What are you reading the week of February 6, 2021?

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What are you reading the week of February 6, 2021?

Fev 6, 1:06am

I finished up The Idiot, which had a...disappointing...conclusion. The main character embarrassed himself at party by engaging in an excited anti-Catholic rant followed by an epileptic seizure. It was wholly uncharacteristic of the individual up to that point. His fall in social standing precipitates the final tragedy, but it felt cheap and unearned. The tension of the final twenty or thirty page were handled brilliantly, but the party and Prince Myshkin's diatribe ruined the story.

I've dipping into a couple of books this week looking for something to strike my fancy. I've finally settled on The Landmark Thucydides, an annotated edition of his history of the Peloponnesian War. It's been 40 years since I last read Thucydides. I suspect that I've learned enough in the interim to strongly affect my interpretation of the book.

Fev 6, 9:06am

Have barely started Gamechanger and have made a major dent in Engines of Diplomacy, and a lesser one in Operation Don's Main Attack; the latter I expect to be dipping into throughout the month. In regards to the books of David Glantz, you don't make dents in them, they make dents in you!

Fev 6, 2:42pm

I finished The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World - and Globalization Began by Valerie Hansen. Hansen here describes the growing interconnectedness between ever wider areas of the world for the purposes of trade, yes, but also the sharing of ideas and innovations. The year 1000 is really used as a sort of central point in time, one that Hansen frequently circles back to, but not one that she slavishly adheres to. She talks, really, about developments over a range of times within a 2- or 3-century time period, from around 900 to around 1200.

Basically, what Hansen does in this book is give us a tour around the world, circa 1000, to describe what an observant traveler then might have found, and both going back in time to illuminate how things got that way and then moving forward. What she wants to emphasize is that the world then was much more interconnected, that trade routes, for example, were much more far flung and markets more sophisticated, than we might imagine via a Western view through which we think of parts of the world as being "discovered" in the 15th and 16th centuries. You can read my more in-depth comments on my 50-Book Challenge thread.

Next up for me will be a return to E.F. Benson's delightful Mapp and Lucia series with the series' third book, Lucia in London.

Fev 6, 3:19pm

Reading: CoDex 1962 by Sjon

Listening to: Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

Fev 6, 4:52pm

Just finished When No One Is Watching, for my F2F group on Tuesday. Didn't much care for it, mostly because Cole couldn't seem to decide whether she wanted to write about the human cost of gentrification, or about one woman trying desperately to hold on to a life spiraling out of control, or a thriller about a conspiracy that almost makes QAnon look sane.

Currently reading Talk Radio, by Ham Martin, as an LTER. Hoping it will move away from the actual call-in conversations a little, as the introduction to the main character looked quite interesting. Thus far, she's just showing up at work, fielding the phones, and trying to remain neutral in her responses to them.

Fev 6, 6:31pm

Haven't read much this week. I decided to watch the TV show "Designated Survivor" and have barely moved from the sofa since I began it.

I did read and very much like The Retribution by Val McDermid, which, like all of McDermid's crime novels, is excellent. She has a real gift for making weird plots believable and her characters almost always evoke compassion in me. I may read another one next, I have Insidious Intent next to me here.

Fev 6, 6:41pm

I'm continuing to read First Man in Rome from the Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough. I just received Shadowplay by Joseph O'Connor from the library and that will be my non Roman side read. It seems pretty interesting so far.

Fev 6, 7:39pm

I'll Have What She's Having: How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy
Erin Carlson
3.5/5 stars
This is a very interesting look at Nora Ephron’s life and career, in particularly focusing on her three most famous film romances - When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. I have always loved film and this book does a nice job in discussing Ephron’s films and has plenty of juicy facts about each of them and how they came about!

Fev 6, 10:20pm

This morning I finished Conjure Women by Afia Atakora. It was a unique take on a historical fiction story about enslavement, but the way the author changed time period or character perspective was confusing at times.

Now I'm back to Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King. I've got about 300 pages to go and I'm happy to be back to it.

Editado: Fev 7, 3:54pm

This week’s reading:
George Eliot—The Mill on the Floss
Octavia Butler—Mind of my Mind (Book 2 of Patternist series)
Michael Gorra—The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War
Fredrik Logevall—Embers of War (2 chapters to go!)

Next fiction read: Zora Neale Hurston—Their Eyes Were Watching God

Fev 7, 9:07pm

I spent the late afternoon and early evening finishing Val McDermid's Insidious Intent, with a brief break for Chinese food. The book was excellent, kept you guessing till the end.....and a great and unspeakable ending it was.

Next up is (I think) The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

Fev 7, 10:30pm

Finished my Early Review read of Talk Radio, which was enjoyable, if a bit of a lightweight.

So, on the rebound, I picked up A Promised Land. I'm usually a "monogamous" reader, seldom having more than one book at a time going, but this one is so intense that I will probably have to step back from it a couple of times and decompress. Have been working at it for a couple of days and still haven't gotten through the first 100 pages.

