Questo è il seguito della conversazione WHAT ARE YOU READING? - Part 2.

Questa conversazione è stata continuata da WHAT ARE YOU READING? - Part 4.

ConversazioniClub Read 2021

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Mar 8, 7:28pm

We are chatty this year :)

How is everyone doing in the month that we kinda want to forget from last year? Is spring/autumn coming where you are?

Come tell us what you are reading (or not reading) and come see what everyone else is doing! :)

Mar 8, 7:45pm

Annie - the song.

Mar 8, 7:49pm

I just stared The Historians, an historical novel about WWII Sweden. I really liked Ekbäck's Wolf Winter, so I have been looking forward to this.

Mar 8, 7:52pm

>2 dianeham: I will wait for you to finish the book and see what you think and if it matches your perception of the song. I love the tone and the images in the song... People tend to hear in songs what they need at just that moment...

Mar 8, 8:36pm

Last week I started How to Build a Girl for my read-at-work book, and on the weekend I started Down By the River, by Edna O'Brien so I can say I participated in the Irish Readathon going on this month, and now I realize I'm reading two books about: 1. 14 year old girls, who 2. in the early 1990s, and 3. are growing up in poverty. One is set in midlands England, one in Ireland. One is humorous, the other tragic. I couldn't have planned this if I tried.

Mar 8, 9:13pm

>5 Nickelini: The Irish is tragic?

Mar 8, 9:47pm

>4 AnnieMod: I remember hearing it first in Shrek, and found it so powerful, tho they did drop the last verse. Heard it covered by many different singers, KD Lang version on SNL after the 2016 election was most moving to me, but there are so many. Just found an interesting article here ; be curious if it matches what the book says

Mar 8, 9:53pm

Finished Bring Up the Bodies and am eager for others to join in to the discssion. Still reading Time and Chance Tho I am finding myself impatient with many of the extra characters she adds. Still, one of the best writers of HF around.

Finished The Giver of Stars for a book group. The prologue grabbed my attention and was expecting more, but it wa not to be. Im obviously in the minority as it has something like 1000+ 5 stars on amazon. Ah well, Ill see what my group says tomorrow.

Mar 8, 10:08pm

>6 dianeham: the Irish is tragic?


Mar 8, 10:26pm

Reading a book that is pretty efucational

Mar 8, 10:37pm

>9 Nickelini:. "To be Irish is to know, in the end, the world will break your heart" - Patrick Moynihan

Mar 9, 4:01am

Just finished Mercedes Lackey's Jolene - it's an excellent example of her Elemental Masters series, really good fluff. The name does apply - the song fits, sort of. There's also elements of Tam Lin, and the Snow Queen, and...It is written almost entirely in dialect, which distracted me from time to time, but a fun read.

Mar 9, 7:41am

I've been reading two big books, one of them, Four Classic Alex Delaware Thrillers, I've not been able to register here.

I'm also in for the long haul with The Age of Faith: A History of Medieval Civilization-Christian, Islamic, and Judaic-From Constantine to Dante : A.D. 325-1300

Mar 9, 9:39am

>13 Jiraiya: wow how many pages is it? Subject right up my alley; keep me posted how you think about it

Modificato: Mar 9, 10:08am

>14 cindydavid4:

It's 2080 pages and well worth the time. I'm reading it at this very minute. It's been a habit of mine to read one big book per year.

Edit : The Omnibus is the one that's 2000+ pages. The Will Durant book seems just as equal a challenge, though it's 1100 pages long.

Modificato: Mar 9, 10:20am

I am reading Whiteout - the 4th/5th Dark Iceland book by Ragnar Jónasson (the numbering is a bit confused because of English vs original order). Which I thought was the last I had not read but they sneaked another one late last year. :)

Will post about the books I finished over the weekend in a bit. :)

Modificato: Mar 9, 11:24pm

I finished The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War--a Tragedy in Three Acts by Scott Anderson; audio, history, 536 pages

There’s something about this era that I enoy. Parts if this history were covered in the biography of Edward Lansdale, The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam by Max Boot, and the novel, The Company by Robert Littell, and maybe Harlot’s Ghost by Norman Mailer. The stories of what these men did and went through is incredible. Though oddly enough, one of my favorite vignettes was describing an interview by Roy Cohn, working for Joseph McCarthy, investigating a CIA employee, and asking about Communist books in his personal library. The employee replied he had none. Cohn asked if he had any novels by Dashiell Hammett. Yes, he had some of those novels. But, do you see, Hammett was a Communist and so the employee must be a sympathizer. You can’t make this stuff up. In all fairness, I suppose, Hammett was a strong antifascist, devoted to left-wing causes, and a member of the Communist party in the late 30s.

Now reading The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett; audio, mystery, 180 pages.

Why not? I read it in 1994, but don't remember much, and it's currently available for free on Audible for Premium Members.

Modificato: Mar 9, 3:34pm

>9 Nickelini: >11 dianeham: You want Irish to break your heart, try History of the Rain by Niall Williams.

Mar 9, 7:00pm

>18 Cariola: It's in my virtual pile. Thanks.

Mar 10, 12:35pm

I’m reading Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey, The Less Dead by Denise Mina and Night Waking by Sarah Moss. The first two are new authors to me but I’ve enjoyed other books by Sarah Moss in particular Cold Earth and Ghost Wall.

Mar 10, 12:37pm

Hello, I'm currently reading The Hobbit.

Mar 10, 1:08pm

>21 Shadeja: First time reading it? Hope you derive some kind of reward from it.

Mar 10, 2:33pm

I am reading Even as We Breathe

Mar 10, 2:43pm

Last night I finished The Zelmenyaners: A Family Saga by Moyshe Kulbak. considered a classic of Yiddish literature, the novel is a comedy spanning several generations of an extended Jewish family in Minsk, the capitol city of Byelorussia (now Belarus), but centering on the period from 1926 through 1933 or so. The tale centers around the older generation's desires to retain their old ways, including the vestiges of their Jewish beliefs and practices, in the face of the growing incursions of Soviet society and economic collectivisation. As the younger generation grows to maturity, they less interested in the old ways and more interested in being good Bolsheviks. Even the older Zelmenyaners are pushed to end their independent lives as tradesmen (tailors, tanners, carpenters) and go to work in the factories, like good Soviet proletariats. You can find my more in-depth comments on my own CR thread.

Next up for me will be Voice of the Whirlwind, the third book in Walter Jon Williams' cyberpunk Hardwired series.

Mar 10, 3:19pm

I am almost finished with That Old Country Music, a collection of short stories by Irish writer Kevin Barry. Kind of a mixed bag at this point.

Mar 11, 5:42am

I finished Laetitia Colombani's Les victorieuses yesterday, which turned out to be good, interesting research turned into a clunky Victorian evangelical novel. (Because modern Parisians are screaming for "more Charles Kingsley"????)

Now reading Notebooks from New Guinea, which is more fun...

Mar 11, 6:31am

>24 rocketjk: Very interesed in the Zelmenyaners, will have too look for that. Read your review, your last comments particularly poignant

"Moyshe Kulbak (1896-1937) was a leading Yiddish modernist poet, novelist and dramatist. He was arrested in 1937, during the wave of Stalinist repression that hit the Minsk Yiddish writers and cultural activists with particular vehemence. After a perfunctory show trial, Kulbak was shot at the age of forty-one."

Mar 11, 12:29pm

>27 cindydavid4: Glad the book caught your interest. I think it's very much worth reading, and enjoyable, too. We (or at least I) generally think of fiction about Jewish life in Russia as describing the days of the Czars. This novel is relatively unusual in that it takes place during the Soviet era.

Modificato: Mar 13, 9:12pm

we (or at least I) generally think of fiction about Jewish life in Russia as describing the days of the Czars,

Id add fiction about them during WWII, but you are right, I don't know much about their lives in those early soviet days. I think many Jews were involved in the revelution weren't they? I also wonder about the drive in the 70s to save soviet jewry, but never was taught how that all developed (and with the disbanding of the Soviet Union, what is life for them in the different new countries?)

