*** What Are You Reading Now? - Part 2
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So what is everyone reading in mid-February?
PS: For the ones that don't like Valentine's day, today is also the day of the grape growers in Bulgaria (also known as the wine day). For people that keep vines, it is the day when you are supposed to cut them for the season and prepare them for the spring. For the rest of the country, it is just "Wine Day". :)
I'm also about half way done with A House Full of Females about women's right and early Mormonism by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Not a topic I'd usually chose, but I love Ulrich's interesting nonfiction.
Started The endless summer by the Danish writer Madame Nielsen. It’s another one from Sjón’s Nordic must-read list, just recently translated, but feels very slight so far...
Then there's non-fiction. I received Endurance by Frank Worsley for my birthday, and I plan on starting it either today or tomorrow. I want to read it before my book group meets in March; we are discussing the Alfred Lansing title of the same name. I read that in December, so I am going with a companion read.
So now I’ve started one of the thickest and heaviest tomes on my TBR shelf, Mr Myombekere and his wife Bugonoka, their son Ntulanalwo and daughter Bulihwali. Looks interesting, but I thought that already when I bought it eight years ago. Is it interesting enough to make it through the best part of 700 large pages?
No trouble finding the right touchstone for that one, anyway - there must be fifty books with titles like Endless summer .
Finished White Houses (and cried), now reading Southernmost by Silas House. I read a few of his early books Clay's Quilt and A Parchment of Leaves a long time ago.
I've just finished another collection of retold fairy tales, this one Black Heart, Ivory Bones. Also finished The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, about a woman who travels through her parallel lives after undergoing electroshock treatment, which I've had kicking around on my Kindle for way too long. It was pretty good -- a comfort read, I think, rather than anything particularly challenging.
Still working on Stamped From the Beginning and now listening to Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton biography on audiobook. This is another one I've had sitting for years at this point. Trying to clean out the backlog, though it hasn't prevented me from buying or wishlisting more, sigh.
I have two more of them still on my TBR shelves, so I think I'll probably read those and then stop. Unless my friend who's still reading the series gives me more of them. In which case I may never be able to quit.
Now I'm reading I Refuse by Per Petterson and Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley.
I also just picked up Mrs. Osmond from the library after Cariola's review. I read the first few pages and I'm looking forward to it.
I'm halfway through The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton and it's wonderful.
I've begun Tampa by Alissa Nutting, which AlisonY reminded me of, and The Facts of Life and Death by Belinda Bauer.
I thought this was the last book of the series but it turns out there's a fourth one that isn't out yet. I don't know if I would have kept reading the series had I known that...
Moving forward, I'm trying to wrap up some of the non-fiction books I've had in train for a couple years now and also dealing with the fact that basically all the books I had on hold at the e-library came in at the same time. Red Clocks was the first of that haul, now turning to The Book of Speculation, which I read about on ursula's thread. She didn't ultimately like it that much, but it contains so many elements that I can't resist--parallel timelines, family secrets, circus performers, magical realist elements--that I decided to risk it. After that I will probably do Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman, which I can hopefully finish before it's due back at the library.
Finally, I'm trying to decide whether to give up on Neal Stephenson's Reamde. It's not at all my usual kind of thing -- an international kidnapping caper and crime spree set off by hackers targeting players of an online multi-player game -- but I wanted to give something by this author a try. I'm halfway through and it's just not doing it for me though. (And it's quite long.)
ebook: The Judgement of Richard Richter
audiobook: The Widows of Malabar Hill (A Mystery of 1920s Bombay)
paper book: The Whitehouse: A History of Architecture and Design
And...I can't get the touchstones to work at all!
I am also reading two short novellas by Émil Zola Pour une nuit d'amour and L'Inondation
I'm now reading The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill, which I'm very much enjoying. It's shaping up to be one of those kids' books I wish I'd had as a kid, but am glad to read as an adult.
I'm still reading Tampa by Alissa Nutting, which is Humbert Humbert reimagined as a 26 year old female middle school teacher. It's quite the book.
Promise by Minrose Gwin is the book I'm reading for my book club. It's about a tornado that ripped through Tupelo, MS in 1936, destroying half the town.
Sunburn is the best book Laura Lippman has written, being very well imagined noir.
And, finally, I'm reading An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. I'm not very far into it, but so far it seems as though it fully deserves all the attention it's getting.
Had started King Lear, but it's one of my least favorite of Shakespeare's plays. I have read and seen it too many times. Something about Cordelia. So putting it off.
I've finished The Book of Speculation, So You Want to Talk About Race, and Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman. I've just had Andy Weir's Artemis, Elif Batuman's The Idiot, and Hideo Yokoyama's Six Four all come available at the elibrary at the same time, so I'll be picking one of those to start next, along with my longer in progress non-fiction books.
Last night I started Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao. I loved her collection of interwoven stories, An Unrestored Woman, and this novel promises to be just as good.
I'm rather stalled on The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce. It's a good enough book, but I have been reading a lot of amazing heavyweights lately, and this one is pretty lightweight.
>94 Cariola: Go, went, gone has been on my list for ages - I really must get to it.
ETA: OK, the spoilers are also in the backcover book description, so that gives her an excuse. But still, I would have liked not to know that...
