What are you reading the week of February 22, 2020?

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What are you reading the week of February 22, 2020?

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Editado: Fev 21, 2020, 11:54pm

I picked up a copy of the new translation of Boris and Arkady Strugatsky's The Inhabited Island. The book was originally published in the 1960's, and translated into English during the 1970's as Prisoners of Power. The novel was heavily edited by the Soviet censors prior to its original publication. The new translation is from the original, uncensored version of the novel. As with most of their best work, The Inhabited Island is a wild romp of a science fiction story shot through with biting satire.

The hero of the novel, Maxim Kammerer, is a space explorer who crash lands on an alien planet struggling to recover from a massive nuclear war. He ends up in the army of a totalitarian regime, giving the Strugatsky's ample freedom to satirize military life, the paranoid mind set that sees spies everywhere, and the dangers of propaganda. Oh, and the government has developed a mind control system that's more dangerous to the government leadership than to their unlucky citizens. I can't imagine what the censors could have objected to. :-)

Editado: Fev 22, 2020, 1:05am

>1 fredbacon: Wow. That sounds good.

I'm just past the 1/3 point of Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Louise Aronson.

Fev 22, 2020, 4:56am

I have just finished reading the novel THE CALL OF THE WILD by author JACK LONDON


Editado: Fev 23, 2020, 7:46am

Continuing to enjoy this OverDrive audiobook ~

Other Windsor Girl by Georgie Blalock (4+ stars)

(England, mid 1900s/Princess Margaret tale)

Editado: Fev 22, 2020, 11:08am

Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler (2008), a Dirk Pitt novel. After a long hiatus, I've started reading Cussler again, and I'm enjoying his books immensely. Lots of action, lots of adventure, minimally described violence. A few areas of clunky writing, which make me laugh, but over all a page turner.

Fev 22, 2020, 10:12am

I’ve started A Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey.

Fev 22, 2020, 12:28pm

I’m reading an ARC of Utopia Avenue, David Mitchell’s newest novel. It’s a very engaging story, but quite a departure from the usual fare produced by one of my favorite authors.

Fev 22, 2020, 3:06pm

Actually doing some reading though I haven't made a lot of progress. Still working through Bared to You, Fire & Blood, Nevernight, and Broken Glass.

Fev 22, 2020, 4:30pm

>1 fredbacon: wow that looks great! recommending that to my RL sci/fan group!

Ok, the local indie just happened to have two books recommended here: Doc a Novel by Mary Doria Russell
and mindfulness for chocolate lovers. Both are just perfect for a cold rainy day read!

Fev 22, 2020, 4:34pm

>5 rhinemaiden: Cussler is one of my husbands favorite authors! He's read that one; he also took a little hiatus from him but hes back. Think there is a new one out...

Editado: Fev 22, 2020, 4:39pm

The Library Book
Susan Orlean
5/5 stars
One of my favorite books was Orlean's book on Rin Tin Tin and so I was excited to read The Library Book and I was not disappointed. This book concentrates on the fire of the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986 and the chief suspect in the case. However, she does not tie herself down to that topic but also talks about the history of libraries and some of the people responsible for building and influencing libraries. Highly recommended!

Fev 22, 2020, 4:41pm

Working my way thru and enjoying Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout

Editado: Fev 22, 2020, 6:47pm

I read both The Alice Network and The Nightingale this week. Both books were terrific: excellent writing with interesting plots.

I started Bill Bryson's The Body: A Guide for Occupants yesterday, and will be beginning A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul.

Fev 22, 2020, 6:52pm

I'm going to pick up The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly again now that I've finished my book club book. Only 163 pages to go...

Editado: Fev 24, 2020, 5:33pm

Enjoying this library audiobook ~

House on Fire: A Novel by Joseph Finder

(Nick Heller series/Boston intel investigator/opioid abuse/whistleblowers)

Editado: Fev 23, 2020, 10:00pm

Wow really enjoying the heck out of Doc; I do think this would make a great movie and if it does, Tom Hanks has to play Holliday, because its Hanks voice I hear when I am reading!........

