RidgewayGirl Reads More Books in 2024, Part Two

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RidgewayGirl Reads More Books in 2024, Part Two

Editado: Abr 18, 9:02 pm

Spring is here and, thanks to a long series of allergy shots, I'm facing it upright and with all of my fluids still in my body, rather than streaming out of my face. I've prepared the screen porch and I'm reading to start spending time outside. My goal of reading randomly was interrupted by the Tournament of Books, but that being over, I'm back to choosing my books by whim and happenstance.

Happy Spring!

Currently Reading

Recently Read

Recently Acquired

Reading Miscellany

Owned Books Read: 11

Library Books Read: 19

Audiobooks: 1

Netgalley: 5


Books Acquired: 15


Abandoned with Prejudice: 1

Editado: Abr 17, 1:14 pm

Category One

Create Your Own Visited Countries Map

Global Reading

1. My Men by Victoria Kielland, translated from the Norwegian by Damion Searls (Norway)

Editado: Abr 17, 1:15 pm

Category Three

Immigrants, Expats, Works in Translation

1. The Final Curtain by Keigo Higashino, translated from the Japanese by Giles Murray
2. Monstrilio by Gerardo Sámano Córdova
3. Absolution by Alice McDermott
4. The Wind Knows My Name by Isabelle Allende, translated from the Spanish by Frances Riddle

Editado: Abr 5, 5:10 pm

Category Four

Shiny New Books: Books Published in 2024

1. Fruit of the Dead by Rachel Lyon
2. One of the Good Guys by Araminta Hall
3. The American Daughters by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
4. Trondheim by Cormac James

Abr 1, 4:20 pm

Abr 1, 4:21 pm

Category Six

Tackling the TBR: Books off of My Own Shelves

1. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders
2. S. by Doug Dorst

Abr 1, 4:26 pm

Category Seven

Talking About Books: Book Club Books

1. Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto
2. Go as a River by Shelley Read

Editado: Abr 8, 9:15 pm

Category Eight

Murders and Other Bad Things: Crime Novels, Noir, Horror

1. Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll
2. The Hunter by Tana French
3. The Angel of Indian Lake by Stephen Graham Jones
4. Hard Girls by J. Robert Lennon

Editado: Abr 10, 12:55 pm

Category Nine

Long Live the Rooster: Longlisted, Shortlisted and Award Winners

1. Dayswork by Chris Bachelder and Jennifer Habel (Competitor, ToB 2024)
2. The Shamshine Blind by Paz Pardo (Competitor, ToB 2024)
3. The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride (Competitor, ToB 2024)
4. All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow (Longlisted, Booker Prize 2023)
5. American Mermaid by Julia Langbein (Competitor, ToB 2024)

Category Ten

Books Read on my iPad

1. Cold People by Tom Rob Smith
2. From Lukov With Love by Mariana Zapata
3. The Sleepwalkers by Scarlett Thomas

Abr 1, 5:04 pm

Category Eleven

Books with a Strong Sense of Place

1. Dearborn by Ghassan Zeineddine
2. Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

Abr 1, 5:09 pm

Welcome in, friends. I baked a cake.

Abr 1, 5:19 pm

Happy new thread! I am DYING at the Pepys Peeps!

Abr 1, 5:19 pm

I told you what I thought of that cake! Is there tea?

Abr 1, 5:33 pm

>14 christina_reads: It made me laugh when I saw it, and it's perfect for Spring.

>15 VictoriaPL: I'll make a pot right now!

Abr 1, 7:00 pm

Fourteen years went by and the Wilsons' luck held. Fourteen years is a long time to stay lucky even for rich people who don't cause trouble for anyone.

I went through it with In the Land of Dreamy Dreams, a short story collection written by Ellen Gilchrist and first published in 1981. I began the collection and was quickly enamored of the voice; it's like Flannery O'Connor and Dorothy Parker were collaborating to have the most terrible things happen to cruel and thoughtless people. And slowly, sometime around the fourth or fifth use of the n-word, I felt qualms. 'Maybe Gilchrist is just really committed to using the words her characters, white people living in the South in the 1970s, would have used?' I rationalized, and maybe? It shows up as a descriptive term used by the omniscient narrator as well, so I will say that perhaps some short stories age better than others and there's a reason she isn't much read nowadays. And about the fourth or fifth short story I started to get tired of bad things happening to bad and careless people.

Then, two-thirds through this book about mean people the author clearly disliked, something extraordinary happened. I reached Revenge, a longer short story in which a girl is sent to spend the summer of 1942 in the South with her grandparents and her cousins, all boys, who exclude her from their project of becoming Olympic athletes. She is enraged by their behavior.

