What are you reading the week of December 19, 2020?

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What are you reading the week of December 19, 2020?

Dez 19, 2020, 12:55am

I'm about half way through Moscow 1937 and enjoying it immensely. It's an interesting way to examine the history of the Great Terror of 1936-38. It focuses less on what Stalin is thinking and doing and more on how the public responds to the terror.

Dez 19, 2020, 2:25am

Just finished reading the absolutely beautiful collection of essays, Late Migrations: A Natural History Of Love And Loss by Margaret Renkl.

Next I will return to reading Flowers of Mold.

Dez 19, 2020, 10:04am

>1 fredbacon: oh I want to read that, knew about it but really don't know about it iykwim

Dez 19, 2020, 10:08am

Really interested in Moscow 1937 but Im already depressed by whats happening in our world now, not sure I want to read about the horror from the past. But its a time Ive been interested in, so...

Dez 19, 2020, 10:10am

How the Finch Stole Christmas!
by Donna Andrews

(OverDrive audio/Meg Langslow cozy mystery, book 22)

Dez 19, 2020, 10:35am

I'm reading Georges Simenon's A Maigret Christmas. There are three stories and I'm only just finishing up the first one (still struggling with concentrating on books) but I love it.

Dez 19, 2020, 11:43am

>3 cindydavid4: It's been sitting on my TBR pile since it came out. I finally decided to tackle it last week. I've found it engrossing.

Editado: Dez 19, 2020, 7:16pm

>1 fredbacon: One more declaration of interest in Moscow 1937 from me.

I am about 2/3 of the way through What I Think, a collection of speeches and editorials written/delivered by Adlai Stevenson as he was gearing up for his second presidential run. His remarks about the low tactics of the Republican Party demonstrate that not has much has changed as we might suppose from 1955.

Dez 19, 2020, 1:21pm

Just finished listening to the mysterious fable, Pew. Wonderful!

Next up for listening is Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey.

Dez 19, 2020, 3:36pm

Still reading Riot Baby and Ten Arrows of Iron.

Dez 19, 2020, 4:12pm

Just finished The Loop by Joe Coomer, which was one of those serendipitous finds. I picked it up at a recent library book sale, but have no idea why. It turns out to be a sweet and engaging story that is sort of reminiscent of A Man Called Ove, in that its protagonist has an orderly but closed-off life that gets disrupted by forces beyond his control.

Just started The Atomic City Girls, which is historical fiction set at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, during the Manhattan Project. I live about 45 miles from Richland, Washington which, along with Oak Ridge and Los Alamos, was heavily involved in the project, so it's an era and a setting that piqued my interest.

Dez 19, 2020, 10:18pm

Finished How the West was Drawn and Fruit from the Sands. I'm about to finish Australia 1942. About a third of the way through The Burning God. About to start The Search for the Japanese Fleet.

Dez 20, 2020, 5:59am

Have been in a reading slump because none of my 300+ TBRs looked interesting. Have finally found a readable one - Norwegian crime fiction - called Big Sister, which seems to lack a touchstone, by author Gunnar Staalesen. So far very engrossing.

Dez 20, 2020, 8:17am

I am reading a few books, but one I will talk about here. It is my very first Libby audio book: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. It is a different skill to listen to, rather than read, a book, but I am getting the hang of it. As with many, I loved To Kill a Mockingbird and read it multiple times in my younger years. I wasn’t expecting this to be quite as wonderful, but I was excited to read/listen to it. I am almost finished, and quite disappointed. I find its arguments by the different characters meant to be wise and witty, but are not. Sometimes they are contradictory. I find myself finding a lot of fault with it.

Dez 20, 2020, 10:44am

Last night I tearfully finished Marley & Me by John Grogan, and then started Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut to pick me back up.
I'm close to reaching 50 books for the year, but I don't know if I can make it. I'll have fun trying though!

Dez 20, 2020, 11:54am

>15 PaperbackPirate: Loved Vonnegut since high school, reread every thing he wrote after he passed. He talks about such serious things and manages to make us think and smile at the same time

Dez 20, 2020, 11:56am

>16 cindydavid4: This is only my second by him, but I'm a fan already. I'm looking forward to the rest!

