What are you reading the week of May 23, 2020?

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What are you reading the week of May 23, 2020?

Maio 23, 2020, 1:05am

It's almost the end of May?

I'm reading a couple of books, A History of the Ancient Near East by Marc Van de Mieroop and Goddesses in Context by Julia Asher-Greve and Joan Goodnick Westenholz. They will both take me some time to complete. I'll probably be reading them for the next several weeks.

Maio 23, 2020, 9:43am

Starting this OverDrive audiobook ~

The New Husband: A Novel by D.J. Palmer

(psych thriller/too good to be true?/hidden motives!)

Maio 23, 2020, 10:43am

The Water Keeper by Charles Martin , All Adults Here by Emma Straub and Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

Maio 23, 2020, 12:08pm

I'm nearing the halfway point in Charles Townshend's The Republic: The Fight for Irish Independence, 1918-1923. It is very detailed and so kind of dense in the reading, but clearly written. There are a lot of concepts and factions to juggle in one's mind as the history unfolds, so for that reason I think it's best to have some familiarity at least with the events of this conflict before tackling this particular book, I am enjoying the deep dive.

Maio 23, 2020, 12:24pm

I'm reading Neil deGrasse Tyson's favorite book, Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. It's been fun so far.

Maio 23, 2020, 1:07pm

Maio 23, 2020, 1:10pm

I finished the LTER Little Wonder: The Fabulous Story of Lottie Dod, an entertaining biography of an amazing woman. Admittedly, the author was hampered by numerous gaps in information which he compensated for by detailed descriptions of people and places as well as guesses as to the reasons for certain actions. Those descriptions did, however, help provide a picture of the times.

Maio 23, 2020, 1:33pm

Two For the Dough– Janet Evanovich
Digital audio narrated by Lori Petty

Book two in the series starring totally inept bounty-hunter Stephanie Plum.

What makes the series for me is the great cast of supporting characters: Ex-“ho” and fellow bounty hunter, Lula (love her outfits!), Steph’s long-suffering mother; and especially Grandma Mazur. Then there are the competing “hunks” in her life: mystery man Ranger, and neighborhood bad boy turned cop, Joe Morelli.

The books are fast, fun, entertaining brain candy, and provide a convenient escape from real-life problems.

Lori Petty’s performance on the audio was great. However … I didn’t realize until after I started it that the copy that came from the library was abridged. The unabridged audio was not available, so I abandoned the abridged audio and read the text.

Maio 23, 2020, 3:17pm

Hollywood Park by Mikel Jollett

An ARC from Bookish First Impressions.

Maio 23, 2020, 11:05pm

I'm just beginning the lovely Once upon a River by Diane Setterfield. If you like beautiful prose, this is the book for you.

Still listening in fits and starts to Stephen Fry read his own book Mythos about the Greek gods. I think it's marvellous; as a woman who disliked studying myths in school, it surprises me how "boring" stories well told can be transformed. I've also used this book to talk my mother into an Audbile subscription. She's going blind and has been resisting all attempts and devices to make her life easier and more pleasurable. Where her family and medical doctors have failed, Stephen Fry managed in the space of a five-minute introduction which discusses chaos.

Editado: Maio 24, 2020, 2:34am

Just finished listeningvto Radiance Of Tomorrow, a marvelous work of fiction.

Next up for listening is The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup.

Maio 24, 2020, 7:59am

>11 ahef1963: Best to your mother. I like audio books when I drive, which is not at all since mid March. My Kindle is old but has the speaker so I can listen to books I download so that might be an idea for her.

Editado: Maio 24, 2020, 1:52pm

>12 hemlokgang: I've been wanting to read The Chestnut Man - please do let me know how it goes.

>13 mnleona: Thanks for your good wishes. My mother has a Kobo, which is Canadian-based, and which doesn't speak, although I think that when she was still reading she was using her iPad, which may have the ability to read books to her. I'll investigate the next time I visit her.

