What are you reading the week of January 30, 2021?

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What are you reading the week of January 30, 2021?

Jan 30, 12:03am

I have about 90 pages left to go in The Idiot. I'm really enjoying it, but I'm waiting for disaster to strike. (I mean it is Dostoevsky after all!) He's juggling a number of volatile, erratic characters like live hand grenades. One or more of them are going to go off soon, but I'm not sure who, when or how. I'm definitely going to need something light and breezy to read after this.

Jan 30, 12:42am

Wow. Just finished my first four-star book of the year: Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult. Picoult is known for pulling the rug out from under her readers, but this one takes it to new heights.

You will not see it coming. I guarantee.

I'm not even going to start a new book right away. I need to savor this one a while.

Editado: Jan 30, 10:19am

I'm setting aside Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King until next week because I need to read Conjure Women by Afia Atakora for book club next Saturday. I read 50 pages last night and I know I'm going to love it.

I've also been reading a few pages of Why We Can't Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr. here and there. I saw someone post on MLK Day that we shouldn't just read his quotes, but all of his words. Challenge accepted!

Finally, my best friend just got an essay published in the February issue (542) of The Sun Magazine. I read it yesterday, and although I'm biased, wow! She's been writing since I met her in 2001 and the evolution has been an amazing journey. It's called Something I Might Say by Stephanie Austin if you want to check it out.

Jan 30, 11:00am

Working on Thebes and Warship 2019...after those will come Gamechanger and Nine Days in May.

Jan 30, 12:14pm

>1 fredbacon: I remember very much enjoying The Idiot, but it's been a long time.

I'm just past the halfway point in Ways of Escape, Graham Greene's autobiography of his life from age 27 onward. There's much about his writing and his travels, but little of a real personal nature other than descriptions of friends who come and go. The fellow certainly did have an interesting life, locale- and incident-wise.

Editado: Jan 30, 12:25pm

Fiction: A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul - brilliant, as is everything he writes.

Non-fiction: Still working on Jane Austen's England.

Audiobook: The Killer's Shadow by John E. Douglas, about the FBI's search for a white supremacist serial killer. It's very annoying to listen to - it's supposed to be about this series of murders, and yet I've heard about approx. two dozen other murder cases, and am beginning to lose the plot, as is the author, I suspect. May not finish this one. Also irritated by the author's insistent and repetitive self-congratulation.

Jan 30, 1:46pm

I am reading CoDex 1962 and listening to The Liar's Dictionary.

Jan 30, 2:13pm

Jan 30, 3:55pm

I'm going to wrap up Anne Enright's Actress today. I haven't really enjoyed it as much as I thought I would. I'm pretty sure this is down to my current mood and not the writing or story. Last night, I started Before She Was Helen - touchstones aren't working for the moment - by Caroline Cooney. I expected a silly caper but it's more than that. I'm enjoying it very much, so far.

Jan 30, 5:26pm

Side trip - I'm so glad to see the "old" formatting (?) back. All last week, every time I clicked on my link to this site, I got a listing with hundreds of threads on it, some going back several years. The only way I could find the current discussion was by searching for "2021", which at least narrowed it down.

Have no idea what happened, but I'm glad it quit!

Jan 31, 6:43pm

>10 LyndaInOregon: I had that happen too!

On a spur of the moment whim, I picked up Colleen McCullough's first book in her Rome series, First Man in Rome. It's a reread but I don't remember much and I need a refresher before beginning the second book in the series The Grass Crown. These books are real chunksters. I'd love to read the entire Masters of Rome series, should I be granted a long enough life.

I'm still planning on finishing Before She Was Helen but it really is darker than I can handle right now.

Last night, I finished John Lewis's March Book 1 a graphic autobiography and that was excellent. I'm waiting on the library to get in Book 2.

Fev 1, 12:57am

I finished listening to The Liar's Dictionary.

Next up for listening is Memorial by Bryan Washington.

Fev 1, 11:02am

Finished The Sanctuary Seeker by Bernard Knight. Meh.

Added The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon to my rotation.

Fev 1, 1:37pm

I finished Ways of Escape by Graham Greene. This book is listed as an autobiography, but I really consider it more a memoir, as Greene here provides us memories and insights into his writing career and his fascinating travel experiences, but leaves out pretty much everything about his personal life. We don't really, then, get a full picture of Greene's life. But that's OK, because what is here is extremely interesting and--not surprising considering the author--sharply written. You can read my more in-depth comments if you like on my 50-Book Challenge thread.

Next up will be this month's book club choice, The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World - and Globalization Began by Valerie Hansen.

Fev 1, 5:21pm

Finished E.O. Wilson’s On Human Nature and Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. Both are very good examples of their kind. I read Wilson because I wanted to know more about genetics and because he is someone I admire. I found the book clearly written and his argument convincing. Though often challenging to me because of my unfamiliarity with science, the book was worth the struggle. I’m a great fan of sci-fi/speculative fiction, and in particular , of Octavia Butler. The Parable of the Sower lived up to my expectations.
I am 3/4 of the way through Embers of War, about how America came to be involved in the Vietnam War. Hope to finish this week. I’ll also be reading Hidden Valley Road for book group and deciding on my next piece of fiction.

Fev 1, 11:30pm

Just finished Two for the Road, which was a Christmas gift. Not nearly as good as Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series.

