May/June 2021 What books are you reading?

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May/June 2021 What books are you reading?

Editado: Maio 7, 2021, 12:02 am

I've just finished When Google met WikiLeaks by Julian Assange. Quite an eye opener!

Maio 7, 2021, 12:03 am

I also finished My Lemonade: An Adoption Story by Robert Mulkey. A sad story of a 19 year trying to connect with his bio family.

Maio 7, 2021, 9:58 am

Finished a pair of very different non-fiction books.
I listened to Dear Reader a memoir told partly through books that she read at different points in her life.
And I read Sicily, a very readable history of Sicily that had me reaching for google to search holidays there...

Maio 7, 2021, 11:06 am

>2 Tess_W: Sounds interesting!

Maio 9, 2021, 7:30 am

I'm reading White Fragility which finally explains to me why white people get SO defensive.

Maio 9, 2021, 8:49 am

Reading It's Not About the Burqa, a collection of essays by Muslim women speaking out for themselves. Last year I saw some of these women speak at a related online event, and they were very articulate and determined.

Maio 9, 2021, 11:01 am

>6 SChant: I listened to that at the beginning of the year, as narrated by the writers. Most of the essays were very interesting and illuminating.

Maio 9, 2021, 12:37 pm

I just finished reading Paul Gauguin's Intimate Journals. Having read his earlier Noa Noa, I wasn't expecting to find the writing as entertaining as I did. This one was much livelier and wide-ranging.

Maio 12, 2021, 12:50 pm

I finished the excellent and extremely important recent book, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee

McGhee runs down the racist, anti-Black roots of many of the major societal problems in America today, examining at the same time the ways in which these policies have also greatly harmed whites along the way. Her thesis, as per the title, is that working and middle class whites have been sold a "Zero Sum" philosophy: if Blacks "win," whites, by definition, "lose." So, for one easy example, welfare programs that would help many more whites than Blacks must be bad nevertheless, because Blacks are "takers" who don't deserve taxpayer help. Never mind the number of poor whites who would be lifted as well.

Editado: Maio 12, 2021, 7:32 pm

I'm reading Enemies: A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner, and I'm completely transfixed. The book was published in 2012, years before the Bureau's recent political scandals, and it's a detailed history and recognition of something people have often suspected: that the FBI, from the very beginning, was intended to be an American secret police organization, a "domestic CIA," and that "crime fighting" was almost a sideline. I appreciate that the author, while being very critical, doesn't take cheap shots: e.g., he doesn't deal in rumors about Hoover being a crossdresser. I can't recommend this book highly enough.

I'm also reading, or re-reading, Richard Meinertzhagen's Middle East Diary, 1917-1956, which is one of the most enlightening books about the Israeli-Palestinian situation I've ever encountered.

Next, I'm looking forward to Jimmy Webb's autobiography, The Cake and the Rain: A Memoir. I love Webb's music, and only a book as riveting as Enemies could keep me from reading it immediately.

Editado: Maio 12, 2021, 7:30 pm

Whoops, I posted that twice! Pardon me.

Maio 13, 2021, 5:20 pm

Nobody's Perfect: Billy Wilder, a Personal Biography
Charlotte Chandler
4/5 stars
Chandler, who had met and had conversations with Billy Wilder, discusses his life and his career as a director, writer and highlights his films. She also discusses his life, surviving WWI and the holocaust though he lost his mother and grandmother in concentration camps. His films and his relationships with actors are discussed. This made me want to re-watch all his films especially the ones I missed.

Maio 13, 2021, 6:00 pm

Both of the books I've read so far in May were nonfiction: No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty and Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card.

Maio 14, 2021, 3:42 pm

Maio 19, 2021, 11:30 am

Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
by Barack Obama
4/5 stars
Obama writes about his life as a child living with his mother in Hawaii, then working in Chicago as a community organizer and ends the book with his travels to Africa to meet his father’s family in this well written autobiography. I look forward to reading more of his books!