Fev 8, 10:36am

I finished Amerika which I cannot say that I enjoyed. It described the collapse of an earnest youth surrounded by a cast of despicable characters. It was written by Franz Kafka so I can only assume that its redeeming characteristics and deeper meaning escaped me as I found it a slog.

Fev 8, 11:40am

I'm reading an Agatha Christie collection, Midwinter Murder.

Fev 8, 11:48am

I'm hoping to get something quick out of the way this week- I'm waffling between Supermutant Magic Academy or Death In Venice, although there are probably a million other ones that I can get distracted by when I try to decide. 😅

Editado: Fev 10, 7:52am

Enjoying this OverDrive Kindle stand-alone novel ~

Before She Disappeared
by Lisa Gardner

Fev 8, 3:58pm

The Odds – Stewart O’Nan

Subtitle: A Love Story

Art and Marian Fowler travel to Niagara Falls for a sort of second honeymoon. Their thirty-year marriage is in shambles. They’re facing financial ruin, the loss of their home, and a divorce, though they’ve kept all this from their adult children – so far. Art’s plan is to liquidate all their savings and gamble big at the roulette wheel. So they book the fanciest suite at the fanciest casino/hotel and try their luck.

Oh, I love O’Nan’s writing! This is the third book by him that I’ve read and I’m about to add all his works to my TBR.

O’Nan gives us wonderful characters – warts and all. In the course of their trip and throughout the weekend, the two reflect on their years together – what drew them to one another, what irritated them, the affairs that nearly broken them, the secrets they’ve kept from one another, the joys (and heartaches) that they’ve shared.

Laid off and with little hope of finding a new, meaningful job at his age, Art is desperate for a “win.” He knows he’s made mistakes, in his life and in his marriage. He’s certain that his main fault has been to be too cautious, to NOT take risks. Not now. He’ll win big or he’ll go down in a blaze of glory.

Marian is tired – of the lies, the secrets, Art’s relentless efforts to please her and make amends. She just wants this to be over with. And yet, she cannot help but feel a bit giddy and happy once she lets herself succumb to the experience, the thrill, the sheer romanticism of Valentine’s Day at Niagara Falls.

Over the course of the weekend they’ll share memorable meals, a stomach virus, a romantic horse & carriage ride, an awkward visit to Ripley’s Believe or Not Museum, a memorable rock concert, more than one bottle of champagne, and the thrill and terror of betting it all on the spin of a wheel and the croupier’s flick of a wrist, sending that little ball spinning.

At the end I’m rooting for them … no so much that the roulette wheel is in their favor, but that they win the marriage game. I’m betting on THEM.

Fev 8, 4:42pm

Finished Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott. Enjoyed it immensely.

Added A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness to my rotation.

Fev 8, 5:54pm

>18 BookConcierge: I don't know if you've read Stewart O'Nan's Speed Queen but it's one of the scariest books I've ever read. It's incredibly frightening and I've never forgotten it. I'd like to reread it one day when I'm feeling brave enough!

Fev 10, 7:51am

Enjoying this OverDrive 'community read' Kindle novel ~

Love Lettering: A Witty and Heartfelt Love Story
by Kate Clayborn

Editado: Fev 10, 10:26pm

Finished Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, translated by Edith Grossman
All I can say this: it's a masterpiece! I'm glad I got Edith Grossman's English translation of the novel.

Fev 11, 2:41pm

I finished Lucia in London by E.F. Benson. This is the third book (or second, depending on whose list you look at) in Benson's humorous Mapp and Lucia series about the upper-middle class in England between the World Wars. I found the novel to be fun light reading.

I've now started another book in my friend Kim Nalley's recommended list of works about African-American history and racism in America, Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism by Patricia Hill Collins.

Fev 11, 5:22pm

Joy in the Morning
Betty Smith
3.5/5 stars
Set in 1927 in the Depression era, Annie and her boyfriend Carl Brown marry. Their parents are not too happy but they take off to the University where Carl will try to earn his degree with little money and much hardship as they settle down building a life for themselves in difficult times. Written by the author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, this is a semi-autobiographical novel of her life with her husband in their first few years of marriage. Enjoyable!

Fev 12, 2:59am

I have just finished reading the novel The Sisters Brothers by author Patrick deWitt


Fev 12, 11:28pm

The new thread is up over here.

Editado: Fev 12, 11:46pm

>24 JulieLill: It's really strange but I suddenly remembered my older brother reading Joy in the Morning for a class when he was in high school. I must have been about 12 or 13 at the time. When I looked at it's listing here, I instantly recognized the cover of the edition he read. Although I never read it, I remember it really catching my attention at the time. Probably because it was considered slightly salacious. It was like catnip to me. I kept picking it up and reading the back cover whenever no one was looking. I sometimes feel as if I grew up in some strange parallel world. :-D