician learning the ropes from an older, wiser, well-established practitioner in an Irish village, in the mid 1960s. Barry Laverty is happy to have this position, and he has an experienced, if unconventional, teacher in Dr Fingal Flaherty O’Reilly.
I’ve heard this described as “James Herriot for people” and I think that’s a perfect description. Some of the cases are quite serious, some patients are malingerers. While O’Reilly’s main advice is to “never let the customers get the upper hand,” he still shows great compassion for serious problems, teaches the young Laverty how to admit being wrong and helps him learn to apologize for his own mistakes. Which, of course, doctors do make – being human, after all.
The book is full of wonderful characters, from the steadfast housekeeper Mrs Kincaid, who prefers to be called Kinky, to the young doctor’s first love, Pamela, from elderly patients suffering mostly from loneliness, to young children with appendicitis, from shopkeepers with heart disease, to farmers with work-related injuries. There are some very humorous moments, and a few tender ones as well. Very entertaining.
John Keating does a marvelous job of performing the audiobook. I loved how he interpreted both O’Reilly and Laverty. And he does a passable job of the various women characters, as well.
The Diva Haunts the House – Krista Davis
Digital audiobook narrated by Hilary Huber
Book five in the cozy series featuring Domestic Diva Sophie Winston and her rival Natasha. As the title implies, this one focuses on Halloween. Sophie is in charge of the community’s fund-raiser Haunted House, which Natasha takes as a personal affront to her own “fabulous” costume party. The rivalry escalates when one of the displays in front of Natasha’s house turns out to be an actual body, and, of course, it’s Sophie who discovers the grisly scene.
There’s no lack of suspects, and plenty of costumed vampires around to confuse everyone from the police to the amateur sleuths. Add a gaggle of teen-age girls (and the teen boys they’re interested in), a séance, a riled parent, and the drama of both an ex-husband and a police detective who are quick to come to Sophie’s aid and you have a formula for a successful cozy.
I like the decorating tips at the beginning of each chapter. While I don’t ever throw a Halloween party, I certainly liked some of the suggestions. And the recipes at the end were a nice addition.
Hilary Huber does a fine job narrating the audiobook. She has a good pace and handles the many characters easily.
In the meantime, I'm going back to the mystery genre, as I've started The Dragon Scroll, the first of I.J. Parker's "Sugawara Akitada" series, which takes place in 11th century Japan.
If you've wondered what the fuss was about, looked at the sheer volume of her output and thought "help" in three-point type, this is the place and the moment to delve.
If you're nostalgic for another dispatch received by ansible from the Ekumen, this is the place and the moment to re-up your love for Old Music and Estraven and Ged and Tenar.
Yes, many people are reading Little Women for the first time this year due to the movie coming and I keep scratching my head at these 500+ page behemoths people are pulling out of their bags. Either the type is really big I thought or it's an omnibus including Little Men and the other book I can't remember the title of.
But looking through the covers on LT I remember the cover of my book and it was indeed the Signet Classics edition which means it wasn't abridged. So perhaps I had loved the book so much in middle school that I never noticed the length. I mean, I did read the 1463 page Signet Classic version of Les Miserables so obviously page length wasn't a deterrent to me back then.
If you own or want to buy the Library of American edition, Louisa May Alcott is featured on the iconic black jacket.
I seem to have lost the thread, but bck on target. Been in a big of a reading slog the last few weeks, but seem to be firmly intrenched in Pachinko. and a reread of one of my favorite books by Eliz Von Arnim (Enchanted April), Christopher and Columbus. Love this story about twin orphan young ladies who are sent to America by their german hating uncle. Lots of fun hijinks and very good writing.
Flight Behavior – Barbara Kingsolver
Audiobook read by the author
Dellarobia Turnbow is ten years into a marriage that has never satisfied her. Unsure how to deal with her restlessness she flirts with a younger man, a telephone lineman, and suggests a tryst in a hunter’s blind deep in the woods behind her home. But as she climbs to this ill-thought-out meeting, she encounters a strange sight that literally stops her in her tracks. The only way she can describe it is “a lake of fire.”
Kingsolver has crafted a story of one woman’s awakening, and simultaneously a warning about climate change. I found the story compelling from both perspectives. I know many people criticize Kingsolver for being preachy, but I did not find her message overbearing.
Dellarobia is a fascinating character. She’s intelligent but lacks education, having gotten pregnant and married right out of high school. Her community is small and somewhat restrictive. People are mostly struggling to survive in deep Appalachia. They do not have time to ponder philosophy or global impact. And they are quick to judge anyone who tries to break out of the mold. Focus is on family and church. Dellarobia and her husband live on his parents’ land, in a house just a stone’s throw from his mother and father. Yet they have limited say in their own future. It’s no wonder she’s feeling suffocated and unfulfilled.
But when her in-laws discover the amazing sight on the mountain things begin to change. Dellarobia becomes the focus of media attention and her image goes viral. She begins helping the scientist who comes to study the phenomenon, and this opens her eyes to new possibilities.
While the book begins with a self-described rash act, I found Dellarobia to be much more cautious than that initial impression. I liked the way she thought about, questioned, researched, and considered her life, her family, her relationships and her future. I liked that she begins to make some hard decisions that are first about her own survival, and ultimately about her family as well.
Certainly, there are references to religion (just google “lake of fire” and the bible). And Kingsolver is questioning how people can believe something in the face of contradictory evidence – in this case about climate change. I know many people criticize Kingsolver for being preachy, but I did not find her message overbearing in this book. It certainly gave me plenty to think about.
I did find the ending somewhat abrupt and would love to have some discussion about it with one of my F2F book clubs. Unfortunately for me, this book has not yet made it to the reading list for any of them … yet.
Kingsolver narrates the audiobook herself, and she does a fine job. She makes no effort to give the characters significantly different voices, though she does attempt a vaguely “Caribbean” accent for Ovid.
Latinos In Milwaukee – Joseph A Rodriguez Ph.D. & Walter Sava Ph.D.
This is a short history of the various Latino immigrant populations in Wisconsin’s largest city. This is part of a series of books that document various historical events in cities around the nation. I found it interesting but not particularly compelling.
The authors interviewed many current residents, some whose families had been in the area since the early 20th century; and outline the various reasons and opportunities that brought these immigrants north. From Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Central America, people came for opportunities in the cities tanning operations, factories and colleges. They formed civic organizations, sports leagues and arts boards. They joined the US military, opened businesses, and got elected to local office.
My book club had the pleasure of welcoming Dr Sava for our discussion. THAT meeting / discussion was stimulating, informative and enjoyable.