Maio 20, 2021, 7:14 am

Just started The Library Book, by Susan Orlean, all about the burning of the LA Central Library.

Maio 20, 2021, 2:04 pm

>16 BooksCatsEtc: You're in for a treat! That was a fantastic read.

I've just finished Making Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern. The next nonfiction book on my reading list is You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo, which is a book for people who have ADHD, as I do.

Editado: Maio 20, 2021, 2:09 pm

I finished Up from Slavery the famous memoir by Booker T. Washington. On the national stage, Washington was one of the most famous African Americans of his time. This is an important book to read for anyone wishing to gain an overall understanding of Black history in America, although his ideas about race relations are somewhat controversial now. (He believed that Blacks as a group needed to gain practical skills and other individual success before working toward social equality, despite, and seemingly ignoring, the fact that White society as a whole was expressly intent upon violently suppressing any such advances.) Overall, Washington is a person to admire.

Maio 20, 2021, 5:31 pm

Maio 20, 2021, 5:48 pm

With all the UFO chatter in the news lately, I've finally picked up my copy of Passport to Magonia.

Maio 22, 2021, 12:14 pm

Started Women vs Hollywood by Helen O'Hara - a highly entertaining look at the unsung heroines who worked as directors, writers and producers as well as actors from the very beginnings of the industry. Very eye-opeining.

Editado: Maio 24, 2021, 3:14 pm

Started The Righteous Mind after a review on the Dutch site De Correspondent. Some excellent points, not quite sure what to make of his views on religion.

Maio 26, 2021, 6:22 am

Finished Women vs Hollywood and rather enjoyed it. There was some eye-opening stuff about the early years of cinema, where women were more autonomous, becoming directors, writers, and producers as well as actors and stunt-performers, but of course when the money-men got involved in the industry sexism, racism and homophobia crept in and womens' roles become much more circumscribed - same old story.

About to start Material Girls by philosopher Kathleen Stock - an examination of gender-identity and biological sex. I expect it to be thought-provoking.

Editado: Maio 26, 2021, 10:56 am

The Woman Who Loves Giraffes
"A profile of giraffe researcher Anne Dagg who, in 1956, became one of the first people to ever observe and report on animal behaviour." From IMDB
This is an excellent movie about Anne Dagg who researched giraffes and it discusses the difficulty of her chosen field because she was a woman. She reminds me of Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall who researched apes. Though not a book, I thought some of you might be interested in it.

Maio 30, 2021, 9:11 pm

Fossil Men. Yep, the implication and innuendo of the title is all in the book, too. Petty jealousies of the Big Names in 20th C. paleoanthropology who often as not, guarded their lofty reputations as hominid hunters than the actual hominids they discovered.

Fun read that could have been nothing more than a gossip fest. Instead, it gives a accurate picture of the difficulties and dangers faced by the scientists in the field, especially in the 80s and 90s, during periods of political turmoil and semi-constant tribal warfare, especially in Ethiopia.

Author, Kermit Pattison is doing an excellent job of dusting off the romanticism of the bone hunters' lives in this book. Vivid -- I feel every jolt of the jeep over the Afar terrain. And watch out for vipers!

Maio 31, 2021, 12:26 pm

Hugh Martin: The Boy Next Door
Hugh Martin
4/5 stars
This is the very interesting autobiography of Alabama born Hugh Martin. Martin was a composer and song writer for theater and movie productions. Probably best known for writing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and The Trolley Song, he worked with Judy Garland and many famous singers of that time period. He also served in WWII as a soldier and died in 2011 at the ripe old age of 97. This is definitely a must read for Hollywood fans.

Maio 31, 2021, 1:00 pm

I finished The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe's extremely engaging and detailed history of the Mercury Space Program. I'm not quite sure how/why I'd never read this before. Maybe it was my life-long aversion to reading best sellers, and this book was huge when it was first published in 1980. At any rate, I'm very glad I finally got to it.

