What are you reading the week of January 23, 2021?

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What are you reading the week of January 23, 2021?

Bewerkt: jan 23, 12:35am

The Madman of Bergerac was one of the better Maigret mysteries.

Now I'm about halfway through Dostoevsky's The Idiot. I've had this book on my shelf for years, but I just kept avoiding it. Now I'm glad that I've started it. It's much better than I had anticipated. I think that if I was going to introduce someone to Dostoevsky, then I would start them off with this book. It draws you into a nice comfortable middle class Russian life before it unleashes all the tormented inner demons of it's characters. Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov drop you right into the middle of all the sturm und drang. The Idiot lets you wade out into the warm, peaceful waters before you get caught in the riptide.

Bewerkt: jan 23, 12:37am

Finished Black Bottom Saints.

Next up for listening is The Arsonist: A Mind On Fire by Chloe Hooper.

Bewerkt: jan 23, 7:42am

Glory in Death: In Death, Book 2
by J. D. Robb
(OverDrive Kindle/another 'Eve Dallas' revisit for me)

jan 23, 10:03am

I'm halfway through Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King. So far it keeps getting better and better...

jan 23, 11:37am

Still reading Middlemarch but I am making progress. Now 3/4 through and quite enjoying it.

jan 23, 1:06pm

I finished Look Down on Her Dying, the fourth book in Don Tracy's Giff Speer series, an obscure pulp crime series from the 1960s. It's a fun series, but the plots are getting a bit repetitive and the misogyny is by now discouraging. I'm going to give the series one more go, and if neither of these elements relents (especially the former), that will be that.

I'm now finally reading Hamnet.

jan 23, 5:26pm

jan 23, 10:10pm

>1 fredbacon: I think it was you who made me aware of the Maigret books, Fred, and thank you. I don't think I have that one but I'll make note of it!

After three false book starts, I think I've settled on Alice Munro's The Beggar Maid. It's been too long since I've read her.

jan 24, 9:07am

I flew through Carmen Maria Machado's In the Dream House yesterday. It's a powerful memoir of abuse and self worth. Thought provoking, darkly funny and shines a light on a kind of abuse that doesn't always leave physical marks. It seems strange to write, "I really enjoyed it" but I did.

jan 24, 9:02pm

>9 Copperskye: I'm really fond of the Maigret books. My nephew turned me on to them. There are about 100 of them, so they'll keep me reading for years.

jan 24, 11:03pm

Audiobook: listening to Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill about the inner workings of Scientology and her escape from their clutches. Very interesting so far.

Fiction: Between books, but I think I'll read Ella Minnow Pea next.

Non-fiction: Still reading, bit by bit, Jane Austen's England, which is fascinating, but not written in a manner that supports sitting down and reading it in chunks.

jan 25, 8:19am

Finished The Queen's Gambit yesterday which was kind of slow. I loved the Netflix show and they stayed true to the book except for just a few bits which were not important to the story but this book took over a month to finish.

Started The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue which is a beautifully written tale spanning centuries and through the countryside of France, and cities like Paris and NY. It all starts with a deal she made with the wrong god after dark...

jan 25, 3:50pm

Flash And Bones – Kathy Reichs
Digital audiobook performed by Barbara Rosenblat

Book # 14 in the very popular Temperance Brennan mystery series, featuring the forensic anthropologist who splits her time between Quebec and North Carolina. This one is firmly rooted in the USA, and begins when a 50-gal barrel is unearthed, and a hand is noted to be sticking out of the set asphalt which fills said container. This is just prior to the big NASCAR race at the Charlotte track and there’s some urgency to solve the case. Or is there? Before Dr Brennan can get the answers to the puzzle of this old corpse, the FBI swoops in, confiscates the remains and somehow makes all the records go “poof.”

Reichs is great at plotting intricate mysteries and this is no exception. There are plenty of twists and turns, old and new murders to consider, red herrings and suspects galore. Tempe is her usual self – smart, determined, able to hold her own, but also prone to walking into dangerous situations without appropriate preparation or back-up. Never fear, Reichs always provides a strong man to get Dr Brennan out of the trouble she’s gotten herself into.

