É uma continuação do tópico WHAT ARE YOU READING? - Part 5.

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DiscussãoClub Read 2021

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Jul 26, 11:38am

With July almost gone (what happened to this year?), how is everyone enjoying their summer (and winter for the ones from the Penguin hemisphere)?

Come, sit down with us and tell us what you are reading - the cold drinks are on the shelf over there, the hot tea is in the kitchen and the coffee is just getting done (or bring your own drink) ;)

Jul 26, 12:14pm

Greetings all! On a whim, I visited my coffee table book shelf and decided to read (or maybe re-read) The Book of Kells: Art -- Origins -- History by Iain Zaczek. It's a small coffee book, beautifully illustrated, about the art and history of this 7th or 8th century exquisitely illustrated Bible from Ireland. After this, I'll be reading Scoundrel Time by Lillian Hellman.

Editado: Jul 26, 12:19pm

well into The Goblin Emperor and since I don't have to work today, and its too hot now to do anything outside*, i'll stay in and finish it!

*did get very spoiled the last three days of rain. Sat under our patio reading most of the time Plants that have been dormant are blooming like crazy, including the native ones, so i can enjoy those till the summer heat burns them off.....

Jul 26, 12:21pm

>2 rocketjk: I have a large size book of kells that I got in Britian and the pictures are amazing (couldn't see much of the oritigal in Dublin, lines way too long and we kept being pushed along) I love reading about that time period. might add that one to the collection

Jul 26, 1:04pm

>4 cindydavid4: I was lucky enough to get to see the original in Dublin during a visit there in the late 90s. The book sits in a protective clear covering, of course (whether plastic, glass or something else, I don't recall) My memory is that they turn the page once a day to minimize the amount of light hitting any one page, so what you see is the page the book happens to be open to on the day you're there. I don't have a clear memory any more of what, specifically, I saw, but I clearly recall looking down at something extremely colorful, beautiful and awe inspiring.

Jul 26, 1:48pm

Nothing new for me, but since it’s a new thread:

Currently Reading
Speak Memory
All’s Well that Ends Well

Listening to
Moon Tiger (which is terrific)

Jul 26, 2:15pm

I have finished the excellent nonfiction book about burials, cemeteries, grave markers...etc and now I've decided to take a bit of a break and read once again one of my lighter favorites, The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville.

Jul 26, 2:57pm

>5 rocketjk: I also got to see it in Dublin a few years ago. As I recall, the lighting was dim and the book was under clear cover, just a page or two visible and not much time to view. However, it was amazing to see it and realize how old it is.

Jul 26, 2:58pm

I am currently reading a book of three stories An Amish Barn Raising and also When God Doesn't Make Sense.

Jul 26, 3:27pm

>5 rocketjk: It was the same for us, also 90s, and it was amazing and inspiring. But they wouldn't let us spend much time with it so we were moved along. Still, felt so lucky to see it

Jul 26, 4:04pm

>8 LadyoftheLodge: & >10 cindydavid4: Right, same story for me. Just a few seconds to look but awe inspiring nevertheless.

Jul 26, 7:13pm

I'm rereading Autumn and will continue with the rest of the quartet.

Jul 26, 8:13pm

I am done with my July reviews over on my thread up to yesterday. Still need to go back and finish my March-June ones but at least I am finally up to date at the top of the list.

Finished Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Talents yesterday (which started extremely slow and almost made me give up on it but then picked up and actually ended up being enjoyable). I need to think a bit how to write about this book.

Now reading the latest Sunny Randall novel Robert B. Parker's Payback by Mike Lupica. Lupica still has the subtlety of an elephant in a glass factory but the story is readable if you like the series.

Jul 26, 8:33pm

I'm double dipping—reading Shruti Swamy's A House is a Body and Elise Engler's
A Diary of the Plague Year: An Illustrated Chronicle of 2020
(too unpublished for the touchstone to work yet).

Jul 27, 5:47pm

The review of Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler is up. Not a bad book but unevenly paced and somewhat disappointing after the first one. Still worth reading.

Robert B. Parker's Payback by Mike Lupica was as expected - popcorn reading in a shared universe where you know all characters better than some people in your life.

Now reading Rex Stout's Three Men Out (one of the 3 stories Nero Wolfe collections - the first story was underwhelming to say the least) and Blue-Eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker - the fourth in his western series (and the last he wrote - the series was continued after his death).

Jul 28, 6:14am

I finished the collection of Adalbert Stifter novellas (Bergkristall: und andere Meistererzählungen) yesterday, as well as another in my long-term Gerald Murnane readthrough, Landscape with landscape. Both enjoyably odd. I want to read more Stifter.

I've started a random French find, a 1903 epistolary novel called Conte bleu by Jean de La Brète (Alice Cherbonnel, known for her early hit novel My uncle and the curé).

Editado: Jul 29, 2:23pm

I finished An Amish Barn Raising which kept me up late at night to finish the stories. I really enjoyed this one.

DNF Dance with Death although it is probably a good historical novel. I could not get past the graphic description of a man getting shot in the head and splatters on people etc. plus one of the main characters using a mentally ill man as a set up (same guy who got shot) and thinking nothing of it. Not my usual cup of tea. I did go to the end and read the last five chapters, which somewhat redeemed the book with a lot of action and plot twists, plus a set up for the next book in the series.

Jul 28, 4:59pm

fyi, I finished that short but lovely coffee table book I mentioned above, The Book of Kells: Art -- Origins -- History by Iain Zaczek. There's a short review on my CR thread. I'm already over halfway through Scoundrel Time, Lillian Hellman's memoir of her dealings with HUAC during the Red Scare.

Jul 28, 6:30pm

I'm in the middle of two longer books, both published twenty years ago. Wish You Were Here by Stewart O'Nan is about an extended family's final week at their summer cottage. He's just so good at writing the drama of everyday life. And I'm reading Joyce Carol Oates's masterpiece, Blonde, which is so JCO and so engrossing.

Jul 28, 6:40pm

>19 RidgewayGirl: Blonde really is a masterpiece. I’m looking forward to your comments.

Editado: Jul 29, 2:56pm

Rex Stout's Three Men Out ended up being uneven but the second and third story were an improvement over the first.

Blue-Eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker made me wish even more that Parker had lived a few more decades.

And talking about authors who should have lived longer, the last novel by Gene Wolfe's Interlibrary Loan is not his best novel by far but I liked it a lot more than I expected to.

Reading Donna Leon's Trace Elements now - my insomnia is hitting me hard this week so I had been reading a lot. So far, as good as usual. I have the next one (last for now) in the same series Transient Desires as well so I suspect I will just continue with it after I finish this one.

Jul 29, 6:27pm

I'm currently reading The Wanderers by Meg Howrey. This is actually one of the books I got through SantaThing last year, so I feel a bit bad having taken this long to get to it, but I'm hoping it will prove worth waiting for.

Jul 30, 12:39am

Recently finished a non-fiction book by Salman Rushdie and my fiction book is After Hannibal by Barry Unsworth

Jul 30, 12:48pm

Finished Moon Tiger, which feels like a favorite. I adored it. Next is Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, a chunckster and my first from the 2021 Booker longlist.

Jul 30, 1:01pm

A lot of people seem to be working on the Booker Long List - I wonder if we should start a separate thread for it in the group... ;)

Jul 30, 1:56pm

>25 AnnieMod: I like this idea.

Jul 30, 3:16pm

I finished Scoundrel Time, Lillian Hellman's memoir of her harrowing experience with the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and the repercussions the episode had on the rest of her life. I highly recommend it. I've posted a longer review on my CR thread. I've also finished off a few "between books" (collections, anthologies, etc., that I read one story/entry at a time between the books I read straight through) which I will also be posting about soon. Those are:

Sorry for Your Trouble, a collection of short stories by Richard Ford, and

Adventures of Captain David Grief (a.k.a. "A Son of the Sun), a collection of short stories by Jack London.


Jul 30, 6:14pm

>19 RidgewayGirl: Wish You Were Here is a book I remember fondly, and often think of rereading? Have you read Emily Alone and Henry Himself, with the same cast of characters? Blonde is also great.

I just finished a reread of The Makioka Sisters by Tanizaki, which I loved the first time around in the 80's. This time I was frustrated by the constant dithering of the characters over the most inconsequential decisions. Still a good read though.
I also read Klara and the Sun, which was diverting, and skim/read 2034, about WW III, one of my guilty pleasures.

