What are you reading the week of November 25, 2023?

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What are you reading the week of November 25, 2023?

1fredbacon
Nov 24, 2023, 11:27 pm

I finished The Currents of Space and Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov this week.

I've started The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt. It's an almost 600 page book, so, I'm probably going to be chewing on this for a while. I've also picked up a copy of Babi Yar by Anatoly Kuznetsov. I've wanted to read this book for nearly forty years, ever since I read D. M. Thomas' book, The White Hotel.

2BookConcierge
Nov 25, 2023, 8:14 am


Nemesis – Agatha Christie
Digital audiobook read by Emilia Fox
3***

From the book jacket: In utter disbelief, Miss Marple read the letter addressed to her from the recently deceased Mr Rafiel – an acquaintance she had met briefly on her travels. He had left instructions for her to investigate a crime after his death. The only problem was, had failed to tell her who was involved or where and when the crime had been committed. It was most intriguing. Soon, she is faced with a new crime – the ultimate crime – murder. It seems someone is adamant that past evils remain buried….

My reactions
Miss Marple is up to her usual tricks. She is a keen observer and an astute judge of character. She fully understands that people underestimate her – or even completely ignore her. She is only an old woman, after all. HA!

I have to admit that my mind wandered on this one. I just wasn’t keeping up with Miss Marple in following the clues, I guess. But not to fear. As is typical with these books, she will sit down and explain it all – in detail – to the detectives, suspects, and other interested parties.

Emilia Fox does a good job of narrating the audiobook. She sets a good pace and I like the way she interprets Miss Marple. My lack of attention was not due to any lack of skill as a narrator.

3Shrike58
Nov 25, 2023, 8:23 am

Currently wrapping up November's Fury, and I've been picking at Auto Racing in the Shadow of the Great War for about a week. The Saint of Bright Doors will be the next book I start.

4PaperbackPirate
Nov 25, 2023, 11:53 am

I'm reading the short but creepy Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones for Native American Heritage Month.
Later today I'll read the even shorter Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami for my birthday.

5rocketjk
Nov 25, 2023, 11:56 am

While waiting for my on-order copy of Mapp and Lucia to show up at my local library branch (maybe today!), I'm reading a chapter of Early Latin America: A History of Colonial Spanish America and Brazil, this week's assignment for the course I'm auditing at Columbia University this semester.

6Coffeehag
Nov 26, 2023, 1:46 pm

I just finished Lord.of the Flies by William Golding. It made me feel like it's been a long time since I read a book for the pure enjoyment of it. And, indeed, I was trying to learn something when I picked this one up: how a society devolves into chaos and violence. Whatever I learned, this book took me back to my teenager years, when I read a great many, 20th century, sci-fi and dystopian novels, not in order to learn something, but just for the pleasure of reading.

7ahef1963
Nov 26, 2023, 7:53 pm

I've been listening to A Zoo in my Luggage by Gerald Durrell this week, and I finished reading The Five by Hallie Rubenhold, which I didn't enjoy at all.

Now I have no audiobook on the go, but am enjoying a re-read of Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.

8JulieLill
Nov 27, 2023, 11:47 am

Iceman: My Fighting Life
Chuck Liddell
This is the autobiography of Chuck Liddell who is a mixed martial artist. I am not a big sports fan but I learned a lot about wrestling and being a mixed martial artist! I thought this was very interesting!

9BookConcierge
Nov 27, 2023, 4:24 pm


Shadow Prey – John Sandford
Digital audiobook performed by Richard Ferrone.
2.5** (rounded up)

From the book jacket: A war of wits between the street-smart sleuth and a warrior-assassin from an ancient. A slumlord and a welfare supervisor butchered in Minnesapolis ... a rising political star executed in Manhattan … an influential judge taken in Oklahoma City. All the homicides have the same grisly method – the victim’s throat is slashed with an Indian ceremonial knife – and in every case the trail leads back through the Minnesota Native American community.

My reactions:
Book number two in the Lucas Davenport series went a bit off the rails. My audiobook included an interview with the author where he explains that he had wanted to include some current “social justice” issues. Sandford admits in the interview that he wound up rather sidetracked from the main thriller and so abandoned his first effort and rewrote like mad. In my estimation, he was only partly successful.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy many a book with a social justice message. I want to learn about the ugly truths, even when it makes me uncomfortable. But that’s not the reason I read mysteries or thrillers. And that’s a problem with this book. I felt that the message frequently detracted from the forward momentum of the basic thriller plot. The result: neither the social justice message NOR the thriller were fully satisfying. Clearly not Sanford’s best effort.