Barbara Rosenblat does a fine job of narrating the audio version. She sets a good pace and has clear diction, so she’s understandable even at an increased speed.

jan 26, 6:38pm

Hi, I’m Diane,new to Library thing and to this group. This week I’m reading:

E.O.Wilson: On Human Nature
Fredrik Logevall: Embers of War
Octavia Butler: The Parable of the Sower

I finished Shirley Ann Grau’s Keepers of the House, a Pulitzer winning novel about family and racism in Alabama. I thought this novel very fine and look forward to reading Grau’s other works. On Human Nature is proving very interesting and surprisingly (for me) very readable. In it Wilson, a sociobiologist, deals with the genetic factors controlling human behavior. In the nature vs. nurture question, he definitely sides with nature. So far what I’m learning about the relationship between genes and human traits is fasciating. Embers of War is a detailed study of the years that led up to the Vietnam war’s becoming the American War. Logevall is an excellent historian and writer, and I am seeing this war, the first one of my lifetime, from a new perspective—what Logevall calls the “international” perspective. I have just begun Parable, but like Butler’s other books I’ve read, it has already pulled me thoroughly into the story. I expect it will be a great read. Happy reading to all!

jan 27, 11:37am

Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff
Michael Nesmith
3.5/5 stars
Probably best known to older generations as one of The Monkees, Nesmith writes about his life which included his stint on The Monkees. After the show ended, he continued to work in the TV and movie industry but he also fought to find meaning in his life. There is also a CD that has some of Nesmith’s music on it called Infinite Tuesday: Autobiographical Riffs The Music but it doesn’t come with the book.

Bewerkt: jan 27, 12:36pm

>16 JulieLill: Did you enjoy reading the book? I see you gave it 3.5 stars, which to me is about a B or B+. In addition to continuing to work in TV and movies, Nesmith, as of course you know from the book, also continued making music, and became a well respected country/country-rock/Americana song writer and performer. He could never shake the "former-Monkees" label and so was essentially ignored by the media and music industry, but among musicians and a small segment of the music-loving public, his reputation was pretty high. Rick Nelson was actually in the same category, there.

jan 27, 1:54pm

Finished Triumff, by Dan Abnett and found it only moderately amusing. There are some echoes of Sir Terry Pratchett's Discworld, but Pratchett did it much better.

Fell back on Robert B. Parker for some comfort reading with a Spenser novel, Pale Kings and Princes. No big surprises here, but that's not what Spenser fans are looking for. We just want to hang out with him and Hawk and Susan.

Will be starting Jodi Picoult's Leaving Time. I have always enjoyed her stuff.

January is shaping up to be an 11-book month, but nothing superfantastic has leaped from the pool so far.

jan 27, 2:21pm

>15 dianelouise100: Welcome to Library Thing and to this group. They've both been a part of my life for over 12 years and I've certainly enjoyed it.

Bewerkt: jan 27, 2:21pm

Finished The Color of Law.

Next up for reading is My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent.

jan 27, 2:23pm

I finally did it. I finished Middlemarch which I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm going to miss it. It was a pleasant insightful companion. My next book is an LTER, Creatures of Passage which sounds somewhere near the edge of what I normally like so we'll see how that goes.

jan 27, 2:55pm

I finished the admirable Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell. I found myself somewhat impatient while reading the book's first half, but wholly drawn in and invested once I passed that halfway mark. If interested, you can find my review on the book's work page or on my 50-Book Challenge thread.

I've now started Ways of Escape, Graham Greene's second autobiography. In the first, A Sort of Life, which I haven't read, Greene covers his early life up to about age 27. So this is perfect for me, as I am generally bored by the early, childhood, chapters of most biographies and autobiographies. I realize that's a failing of my own, not of the {auto}biographers, but there it is.