Modificato: Mar 12, 4:45pm

>29 cindydavid4: "I think many Jews were involved in the religion weren't they? I also wonder about the drive in the 70s to save soviet jewry, but never was taught how that all developed (and with the disbanding of the Soviet Union, what is life for them in the different new countries?)"

As Kulbak portrays his mini-society, some of the older members were trying to hold on to the religious ways, but the younger generations, already grown to young adulthood, were indifferent at best. Kulbak and/or his characters make frequent reference to organizations and political figures who would have been known to his contemporary readers but entirely obscure to us (or at least to me) but for the very useful footnotes at the bottom of many pages. I mention this because at one point a Soviet official is mentioned who is described in a footnote as being vocal on "the Jewish question." I'm not sure specifically what that would have meant, though. Religion of all kinds was under attack from the Communists, but my guess is that the standard European antisemitism would have been layered atop that, despite the fact that many prominent early revolutionaries were Jewish.

I was in high school in New Jersey during the Save Russian Jewry movement and I remember it very well. As I understand things, fortunes and conditions for Jews in Communist countries rose and fell regularly depending on the particular policies of the regime in power at any given time.* At any rate, at that time, things were tough in the Soviet Union for Jews trying to maintain a religious and/or cultural identity. In addition, Jews applying to emigrate, either to the U.S. or Israel (or anywhere else) were often arrested or put in mental hospitals, the logic being that anyone wanting to leave Russia had to be crazy. So there was a concerted effort among Jews in the U.S. (and I'm sure elsewhere) to pressure the Soviets to let Jews who wanted to to leave in peace. In fact, I took part in two or three pretty large protests to that effect in front of the Soviet embassy in New York City. Eventually this came to pass, I believe with Glasnost or Perestroika (I can never keep them straight).

* I can recall seeing the documentary The Last Klezmer, which tells the amazing story of Leopold Kozlowski a Polish Jewish musician from a famous pre-war Jewish musical family who, surviving World War II, had risen to prominence as a conductor in the Polish Army. Here is an excerpt from an online biography:

"Kozlowski settled in Krakow shortly after the war ended. Orphaned, alone and in need of steady work, he enlisted in the Polish army, which had been integrated into the Soviet military. Although the Germans were gone, he still feared anti-Semitic violence, especially after a mob of Poles, including soldiers and police officers, murdered 42 of their Jewish neighbors in Kielce on July 4, 1946. He soon changed his Jewish surname to the Polish “Kozlowski,” which he retained for the rest of his life.

His military career took off; he was appointed conductor of Krakow County’s army band and awarded the rank of colonel. Later, he would conduct one of the most important army orchestras in Poland. Kozlowski served his fatherland for 22 years, until one day in 1968 he came into his office only to be told that he was being relieved of his command and discharged. Kozlowski immediately understood that, like many Jews, his career had fallen victim to president Wladyslaw Gomulka’s anti-Semitic campaign.

“He thought to himself: ‘I’ve already changed my name, already hidden my identity and I’ve served more than 20 years in the Polish army and yet I’m still considered ‘the Jew,’” Strom said. “‘I’d be better off not hiding anymore. I might as well play Jewish music.’”


Mar 13, 3:55am

Chose The Children of Men as my next "handbag book". It reads far older than something written 30 years ago.

Mar 13, 9:43am

I continue to be in a major reading slump, as I've only finished seven books so far this year, but I have finished two superb books so far this month, The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne, which won last year's National Book Award for Nonfiction and was completed by one of the author's daughters after he died before it was published (5 stars), and Fever, a collection of short stories by John Edgar Wideman (4 stars).

I've been too busy to spend much time reading this week, even though I've been off from work since Monday afternoon, but I'm currently enjoying my current book, Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present by Frank M. Snowden, a professor of the History of Medicine at Yale, which explores major historical epidemics and how they affected and influenced medicine, public health, and society, including government, commerce, and the arts, which is superb so far.

Mar 13, 5:31pm

Finished Dead North, Canadian zombie short stories (there's a specialized niche). Many of these stories seem to be more like book chapters than short stories, but there are a few very good ones, especially the deeply unsettling and brilliantly layered story, "Kissing Carrion," by Gemma Files.

Now reading Say Nothing about the disappearance of Jean McConnville during the euphemistically named Troubles in Ireland in the 1970s. I remember many of the key players from news at the time, but having it all laid out with a lot of history and background is interesting.

Mar 13, 5:37pm

>33 nohrt4me2:
Canadian zombie short stories is indeed a specialized niche. I may have actually read one or two.

Last night I finished Venice Rising: Aqua Granda, Pandemic, Rebirth, and now I'm reading Passing before I read the Vanishing Half. Tomorrow I plan to take time out to read Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift, as tomorrow is Mothering Sunday in the UK (according to Google)

Mar 13, 5:39pm

>30 rocketjk: thanks for the extra info on that movement - I knew that jews were being kept from making aliyah and I think your right, glastos made a difference. Wonder how much we did (think I still have the bracelt I wore with my emigrants name on it)

He soon changed his Jewish surname to the Polish “Kozlowski,” which he retained for the rest of his life.

Love Klesmer music!! speaking of changing names, my paternal great grand father also had a very long polish/yiddeshe name. So he changed it to Bikov, thinking it sounded more Russian. By the tim my grandparens came along it was enlisized to Bickoff, a name which cause me many probles as a kid. Ah well...

Mar 13, 6:38pm

>35 cindydavid4: "Wonder how much we did (think I still have the bracelt I wore with my emigrants name on it)"

It's a good question. I think the PR aspect might well have had some effect, whether on the Soviets or on U.S. politicians who might have been encouraged to make the point to the Soviets more forcefully, who knows, right? It was worth doing, though, I still think. I'd forgotten about those bracelets, though!

Mar 13, 6:45pm

I have just finished Le Rivage des Syrtes by Julien Gracq and my next book pulled from the shelf is Clayhanger by Arnold Bennett

Modificato: Mar 13, 9:20pm

>36 rocketjk: oh btw I made a type above I think many Jews were involved in the religion weren't they? change religion to revolution, pls!

and I agree, definitely worth doing. Hee thinking about it, that would have been my first 'cause' to protest about. The first of many over the decades

Mar 13, 9:22pm

I just received To Calais in Ordinary Time and a, very eager to get to it! Need to finish the corner that held them

Mar 14, 8:41am

I finished the wonderful Even as We Breathe and am starting American Delirium.

Mar 14, 9:59am

I finally started All That Remains which I borrowed from the library and should hopefully finish before it needs to be returned. I inadvertently found out that the library currently aren't charging late fees (because Covid) but I wouldn't want to abuse that knowledge.

None of the other books I'm reading were what I felt like for a Saturday afternoon so I read The Sentinel - another reliable instalment in the Jack Reacher series.

Mar 14, 5:31pm


The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammet; audio, mystery, 180 pages. I originally read this novel in 1994. I didn't remember anything; it was like a completely new book to me. There was an amazing amount of alcohol consumed by the characters. There was a few brief references to Communism: one person tells the detective that someone else said that the Russian Five Year Plan wasn’t necessarily doomed to failure. All in all, a solid mystery.

Molloy by Samuel Beckett; print, novel, 170 pages. I think this is the third time I’ve read this novel. I would like to say the novel shows signs and meaning on how into interpret existence or how to find sense in reason, but none of that is true; the book is like a giant gyre that pulls in the reader but doesn’t give an easy answers. The reader can understand it. Or not understand it. Or both. I loved it.

Now reading

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner; print, novel, 378 pages. An other reread for me.

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi; audio, novel, 256 pages.

Mar 14, 5:43pm

Mar 14, 5:59pm

I had a week off with nothing to do and nowhere to go (I won't be eligible for a vaccine until May 1st) and so read a few books: Half-blood Blues, The Book of Negroes, Snow and Shadow, and An Equal Music.