Jun 1, 2021, 10:02 am

Jun 1, 2021, 11:36 am

I finished reading Dion Fortune's Rites of Isis and of Pan and posted my review.

Jun 1, 2021, 12:17 pm

>29 LynnB: Read this book, too. What a story! -- One that would never work in fiction: too unbelievable. If you haven't already, see the movie just to see examples of the dancing that Li became a master of and the visualizations of where he came from. He's one of those rare human beings who can be "unhumanly" possible.

Jun 4, 2021, 7:21 am

Started Wake: the Hidden History of Women-led Slave Revolts. It's part memoir of historian Rebecca Hall, and part what she discovered in her researches. It's done as a graphic novel, but I'm not really enjoying the scratchy illustration style so far. The stories look interesting, though.

Jun 4, 2021, 9:36 am

>31 Limelite:, I haven't watched the movie but did track down and watch some videos of Li dancing...WOW! Thanks for the suggestion.

Editado: Jun 6, 2021, 4:17 pm

>33 LynnB: IIRC, it's not Li dancing; he would have been too old to appear as himself in the movie for the time period covered. But the young dancers/actors who portray him from childhood up to his US stardom are wonderful. One of my favorite scenes occurs at the end of the film when Li returns home to China. I think he's living in Australia or New Zealand now. Not sure.

Jun 6, 2021, 3:35 pm

I'm about to start My Daughter, Rehtaeh Parsons by Glen Canning. I met Rehtaeh when she was a toddler; her aunt was one of my best friends at University. This might be a difficult read for me, but I want to pay tribute to the work her parents have done since their great loss.

Jun 7, 2021, 9:10 am

Good morning!

New to LibraryThing, having joined on Saturday, June 5, I'm Jim, a 57-year-old married man from New Jersey near Philadelphia, PA USA, who works as a customer service representative for the US government in Philadelphia.

I've read quite a lot of nonfiction among my 24 books read this year. I've just started Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win The Space Race (2016) by Margot Lee Shetterley.

Jun 7, 2021, 9:52 am

Jun 7, 2021, 11:04 am

>36 Jimbookbuff1963: Welcome Jim.
I just finished Leonardo Da Vinci. It is an exploration of the life, art, and genius of Da Vinci using his copious notebooks as the primary source. It is accessible, inspiring, and awe inspiring while also exposing some imperfections.

Jun 8, 2021, 8:51 am

>36 Jimbookbuff1963: Welcome, Jim! I love Library Thing and hope you will too.

Jun 8, 2021, 10:49 am

The Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell by Jon Schofield. If you are a big Mantel fan, and have read the Wolf Hall series, this is for you. Lots of interesting stuff that answers some questions of what was real or not in her books. You do unfortunately have to slog through his defenses of every enemy and historian who disagreed with his read on Cromwell, for many pages. This is tiresome, but for the most part I found much of the book well written and I learned a great deal of the background of Mantel's books.

Editado: Jun 10, 2021, 8:51 pm

I picked up two new books on Minnesota history - Dayton's a Twin Cities Institution and Minnesota's Notorious Nellie King

Jun 12, 2021, 4:09 pm

I finished Call the Midwife, a memoir about midwifery in 1950 slums of London. While describing distressing living conditions the book has a life affirming tone to it. It's easy to see why it was made into a TV series.

Jun 13, 2021, 3:04 am


The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Milk, M.D.

Just finished:

A History of the Wife

Jun 13, 2021, 3:02 pm

I finished The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois. This classic set of essays, first published in 1903 during the full savagery of Jim Crow America, is W.E.B Du Bois' heartfelt and detailed description of race relations, particularly in the South, and the plight of African Americans trying to attain some level of dignity and prosperity in the face harsh and determined resistance from white America. Du Bois refers to racism as the Veil behind which African Americans must live, a veil which serves to hide the true nature of Black culture and aspirations from the racist white America. The essays cover history and cultural, relgious and economic conditions and the nature source of racism itself. Du Bois also provides two essays that sketch the lives of individuals whose talents and potential are crushed under the weight of mindless Jim Crow hatred. Du Bois was a wonderful writer, and although my previous reading had already revealed to me most of the conditions and history he describes, reading Du Bois' heartfelt explanations and accounts, written from the heart from the midst of those particular dark days (which is not to say that the dark days have relented even today) was a moving experience for me.

