What are you reading the week of May 16, 2020?

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What are you reading the week of May 16, 2020?

1fredbacon
Maio 15, 2020, 11:44pm

I'm just about finished with Knight's Gambit a collection of six mystery stories by William Faulkner. It has not been a particularly pleasant read. I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone. Just too much racism on exhibit and not just from his characters.

I'm not sure what I'm going to pick up next. Probably nonfiction of some sort.

2PaperbackPirate
Maio 16, 2020, 1:19pm

I have 57 pages left of Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. What am I doing here? I need to go find out how it ends!

3seitherin
Maio 16, 2020, 3:56pm

4ahef1963
Maio 16, 2020, 4:39pm

>3 seitherin: Tigana is such a lovely book! One of Kay's best!

Books: am reading The Distant Echo by Val McDermid; it's the first of her Karen Pirie series, and as good as her other books.

Audio books: I am new to this audio book thing, but a rapid convert. Right now I'm listening to Stephen Fry read his own book Mythos. I don't have enough adjectives to praise this book and the narrator as much as they deserve.

5rocketjk
Maio 16, 2020, 6:37pm

I just this afternoon finished Knut Hamsun's classic novel, Growth of the Soil. I'll be posting my review on my usual threads in a day or so. Next up for me will be The Republic: The Fight for Irish Independence, 1918-1923 by Charles Townshend. This is a follow-up to Townshend's excellent Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion, which I read a few months ago.

6Copperskye
Maio 17, 2020, 11:53am

Today I'll probably finish up How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang. Good stuff.

7JulieLill
Maio 17, 2020, 3:28pm

You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington
by Alexis Coe
3.5/5 stars
This is a very interesting short biography of Washington geared to those who don’t want to read some of the tomes on him. The author writes about his childhood, marriage to Martha, his war service and his time as president and afterwards. The author intersperses the book with odd facts and topics which include the diseases he survived, the lies told about him, the animals he raised and much more. I really enjoyed this book!

8seitherin
Maio 17, 2020, 4:31pm

>4 ahef1963: It is a good book. I haven't read it since it first came out so I decided I needed to do a re-read.

9hemlokgang
Editado: Maio 18, 2020, 2:08am

I read Normal People by Sally Rooney Not as impressed as I expected.

10cindydavid4
Maio 18, 2020, 4:29am

Yeah, I agree. Started out good then just fizzled. I guess they've made series out of it, don't really see how.

11bell7
Maio 18, 2020, 8:28am

>9 hemlokgang: I didn't like it at all, but I seem to be in the minority with that opinion.

I'm currently reading Network Effect by Martha Wells, the newest in the Murderbot series, and am reading/listening to Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry as I attempt to read through all the Newbery Awards and Honors.

12Molly3028
Editado: Maio 18, 2020, 4:15pm

Starting this OverDrive Kindle eBook ~

All the Presidents' Gardens: Madison's Cabbages to Kennedy's Roses_How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America by Marta McDowell (from Washington thru the Obama years)

13cindydavid4
Maio 18, 2020, 10:45am

>11 bell7: take a look at the review of the book here, no we are not :)

14Molly3028
Editado: Maio 26, 2020, 9:27am

Enjoying this OverDrive audiobook ~

The American Agent: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear (4+ stars)

(book #15/an American war correspondent in London during the Blitz is murdered)

15nrmay
Editado: Maio 18, 2020, 12:50pm

I also was sorry I invested reading time to Normal people.
I was very underwhelmed. Endless rumination and no resolution. :(

>9 hemlokgang:
I liked Call it courage and totally enjoyed the many Newberys I've read as an adult.

>14 Molly3028:
Also a huge fan of Maisie Dobbs!

I'm still reading The wych elm by Tana French

16LisaMorr
Maio 18, 2020, 3:56pm

>2 PaperbackPirate: LOL, I just finished A Discovery of Witches on Saturday - sounds like I'll enjoy the next one!

I'm working on finishing Crossroads of Twilight and almost done with Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, which is a lovely little book on physics!

17bell7
Maio 18, 2020, 8:01pm

>13 cindydavid4: The first bunch of reviews coming up on the work page certainly are more mixed-dislike. I guess what I'd been hearing was mostly "best of" lists and "critical acclaim" type stuff in review journals with my library job. I haven't been interested enough to even try the mini-series, myself. *shrug*

BUT on the plus side, Network Effect is very good, and I should have a good couple of hours to read this evening.