Mar 15, 8:41am

I'm finally starting to dig the Joseph Cornell book, so chugging along with that, and my library hold of Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning came in, so I'm reading that too.

Modificato: Mar 15, 3:11pm

I just realized how long it has been since I checked in. Too much going on lately! I finished The Robin's Greeting and An Amish Surprise and I am currently reading Amish Midwives which is a collection of three stories.

Mar 16, 3:41pm

I'm reading The Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson, the third book in a trilogy I really, really should have waited to start until it was all out rather than reading it with two-year gaps between volumes, because the story is way too complicated to keep in one's brain that long. I am feeling like the trilogy as a whole isn't really living up to the expectations I had of it after the first book, but I can't quite tell to what extent that's because of the story itself as opposed to being my fault for forgetting a lot of what was going on.

Modificato: Mar 16, 4:24pm

I finished Voice of the Whirlwind, the second novel in Walter Jon Williams' Hardwired series from the 1980s. (There is also a novella slipped between the first two books.) Voice of the Whirlwind was not quite as good (in my opinion) as the series' first book, Hardwired, but it was still fun, basically a loner-against-world political thriller but with some inventive world building. I was disappointed that the second novel book takes place 100 years on after the first, but I got over that. You can find somewhat longer review on my CR thread.

I now about halfway though The Comedians, Graham Greene's novel about Haiti during the horrifying and brutal Duvalier regime. This is a book club read, and it was my selection. I first read the novel about 35 years ago and I'm happy to say I'm enjoying once again.

Mar 16, 7:36pm

>48 rocketjk: I listened to the audiobook of The Comedians and loved it. It was a vivid story of Haiti. I've been meaning to reread it myself.

Mar 16, 9:26pm

>49 gsm235: Interesting. Do you remember who did the reading?

Modificato: Mar 17, 10:21pm

Finally, got around to writing up thoughts on the meh for Blue Mars, not quite what imagined for the end of that series, and the harrowing graphical novel Grass, reinforcing the notion that humans suck.

Got on a bit of a tare and finished Penance another excellent but slow burn of a revenge tale.

Mar 17, 10:10am

>50 rocketjk: I listened to The Comedians in 2004 on cassette tapes. I think the narrator was Tim Pigott-Smith, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. Good news for Audible members, there is a new version narrated by Joseph Porter for free in the Plus Catalog. I got at along with The Quiet American. I love Audible.

Mar 18, 3:21am

Mar 18, 2:59pm

I finished a reread of The Comedians, Graham Greene's novel of Haiti during the dark days of the Papa Doc regime. I found the book to be excellent.

Today I started my next book in my friend Kim's reading list about African American history and racism in America, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s by Clayborne Carson.

Modificato: Mar 18, 5:41pm

Nicholas Nickelby and s/s collection A Natural History of Hell. Wackford Squeers seems to fit into a hellscape quite nicely.

Modificato: Mar 18, 6:30pm

I finished Bring up the Bodies (just superb) and am on to Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point.

Mar 18, 6:44pm

I'm about a third of the way into The Vanishing Half. It started out slow, but it's picking up now. At work, my break-book is How to Build a Girl, which I'm also about a third into. It's light and I guess fun enough.

Mar 18, 7:17pm

I just finished Effi Briest, a German classic about a young woman in a boring marriage. (It was good) I'm continuing The Promise of the Grand Canyon, a biography of 1800s explorer John Wesley Powell. And I've started The House of the Spirits. I've never read anything by Isabel Allende and after only 50 pages, I'm already kicking myself for waiting so long!

Mar 18, 7:19pm

I am reading George Eliot's Scenes from Clerical Life which is very Victorian (as expected) but I had been having a very busy week in the office so I had read a total of 120 pages this week...

Mar 18, 8:12pm

I finished American Delirium and have just started Naima Coster's new novel What's Mine and Yours. I loved Halsey Street.

Mar 18, 8:16pm

>58 japaul22: Her first works, including The House of Spirits, Eva Luna, and Paula got me started reading more South American authors; she continues to be among the best (haven't cared for many written after she emigrated here, but I haven't tried one in a whild)

Mar 18, 8:19pm

>61 cindydavid4: she writes such vivid characters and situations. I’m really enjoying it!

Mar 18, 8:32pm

So agree; Didn't know what magical realism was till I read that and knew I wanted more!! (I know some hate it with a passion but when its done well, it works!)

Modificato: Mar 18, 10:15pm

Mar 19, 10:59am

End of the work week and I was in the mood for something fun and Six Wakes delivered. So much that I finished it in one sitting. Thanks karspeak for the BB.

Mar 19, 12:23pm

As if I don't have enough books in progress, I just started The Snow Ball for next week's book club and it looks totally delicious so far.

Mar 19, 12:33pm

>67 lisapeet:
Oh, looking forward to your comments on that one. It's on my wishlist and I hear it's great

Mar 19, 12:37pm

>67 lisapeet: This sounds interesting.

Mar 19, 4:10pm

Last night I started The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox .

Modificato: Mar 19, 9:36pm

>70 dianeham: Have you read O'Farrel before? been a fan since her first book after you'd gone Loved Hamnet and think i am, I am I am among the best non fiction books Ive read on dealing with illness and death. And while there was much to love about Esme, esp the ending, I was troubled by some structural things that she got wrong that bugged the hell out of me. Let me know when you are finished!

Modificato: Mar 19, 10:00pm

Questo messaggio è stato cancellato dall'autore.

Modificato: Mar 20, 12:13pm

I am juggling three books that all take place in the same time span (11TH-14TH centuries) and are fascinating to read together: To Calais in Ordinary Time The Corner that Held Them and Devil's Brood third in the Penman series that a few of us are reading through. And several books recommended here are waiting patiently....

Mar 19, 9:53pm

>71 cindydavid4: This is the first O’Farrell for me. Didn’t real9she was the Hamnet woman.

Mar 20, 3:04am

>70 dianeham: Last night I started The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

I loved that book. Hope you enjoy it too!

Mar 20, 8:53am

I have just started Le Dit Du Mistral by Olivier Mak-Bouchard and A Crystal Age by W H Hudson

Mar 21, 2:34pm

Last night I DNF'd Sarah's Key. I'm reading Whatever by Michel Houellebecq, which I'm utterly hating, but it's short so I will finish it, and I'm reading A Fairy Tale, by Jonas T. Bengtsson, which is extremely dark and gritty and I can only take in small doses. Time to find something "nice" to read!

Mar 21, 3:13pm

Skimmed The Little French Bridal Shop, as I just could not get past the idea that the entire story and the main character's life was based on lies.

Currently reading An Unexpected Amish Proposal.

Mar 21, 6:29pm

I'm eager to finish The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs, which is starting to irritate me.

Mar 21, 7:55pm

I will be shortly finishing volume 2 of The Story of the Stone by Cao Xuequin and then immediately starting volume 3.

Mar 22, 8:50am

I have finished the Jeffrey Ford short story collection, and the Esi Edugyan lecture and have picked up a new small anthology of poetry, How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope edited by James Crews (2021) which I'm enjoying. I also have picked up One Station Away by Olaf Olafsson, the last Olafsson novel I had to read (until he writes more, of course).

I'll go back to Mount Pleasant after I finish the Olafsson. It wasn't working well as bedtime reading.

Yesterday, the temperature got into an unseasonal 60s (F) and Michael and I both spent a few hours on the deck or porch reading in the fresh air.

Mar 23, 7:43am

Just finished Supernormal Stimuli by Deirdre Barrett, a somewhat disappointing book about a really interesting phenomenon. Next up, a graphic novel: The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua.

Mar 24, 11:56am

I finished The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell which was very worthwhile, despite probably needing a refresh to bring it more up-to-date.

