What are you reading the week of December 21, 2019?

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What are you reading the week of December 21, 2019?

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1fredbacon
Dez 21, 2019, 7:52am

I've been attending a draining training class all week. I didn't have much time for reading since I would then have to deal with work issues in the evening. I'm in a better mood this week, just tired now.

2PaperbackPirate
Dez 21, 2019, 10:36am

I'm finally getting to the end of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It's been a big speed bump on my way to my end of year reading goal, but seeing the end in sight and a great block of reading time in my future has renewed my hope.

3hemlokgang
Editado: Dez 21, 2019, 12:01pm

Okay, here's the deal. I am a retired psychotherapist. A friend recommended Maybe You Should Talk To Someone. I listened to the audio version for about an hour (don't recommend the audio version because the reader is annoyingly perky), then decided to stop. I agreed with and liked everything I heard, but I am the wrong audience. This would be a very interesting read for anyone interested in the life of therapists and the way their work and personal experiences intertwine. I have lived it and really do not want to read about it. However, I emphasize that what the author says rings true!

Next up for listening is Correspondents by Tim Murphy.

4rocketjk
Dez 21, 2019, 1:51pm

I'm closing in on the halfway point of Isaac Singer's wonderful memoir of his childhood in pre-WWI Warsaw, In My Father's Court.

Happy Holidays to everyone who is celebrating one thing or another, and Good Hiding* ** to everyone who prefers to opt out.

* I just made that up!
** And by "Good Hiding," I mean "hiding away from," not "You deserve a good hiding." (Maybe I need to rephrase, eh?)

My wife and I are heading to NYC to spend time with family and friends for about 6 days and I'll probably be aware from LT during that time, so taking the opportunity to send good wishes now.

5seitherin
Dez 21, 2019, 3:04pm

Still not reading the same books I wasn't reading last week because of my prolonged winter reading slump; however, I am watching "The Witcher" which is sort of like rereading the book.

6richardderus
Dez 21, 2019, 3:43pm

>5 seitherin: I like the series; the books were a miss for me, largely because the fan base is vocal in its disapproval of less-than-stellar reviews.

Soviet Santa says "Happy Yule!" Solstice Greetings to all. Read more here: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/soviet-santa

7ahef1963
Editado: Dez 21, 2019, 4:17pm

I am reading a Very Weird book. It's called The Bus on Thursday, is by Australian writer Shirley Barrett, and it defies genre. Eleanor is diagnosed with breast cancer, and starts a blog - funny, honest, and profane - about lumpectomies, mastectomies, surgeons, chemo, etc. Then Eleanor accepts a teaching job in a remote mountain area of NSW, where there are only 11 students, and where a disquieting quiet settles over the whole town. The anxiety seeps out of the book and settles over the reader....wherever this book is going, I'm following.

Have had a terrible week because of further hospitalization, and I'm just so fed up with it all - the pain, the hospital, the worry. Luckily, there are books to lose myself in, and a colouring app on my phone that I find greatly relaxing. I will stop with the health updates if they are a nuisance to this community; it's just that books and worry and pain have become so interlinked for me that I find it difficult to think about one without the other.

8Limelite
Dez 21, 2019, 4:53pm

>ahef1963

Sorry to learn you're experiencing pain and illness, especially when all around you are probably caught up in the jolly jolly business. Go right ahead and moan in public. Your reality -- good and bad -- is appropriate to share among LT-ers.

When you described the heroine's life in the book you're reading, it seemed strange to me that a person needing aggressive medical intervention would relocate to a remote setting. As you say, "Very Weird." Nonfiction?

9BookConcierge
Editado: Dez 31, 2019, 9:36am


Heart of a Samurai – Margi Preus
4****

This young adult novel is marvelous work of historical fiction based on a real person. Manjiro was only 14 when he left his small village intent on getting food for his family. Setting out with some local fishermen they were caught in a storm and wound up on a deserted island. Ultimately rescued by an American whaling ship, Manjiro became the captain's favorite, due to his enthusiasm and willingness to learn, and was renamed John Mung.

I really liked this book and how Preus explores prejudice and intolerance, as well as the gifts of curiosity, eagerness to learn and being open to new experiences. The Japanese empire was a closed society for over 200 years, not allowing any foreigners on its soil, and even going so far as to ban any Japanese who had left Japan from returning, lest they were “contaminated” by foreign thought, mores, practices and culture. Imagine the terror the fishermen feel on discovering that their rescuers are “blue-eyed devils!”

Of course, that prejudice goes both ways. Some of the sailors aboard the ship are equally wary of the Japanese “savages.” They’ve heard their own horror stories and believe the Japanese would kill and eat them.

The novel details Manjiro’s adventures which took him to America, on several sea voyages, and ultimately back to his native Japan where he helped usher in a new era of tolerance towards foreigners and witnessed the end of Japan's 250-year policy of isolation. Several of Mung's drawings depicting whaling and life in America and Japan in the mid-19th century are included.

10mollygrace
Dez 21, 2019, 5:29pm

>7 ahef1963: I'm thinking about you and wishing you well. I'm due for surgery in the next few days and I may not be back here for awhile. I'm reading a No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency book The House of Unexpected Sisters to put me in a positive sort of mood.

I do want to wish everyone the very best of holiday seasons. Hope your stockings are filled with good books!

11JulieLill
Dez 21, 2019, 5:43pm

>6 richardderus: Richard thanks for this link to a very interesting article on the Soviet Santa. I sent this on to others who I know would get a kick out of it!