Maio 24, 2020, 4:54pm

Added Dark Tomorrow by Reece Hirsch to my reading rotation.

Maio 25, 2020, 12:01am

After a couple of duds, I pulled out my copy of Soul Music, and am thoroughly enjoying the re-read. Even if they weren't brilliant satires, Pratchett's Discworld novels would be worth reading for their drive-by puns alone.

I really needed something enjoyable. I read Nights in Rodanthe, much against my better judgment. It was every bit as bad as I had suspected it would be. And then Larry McMurtry let me down with Terms of Endearment. I didn't care much for Aurora Greenway in the movie, and she was even more manipulative, self-centered, and silly in the book, which I abandoned after about 75 pages.

Don't know what will be next. There's a Group Read coming up, but I don't have the book yet (don't even know what it's going to be), and I also have an ILL on order. The local library has re-opened, but advise the ILLs are running behind due to requests not having been processed for a while.

Guess if I get too bored I can go back to AO3 and read fanfic for a while!

Maio 25, 2020, 4:24am

Oh Soul Music was the first Disc World book I read, followed immediatly by Small Gods, then realized there were no more of his books published in the US (way pre net). Found the rest on a trip to britain I reread them all when Pratchett passed. Still funny as hell.

Maio 25, 2020, 1:17pm

Memento Mori
Muriel Spark
3.5/5 stars
“Memento Mori” is a term for an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death which follows the characters in this dark humoristic story. Set in the 1950’s England, a well-known author has been getting telephone messages that she is going to die. This upsets her circle of friends but she is calm about the matter though secrets about her and family are soon exposed as each of them faces their mortality when they get the same call.

Editado: Maio 28, 2020, 1:38pm

I finishe A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet --I really enjoyed it. Then I read Aug 9 - Fog -- a unique and thoughtful book.

Maio 26, 2020, 5:27am

I'm reading an Indian romance called Play with me by Ananth.

Editado: Maio 26, 2020, 9:21am

Because Of Winn-Dixie – Kate DiCamillo
Digital audiobook performed by Cherry Jones
5***** and ❤

India Opal Buloni is lonely. Her mother has left. She and her father, a minister, have moved to a new town and she hasn’t made any friends yet. But a trip to the grocery store will change everything because there she finds an ugly stray dog. Winn-Dixie is a mutt who is afraid of thunderstorms, howls when left alone too long, but disarms everyone with his big toothy grin.

DiCamillo has written a lovely book that deals with some serious issues. Not only is India lonely, but her father – whom she calls “the preacher” – has retreated into his shell as a result of his wife’s leaving. India is loved and cared for, but her emotional needs aren’t being fulfilled at the beginning of the book. Because of Winn-Dixie India Opal finds friends, love, and some help in dealing with the loss of her mother. No, everything doesn’t turn out perfect in the book (just as it doesn’t in real life). But DiCamillo gives her readers a sense of hope that India (and her father) will come out of this period of their lives with full hearts.

Cherry Jones’s performance on the audio is terrific. Every character – including Winn-Dixie – is given a unique voice. At the end of the last disc, I wanted to just start over and listen again.

Editado: Maio 26, 2020, 6:24pm

Enjoying this OverDrive Kindle eBook Alexa reads to me ~

Above the Bay of Angels by Rhys Bowen

(London, late 1800s/mystery tale which unfolds in Queen Victoria's royal kitchen)

Maio 26, 2020, 9:26am

The Overstory – Richard Powers
Audible audiobook performed by Suzanne Toren

From the book jacket: An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A heari8ng- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers – each summoned in different ways by trees – are brought together in a last and violent stan to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.

My reactions
I am having a very hard time pinpointing what it was about this book that I found so fascinating. Because I WAS interested, despite my overall rating. I tend to gravitate towards character-driven works, and this is certainly that. Nine “main” characters is a daunting task, and Powers does a pretty good job of keeping the story moving while giving each of them their due. They are complex people and even those I found even those that I did not particularly like interesting. Reminds me a bit of a Richard Altman film.