I was convinced I own Into Thin Air and went to hunt it out after talk of it on Barbara's thread, but it turns out it's actually Touching the Void. After all that effort looking for the wrong book I now feel compelled to read this other mountaineering disaster which has been on my TBR for probably 15 years plus.

Mar 24, 1:18pm

I have just started Imbolo Mbue's new novel How Beautiful We Were. I loved her first novel Behold the Dreamers, an excellent novel about immigrants.

Modificato: Mar 24, 1:42pm

I've at last finished Spur der Steine — on checking back, I found that I'd read five other books since starting it. But I did quite enjoy it in the end, despite the ridiculous and probably unnecessary 940-page length (but at least it's a bit shorter than >80 lilisin:'s The story of the stone!).

Looking on my TBR shelf for something completely different I got sucked into more German history instead, with 1949: Das lange deutsche Jahr.

>83 AlisonY: I should think there's a whole range of mountaineering disaster titles that would make interesting unintended segues with The tipping point :-)

Mar 24, 2:49pm

>85 thorold: That's for sure. I don't think these crazy mountaineering types spend too long worrying about tipping points.

Modificato: Mar 26, 10:00am

>77 Nickelini: there are some Holocaust books I just cant read, and thats one of them (the other was the boy in the striped pajamas) I don't know if its that the ending is a forgone conclusion, or the tone or something. So i didnt bother .

>83 AlisonY: Into thin air is amazing - there was an interesting interview with him in Outside magazine after the book came out.

Mar 24, 4:04pm

Mar 24, 4:33pm

>83 AlisonY: I enjoyed Into Thin Air, esp the tidbits about the mountain-climbing racket that has sullied the landscapes and made it too easy for dimwits who endanger their own and other people's lives to think they're adventurers.

Mar 24, 7:50pm

>83 AlisonY:

Which thread is this? I'd like to catch up on the conversation as Into Thin Air was my best nonfiction read last year. Just an amazing book.

>85 thorold:

Mine is longer but it seems by your comment much more enjoyable! Definitely worth the 2400 so pages so far!
And actually while it's long it's a super easy read. Any other year and I would have finished it already but this year I read for a few nights in a row and then I read nothing for a few nights which is preventing me from finishing books quickly.

Mar 25, 4:54am

>89 nohrt4me2: Unfortunately I won't be able to comment on Into Thin Air, but I'm totally hooked by Touching the Void.

>90 lilisin: It was on Simone2's thread.

Mar 26, 2:08am

I'm about to start Nomadland.

Mar 26, 4:28pm

>91 AlisonY: Touching the Void is very gripping, isn’t it. We saw the theatre production a couple of years ago in London, which was also surprisingly successful.

Mar 26, 5:05pm

Mar 26, 6:09pm

>93 SandDune: I just finished it. Wow - I was totally gripped. Fantastic read. Review will follow tomorrow.

Mar 27, 5:28am

I'm starting The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. I'm a bit undecided if it's going to be my thing or not, as many reviews seem to hint that Eco gets a bit carried away with his own pomposity, but I'll give it a whirl.

Modificato: Mar 27, 7:38am

I recently read In the Dream House, which I preferred to Her Body and Other Parties. I must really enjoy creative non-fiction because I also preferred Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? to Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. I've also finished Barchester Towers and realized I really should have followed along with the LT tutored read if I wanted to enjoy it more.

Now onto The Hearing Trumpet!

Mar 28, 11:15am

>96 AlisonY: "Carried away by his own pomposity, " yup, but I still thought it was worthwhile. Don't watch the movie. Ugh.

Mar 28, 12:19pm

Just finished Here Is The Beehive, which was excellent.

This morning I started Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family and the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes by Emily Urquhart. The author is a folklorist and she wrote this after she gave birth to a daughter with albinism.

Mar 28, 9:53pm

I just finished the wonderful How Beautiful We Were and am starting Infinite Country.

Mar 29, 2:36am

I followed 1949 with Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby, the fourth in my read-through of her novels, and the Austrian Krimi Auferstehung der Toten by Wolf Haas.

I’m now reading Katja Lange-Müller’s Böse Schafe, set in West Berlin just before the wall came down.

Mar 29, 3:58am

Somehow or another despite my abysmal start to the year, I've actually caught up to last year's reading pace. It's not that I have a slow reading pace. It's just that I read 150 pages one day, 80 pages the next, and then 0 pages for a week after. Imagine how much I could read if I had a more consistent reading schedule! And if I read more on the weekends! I do tend to waste a lot of time doing nothing. Literally nothing. As in taking a nap to pass the time even if I'm not tired. It's a bad, wasteful habit that is. Fortunately with spring here now I'm much more energized and wanting to spend every moment productively doing something.

In any case, I finished Hongci Xu's memoir, No Wall Too High: One Man's Daring Escape from Mao's Darkest Prison, this weekend. It was my at lunch work book and then I brought it home to finish off the last 100 pages. I also started and finished two hours later Amelie Nothomb's Petronille. I do much prefer when she talks about herself in her books.

Mar 29, 11:05am

Finished Devils Brood the fourth in my series of Penman books. Finding myself skimming battles and conversations , and wanting to cut to the chase. Still good reading, better than lotso of other HF out there. Next is Lionheart but Im wanting to hold off so I can finish a couple of other books.

Mar 31, 6:27am

Thanks to another long train ride I finished as quickly as I started Stefan Zweig's Destruction d'un coeur which consists of three short stories for a total of only 117 pages. But that is still a book off my TBR so I'm happy! With the coming of the spring I'm feeling quite refreshed and inspired. Things are going well and I'm feeling a reading boom coming on.

Mar 31, 7:25am

I finished Infinite Country, a very good novel about immigration. I'm starting Beheld, a historical novel set in Plymouth in 1630.

Mar 31, 10:35am

I'm not sure where time is going but I don't seem to have enough at the moment, and spending time at CR is one of the casualties. I am still reading though and started The Shockwave Rider for bookclub and today finished An Isolated Incident.

Mar 31, 12:12pm

The Last Expedition, diary of Robert Scott. This has knocked everything else off the TBR and Currently Reading shelves.

Mar 31, 1:13pm

This year's been great so far for taking on books that I'm convinced aren't my thing and then finding that I really enjoying them. The Name of the Rose was really good - thoroughly enjoyed it.

On next to A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor.

Mar 31, 8:44pm

I’ve got to get better at not letting things slide. Five books all at once.

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi; audio, novel, 256 pages.

This isn’t normally the type of novel I would pick up, but I’d read a good review in the Washington Post last summer, and I put it on my maybe list. Last month Audible offered it in a two for one special, so I bought it. It’s a very timely subject. A few days after finishing, I saw a new report on the idiot box about a father pleading for his trans daughter before a state legislation that wants to enact restrictive legislation for trans people. Perhaps, I thought, the law makers should read the novel before passing the law, but then I thought it wouldn’t do a damn thing to change their minds. Mostly because their minds are made up already and they’re entrenched; secondly because it’s not really a great novel. I enjoyed it well enough for what it was, but I’m more or less sympathetic to the cause, though not especially passionate about it. It’s not going to be a novel to move minds.
I do have one strong criticism of the book, which comes at the end, where the mother of the title character picks up a farming tool and does something with it. I chuckled at the histrionics even though the author wanted to portray powerful emotions. The fault is probably mine.

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner; print, novel, 378 pages.

0ne of the great novels of the English language. I’ve read it before a few times, so I knew what to expect. The book begins, with the Benjy section; it’s the famously difficult one, but it flows much easier when the reader just goes with it and doesn’t fight with trying to understand everything right away. If I were to read it again, I’d probably read this section last.

If anyone doesn’t know, Benjy is a thirty-three year old severely mentally disable man who can speak only in hoots and howls; he has no sense of time but deeply loves his sister who is the only person who cared for him.
Originally, Faulkner wanted to use different color inks on the page to show the shifts in time, but the publisher said that wasn’t possible. In 2012 the Folio Society published a limited edition of 1,480 copies at $345 with (I think) seventeen different colors. I not sure how much it would cost now on the secondary market.

