What are you reading the week of February 15, 2020?

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What are you reading the week of February 15, 2020?

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Fev 15, 2020, 6:53am

I finished up Propaganda and Persuasion. It had some interesting historical background on the history of the topic, but it was a fairly pedestrian book on the subject. What I'm looking for is a book that offers practical and effective advice on how to counter propaganda. The one thing that I know doesn't work is tell people, "You're wrong" or "That's not how that works." The quest continues.

I tried going back to Democracy and Education by John Dewey, but I have never been able to finish anything by him except with concerted effort. It's like walking in deep mud.

Editado: Fev 20, 2020, 1:23pm

Continuing to enjoy ~

Mindfulness for Chocolate Lovers: A Lighthearted Way to Stress Less and Savor More Each Day
by Diane R. Gehart (OverDrive Kindle eBook)


American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel
by Jeanine Cummins (OverDrive audiobook)

(both books rate 4+ stars)

Fev 15, 2020, 11:19am

I'm so close to finishing my monster big book, but I have to set it aside for All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy. Book club is a week from today so I need to get going on it.

Fev 15, 2020, 1:01pm

Still reading Nevernight, Fire & Blood, and Broken Glass.

Fev 15, 2020, 1:36pm

I'm about 60 pages from finishing my reread of The Hamlet, the first book in William Faulkner's "Snopes Family" trilogy. Dense sometimes, but holy smokes, so wonderful.

Fev 15, 2020, 7:19pm

Fiasco: A History of Hollywood's Iconic Flops
James Robert Parish
3.5/5 stars
Written in 2006, this book can certainly be updated but as a movie buff, I had seen many of the movies in the book as the author breaks down the reasons each movie failed. There are a couple of movies in the book that I did enjoyed. I liked Paint Your Wagon and Last Action Hero but I definitely agree that Showgirls, Robin William’s Popeye and Ishtar were completely terrible. This book is definitely for movie fans. It would be interesting to see a updated version of this book!

Fev 16, 2020, 10:33am

Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
Digital audiobook performed by Meera Syal

From the book jacket: Nikki, a modern-day daughter of Indian immigrants, has spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki impulsively takes a job teaching a “creative writing” course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-kknit Punjabi community.

My Reactions:
I was expecting something light and breezy and I was pleasantly surprised to find some depth here. Nikki is a wonderful character who shepherds her students through to success. Along the way she discovers that her long-held assumptions about the women in the community need to be examined and her opinions updated. She finds women who have suffered, and women who have relished in the joys of their role, women who are brave and those who are shy or hesitant. But all the women she encounters want MORE, and want to take some control of their lives even in the relatively small way of reading – and writing – erotic stories.

I loved the women in Nikki’s classes. Some of their stories were heartbreaking, but all of them were so willing to be open and honest in their writing. That their subject matter would “shock” their peers was not a deterrent to their need to express themselves. Brava, ladies! And through their bravery and openness, Nikki comes to learn something about herself and about the value of forgiveness and second chances.

Just a delightful book.

Meera Syal did a marvelous job narrating the audiobook. She really brought these characters to life.

Fev 16, 2020, 10:36am

I’m rereading Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried for an upcoming book club discussion. It is just as powerful now as it was when I read it 20 years ago!

Fev 16, 2020, 11:53am

WEDNESDAY – 01 Jan 20

The Cat Who Came For Christmas– Cleveland Amory

On a snowy Christmas eve, Amory was contacted by a friend who had been trying to gain the trust of a stray cat who had been hanging about in a nearby alley. Ruth was sure that with the two of them working together they’d be able to capture the skittish feline. Against his better judgment, Amory went out in the snow and eventually they succeeded. But now where to take the cat? Thus this (eventually discovered to be white) cat came into Amory’s life, and they developed a close relationship (or as close as anyone can get to a cat). Polar Bear filled a hole in Amory’s life, and the animal advocate certainly ensured that Polar Bear not only survived, but thrived.

This book is a memoir of their first year together and the ways in which man and beast became a team.

I’m not much of an animal lover, but I found this reasonably interesting and entertaining. There were some quite humorous episodes (the first “bath”). Amory was a dedicated animal advocate and he uses this story to expound on many of his efforts, including stopping the slaughter of baby seals. I thought many of these sidelines detracted from the central story of a Cat and His Man.

Despite the title, there was nothing particularly “Christmassy” about the book.