Melding nine different points of view into a cohesive story arc is challenging enough, but Powers also uses an extraordinarily long timeline, taking the reader from antebellum New York to 20th century Pacific Northwest. And while that time frame includes many generations of people, for some trees “born” at the beginning of that time, they would be mere adolescents at the end.

There is the underlying message of environmental stewardship, which humans seem to be doing a very bad job of. But Powers use of so many different stories to convey this message seemed to detract from the impact of the message. I’m very glad that I read Hope Jahren’s memoir Lab Girl earlier this year, because that really helped me understand the underlying science in this work of fiction. And yet, I can certainly see why some readers have classified this as “magical realism” for certain sections (particularly when Powers writes about how the trees communicate with one another) – sections that Jahren’s scientific work seems to support.

I admit I have waited too long after finishing this book to write this review. I had hoped my F2F book club discussion would help clarify my thoughts on the book. And then COVID19 cancelled our meeting … So, my apologies to fellow readers and to the author for my delay and resulting vagueness.

The audiobook is masterfully performed by Suzanne Toren. She has a lot of characters to portray and manages to give them unique voices so that I was rarely confused. (At least not after I understood the multiple narrators.) Still, I think I may want to re-read this in text format before my F2F book club finally gets to it in October.

Editado: Maio 26, 2020, 9:26pm

Maio 26, 2020, 9:32pm

>23 BookConcierge: I was absolutely in love with that book until about 2/3 through. Thee story just fell apart for me. Its been a while and I can't remember whenI stopped s I probably should try again because for the most part I agree your reaction...

BTW my fav book of his is The Time of our Singing about a biracial couple after WWII, and what happens to them and their three children as the fight for civil rights starts up There is a lot of history here that is intermingled with their lives. Powerful read

Maio 27, 2020, 7:46am

>25 cindydavid4: Good to know about The Time of Our Singing ... I haven't read anything else by Powers ... yet.

Maio 27, 2020, 7:46am

It’s a Long Story: My Life – Willie Nelson
Digital audiobook read by Christopher Ryan Grant.

Oh, Willie! I’ve had a long-standing crush on the “red-headed stranger” and am glad to have learned more about him, because I like him even more now.

Willie lays it all out there. He talks about his childhood and the importance of church and faith in his upbringing. He talks about the poems he began writing when he was still in grade school, and how music filled his soul and helped him express himself. He talked about family and yet tried to maintain some privacy for his wives and children. He doesn’t shy away from chronicling his mistakes and owning them – from profligate spending to drinking to adultery – but he also celebrates his shining moments and gives credit to the many people who helped him along the way.

I listened to the audiobook read by Christopher Ryan Grant. I have to say that Grant’s delivery made me think that it was Willie, himself, relating the story. So I was somewhat disappointed that when he mentioned the lyrics of some of his more famous songs, they were spoken rather than sung. On the other hand, the audio does have a bonus at the end with a small section read by Willie and then a song.

Maio 27, 2020, 10:44am

Finished a great deliverance by Elizabeth George. :)

Now reading the shoemaker's wife Adriana Trigiani.

Maio 27, 2020, 7:18pm

I finished Amy Stewart's Miss Kopp Just Won't Quit. It's the fourth book in a fun little series based on the real-life, first female deputy in Bergen Co, NJ. I'm looking forward to the next one.

Now I'm reading Lily King's Writers & Lovers.

Maio 27, 2020, 8:01pm

>29 Copperskye: Really! Bergen County? I'm grew up in nearby Essex County. I might have to check these out.

Maio 27, 2020, 8:13pm

Yesterday I received a book I won and on page 201 of 299 pages. A fast read. It is a mystery and Chet, the dog, does the talking. I am really liking this book and will look for the others in the series. of Mutts and Men by Spencer Quinn.