This isn’t a going to be a novel everybody should read. Readers who want entertainment only can safely skip it and not feel guilty. But it rewards other readers.

Deep River: A Novel by Karl Marlantes; audio, historical novel, 736 pages

This historical novel focuses on the lives of Finnish immigrants around the Columbia river between 1900 to 1932. Most of them were loggers and fishermen, two difficult and dangerous jobs, and desperately poor. The heart of the novel is Aino Koski who had to flee Finland for political reasons: she was a Red, a Communist before the 1917 Russian Revolution. She has a staunch passion for workers rights and gets involved with IWW (the Wobblies) and that leads to a lot of conflict. A guess some people might be put off by her “socialism” but I was rooting for her.

This is a long novel that covers more than 30 years, so reader should be warned to get too attached to all the characters. I did a double take once or twice.

As a direct result of listening, I’ve picked up the novel Joe Hill by Wallace Stegner--Joe Hill was a historical person who was featured in the story—and I want to know more about the early labor movement in America.

The Book of Unconformities: Speculations on Lost Time by Hugh Raffles; digital, non-fiction, 400 pages

Part geology, part memoir, part history. The author has a wonderful habit of writing long sentences that can creep over a page in length, then stuffing story bits and explanations into foot notes. Poetic prose. It takes the reader to Manhattan, Neolithic Hebrides, Greenland, and Svarlbard. A book for readers who want to explore on the page for no other reason than to see what’s there.

The Soul of Viktor Tronko by David Quammen; digital, espionage.

The author is mostly know for his non-fiction. This is his only novel. The story is supposed to be based on real events; I wonder if the author had intended to write non-fiction book--did research and interviews--but couldn’t coalesce the facts into something verifiable and presentable as journalism, so he turned what he had into a novel. This reads like a very authentic depiction of the espionage world. In the story, a journalist is mostly talking to people who work at the CIA, and gets different side of the story and a lot of contradictory information that he (and the reader) will not immediately understand. It’s not an action packed thriller. There are a few scenes with dangerous situations, but nothing on the unbelievable scale of what Hollywood would throw at you. It was almost a 4 ½ star novel.

Mar 31, 9:04pm

Still working on Scenes from Clerical Life - crazy couple of weeks in the office but in between the 3 stories and while not sleeping, I did some reading over the last weekend:

- The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water - a subtle fantasy novella which I really did not like until the middle point and then kinda fell in love with it.
- Buccaneers of the Caribbean: How Piracy Forged an Empire - if the endless narration of battles, locations and names (and dates) is your preferred way to consume history, this one is for you. Not bad but heavy going and I wish it had a lot more analysis than just facts.
- The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills - a charming middle-grade novel (~35K words so not a novel technically but...) about an indigenous girl and her mother and grandmother who can see (and release) ghosts... and what that means when someone dies. Much much sadder than I expected it to be but I really enjoyed it.
- Practical Magic - lyrical, weird and very readable.

I will be adding reviews in my thread about these and the rest of the March books but being the end of the month, I thought I should post what I am actually reading... :)

Apr 1, 4:45am

Another long train ride and a day spent reading under the cherry trees here in Japan, I managed to read another one: Les tribulations d'un Chinois en Chine by Jules Verne. Really enjoyed this one and a fun way to continue my apparent Chinese-themed reading lately.

Modificato: Apr 2, 12:20am

In the last couple of weeks I finished Brigid Brophy's The Snow Ball, which was very weird and wonderful, and Tom Vanderbilt's Beginners: : The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning, which documents his project of learning a handful of new skills as a 50+-year-old adult—pop psychy, but an easy read and often interesting. I started Judith Schalansky's An Inventory of Losses, but had to put it down for some work-related reading that has to happen over the next month—the Schalansky book is dense and not the kind of thing you want to rush through just to have read it, so I'll let my checkout go and put it on hold again in a while.

The first of my work reading is Lauren Groff's upcoming novel Matrix, set in a nunnery in the Middle Ages, which as anyone who's been following my reading knows is just my thing.

Apr 1, 1:42pm

>113 lisapeet: Lauren Groff has a new novel!?? Can't wait.

Apr 1, 3:53pm

Just starting Mémoires d'Hadrien by Marguerite Yourcenar

Apr 2, 4:03pm

I finished In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s by Clayborne Carson. This extremely interesting volume traces the development, achievements and ultimate demise of the Southern Nonviolent Coordinating Committee one of the eminent organizations in the Civil Rights movement in the Deep South in the early- to mid-1960s. By the late 60s, the group had evolved to enter the forefront of the Black Nationalist movement. I think that, together, this book and Black Against Empire, the terrific history of the Black Panthers that I read last year, go a long way toward providing a good picture of the crucial events of those days. You can find more in-depth comments on my CR thread.

Next up for me will be a short memoir by General Eisenhower's jeep driver, Sgt. Mickey and General Ike.

Apr 2, 4:19pm

I am reading The Seed Keeper.

Apr 2, 5:11pm

based on the reviews, Id like to start that as well. (why cant I clone myself so each person can read a book off my TBR stack....)

Apr 3, 3:09pm

I'm starting off April reading Mysteries of the Mall and Other Essays by Witold Rybczynski, a collection of essays on various architectural subjects, some of which I'm finding a lot more interesting than others.

Apr 3, 6:36pm

I recently finished The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende and flew through The Children's Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin.

Now I've started Even As We Breathe by Annette Saunoke Clapsaddle and The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman.

Apr 3, 6:39pm

I finally finished Scenes of Clerical Life - very Victorian and good once you get into it but not really a fast read especially if you have only minutes here and there.

Now working on Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse (which is fun), Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress (the first in the Pax Britannica Trilogy (dense and very readable) and When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry.

Apr 3, 8:56pm

The library took back Nomadland before I finished. I will put it on my list again (although I was finding it rather repetitive). I plan to start The Colour of Milk by Nell Leyshon tonight.

Apr 3, 11:16pm

>120 japaul22: how did you like House of Spirits?

Apr 4, 12:46am

Just started and finished Mischief by Charlotte Armstrong. Very short and very unputdownable.

Apr 4, 2:07pm

So delighted to be finished A Summons to Memphis - yaaaawwwnnnnn.

Now on to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey.

Apr 4, 2:24pm

>123 cindydavid4: House of the Spirits was great. Epic family drama set against the backdrop of political upheaval in Chile. There were a few elements that bothered me in the writing, but overall I agreed with the general opinion that this is a classic of South American fiction.

Apr 5, 7:36pm


Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre; science fiction, digital, 312 pages

It’s been mentioned that this novel was ground breaking when published in 1978 for it’s frankess about sexuality and reproductive rights, but, as a commenter elsewhere said, it so sad that’s still ground breaking forty years later. When I stop to consider contemporary politics in some regions of the United States, I have to agree.

It’s a good enough science fiction novel, not great, but enjoyable; I do have a fondness for snakes and I liked the fact that the main character, a healer, can succeed in her goals and quests without drawn out fight scenes or other masculine adventures. Some people have called the novel more of a fantasy, but I have to disagree. The author goes to some pains to say that the healer’s art isn’t magic -- though it’s most powerful effects come from a mix of science and snake venom. Maybe not great real life science, but’s I’ve read more flaky stuff in science fiction.

Notes From the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky and translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky; novel, print, 136 pages

I loved this novel when I first read this novel at University. Subsequent rereads haven’t held the power it first did. It’s uniqueness was stunning and a little mind bending. The first 36 pages are more akin to philosophy with the remaining 100 pages a demonstration of sorts of Dostoevsky’s ideas in action.


Like Flies From Afar by K. Ferrari and translated from the Spanish by Adrian Nathan West

"The first novel to appear in English from the 'subway janitor by night, novelist by day,' who began his writing career while an undocumented immigrant in the United States." --from the Kindle About This Book

Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris; audio, biography, 784 pages

This is the third volume covering TR's post presidency years. The first volume was 5 stars and the second 4 1/2 stars.