National Book Circle Critics Awards, 2018
Fiction: Improvements, Joan Silber
Nonfiction: The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances Fitzgerald
Poetry - Whereas by Layli Long Soldier
Best First Book - Her Body and Other Parties, Maria Machado
Best Criticism ; You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks & Other Mixed Messages by Carina Chocano.
Autobiography: Nine Continents: A Memoir in and out of China by Xiaolu Guo
I've officially given up on Neal Stephenson's Reamde, which is just not my thing, and am setting aside Andy Weir's Artemis for now because I've got a ridiculous number of books on my plate and it's just not calling me the way other things are.
Next up: Elif Batuman's The Idiot.
>103 fannyprice:, Glad I am not the only one who has given up on Neal Stephenson. Cryptonomicon. The landscaping was interesting, but geez Louise, get to a fricking PLOT. I guess Stephenson designs video games, so maybe gamers like this type of thing. I was brought up on pinball ...
Next year, I'm only going to read novellas.
Some nonfiction: Those Turbulent Sons of Freedom: Ethan Allen's Green Mountain Boys and the American Revolution by Christopher S. Wren, and the 4th installment of Ragnar Jonasson's Icelandic crime series titled Rupture. The first, Snowblind, has just come out in the US in paperback. And finally a poetry collection, Instructions, Abject & Fuming by Julianna Baggott.
However, I am fond of novellas and short novels. It takes some skill to write at that length in the some way it takes a certain skill to write good short stories. I'm less sure whether it takes skill to write a long book, sometimes it's a masterpiece and other times it lacks an editor, you know?
And now I'm a few pages into Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde. The geekiness of which is definitely relevant to my interests, but the teen romance might not be. We'll see how I end up feeling about it.
>106 nohrt4me2:, I love this: "it borders on arrogant". For me it all depends on how well the book is executed and whether the length starts to feel like filler.
>106 nohrt4me2:, >108 avaland:, The lovely thing about a well-done short story or novella is how they leave you wanting more but are not incomplete.
I do find in general that I am much less aware of how long books are now that I do most of my reading as ebooks. Even though there's the "percentage read" indicator, I am sometimes surprised when a book ends (or, on the negative side, wondering how I can possibly only be at 50%).
>112 nohrt4me2:, I think books in a series are prone to bloating, especially once an author hits big with said series. Some of the later Harry Potter books definitely needed a more heavy-handed editor, but who's going to tell JK Rowling to write less? lol
I’ve got another Annie Ernaux novel and Jenny Erpenbeck’s Gehen, ging, gegangen out of the library- not sure which will be next.
I'm still reading The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. I'm going slower as I get near the end, both because I don't want it to end and because it's not a book suited to carrying around with me from place to place.
I'm also reading An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris, both of which are engrossing in very different ways.
I'm now reading Harvest of Stars by Poul Anderson, but I'm less than 80 pages in (out of more than 500) and I'm already finding it a bit of a slog.
I enjoyed Gehen, ging, gegangen a lot more, and while I was in an East Berlin mood also read and enjoyed Katja Lange-Müller's Verfrühte Tierliebe.
Currently reading something completely different, De eerste wandelaar, a fascinating book about Jacobus Craandijk, the Mennonite minister whose walking guides published in the 1870s stimulated the Dutch middle-classes to go out and explore their own country.
i may pick up the new Jim Crace and a bio of Jane Aadams...or.....
Funny thing, I was looking at some of my early reviews done for LT (the early ones were often just 3 or 4 lines) and came across the one for the Silber collection, the linked stories, 2006 or before. I forget the title now.
Silber won the award for Fiction for her book of linked stories, Improvement. Last month, she also won the National Book Critics Circle fiction prize for Improvement. The story is one told from multiple points of view, circling a single mother living in New York with a boyfriend who conducts a cigarette smuggling scheme.
I am reading Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie because I loved her Home Fire. So far it is good but less gripping. On audio I am listening to Bleak House. I am having a hard time to keep concentrated.
*WINNER FOR THE 2018 PEN/FAULKNER AWARD FOR FICTION (as you note!)
*WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR FICTION (as you also note!)
Then there is:
*Named 1 of 50 Notable Works of Fiction in 2017 by The Washington Post
*Named 1 of 10 Top Fiction Titles of 2017 by the Wall Street Journal
*A Newsday Best Book of 2017
*A Kirkus Best Book of 2017
8A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice
Not sure where I’m going next, but there’s a mound of library books due back next week...
Over the weekend, I finished Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters, which was much fun, and Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood. I guess I'm just not a big O'Connor fan.
Still working on Salt Houses by Hala Alyan, but I will probably be putting it aside as the new Madeline Miller novel, Circe, downloaded to my kindle last night.
Out of Bounds by Val McDermid, some poetry by Ron Rash and Carol Duffy (ADORE Carol Ann Duffy!) and An Extraordinary Ordinary Woman: The Journal of Phebe Orvis, 1820-1830 presented by Susan M Ouellette. I've had the latter on my wishlist for quite a long while and I thought it time to release it from wishlist captivity.
I've also recently finished A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic's Wild Ride to the Edge and Back by Kevin Hazzard, which is one of those books where I want to say I enjoyed it, and then immediately feel weird about using the word "enjoy," because the subject matter isn't exactly fun.
And I'm now reading Sacre Bleu by Christpopher Moore, which is okay, I guess, but is not entertaining me nearly as much as some of his earlier books.