What are you reading the week of July 18, 2020?

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What are you reading the week of July 18, 2020?

Jul 18, 2020, 8:29am

Real life continues to intrude on my book life. Not much time for reading this week.

Jul 18, 2020, 11:47am

I'm reading Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper. I met the author at this book signing in 2013 and I'm finally reading it!

Jul 18, 2020, 2:02pm

I'm just about to finish Strange Defeat: A Statement of Evidence Written in 1940 by Marc Bloch. Bloch was a highly esteemed historian who served in the French Army both in WWI and WWII. This book is his first-hand, anger-filled, historian's take on the causes of the lightning-quick French defeat in 1940.

Next up for me will be the novel The Unknown Soldier, a classic of Finnish lliterature, by Väinö Linna, about the Continuation War between Finland and Russia, fought from 1941 to 1944.

Jul 18, 2020, 3:52pm

Get Shorty– Elmore Leonard

Adapted from the book jacket: A novel that proves the successful crook has all the job skills required to make it in Hollywood. The book follows Chili Palmer, a Miami loan shark with a talent for making a slow pay come across by saying just three words. Chili’s pursuit of a mark who’s behind in his payments takes him first to Las Vegas, and then to Hollywood and horror-film producer Harry Zimm.

My reactions
This was just plain fun. I’d never seen the movie (starring John Travolta as Chili, and Gene Hackman as Harry), so had no real idea what to expect, other than a wild ride. And Leonard definitely delivers on the “wild ride” promise.

There are more subplots that you can shake a stick at, and more than a few obstacles / distractions for Chili to handle. There’s also a slow-burning romantic interest in Harry’s ex, Karen Flores, known for her excellent screaming in some of Harry’s horror spectaculars, and a woman with brains and a cool head in a crisis.

Odd coincidence … I was getting ready for bed, brushing my teeth, when I heard the TV that my husband had on in the bedroom. “Harry Zimm” Well, of course it was the movie … I only caught the last 30 minutes or so of it, but I can see why it was such a hit.

Jul 18, 2020, 10:06pm

Finished this week:
Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay
Companion to The Printed Letter Bookshop.

Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao (YA)
The 1st installment in the Blood Heir Trilogy, a new fantasy series. The 2nd novel Red Tigress will release in 2021.

Jul 18, 2020, 11:11pm

Finished this week: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. Now one of my favourite books of all time.

Reading now: Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Listening to: Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump

Jul 19, 2020, 1:20am

Really enjoying Rose's Garden by Carrie Brown

Jul 19, 2020, 7:30am

>1 fredbacon: I also have not had a chance to read.

Editado: Jul 19, 2020, 1:12pm

Just finished "Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don't Give a Damn", by Lee Server (which is refusing to link). Found it fascinating and boring in about equal measure -- fascinating when Server concentrates on the enigmatic, contrarian, and contradictory actor, but boring when the author wanders off topic.

Leisurely dipping into Tom Russell's Ceremonies of the Horsemen, which needs to be approached like a bottle of fine brandy -- savored, not gulped.

Next up is Rococo, by Adriana Trigiani -- an author I've found to be quite uneven, so I'm proceeding with caution.

Jul 19, 2020, 2:00pm

Editado: Jul 19, 2020, 2:03pm

Dark Remedy: The Impact of Thaliodomide and It's Revival as a Vital Medicine
Trent D. Stephens
4/5 stars
This was such an interesting and sad book about the history of Thalomide. The authors trace the drug from its beginning: from the doctor who developed it and who had a questionable history, stories of the families whose children had suffered from phocomelia (malformations of the arms and legs) and to its revival of use in cases of leprosy, multiple myeloma and HIV. I found it to be thoughtful and well written.

Jul 19, 2020, 7:19pm

For the Memory Loop AA Project I am reading "If on a winter's night a traveler" by Italo Calvino and for the Invisible Sea AA Project "The Paleontology of New Mexico" by Barry S. Kues

Jul 19, 2020, 8:30pm

Finished Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 162 and added Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 163 to my reading rotation.

Jul 19, 2020, 9:42pm

I'm very much enjoying Rebecca Makkai's The Great Believers.

Jul 20, 2020, 3:47pm

I finished Deep Rivers by Peruvian author Jose Maria Arguedas, on Saturday. A beautifully written book about Ernesto, a teenager who was raised by Peruvian Indians on a hacienda, a boy of two worlds, who starts in a boarding school while his father, a traveling lawyer, heads to another town.

Continuing with Knife of Dreams, the eleventh book in the Wheel of Time series, and decided to read The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time alongside it. I'm also reading James K. Polk: A Biographical Companion and Fads and Fallacies In the Name of Science.

