What are you reading the week of February 29, 2020?
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Riders Of the Purple Sage – Zane Grey
From the book jacket: Cottonwoods, Utah, 1871. A woman stands accused. A man, sentenced to whipping. In … rides … Lassiter, a notorious gunman who’s come to avenge his sister’s death. It doesn't take Lassiter long to see that this once-peaceful Mormon community is controlled by the corrupt Deacon Tull – a powerful elder who’s trying to take the woman’s land by forcing her to marry him, branding her foreman a dangerous “outsider.” Lassiter vows to help them. But when the ranch is attacked by horse thieves, cattle rustlers, and a mysterious Masked Rider, he realizes they’re up against something bigger, and more brutal, than the land itself…
I hardly know what to write about this classic of the Western genre. It’s full of adventure, violence, strong men and women, tenderness, brutality and an abiding sense of justice. And, of course, there is the landscape, which Grey paints so vividly it is practically a character.
Yes, the story line and dialogue are a bit melodramatic. But Grey’s story still captured this reader’s imagination with its sense of drama, almost non-stop action, and bold characters. I was reminded of the many western movies I watched with my Daddy in the ‘50s and ‘60s. They were exciting and the good guys always won. Clearly those movies (and other books of the genre) had Grey’s strong foundation on which to build. I’m glad I finally read it.
UPDATE on second reading, January 17, 2020: I chose to read the text in preparation for my F2F book club discussion. If anything, the chase scenes were even more thrilling. And the descriptions of the landscape! The melodramatic - "bodice-heaving" - dialogue was also more evident and I found myself laughing at the ridiculousness of some of the "love" scenes. Still, now that I know there is a sequel ... well I may just have to read it.
OverDrive Kindle eBook Alexa can read to me ~
The Watergate Girl: My Fight for Truth and Justice Against a Criminal President by Jill Wine-Banks (4 stars)
OverDrive audiobook ~
Golden in Death: An Eve Dallas Novel (In Death, Book 50) by J. D. Robb
(NYC/2060s police procedural/romantic suspense)
>2 BookConcierge: When I was a kid, we took lots of multi-week journeys with the car and camper, and to pass the time I read Zane Grey novels to my father, the driver. I definitely remember Riders of the Purple Sage, and my mother's insistence that it was not suitable for an eight-year old. Eventually it "got left behind at the last campsite".
I'm now reading two books: Elton John's memoir, Me, which is wildly entertaining, and The Poison Garden by Alex Marwood, which is creepy and atmospheric in sort of a Ruth Rendell manner.
Ok thats about as good of a recommendation you can give! Must read this!
BTW hope you are feeling better soon.
Just started The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, who creates fantastical mythical universes in print and who I've been waiting for another book from since she published The Night Circus.
Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Audible audio performed by George Guidall
Who hasn’t heard of Don Quixote fighting windmills, or wearing a barber’s basin as a helmet? Who doesn’t know about his faithful squire, Sancho Panza? Or the beautiful Dulcinea, for whom the Knight is ready to lay down his life?
I’d read snippets from this work over the years but never experienced the whole thing. I’m sorry I waited so long to do so. It is a marvelous piece of fiction and is widely acknowledged as the first modern-day novel.
Cervantes gives us a main character who has lofty ideals and a noble purpose, but who is fatally flawed (possibly insane). His attempts to replicate the feats of chivalry he has long read about and admired are met with scorn and ridicule, yet he remains faithful to his ideal. Certain that he will save the imprisoned Dulcinea and win her heart and everlasting gratitude.
Sancho is the faithful servant, commenting frequently in pithy sayings and proverbs, trying, in vain to steer his master away from disaster, but gamely following and taking his punishment. My favorite section is toward the end when Sancho is “appointed governor” and asked to hand out judgment on a variety of disputes. His solutions are surprisingly wise, despite his convoluted explanations.
This edition is translated by Edith Grossman, and was published in 2003. While I have not read other translations, nor the original Spanish, I thought it flowed smoothly and gave me a sense of Cervantes’ style.
The audiobook of this translation is performed by George Guidall, and he does a fantastic job of it. I was fully engaged and recalled those long-ago days when my grandparents, aunts or uncles would tell stories on the porch on summer evenings, all us children listening in rapt attention. I particularly liked the voices he used for both Don Quixote and for Sancho Panza.
And I'm alternating with Winter's Heart, the ninth book in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.