Jul 31, 2:09am

It's a long weekend here in British Columbia, and also my birthday on Sunday, and this year we're going camping for 4 nights on Vancouver Island. My family has all sorts of kayaking, biking, hiking plans, but I'm taking a stack of books anyway. I hope they let me be and I don't have to be having fun and playing games the whole time.
August is "Reading women in translation" month, so I'm taking books translated from Italian, Spanish, and Japanese. I hope I get to read something.

Jul 31, 4:50am

I'm halfway through Letters of J R Ackerley, currently the longest-resident book on my TBR. In the meantime, I've also been having one of my periodic dips into Angela Thirkell with The Duke's Daughter. I find that if I space them out enough I can enjoy the clever dialogue without letting the snobbery and politics annoy me too much.

>28 arubabookwoman: It's arguable that it's the unrestrained dithering that makes The Makioka sisters such a great book: almost like a less decisive version of Henry James... :-)

Jul 31, 12:12pm

Frank Langella's memoir Dropping Names. Short anecdotes about actors he has known arranged in order of their deaths (so less likely to sue him, I guess). Pretty superficial and a bit tedious owing to organization. Bette Davis shut him down with a "thank you" and a face full of smoke. Too bad his publisher didn't do the same.

Jul 31, 1:20pm

Another single sitting read (despite having a physical list of things I had planned to do today) - An Easy Death.

Editado: Jul 31, 3:32pm

>28 arubabookwoman: Wish You Were Here, which I have just finished, was fantastic. Stewart O'Nan never disappoints. I do have a copy of Emily, Alone waiting for me to continue with the Maxwells. I bought it largely because I liked the cover so much.

>29 Nickelini: Happy Birthday, Joyce!

Editado: Jul 31, 4:10pm

Reading Danish author Jens Christian Grøndahl's novel, Lucca. I have read his other books that are in translation and this is the last to go (I'd better check to see if there is anything new!)

eta: nothing new in English....

Editado: Jul 31, 7:21pm

the children's bible by lydia millet was on top ten of many lists at the years end. Was eager to read it, but kept getting distracted by other reads.finally decided to read it and I am very disappointed. I get its an allegory, and the book is about reaction to climate change, a very serious subject. But I did not like these children at all they were as bad as their parents in some way and just couldn't get passed it. Maybe someone can explain why they loved it. Im putting it down for now, may take it in for trade.

Lots of other books Im wanting to read. still reading Best American Travel Writing 2020 but I need a novel I can really get into and get lost for a bit. I'll see what I can find on my shelfss

Editado: Jul 31, 11:05pm

Finished Shruti Swamy's short story collection A House Is a Body, which was terrific. She has a really wonderful touch, blending realism with abstraction, internal and external life. Definitely a favorite for the year.

I'm still reading A Diary of the Plague Year: An Illustrated Chronicle of 2020, and just started The Talented Mr. Ripley on a whim, because the guys on So Many Damn Books were talking about it and I've never read it.

Editado: Ago 1, 12:33pm

I'm very much enjoying The Corporal Was a Pitcher: The Courage of Lou Brissie by Ira Berkow. Brissie was a top pitching prospect whose career was interrupted, as many were, by World War Two. Receiving a severe leg injury in an artillery attack in 1944, Brissie nevertheless went on to pitch in the Major Leagues from 1947 through 1953. The story is quite interesting, Brissie comes across in Berkow's interviews as articulate and thoughtful, and Berkow is a good writer.

Ago 1, 5:06pm

I finished my book on the history of cancer The Emperor of All Maladies. It was a dense read, but worthwhile to gain better perspective on the complexities of treatment.

Having enjoyed Touching the Void so much recently, I'm moving on next to the sequel - This Game of Ghosts.

Ago 1, 5:15pm

The boy in the field, another Ive had for a while just now getting to. Love Livesey,hope its good!

Ago 2, 12:56am

I've read a few more books since my last post. I actually managed to read 10 books in July! A lot of short ones but those were perfect for the train rides to and from the beach.

Hideo Furukawa: Slow Boat
- very skippable

Cao Xuequin : The Story of the Stone, Volume 3
- loving following this family and am looking forward to volumes 4 and 5 which I hope I'll read and finish in August so I can start a different long book

JMG Le Clezio : Peuple du ciel, suivi de 'Les Bergers"
- two beautiful short stories; still haven't figured out why my raised-in-France-French cousins think he's so boring; I blame them having to read him for school

Aki Shimazaki : Suisen
- 3rd book in this little 5 book series; such a clever little series

Ago 2, 9:06am

I spent and hour and a half reading Hawaiian Myths of Earth, Sea and Sky by Vivian L. Thompson, and finished the somewhat impenetrable Speak, Memory : An Autobiography Revisited by Vladimir Nabokov (Curiously, both were originally published in 1966, and they are the 2nd or 3rd books I have read this year that were published in that year.)

Next I will begin Edith Wharton's first full length novel, The Valley of Decision, from 1902.

Ago 2, 1:47pm

Donna Leon's Trace Elements was good (although more heavy handed than usual) but then Transient Desires was better (and definitely post-COVID novel). Now waiting for the next one... (although I have some of the old ones to catch up on).

Others from the last days:
Double Play by Robert B. Parker was twice longer than it should have been and that additional half boggles it down badly.

Survival of the Fittest by Jonathan Kellerman is an Alex Delaware - gory and bloody as usual, with enough hard to stomach elements to make it acquired taste. But if you like the series, it is a good one (plus we get Shadravi from "The Butcher's Theater", tying the previous standalone to the series).

Now reading The Case of the Fenced-In Woman on paper - the 81st Perry Mason (published after his death and written at some point earlier - much earlier possibly) and Moon Music by Faye Kellerman (on the kindle) - a standalone novel that is a lot different from her usual novels.

Ago 2, 9:06pm

I am reading several books at once, making very little progress on any: Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, The Heat of the Day, The World Doesn't Require You, and All's Well That Ends Well.

I recently finished Bartleby & Co from which I now have a huge list of other authors/titles, as I needed something to help me focus while reading it. I am refusing to check on the names I don't know, hoping that, delightfully, some of them are made up. If not, I am very impressed with the amount of research this book should have taken.

Editado: Ago 3, 10:28am

After a busy week helping out my parents two weeks ago and an even worse seven day work week last week I'm now off until Saturday, so I hope to get some good reading (and sleeping) in over the next four days. I'll finish The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat later today or tomorrow, and then get started on this year's Booker Prize longlist, although I haven't decided which of the nine or 10 e-books I bought to read first.

Editado: Ago 3, 6:13pm

just approaching the end of Mary Barton, still waiting to learn who really committed the murder of Mary's upscale lurker.
The first third or so is ponderous, slowly introducing the character and setting....I grew up in Manchester so that makes it interesting....and then the book suddenly takes off into high melodrama with a robust plot. And now I have finished. It was indeed her father whodunnit. And I was foolishly expecting a happy ending.

Editado: Ago 3, 11:44am

Finished Faye Kellerman's Moon Music last night (a very annoying novel which failed on a few levels even if it did have some interesting parts).

Picked up a new poetry anthology: Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry which is interesting so far.

PS: The poetry collection is the paper version of this project: https://www.loc.gov/ghe/cascade/index.html?appid=be31c5cfc7614d6680e6fa47be888dc... where you can listen to most (all?) of the poems.

Editado: Ago 3, 7:34pm

>46 scunliffe: And now I will have to put off reading Mary Barton until I've forgotten this post. Luckily, that only means a few months days given my increasingly holey Swiss-cheese memory. :)

Ago 3, 9:35pm

>44 ELiz_M: Looking forward to finding out what you think of The World Doesn't Require You.

I finished Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates and I'm having trouble with the idea of reading anything else, but a copy of Megan Abbott's new novel, The Turnout, arrived in the mail today.

Ago 4, 12:12am

>48 ELiz_M: Oops, sorry!

Ago 4, 12:17am

>28 arubabookwoman: In a way, perhaps the dithering about what seems to us to be inconsequential is an important part of the book, as it shows the 'generational' differences between sisters of the same generation. And meanwhile almost totally ignores the dire events as Japan's imperialist policies are on their way to hubris.

Ago 4, 2:25am

>49 RidgewayGirl: Looking forward to reading your review of Blonde. It's been on my wish list forever as for a long time it wasn't available in the UK anymore (or at least at anything resembling a fair price), but I checked Amazon just now and it now seems to be generally available.

