Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday Malarkey

Almost September! Who is feeling just a little bit woozy from the quick passage of time? Here's hoping that the rest of 2016 is a little calmer than what we've experienced, so far.

New arrivals:

  • Killfile by Christopher Farnsworth - from HarperCollins for review

Yes, just one book arrived, this week! Good. Needed to even out the influx after last week's arrivals. OK, having just finished that sentence, two more books arrived - both books that I ordered:

  • Easy Street by Ron Perlman - Who, surprisingly, follows me on Twitter. I suspect he followed me because I'm a book blogger, although his book was not yet at press when he did so and nobody offered his book to me (unless I missed an offer, somewhere - sometimes they do disappear into the spam file and I never see them; I don't check the spam file often enough). At any rate, the book sounded interesting from the beginning and has gotten very positive reviews so curiosity won out. 
  • A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines - My F2F group's November selection.

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • 14 Seconds to Hell by Nick Carter - Nick Carter is the spy in 14 Seconds to Hell but if you try to look up the book, he's billed as the author. The copyright is held by the publisher so there's no telling who wrote the book. At any rate, it's a crazy 60s-era pulp fiction spy thriller. 
  • Kid Artists by Stabler and Horner - Mini bios about artists when they were young, already reviewed. 

Currently reading:

  • A Square Meal by Coe and Ziegelman - I made some significant progress on A Square Meal, last night, and have decided I need to get going on finishing this book so I can move on to a couple other non-fiction titles that have been waiting a bit too long. Still enjoying it. Learning to loathe President Hoover for refusing to distribute food to citizens who were literally starving to death. His talking points remind me a bit of Paul Ryan's. 
  • Wonder Women by Sam Maggs - A book about women who have made major contributions, particularly in the science, technology, engineering and math fields but with a few others thrown in. Very modern and accessible, stylistically. I'm enjoying this book. I asked my husband if he knew the first computer program was written by a woman and he said, "Was her name Ada something?" "Yes," I replied. He told me there's a computer language named after her, "It's not a very good language, though." Many of the women in this book worked unpaid or were not credited for their discoveries. They were also treated rather badly, although if one was fortunate enough to have a male championing her skills, the situation typically improved.
  • Commonwealth by Ann Patchett - Patchett's new to me and I'm impressed. Commonwealth is the story of several generations of a combined family and how the divorce and remarriage that blended their families reverberated through the generations. I can't even figure out why it's so compelling; it just is. I think maybe it's because the storytelling is so honest, the characters true to life in a way that makes you visualize them as real people, not just characters. I'm a little under halfway through Commonwealth.
  • Intimations: Stories by Alexandra Kleeman - A book of quirky short stories. I read the first one and found it so baffling that I looked up an interview with the author about the story, "Fairy Tale", which was originally published in The Paris Review. I still don't get it. It was more eerily reminiscent of a nightmare than a fairy tale, to me (at least, it reminded me of some of my own nightmares). Elsewhere, someone described her stories as allegories. Truly, I may just be too dim to understand what she's trying to say. I'll keep going, though. 

Last week's posts:

In other news:

I'm not entirely prepared to declare my reading slump over for good but it sure appears to be done. I typically balance 3-5 books when I'm reading at my normal rate and right now 4 books have bookmarks in them. That's just about right. I'm feeling very upbeat about my reading, at the moment. How is your reading going? Read anything fabulous, lately?

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  1. Hmmm, a bunch of these sound interesting. I'll have to investigate them. I need an extraordinary book to read. Every book I've read lately is ho hum.

    1. Have you read Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans, Jenny? It's so good. Crooked Heart, Simon Van Booy's The Secret Lives of People in Love and Love Begins in Winter, The Book Thief, and Good Evening, Mrs. Craven by Molly Panter-Jones are probably the top 5 books I've recommended the most during my time as a blogger - the books I will happily return to over and over and over again. I've also found that sometimes when nothing else is working it's good to dig out a classic novel.

  2. I am glad that your reading slump is over!

    1. Thanks! I'm not ready to declare it 100% over (fear of jinxing) but I'm on the verge. :)

  3. Glad to hear Commonwealth is grabbing your attention. I'm about halfway through The Woman in Cabin 10 (pretty good) and listening to They Don't Mean To, But They Do (also pretty good). Next up, Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave.

    1. I can see why the beginning pages of Commonwealth might have put you off. I had to reread the first page a couple times and then it took me some time to get the rhythm of the writing and I've loved it, since. Hopefully, you'll love it when you get back to it (fingers crossed).

      I've been seeing The Woman in Cabin 10 *everywhere*. Glad you're enjoying it. Lots of chatter about Everyone Brave is Forgiven, too. We're reading Little Bee for F2F discussion soon - October, I think. I just started a book that landed on my doorstep this morning, the memoir of a young woman who was raped on her second night of college and decided to walk the entire Pacific Crest Trail (before Cheryl Strayed's Wild came out). She had me in tears, a little bit ago - had to step away to fix lunch and dry my eyes.

  4. Glad to hear you conquered the reading slump! No book lover deserves to go through one. But isn't it an amazing feeling when you get over it and begin to enjoy books again?
    Woah, the cover for Killerfile is so killer! ;p
    I'm impressed that you can read 4 books at once...I could never do that comfortably. lol I can barely handle two - 1 novel and 1 graphic novel or audiobook.

    1. Yes, absolutely, it's wonderful when you finally get back to reading and having fun after a slump. I am relieved!!

      I agree with you about the Killfile cover. It's a grabber. Hope the interior is as good. :)

      Seems like the desire and/or ability to balance a bunch of books at once varies a lot from person to person. With me, it's more of a matter of having lousy attention than anything else. Meaning, when I'm reading at my normal pace, I get tired of one story at around 50-75 pages and want a break from it. I do have to be careful not to read two books that are too similar at the same time or I'll get them mixed up, but I can balance as many as about 6 without having any trouble remembering what's going on in every book and I'm just happier when I have a bunch of different books going. Whatever works, right?


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