What are you reading the week of November 3, 2018?
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I've been fighting a cascading series of computer failures at work all week. No time to read. I'm heading into my office.
>1 fredbacon: Thanks for starting us off, Fred. I'm sorry that you've had to spend a week battling technology, and I hope it gets sorted soon.
My reading week:
1) Reading One of Us: Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway on and off. I have a hard time concentrating on non-fiction steadily, even if it's as well-written as this is.
2) Read Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables. If it had been a longer book I never would have finished it. It was the most boring classic novel I've ever read. I was surprised because I enjoyed The Scarlet Letter very much.
3) Am reading I'm Travelling Alone by Samuel Bjork, a Norwegian crime writer. So far it's excellent.
Up Next: The Heart’s Invisible Furies about which I’ve heard so many good things.
I'm just past the halfway point of The Grandma Stubblefield Rose: The Life of Susan Stubblefield, 1811-1895 by Edna Beth Tuttle & Dennie Burke Willis. Susan Stubblefield came across the continent in a covered wagon to eventually settle with her third husband and extended family in Mendocino County, CA's, Anderson Valley, where I live now. Her story was pieced together by her great granddaughter and other family members from diaries and family histories. Among other this, Susan Stubblefield was a very talented midwife and healer. The "Grandma Stubblefield Rose" was a potted rosebush, native to France, given to Susan as a wedding gift for his first marriage and brought to California in that wagon. I am the only LT member with this book listed in his/her library!
I am on a mission to escape the national election news scene for about four days. I am listening to Christmas music and starting my holiday book picks for this year. I am also watching some of Hallmark's Christmas movies.
I listened to Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock. I am now reading a Kindle eBook titled Amish Christmas Twins by Patricia Davids. Amish Christmas tales are annual faves.
Well, I had a bit of reading time this weekend, so was able to finish The Grandma Stubblefield Rose: The Life of Susan Stubblefield, 1811-1895 by Edna Beth Tuttle & Dennie Burke Willis (see post 5, above).
I've now started True North by Jim Harrison. I've never read any of Harrison's work before, though I've been wanting to for some time. Now's the time!
Enjoying this audiobook ~
The Player King by Avi
(England 1487/royal tale based on a true story/a kitchen boy's first person narrative/middle-grade lit)
I e got a bunch of books going at the moment:
Elevation by Stephen King;
The Air You Breathe by Frances DeFontes Peebles
Legendary by Stephanie Garber; and
Diary of a Wimpy Kid- The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney
I finished The Uninvited Guests. Were I less obsessive, I would have quit before finishing. An improbable plot with unlikeable characters made the book a struggle to read and then ghosts were added to the mix.
Dark of the Moon – John Sandford
Sanders is perhaps best known as the author of the Lucas Davenport mystery series set in Minneapolis / St Paul MN. Now he gives one of Davenport’s colleagues his own series. Virgil Flowers has been in the Army and the St Paul Police. Now Davenport has recruited him to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, promising him “We’ll only give you the hard stuff.”
This case begins as Flowers heads to the western end of the state, to help the local police solve a grisly murder. As he approaches the town, he notices a glow in the sky which can only be a fire. In fact, it is the mansion of a well-known man – Bill Judd – which has erupted in flames, with Judd trapped inside. Not too many people are sorry to see Judd go; years ago he perpetrated a scam involving Jerusalem artichokes which resulted in many farmers losing their land, and one or more suicide. Flowers is curious but doesn’t begin to notice a pattern until yet another murder happens.
Sandford crafts a tight plot with several twists and turns, plenty of suspects, a little love interest, and a skilled, likeable lead detective. I like the way Flowers pieces together the puzzle. He’s deliberate and cautious, but aggressive when questioning a reluctant witness. He’s an astute observer and is careful when drawing conclusions, keeping his theories to himself until he is more certain both of the person he might confide in, and of who the culprit is. If he has a fault, it’s that Virgil is a bit more of a ladies’ man than I like, but he’s always honest about his intentions and women seem to willingly go along for the ride. The supporting characters seem to be a good match for Flowers; they hold their own and support/challenge him as they see fit (including the women).
Enjoying this OverDrive non-fiction audiobook ~
Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency by Dan Abrams
The Great Alone – Kristin Hannah
Book on CD performed by Julia Whelan
Ernt Allbright is a damaged man; a former Vietnam POW he is prone to fits of anger and depression. When one of his fellow POWs dies, he wills his land in Alaska to Ernt. So Allbright takes his wife, Cora, and 13-year-old daughter, Leni, to a remote village on Alaska’s Kenai peninsula, accessible only by plane or boat to homestead the land he has inherited. They are woefully unprepared, though optimistic and not afraid of hard work, and the local residents of Kaneq welcome them and rally to help them survive their first winter. But Ernt can’t accept help without rancor. He’s offended that people think him unprepared, and is likely as not to accuse anyone offering help of thinking him incompetent. He’s angry that a “rich man thinks he can buy my friendship” by offering the use of his tractor to help clear the land. He’s certain that the government is out to get him and he’s determined to show that he needs no one, and his family doesn’t either. As winter approaches and the hours of daylight diminish, Ernt’s depression worsens, as does his tendency to violent outbursts.
I was engaged and interested in the story from the beginning, but … I quickly grew tired of Cora’s constant excuses for her sorry husband. She seemed to never take seriously the signs that he was a danger to her … and to their child! I found myself yelling at the CD player over and over as she and Leni made one poor decision after another. I could perhaps forgive Leni, who was a teenager after all, but I never could forgive Cora. Yes, I know that women who are abused frequently feel powerless and unable to extricate themselves from the abusive relationship. Yes, I know that even when there are children involved, many such women stick with their abusers (and that time after time, abused children want to be reunited with the parent who has been abusing them). I know this reality, but I don’t have to like it. And in this novel, it irritated me no end.
Additionally, I thought that what happens to Matthew was manipulative on the author’s part, trying to force tears and heartache on the part of the reader (not successfully in my case). And I thought the ending was far too pat and neatly tied up in a pretty rainbow.
On the plus side, I really did enjoy the depictions of the majestic natural beauty of Alaska. This is set in the mid- to late-1970s, before all the cruise ships brought thousands of tourists every summer. I liked the self-sufficiency of many of the characters, and particularly liked the strong women of the community – Large Marge, Geneva Walker, Natalie Watkins and Thelma Schill.
Julia Whelan does a fine job performing the audio version. She has a gift for voices and makes these characters come to life. I particularly like the way she voiced Cora, Large Marge, Ernt and Tom Walker. Too bad she didn’t have better material to work with.
Enjoying this Kindle/Audible book combo ~
What Have You Done by Matthew Farrell
(Philly police dept/two brothers in that dept/a dead female)
This is an interesting but extremely long fictional book about the need for entrepreneurs and the problems of government regulation especially concerning the railroad which instead of promoting business tears apart the country with businesses shutting down and workers losing their jobs and business owners leaving. The story was very good but at times there were extremely long sections that went on and on about the issues and could have been shortened. Fiction
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