Ago 4, 3:22am

I had a train trip yesterday that gave me time to finish a couple of short Dutch books. Meanwhile I’m reading The handsome sailor, which is shorter than Moby-Dick but doesn’t seem to have much else to recommend it so far. And John Bayley’s Iris, which is excellent but —inevitably— a touch depressing...

>44 ELiz_M: My biggest rabbit-hole after reading Bartleby & Co. was Robert Walser

Ago 4, 7:27am

>53 thorold: :) I was thinking I needed to read more Kafka.... or re-read Salinger...

Ago 4, 10:24am

I'm reading Vacationland for my book club and The Secret to Superhuman Strength, which is making me laugh out loud in places.

Ago 4, 1:25pm

I finished The Corporal Was a Pitcher: The Courage of Lou Brissie by Ira Berkow. This is a fascinating, well-written book biography. Lou Brissie's story is quite something. A teenage pitching phenom in his native South Carolina in the late 1930s, Brissie interrupted his promising baseball career to enlist in the Army after Pearl Harbor. But Brissie's leg was shattered during an artillery attack in Italy in 1944 and he had to beg the doctors not to amputate. Brissie went through multiple operations--his leg bone was essentially fused together from the fragments the exploding artillery shell had left behind--and he had to wear a cumbersome brace to walk, let along pitch in the major leagues. And yet pitch in the major leagues, he did, and quite effectively, despite that leg brace and the essentially constant pain he endured. In fact, Brissie was extremely well known during the post-war years as an inspiration for wounded veterans and kids with handicaps. It's surprising and more than a bit sad that his story has been largely forgotten. I've written a bit more on this book on my own CR thread.

Next I'll be starting The Slave Ship: A Human History by Marcus Rediker, though I will have to set it aside when my copy of Braiding Sweetgrass arrives in the mail, as that is this month selection by my book group, and the group's meeting date is looming.

Editado: Ago 5, 11:19am

Boy in a Field it was ok, but not my fav of hers, tho I liked the ending (epilogue really)

Here be dragons first of penman's first trilogy but as I am reading the books chronogically, its the last. Loved this just as much as I did back in college when I discovered it a the library. Im a bit dreading reading the next two just coz I well know how it all ends.

Still reading journey to portugal Its very good but taking a long time to get through

Probably will start The Wild Girl a book recommended to me a few months back. YA book that looks like a good escape ETA just read a few reviews, um not a good escape book, but still looks very interesting.

Ago 5, 12:37pm

The Case of the Fenced-In Woman had some rough edges (being published after Gardner's death makes that almost expected). One more Perry Mason novel left (and a handful of stories - Mason did not feature in a lot of short stories even if Gardner wrote hundreds of stories). Plus the 2 novels in the revival. I still have quite a lot of novels by Gardner left to read in his other series and standalones as well (plus all the stories).

Exit Strategy by Steve Hamilton was exactly what I expected from the second Nick Mason novel. Not for everyone and better to be read after one had read the first one but I really hope Hamilton gets back to this series. And now I am out of novels by Hamilton to read - time to work on some of his stories (not that he has a lot of them).

Now reading Fever Season - the second Merovingen Nights anthology - which as fun as expected.

Ago 5, 4:05pm

Another book from the local library Les Orageuses, Marcia Burnier

Ago 6, 2:13am

I'm enjoying my visit to The Garden of Monsters by Lorenza Pieri. This is my first book for Women in Translation month, which is a thing, although I don't know where it came from and I don't care. It's just a fun mini-theme for August. After this will be The Emissary, Tawada (Japanese)

Here are the other books I have lined up. I hope to read 2 to 3 of them. If you liked or disliked any of these, let me know, please.

Family and Borghesia, Ginzberg (Italian)
Nives, Naspini (Italian)
Fresh Water For Flowers, Perrin (French)
Bonjour, Tristesse, Sagan (French)
Empty Houses, Navarro (Spanish)
Cantoras, de Roberts (Spanish)
Autopsy of a Boring Wife, Lavoie (French)
Murmur of Bees, Segovia (Spanish)
The Vegetarian, Kang (Korean)
Eva Sleeps, Melandri (Italian)
I Am the Brother of XX, Jaeggy (Swiss-Italian)
The Nakano Thrift Shop, Kawakami (Japanese)
Life, Only Better, Gavalda (French)
House of the Spirits, Allende (Spanish)
Wildlives, Proulx (French)

Ago 6, 2:46am

>60 Nickelini: Looks like an interesting list. I’ve only read Bonjour tristesse, which is one of those books that makes you think you would probably have liked it if you’d read it when you were a teenager.
I really enjoyed the Natalia Ginzberg stories I read about a year ago, she’s someone I want to follow up further.

Ago 6, 7:00am

>60 Nickelini: I’ve read the Allende a very long time ago. I remember liking it quite a lot though.

Ago 6, 7:24am

>60 Nickelini: The experience of reading The Vegetarian was only four stars, but it is such an unusual book that I think about it still, four years later. And now that I've over-hyped it, you may just find it too weird.

Ago 6, 8:29am

>63 ELiz_M: I felt similar about it. It's not a book I'll ever think of as a favourite, but it was so out there I did have to give it kudos and appreciation all the same.

Ago 6, 10:14am

>60 Nickelini: I love Allende and liked Cantoras quite a lot.

Ago 6, 11:12am

I'd forgotten how tiring it is commuting to work, no doubt I'll get used to it before too long. And the upside is so much reading time! I read Akin and started In the Labyrinth of Drakes this morning.

Ago 6, 3:31pm

>62 AnnieMod: what she said. The book that got me hooked on Allende

Ago 6, 5:23pm

>60 Nickelini: The Garden of Monsters was only $2.99 on Kindle, so I picked it up. I have Nives on hold at the library, and it should be coming in soon.

Ago 6, 5:34pm

I am finding The Slave Ship: A Human History by Marus Redker fascinating and well written although of course very disturbing. However, as mentioned above, I'm having to set it aside only about a quarter of the way into it in order to take up Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall as that is my book group's selection for this month, with our meeting only two weeks hence.

Editado: Ago 6, 6:12pm

Cracked open the 900 page The Eighth Life this morning.

Ago 6, 6:22pm

>69 rocketjk: I loved Braiding Sweetgrass!

I'm reading Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy and finding it just as excellent as everyone around here said.

Also reading The Life and Death of the Great Lakes - a look at past, present, and future ecological disasters in the Great Lakes. Sobering but fascinating. And scary.

Ago 6, 7:10pm

>69 rocketjk: This is like the fifth time in a week someone's mentioned Braiding Sweetgrass, including a straight-up recommendation from a good friend. I put a library hold on it—who knows if I'll be able to get to it when it comes in, but hope springs eternal.

>70 dchaikin: Oooh you are brave. I have it, but haven't taken the plunge, and now I'm going to wait and see what you have to say about it.

Ago 6, 7:56pm

>60 Nickelini: Great list, Joyce. I gave 4½ stars to The Vegetarian, BTW.

I finished The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat this morning, which I also gave 4½ stars, and I've started my first book from this year's Booker Prize longlist, Second Place by Rachel Cusk.

Ago 7, 3:16am

I finished Joe Simpson's This Game of Ghosts which was a fantastic follow up to Touching the Void. I've started next The Corner That Held them by Sylvia Townshend Warner.

Ago 7, 9:07am

>74 AlisonY: Interested to hear what you think about the Townsend Warner... it's such a weirdly paced book, but I found it totally compelling.

Ago 7, 10:03am

ditto, I loved Lolly Willows and was eager to read this one. Lisa's right, it was a weirdly paced book and had to set it aside, but ultimately liked it.

Ago 7, 11:29am

>70 dchaikin: This is on my wishlist but every time I see it I'm put off by the size (I *still* haven't finished The Mirror and The Light).

Ago 7, 11:56am

>75 lisapeet:, >76 cindydavid4: Not quite sure what to expect from it. Maybe that's a good thing.

Ago 7, 11:28pm

>77 rhian_of_oz: The Mirror and the Light is a bit of a slog. Wolf Hall was a great read, Bring up the Bodies quite good, but this third book was frankly too long. About 200 hundred pages before the end I was thinking "just get on with it and chop off his head"

Ago 8, 10:48am

Just finished The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro. I think I've read a few of her stories here and there over the years, but since short stories are not usually my preference I don't think I've read a complete book by her. I loved this one, which consists of her Flo and Rose stories. Will probably get 5 stars from me, and I'll be combing the library for more by her. I've just about finished The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster which is also very good.

