What are you reading the week of January 16, 2021?

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What are you reading the week of January 16, 2021?

Jan 16, 8:20am

I read a newer translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh. This translation, from 2003, is a little more difficult to read than other translations as it retains all of the broken passages and lacunae. It doesn't attempt to provide a smooth narrative focusing instead on an accurate rendering. Steven Mitchell's Gilgamesh: A New English Version may be more appropriate for someone looking to enjoy a close approximation to the original without the frustrations of missing text.

Up next is The Madman of Bergerac, another Inspector Maigret mystery.

Jan 16, 9:53am

All the books I mentioned last week are done. The current items of focus are How to Hide an Empire, Dakota: The Story of the Northern Plains, and Panzerartillerie.

Jan 16, 10:25am

I'm about 200 pages into Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King. It's over 700 pages long, so at this rate I'll finish by the end of February. I'm hoping to put a good dent in it over this 3 day weekend.

Jan 16, 2:38pm

Jan 16, 3:53pm

Pistols For Two
Georgette Heyer
3/5 stars
Author Heyer is known for her historical romance novels and mysteries. This book contains several of her historical romance short stories and has a couple of excerpts from 2 of her novels. This is definitely for romance fans. I read some of her novels years ago and it was fun to re-visit her writings and to read her short stories.

Jan 16, 4:51pm

OverDrive Kindle book ~

Hot Pursuit
by Julie Ann Walker
(book 11, Black Knights Inc.)

Jan 16, 5:22pm

Still reading Middlemarch. It was going to take a good while but now yet longer. Today, suddenly my husband of 46 years died of a heart attack. I imagine it will take a bit before I'm ready to focus on reading.

Jan 16, 5:32pm

>7 snash: Oh my god, I’m so sorry. Sending my heartfelt condolences.

Jan 17, 9:04am

Snash my deepest condolences on your loss!

Jan 17, 10:25am

>7 snash: Sending love!

Jan 17, 10:46am

>7 snash: Oh my goodness, I am so sorry!!! I can't even imagine; I hope you have lots of support around you, Ill be thinking of you

Jan 17, 12:41pm

>7 snash: Oh, wow. Condolences from here, too.

Jan 17, 12:42pm

I read and very much enjoyed Ayad Akhtar's highly and (in my view) rightfully praised novel, Homeland Elegies. You can find my review on my 50-Book Challenge thread. I've now returned to my friend Kim Nalley's list of important books about African-American history and racism in America, as I've begun Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America by Kwame Ture (a.k.a. Stokely Carmichael) and Charles V. Hamilton. The book was first published in 1967. Tragically, not much seems to have changed since then.

Jan 17, 2:20pm

>7 snash: I'm so, so sorry. Please know you're in my thoughts.

Jan 17, 3:07pm

>7 snash: I'm so sorry for your loss. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

Jan 17, 3:25pm

>7 snash: My deepest condolences on your loss.

Jan 17, 3:30pm

> 7 snash....how awful! My condolences!

Jan 17, 3:58pm

Condolences snash...So, so, so sad to hear of your loss.

Jan 17, 4:32pm

>7 snash: I am so sorry about your husband!

Jan 17, 4:32pm

The Secrets of Lost Cats: One Woman, Twenty Posters, and a New Understanding of Love
Dr. Nancy Davidson
3.5/5 stars
Nancy Davidson explores the unusual topic of missing cats and the posters that people make when their cats go missing. Her exploration of this topic came up when her own orange tabby went missing. She made posters to help find him and discovered a myriad of other missing cat posters in her area. She has a degree in clinical psychology and wanted to know the stories of the people who lost their cats. So whenever she found a lost cat poster, she would try to contact the owners. Some were open to her and some were not. This was such an interesting and usual topic that I sped through this book!

Jan 17, 7:29pm

Thanks to all of you for your condolences, concern, and kind thoughts. I'm still in shock but, surprisingly, have been able to read some and find solace in so doing.

Jan 17, 9:32pm

Finished up Roger Ebert's Your Movie Sucks, which I had been nibbling at for a while. I quickly found it needed that kind of approach, as it's just a collection of reviews of movies Ebert found ... less than satisfying.