Jun 16, 2021, 3:03 pm

I'm reading The Erratics, a memoir by Vicki Laveau-Harvie.

Jun 17, 2021, 5:48 pm

>39 LynnB: Welcome, Jim!

Editado: Jun 19, 2021, 10:42 am

so I found Silk Road: a new history of the world at my local indie used. Always been interested in the history of the silk road and how that influenced the development of cities and empires. His premiss is that our look at world history has always been Eurocentric; and he's right, so I was expecting him to show me another way to see. Several problems with this:

for one thing the book is huge and he covers ancient history up though our own time which is just too much. And then there is a lack of maps; in a book like this there needs to be a map at least every section, but I only saw three. and then I was noticing the more he talked about seeing through a different lense, was still talking about the usual. Not to mention his writing style, very dry, very HS text book. Suspect this will be a dnf for me.

Back to Samarkand and In An Ancient land for the June themes,

Jun 18, 2021, 1:16 pm

oh forgot, we saw 'In The Heights' this week and just had to pick up the book on it. I loved Revolution, the book about Hamilton and am finding myself enjoying this one as well.

Jun 19, 2021, 10:32 am

Started The Lives of Lee Miller by her son Antony Penrose. An intriguing woman, involved in many of the great artistic movements of the 20th century, and a very determined war photographer.

Jun 20, 2021, 2:50 pm

Finally, the Peace Treaty is signed by Germany, bringing a formal end to WW I and a mess to Central Europe and the Middle East in Margret MacMillan's history, Paris 1919.

Jun 21, 2021, 11:40 am

Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted
Suleika Jaouad
4/5 stars
Suleika Jaouad had just finished college and was ready to start her career and life with her boyfriend when she was diagnosed with leukemia. All her plans are dashed and she is thrown into the health care system which will do anything to get rid of her cancer. Well written and very informative on the cancer care she received.

Jun 22, 2021, 3:13 am

Reading Natives by Akala which is very impressive and relatable, a brilliant read about race and class in Britain that I am going to be highly recommending.

Editado: Jun 23, 2021, 5:12 am

Esta mensagem foi removida pelo seu autor.

Jun 24, 2021, 11:21 am

I finished The Last Great Walk. This book claims to be an account of a 1909 walk by a 70 year old man from NYC to San Francisco and that is true, but a major focus of the book is about walking in general, from evolution, to health and mind benefits, to the battle in city design between autos and walkers.

Jun 26, 2021, 1:16 am

Read Fields of Gold by Andy Stanley. This is a book about generosity.

Jun 27, 2021, 10:06 am

>57 Tess_W: correct touchstone is Fields of Gold.

Jun 28, 2021, 12:13 pm

The Search For Anne Perry
Joanne Drayton
3/5 stars
This is the biography of Anne Perry, prolific writer of mysteries. However, Anne Perry is not her original name but she was actually born as Juliet Hulme. Her name change came about after she was imprisoned for the death of a young girl and became an author. Drayton covers her life but mostly her writing career and offers samples of Anne’s writings from her books throughout the biography. I enjoyed the book but I thought that the book summaries interrupted the flow of the book and the discussion of her life was not linear. The death of the girl was not discussed till later in the book and contained few details about it.

Jun 29, 2021, 5:07 am

Am reading The Federalist Papers at a slow rate, 1-2 per day.

Jun 30, 2021, 4:53 am

I'm reading I Belong Here which is a narrative of a woman of colour's journey along the Pennine Way after a racist incident forced her to stand strong and claim her belonging to Britain. It's an interesting narrative, spiralling between walking, nature and racism / class struggle / social activism.