Ago 8, 10:54am

I just finished another excellent memoir by Alison Bechdel, The Secret to Superhuman Strength.

Ago 8, 11:15am

I've finished a couple of crime stories, Totentanz am Strand from Klaus-Peter Wolf's East Frisian series, and the 1941 Maigret story L'Inspecteur Cadavre. And a quick read of Jorge Amado's novella The discovery of America by the Turks.

I was going to start something heavy from the old end of the TBR pile, but I might still cheat and grab another crime story for Sunday evening...

Ago 8, 11:15am

Nearly done with Hamnet because people on here recommended it. I like the O'Farrell's style and enjoy the historical elements and family dynamics. As a study in grief and loss of a child, it is pretty raw and, based on the death of my nephew suddenly at age 9, many years ago, I would say awfully realistic, with the proviso that no two people grieve the same way.

However, the portrayal of Agnes/Anne had too much woo for my taste. That woman-as-moon-goddess-witch-woman-nature-whisperer trope is getting pretty old at this point. She can be intelligent, observant, and, as someone who had a lot of self-directed time in farm and field before she married, knowledgable about a lot of natural lore--perhaps some of which made it into Shakespeare's frequent mention of herbs and flowers in his plays.

But it struck me two or three times as her back story was revealed that she should have been getting her letter of acceptance to Hogwarts.

Ago 8, 4:17pm

I have just started Humboldt's gift by Saul Bellow

Editado: Ago 9, 6:36pm

Nothing like a long weekend for getting some reading done.

The Black Mountain by Rex Stout (the 24th Nero Wolfe book) is so different from the rest of the novels in the series that it takes awhile to get used to it (and even then it remains weird).

Fever Season, edited by C. J. Cherryh, the second Merovingen Nights anthology continues the series from where the first left off - absolute nightmare as a standalone I suspect but awesome addition to the series. I enjoy this series a lot more than I expected.

Deepsix by Jack McDevitt, the second The Academy: Priscilla Hutchins novel is another SF novel by McDevitt in his signature style. Not for everyone (his style can be a bit rough) but one of the better SF adventures I had read lately.

The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jónasson, the first of his standalones (both in English and in Icelandic) is different from his series works - but I liked it. I have some misgivings about the final chapter but oh well. Solitude exploration with crimes thrown in - it should not work but it does.

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler - the last novel published by Butler. When vampires walked among us - and were so very different. It is a vampires novel but it is not the usual one - in a very good way. I wish she had lived longer - this could have been a beginning of a series.

All 5 reviews are up in the books and in my thread. :)

Next: Path of the Assassin by Brad Thor (although I seem to keep picking up other books while reading that one - not because it is not interesting but because it just does not seem to be there when I feel like reading)...

Ago 9, 8:43pm

I enjoyed the ending to Hamnet if only because I felt Agnes/Anne Hathaway had already been through enough. The last scene is really satisfying if you can buy the rather flimsy notion that "Hamlet" was Shakespeare's attempt to work out his grief over his son's death. If that were the case, would Hamlet have ended up dead on stage?

On to Evvie, noir by Vera Caspary. Two best friends in their early 20s live in a bohemian artist studio in Chicago during Prohibition. I expect one of them is going to disappear soon. Also downloaded Caspary's psychological thriller The Man Who Loved His Wife. Both were on Evil Amazon for a couple bucks each.

Ago 10, 5:26pm

Path of the Assassin was exactly as expected - high speed (in more than one way), globe-crossing and with enough character to be memorable enough. Onto the next of the series.

Plus I added the 4 missing reviews from June:

Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown - dystopian alternative history. Scarily close to where we are.
The Portrait of Molly Dean by Katherine Kovacic - art mystery in Melbourne in two timelines and based on real crime. Better than the description will make you expect.
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi - speculative, Gothic and a few more things. Won't be for everyone but recommended if the topic appeals to you.
Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle - cozy mystery, one of the many series centered around a hobby/job. Better than I expected really (but then I did not expect much).

Started the second book in the Rampart trilogy: The Trials of Koli which started exactly where the first stopped but then the author changed things the big and added a second POV so I am enjoying it a lot so far.

Ago 10, 8:14pm

I am listening to Lady Audley's Secret the best known of the pot-boilers by Mary Braddon and contrasting it with a simultaneous read of Blind Man with a Pistol by Chester Himes. I am pretty confident that I will be able to notice a difference...

Ago 11, 5:19am

I read another volume of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's letters, the snappily-titled Letters to Mrs David Ogilvy, which has been hanging around on the TBR for the best part of ten years. And followed that with Jurek Becker's Irreführung der Behörden, another trip down my familiar rabbit hole on the other side of the Berlin Wall.

I'm now reading one of James Kirkup's several volumes of memoirs, with the wonderfully apt Wordsworthian title A poet could not but be gay. It turns out that he was a relative of the expat antiquary, "Barone" Seymour Stocker Kirkup, who was mentioned several times in the EBB letters — isn't it a small world?

Ago 11, 8:16am

Speaking of small worlds, I'm reading Jonathan Evison's upcoming Small World, about intertwining lives in the Bay Area over the last 250 years.

The Talented Mr. Ripley was fun—he's such a big baby psychopath, but his gallivanting around the 1950s Mediterranean is pretty irresistible.

Ago 11, 9:04am

>91 lisapeet: There are four or five more Ripley's, if you enjoyed that one! The second in the series was made into a movie with John Malkovich, the actor born to play Ripley.

Ago 11, 12:02pm

Finished Living Nations, Living Words: An Anthology of First Peoples Poetry last night - highly recommended if you like poetry (and you do not even need the book - the full contents PLUS commentaries which are not in the book are on the LOC site: https://www.loc.gov/programs/poetry-and-literature/poet-laureate/poet-laureate-p...

Still working on the Koli book (see >88 AnnieMod:). And started Diné: A History of the Navajos - back to my "read some local history" project that got sidetracked earlier this year.

Ago 11, 11:34pm

Just finished the Garden of Monsters by Lorenzi Pieri, which I enjoyed very much. Part way through the highly readable In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri. Which novel next? Maybe The Emissary by Yoko Tawada

Ago 12, 1:51am

I finished the moving and interesting Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. You can find my review on my CR thread. I've now returned to the horrifying yet very well written The Slave Ship: A Human History by Marcus Rediker.

Ago 12, 10:52am

I've finished two books recently, The Heiress: Revelations of Anne de Bourgh - a Pride and Prejudice spin off that was fun, and The Life and Death of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan.

I'm now reading Fathers and Sons by Turgenev. I've read many of the Russian classics but never anything by Turgenev. I got the book from my library and was thrilled when I found it is only 200 pages! I was expecting a 700 page book, like many of Tolstoy's or Dostoevsky's!

I'm not sure what I'll read next for nonfiction. I'll browse my shelves and available library wish list today.

Ago 12, 1:10pm

Finishing up Here be Dragons a reread. I loved this book and read it many times. But its been awhile, and this time Im just getting frustrated by the soap opera feel. Still excellent writing and the history is on target, and not sure what I wanted really. Which is making me think I will forgo the last two books for now at least. Also tried to read journey to Portugal but have given up for now. Lots of information well written but so slow.

Picked up some books from my local that Im starting to read

The tale of princess fatima, warrior woman Not sure how much this will be like the Mulan legend but it looks intriguing

the short reign of pippin the IV One of the few Steinbecks I have not read, discovered in a flagstaff used store.

Finally Laughing Boy at one of our neighborhood little libraries. Written in 1929, Its focus is on a Dine' (Navajo) boy who falls in love with a half white girl who was raised in an amarican Indian school. What could possible go wrong. I hope the author, who was an antropolist knows his stuff and doesn't make me cringe .

Editado: Ago 12, 1:13pm

Oh when I was in Flagstaff (north arizona) found a little library that was set up in memory of their son. All the books inside were about dealing with depression, anger and oversensitivity, oh and drug addiction. Poor guy. Recognized some of the books and they don't look like they were used at all... so goes the self help industry...