I think it would have been a better book if they had been organized by category -- miscasting, poor story line, bad direction, whatever, which would have given the book some coherence and pace. As it is, they are just shuffled into alphabetical order.

Am about 3/4 through with Jennifer Weiner's Mrs. Everything, which uses a wider lens than Weiner usually shoots with. I've enjoyed all her books, but this one spans a 50-year time span and takes a look at the many kinds of changes in American culture, particularly in the lives of everyday women, embodied by the lives of two sisters.

Jan 18, 7:38am

>7 snash: How shocking and heartbreaking for you. Sending virtual hugs.

Jan 18, 7:43am

Hi everyone, I'm finishing We, the Accused by Ernest Raymond. It's absorbing. Next up is English author, Elizabeth Taylor's, Complete Short Stories. I've already started the first story, Hester Lily, and I'm looking forward to getting back to it.

Editado: Jan 18, 10:21am

>7 snash: There by the grace of god go I; dear old Mom recognized the signs of trouble before I did before it was too late. Very, very sorry for you.

Editado: Jan 18, 11:41am

This week, I'm reading The Horse And His Boy after several decades of procrastinating (I'd skipped it when I read the rest of the series as a young sprog because it didn't contain the Pevensies/convenient audience stand-ins). I do not have high hopes for this one, unfortunately. Still slogging through Sense & Sensibility, though I sort of expected that going in (Austen has always been slow reading for me.)

Jan 18, 11:40am

>7 snash: My condolences on your loss- I can't imagine how hard this must be.

Jan 18, 4:52pm

Finished Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Enjoyed it well enough.

Added Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie to my rotation.

Jan 19, 10:51am

>7 snash: So sorry for your loss. Take care of yourself. When you are ready, we'll be here to welcome you back.

Jan 19, 10:52am

Daisy Jones And the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Book on CD performed by a full cast.

A book within a book, that purportedly tells the story of a famous rock band of the 1970s, told in an unusual format – an “oral history” novel.

It’s a love story, a history of the 1970s rock scene, a coming of age story, and a story of how addiction steals the best parts of our lives. I really didn’t like the main characters. The format Reid chose to use – a faux oral history – had me cringing with all the back-biting and whining. One person doesn’t like another, or is jealous of another, or is mad at another … over and over again. And as for plot … it just didn’t seem to be going anywhere, or at least not anywhere I wanted to go.

And then I got to those last 20 pages and my breath was taken away. I LOVED the ending of this book! It was headed for a 2-star rating and those last twenty pages earned it an entire additional star.

I was glad I was listening to the audio because the few times I chose to read parts of the text, well, the format just didn’t quite work for me on the page. But as an audio, it was great.

The audio is performed by a full cast: Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Ari Flakos, Judy Greer, January LaVoy, Robinne Lee, Pablo Schreiber, and Julia Whelan, with Sara Arrington, Fred Berman, Arthur Bishop, Jonathan Davis, Holter Graham, Peter Larkin, Henry Leyva, P.J. Ochlan, Robert Petkoff, Alex Jenkins Reid, Brendan Wayne, Nancy Wu, and Oliver Wyman. I have no idea who reads which part, though I’m assuming Beals voices Daisy, and Bratt voices Billy. Regardless, this was a brilliant way to perform this audiobook. I felt many times as if I were watching a documentary about the band (or at least listening to it). 4 stars for the audio performance. My only quibble is that the last track is supposedly one of the key songs, but – at least on the copy I had from the library – it was purely instrumental, with no vocals. I had hoped to hear the full song performed. The text version, on the other hand, included all the lyrics to the band’s hit album.

Jan 19, 2:57pm

Finished Mrs. Everything, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and started the true-crime book She Wanted It All. Kathryn Casey is a new true-crime author to me. At this point - two chapters in - it's obvious that she thinks her main character is a sociopath.