Bewerkt: jan 28, 1:40am

Finished listening to The Arsonist: A Mind On Fire by Chloe Hooper.

Next up for listening is The Liar's Dictionary by Eley Williams.

jan 28, 1:15pm

>15 dianelouise100: Welcome to the group and to LT!

I finished Ella Minnow Pea. The story I found rather bland, but I was really fascinated by the recurring theme of the power of language and what happens when free speech is curtailed.

Yesterday I read The Innocents by Newfoundland writer Michael Crummey. My goodness, the language use was practically poetry, and was spiced up by Newfoundland word usage. However, I didn't like the story much at all. I'm not a fan of reading about privation, about incest, about hunting and skinning and gutting animals, and I was repelled many times. Still, I would definitely read more by this talented writer.

Today, if this headache ever leaves me alone, I'm going to start V.S. Naipaul's A Bend in the River. I've read Naipaul before - A House for Mr. Biswas is one of the finest books I've ever encountered, and I'm really looking forward to engaging again with his writing.

Bewerkt: jan 28, 1:49pm

>17 rocketjk: This book is not all about his musical/TV career which I found very interesting. Parts of the book dragged for me as he lengthily talked about his quest to find a set of principles to live by and discussed his exploration of religion. But overall, I enjoyed it!

jan 28, 6:39pm

Under the Mercy Trees – Heather Newton

From the book jacket Thirty years ago, Martin Owenby came to New York City with dreams of becoming a writer. Now his existence revolves around cheap Scotch and weekend flings with equally damaged men. When he learns that his older brother, Leon, has gone missing, he must return to the Owenby farm in Solace Fork, North Carolina, to assist in the search. But that means facing a past filled with regrets, the family that never understood him, the girl whose heart he broke, and the best friend who has faithfully kept the home fires burning.

My reactions:
Oh, what a tangled web we weave… I’m not sure what I was thinking, even from reading the book jacket, but this was quite a bit darker than I expected. There are so many things going on, so many “secrets” (most of which are known to family and even the rest of the residents of this small town), so many betrayals. We have people consumed by alcohol (and/or drugs), mean-spirited control freaks, unfaithful spouses, guilty consciences, mental (and physical) illness and abject loneliness that comes with keeping all that bottled up. I’m exhausted by the effort required by these characters to hide so much and still co-exist in such tight quarters.

Martin is such a broken man, whose early promise has never been realized. I cannot help but think of the analogy of a basket of crabs … you don’t need a cover because if any one of the crabs tries to crawl out, the others will just drag it back into the basket. In this case it is Martin’s family situation, his loyalty to his mother, his guilt for leaving her, his shame for being who he is, a gay man in a time and place that will not tolerate such “aberration and sin.” He is so broken that he cannot even accept the love of his two loyal friends from high school – Liza and Hodge – who still love him for who he is despite his efforts to run from them.

And Martin’s sister, Ivy, is a marvelous character. Gifted (or cursed) with an ability to see and communicate with ghosts, she’s discounted by the townspeople and her family as insane and/or stupid. She is virtually invisible, mostly because no one wants to see her. As a result she’s a great observer and keeper of secrets.

As for the mystery of Martin’s missing older brother … Newton surprised me with several of the plot twists.

This is her only novel. I wish there were more for me to read.

jan 29, 4:09am

I have just finished reading the novel Dracula by author Bram Stoker.


jan 29, 7:51am

The Duke and I
by Julia Quinn

(Bridgertons, book 1/OverDrive audio)

jan 29, 9:42am

jan 29, 12:01pm

This week I'm simul-reading a bunch of books because...I couldn't focus on just one? There are too many extra-long books I'm in the middle of, but I do want to finish in a timely fashion to keep myself on track for a reading challenge. So the plan is to finish all of them and then let myself rest for a week or so.