18cindydavid4
Maio 18, 2020, 11:46pm

I just finished The Man on the DonkeyII - oh man, what an incredibly powerful story. Thanks to whoever recommended these two books, perfect companion reads to the last Hilary Mantel book The Mirror and the Light. The story tells of the rebellion against the dissolution of the monestaries by Cromwell and Henry VIII. Its the story of the monks and nuns, commoners, lords and others who tried to hold back the tide of reformation. Its a little slow at first, you need to get used to the characters, but as the story goes it reads beautifully. The author not only is telling the story but also describing life of the times, and the sights, sounds and activities of the city and countryside. I have a feeling this book will stay with me for quite a while. Highly recommended

19BookConcierge
Maio 19, 2020, 11:16am


The Snow Leopard – Peter Matthiessen

2.5** (rounded up to 3***)

This was a choice for one of my F2F book clubs a year ago. The person who selected it has frequently chosen books that may be challenging but are always thought-provoking, and sometimes quite entertaining. Also, I love nature and wildlife and reading about efforts to save various endangered species. So, I was eager to read it. Then some issues came up in my non-reading life and I had to skip that meeting, so never got to the book or the discussion. Another challenge brought it to the top of the TBR now and once again, I eagerly anticipated reading it.

Unfortunately for me, and for my rating, this book isn’t really about the snow leopard. As in real life, the creature is extremely elusive, hardly ever mentioned, and not making an actual appearance until late in the journey.

Instead this is more Matthiessen’s personal quest for enlightenment, which happens to dovetail with a friend’s planned trip – as a wildlife biologist – to study sheep / goats in the Himalayas. I was willing to go along with Matthiessen’s musings for the first 100 pages or so, but when it became clear that I’d never see, let alone learn much about, the snow leopard, I lost my enthusiasm.

Also, once he relates how he’s left his son behind, who has recently lost his mother, I pretty much was annoyed with the self-absorption that would have him go on this dangerous trek at this time in his life.

I kept reading because I needed it for a challenge … and the library is closed during the pandemic, so I’m reading what I happen to have in the house. Still, it took me nearly a month to read a book I would normally have powered through in a week or less.

I will give him this, though. Matthiessen manages to write some really stunning passages on the majesty of the terrain he is covering, as well as a few interesting observations about the people he encounters. And, though it was first published in 1978, it contains a couple of philosophical passages that are perfect for this Coronavirus quarantine:
• Having finally gotten to meet the Lama at the Crystal Monastery he is surprised by the man’s attitude and remarks: “Indicating his twisted legs without a trace of self-pity or bitterness, as if they belonged to all of us, he casts his arms wide to the sky and the snow mountains, the high sun and dancing sheep , and cries, ‘Of course I am happy here! It’s wonderful! Especially when I have no choice!’”
• And towards the end of his journey he remarks: “With the wind and cold, a restlessness has come, and I find myself hoarding my last chocolate for the journey back across the mountains – forever getting-ready-for-life instead of living it each day.” (Kinda describes how I feel some days in quarantine .. getting ready for the return to normal rather than living each day as it is.)

20snash
Maio 19, 2020, 11:23am

I finished Strangers and Cousins, a sprawling novel of family and friends gathered for a wedding, full of unique descriptions, philosophical musings, cultural dilemmas, and poignant relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed it but have to admit that the ending involved so many coincidences as to seem slightly contrived, but then life does sometimes go that way.

21cindydavid4
Maio 19, 2020, 11:49am

>19 BookConcierge: oh I tried reading that several years ago and did not get far. I knew the leopard was an analogy for something else, but just couldn't get ito the writing at all.

Started The City of Brass which someone hereabouts suggested. So far so good

22JulieLill
Editado: Maio 20, 2020, 11:35am

The Third Man
Graham Greene
3.5/5 stars
Rollo Martin (aka Buck Dexter) writes Westerns. Post WWII, his friend Harry Lime invites him to Vienna where he gets swept up in a murder mystery when he finds out his friend Harry is dead. Martin seeks to find out what happened to his friend and gets swept up in the criminal investigation. This was originally first written as film treatment and the book was written afterwards. The movie became a classic starring Orson Welles.

23mollygrace
Maio 20, 2020, 7:42pm

I finished Alan Furst's Under Occupation and Sara Berman's Closet. Now I'm reading A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet.

24cindydavid4
Maio 20, 2020, 11:04pm

A Children's Bible :a novel by Lydia Millet fixed the touchstone :)

25Copperskye
Maio 21, 2020, 12:37am

I’m enjoying Amy Stewart’s Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit.

26BookConcierge
Maio 21, 2020, 3:55pm


Murder Plain and Simple – Isabella Alan
Digital Audio read by Cris Dukehart.
3***

From the book jacket: When Angela Braddock inherits her late aunt’s beautiful Amish quilt shop, she is welcomed to Holmes County, Ohio. With her snazzy cowboy boots and her French bulldog, Angie doesn’t exactly fit in with the predominantly Amish community, but her aunt’s quilting circle makes her feel at home as she prepares for the reopening of Running Stitch. On the big day, Angie gets a taste of success as the locals and tourists browse the store’s wares while the quilters stitch away. But when Angie finds the body of ornery Amish woodworker Joseph in her storeroom, the future of Running Stitch looks bleak.