Ago 12, 5:33pm

>97 japaul22: Turgenev is a very pleasurable read, and as I am sure you will recognize, not only because his books are shorter than the average Russian classic. Two works that I particularly recommend are First Love, a novella which so accurately describes the agony of a young boy's love for an older woman, and Sketches from a Hunter's Album. Dont be put off by the title, they are in fact a collection of short stories about rural Russia. They point such a dire picture of the status of peasants (not pheasants in spite of the hunting),that they are given some credit for the emancipation of the serfs in 187something.
And talking of misleading titles, Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man by Siegfried Sassoon is a delightful fictional autobiography stretching from the idyllic late Edwardian years to the trenches of WW1.

Ago 12, 8:19pm

>100 scunliffe: oh Id like to read both of those (making sure the books on my very large TBR mountain dont hear)

Ago 13, 8:20am

I am starting Time out of Joint by Philip K Dick and then its on to my next library book Je M'en Vais by Jean Echenoz

Ago 13, 9:05am

I'm just starting Great Circle, which has a LONG waiting list.

Ago 13, 9:56am

finished Laughing Boy and found it quite well done and moving. a few cringe worthy moments with odd names and some patronizing I really liked reading this.

Editado: Ago 13, 9:57am

Esta mensagem foi removida pelo seu autor.

Ago 13, 10:08am

>103 BLBera: hope you enjoy Great Circle. I’m about 20% in on audio. It’s entertaining enough so far.

Ago 13, 1:15pm

Finishing Village Diary by Miss Read.

Ago 13, 1:24pm

Finished The Trials of Koli (good for a second book and the world is still fascinating) and Jupiter's Bones (the crazy cult leaders novel in the Decker & Lazarus series - which was a bit cliched but I think at least part of it is its age).

While I am slowly digesting the Diné book (very detailed and dense), I started Ping-Pong Heart (the 11th Sueño and Bascom novel) and just because apparently I do not have enough books started, The Nebraska Dispatches - a "memoir/history book/how I wrote that" kind of book about how Cartmill wrote one of his plays and what the play was about and so on. And in poetry-land, I am working through Beethoven Variations: Poems on a Life which is different and interesting.

Ago 13, 3:51pm

>83 nohrt4me2: I think you're spot on with your remarks on Agnes/Anne in Hamnet. I was too busy getting on my soapbox in my review about my annoyance at how the child's death felt like emotional manipulation for the reader to think much about the portrayal of Agnes, but she was definitely portrayed as being crazy earth mother.

Ago 13, 4:46pm

Still working on Danish author Jens Christian Grøndahl's novel, Lucca, an empathetic and somewhat dense read -- I have about a quarter of it left. But, I also started a moderately light mystery from Ragnar Jonasson, the Mist.

Ago 13, 8:21pm

I'm trying to read a bunch of books from my now too-full-to-fit-anymore TBR shelves. Since August is also Women in Translation month, that means I've read Untold Night and Day, I Remain in Darkness and am half through the odd and still mysterious The Employees.

Ago 15, 12:41am

>100 scunliffe: I read Turgenev's Fathers and Sons but did not like it very much, also could not really make out why is is considered such an important classic, but the shorter novels such as Rudin, On the eve and more enjoyable, although a bit difficult because on the large number of characters. I am still planning to read Home of the gentry and First love, soon.

Ago 15, 12:49am

>89 scunliffe: I don't think it is justified to lable Braddon's novel Lady Audley's Secret a pot-boiler. I think it should not be read so much as a detective / or crime novel, because it is quite obvious from the start, as lead on by the title who the culprit is. I think it is still very interesting for readers interested in Victorian literature, and the novel resembles The Woman in White in some ways, but is is an easier, lighter read.

Ago 15, 5:12am

I'm enjoying another crime spree, following a couple of Maigret stories with the first (or second) Pepe Carvalho story, Tatuaje.

>112 edwinbcn: I think Isaiah Berlin is largely responsible for making everyone read Turgenev, especially Fathers and sons. I wanted to go back and re-read it after seeing what Berlin had to say about it ... but I haven't yet. I did enjoy A sportsman's notebook, though.

Ago 15, 11:47am

Now that I'm off for a few days I'll resume reading The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed, one of the books longlisted for this year's Booker Prize, which is a novel based on the true story of a Somali merchant seaman in Cardiff, Wales in 1952, who is wrongly accused of murdering a shopowner there. I'll also resume Fevers, Feuds and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of History by Dr Paul Farmer, and Sleepwalking Land by the Mozambican author Mia Couto for the third quarter Reading Globally challenge, which is widely considered as one of the best African novels of the 20th century.

Ago 15, 11:55am

>108 AnnieMod: what is the Dine' book you are reading? After reading Laughing Boy, I'd like to check it out

Editado: Ago 15, 5:54pm

>113 edwinbcn: According to the OED a potboiler is" An artistic, literary, or other creative work produced solely to make the originator a living by catering to popular taste, without regard to artistic quality;"
Braddon definitely wrote to earn a living. Lady A was the one of her 80 or so novels that garnered the most popular reception in mid 19th century England (and the US). Novelists of the time, Dickens included, were often tempted to pad out their books, especially for the purpose of serialization. So the first part of the definition fits. But the second part maybe not so much, it was very early in her writing career, when we can assume she was trying her hardest to produce good work, even if it was to cater to the demand of "sensational literature". So it is a very good read, and like most Victorian novels gives insight into the social history of the times
So maybe the term 'potboiler' does fit, but not entirely. As another example take Sanctuary by William Faulkner. He wrote it specifically to be a shocker that earned him money, to keep him afloat after the failure of previous more serious works. But it is still a really good Southern Gothic read.
Incidentally Lady A's REAL secret, which is her incipient"madness" does not emerge until towards the end of the book. Even so I agree that it was not a detective novel.

Ago 15, 1:12pm

>112 edwinbcn: I agree that Father's and Sons does not appeal as much as his novellas, although when I first read it very many years ago as a teenager, I liked it a
because it endorsed my growing perception of the 'generation gap.' That was 60 years ago, I am well beyond that gap now!

Ago 15, 3:46pm

>116 cindydavid4: See >93 AnnieMod:

It is good and informative although the author’s style can be a bit academic (and plain weird sometimes). I’ve lined up a few more Navajo books for the next months.

Ago 15, 4:24pm

>109 AlisonY: Glad it wasn't just me.

I guess I have been at enough death beds to feel that the scene was very realistic, capturing the way time slows to a crawl. I did think it went on for an awfully long time, and I wondered what O'Farrell was working out--and having to worry about the author's state of mind was a bit intrusive.

Hope everyone out your way has got their covid vax. I think you said they were imminent. Have an appt with hematologist in October to see if I need a booster as one of the immuno-compromised.

Ago 15, 7:34pm

Just finished Knausgard's My Struggle Book 5. I was saving it to read after Book 6 came out. I in fact preordered Book 6 and received it on publication day 2? maybe 3 years ago, and both have been hanging out on the TBR shelves ever since. Hope to get to Book 6 soonish.

Ago 16, 9:35am

>121 arubabookwoman: I'm envious. Now that I've read all 6 books I think I'm going to have to start at the beginning again sometime soon. I miss them.

Ago 16, 12:17pm

I just finished The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project by Lenore Appelhans, which was very much one of those "I enjoyed this more than it probably really deserved" books. But hey, it turned out to be ideal for my mood.

I've now started an Early Reviewers book, Animal Wrongs by Stephen Spotte, and may be wondering what exactly I've gotten myself into, but it's surely at least going to be interesting.

Ago 16, 1:28pm

I started Measure for Measure…well, actually I’ve only read the introduction.

I’m also about 25% through three other long books. I might not finish a book the rest of this month. (The three are The Eighth Life, The Valley of Decision, and, on audio, Great Circle.)

Ago 16, 10:56pm

Lately it feels like I have been having difficulty settling down with any book for an extended length of time. At the moment, I am actively bouncing between Entangled Life; Bomb; The Small House at Allington; and Circle of the Moon. And I have been building increasingly precarious piles of books I want to read, maybe right now (so far I have mostly resisted actually starting, say, a dozen new books).

Ago 16, 11:57pm

I recently read Why we can't wait by Martin Luther King which was excellent. Could have highlighted most of the book. I'm currently reading some other very long books so might take a while before I update again.

Editado: Ago 17, 2:43pm

I finished The Slave Ship: A Human History by Marcus Rediker. This is one of the most disturbing, depressing books I've read in a long time. This book is exactly what the title suggests, a history of the process of bringing slaves to the Americas from Africa. Rediker has created a comprehensive and very well written narrative. The book is a detailed horror show from beginning to end. If you can put yourself through it, though, it is important reading, a crucial, fundamental part of the American and European story. You can see my more detailed review on my CR thread.