Apr 6, 11:01am

I am reading The Jam and Jelly Nook which is the final installment in a series.

Apr 6, 7:58pm

I'm finally (re-)starting the Rougon-Macquart cycle by reading the first volume, La fortune des Rougon. This is quite nice as it's definitely putting the books I've already read in a better perspective in terms of the time period and family relations. I look forward to reading the rest of the series in (recommended by Zola) order and revisiting the books I've already read (only three) as I remember little of them and this new framework will make them even more enjoyable than they already were.

Apr 7, 10:46am

Now that I have acquired the last of the Rampart Trilogy I've started the first, The Book of Koli.

Modificato: Apr 7, 11:47am

Last night I finished Hans Fallada’s Nightmare in Berlin, about the apathy and aimlessness felt by a German writer in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. This had been on my TBR pile for several years, and I read it now because reading The Silver Sword by Ian Seraillier to my daughter got me thinking about Europe right after the war. Further digging in my TBR pile for further post-war stuff revealed Il torto del soldato (The Crime of a Soldier), 2 linked stories by Erri de Luca.

On a completely different note, I’m listening to an oddly charming little book with the wonderful title of The Swedish Art of Death-Cleaning. It’s essentially about Marie Kondo-ing your house before you die, so your loved ones don’t have to - Swedish has a word for this. I’m listening to it purely because it’s read by Juliet Stevenson.

Modificato: Apr 7, 8:22pm


Like Flies From Afar by K. Ferrari and translated from the Spanish by Adrian Nathan West

A gritty tale of a despicable businessman who, after a night of cocaine and prostitutes, finds the dead body of a stranger in the trunk of his $200K BMW. Then things go really wrong as he attempts to dispose of the body and figure out who could be setting him up. Not a big surprise, but he has done a lot a bad to lot of people, and there’s no shortage of people who might want to do him harm. Some reviews have said that this novel uses a too many swear words, which is sort of true, but swear word in this kind of crime are like turds in an outhouse – ubiquitous. An entertaining short novel for what it is.


Vernon Subutex 1, Vernon Subutex 2, and Vernon Subutex 3 by Virginie Despentes and translated from the French by Frank Wynne

Over the next fifteen weeks, I’m going to be reading this set of three novels along with the Season 15 of the Two Month Review Podcast. Each week I’ll read about 80 pages, then listen to the discussions. I’ve had a lot of fun with this Podcast in the past. I’ve completed the first 83 pages in time for the first show which should be available on Friday. I’m not a huge music fan – there is a lot of talk about music among the characters – but so far so good. The third volume will not be published until next month.

Apr 8, 2:25am

Apr 9, 11:40am

Still reading The Jam and Jelly Nook with just about 30% to go.

Apr 9, 11:45am

Another Friday, another fun light read - No Escape.

Apr 9, 12:14pm

So I am in the middle of four books already mentioned here, cant seem to settle down to finish them. So I look on my bookshelf and found Waltzing the Cat Its about 20 years old so if I did read it I don't remember. Decided to and was awarded with several short stories that are connected and spent way too much time last night reading. Maybe this is what I was needing all along! We shall see perhaps will finish it!!!

Apr 9, 12:23pm

After two months of reading, I finally finished The New Jim Crow. It is an excellent read, but slow, as I spent a lot of time making arguements in my head to Fox-watching family members with all the information I had just read.

I've also finished Leaden Wings, an interesting portrait of a specific time, Spring, Khirbet Khizeh which would have been better to read in the original Hebrew catching the various Biblical references, but since I don't read Hebrew and have little to no knowledge of the Bible verses, some of the impact was lost on me.

I am now finishing up the seasonal quartet with Summer, which I am pleased to see brings back characters from Autumn and Winter.

Apr 9, 12:24pm

>137 ELiz_M: I've also been reading The New Jim Crow, Liz. It has certainly changed the way I look at the justice system.

Apr 9, 12:53pm

Finished Lauren Groff's Matrix, which was pretty great—nuns in the Middle Ages, and a great strong complicated character in Marie de France. Now reading Margaret Verble's When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky.

Apr 9, 7:32pm

I'm trying to read the latest Joyce Carol Oates short story collection, and it's not working well as I'm too distracted.

Apr 9, 8:08pm

Being terrible at updating this as always! Finished the good but confusing Signs Preceding the End of the World, still not entirely sure where I end up on this one.

Apr 10, 6:01am

In the middle of Zola's La fortune des Rougons I decided to start L'affaire Calas by Voltaire as it's been staring me down from the shelf for a while now and it just seems so appealing. All this while still waiting to pick up volume 3 of Cao Xuequin's The Story of the Stone. I seem to be in a wanting to read everything all at once kind of phase right now as everything I'm reading is so excellent.

Apr 10, 7:27am

I'm having a hard time resisting the temptation of the big pile of German books that recently landed on the TBR, and that has even derailed me into taking other German stuff from further down the pile, like Martin Walser's Die Verteidigung der Kindheit, which sat for seven years before I picked it up. The last couple of days I've been deep in Kästner, re-reading the lovely memoir Als ich ein kleiner Junge war for the first time since ... well, let's say the first time in several decades ... and leafing through a fun anthology of his winter-sport-related pieces called Kästner im Schnee.

I'd better try to find something non-German next!

>142 lilisin: Congratulations (or commiserations...) on having been bitten by the Zolathon bug that seems to be endemic in CR. Recovery is a slow process, but you should be over it in a few years... :-)

Apr 10, 9:16am

>139 lisapeet: If I recall correctly, Marie de F was Eleanor of Aquitaine's daughter from her first marriage. She was quite an influential writer and cultural force, as I understand it. The book title makes me want to read it because it seems to acknowledge the confluence of social changes going on in the 12th Century, which has been called a "little renaissance."

Glad to have your recommendation!

Apr 10, 9:24am

>144 nohrt4me2: According to Groff's book, she was Eleanor of Aquitaine's illegitimate sister-in-law, being the product of Geoffrey V's rape of Marie's mother, and therefore half sister to Henry II (king to Eleanor's queen). It took me a bit of time on Wikipedia to get all that straight, but the connection is plausible, if not a sure thing. The very laden relationship between Marie and Eleanor is a major thread through the book.

Apr 10, 9:56am

After I didn't finish The Other Einstein, I picked up The Trouble with Sheep and Goats.

Apr 10, 3:55pm

As usual, I have a number of books going. The one I'm focusing on today is The Housekeeper and the Professor, which I've just started. My prediction is that I will not like it (based on the tags "baseball" and "math") even though so many of my LT friends have loved it. I've owned it for over a decade, it's short, and it's time to move it on to other readers.

Apr 10, 5:20pm

.>147 Nickelini: I loved that book.

Apr 11, 10:43am

I didn't feel like reading either of my current books so I started my newly acquired Qualityland.

Modificato: Apr 11, 12:37pm

Oh that sounds like a combination of Vonneguts Player Piano, and the world of The Sudden Appearance of Hope so yes I must read this it seems! (just found out that North has a new novel Notes from the Burning Age which looks ver intriguing as well comes out in July)

Apr 12, 7:29am

I am starting The Arden edition of Shakespeare's poems. A collection of all of Shakespeares poetry apart from the sonnets.

Apr 12, 7:28pm

>131 rachbxl: Wow, I wasn't aware of Nightmare in Berlin. I will have to keep it in mind. A few years back I read Fallada's Every Man Dies Alone about Berlin during the war, a chilling novel if there ever was one.