Richard Ferrone does a marvelous job narrating the audiobook. He keeps a good pace and has an ability to differentiate the characters sufficiently so there is never any confusion about who is speaking.

10rocketjk
Nov 27, 2023, 6:52 pm

>10 rocketjk: Just popping in to say that Mapp and Lucia finally showed up at the library. So far (about 20 pages in), the novel is a lot of fun, just like the others in the series I've read so far.

11BookConcierge
Nov 28, 2023, 10:27 pm


The Innocent – Harlan Coben
Book on CD performed by Scott Brick
3.5***

Matt Hunter made a major mistake when he tried to break up a fight. A man wound up dead, and Matt was convicted of murder. Now he’s an ex-con, but working in his brother’s law firm as a paralegal. Married and starting a family with his wife, Olivia, they’re about to buy a house and things are looking up. And then things go south. Matt notices a man tailing him, then he gets a disturbing photo from his wife’s cell phone. He hires a private investigator to find out who the man is, but he turns up dead – murdered. Now police, both local and federal, are looking at Matt, a former con with one murder already on his record.

Coben knows how to craft a fast-paced thriller that kept me turning pages (or changing CDs). However … I found this plot way too convoluted. I get that the author is trying to keep the reader off guard as much as the characters, but I was losing interest because nothing was coming together. I’m glad I persevered, however, because about half-way through I found I just could not put this down.

I liked Matt as a character; he’s a stand-up guy, smart and resourceful. His inability to trust people around him is understandable. And I really liked homicide investigator Loren Muse; a childhood friend of Matt’s, she’s skeptical of the pattern emerging and keeps digging until she finds the real culprits. Olivia? I couldn’t stand her. Matt deserves better.

Scott Brick is a very talented voice artist. I really liked the way he narrated the audio. Though I read at least a third of this in text format, I’m bumping up the rating by a half star on the strength of Brick’s performance.

12nrmay
Nov 29, 2023, 9:34 am

Just finished Gallant by V E Schwab and didn't like it. I thought it was fantasy but it was more horror. I read all genres but horror, not so much. I screen my books pretty well and rarely have a disappointment like this.
Now reading Speaks the Nightbird and liking it very much so far. Suggested to me by an LT friend. :)

13princessgarnet
Editado: Nov 29, 2023, 6:41 pm

From the library: Murder Wears a Hidden Face by Rosemary Simpson
New and 8th installment in "A Gilded Age Mystery" series. In February 1891, Prudence and Geoffrey investigate a murder of a Chinese diplomat at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, taking them to New York's Chinatown district.
During this time period, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was on the books. It was renewed in 1902 and the basis for the one for Japanese immigrants a few years later.

14Copperskye
Nov 29, 2023, 6:32 pm

I finished Claire Keegan's So Late in the Day. After reading and loving both Foster and Small Things Like These, I was disappointed.

Now I'm reading Colm Toibin's The Blackwater Lightship.

15BookConcierge
Nov 30, 2023, 10:50 pm


Across the River and Into the Trees – Ernest Hemingway
3***

At the end of WW2, a middle-aged American colonel meets a young Contessa in Venice. He spends his days reminiscing about the war, duck hunting, drinking and dining with the young lovely. He knows he’s dying, but she gives him one last season of love.

This is so typically Hemingway! I read The Old Man and the Sea when I was in eighth grade, and I’ve been a fan of his writing since.

This isn’t his best-known work, and I read it only to fulfill a challenge to read a book that was a bestseller the year I was born. Still, there is something about his writing that captures my attention. The short declarative sentences make the work immediate and bring this reader right into the story.

But the older I get the more I’m disturbed by the way the women are portrayed … or more accurately, but the way Hemmingway writes the male/female relationships. Knowing his own history of depression (and ultimate suicide), not to mention his four wives, I see him projecting his own character on the page, and I’m getting tired of it.

16fredbacon
Dez 1, 2023, 11:31 pm

The new thread is up over here.

17Shrike58
Dez 2, 2023, 9:44 am

>15 BookConcierge: It's worth hunting down Ursula K. LeGuin's thoughts on Hemingway's passing, in which she coldly cuts the man a "new one."