For something lighter, I'm next going to read a 1930s murder mystery, Death Blew Out the Match by Kathleen Moore Knight.

But I'm also adding Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything in Between by Laila M. El-Haddad to my "between books" stack to be read through more gradually. According to Wikipedia, this book, which was published in 2010, is "a compilation of El-Haddad's blogs and other writing about her daily life as she covers the story of Gaza while living it and trying to explain it to her children." I thought that reading 400+ pages of blog posts, no matter how interesting and urgent the topic, might not be the best way to digest the information, so, as mentioned, I'll be reading this little by little between other books.

Ago 17, 3:53pm

Just finished Blind Man with a pistol by Chester Himes. Less plot but more social commentary than the earlier books in this series.

Editado: Ago 17, 5:03pm

Finished Vera Caspary's Evvie and The Man Who Loved His Wife, both domestic thrillers. Not sure what to start next. Maybe something non-fiction and improving.

Ago 17, 7:07pm

Not feeling like doing anything else, I've spent a lot of time reading in the last days (especially over the weekend):
Beethoven Variations: Poems on a Life - a poetry collection that can be used as a biography if one wants to
The Nebraska Dispatches by Christopher Cartmill - a diary about writing a play that ends up being about what home is and who has the right to tell a story
Ping-Pong Heart by Martin Limón - the 11th Sueño and Bascom novel set in and around the US Army compounds in South Korea in the 70s
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths - first in a series, a bit predictable but enjoyable enough
Billy Straight by Jonathan Kellerman - first in a new series, connected to the Delaware series peripherally. Same style even if the POVs are different.
At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop - the Man Booker International Prize (2021) winner - very dark and very powerful.

All 6 reviews are in (yey me :)). And started the latest Gabriel Allon book: The Cellist which so far is as good as expected.

Ago 20, 9:01am

My new long commute time is great for reading but I'm struggling to fit in other things and sadly visiting CR is one of the things that has dropped by the wayside. I've kept my reading reasonably light lately - looking for some escape from what seems like continuous bad news - which includes The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, A Longer Fall and There Before The Chaos.

Ago 21, 3:17pm

I'm faintly exhausted by The Corner That Held Them, and to be perfectly honest was glad to reach the end.

I'm now onto something much lighter - More Than a Woman by Caitlin Moran.

Ago 21, 7:44pm

I finished Small World, which is sprawly, entertaining, not super demanding—melting-pot Americana family histories plus trains. Now reading A Lullaby for Witches, which is fun and witchy.

Ago 21, 8:09pm

>132 AlisonY: i didn't actually make it through; it was interesting, but not enough for me to slog through it

Now reading The Tale of Princess Fatima :warrior woman: The Arabic Epic of Dhat al-Himma. Just finished the forward and really like how the translator presents is, not just an Arabic Mulan, but much more. Short book should be done soon!

Ago 22, 10:57pm

I have finished reading The Woman in White, which I loved, and Winter in Blood which is well written and I respect, but it didn't do much for me.

Ago 23, 7:52am

I finished the very good Great Circle and am starting Consent, also classes start today.

Editado: Ago 27, 5:37pm

The Short Reign of Pippin IV is so funny and after 65 years still reads true. Probably the best of Steinbecks satires. If you are interested in giggling, this is for you.

Ago 24, 3:32am

I'm in the mood for some light fare to finish off the month, so I started 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff last night, and it's hitting the spot.

Ago 24, 9:07am

Finished A Lullaby for Witches, which was fun—supernatural doings in an old Massachusetts town, a historic house and archives, and a little romance. Now starting Elizabeth Taylor's The Soul of Kindness for my book group.

Editado: Ago 24, 9:23am

When I am feeling disgruntled and bitchy, all roads lead to Patricia Highsmith. Now on The Blunderer. Poor Walter, stuck with the manipulative and utterly neurotic Clara and her yappy dog that won't stop humping people's legs. How long will he be able to put up with it??

Ago 24, 2:24pm

I finished the fun "Golden Age" mystery, Death Blew Out the Match by Kathleen Moore Knight, the first entry in Knight's "Elisha Macomber" series, set on Martha's Vineyard. When copywriter Anne Waldron loses her job (it's the Depression, after all), she falls back to her cabin in the island town of Penberthy Village. Her friend, Hazel Kershaw (Kerch), a nurse also newly jobless, joins her there. In a nearby cabin, a famous playwright, Marya Van Wyck, is suddenly murdered. Anne and Kerch find the body . . . and off we go! There are lots of plot twists and strange goings on, here, that make the reading fun. The writing is crisp and there is a pleasing amount of sly humor, self-deprecating often, as Anne, our first person narrator, has plenty of opportunity to doubt her own credentials as a sleuth. So this was a good time.

I've written a bit more about the book, and about Knight, on my CR thread.

Next up, keeping things light for the moment, will be The Giants and Their City: Major League Baseball in San Francisco, 1976-1992 by Lincoln Abraham Mitchell. This was a recent birthday present from my wonderful wife.

Ago 24, 6:58pm

I accidentally reread The Heat of the Day and continued reading women in translation, namely the lovely Fair Play, the grittier and abruptly ended Astradeni, and the verbosely emotional Free Day.

Ago 24, 7:14pm

My next book is another one from the library Des Journées entières dans les arbres by Marguerite Duras - it is a collection of shorter stories.

Ago 24, 7:33pm

>1 AnnieMod: Yaya The Sheep - Super Silly Furry Friends. I love readying silly books to my grandchildren.

Ago 24, 10:18pm

Just finished an unexpectedly good book - A Wolf in Duke's Clothing. I wanted a bit of fluff and figured Regency werewolves would fit the bill - but her characters are excellent, very complex and interesting. And unlike 99% of Regency romances, they actually act (and think) like people from that time, not modern folk in fancy dress. Looking forward to the next one (though not immediately, I'm still looking for that fluff...).

Ago 24, 11:08pm

Continuing with women in translation month, I'm reading the super lush and verdant Wildlives by Monique Proulx.

For non-fiction, I'm going through Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner

Ago 25, 11:10am

>145 jjmcgaffey: What's the steam level on this? Because it sounds interesting to me.

Ago 26, 5:39am

I've spent much of the last week sitting in a French garden (...and on French trains) reading a book set just down the road from where I was, Le banquet annuel de la confrérie des fossoyeurs, which was great fun.

Just started Het A.P. Beerta-Instituut, the fourth part of J J Voskuil's monster-novel of bureaucratic life in 20th century Amsterdam. But I may well put it aside for another crime story at some point...

>140 nohrt4me2: When I am feeling disgruntled and bitchy, all roads lead to Patricia Highsmith.

Yes!!! So true.

Ago 26, 11:23am

>148 thorold: Nearly done with The Blunderer. God, is he ever (a blunderer, that is). I think I'll go for The Cry of the Owl next.

Ago 26, 6:50pm

Just finishing Pup Fiction which has way too much detail for me. I felt like I just wanted to "get on with it."

Ago 27, 1:17am

>147 shadrach_anki:...actually, perfect for me. Not manhood and womanhood, not clinical details of where fingers and other body parts go - some description of touching and a lot of reaction to said touching. Not a clean romance, though, there are definitely sex scenes - masturbation, a lot of kissing, and a few going all the way (after their marriage, if that matters).

Ago 27, 3:28am

I finished 84 Charing Cross Road (what a delight) and have started with Irish author Seamus Deane's Reading in the Dark.

Ago 27, 11:52am

I've been feeling a bit blue and so I read (and eat junk food which is not nearly as good for me) - Island of the Mad, The Song of Achilles (many thanks to whoever introduced me to Madeline Miller), and I'm currently enjoying The Institute.

Editado: Ago 27, 1:33pm

Finished Highsmith's The Blunderer. Quite a cast of repellent characters. V. satisfying. On to her A Suspension of Mercy which looks to be a sly satire on the English cosy. Young married couple in an English cottage with Dear Old Thing living in the next house over. But marriage is becoming increasingly dysfunctional for the young couple, and Dear Old Thing has a heart condition. Nastiness has already made an entrance, and Murder isn't far away.

