Monday, January 14, 2019

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (left to right):

  • Wunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein - from Crown Publishing, for review
  • Cruising Paradise (short stories) by Sam Shepard - purchased
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer - from local Little Free Library

Wunderland is a title I signed up to review via Shelf Awareness. And then I squeezed my eyes, held my breath, and crossed my fingers that I'd receive a copy so there may have been squealing when I opened the manila envelope. I read The Gods of Heavenly Punishment by Epstein and can still remember scenes from it, years later, so Wunderland was way up there on my list of 2019 titles to look forward to. Getting to read it pre-publication is just icing on the cake. I don't have to wait for its release! Woot!

The Sam Shepard title, Cruising Paradise, was chosen at random for one of my 2019 reading goals. In 2018, I bought several titles by people who died shortly after their purchases. Shepard is already gone, of course, but I'd planned to read the titles I purchased in 2018 for a Recently Dead Guys personal reading challenge and I've wanted to read something by Sam Shepard. So, I went ahead and chose a book at random, mostly based on reviews, to add to the challenge pile. I'll probably read Cruising Paradise right away because I've been trying to keep a collection of short stories going at all times, in the past couple of months. I love short stories.

The Interestings is a beat-up mess, so I had to move the camera a bit to the left to avoid showing the curled-up cover, but it was a lucky find at our local Little Free Library. The city posted a photo on their Facebook page saying the Little Free Library box was full, complete with photo, and I saw a title by an author I love. The photo must have been old. None of the titles in that photo were in the LFL. But, The Interestings was in there and I've wanted to read that for a while. I'll return it and add a couple other titles (whatever will fit -- our LFL is pretty much always filled to overflowing), when I've read the book.

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • Splinterlands by John Feffer
  • Fighting Fascism: How to Struggle and How to Win by Clara Zetkin, ed. by M. Taber and J. Riddell
  • Soon: What Science, Philosophy, Religion, and History Teach Us about the Surprising Power of Procrastination by Andrew Santella
  • 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do by Amy Morin

As usual, January has been a Read Till Your Eyes Cross kind of month. I almost always read more books in January than any other month of the year. Then, I burn out a bit and slow down. But, I can't help it. After the reading desert that is the holiday season, I'm always ready to dive in and not come up for air for a month. I am really enjoying myself. 

Currently reading:

  • The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson
  • Howard's End by E. M. Forster
  • The Free Speech Century by Lee Bollinger and Geoffrey Stone

I'm about 3/4 of the way through The Gown and enjoying it immensely. Howard's End will be my first classic of 2019. I'll mention my reading goals for 2019, tomorrow, but I'm hoping to get back to reading a classic per month, most months. I've only read one other Forster: A Passage to India. I loved it, so I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get back to him. So far, Howard's End is a delight. I've really only just begun to read it (and I've never seen the movie, so I had no idea what I was getting into). I've also just begun to read The Free Speech Century, which is both a celebration of 100 years of free speech and an analysis of the meaning of free speech, what's been argued about it in the courts, and how the potential limits of free speech are being tested by social media. I'm also not far into this one but so far, so good.

Posts since last Malarkey:

I'm done with 2018 (apart from *maybe, possibly* a wrap-up post of 2018, but I haven't worked on that, yet, so I can't say if it'll happen), so next up will be a post about my plans for 2019 and then I'll start diving into reviews of books I've read in 2019. I've read a lot, this year, but everything has been pretty memorable, so far, so I don't feel intimidated by the fact that I've got 8 reviews to write -- and that number will turn to 9 if I finish The Gown, tonight. 

In other news:

Hmm, I don't think there's much other news. apart from the fact that Saturday evening was Paint Night -- always a joy. Everyone who was here for Christmas is now back at work, home, or school. It's a bit of a shock, but I tend to like my alone time so I've decided today can be a day of adjustment (Kiddo just left yesterday, so this is really the first time I've been completely on my own for an entire day in 3 or 4 weeks). Tomorrow, I'll make myself get back into my normal routine (updated for 2019). Hope the start of your year has been a terrific one, so far.

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  1. I got a copy of Wunderland, too. I really enjoyed The Painter from Shanghai. I'll have to track down a copy of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment, too.

    The Gown is great. I've meant to get a review of that up on my blog, but my blogging left something to be desired for, well, all of last year. Here's hoping I can turn it around this year!

    1. I haven't read The Painter from Shanghai. I'll have to seek out a copy of that one. Definitely read The Gods of Heavenly Punishment. It was one of those rare books that really stuck with me. I'm glad I decided I couldn't part with it. I may revisit it, someday.

      Good luck getting back into the swing of blogging! I know how that goes. Sometimes I step away for a while and I always find it difficult to get back into a routine. I finished The Gown, last night. It's a lovely story. I wasn't sure the modern story even needed to be in there, as I was reading, but in the end I decided it was definitely pleasing to know what became of Miriam and the ending was very moving, so I'm glad she wrote it that way.


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