Editado: Jul 20, 2020, 6:39pm

double post

Jul 20, 2020, 6:35pm

>9 aussieh: Loved Carrie Brown in college! One of those authors who can write about the heart without sap and being too twee. Roses Garden, Lamb in Love and Rope Walk were my faves, need to look to see if she has anything recently

Jul 20, 2020, 6:38pm

>16 Copperskye: that book was amazing! I was in college when all this was happening, thought I had an idea but this book opened my eyes to much that was hidden from me. Highly recommended

Jul 20, 2020, 6:46pm

Finished (4+ stars)

The Guest List
by Lucy Foley
(OverDrive audiobook/modern-day Christie-like tale/
Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick)

Jul 21, 2020, 6:29am

Beach Read
by Emily Henry
(iTunes audiobook)

Jul 21, 2020, 8:13am

>13 JulieLill: I was thinking about it the other day when I saw an ad for St. Jude's Hospital. I am 82 so remember it.

Editado: Jul 21, 2020, 8:14am

Jul 21, 2020, 10:59am

Finished The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon and added the next book in the series, The Song Rising, into my rotation.

Jul 21, 2020, 5:22pm

French Pressed – Cleo Coyle
Digital audiobook performed by Rebecca Gabel.

From the book jacket: Clare’s daughter, Joy, is immersing herself in an internship at Solange, one of New York’s hottest French restaurants – and she’s getting pretty intimate with the older, married Chef Tommy Keitel as well. Resolved to keep an closer eye on Joy, Clarre makes a deal to provide exclusive coffee blends for Tommy, a man she wouldn’t mind seeing roasted and pressed. Then the competitive kitchen turns cutthroat, and Joy’s a suspect. To clear her daughter of the crime, Clare knows she must catch the real killer.

My reactions
This is book six in the Coffeehouse Mystery series, and I’m really enjoying them. I do think that Clare’s insistence on investigating on her own is a bit over-the-top, but it wouldn’t be a cozy mystery without an intrusive amateur sleuth. I do enjoy the information on coffees (even though I stick with grocery-store blends myself), and this book really delves into foodie culture which had me salivating in places.

I also like that the romance with detective Mike Quinn is heating up, despite Madame’s (Clare’s mother-in-law and co-owner of the shop) efforts to get Clare back with her son Matteo.

Not a fan of the cliff-hanger ending, but that’s a pet peeve of mine. Still, I found it deliciously entertaining – a perfect “escape” during these unsettled times.

Rebecca Gabel does a fine job performing the audiobook. I really love the voice she uses for Madame.

Jul 21, 2020, 7:26pm

Just finished Rococo, which was a fun read with a couple of laugh-out-loud scenes, mostly occasioned by the boisterous and occasionally brawling extended family of the protagonist.

Have begun Ruffian: Burning from the Start, which is less than satisfying. Don't know yet if I'll finish it.

Editado: Jul 22, 2020, 12:03am

Finished listening to the poignant novel, The Mountains Sing.

Next up for listening is The Golden Cage by Camilla Lackberg.

Editado: Jul 22, 2020, 6:09am

Esta mensagem foi removida pelo seu autor.

Jul 22, 2020, 8:32pm

Finished reading Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett, as I'm re-reading the City Watch novels in order, and bit by bit.

Now reading Dona Flor and her Two Husbands by Jorge Amado.

Jul 23, 2020, 12:46am

Just finished Ruffian: Burning from the Start, and was disappointed by its disjointed structure. The final section, dealing with her on-track breakdown and death, is heartbreaking, but the rest of the book is just not put together very well.

Editado: Jul 23, 2020, 8:59am

Wow Ive had Queen of Swords on my bookshelves for ever, and was sure Id read it. Picked it up recently for a reread and realized I had no memory of it. I must not have because I would have been sure to remember such a wonderful read! Fantastic tale of the early Kingdom of Jerusalem, not long after the first crusade at the time of Queen Melisande. Page turner, and not a slow spot or unbelievable plot, perfect much needed distraction from todays headlines.

Jul 23, 2020, 7:18am

I finished Ellie and the Harpmaker (which for some reason doesn't want to link to touchstones). It was a pleasant read about relationships and their frequent difficulties and misunderstandings. The characters were likable but not quite believable.

Editado: Jul 24, 2020, 10:06am

Rise & Shine Benedict Stone – Phaedra Patrick
Digital audiobook performed by James Langton.

