What are you reading the week of May 9, 2020?

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What are you reading the week of May 9, 2020?

1fredbacon
Maio 9, 2020, 2:45am

Just about fifty pages left in Faulkner's The Mansion, so I should finish it up Saturday. This has been an amazing series of books, and I'm going to be sad to finish them. There were times when Faulkner would transport me 50 years in time right back into the middle of my extended family. The sights and smells of their farms on a Sunday afternoon in summer when I was a child would sometimes overwhelm me as a read. Faulkner wrote of the world my parents grew up in, and I remember fleeting glimpses of it as it faded away. Or maybe it hasn't. I've been gone from the deep south so long that perhaps I'm confusing my departure for it's demise. Ah, well.

2cindydavid4
Editado: Maio 9, 2020, 3:22am

double post

3cindydavid4
Editado: Maio 9, 2020, 3:23am

About half way through Man on a Donkey s ort of a 'downstairs' to the Tudors. Chroncling 5 people reacting to the events that take place at the time, leading up to the Pilgrimage of Grace, the reaction of the northern England to the dissolution of the monestaries. Really interesting read; takes a bit to get into, as you learn about each character its a bit of a blur till they all start connecting. Sorta like Cloud Atlas where each section stops in the middle of the story and continues into the second half, except this was written in 1952, so the narrative is ahead of its time. Anyway liking it a lot

4Molly3028
Editado: Maio 9, 2020, 1:16pm

Enjoying a revisit with this favorite series via an OverDrive audiobook ~

White Sister by Stephen J. Cannell

(Shane Scully, book 6/LAPD detective/Shane's wife is missing)

5PaperbackPirate
Maio 9, 2020, 1:27pm

I'm about halfway through Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. I'm enjoying it but hope to be sharing that I'm reading something else this time next week.

6seitherin
Maio 9, 2020, 4:56pm

7hemlokgang
Maio 9, 2020, 6:09pm

Just finished the utterly terrifying The End Of October by Lawrence Wright.

Next up for listening is The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani.

8gmaximin
Maio 10, 2020, 12:29am

Just finished Hell lingering within, now a complete change of pace with the continuation of the 1001 nights.

9rocketjk
Maio 10, 2020, 1:28pm

Well, I sped through the second entry in Walter Jon Williams' seminal cyberpunk "Hardwired" series, Solip: System. It barely even a book, more a novella. It seemed actually to be more of an additional chapter to the first book of the series, Hardwired, and Williams' introduction bears this out. Anyway, the short piece was fun, and I hope to get back to the series sooner rather than later. After that, I read James Baldwin's searing play, Blues for Mister Charlie, in one afternoon and evening. I've written more about that in my 50-Book Challenge thread: https://www.librarything.com/topic/315064

Soon I'll be moving on to Knut Hamsun's Nobel Prize-winning novel, Growth of the Soil.

10seitherin
Maio 10, 2020, 2:51pm

Finished The Names of the Dead by Kevin Wignall. It was better than I expected it to be. Next up is The Last Emperox by John Scalzi.

11mollygrace
Maio 10, 2020, 3:32pm

I've been enjoying Jayne Anne Phillips' Quiet Dell - I should finish today. Next up: Under Occupation by Alan Furst.

12JulieLill
Maio 10, 2020, 4:25pm

Currently reading Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests. I wasn't sure if I would like it but I am pleasantly surprised that I am enjoying it.

13cindydavid4
Maio 10, 2020, 8:12pm

Just finished The Man on a Donkey volume one, thank you to whoever recommended this to me, it is indeed a companion read to the Wolf Hall trilogy. Up next, volume II!

14Copperskye
Maio 10, 2020, 9:42pm

I just finished a new memoir, Half Broke by Ginger Gaffney. Gaffney is a horse trainer who recounts her experiences working with troubled horses at an alternative prison ranch in New Mexico. Really well done and highly recommended.

15BookConcierge
Maio 11, 2020, 11:18am


Notorious RBG – Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik
Digital audiobook read by Andi Arndt
5*****

Subtitle: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Oh, my stars, but this is one HELL of a woman! Go Ruth! I've admired her for some years, but I really enjoyed learning more about her.