Dez 20, 2020, 12:59pm

>14 lamplight: Couldn't agree with you more, on both points.

I've tried, way back starting with books on cassette tapes, when that was an exotic new idea :-) and all the way up through the tech changes, and I agree that it is a whole different skill set. If I'm doing something else -- knitting, cleaning house, exercising -- I lose track of the story. If I'm **not** doing something else -- just sitting there listening -- I tend to fall asleep.

As for Go Set a Watchman, I avoided it for almost a year after its release. It was difficult to see Atticus Finch as less than heroic. To Kill a Mockingbird was, I think, a far better book, and whatever editor / mentor / teacher who told Harper Lee that the "real story" she needed to write was Scout's story, was right on the money.

Dez 20, 2020, 8:08pm

>17 PaperbackPirate: Oh my goodness you must start with welcome to the monkey house a collection of some of his early stories. Loved Cats Cradle (in fact that what Ive named my fantasy bookstore and antiques that wil someday exist) player piano was his first and is still so pertenent to today

Dez 21, 2020, 10:34am

The Only Woman In the Room – Marie Benedict

Hedy Lamarr was a movie star in the 1930s-50s, known for her ethereal beauty. She was also a highly intelligent, self-taught scientist and inventor. In this novel, Benedict tries to shed more light on the hidden aspects of Lamarr’s life, particularly her scientific inventions that led to advances in technology that we use today.

I knew some of this before reading the book, but still found it fascinating and engaging. Benedict spends the first half of the book exploring Hedy Kiesler’s life in Vienna, Austria, where at age nineteen she met and married a wealthy, powerful industrialist – Fritz Mandl. Part Two chronicles her efforts, once she’s arrived in Hollywood, to help the Allies win against Hitler.

She used the knowledge she gleaned from conversations she overheard between her husband and various political leaders, as well as her native intelligence, creativity and critical thinking to invent a device that would help make American naval operations virtually immune to radio interference. Unfortunately, she faced an uphill battle as the men in power could not even imagine taking her seriously, despite her having received a patent for the invention.

It’s an interesting tale, and Benedict does a good job of telling it. I was quickly drawn into the story and found it a compelling read.

Dez 21, 2020, 10:36am

>20 BookConcierge: Learned some interesting things from reading that book. She was quite something!

Dez 21, 2020, 2:49pm

I finished What I Think by Adlai Stevenson, a collection of speeches and print articles delivered/written by Stevenson between his two runs for president in 1952 and 1956, both of which he lost to Dwight Eisenhower. Stevenson was an intellectual and a proud liberal, the former quality perhaps serving as an impediment to winning over the American electorate. His writing was certainly thought-provoking and offers a very interesting window into Democratic thought circa 1955. I've written more about this collection on my 50-Book Challenge thread.

Next up for me will be another book from my friend Kim Nalley's list of important books about African-American history and race relations in the US, Women, Race & Class by Angela Davis.

Editado: Dez 21, 2020, 5:46pm

I finished listening the beautifully written and narrated, Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir.

Next up is the controversial American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.

Dez 21, 2020, 10:09pm

started Monogamy and stopped after 50 pages. I just am not interested in reading about someones multiple affairs in detail. And honestly not liking any of the characters.

Dez 21, 2020, 11:45pm

Just finished The Atomic City Girls and was unimpressed. It was essentially a romance set against the Manhattan Project background at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. There were historical photographs sprinkled throughout -- an odd choice for a work of fiction, but I enjoyed seeing them.

Next up, The Last Ballad, which appears to be a novel about unionization of a North Carolina textile mill in 1929.

Which brings up another question -- do you ever find things in your TBR stack and have no idea why you put them there? The Last Ballad is one of those books, as was The Loop. Hopefully this one will be as unexpectedly delightful as that one was.

Dez 23, 2020, 7:40am

I finished the excellent and thought provoking Washington Black, an adventure novel full of unique and complex characters whose nature is explored psychologically.

Dez 23, 2020, 12:48pm

Just finished The Last Ballad, which is historical fiction about the labor riots in Gastonia, North Carolina, in 1929. Well written, but ultimately depressing.

Oddly enough, three of the last five books I've read have been historical fiction set in the Great Smokies -- Thirteen Moons, The Last Ballad, and The Atomic City Girls. Totally coincidental!