Maio 27, 2020, 10:24pm

>30 rocketjk: It’s a fun series, and having my own hometown popping up in both this book and in a previous one in the series was an added bonus!

Maio 28, 2020, 9:27am

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories – H P Lovecraft

Of course, I’ve heard of H P Lovecraft for years, but I’d never bothered to read anything by him. Just not my genre of choice. But I happened to have this in the house, courtesy of Penguin Random House (the publisher gifted me a set of their new “orange” Penguin Classics a few years ago), and it carries the “science fiction” tag so it fit a challenge.

First, these stories are mostly NOT science fiction, although one, dealing with aliens removing the brains of humans but keeping the bodies and brains both alive separately probably would qualify. Mostly this collection is one of horror stories originally published in magazines.

Second, as horror stories, I didn’t find them all that horrifying. Although, I can imagine that an audience in the early part of the 20th century would find them disturbing. The fact that Lovecraft writes all these stories in the first person serves to remove much of the suspense. Clearly the person survives any ordeal because he is telling the story. Reading them one after another in this collection made them seem formulaic and dull.

Lovecraft relied on the reader’s imagination in that he virtually never describes the “horror I witnessed,” instead relying on stating that said horror was just “too terrible for words.” There’s frequent use of the typical, dark, deserted location – either a room at the top of a tall tower, or a pit underground – into which the hero ascends (or descends), without any good light or backup, and despite the feeling of dread. In many of these cases, the hero awakens some time later with no memory of how he escaped.

Finally, although I recognize that this is a sign of the times in which they were written, Lovecraft relies on some disturbingly racist / prejudicial stereotypes.

On the plus side, one of his friends/colleagues was the inspiration for the hero of the final story in this collection: The Haunter Of the Dark. That person was Robert Bloch, who wrote Psycho. Lovecraft gave his character Robert Blake an address that was once Bloch’s home in Milwaukee. Sadly, one can no longer visit that edifice. It’s at a location that was cleared of houses in the ‘60s to make way for a freeway extension. But it was fun to see that address pop up in the book.

Maio 28, 2020, 12:03pm

I'm reading Into the wild di Jon Krakauer. The story of this young American who leaves everything to devote himself to travel intended as a search for himself. Driven by the need for freedom, Chris will break all emotional and social ties, and end his extreme adventure in Alaska, in complete solitude. I have traveled extensively in solitude, and for this reason I share Chris' thoughts on the one hand, but I have never gone beyond the limits. I admired and envied this courage, which despite the epilogue, will certainly have allowed him to live incredibly educational experiences

Maio 28, 2020, 2:51pm

I'm finishing up Stoner (John Williams). I wasn't sure about it for the first few pages, but I'm enjoying a lot. It's like a leisurely train ride: we're in no hurry to get the end. Let's look around at all there is to see.

Editado: Maio 28, 2020, 4:06pm

Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests
By Tom Shales
3.5/5 stars
This book is definitely for fans of the show and goes over each season (up till 2014) and includes all the members, writers, producers and Loren Michaels talking about their roles on the phenomenon of SNL and how it affected them.
This book was the updated version for their 40th Season in 2014 (originally published in 2004). I am not sure if it has been updated since then but it would be interesting to read about the changes to the program due to the coronavirus. I enjoyed this so much but be warned it is over 700 pages.

Maio 28, 2020, 4:57pm

Finished The Last Emperox by John Scalzi. Enjoyed it. Added The Book of Koli by M. R. Carey to my rotation.

Editado: Maio 29, 2020, 10:36am

Finished the gripping Danish noir thriller, The Chestnut Man.

Next up for listening is Amnesty by Aravind Adiga.

Maio 29, 2020, 11:37am

Just been doing lots of rereading this last week. Have many books Im reading for RL book groups the poppy war and Americas First Daughter and some other books on my TBR shelf that are big tomes and I really should just start them already!

Maio 30, 2020, 1:15pm

We're over here!