I thought the authors did a great job of making this a very approachable biography. It was not heavy, but included every pertinent detail. I loved that they brought out RBG's humor and empathy, as well as her defiance and strong sense of justice. There are other more comprehensive (I presume) and/or traditional biographies of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. But I doubt there is one that is more enjoyable to read. I want to read her autobiographical My Own Words now.

I did read the original version of the biography, but there is a version that has been adapted for the young-adult audience. I think that’s marvelous. The more young people who are introduced to this champion of equality and justice, the better.

There is no Truth without Ruth!

I listened to the audio and thought Andi Arndt did a marvelous job of reading this book. However, the text (which I also had a copy of), is easier to grasp in places, just because of the format used. For example, notations in the margins of a published paper are easier to comprehend as such when seen on the page than when a narrator, however skilled, is reading them to you. And, of course, listening to the audio you miss all the photos and illustrations in the printed book.

16cindydavid4
Maio 11, 2020, 12:34pm

be sure to see the movie about her with Felicity Jones "On the Basis of Sex'. There is also a documentary RBG. She is indeed amazing

17JulieLill
Maio 11, 2020, 4:19pm

To the Lighthouse
Virginia Woolf
3.5/5 stars
This is a semiautobiographical book of the author and her family set in three time periods. Woolf relates the feelings, events and emotions of her childhood when they stayed at their summer home near the lighthouse. The second section relates the events of WWI and what happened to the family during that time period and the last section is ten years later and recalls the memories of returning to their summer home and their trip to the lighthouse. I have never read Woolf but enjoyed this book and her writing.

18Molly3028
Editado: Maio 18, 2020, 7:03am

Enjoying this OverDrive audiobook ~

The Queen's Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire by Allison Pataki (4 stars)

(late 1700s-1800s/tale featuring the secret lover of Napoleon)

19BookConcierge
Editado: Maio 12, 2020, 10:58am

>16 cindydavid4: ... Yes, I saw that movie. Great film.

20BookConcierge
Maio 12, 2020, 10:58am


Upstairs At the White House – J B West & Mary Lynn Kotz
Book on CD performed by Eric Martin
4****

Subtitle: My Life With the First Ladies

J B West began his career at the White House while still in the Navy reserve, serving first in the Franklin Roosevelt administration. In time, he was promoted to the position of Chief Usher, basically the head of household for the residence. This memoir details his years of service from 1943 to a year into the Nixon administration.

I really enjoyed this look at the private lives of the first families. Due to his position, West’s primary contact within each administration was with the First Lady. Her wishes as to how the private rooms would be used, preferred decorating colors and schemes, and private family routines governed how West and his crew handled things. Whether it was converting a closet to a nurse’s bedroom (and back to a closet), or “borrowing” space from a couple of adjacent rooms to create a private kitchen space, he and his staff handled every request with aplomb and professionalism.

Readers hoping for some juicy private gossip will NOT find it here. Discretion was paramount for the position, and West maintains that characteristic in his memoir. Still, it is a touchingly personal account. Twice he had to deal with a transition that was NOT due to an election (following the deaths of FDR and JFK), and the contrasts in how these were necessarily handled vs the typical handing over of power following an election is evident.

All told, I was interested and engaged throughout.

Eric Martin does a fine job of performing the audiobook. The pace was good and his diction was clear. He made little effort to imitate the voices of the first ladies, and I applaud him for that.

21momom248
Maio 12, 2020, 3:30pm

#18 Molly3028 I really that book. A time in history I knew nothing about.

22hemlokgang
Maio 13, 2020, 2:21am

Finished listening to The Perfect Nanny, a dark, disturbing novel.

Next up for listening is Radiance Of Tomorrow by Ismael Beah.

23snash
Maio 13, 2020, 10:20am

I finished reading Empire Falls, a compelling story taking place in a small interwoven decaying town. The inevitable encroachment of the past into the present, vindictiveness, and human foibles drive the story. I very much enjoyed it.

24cindydavid4
Maio 13, 2020, 11:44am

Probably my favorite of his works. That town itself is a character of the book and he does an excellent job portraying it

25BookConcierge
Maio 13, 2020, 12:33pm


English Creek – Ivan Doig
4****

This is a coming-of-age story set in Depression-era Montana. It’s the first published book, though in chronological order it is book two, in Doig’s Two Medicine Trilogy, which chronicles the McCaskill family over several generations. Jick McCaskill tells the story of his youth, focusing on the summer of 1939, when he was fourteen, and his family faced some challenges: “where all four of our lives made their bend.”