Fev 16, 2020, 12:55pm

Last night I finished The Hamlet by William Faulkner. The Hamlet is the first book in Faulkner's "Snopes" trilogy. The novel tells a series of interweaving stories with a core set of characters moving throughout and an interchanging series of part-time players revolving around them. This is life in small town deep South in the late 19th/early 20th centuries: grim, ruthless and hard, with a few hesitant glimmers of grace woven in. The writing hurtles headlong with dense, flowing language, memorable characters and beautiful, lush descriptions of nature and location that serve as much to set the tone of the characters' actions and frames of mind as it does to offer an acute sense of place and time. Powerful and absorbing. This was a reread. I first read the book 8 years ago, meaning to get to the rest of the series quickly but then, somehow, never doing so. Now I have books 2 and 3 firmly pinned to my short-term reading list.

But first some "between books" and then to Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Louise Aronson.

Fev 16, 2020, 1:10pm

I finished The Corner That Held Them by Sylvia Townsend Warner - fascinating novel set in a nunnery in 14th Century England. I also read Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag by Sigrid Nunez. Nunez has been a favorite novelist of mine for many years. This memoir is small (140 pages) but there's not a wasted word. Compelling and insightful.

Fev 16, 2020, 4:49pm

The Family Nobody Wanted
Helen Grigsby Doss
4/5 stars
Set in the 40’s this is the true story of the Doss’s who were unable to have any children. Reaching out to an adoption agency they eventually were able to adopt one child. When they went back to try for another adoption, they were told they could only adopt one white child so Helen reached out to other agencies that had different race or mixed race children. They, eventually, through sheer determination adopted a total of 12 children. Wonderfully written and so inspirational, I sped through this book. 1954

Interesting article on the family- https://pages.uoregon.edu/adoption/topics/familynobodywanted.htm

Fev 16, 2020, 8:17pm

I'm deep in the fog of seasonal depression so I can't read anything complex. I'm relying on old favourites and new romances. This week I re-read Little Women. I had forgotten how sad some of it is, and I spent a lot of time weeping at events in it. It was lovely, if a little preachier than I remember.

In the field of romance, I practically devoured The Royal We: American college girl spending a year at Oxford enters into a relationship with an heir to the British throne. It was romantic, and very witty. It was also quite predictable, but I think that's why I'm enjoying romantic fiction as much as I am.

Editado: Fev 19, 2020, 10:44am

As noted in Post 11, above, today was a day for some of my "between books" . . .

* “from ‘The Scorn Papers’” from Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs
* Excerpt from Daughters and Rebels by Jessica Mitford from The Norton Book of Women's Lives edited by Phyllis Rose
* “Simple Stories of Success or How to Succeed in Life” from Laugh with Leacock by Stephen Leacock
* "Emma Willard" from American Heroines: The Spirited Women who Shaped Our Country by Kay Bailey Hutchison
* “Phantom Pain” from A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
* “Walking Distance” from Living in the Weather of the World by Richard Bausch
* “Sabatini is Making History Live Again” by Gene Berton from The Mentor, November, 1924 edited by W. D. Moffat

Tonight I've started Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Louise Aronson.

Fev 17, 2020, 11:43am

I’m nearly finished with my latest LTER book, A Divided Loyalty by Charles Todd. It’s the 22nd book in the Ian Rutledge series, and although I skipped about a dozen of them to start this one, it’s typical of others in the series and I don’t think I missed a lot.

Editado: Fev 18, 2020, 2:06pm

Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir
Robin Ha
4/5 stars
Author Robin Ha’s graphic novel is the true story of her coming to America with her mother after being raised in South Korea. Since she only speaks Korean, she has a hard time adapting to the United States, let alone learning an unfamiliar complicated new language and trying to make new friends especially in high school where the students aren’t the friendliest. Well done!

Fev 18, 2020, 8:36pm

>2 Molly3028: eager to get my hands on the chocolate book, ordered by my local indie!

Now reading wicked for a real life sf/fan book group. I read it when it first came out and loved it. Hated what the musical did to it. Enjoying the reread, still very good after all this time. And Im picking up on stuff I didn't notice the first time

Fev 18, 2020, 8:41pm

>12 mollygrace: If you want more of Townsend, you must read Lolly Willows

Editado: Fev 19, 2020, 5:52am


Editado: Fev 19, 2020, 12:49am

After a frustrating 10 days with no landline and no internet (phone company equipment was damaged in local flooding), I'm back in the 21st century. (Although I should perhaps be careful what I wish for. Six of my eight phone calls today were from scammers..........)

Anyway,I finished Elinor Oliphant Is Completely Fine for my F2F group; did an Early Review of The Boleyn Curse, and read Richard Russo's Straight Man. Am now working my way through A Fairly Haunted Life, the Shirley Jackson biography. Enjoyable, but it seems to be taking forever.

(What's up with the Touchstones? Neither 'Elinor Oliphant' nor 'Fairly Haunted Life' are coming up. Strange. 'Elinor Oliphant' is fairly hot right now, and the Jackson book has been out for some time.)