Ago 27, 5:36pm

>153 rhian_of_oz: you might also enjoy Ariadne, similar to Circe, with enough differences from the myth to make it really interesting

reading tomato rhapsody which I am enjoying very much,

Also reading yellow sun, bright sky a collection of short stories La Farge wrote in the 30s - 6o, focusing on the lives of native americans the the conflicts with americans. One story in particular got me; called Higher Education, about a navajho girl taken to a school in Ca at 10, returns home at 17, and is a lost soul. Im sure she wasn't the only one. Makes me so angry and heartbroken what was done to these children, and the effects on the tribes.

Ago 27, 9:08pm

I just started Light Perpetual.

Ago 28, 12:17am

>94 dianeham: What did you think of this one?

Ago 28, 8:56am

>155 cindydavid4: Thanks for the recommendation!

Ago 28, 3:07pm

Currently reading At Home by the Sea by Pam Weaver. This got a lot of good reviews on NetGalley. I found the beginning to be depressing, but I am sticking with it as it seems to be getting better.

Editado: Ago 28, 11:42pm

>157 AnnieMod: I was very impressed with it. I gave it 4 stars. Getting to the final whodunit is like a maze, twists and turns and surprises.

Ago 28, 11:51pm

>160 dianeham: Awesome. I’ve asked for it from the library based on the description (because that’s what I need - a new author…) and then saw that you had mentioned it so figured I should ask. :)

Ago 29, 8:59am

Finished the Grøndahl novel mentioned in #110 above; a stellar read. Well worth me taking time to read it slowly. However, I abandoned the crime novel I was reading then (it seemed too light, and just did nothing for me).

I'm now reading Whitefly a crime novel by Moroccan author Abdelilah Hamdouch. I read the first and thought reasonably well of it, so I thought I try another.

Also read reading How Iceland Changed the World which I'm really enjoying when I get time to read. We have a lot going on lately so there has been less reading than I would like.

Ago 29, 10:46am

I didn't feel like reading any of my ongoing books so I started Girl A.

Ago 30, 1:57pm

I finished I The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt. The book is psychologist/ethicist Jonathan Haidt's attempt to understand and explain why humans can come to see things so differently from each other and, most importantly, to become so set in our ways that we see people who disagree with us on important matters as enemies and/or fools.

The book, for me, works best in its first half, as Haidt lays out his research and his theories about human perceptions, how we form opinions, and what drives our responses. The book's second half was less effective for me, as I felt that Haidt was trying to force all of the foregoing information over his own ideas of politics and culture. He begins doing things like describing another researcher's theory and then proceeding to further conclusions based on that theory as if we had reason to accept the theory as fact. Towards the end, I must admit, I began skimming. So I give the first half of this book 3.5 stars, and the second half 2 stars. I do give Haidt credit for clear writing, relatively free of doze-inducing scientific jargon. My longer review is on my CR thread.

I'm now about a third of the way through this month's selection for my reading group, The Splendid and the Vile Erik Larson's latest, about Winston Churchill's first year as Prime Minister as the Battle of Britain ramps up. Sort of surprisingly, this is my first Larson book. I am enjoying it.

Ago 30, 3:19pm

I am joining a new book group next week, and they will be discussing The Sometimes Daughter so I better get to it!

Ago 30, 6:18pm

I am reading À L'abri du sirocco which is a french translation of the Italian novel La stanza dello sirocco by Domenico Campana

Editado: Ago 30, 10:31pm

I had been slowly working through Before the Revolution: America's Ancient Pasts in the last days (despite its subtitle, it is actually pretty good overview) but will need to set it aside for a bit - my library really wants Light Perpetual and Lee Child's Persuader back this Saturday.

Meanwhile, after getting behind a bit again, I am back to current with reviews for August (for books anyway - I am back to reading the shorter forms again (yey!) so I will probably post about them over in my thread sooner or later...). Let's see when I stopped posting here:
- Two Booker Longlist books: Second Place and China Room (both decent but with problems)
- A few thrillers and mysteries all of them in series I like so they were at least decent - the latest Gabriel Allon (The Cellist), the 13th Alex Delaware (Monster), the 6th and last Dark Iceland book (Winterkill), the 8th Bosch novel (City of Bones), the 3rd Brunetti (Dressed for Death) and the second Banks novel (A Dedicated Man).
- A poetry collection: Not Here by Hieu Minh Nguyen - which was good if disturbing in places
- Diné: A History of the Navajos - academic and informative.
- Another Butler: Kindred - which was very good (again).
- Two story collections (which could have been novels if pushed - connected stories can go either way. Surprisingly both were Japanese:Prefecture D (set in the world of Six Four) and Where the Wild Ladies Are (a fantasy based on Japanese folklore and other traditional forms). Not surprisingly I enjoyed both.
- A western: Robert B. Parker's Ironhorse - the first book in its series after Parker's death which was the usual mess (it is not a bad novel per se but it is overwritten)
- The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi - from the long list of the International Booker this year - which fails in some ways (and I think it is the translation and how the book was published and not the book itself that is the problem)
- A historical novel: Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch which I suspect may end up picking up some awards but did not work for me completely (although it did work to some extent).

More details on the books' pages or in my thread. And I should post here more often....

Set 1, 6:16pm

I have started Derniers retranchements by Hervé le Corre. It is a collection of ten short stories. Corre is a crime fiction writer, but after reading the first of theses stories they seem to be "slices of life" among the criminal fraternity.

Editado: Set 1, 7:26pm

Just started bookseller of florence which so far is proving just as wonderful and interesting as the other two books Ive read of him Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture and Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling oh and Ex Libris Haven't read his about Da Vinci, should do so at some point

Also starting Allegorizings by jan morris (wrong touchstone, cant get it to come up)

Starting another Oliver La Farge novel about the Apaches in New Mexico Behind the Mountains and read some more of his short stories in A door in the wall with the little stone man being the most powerful of the collection.

Set 4, 9:20am

Finished Elizabeth Taylor's The Soul of Kindness for book group later this month, now back to work reading: Quan Barry's upcoming novel When I'm Gone, Look for Me in the East, set in Mongolia and narrated by a Buddhist monk—a good change of pace from a lot of the Western-world fiction I've been reading.

Set 6, 5:53am

I'm reading Childhood, Youth, Dependency by Tove Ditlevsen at the moment. So far I'm finding it definitely readable, but enjoyable feels like a stretch.

Set 6, 7:04pm

I am reading An Amish Schoolroom which is a set of three stories about Amish schoolteachers. It is appropriate for this time of year when the students are returning to the classroom in some form.

Set 7, 10:37am

I read The Player of Games for bookclub and The Russian Cage for fun. Instead of finishing The Mirror and the Light I'm also reading This Fallen Prey.

Set 7, 10:51am

I'm reading Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg which was a much-appreciated suggestion from someone on LT - I'm loving it.

Also making my way through Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. I need lots of breaks with this one. Both because it does start to read like a long list of statistics and because it's just depressing.

Editado: Set 7, 11:27am

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Set 7, 1:24pm

I finished Edith Wharton’s The Valley of Decision this weekend and The Eighth Life (For Brilka) this morning (TEL took me 34 hours to read, the 4th book i’ve read this year that took over 30 hours). Switching gears, and returning to Petrarch. I’m starting Petrarch and His World by his 1930’s translator Morris Bishop.

(Also have Measure for Measure going and, on audio, Great Circle.)

Set 7, 4:40pm

I finished the mostly excellent history The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson. The subtitle for Larson's latest is "A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz," which is a pretty good description. This is a history of the first year of Churchill's time as Britain's wartime Prime Minister. I was mostly already familiar with the circumstances of the Battle of Britain, but Larson, in focusing in on this one year and in the Churchill family's experience of the event, adds a lot of detail that was new, and interesting, to me.

You can find my longer review, if you're interested, on my CR thread.

The Larson was book group reading for me, and to be sure I got it finished in time I had to interrupt my reading of a fun baseball history that my wife gave me as a birthday present a few months back: The Giants and Their City: Major League Baseball in San Francisco, 1976-1992 by Lincoln Abraham Mitchell

Set 9, 5:34am

Ok I am done with Tomato Rhaspody. Not finished, just done. What started out as a fun romp , a love story and a food history lesson turned into a drunken mess, with such vulgar descriptions and over the top ramblings that overtook any good humor and wonder that was promised. I kept reading thinking it couldnt get worse. But it does. I gave up, read the last chapter find out what happens to the lovers and then tossed it into the trade pile. , This is not a Shakespear comedy as some reviews call it. Its a 12 year old boy's wet dream. Gave it two stars for the buildup. Wish I could give it 0

I do know many many people loved this book. I wish I did. Im sorry, but this was not for me. Too many books sitting on my shelf to waste my time reading this.