ETA damn, just been tossed out of the book. All is going swimmingly till she decides to go Sliding Doors on me and talks about how the characters lives might have been different if they made different decisions. Hu, wha? Then she adds this little 14 year old girl thinking of how dreamy Doc is, and then goes on about the unfairness of her society to women and others who are not white men that no 14 year old girl is probably thinking of in the 1870s.Then I just hit a wall, realized how ponderous the writing had gotten and tossed the book aside. IIRC that happened with The Sparrow, but it was closer to the end at that point.Damn, I was really liing this book, spent all day outside reading it. I don't regret that part, but wish I had another book in my hand at that time, Grrrrrrrrrrr

Editado: Fev 23, 2020, 10:29pm

Finished listening to the absolutely marvelous, Pulitzer prize winner, The Overstory by Richard Powers.

Next up for listening is Dept. Of Speculation by Jenny Offill.

Editado: Fev 24, 2020, 2:11pm

I'm about halfway through Just Kids by Patti Smith. It hasn't been a slog exactly, but I haven't enjoyed the book as much as I thought I would. Smith comes across as humourless and Mapplethorpe as self-obsessed. The references to Genet, Rimbaud, etc begin to grate after a while. I'm not sure why Just Kids won a National Book Award.

No such problems with Philip Pullman's Northern Lights. I'd heard an abridged audio version but reading it from start to finish has been a delight.

Have just read the introduction to Warsaw 1920: Lenin's Failed Conquest of Europe by Adam Zamoyski.

Fev 24, 2020, 7:09pm

Just started To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis. Fantasy / time travel / comedy. Love her stuff.

Fev 24, 2020, 8:39pm

The President is Missing – Bill Clinton and James Patterson
Book on CD read by Dennis Quade with January LaVoy, Peter Ganim, Jeremy Davidson and Mozhan Marno

President Jonathan Duncan is facing a possible impeachment for actions he took – he says – to protect the safety of America. Against the advice of his senior staff he’s agreed to go before a Congressional Committee, but three days before the hearing he’s visited by a person who can clearly prove that the US systems have been compromised. And the President leaves the White House without his Secret Service detail in an effort to get answers he feels only HE can obtain and act on.

This is a fast-paced thriller, with a believable (if somewhat over-the-top) scenario. There were several times when I thought I knew where it was headed but was surprised by a twist in the plot. The basic plot line is something we should all be concerned about and I found myself wondering about our reliance on technology. The last 50 pages were particularly nail-biting. I’ve recommended the book to several people, including my husband.

I do have a bone to pick re the title. The President is the narrator throughout most of the book and is hardly “missing” in that sense of the word. But based on the title and the very limited information on the plot from the publisher, I kept waiting for him to actually go missing. Guess that was my fault.

Dennis Quade is a talented actor and I could see him (a few years younger) portraying President Duncan in a film version of this book. But his deep, gravelly voice just grated on my nerves. I am glad that the producers chose a number of different voice artists to portray various characters, because Quade was definitely NOT up to the task of providing different voices. (The couple of times he tried were laughably bad.)

Fev 24, 2020, 11:00pm

I remember a book called The Presidents Plane Is Missing wonder if they were trying for something like that. Great book btw

Editado: Fev 25, 2020, 12:02am

I have started on another short story by Annie Proulx I just love her opening lines, this one is- "Blue" said his mother, looking like Charles Laughton in a flowered wrapper, "won't you do this one little thing for me?"

Editado: Fev 25, 2020, 1:39am

I finished listening to the quite moving Dept. Of Speculation.
I also listened to Break Shot: My First 21 Years by James Taylor.

Next up for listening is another Alex Delaware installment, The Museum of Desire by Jonathan Kellerman.

Fev 25, 2020, 2:54am

I have read about one-third of My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier and am enjoying it mightily. I love her books.