It's a double volume containing "Full Tilt" and "Full Speed", both of which I had read before according to my journal. The fact that I didn't remember anything about either book says it all. There's a sexy millionaire and a sassy, independent woman who owns a small-town newspaper, and some mobsters. ~meh~

Fev 2, 12:23am

I stopped listening to Memorial. It just fell flat for me, and it wasn't the narrator.

Listening to Perestroika In Paris by Jane Smiley.

Fev 2, 7:36am

I finished the LTER book Creatures of Passage. I wasn't sure I'd like it since it involves ghosts and other fantasy elements but I much enjoyed it and found it thought provoking. It was a a suspenseful, other worldly, and intensely moving portrayal of the travails of man and his encounter with death.

Fev 2, 9:27am

Dance Hall Of the Dead – Tony Hillerman
Audiobook performed by George Guidall

Book number two in Tony Hillerman's Joe Leaphorn series has Joe investigating the disappearance of two Native-American boys. His efforts are complicated by the unique laws and sacred religious rites of the Zuñi people (Joe is Navajo). There are also federal agents (FBI? DEA?) involved and an important archeological dig in the middle of his search area.

I love the way Leaphorn thinks things through before acting. And I like learning little Native American cultural information in the midst of the mystery plot. Definitely a series I will continue.

George Guidall does a good job on the audio. He has good pacing and I really like the way he voices Leaphorn. There were times when Guidall’s performance transported me to my childhood, listening to my grandfather (or grandmother, or aunts or uncles) telling stories in the dark, as we all sat on the porch of a summer evening. But the press of daily life got in my way and the library deadline was fast approaching, so I abandoned the audio and finished reading the second half of the book in a day.

Fev 2, 10:58am

Finished Nexus by Ramez Naam. Many words. Many, many words. I'll continue the trilogy with the next book, but I've got to insert a palate cleanser between them first. To that end, I've added A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik to my rotation.

Editado: Fev 7, 7:17am

Kindle/Audible combo ~

In the Deep
by Loreth Anne White
(New South Wales in Australia/murder mystery)

Editado: Fev 3, 12:37am

I stopped listening to Perestroika In Paris by Jane Smiley, not because of any particular flaw, but rather that it seems more of a YA novel. I hope to read it with my grandchildren.

Next up for listening is Eventide by Kent Haruf.

Fev 3, 6:32pm

After reading about 75 pages, I’ve decided that Hidden Valley Road is not for me. I’m adding Toni Morrisson’s Sula and George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss to my current reads.

Fev 3, 10:06pm

About halfway through Don Quixote by Cervantes, translated by Edith Grossman!

Fev 4, 2:41am

Just finished reading the novel Unpregnant by authors Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan


Fev 4, 8:46pm

I'm still enjoying my reread of First Man in Rome. Colleen McCullough could really tell a tale!

I needed a break though from all that Roman business so I picked up Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins and, boy oh boy, was that a great read! I came to genuinely care about the characters and I'm still thinking about it. A mystery, ghosts, loads of Oxford history and also a meditation on privilege and power. I'm not 100% on board with the ending but still recommend this novel very highly.

Now, I'm back to Rome. :)

Fev 4, 11:49pm

I'm 3/4 way through ordinary grace by William Kent Krueger.
I'm liking it. Also read another of his - this tender land and liked that one too.

Editado: Fev 5, 1:25am

Just finished listening to the wonderful 2nd volume of the trilogy by Kent Haruf, Eventide.

Next up for listening is a selection for a Reading On Racism group, The Color of Money: Black Banks and The Racial Wealth Gap by Mehrsa Baradaran.

Fev 5, 11:33am

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland -and- Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll
Digital audiobook performed by Christopher Plummer

Believe or not, I had never read this classic of children’s literature before. Oh, I knew the basics of the story. And, of course, I had seen the Disney movie when I was a child. I even had one or two of the chapters included in a series of books I had as a child (and still have to this day). But it took a challenge to read a banned book to finally get me to crack this one open.

I certainly understand why this story is so beloved by so many legions of children. There is absurdity, fun word play, unusual situations, talking animals, and a slew of outlandish characters. Still, I think I just may be too old to really appreciate it. I was bored with much of the craziness. I just couldn’t let my imagination run wild and enjoy it.

Christopher Plummer does a fabulous job of narrating the audio version, however! His gift for many voices and accents added to the experience; I absolutely LOVED the way he voiced the white rabbit. Also, there is a bonus chapter at the end – an alternate ending to the knight’s tale that Carroll wrote but which was never published. I’d rate Plummer’s audio performance 5***** (but I won’t increase the overall rating).

Fev 5, 11:49am

War Paint: Madame Helena Rubinstein and Miss Elizabeth Arden: Their Lives, Their Times, Their Rivalry
Lindy Woodhead
4/5 stars
I have had this on my reading list for a long time and though it was a long book, it was filled with wonderful details about the lives of these two women rivals in the cosmetics/beauty industry. Author Lindy Woodhead meticulously researched Rubenstein and Arden’s histories which included the beginnings of the beauty industry and their effects on it, their friendships with the rich and the famous and their rivals including Charles Revson. But she also she discussed the 20th century history’s effect on their businesses during the two world wars, Prohibition and the new trends that redefined the industry in the 50’s. The book ends with what happened to the industry in the early 60’s after their deaths. I found it fascinating.

Editado: Fev 5, 1:55pm

Finished the cogent and educational The Color of Money: Black Banks and The Racial Wealth Gap.

Next up for listening is Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith.

Fev 6, 1:06am

The new thread is up over here.