As for my own current reading, well, my wife and I just got back from an 8-day van camping trip to the area near Sequoia National Forest (southern California). I was about a quarter of the way through Sgt. Mickey and General Ike, Michael McKeogh's memoir of his time spent as Dwight Eisenhower's orderly before and during WW2. A day into our trip, I realized I'd left the book at home. So then I started Rashomon Gate, the second book in I.J. Parker's Sugawara Akitada Mysteries series about a crime solving lower rung nobleman in 11th century Japan. I got almost halfway through that book during the trip, and was enjoying it, but then we got home and waiting for me at the post office was this month's book group book, The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson. 500 pages! And how long do I have to read it? Until this coming Sunday. So now I've set Akitada aside as well and started the Isaacson, which I have to say, Introduction and 30 pages in, seems fascinating and very well written (I've not read any of Isaacson's other works). Anyway, wish me luck!

Modificato: Apr 12, 9:53pm

I've recently finished Treason's Harbour by Patrick O'Brian (book 9 in the Aubrey-Maturin series), which I just found wonderfully relaxing. I think I must have been in exactly the right mood for it.

I'm now reading Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood, a memoir that's just as funny and well-written as everybody says it is, but somehow nobody warned me about just how thoroughly horrible the author's titular father is.

Apr 13, 2:14pm

Finished two good ones in the past few days, The Colour of Milk by Nell Leyshon and Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu.

I just started The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies. Not sure I'll be sticking with it but will give it a bit more time.

Apr 13, 5:53pm

Finished the wonderful One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and am on next to The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs.

Apr 13, 9:26pm

I finished The Jam and Jelly Nook and am now reading Fatal Fried Rice.

Apr 14, 1:31pm

I just started The Liar's Dictionary, which seems like it will be interesting.

Apr 14, 1:51pm

Reading has become a bit of a mess as I have some writing deadlines, but includes:

Frank Cioffi: the philosopher in shirt-sleeves
Zen in the art of writing by Ray Bradbury
Letters: Summer 1926 Pasternak, Tsvetaeva and Rilke
Hope abandoned Nadezhda Mandelstam

Apr 14, 5:09pm

Getting away, briefly, from my German pile, I’ve finished another old Eng Lit textbook I never got to when it was still vaguely current, Ian Watt’s The rise of the novel. Also, on audio, a new first novel The recent East, which I didn’t find entirely successful — although its heart seemed to be in the right place...

I’m now back in early sixties East Germany with Pause für Wanzka, which seems to be a kind of socialist answer to Goodbye Mr Chips. Looks interesting so far...

Modificato: Apr 14, 10:54pm

Finally finished The Bayeux Tapestry it was a bit slow going coz I was trying to use the plates to follow his descriptions of the battle not realizing they weren't complete, so I found the online version and happily found my way to finish. Amazing to be able to get close up to see the actual stiches made a thousand years ago. One thing I didn't like is the ending when the author is trying to show how many wonderful things happened due to the invasion. Well, ok, I suspect I'll find some authors who disagree. But it was still a fun way to learn the history of the time

Just about finished with Calais in Ordinary Time and like others here really am enjoying the story and the humor. Took me a little to get used to the language but once I did found it to be a very quick read.

Not sure whats next, think I need to getaway from Medival Britain for a while Thinking the greenhouse which was recommended for me here.

Apr 15, 10:26pm

>154 Cariola: I really liked Interior Chinatown. Very cleverly written.

Apr 15, 11:10pm

thanks to those recommending The Greenhouse to me; Im enjoying it very much

Apr 16, 3:58am

Finished reading the first Zola in the Rougon-Macquart series and it was fantastic. What a great idea to start from the beginning. It really puts everything into perspective.

Need to finish the Voltaire now and while I want to go back to reading The Story of the Stone, I also would like to keep my reading in French spree so not sure in which direction to go.

Apr 16, 9:15am

So I lost track here during that texas freeze in February. And just now, two months later, I have managed to visit every thread here at least once (but not the new ones since then). And now I’m two months behind the first ones I caught up on. Hopefully i’ll be quicker going forward. My last post in this thread is from Feb 28.

Currently reading: Lolita, finally. It’s funny but so far not many surprises. Henry VI Part Three, which I’m reading with a Litsy group. It’s terrific so far, and much better than parts one and two. Of course, Petrarch’s Canzoniere. I’m 1/3 through. And the Collected Stories of Willa Cather, another Litsy group read. We will finally finish this month.

I’m listening to Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. I’m a little mixed on it, and so a little disappointed half way through. It’s a manifesto and the core points aren’t that profound to me. But I’m thinking, so getting things out of it.

Apr 16, 3:54pm

Just started The End of October

Modificato: Apr 17, 8:29am

I am finally reading The Vanishing Half, and continuing on with The Genius of Birds for my nonfiction. I also just got A Thousand Ships from the library, so that will be up after The Vanishing Half.

I recently finished The Lager Queen of Minnesota which struck all the right notes for me.

I also can't seem to resist a year-long project, so I've joined in a group read of Mrs. Oliphant's Carlingford series of novels.

Apr 17, 9:50am

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood. Inspired by The Tempest. Good so far, though still not sure what the title means.

Apr 17, 10:54am

Has to do with a character in Tempest.

Apr 17, 11:00am

Finished The Greenhouse late last night, really enjoyed it Loved the connection between fathers and sons, Mothers and daughters. Only part I didn't care for where he is driving passed a car accident and well.....closed my eyes a bit and understood why it was there.) Loved all of the characters. Did wonder where it took place - first I thought Iceland, doesn't say where he is flying to or driving to the famous montesary. Anyone know? Not important to the story but inquireing minds want to know

thanks to the several of you for recommending this to me! Have you read her other two books?

Apr 18, 3:01pm

I finished The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson. Isaacson's latest biography is a long an fascinating account of the development of the science of gene editing, as filtered through the life, experience and accomplishments of Jennifer Doudna, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020. Isaacson, a clear and straightforward writer, does an excellent job of weaving his narrative between Doudna's life story, the concepts of genetics, the progress of the science as discoveries are made, the many scientists that mentored Doudna and with whom she has collaborated and/or competed. For anyone interested, my longer review can be found on my own CR thread.

I had to interrupt a couple of books I was in the middle of to get to the Isaacson, which was a book group read, because the group was supposed to meet today and this book is almost 500 pages. But now our meeting is postponed to next week. Anyway, I now return to Sgt. Mickey and General Ike, Michael McKeogh's short memoir about serving as Dwight Eisenhower's aide before and during World War Two.

Apr 19, 2:25pm

I had a very productive weekend, as I finished several books:

Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present by Frank M. Snowden, which was a superb and informative book about major epidemics and pandemics and their effects on society, public health and medicine from the plague to the Ebola virus epidemic, which earned 5 stars from me.

Shelter: Notes from a Detained Migrant Children's Facility by Arturo Hernandez-Sametier, a lightly fictionalized (to preserve identities) account of 14 immigrant children who were detained in an ICE facility where the author was a caseworker.

The Pear Field by Naon Ekvtimishvili, a novel longlisted for this year's International Booker Prize set in a school for the intellectually disabled at the end of a dilapidated street in a working class town close to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi in the 1990s, which was good but ended disappointedly.

Today I plan to finish If You Kept a Record of Sins by Andrea Bajani, a novel about a man who travels from Italy to Romania upon the unexpected death of his mother who abandoned him when he was a young boy to pursue business interests in Romania, and reflects upon his loss, his troubled childhood, and live in modern day Europe, which was published in translation by Archipelago Books earlier this year. I've also started reading Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, along with Eternity: Selected Poems by Tracy K. Smith, the former US Poet Laureate.

Modificato: Apr 19, 7:43pm

Currently reading Midwinter Murder by Agatha Christie and Fatal Fried Rice by Vivien Chien.