Set 9, 7:36am

I snuck in a read of Rogue Protocol in between chapters of Empire of Pain and I've also started The Passion as a change of pace.

Editado: Set 9, 9:29am

>178 cindydavid4: Ha ha! I read as far as the blurb "In a village in Tuscany ..." and knew I wouldn't be able to stand Tomato Rhapsody. I find James Bond movies idiotic because of the 12-year-old-boy factor you mention. Pussy Galore. Octopussy. Get me out of here.

Set 9, 10:43am

I picked it for the Food Theme last month; Im not a foodie but I though a book that takes place in the Renaissance, since Im a history geek, and has a love story....what could possibly go wrong!

Set 9, 12:47pm

I'm just starting Ariadne, which I heard about on LT, don't remember who recommended it.

Set 9, 1:13pm

>180 nohrt4me2: no question, my 12-yr-old self was thoroughly entertained. (No comment on current self)

Set 9, 2:47pm

>182 BLBera: possibly me; interested in what you think it.

reading A Memory of Empire for a book group tonight! don't expect to finish it, but its my plan for today.

Set 9, 3:52pm

>183 dchaikin: Hee. Even Daniel Craig and half of Venice collapsing into the Grand Canal can't make 007 work for me.

Set 11, 1:33pm

I read An Amish Schoolroom which consisted of three stories, all of which I liked (but then I am partial to teacher stories!) I also read part of The Cafe Between Pumpkin and Pie which was also a series of stories. I did not finish--do not like the graphic steamy sex. Too bad, as the setting and secondary characters were delightful. I also don't like the writing style comprised of short and choppy incomplete sentences.

Set 11, 5:00pm

I finished Great Circle. Like The Eighth Life, it’s really long, not that complex, but mostly conventional, almost plain story telling, just good enough to me to enjoy listening to for a long time, and it accumulates, with most of the best stuff in that last quarter or so.

I’ve started The Sweetness of Water on audio. The title makes me squirm, but it starts out (again?) good enough to keep me entertained and curious.

Set 11, 10:35pm

Now reading Matrix and really enjoying it

Set 12, 2:36pm

I finished Quan Barry's When I'm Gone, Look for Me in the East, which was very off the beaten track (Buddhist monks on a mission in Mongolia), which I liked. Now reading Emily St. John Mandel's upcoming Sea of Tranquility.

Editado: Set 12, 3:08pm

I finished The Giants and Their City: Major League Baseball in San Francisco, 1976-1992 by Lincoln Abraham Mitchell. This is a mostly fun book that traces the history of the San Francisco Giants, and the history of the city itself, during the era when the team was owned by real estate tycoon Bob Lurie. Mitchell's account is book-ended nicely, as it begins in 1976 with Lurie stepping in the buy the Giants in a last-minute act that kept the team from purchased by folks in Toronto who were going to move the team there, and ends in 1992 with Lurie's almost consummated sale of the team to moneyed interests in Tampa, before grocery store magnate Peter Magowan stepped forward at, once again basically at the last second, to save the team once again for San Francisco. Mitchell deftly weaves the team's up and (mostly) down fortunes on the field with descriptions of the political climate and events in San Francisco that led to the defeat of four separate voter referendums aimed at providing public funding for a new stadium to replace the horrid from its opening Candlestick Park. I moved to SF in 1986, so a lot of the ground covered here was familiar to me. It was fun and interesting to revisit some of those events. For baseball fans only, no doubt. If interested, you'll find a longer review on my own CR thread.

I'm now reading the fascinating Sigh for a Strange Land by Monica Stirling, a somewhat fable-like novel about refugees from the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

Set 12, 11:07pm

I've been feeling a bit down and so I've been bingeing books. Watcher In The Woods, Alone In The Wild, and A Stranger In Town are all part of a mystery series. I'm all caught up now which is in some ways a shame because now I have to wait for the next one to come out.

I've also started Down Among The Dead which is the second in a space opera trilogy.

Set 15, 6:58am

Finished a smaii collection of poetry and a mystery but....

Have added two more books to my ongoing reads: A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice by William E. Grassley. I thought this would pair well with the Iceland book I'm ambling through.

And I've been perusing (not reading cover to cover) Peterson's NEW Field Guide to North American Bird Nests; McFarland, Monjello & Moskowitz (2021)

Set 15, 10:26am

I just finished Ariadne, which I really enjoyed and will start The Heron's Cry.

Set 15, 12:31pm

I finished Sea of Tranquility, which was great—right in that sweet spot between a very entertaining read that goes down easily and something a bit more challenging. Now reading Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, which a number of friends have said they thought I'd like.

Set 15, 6:39pm

Last night I started A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam, which was chosen for this year's Booker Prize shortlist yesterday. I'm also reading two nonfiction tomes, Fevers, Feuds and Diamonds: Ebola and the Ravages of History by Dr Paul Farmer of Harvard Medical School and head of the nonprofit organization Partners in Health, and the considerably larger Pessoa: A Biography by Richard Zenith, who translated the author's best known work, The Book of Disquiet.

Set 15, 10:28pm

Gave up on Bookseller of Florence, for now anyway. Really some interesting stuff in this data dump, including how manuscripts were made (the cover, the ink, the dye, the gold leaf)But im only a third of the way through Im just tired of reading it. I'll probably go back to it, Im sure theres more stuff that would interest me.. But too many people with detailed bios, too many business deals of manuscripts between this philosopher and that.....just too much detail.. Need a break.

That being said, he has a way with words Vespasiano, the book seller in question, is writing a bio of Pope Nicolas V, speaking of what a shambles the palace was under the last pope. 'He told me many other things" Vespasiano modesty reflected in his biography"which I shall omit to tell in case it appears I am writing not about the Pope, but myself" If only all biographers did the same!

Set 16, 3:09am

I’m reading Small Pleasures by Claire Chambers which is wonderfully evocative of English suburban life in the late 1950’s. This one was long listed for the 2021 Women’s Prize. And also Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K.J. Parker: a fun read set in a fantasy world where the City bears a striking resemblance to Constantinople in the later Roman Empire.

Set 16, 3:36am

After crawling through the first volume in the Tove Ditlevsen's Copenhagen trilogy I absolutely loved the second two volumes (volume seems a 'large' word to use - in total all three come to 270 pages).

Next up I'm going to read Lean, Fall, Stand by Jon McGregor which was a birthday gift last month.

Set 16, 3:39am

Where did I leave off....

Ah yes. I finished the excellent The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by Machado de Assis, my first book of the author. Interest around this author has surged this past year and I am glad as I really love this type of work. I will definitely be reading Don Casmurro in the future.

I'm also one act away from finishing the famous and delightful Cyrano de Bergerac which I've seen the movie many times as I love it, and have always wanted to read it. Obviously I'm loving it.

I've also recently started and am thoroughly enjoying a Mao biography by the author of Wild Swans, Jung Chang.

Set 16, 10:46am

I thought I would have a bit of a break before finishing my space opera trilogy so I picked up Recursion which I'm pretty sure was a CR BB.

Set 16, 11:32am

>199 lilisin: Wild Swans is still among my liftime top reads list of non fiction. Amazing book. I was disappointed in her book about Mao, but probably more about what I was interested in than in her writing.

Set 16, 11:35am

>197 SandDune: re KJ Parker, love this from one of the reviews: "K.J. Parker is really Tom Holt, a sadly neglected British writer who is really under-marketed in North America. It is our loss. He writes at nearly the level of Terry Pratchett. "

Ok, Im sold!

Set 16, 2:40pm

>202 cindydavid4: I’m not quite sure about being as good as Terry Pratchett but he has a pleasing level of snarkiness.

Editado: Set 17, 11:50pm

>201 cindydavid4:

I've almost picked up Wild Swans so many times now that it's really strange that I haven't purchased it yet. But it's now officially in my cart for purchasing! I've read up on some of the criticisms of the Mao but I'm really engrossed at the moment. Happy to have picked it up. Or rather, leave it lying propped against a cushion so I can read it comfortably.

Set 17, 1:37pm

>204 lilisin: Missing a 0? I think that was for >201 cindydavid4: :)

Set 17, 11:51pm

>205 AnnieMod:

Fixed! Thank you. :)
Este tópico foi continuado por WHAT ARE YOU READING? - Part 7.