Fev 25, 2020, 12:35pm

I finished the LTER book An Unconventional Wife. It was a biography that champions the overlooked wife. Julia, living in the late 1800's, was headstrong and intelligent, raising successful and socially responsible children. Her story of her life and her conflict with her husband was engagingly told.

Editado: Fev 25, 2020, 1:06pm

>10 cindydavid4: Glad to hear I'm in good company... finished Clive Cussler's Arctic Drift, read Treasure, now reading Deep Six. Enjoying every one.

Also read James Rollins Excavation... the less said about that one the better! Won't be reading any more.

Fev 25, 2020, 5:19pm

I'm well into Kingdomtide, the first novel of Rye Curtis, about the lone survivor of a plane crash in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana.

Fev 26, 2020, 11:49am

Elton John
5/5 stars
Elton John relates his amazing career as a song writer, composer, singer, film maker and the incredible ups and downs of his life through childhood to the present. Well written and hard to put down.

Fev 26, 2020, 2:16pm

Your attention please: https://tinyurl.com/wnskvdr
I have words.

Most of them involve the serious misconception that someone who chooses to review a book owes anything to the creator of the book except the purchase price; or if the book was a freebie, the duty to be honest is owed to the review's readers not to the author. Never. Ever.

Fev 26, 2020, 4:01pm

>29 richardderus: Oh, man, that was great. Thanks for sharing the link. My only hope is that it did you as much good getting that out of your system as it did for me to read it. Five stars!

Editado: Fev 26, 2020, 10:20pm

Finishing February with this library audiobook ~

Dead to Her: A Novel
by Sarah Pinborough

WEIRD ~ pulled plug

Fev 26, 2020, 4:32pm

>30 rocketjk: Heh. Thanks! It just needed saying.

Fev 26, 2020, 4:40pm

I'm reading Blood-Dark Track: A Family History by Joseph O'Neill

Fev 27, 2020, 4:10am

>25 snash: I remembered being pleasantly surprised by that book. No just one of your mail order bride stories

Fev 27, 2020, 7:11am

Ike And Kay – James MacManus

In his work of historical fiction, MacManus explores the relationship between General Dwight D Eisenhower and his assigned driver during WWII, Kay Sommersby. Rumor, innuendo and gossip have surrounded their affair for decades. Only after both Dwight and his wife, Mamie, died did much of the truth come out.

I have to say that Ike came off like a real jerk in this book. Kay, of course, was hardly blameless. She knew he was a married man, and a powerful one as well. If she thought she could win this man she was deluding only herself. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see how the relationship unfolded and to get a glimpse of what they may have meant to one another, especially during the stress of wartime.

I also appreciated the details of other wartime relationships between generals and heads of state. President Franklin D Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchhill and many others make appearances in this novel. One glaring error very nearly spoiled it for me (and totally turned my husband off). MacManus goes on about Patton serving in the Pacific and how he abandoned the Philippines for the relative safety of Australia. The general who did that was MacArthur, not Patton. Wonder what else he got wrong?

Oh well, it’s historical FICTION, and it certainly held my attention.

Fev 27, 2020, 11:24am

I finished Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Louise Aronson. Aronson discusses and illustrates the problems inherent in aging in America, and particularly the many critical drawbacks within the American medical establishment in treating and caring for elders. A very good writer, Aronson covers these sometimes depressing topics ably and in enlightening fashion. She weaves throughout the narrative details of her own experiences as a gerontologist, scientific and historic research, and many specific examples of the trials and triumphs of many of her own patients. This is a well worthwhile book, if perhaps it could have used a touch of editing. It's not always an easy read, but it is a valuable one. You can find my more detailed comments on my 50-Book Challenge thread.

After some time with my "between books," I'll be reading The Town, the second book in William Faulkner's "Snopes Family" trilogy.

Fev 27, 2020, 2:50pm

I finished Ordinary Life. As the title suggests the book is a collection of stories about ordinary life or actually about the disruptions in ordinary life that make one appreciate the mundane. One minor complaint is that men, particularly husbands, are presented seemingly overly silent and withdrawn.