I'm listening to the Sense and Sensibility audiobook with Rosamund Pike narrating- I'm enjoying the satire and wit of this particular Austen work much more than the ones I'd read previously (I'd read Pride & Prejudice and Emma before this one.) Perhaps I'm finally falling into the right headspace for Austen- I'd found Emma to be a little TOO comedy-of-errors to enjoy and reading Pride & Prejudice, while a wonderful book, I was too invested in Elizabeth and Darcy's arc to notice the satire bits (what can I say? I love a good love story!) But Elinor and Marianne are SUCH a great pair of siblings and I think Austen really hit the nail on the head with the way their relationship is portrayed.

The other audiobook I'm listening to is To Say Nothing of the Dog (the second Oxford Time Travel book by Connie Willis). It's a definite tonal shift from Doomsday Book (the first installment), but so far I'm enjoying it! I'm excited to find out if Willis can pull off humor as well as she does 'serious' sci-fi. I am having some difficulty parsing the first-person narrative however- there is a whole lot of unreliable narration occurring from time-travel-related mental incapacitation that just leaves me saying 'wait, WHAT just happened??' and having to go back over it.

I'm reading my paperback of The Goldfinch that I've been slogging through in fits and starts since, god, April of last year? It is...not Donna Tartt's best work by a *beep*ing longshot. I keep picking it back up, hoping that it's no longer about a creepy teenage boy obsessing over a girl and a painting and then throwing it back down in frustration. My plan is to finish it out of spite and then throw it directly into a woodchipper. UGH.

I'm also re-reading Howl's Moving Castle because I splurged on the Folio Society illustrated edition and it's a great excuse to re-read a book I've loved for the gazillionth time whilst mooning at all the pretty pictures. I'm also listening to the audiobook (though I'm not a fan of the narrator because she's a slower reader than I would prefer. I'm listening to it on 1.5x speed instead.)

jan 29, 12:46pm

Just finished the amazing fantastical The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. Highly recommended and just what I needed to get out of a semi-reading slump. I only wished the story would go on and on...

Bewerkt: jan 29, 8:38pm

Just finished reading the excellent My Absolute Darling.

Next up for reading is CoDex 1962 by Sjón.

jan 29, 8:43pm

Just finished The Forger's Daughter by Bradford Morrow. Just ok. Would be good if you are interested in rare books, Edgar Allen Poe's Tamerlane, how to print forgeries, age paper, and fake signatures, but if you are just looking for a good mystery - meh. The husband and wife protagonists were pretty clueless about dealing with a (deranged) criminal forger - especially since the husband was a forger himself - but the daughter saves them.

Now reading American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodward. Not my usual far but am enjoying it so far. Only in the 1600's but it is surprising (or maybe not) that cultures that were established early persist until today. But will probably take a break to satisfy my jones for another crime/mystery

jan 29, 11:33pm

Elevation – Stephen King
Digital audiobook read by the author

Scott Carey is losing weight, and he confides in his old friend, a retired physician about his unusual symptoms. Divorced, he’s living with just his cat. He’s started a bit of a feud with two new neighbors – Deirdre McComb and her wife Missy Donaldson – because their dogs “leave presents” on his lawn. But it seems that other people in their small town of Castle Rock, Maine, have a problem with the women because they are lesbians. When Scott overhears some derogatory remarks about the women’s new restaurant, he comes to their defense.

This was a delightful novella with an unusual plot device, but that focuses on human kindness and respect. King gives us a lesson on what it means to be a good neighbor, and how to support one another despite our differences. I like the way that they slowly come to know one another and resolve their conflicts. The ending of Scott’s tale is poignant and heartfelt.

The edition I had also included a bonus short story – ”Laurie” – about a widower whose sister gives him a puppy and how he begins to slowly make his way back to the living as a result. Unlike most of King’s work, rather than set this one in Maine, it takes place in the Florida. It has nothing to do with horror or science fiction, though grief and natural predators can be horrific. It reminds me how well King writes his characters; how he reveals their strengths and flaws through their actions.

King reads the audio version himself. He’s not a trained voice artist, but he certainly knows what he wants to say, and he does a respectable job of the narration.

jan 30, 12:04am

The new thread is up over here.