12ahef1963
Dez 21, 2019, 7:45pm

>8 Limelite: Thank you for your kind words. The heroine (Eleanor)'s mother thinks the same about her removal to a remote area. However, she's finished her chemo, and she's on a five-year dose of tamoxifen that she takes with her. I haven't researched tamoxifen but I'm assuming that it, whatever sort of drug it be, will keep her physically healthy for a bit. I'm not going to vouch for her mental stability. She didn't have much at the beginning of the book, and she's totally lost the plot by now.

13snash
Dez 22, 2019, 2:45pm

Hoping all dealing with health problems find relief soon.

I finished Lamb in HIs Bosom, an excellent portrayal of a poor Southern family in the mid 1800's. The descriptions of the landscape, ways of life and thought, and people were vivid. The strength of people in the struggle of life was palpable.

14richardderus
Dez 22, 2019, 3:05pm

>13 snash: That was a solid 4.5-of-five read for me as well, Sharon, and what a relief compared to the brittle artificiality of so much historical fiction of that era.

15ahef1963
Dez 22, 2019, 8:23pm

>13 snash: >14 richardderus: Lamb in His Bosom sounds excellent. Have added it to my Amazon wishlist.

I finished The Bus on Thursday. It started and middled with such promise, and then I don't know what happened. I'm not at all sure how I feel about it. In one sentence I can sum up: "it was a strange book".

Am on much firmer ground with the 1970 Booker winner, The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens. It's about a middle-aged drug addict, hallucinating wildly, who lives over the family shop with his sister and their father the rabbi. The writing is lovely. So far so good.

16cindydavid4
Dez 22, 2019, 11:48pm

I have read Singers books, but Ive missed this memoir. Definitely time to pick it up and read it

17rocketjk
Dez 23, 2019, 5:55pm

It didn't take long for me to rip through In My Father's Court Isaac Bashevis Singer's memoir about his childhood in Poland in the years leading up to, and during, World War One. Singer’s father was a Hasidic rabbi and the court of the title was the Beth Din, the traditional court in the Singers' home to which community members came to have their divorces, lawsuits and other disputes arbitrated and their questions about Jewish holy books and law answered and illuminated.

The book is presented as a series of short vignettes, each from five to seven pages in length, told more or less in chronological order, with Singer’s narrative evolving as the small boy begins to grow and to question his surroundings. In the early remembrances, the perspective is kept very tightly on his father’s fierce devotion to God and to Jewish biblical and rabbinical law, custom and mysticism. The tales told are about the people who arrive in the Singers' home, what their problems are, and how his father deals with them.

Soon enough, however, the outside world begins gradually to intrude. The family moves from a small town to the crowded streets of a Jewish Warsaw slum. Next come rumors and then the realities of World War One, with its uncertainties and sharp deprivations. Singer’s older brother becomes more worldly, and young Isaac begins asking questions himself and longing for information about the outside world. Zionism and socialism begin to be discussed among the young, further eroding the hold of the old ways over the community as a whole.

Moving and delightful.

18rocketjk
Dez 24, 2019, 2:54am

Having finished In My Father's Court, I moved on to another round of my "between books" . . .

"Too Naked: Leah Dunham" from Too Fat Too Slutty Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen – Finished!
"Elizabeth Seton" from American Heroines: The Spirited Women who Shaped Our Country by Kay Bailey Hutchison
“My Jockey” from A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
“Along the Border” from The Union Reader edited by Richard B. Harwell
“The Current Cinema” by Brendan Gill from the December 2, 1967, issue of The New Yorker Magazine
“Tierra del Fuego” from Tierra del Fuego by Francisco Coloane – Newly added

As noted, I finished Too Fat Too Slutty Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen. My wife and I are leaving early in the morning for a holiday visited to New York City, so I'll review the Petersen, and catch up with my vacation reading, upon my return. Also as noted, I read the first short story from the collection Tierra del Fuego by Francisco Coloane, a Chilean writer I learned about last month when we visited his hometown. Honestly, I don't actually take a trip every month. We're looking forward to staying home for a good long while after the New Year.

My next book is going to be the American Civil War novel, Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara. See you in a week!

19framboise
Dez 24, 2019, 9:55am

Started The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton two days ago. Descriptive and lush like all her previous books, this is a good one to get lost in.

Recently finished Dear Girls by the hilarious Ali Wong and Women Talking by Miriam Toews.

20JulieLill
Editado: Dez 24, 2019, 2:14pm

Echo
Pam Munoz Ryan
5/5 stars
This is the wonderful story that starts with Otto, a young man who was lost in the forest but saved by 3 girls who are trapped in the forest. They give him a harmonica marked with an M. If he passes it on and it saves someone, the girls will be released. The harmonica touches the lives of three families and we learn of their tragic stories and what has become of them and the girls trapped in the forest. Written for children and young adults but adults will enjoy this too!

21seitherin
Dez 25, 2019, 1:51pm

For someone who wasn't reading anything, I've gone to someone who now has five books in my rotation: The Bard's Blade, Maggody and the Moonbeams, Fire & Blood, Blood of Elves, and Deeper Than the Darkness.

22princessgarnet
Dez 26, 2019, 12:58pm

Hope fellow members had a Merry Christmas!

Current read: An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz
Her new novel set in 1770 western Virginia.

23JulieLill
Editado: Dez 26, 2019, 2:31pm

Turbo Twenty-Three: A Stephanie Plum Novel
Janet Evanovich
3.5/5 stars
Stephanie, once again is embroiled in another mystery when Ranger, a bounty hunter she occasionally works for, needs her to go undercover at an ice cream factory after a dead body covered with chocolate and pecans shows up in an ice cream truck. All the regulars make an appearance in this story including her Grandmother and her crazy friend Lula. I like this series, always a fun fast read.

24fredbacon
Dez 28, 2019, 12:38am

The new thread is up over here.