Editado: Fev 27, 2020, 6:26pm

I finished reading an Early Reviewer selection, Nairobi Noir, and I finished listening to the 35th installment of the Alex Delaware series, The Museum of Desire.

Next up for reading is Memoirs Of A Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada, and next up for listening is Weather by Jenny Offill.

Fev 27, 2020, 6:28pm

The Amish Christmas Kitchen – Kelly Long, Jennifer Beckstrand, and Lisa Jones Baker

This is a collection of three novellas all focusing on the Amish community and the Christmas season. Frankly, Christmas is pretty much in the background, as they are mostly about a young woman and a young man and how the two of them get together. He’s shy (or she’s shy); she is a marvelous baker of cookies; he is hardworking and always willing to help out; some wise adult will conspire to ensure they end up together. There will be buggy rides, snow, family dinners, and farm chores.

The stories are tender and clean romances, rather straightforward and predictable. The writing is very simple and repetitious. Not my cup of tea.

The three stories:
Baking Love on Ice Mountain by Kelly Long
The Christmas Bakery on Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand
The Special Christmas Cookie by Lisa Jones Baker

Fev 27, 2020, 6:29pm

>37 snash:
I love Elizabeth Berg.

Fev 27, 2020, 7:18pm

I finished and loved A Shilling for Candles and started two books, Agatha Christie’s Crooked House and When All is Said by Anne Griffin.

Editado: Fev 27, 2020, 11:29pm

I'm with your husband! It's one thing to get a minor detail wrong -- maybe have a soldier carrying a weapon that wasn't in common use in WWII -- but to mix up Patton and MacArthur? Nope. A writer who does that has just lost all credibility in my eyes.

Fev 28, 2020, 11:37am

Run Silent, Run Deep
Edward L. Beach
3.5/5 stars
Written by an actual Commodore in the Navy during WWII, Beach weaves an interesting fictional tale surrounding the navy adventures of Edward Richardson as he starts to command the submarine USS Walrus. Richardson’s crew encounter many battles but their major battle is against Captain Tateo Nakame ( Bungo Pete) who is sinking ships and subs in the Bungo Channel that is a strait separating the Japanese islands of Kyushu and Shikoku. I thought there was a nice balance between the battle descriptions and the story of Richardson and his crew. Recommended!

Fev 28, 2020, 11:49am

>43 JulieLill: Beach wrote a follow-up novel, Dust on the Sea, which I also enjoyed. And then of course there's the famous, and pretty good, movie version of Run Silent, Run Deep with Clark Gable.

Editado: Fev 28, 2020, 11:59am

After finishing Elderhood by Louise Aronson a couple of days ago, I made time for another round of "between books" . . .

* “Two Foreign Correspondents Describe the Nazi Death Factories” from A Treasury of Great Reporting: "Literature Under Pressure" from the Sixteenth Century to Our Own Time edited by Louis L. Snyder
* “The Naked Truth” by Peter T. White from Magazine Digest - August 1949 edited by Murray Simmons
* “Variations on an Old Theme” from Leaves in the Wind by Alpha of the Plow (a.k.a. A. G. Gardiner)
* “Tardy George” from The Union Reader edited by Richard B. Harwell
* “Forgotten Land” from Tierra del Fuego by Francisco Coloane
* “Heroic Death of Magellan Recalled by Recent Discovery” by Irving A. Leonard from The Mentor, November, 1924 edited by W. D. Moffat

I've now started The Town, the second book in William Faulkner's "Snopes Family" trilogy.

Editado: Fev 28, 2020, 1:28pm

Finished Broken Glass by Alexander Hartung. Meh. Also finished Reflected in You by Sylvia Day.

Fev 28, 2020, 6:21pm

Started on a re-read of Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead

Fev 28, 2020, 11:11pm

The new thread is up over here.

Fev 29, 2020, 1:21pm

>44 rocketjk: Thanks for the heads up on the follow up novel. I ordered the DVD from the library - I think I may have seen it years ago but going to watch it again.