What are you reading the week of February 15, 2020?
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I tried going back to Democracy and Education by John Dewey, but I have never been able to finish anything by him except with concerted effort. It's like walking in deep mud.
Mindfulness for Chocolate Lovers: A Lighthearted Way to Stress Less and Savor More Each Day
by Diane R. Gehart (OverDrive Kindle eBook)
American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel
by Jeanine Cummins (OverDrive audiobook)
(both books rate 4+ stars)
James Robert Parish
Written in 2006, this book can certainly be updated but as a movie buff, I had seen many of the movies in the book as the author breaks down the reasons each movie failed. There are a couple of movies in the book that I did enjoyed. I liked Paint Your Wagon and Last Action Hero but I definitely agree that Showgirls, Robin William’s Popeye and Ishtar were completely terrible. This book is definitely for movie fans. It would be interesting to see a updated version of this book!
Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal
Digital audiobook performed by Meera Syal
From the book jacket: Nikki, a modern-day daughter of Indian immigrants, has spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki impulsively takes a job teaching a “creative writing” course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-kknit Punjabi community.
I was expecting something light and breezy and I was pleasantly surprised to find some depth here. Nikki is a wonderful character who shepherds her students through to success. Along the way she discovers that her long-held assumptions about the women in the community need to be examined and her opinions updated. She finds women who have suffered, and women who have relished in the joys of their role, women who are brave and those who are shy or hesitant. But all the women she encounters want MORE, and want to take some control of their lives even in the relatively small way of reading – and writing – erotic stories.
I loved the women in Nikki’s classes. Some of their stories were heartbreaking, but all of them were so willing to be open and honest in their writing. That their subject matter would “shock” their peers was not a deterrent to their need to express themselves. Brava, ladies! And through their bravery and openness, Nikki comes to learn something about herself and about the value of forgiveness and second chances.
Just a delightful book.
Meera Syal did a marvelous job narrating the audiobook. She really brought these characters to life.
The Cat Who Came For Christmas– Cleveland Amory
On a snowy Christmas eve, Amory was contacted by a friend who had been trying to gain the trust of a stray cat who had been hanging about in a nearby alley. Ruth was sure that with the two of them working together they’d be able to capture the skittish feline. Against his better judgment, Amory went out in the snow and eventually they succeeded. But now where to take the cat? Thus this (eventually discovered to be white) cat came into Amory’s life, and they developed a close relationship (or as close as anyone can get to a cat). Polar Bear filled a hole in Amory’s life, and the animal advocate certainly ensured that Polar Bear not only survived, but thrived.
This book is a memoir of their first year together and the ways in which man and beast became a team.
I’m not much of an animal lover, but I found this reasonably interesting and entertaining. There were some quite humorous episodes (the first “bath”). Amory was a dedicated animal advocate and he uses this story to expound on many of his efforts, including stopping the slaughter of baby seals. I thought many of these sidelines detracted from the central story of a Cat and His Man.
Despite the title, there was nothing particularly “Christmassy” about the book.
But first some "between books" and then to Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Louise Aronson.
Helen Grigsby Doss
Set in the 40’s this is the true story of the Doss’s who were unable to have any children. Reaching out to an adoption agency they eventually were able to adopt one child. When they went back to try for another adoption, they were told they could only adopt one white child so Helen reached out to other agencies that had different race or mixed race children. They, eventually, through sheer determination adopted a total of 12 children. Wonderfully written and so inspirational, I sped through this book. 1954
Interesting article on the family- https://pages.uoregon.edu/adoption/topics/familynobodywanted.htm
In the field of romance, I practically devoured The Royal We: American college girl spending a year at Oxford enters into a relationship with an heir to the British throne. It was romantic, and very witty. It was also quite predictable, but I think that's why I'm enjoying romantic fiction as much as I am.
* “from ‘The Scorn Papers’” from Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs
* Excerpt from Daughters and Rebels by Jessica Mitford from The Norton Book of Women's Lives edited by Phyllis Rose
* “Simple Stories of Success or How to Succeed in Life” from Laugh with Leacock by Stephen Leacock
* "Emma Willard" from American Heroines: The Spirited Women who Shaped Our Country by Kay Bailey Hutchison
* “Phantom Pain” from A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin
* “Walking Distance” from Living in the Weather of the World by Richard Bausch
* “Sabatini is Making History Live Again” by Gene Berton from The Mentor, November, 1924 edited by W. D. Moffat
Tonight I've started Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life by Louise Aronson.
Author Robin Ha’s graphic novel is the true story of her coming to America with her mother after being raised in South Korea. Since she only speaks Korean, she has a hard time adapting to the United States, let alone learning an unfamiliar complicated new language and trying to make new friends especially in high school where the students aren’t the friendliest. Well done!
Now reading wicked for a real life sf/fan book group. I read it when it first came out and loved it. Hated what the musical did to it. Enjoying the reread, still very good after all this time. And Im picking up on stuff I didn't notice the first time
Anyway,I finished Elinor Oliphant Is Completely Fine for my F2F group; did an Early Review of The Boleyn Curse, and read Richard Russo's Straight Man. Am now working my way through A Fairly Haunted Life, the Shirley Jackson biography. Enjoyable, but it seems to be taking forever.
(What's up with the Touchstones? Neither 'Elinor Oliphant' nor 'Fairly Haunted Life' are coming up. Strange. 'Elinor Oliphant' is fairly hot right now, and the Jackson book has been out for some time.)
So, as an example, I finished The Hamlet, as per post 11, then I read one entry/story each in the stack of "between books" listed in post 15, as listed, and now I am on to Elderhood. It took me one weekend day, if I remember right, to read those entries. Sometimes it takes a bit longer, depending of course on the length of the pieces and the amount of reading time available. Right now I have two such stacks going, which I basically alternate between. Sometimes those stacks get a little high and they get rearranged into three stacks. If you go to my profile page and scroll down to Currently Reading you can see the whole current list. Hope that all makes some semblance of sense. Cheers!
Other Windsor Girl by Georgie Blalock
(England, mid 1900s/Princess Margaret tale)
I hope you enjoy the self-help "chocolate" book as much as I have.
Al Capone Shines My Shoes – Gennifer Choldenko
Digital audiobook narrated Kirby Heyborne.
Book two in this entertaining middle-school series, set on Alcatraz Island during the Great Depression. Moose Flanagan’s dad is a guard at the maximum security prison, and the family lives in the apartments provided for workers and their families. His sister, Natalie, has a condition that is apparently autism (though that diagnosis wasn’t used in this time frame, so it is never identified as such), and attends a special boarding school. But she comes home for a visit during a school holiday and that coincides with some major events on the island.
I was completely charmed by the first book, and certainly interested in this second outing. The relationships between the kids seem real to me. Moose is unfailingly “nice” to everyone, and so is liked by both kids and adults. He’s passionate about baseball, and has a huge crush on the warden’s daughter, Piper. His gang of friends includes Jimmy, who is terrible at sports but fascinated by insects, Annie, who can throw better than most boys, and Theresa, a wise-beyond-her-years 7-year old who is Jimmy’s little sister.
Moose deals with many of the things most 12-year-olds have to face, including bullying, peer pressure, and adults who don’t understand him. But he’s also burdened by a unique relationship with one particular inmate: Al Capone.
Kirby Heyborne does a find job narrating the audiobook. He’s a little less successful trying to voice the various female characters, though he does a reasonably good job with Natalie and Theresa.