Also reading Sapiens and haven't decided if I like it. Most of what Ive read sounds like what I learned in Anthro 101, Sociology 101 and other classes and books. And I think he is rather full of himself. But Ill read more in cases I am missing something
This morning I told a friend about the book. I mentioned that I first heard about the book yesterday afternoon, then I went to the bookstore at 5pm and bought it. Her response was to smile and say, "Great impulse control, Fred." I reminded her that I waited two or three hours before buying the book. Plus, I left the store with just the one book I went there to purchase. *I* think that I deserve a cookie. :-)
Jade Dragon Mountain – Elsa Hart
Book on CD narrated by David Shih
This historical mystery is set in the town of Dayan, on the Chinese / Tibetan border, in 1708. The main character is Li Due, former Imperial Librarian, now in exile and on his way out of the country. When he arrives at Dayan, where his cousin is the magistrate, he is surprised by the bustle of activity. He was unaware that people are flocking to the town for a special visit by the Emperor who has promised to create an eclipse of the sun.
I loved the history in this book. I had been previously unaware of the role of the Jesuits; as astronomers and scientists they gained the trust of the “pagan” lords and subsequently began to convert them to Christianity. But politics, religion and commerce did not always have the same interests and conflicts led to untimely deaths.
I felt that I was a real sense of the time and place from Hart’s descriptions and plot. Li Du is a marvelous detective, and also a skilled politician. He knows when to keep his own counsel and when to divulge key bits of information. There is more than one mystery involved here and more than one villain.
I was completely engaged and interested from beginning to end and did NOT guess the perpetrator(s) before they were revealed.
David Shih did a marvelous job narrating the audiobook. He set a good pace and, for the most part, I was able to tell who was speaking. I did think his accent for the Englishman Nicholas Gray was abysmal, however. Still, it was his characterization of Li Due that carried the story for me.
I'm just dipping my toe into The World According to Fannie Davis, for our F2F group read. Not far enough into it to have much of an opinion.
But ... I'm supposed to be reading The World According to Fannie Davis for my F2F meeting on the 10th, and I'm having trouble getting into it.
WWLTD? Read the club book, even though I'm lukewarm about it? Review the new ebook? Or dive into Rick Bragg?
Now I'm reading two books. For Christmas I gave my bird-loving brother The Thing With Feathers by Noah Strycker. He thought it excellent and loaned it to me. Do you know about Noah Strycker? He is the man who, in one year (2015) travelled to 40 countries and saw 6,084 species of birds, out of a possible 10,500. He's a very nice Oregonian who writes extremely well and is amusing and knowledgeable.
I'm also reading an engaging crime novel called The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid. This is the second of her books that I've read, and it is pleasant reading.
This is the very interesting biography of the author Margaret Wise Brown. Brown’s life was a whirlwind between writing books, travel and her multiple relationships with men and women. Unfortunately, at the age of 42 she died from a blood clot after having surgery but she has left behind her works which still are being published and loved by readers today.
A historical mystery set in 19th century Edinburgh. In this sequel to The Way of All Flesh, Dr. Will Raven and Sarah Banks reunite to clear the eminent Dr. James Simpson's name. Also there are a number of mysterious patient deaths in the city. The author is a joint pseudonym of husband and wife authors Chris Brookmyre and Dr. Marisa Haetzman. As explained in the historical note, they based their new novel on an actual incident in Dr. Simpson's life.
A third novel is scheduled to be published in 2021.
I've been to Edinburgh twice so it was fun to "revisit" the city. The reproduction of Edinburgh's 1849 city map is a great visual so I could track where the two lead characters were going on their investigation.
Mademoiselle Chanel: A Novel by C. W. Gortner
(1895-1954/fictionalized biography of Coco Chanel)
Finished Entwined with You by Sylvia Day and added the next book in the series, Captivated by You, to my rotation.
Also added The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold to my rotation.
This book hits so many of my likes: history, ancient tales, travel, antropology....from the review "He maps the movement of tribes through migrations and the effects of the pressures of change in society. I enjoy his style of intertwining the tales with how the period folk embraced the stories and how modern people use continue to tell stories like these ,and make their own. "
One wonders what epic tale about our life will last over centurie....
During WWII, Polish solider Slavomir Rawicz is captured by the Russians and sent to a labor camp in Siberia. Conditions are horrible and Rawicz conspires with six other prisoners to escape to British India. The trek is a long one and several die on the way but when things go bad, they encounter people along the way who help them out even though their lives are also troubled. There have been sources that say that the book is a falsehood but I thought it was a very interesting read. This was also made into a film but unfortunately I have not been able to find a copy of it yet.