Doig really puts the reader into the era and landscape of this novel. The sky is vast, the landscape majestic, the weather sometimes brutal, and the dangers – both natural and manmade – palpable.

Jick is a keen observer, if sometimes perplexed. I love his descriptions of various events – accompanying his father as he “counts” the sheep, helping a wounded camp tender, tasting his first alcohol, enjoying the Fourth of July town picnic and rodeo. And I love how he’s so “consumed” by food. This boy is ALWAYS hungry! He’s also curious and continues to question those around him trying to ferret out the information he needs to piece together the puzzle that is his family’s history. He’s young enough that he still feels “responsible” for many things that happen, and consequently naïve enough to think he can affect the outcome with a well-chosen word.

There were times when Doig’s work made me think on my own father, and how he taught us love of the land and nature. That made the book all the more enjoyable for me.

26LisaMorr
Maio 13, 2020, 1:30pm

I'm making my way through Crossroads of Twilight, book ten in the Wheel of Time series and A Discovery of Witches, the first book in the All Souls trilogy. Enjoying them both.

27marquis784
Maio 14, 2020, 11:03am

I’m reading Hollywood Park by (Mikel Jollett)

Practical Magic by (Alice Hoffman)

I rec’d ARC of Magic Lessons by (Alice Hoffman) so I want to familiarize myself with the story again.

28cindydavid4
Editado: Maio 14, 2020, 11:23am

Started Only Woman in the Room not sure about it - first person narration is always troublesome for me, and while the story is fascinating, not so sure about the writing

Finished Everything I never told you Liked it for a first novel , but it didn't blow me away like Little Fires Everwhere, but thats forgivable considering its her first novel!!! I'd read something else by her, she knows how to put together a good story that keeps you turning the page.

29gsm235
Editado: Maio 14, 2020, 7:46pm

This is my first post to this group.

The King of Warsaw by Szczepan Twardoch - ebook. It's a historical novel set in 1937 Poland about Jewish gangsters.

30BookConcierge
Maio 14, 2020, 10:54pm


The Right Stuff – Tom Wolfe
Digital audiobook performed by Dennis Quaid
4****

In 1957 a Russian rocket launched an unmanned satellite – Sputnik – into space. Clearly this was an escalation of the Cold War and the US would not stand still for it. No. We were going to put a man into space by 1960. But how? And who?

This is the story of the first seven Mercury Astronauts and how they came to be chosen – evaluated to ensure they had The Right Stuff to succeed in this vital mission.

I remember so clearly that day in school as a child when a television set was rolled into our classroom so we could watch, first, Alan Shepard being launched into space. And later, John Glenn, the first man to orbit the earth. I think I’ve had this book on my tbr since it came out in 1979, and have no idea why I never picked it up before.

Wolfe does a great job of giving us the background of those first seven astronauts – warts and all. I was fascinated by the extensive testing they underwent to evaluate their fitness for this work. And I think Wolfe did a great job of explaining the differences in their personalities that resulted in success, or missteps.

The narrative is also packed with some pretty exciting scenes that had me completely spellbound. The scene where Yaeger nearly burns to death is particularly harrowing.

Dennis Quaid does a fine job of narrating the audiobook. He exudes the “macho” quality of these uber macho men. He is in turns incredulous, irritated, arrogant, or defiant. I felt almost as if I were hearing these Mercury astronauts tell their own stories.

31cindydavid4
Maio 14, 2020, 11:02pm

>29 gsm235: Welcome! Oh that sounds good, let me know what y ou think

32BookConcierge
Maio 15, 2020, 12:11pm


Enrique’s Journey – Sonia Nazario
4****

Subtitle: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite With His Mother

Journalist Sonia Nazario first met Enrique and his mother, Lourdes, in search of a story. She had originally heard of mother’s who leave their children behind from her cleaning lady. Her interest piqued, she sought to document what such a journey entails … for the mother who goes ahead, for the children left behind, for the boy who was determined to travel nearly 2,000 miles alone to find the mother he had not seen for more than a decade.

The book began as a series of articles for The Los Angeles Times newspaper. It was original published for an adult audience. But when I requested it from the library, I received the young adult version.