My reactions:
I found this moderately entertaining as cozy mysteries go. There’s a decent premise, and I did like Oliver (her bulldog, who is afraid of birds). Alan gives the reader the beginnings of a possible love interest, which will likely develop in subsequent books in the series. And there’s a reasonable cast of supporting characters. Of course, our heroine believes she is the number one suspect in the murder and MUST investigate on her own to prove her innocence. I know this is a common thread in cozy mysteries, but frankly, it’s really not a very plausible plot device.

Still, it held my interest and I was sufficiently entertained that I would read another in the series.

Cris Dukehart did a fine job performing the audiobook. Clear diction and a decent pace.

27PaperbackPirate
Maio 22, 2020, 1:58am

>16 LisaMorr: I have liked the series o.k. so far, but every time I post about it on Instagram or Litsy, someone will invariably comment, Hang on for the last book! It pays off!

So I will continue!

28grelobe
Maio 22, 2020, 9:20am

Afret having read Oryx and Crake, this is the second one of the MadAdam trilogu, "The Year of the Flood" and I find it a fantastic series. Atwood creates a detailed, believable and horrifying future world, of genetic experimentation out of control, morals utterly eroded, and corporations controlling things utterly. None of the technological or political changes are so far-fetched as to be unbelievable. This is dystopia with its routes firmly in the present day rather than an entirely imaginary future.Like the first book, this has dual timelines, moving back and forth between the time before the "Waterless Flood" that wiped out most of humanity and the months that follow. It is told from the alternating point of view of two survivors, Toby and Ren, both of whom are interesting characters who you can't help but feel a good deal of sympathy for.

29lilisin
Maio 22, 2020, 11:24am

>28 grelobe:

That was a fun read. I read them all one after the other which I believe is the best way to read them. I think I would have had trouble keeping all the characters and plot straight had I spaced them out.

30cindydavid4
Editado: Maio 22, 2020, 12:18pm

I normally am not a fan of rereading books; I have my exceptions of course, when finishing a book put me right back to the first page. Time Traverlers Wife is one memorable example, as is the more recent Little Fires Everywhereand the Wolf Hall trilogy is another.

After the reading the third and last book, I watched several lectures given by Mantel, and one of them she mentions reading The Man on a Donkey as it mirros the section on the Pilgramge, the rebellion agains the reformation in Northern England. The book focuses on 5 characters, who lived through it and were in some way involed in the rebellion along. The characters are a sampling of the people living in the towns and farms and monistaries, and describes their take events that are happening around them as well as with the royal family. But its more than a history of the time - its a book of the senses, where her descriptions capture the sights smells tastes sounds of 16 century England. I finished the two volumes last week, and planned to read something else but I could not get this would out of my mind. So yesterday, I started rereading and oh my I am so glad I did. incidently this book was written in 1952 and does not feel dated at all. Think I'll finish over the weekend. Maybe then I'll start something else!!

31nrmay
Maio 22, 2020, 12:42pm

Finished wych elm by Tana French
Now reading open season by C.J. Box.

32JulieLill
Maio 22, 2020, 2:40pm

>30 cindydavid4: The Time Traveler's Wife was one of my favorite books. There were rumors of a sequel a few years or so ago but I haven't heard anymore about it.

33cindydavid4
Maio 22, 2020, 4:42pm

Yeah a sequel would be cool since the daughter is the same way as her dad. Such an interesting take on time travel (one of my fav scenes when during their wedding different time period grooms kept popping in!) Then ending had me sobbing, both times! Didnt see the movie, didn't think it would be all that good

34LisaMorr
Editado: Maio 22, 2020, 4:55pm

Just finished Crossroads of Twilight, and am ~50 pages into A Tale for the Time Being, which is really quirky so far (but liking it). And thinking about starting The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester.

>32 JulieLill: >33 cindydavid4: I also loved The Time Traveler's Wife and the ending had me sobbing too.

>27 PaperbackPirate: I'm probably in the same place as you at the moment - I thought A Discovery of Witches started out wonderfully, but then it seemed to move on too quickly, a bit frantic at times. Still, a good story so far.

35bell7
Maio 22, 2020, 7:47pm

I read and enjoyed Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo today, and am planning on reading more in Provenance by Ann Leckie.

36fredbacon
Maio 23, 2020, 1:05am

The new thread is up over here.

37PaperbackPirate
Maio 23, 2020, 12:11pm

>32 JulieLill: >33 cindydavid4: >34 LisaMorr: Another Time Traveler's Wife fan here! I would love a sequel!

I also read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman this week. Hard to read at times because of subject matter, but it was a beautiful story!

38cindydavid4
Editado: Maio 23, 2020, 5:03pm

Just looked at the synopsis again realized it sounds a lot like Tell Me That You Love Me Junie Moon One of my fav books in Jr Hi, along with I Never Promised You a Rose Garden and Lisa Bright and Dark me thinks I was calling for help back then. Anyway I ordered that from Changing Hands, looking forward to reading it

39JulieLill
Maio 24, 2020, 4:03pm

>38 cindydavid4: Those books are blast from the past. I think I read those all when I was in my teens!