I prayed they would get polio, would be consigned forever to iron lungs. I put myself to sleep at night imagining their labored breathing, their five little wheelchairs lined up by the store as I drove by in my father's Packard, my arm around the jacket of his blue uniform, on my way to Hollywood for my screen test.

Rhoda is not exactly a sympathetic character, but Gilchrist here takes the time to inhabit her life so that I understood her frustration with being stuck inside when she really needed to run around outside. It's a great story with a fantastic ending, one that fully respects who Rhoda is. A perfect story and one I don't think I will soon forget. And, in the stories that follow, Gilchrist continues to excel, each story centering a girl unable to conform to what's expected, while still fully inhabiting the prejudices and expectations of her time and place. It's superbly well done.

How to reconcile a book of stories that have aged badly, but that include some brilliant stories? I have no idea.

Abr 1, 7:21 pm

Happy New Thread! I'd like just a sliver of that cake - it looks good.

Abr 1, 10:33 pm

Happy new thread. I have to pass on the cake (I am allergic to raspberries), but I would love a cup of tea.

Abr 2, 6:33 am

Happy new thread Kay, I’m here for not only the cake, but the BB in >17 RidgewayGirl:. I do love my short stories!

Abr 2, 7:45 am

I’m here for the new book memes! (And the cake!) How did you enjoy the Rooster this year? I’d only read one of the contenders, and it was knocked out in the first round.

Editado: Abr 2, 1:08 pm

>18 dudes22: Thanks, Betty. And you are welcome to as large a slice as you want.

>19 lowelibrary: VictoriaPL hates raspberries, so you can sit next to her.

>20 lsh63: Lisa, I highly suggest just reading the stories in the final section.

>21 Charon07: It was good! I thought that there were more books included this year that I wasn't interested in reading, but it's always so much fun. We were asked to help them define what kinds of books we wanted to see and I think that will help with next year. What was the book you read?

Abr 2, 5:16 pm

My favourite illustrations are the Calvin and Hobbes and Kate Beaton comics! All of them are very well chosen. Happy new thread.

Abr 2, 5:26 pm

>23 rabbitprincess: Thanks, rp. I could have used only comics pulled from Hark! A Vagrant, but decided to not do that to people.

Editado: Abr 2, 7:01 pm

>22 RidgewayGirl: Open Throat, and I loved it. It was very moving. I think the flaws that the judges and the commentariat pointed out were fair, and I didn’t expect it to get far, but I was sorry to see it knocked out so soon.

Edited to add that I hope to read Blackouts and several other short-listed books, but the wait list is incredibly long at my library.

Abr 3, 1:35 pm

>25 Charon07: Open Throat was a favorite of many of the people who follow the ToB.

Abr 3, 4:24 pm

The Wind Knows My Name by Isabelle Allende and translated from Spanish by Frances Riddle begins with the story of a six year old boy in Vienna in 1938, beginning with the terrible night when his father disappears and he and his mother take shelter in the upstairs apartment of a war veteran while their own apartment is vandalized. He is later placed on a train filled with other Jewish children and sent to live out the war safely in England.

Then, in 1981, another child it taken to the city by her father for healthcare. While she is there, the residents of her village in El Salvador, El Mozote, are all murdered by the military. She and her father flee north to the United States and attempt to put together a life in this new country.

And in 2019, another young girl and her mother arrive in Arizona after a dangerous journey from El Salvador. They are quickly separated and while Anita is terrified, she ends up with allies, an immigration advocate and the lawyer working pro bono. Their first task is to find her mother.

The stories of these three children intertwine over time, and that story is both harsh and lovely. Allende is making a point here, about how damaging being left alone can be for a child, but also how desperate a parent has to be to let a child go in the hopes that they will at least survive. She is interested in what happens in the new, strange place, when the people around that child are not necessarily nurturing or welcoming and the lasting damage done, but also the people who are willing to open their hearts to these children. Allende herself founded a non-profit helping children immigrating to the US and her knowledge of the situation is clear in her writing.

Abr 3, 9:54 pm

>27 RidgewayGirl: This description reminds me of a children's book (very good, made me cry) with immigrants from different places over multiple time periods: Refugee by Alan Gratz.

Abr 3, 10:33 pm

Happy new thread but you really got me thinking regarding >7 RidgewayGirl:!

If there was an apocalypse I have five Kindles that I could load with books but if there was no way to recharge I would be totally screwed. Talk about hell on earth!!

Abr 4, 2:52 am

Happy new thread! The book memes are fabulous - so is the cake! Are you sure there is enough cake to go around this crowd?