Modificato: Apr 20, 1:08pm

I finished Sgt. Mickey and General Ike by Michael J. McKeogh and Richard Lockridge. This is a short memoir by Michael McKeogh about his time spent as General Dwight Eisenhower's enlisted aide, orderly and driver before and during World War 2. Originally published in 1946, the book is essentially a hagiography. McKeogh quickly begins referring to Eishenhower as "the Boss," and essentially, other than an occasional bought of temper, the Boss can do no wrong throughout McKeogh's narrative. Well, maybe it is McKeogh's narrative. Harry C. Butcher, who was Eisenhower's Naval Aide during the war, says in his 2-page introduction, "Former Naval Lieutenant Richard Lockridge has caught the spirit of Mickey's story with uncanny perception. When I read some of the manuscript I could hear Mickey talking." So I assume this is an "as told to" situation, and I'd further guess that Lockridge was tasked not just with putting McKeogh's story into clean prose, but also with smoothing out any rough (or interesting) edges portrayed in Eisenhower's character. You'll find a bit longer review on my own CR thread.

Next up I will return to Rashomon Gate, the second novel in American author I.J. Parker's Sugawara Akitada Mysteries series set in 11th Century Japan. After that I'll be reading The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee.

Apr 20, 4:05pm

Finished Hag-Seed and on to another Shakespeare adaptation, Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn, which is a riff on King Lear's dysfunctional and amoral family. Whenever it becomes overly repellent, which is pretty much whenever Abigail/Megan (Goneril/Regan) are on hand, it reminds you of how godawful the original is. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley was a slower and more layered treatment of Lear. St. Aubyn, not surprisingly, gleefully piles up the atrocities as Dunbar/Lear, unable to escape his own toxic flaws, lurches toward doom.

Modificato: Apr 20, 10:37pm

>171 kidzdoc: I want to read Shelter. Been wondering if we'd start seeing these, from the ones actually caring for the children

>174 nohrt4me2: howd you like Hag Seed?

Finished Calais in Ordinary Time that was just marvelous. love his sorta kinda old english, and the dialects, loved the characters (Berna and Pogge were my fav at the beginning), the plot and the humor admist the tragedy. Wanted to read another by him The Peoples Act of Love till I read what its about. Not sure about this, anyone read it?

Apr 21, 9:12am

>175 cindydavid4: I liked Hag-Seed OK. These types of things are a bit gimmicky, and Atwood gets a little didactic, but her ideas are interesting and engaging. Disappointed to see that Gillian Flynn was slated to do a version of Hamlet, but this does not appear to have been written. Interested to see what she might have done with that as a writer of domestic thrillers.

Apr 21, 12:45pm

>175 cindydavid4: The Kindle version of Shelter: Notes from a Detained Migrant Children's Facility is still on sale for $2.99; I just checked. It's definitely worth reading, especially at that price.

Apr 21, 2:27pm

>177 kidzdoc: thanks but I am a dinosaur, and dont read books online. I'll check other sources, probably come up with something, thanks!

Apr 21, 5:44pm

Finished Fatal Fried Rice and still reading Midwinter Murder.

Apr 23, 5:26am

I am reading The Bishop of Hell & Other Stories by Marjorie Bowen

Apr 23, 11:10am

Just finished Sara Paretsky's first crime novel, Indemnity Only and am now working on Purge by Sofi Oksanen at bedtime (I've read her others and it's about time to read her first! - I've had it for long enough). During the day, if time allows, I am reading Jeff Vandermeer's latest novel, Hummingbird Salamander, whose main character in first person sounds awfully like Paretsky's private dectective also in a first person narrative (which is why I held off going further in the Vandermeer until I finished the other.

Apr 23, 3:22pm

Last night I finished Rashomon Gate by I.J. Parker, the second novel in Parker's Sugawara Akitada Mysteries series, set in 11th Century Japan. Our man Akitada is a relatively low-level nobleman who holds down a boring government administrative job but who in the series' first book acquired a reputation for being able to solve mysteries. So these are mysteries of the "talented amateur is smarter than the police" variety. In this novel, Akitada has been asked by his former mentor to return to the royal university to help unravel a blackmailing scheme. Murders ensue and complications arise, as we knew they would. I've written a bit more on my own CR thread.

I've now started The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee.

Apr 23, 9:47pm

I have one more story to go in Midwinter Murder and I am also reading The Amish Cowboy's Homecoming from which I am learning a lot about training horses.

Apr 24, 8:22am

After finishing Qualityland I was looking for something a little less ... biting. The Flatshare was just what I was after, read in one sitting.

Apr 24, 6:29pm

Yay, its out in paperback Antigone Rising started reading and already enjoying it

We'd been talking about Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands elsethread and just happened to find that at my indie, and on sale!!Love the cover of it, looking forward to reading it

Apr 24, 10:50pm

Finished Nicholas Nickleby at last. Overly long, overly sentimental, plot full of coincidences and contrivances. Dickens is never wholly without charm thanks to his colorful minor characters (Miss LaCreevy, the Cheeryble brothers) but this book, for me, was like trying to swim through tar. A friend who died earlier this year had recommended it as his favorite Dickens, and I feel bad I couldn't like it.

Started Author, Author by David Lodge.

Apr 25, 10:31am

I am starting Klara and the Sun.

Apr 25, 10:36am

Finished Margaret Verble's When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky, Bernhard Schlink's Olga, and Amor Towles's The Lincoln Highway. Now about to start Uwem Akpan's upcoming New York, My Village.

Apr 25, 6:21pm

>188 lisapeet: oh man you have three books I have been eager to read and you already read aother, Matrix. Jealous!! I'll just have to wait for them to come out.

Now reading Antigone Rising Wondrous Journeys in Strange lands and finishing up Flying Classroom

Apr 26, 3:48am

I am reading Fires on the Plain by Shohei Ooka

Apr 26, 8:25am

Finished Lolita Saturday night, and this morning I opened Ali Smith’s Summer. I had trouble with Lolita’s language and structure. Summer is, so far, better for my mood.

Apr 26, 8:31am

I was looking for a book that I could finish before the end of April and settled on Disappearing Earth. I struggled with the first chapter (anyone who knows what's it about will know why) so I put it aside for a bit, but am now back into it.

Apr 26, 11:09am

>190 baswood:
Yes yes yes!!! One of my favorites ever!

Apr 26, 11:18am

April has been a very good reading month -- 10 books, which is a lot for me, even if many of them were less than 200 pages. Most recently I've finished a couple of lighter genre novels: Magpie Murders and Mexican Gothic which were a nice antidote to the longer, drearier The Unknown Soldier.

Apr 27, 2:03am

I finished Anxious People yesterday, which I loved in the end, and had my book club meeting on it tonight. I think every one of us struggled with the beginning-middle because the characters were more obnoxious than anxious. But with a purpose. It all came together at the end. This would be a good novel to reread, I think. Anyway, not sure what fiction will be next, but I have a few non-fiction going to focus on for now.

Apr 27, 5:56am

Apr 27, 7:08am

I've had a bit of a hiatus lately, but I've finished another sixties DDR workplace novel, this time set mostly in a school staffroom, Pause für Wanzka.

Started a re-read of Beloved in my Morrisonade.

Apr 27, 4:20pm

I'm not sure what-all I've read since I last checked in here, but I'm currently reading Enchanted Pilgrimage by Clifford Simak, a very forgettable fantasy novel from the 1970s.

Apr 27, 4:27pm

Finished Fatal Fried Rice and Midwinter Murder, currently reading The Amish Cowboy's Homecoming.

Modificato: Apr 27, 6:23pm

Finisihed Piranesi, which was just OK for me. I'm not a fan of fantasy or mysteries.

I just started The Souvenir Museum, a collection of short stories by Elizabeth McCracken, and I'm about halfway through The welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies.

Apr 28, 6:23pm

I am reading The log from the sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck. It arrived in the post earlier today.

Apr 29, 6:57am

On audio, I finished Caste, and started Thomas Cromwell: A Revolutionary Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch. (Recommended by AnnieMod).

Apr 29, 10:36am

>202 dchaikin: Ive got that ordered. Will be interested to read your thoughts
Questa conversazione è stata continuata da WHAT ARE YOU READING? - Part 4.