Benedict Stone is a middle-aged man with problems. His jewelry shop in the village of Noon Sun is barely operational, his wife has left him, he hardly cleans his house, and in his rather depressed state he’s resorted to baked goods which have added on pounds. He’s stuck. And then a teen-aged niece he’s never met – the daughter of his estranged brother who lives in America – arrives unannounced at his door on a rainy night. Gemma says she’s on a visit and that she’s lost her phone and passport, so they can’t call her Dad, but “it’s Okay, he knows I’m here.”

Thus, begins this delightful novel of one man’s awakening. Benedict is a good man, but consumed by his desire to have children, and by guilt for a long-past dispute that resulted in the break with his brother. Gemma, who wants details of her family lore, pushes him to recall and reconcile. She’s also the catalyst for Benedict’s change – improving his diet, insisting he exercise, suggesting new options for the shop, and providing some “romantic” advice on how to win back his wife.

There are some wonderfully endearing hilarious scenes that result from Gemma’s romantic advice. But there’s quite a bit of serious drama as well. It seems that Benedict isn’t the only Stone family member who is good at running away from problems rather than facing them. And sprinkled throughout is a bit of the mythology and meaning of gemstones.

Patrick has crafted a sort of modern-day fairy tale, with a cast of eccentric characters (and the village is practically a character in itself), and a happy ending. It was a charming, heart-warming read.

The audio book is performed by James Langton, who did a marvelous job. I really like the way he interpreted Benedict and Gemma.

Jul 23, 2020, 9:44am

>33 snash:
Server is being updated, so "search" and "Touchstones" are disabled while that work is being done.

Jul 23, 2020, 2:03pm

>35 BookConcierge: Ah ha, that explains it. Thanks for the info

Jul 23, 2020, 8:03pm

My latest is The Revenant by Michael Punke

Jul 24, 2020, 1:44pm

Oh, my. I just finished Ron Singer's Gravy for Early Review.

It was beyond bad.

My initial review was 39 words and read as follows:

"See the book. It has many big words in it. The writer thinks it is funny. It is not.

Not, not, not.

See the reviewer. She has promised to read the book. Now she is sorry.

Very, very sorry."

Oh, my. Unfortunately, not everything we get for review makes an engaging read.

Jul 24, 2020, 2:02pm

I finished the Finnish classic war novel, The Unknown Soldier by Väinö Linna and posted a full review on my 50-Book Challenge thread and the book's work page. I've now started In the Distance by Hernán Díaz, a Pulitzer Prize finalist the year the award went to Less.

Editado: Jul 24, 2020, 4:54pm

To the Bright Edge Of the World – Eowyn Ivey
Audiobook narrated by John Glouchevitch, Christine Lakin, & Kiff VandenHeuve.

The novel has two stories of exploration and adventure. In 1885, Col Allen Forrester leads an expedition to explore the Wolverine River in Alaska, a trek that has been deemed impossible. His wife, Sophie, remains at Vancouver Barracks, Washington, where she explores the wonders of nature, birds in particular, through her growing expertise in photography.

This is a marvelous adventure story, and an engaging look at personal growth. Both these lead characters experience heartache and difficulties and yet both persevere in reaching their goals despite obstacles, naysayers, and setbacks.

I loved the use of diary entries and letters to tell this bifurcated story. Allen is a strong leader, compassionate but demanding, taking care of his men as best as circumstances and supplies allow, giving clear orders, delegating authority, taking his share of the burden, championing the cause, and always, holding dear to his heart his beloved wife.

Sophie is equally marvelous and tenacious as she pursues an unusual outlet for her intelligence, creativity and curiosity. If the doctor will not lend her a book to further her understanding and knowledge, she’ll steal borrow it! Rather than ask politely, or even forcefully, for help in creating a dark room, she sets out to do it herself.

The book is full of Native Alaskan people’s culture, traditions, and stories. There are several very strong Native characters. I love magical realism and Ivey seamlessly weaves these elements into her story. I particularly like the woman, Nat’aaggi, and her trusty dog, Boyo. She’s cautious, self-reliant, determined, loyal to the group and yet fiercely independent. I loved the scene where Forrester stood up against native tradition and insisted that she ride along his men as a member of his party rather than walk behind as other native women were doing. Her growing relationship with the men was beautifully played out, as each learned to trust and rely upon the other, and their mutual respect blossomed.

The audiobook is wonderfully narrated by three talented voice artists: John Glouchevitch, Christine Lakin and Kiff VandenHeuve. Ms Lakin obviously narrates all of Sophies letters and diary entries. I’m not certain which man narrates which of the other sections, but all do a marvelous job.

I was happy that I also had a text version of the book handy, for it contains maps, drawings and photographs that supplement Ivey’s wonderful prose.

Jul 25, 2020, 7:16am

Jul 25, 2020, 7:54am

The new thread is up over here.