I think I'll go light with the next book, and read the Stephanie Plum novel (Twisted Twenty-Six) I got for my birthday yesterday.

Dez 23, 2020, 3:02pm

I'm reading The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson. I'm pushing hard to finish as it is due back at the library in 3 days and 4 hours.

I've also got a Stuart Turton book on the go: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle for which the touchstones don't seem to be working. It's a great idea but, my gosh, it's long. It's always a bad sign when I stop caring who did it. :)

I picked up The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton last night. Such a satisfying writer! So dependable!

Dez 23, 2020, 5:32pm

Victoria Schwab, a new to me author a few years ago with her series darker shade of magichas a new one that is right up my alley fantasy wise, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue well passed the dangerous 50 page mark!

Editado: Dez 23, 2020, 10:14pm

Finished from the library:
Tsarina: A Novel by Ellen Alpstein
Novel about Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great. She rises from obscurity in the Baltic countryside to Tsarina/Empress of Russia. There are dark moments Catherine experiences or witnesses first hand as well as the splendors of the imperial Russian court.
I knew about Catherine from reading Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie.

Fallen Angel: A Novel by Tracy Borman
The final and #3 novel in the Frances Gorges trilogy. In 1614, Frances is back at the royal court after some time away. King James has a new favorite named George Villiers, the future Duke of Buckingham. Young Prince Charles, heir to the throne, is finding his place. A solid end to the trilogy!

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Dez 25, 2020, 10:58am

Arguing With Idiots – Glenn Beck
Book on CD read by the author, Steve (Stu) Bergiere, and Pat Gray

I’d never heard of Glenn Beck, but apparently, he has a popular radio show. Now that I’ve heard of him, I’ll be sure to never listen to his show.

My major problem with this was that, while Beck may have some coherent and well-researched responses to many issues, he chose to over-exaggerate the opposing viewpoint – i.e. calling anyone who voices an opposing viewpoint an idiot. In some cases he didn’t even argue the point. Painting the opposition with such a wide brush just reduces the effectiveness of his arguments rather than strengthen them.

Beck voices the audio along with two talented performers. However, I was really irritated with the “voice” of the “idiots” and wished I could speed up the delivery. I wound up reading the last two chapters in text format. I’d give the audio ZERO stars.

Dez 25, 2020, 12:01pm

>31 BookConcierge: I’d never heard of Glenn Beck, but apparently, he has a popular radio show. Now that I’ve heard of him, I’ll be sure to never listen to his show.

sigh, wish I hadn't!!! I heard of this bozo when the Tea Party started; The only thing that saved my sanity was when Jon Stewart on the Daily Show squash him many times (see youtube for examples. I esp loved the gospel rendition of 'go f yourself) anyway, you are in very good company

Dez 25, 2020, 12:11pm

Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
Cormac McCarthy
4/5 stars
In the 1850’s , a young man known as “ the Kid” follows Captain Glanton, along with Judge Holden and a crew of cowboys, to Mexico in their attempt to find gold but they only find pain, misery and death. “The Glanton gang segments are based on Samuel Chamberlain's account of the group in his memoir My Confession: The Recollections of a Rogue. Chamberlain rode with John Joel Glanton and his company between 1849 and 1850.” Info from -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Meridian
Well written, but it is a dark and brutal story.

Dez 25, 2020, 11:18pm

Just finished Twisted Twenty-Six, which is a Stephanie Plum novel.

I've mentioned before that I really prefer reading to audiobooks, and that I often have trouble following the plot in audiobooks because I get distracted. And this one was a prime example.

Got the printed book for my birthday earlier this week, from someone who didn't know I had borrowed the audiobook earlier this month to accompany me on a 6-hour drive. Enjoyed the audiobook, but was troubled by what appeared to be a MAJOR plot hole. One of those "Why didn't they just do the obvious thing?" Apparently I missed the line in the audiobook that explained why the obvious thing wouldn't work. It was quite clear in the printed version. Also -- the printed book is clearly setting up for a sequel. Missed that, too!

So, yeah, printed books over audiobooks for me.

Dez 25, 2020, 11:39pm

The new thread is up over here.