Fev 19, 2020, 5:54am

>15 rocketjk: curious, what are 'between books' and did you read all those in one day, or on your TBR stack?

Editado: Fev 19, 2020, 10:43am

>22 cindydavid4: I like to read anthologies, collections and other books of short entries one story/chapter at a time instead of plowing through them all at once. I find that if I read collections, anthologies and other such books straight through, the stories/chapters tend to blend together. I have a couple of stacks of such books from which I read in this manner between the books I read from cover to cover (novels and histories, mostly). So I call these my "between books."

So, as an example, I finished The Hamlet, as per post 11, then I read one entry/story each in the stack of "between books" listed in post 15, as listed, and now I am on to Elderhood. It took me one weekend day, if I remember right, to read those entries. Sometimes it takes a bit longer, depending of course on the length of the pieces and the amount of reading time available. Right now I have two such stacks going, which I basically alternate between. Sometimes those stacks get a little high and they get rearranged into three stacks. If you go to my profile page and scroll down to Currently Reading you can see the whole current list. Hope that all makes some semblance of sense. Cheers!

Fev 19, 2020, 4:38pm

Hah simular to what I do. I also like anthologies, and will often be juggling a NF, fiction as well as one with shorter works. Never thought of calling them inbetween books but it makes sense!

Editado: Fev 19, 2020, 11:08pm

I just finished reading the masterful first Volume of Henry Miller's trilogy, The Rosy Crucifixion, entitled Sexus.

Next up for reading is an Early Reviewer selection, Nairobi Noir by Peter Kimani.

Fev 20, 2020, 1:15pm

In the middle of "Dread Nation" by Justina Ireland. I'm reading this for work and would recommend this to YA fans and fans of zombies. Creative twist on historical fiction and appeals maybe to fans of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" -type books.

Editado: Fev 20, 2020, 4:26pm

Enjoying this OverDrive audiobook ~

Other Windsor Girl by Georgie Blalock

(England, mid 1900s/Princess Margaret tale)

Fev 20, 2020, 4:51pm

I’m nearly finished with Jane Gardam’s God on the Rocks. It’s very good.

Fev 20, 2020, 5:44pm

>18 cindydavid4:

I hope you enjoy the self-help "chocolate" book as much as I have.

Fev 21, 2020, 9:38am

I finished and thoroughly enjoyed Doc: A Novel, a well written historical fictional story of Doc Holiday, debunking legend and presenting intriguing, believable characters.

Editado: Fev 21, 2020, 12:07pm

Wow just saw a review that compared it to Wolf Hall!! I have also read the authors book Sparrow loved the writing in that book even if I had lots of problems with the story. Have it on order at my local indie!! Thanks for the rec!

Fev 21, 2020, 6:53pm

>30 snash: If you’re looking for more, the follow-up, Epitaph, is also great!

Fev 21, 2020, 9:21pm

Al Capone Shines My Shoes – Gennifer Choldenko
Digital audiobook narrated Kirby Heyborne.

Book two in this entertaining middle-school series, set on Alcatraz Island during the Great Depression. Moose Flanagan’s dad is a guard at the maximum security prison, and the family lives in the apartments provided for workers and their families. His sister, Natalie, has a condition that is apparently autism (though that diagnosis wasn’t used in this time frame, so it is never identified as such), and attends a special boarding school. But she comes home for a visit during a school holiday and that coincides with some major events on the island.

I was completely charmed by the first book, and certainly interested in this second outing. The relationships between the kids seem real to me. Moose is unfailingly “nice” to everyone, and so is liked by both kids and adults. He’s passionate about baseball, and has a huge crush on the warden’s daughter, Piper. His gang of friends includes Jimmy, who is terrible at sports but fascinated by insects, Annie, who can throw better than most boys, and Theresa, a wise-beyond-her-years 7-year old who is Jimmy’s little sister.

Moose deals with many of the things most 12-year-olds have to face, including bullying, peer pressure, and adults who don’t understand him. But he’s also burdened by a unique relationship with one particular inmate: Al Capone.

Kirby Heyborne does a find job narrating the audiobook. He’s a little less successful trying to voice the various female characters, though he does a reasonably good job with Natalie and Theresa.

Fev 21, 2020, 10:30pm

On my flight home from San Francisco, I finished Dear Edward: a Novel by Ann Napolitano, about a 12-yr-old boy who is the lone survivor of an airplane crash. What was I thinking..?

Now reading Abigail by Hungarian author Magda Szabo, a novel set in WWII era.

Fev 21, 2020, 11:53pm

The new thread is up over here.

Fev 22, 2020, 3:58pm

>32 Copperskye: Thanks for the recommendation. I've now added it to the TBR list.

Fev 22, 2020, 4:40pm

>30 snash:, >32 Copperskye:
I loved both those books!