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

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

Mar 6, 1:04am

I've been working evening writing some software, so there hasn't been much reading this week...again. I'm about a two thirds of the way through The Landmark Thucydides. It's divided into eight books, and I've finished five of them now. I'm going to try to carve out some time for myself to read this week.

Editado: Mar 12, 4:45pm

Enjoying this OverDrive audio ~

Kitchen Front: a novel by Jennifer Ryan
(WWII tale/two sisters/BBC cooking competition/includes recipes)

4.5 stars

Mar 6, 9:28am

Mar 6, 9:58am

I finished I Served the King of England which is a Czech farce set against the history of the mid 1900's. It mirrors life in that it's fairly silly and pointless in the beginning but much more serious and contemplative towards the end. I did wonder if I should continue part way through but glad I did.

Mar 6, 10:06am

I finished Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. I loved Homegoing, her first novel, and am not disappointed in this one. Both are very fine novels and so different from each other that I wouldn’t even try to decide which I like better. Both get 5* from me.

I’m still listening to Grant and Middlemarch and have picked up Faulkner’s The Unvanquished.

Mar 6, 10:36am

>5 dianelouise100: I loved Homegoing. Good to hear you liked her other book too!

I've got 70 pages left of The Butterfly Lampshade by Aimee Bender. I like how it addresses mental illness in a family, but I'm hoping there's a big of magic at play as well. We'll see...

Mar 6, 10:59am

A Bookshop In Berlin– Françoise Frenkel
Digital audiobook narrated by Jilly Bond

Subtitle: The Rediscovered Memoir of One Woman’s Harrowing Escape From the Nazis
In 1921 Frankel – a Jewish woman from Poland – opened La Maison du Livre, Berlin’s first French bookshop. It was popular with artists and diplomats, celebrities and poets. But by 1935 the city was in the grip of the Nazis – first came bureaucratic hurdles, then police inspections and book confiscations. In November 1938 came Kristallnacht, when hundreds of Jewish shops and businesses were destroyed. Frankel fled to Paris. But she was hardly safe for long.

Originally titled No Place To Lay One’s Head this has been re-issued with the popular “bookshop” title – certainly a marketing strategy. There’s virtually nothing in the memoir about the bookshop, and little about Berlin.

This is not to say that Frankel’s memoir isn’t worth reading. I was engaged, interested and riveted by her tale. The many near misses and constant uncertainty would break many. I marveled at her tenacity, determination and sheer will to survive.

Jilly Bond does an excellent job of narrating the audiobook. She sets a good pace and has very clear diction. I don’t speak French, so am not certain, but her French pronunciation sounds authentic to me.

The text version includes numerous notes at the end, including copies of correspondence and a review of Frankel’s original memoir. I was surprised to learn from these appendices that she was married; her husband is never mentioned in the book.

Mar 6, 11:24am

I'm enjoying The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson.

Mar 6, 2:02pm

Finished Searching for Sylvia Lee, by Jean Kwok, which is this month's group read for my F2F group.


None of the characters was likeable, many plot points seemed unlikely, the narrative was confusing, and the only thing lifting it above today's spate of disappeared-woman mysteries was the immigrant Chinese background. Which, it turns out, really wasn't enough.

Next up is Night Road, by Kristin Hannah. I've found Hannah's books to be pretty uneven, so I'm not getting my hopes up for this one. My mom gave it to me, so it's at least 50% mercy-read.

Mar 6, 3:51pm

I am listening to I Am Pilgrim. I just finished reading the lovely Early Reviewer short story collection, A Prayer For The Living. I definitely want to read more by Ben Okri.

Next up for reading is another Early Reviewer selection, Exiles by Christina Baker Kline.

Mar 6, 6:43pm

I have been grabbed Martin Marten by Brian Doyle , I thank our LT poster who made a mention of Mink Lake this I have ordered on-line.

Mar 6, 7:07pm

>5 dianelouise100: and >6 PaperbackPirate: I have Homegoing on my reader and haven't gotten around to reading it yet; will do so soon! Thanks for the favourable reviews.

I've had a very difficult week with my mental health deciding to bottom out entirely. I've read very little because of that, but did make my way through A Darker Domain by Val McDermid.

Am now in the first few pages of Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman. I read a couple of this series when I was in high school, and I thought they might be good companions for me now, so I've acquired four on my reader.

Mar 6, 7:38pm

I finished They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers. I found it very good, though the subject matter is depressing. My full comments are on my 50-Book Challenge thread.

Next up for me will be a Yiddish classic, The Zelmenyaners by Moyshe Kulbak, about a Jewish family in Minsk trying to navigate the beginnings of the Soviet era.

Editado: Mar 7, 4:10am

I finished listening to the excellent espionage novel, I Am Pilgrim.

Next up for listening is The Last Boat Out Of Shanghai: The Epic Story Of The Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution by Helen Zia.