I’m familiar with the difficulties and challenges faced by these desperate migrants. I’ve read other books (both fiction and nonfiction) that depict these journeys. I’ve seen at least one movie that graphically represents the tale. These young people leave an impossible situation for a dangerous trek across more than one country. Along the way they face beatings, arrest, injury, hunger, thirst, snake bites, and the possibility of being sent back or even killed. But they persist. In Enrique’s case, as for so many others who attempt the journey, it’s because they simply cannot go another day without at least trying to reach their mothers.

It’s plenty horrific, though I’m sure the graphic depictions are toned down because I read the YA version. Their stories are heartbreaking and eye-opening.

I’m glad that Nazario followed Enrique and his mother for several years, so we witness not just the harrowing journey, but the ultimate results of their long separation and attempts at reunion.

33Mary_Mignano
Maio 15, 2020, 2:19pm

I read "The Dry" by Jane Harper. It is her debut novel.While I enjoyed "The Dry" it is also important to read because it introduces her main character, Federal agent Aaron Falk and provides you with his back story. Her second novel, "Force of Nature" features Falk also. Her characters are believable and exist in a world we have no difficulty imagining even if it is not similar to our own. I found the dialogue moves the story along and helps us know her characters motivations almost as much as the action of the novel. The novels are character-driven and luckily, Harper is adept at handling the development of her novels through those who inhabit them.

34Mary_Mignano
Maio 15, 2020, 3:18pm

I had decided several months ago that I would read Stephen King's novels from the beginning. I read Pet Sematary and 'Salem's Lot. Interesting to me, reading the progression of his work. I had been reading his novel "The Institute." The flyleaf calls it, "the most riveting and unforgettable story about kids confronting evil since IT." That is an apt description. Though there are many years between the writing of the novels, King has not missed a step. As a reader you feel the fear of the children in the Institute, you sense the evil they face, and you rejoice at their bravery. King is now and has always been one of my favorite writers. He is a master of his craft and his writing has held me rapt book after book, year after year. I will continue on through his novels. Every one will be a re-read, except the Gunslinger series. And any new novels he comes out with. At this point I have also read The Outsider.

35Crew_Cut
Maio 15, 2020, 9:15pm

Memories, Dreams, Reflections - more than halfway through. It has turned into a trudge at this point, sifting through Jung's dreams. My dream lexicon is very different from Jung's, I find myself wondering what about him caused such vivid and meaningful dreams. It is clear that he spent a great deal of time and energy on understanding what his unconscious was communicating to him through his dreams. At times he describes searching for clues and context for a decade or more at a time! This book truly depicts the journey of a lifetime. And interspersed between his long Memories and Dreams, are his profound Reflections. But he does not spare the reader in communicating his lifelong process of understanding his "self" - his process of "individuation," - although he regularly distills the draught of his wisdom, the real challenge comes in contextualizing his concepts. So in addition to a small tome, this book also takes the form of a manual. I find myself undergoing an intense process of Remembering, Dreaming, Reflecting along with Jung, in order to mirror and discover the perennial archetypes that he identified as his life's work. Jung describes his own process of individuation so that we may learn from it.

I am also reading Spring Snow - translated by Michael Gallagher. I have not read very far yet, about 20%. I needed some good literature to elevate my spirit as a counterpoise to the heavy sands of Jung's work. Mishima writes about a young man trapped between worlds, and further trapped inside his internal dreamworld. The main character, Kyoaki, reacts harshly against any exterior phenomenon that disrupts his tranquil interior dreamstate. Mishima paints an extraordinary portrait of a young man whose life and relationships are framed by this unique inner turmoil. I find myself relating to the main character quite a bit, but also to his friend Honda. One of Kyoaki's primary sources of torment is a beautiful woman, Satoko, who is madly in love with him. Kyoaki has been coddled and universally accepted by everyone his entire life, he was born naturally very handsome. He rejects her love as "a blot of ink on his tranquil inner state," and at every turn he is frustrated by her, she knows exactly how to disrupt his inner peace. Whenever Kyoaki thinks about her, he is beset by anxiety and uncertainty, his emotions are thrown to the wind and his mind is clouded. And so, like everything else, he simply reacts against this feeling with vindictive anger and hatred. He does not understand, he does not see.

I am enjoying both books. I am quite impressed by Spring Snow, it has been a while since I've read fiction. It merits much more reflection.

36fredbacon
Maio 15, 2020, 11:44pm

The new thread is up over here.