Jan 19, 5:34pm

Enjoying this OverDrive Kindle book ~

Naked in Death
by J. D. Robb (Nora Roberts)
(In Death, book 1/Eve Dallas series/I've decided to revisit the first 4 books in
the series/50+ books, so far)

Editado: Jan 21, 11:38am

I finished the fascinating and extremely valuable Black Power: The Politics of Liberation by Kwame Ture (formerly known as Stokely Carmichael) and Charles V. Hamilton, first published in 1967. My comments on my reading are on my 50-Book Challenge thread.

And now, from the "They Can't All Be Classics" Department, I'm on to Book 4 in Don Tracy's "Giff Speer" crime series, an obscure pulp series from the 1960s, Look Down on Her Dying.

Editado: Jan 21, 10:54am

I picked up Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott who is really Agatha Christie. I wasn't prepared for how much I'm enjoying it. The writing is very fine. Apparently, Christie wanted to write a non mystery to prove to herself she could sell a book based on the book, not trade on the name Agatha Christie. There are six books she wrote under the name Mary Westmacott. During this pandemic, I've been reading a great deal of Agatha Christie and I think she really was a genius in many ways. Particularly her plotting. I've been grateful that she was astoundingly prolific.

Jan 21, 1:38pm

Service With a Smile
P.G. Wodehouse
3/5 stars
This is the first Wodehouse novel I have read but it is the 5th in the series that concentrates on Uncle Fred, 5th Earl of Ickenham. He is visiting his friend Lord Emsworth who has to deal with his lost prize pig, a new secretary and a group of church lads camping on his property. This was quite a romp especially with several plot lines for a book that is only 190 pages long.

Jan 21, 4:19pm

Finished Where Oblivion Lives by T. Frohock (dull) and Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie (not one of my favorites).

Added Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott and The Sanctuary Seeker by Bernard Knight to my reading rotation.

Editado: Jan 22, 12:20am

Finusged listening to Wild Swans: Three Daughters Of China, a very good memoir.

Next up for listening is Black Bottom Saints by Alice Randall.

Jan 22, 3:13am

>37 hemlokgang: Loved Wild Swans. I took a Chinese history class when I was in freshman in college, this would have been 1974. I remember them praising the cultural revolution. This book showed the errors of my ways. Loved how she can juggle the lives of the three daughter while giving a picture of the time. I tried to read her Mao, but either I was not in the mood for it or diddn't care for the style, tho I suspect its just as good.

About halfway done with A Promised Land The events during that time are so embedded in me; fascinating to read what was going on behind the scenes and his reactions to various scandals and battles. I had read becoming and loved their different views of the same events. Hoping he is able to give Joe some help digging through the mess that was left behind

Jan 22, 10:01am

I finished Absent in Spring late last night. What a terrific, thought provoking novel.

Editado: Jan 22, 3:56pm

Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes, English translation by Edith Grossman
I kept seeing this great novel over the years at the library and decided to give it a go! I checked out the paperback edition; it has bonus reading material following the text.

Jan 22, 4:30pm

>40 princessgarnet: I consider Don Quixote one of the four or five funniest books I've ever read. My wife, on the other hand, ground to a halt around halfway through. Hope you enjoy it, though.

Editado: Jan 22, 7:58pm

Just finished the true-crime book She Wanted It All. Brrrrrrrr! That woman was an absolute monster.

Steinbeck talks about it in describing the Cathy character in East of Eden. She was fictional, of course, but I have believed in the truth of what Steinbeck wrote: “Just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?

Monsters are variations from the accepted normal to a greater or a less degree. As a child may be born without an arm, so one may be born without kindness or the potential of conscience. A man who loses his arms in an accident has a great struggle to adjust himself to the lack, but one born without arms suffers only from people who find him strange. Having never had arms, he cannot miss them. To a monster the norm must seem monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself. To the inner monster it must be even more obscure, since he has no visible thing to compare with others. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.”

Jan 22, 8:30pm

Reading and reading and still reading, From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the present: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, Jacques Barzun. For ‘light’ relief, just finished A Long Walk Home, Judith Tebbutt. Have lined up Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton.

Jan 22, 10:42pm

Jan 23, 12:33am

The new thread is up over here.