Mar 7, 6:23pm

Finished Night Road in pretty well one large gulp. It's better than other Kristin Hannah novels I've read, but does veer awfully close to soap opera.

Next up is something to engage my brain a bit more, I hope, The Panda's Thumb, which has been around for quite a while but which I've never read.

Mar 7, 7:18pm

I'm reading People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd. It's a domestic noir sort of novel but, really, quite funny. I'm not very far along so we'll see.

I've also got Tom Holland's Dynasty the Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar on the go. There seems to be a lot of subjective writing about how Augustus and others felt that I'm not certain is backed up by any historical document. Hmmm. :(

Yesterday I finished Dark Matter a mystery that is a family run funeral home and detective agency. I wasn't prepared to like it as much as I did. Really different and enjoyable.

I've been on a diet and have been purchasing a lot of books as a substitute for ice cream and chocolate. All the above titles are "diet purchases". ;)

Mar 8, 4:46pm

Finished An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock. Really enjoyed it.

added A Deadly Influence by Mike Omer to my rotation.

Editado: Mar 8, 7:32pm

Finished reading the Early Reviewer selection, The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline. Next up for reading is another Early Reviewer selection, the short story collection, Belgrade Noir.

Mar 8, 9:28pm

I finished The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson which I found to be a wonderfully engaging family saga. I love a good dual timeline!

Now I think I’m starting The Remains of the Day.

Mar 9, 4:26pm

I'm reading That Old Country Music, a short story collection by Irish writer Kevin Barry.

Editado: Mar 10, 11:33am

Strange but True
John Searles
4/5 stars
The Chases have had a hard life, their son Ronnie was killed in an automobile accident which severely injured his date/girlfriend Melissa. One night Melissa shows up on their door step claiming she is pregnant with Ronnie’s baby though Ronnie has been dead for 5 years. So begins this very interesting mystery about a family wracked with grief, trying to get through life and absorbing this new information. Is the baby really Ronnie’s? Is Melissa trying to scam them?

Mar 10, 2:42pm

Last night I finished The Zelmenyaners: A Family Saga by Moyshe Kulbak. considered a classic of Yiddish literature, the novel is a comedy spanning several generations of an extended Jewish family in Minsk, the capitol city of Byelorussia (now Belarus), but centering on the period from 1926 through 1933 or so. The tale centers around the older generation's desires to retain their old ways, including the vestiges of their Jewish beliefs and practices, in the face of the growing incursions of Soviet society and economic collectivisation. As the younger generation grows to maturity, they less interested in the old ways and more interested in being good Bolsheviks. Even the older Zelmenyaners are pushed to end their independent lives as tradesmen (tailors, tanners, carpenters) and go to work in the factories, like good Soviet proletariats. You can find my more in-depth comments on my 50-Book Challenge thread.

Next up for me will be Voice of the Whirlwind, the third book in Walter Jon Williams' cyberpunk Hardwired series.

Mar 10, 4:40pm

Olive Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout

This is really a collection of short stories about the people who live in a small coastal Maine town. Virtually all the stories mention Olive Kitteridge, and we learn a little tidbit about her in each one. Olive is a hard woman to know and even harder to like. She is quick to judge, slow to forgive. She is not really in touch with her emotions at all (but then, most everyone is town has the same flaw). You really have all the elements of life in this little town – weddings, babies, death, divorce, affairs, surly children, inattentive spouses, the vulnerable, the lonely. In some of the stories the characters wake up to their dysfunction and take action to change, but we never really learn the result.

Update Oct 2020: After my F2F book club chose to discuss the sequel, Olive, Again, I decided to revisit the original. I’m glad I re-read it. For this experience I chose to read slowly, one story (chapter) every few days. I found myself thinking over some of the things I now know about Olive from reading the sequel and can clearly see her growth as a character. I’m more sympathetic to her, even though she is still hard to like. There are times when her experience as a teacher over many years shines through in the way she notices small clues to other people’s distress. Olive doesn’t always say or do the right thing – heck, she rarely says or does the right thing – but she takes note and in her own way she tries to let others know that they are not alone.

Mar 11, 7:32pm

Just "finished" The Panda's Thumb, and I use the quotation marks because I pretty well just skimmed the last half. Not really pleasurable reading, and too scholarly for me!

I'll either take a break with The Knitting Goddess, or jump into one of the two LTR books received this week -- Blind Turn or Path of the Guiding Light.

Mar 12, 11:30am

Diary of a Mad Housewife
Sue Kaufman
4/5 stars
Set in the 60’s, Bettina Balser is a stay at home mom, the norm for that generation dealing with child and husband issues. One of her outlets is a diary to vent all her feelings as she deals with her issues, fears and everything going around her including an affair of hers with a writer. Well written and still holds up today!

Mar 12, 11:39pm

The new thread is up over here.