Abr 4, 2:20 pm

>28 ReneeMarie: That looks wonderful.

>29 DeltaQueen50: You can come over to my house, Judy. There are plenty of physical books here. I would be sorry to lose the books living on my iPad, though.

>30 VivienneR: Thanks, Judy. I'm baking cookies today as my son is due for a care package, so if we run out of cake there are always salted caramel cookies.

Editado: Abr 6, 3:24 am

Happy New Thread! I had to laugh about all the memes, especially the medieval helmets! And I took a BB for >27 RidgewayGirl: The Wind Knows My Name - it sounds like a heart-breaking but important novel.

Abr 6, 11:26 am

>27 RidgewayGirl: Happy new thread! Allende is hit or miss for me, but I'm going to put this on on my WL.

Abr 6, 3:14 pm

>32 MissBrangwen: There's quite a bit of hope in this novel as well. I look forward to finding out what you think of it.

>33 Tess_W: It's missing the magical realism vibe that made The House of Spirits a five star read for me.

Abr 6, 3:54 pm

In this final installment of the Indian Lake trilogy, The Angel of Indian Lake, Jade is no longer a teenager, no longer an inmate and, thanks to the influence of her best friend, Letha, she's making a stab at adulthood teaching history at Proofrock high school. Sure, she's still smoking a lot and maybe not sleeping much, but she's retired from the final girl stuff, getting therapy, and even wearing pantyhose and sensible heels to work. So when some local kids go missing, it's not her problem anymore. And when a head rolls through the middle of the school car line, her only involvement is in babysitting the new sheriff's toddler. But Jade can't just opt out of what's happening and soon enough she'd drawn across the lake once again.

In any trilogy, the final book has to pull everything together while also providing larger stakes and in this regard The Angel of Indian Lake delivers. This isn't a book that will make sense when read out of order, but if you've read the previous two books, you'll find this to be a satisfying ending, even if Stephen Graham Jones is far too eager to kill off favorite characters. Adult Jade is still prickly, but she's also oddly empathetic, understanding the trauma of the people around her and hoping to help them. There's more gore and jump scares than ever. Jones has a read love of slasher movies.

Abr 9, 6:46 pm

When they get the phone call that their oldest son is in a coma in a hospital in the Norwegian city of Trondheim, Lil and Alba hurry there from their apartment in France, leaving their two other children, to be at their son's side. At the hospital, they are left waiting to see if he will regain consciousness and to find out what the damage to his brain is. Cormac James's novel follows the two women as they wait, stuck in a stressful situation, where the only thing they can do is wait. And, as they wait, as the medical staff work to pull him out of his coma, the fissures in their relationship are laid bare.

There's a lot of good stuff in this novel. James writes well and the character studies of the two women, especially Lil, are interesting. The Norwegian hospital and how the medical staff become involved in the lives of this small family is detailed and very different from how this same situation would be handled in the US. There are, however, two issues I have with this novel. The first is that I wonder why the author chose to make the characters two women, when their marriage is a stereo-typed caricature of a heterosexual relationship, with one character being uncommunicative, contemptuous of her wife, enjoying casual affairs and preferring to drink over showing any affection for the woman she married. The other woman is nurturing, has a body that shows the impact of three pregnancies, knits, needs affection, has religious beliefs and keeps her own anger hidden from everyone, including herself. My second issue is the lack of character development. Despite the great upheaval and shock of their son's medical emergency, neither woman changes at all during this book. I waited for a confrontation, a real conversation, a reconciliation, or a decision from one of them that being married to someone you hate is unhealthy and divorce is a reasonable solution, at the very least, and (spoiler alert) none of that happened. James does write well and I'm interested in seeing how he develops as a writer.

Abr 11, 1:09 pm

There's something great about reading a novel by an author you trust, isn't there? Hard Girls is by J. Robert Lennon, so I started off thinking that I was going to enjoy a wild ride that would surprise me a few times, and it turned out I was right. Jane is a mother in her mid-thirties, married and working as administrative assistance at the same college her father teaches at, which lets her keep an eye on him. She's worked hard to build this ordinary existence, and then a single email from her twin sister throws it all into the air. It all has to do with her mother, who disappeared decades ago and had not really been around much when Jane was a child and she and her sister developed Harriet the Spy-level skills to try to figure out what was going on with her. Moving back and forth from her childhood to her teen years to Jane's present day, the story is both a thriller with a lot going on and a nuanced look at the relationships between mothers and daughters. It looks like this is the first of a planned series and I will be reading every single one of them.

Abr 13, 9:45 pm

>34 RidgewayGirl: That might work for me. I'm' not a fan of magical realism and that's why Allende is a hit or miss for me.