TalkWhat Are We Reading, Page 9

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What Are We Reading, Page 9

Sep 18, 2019, 8:16am

What is everyone reading? What do you recommend? What are you looking forward to reading?

Edited: Sep 18, 2019, 10:58am

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Sep 18, 2019, 5:01pm

Thanks for the new page. Right now I’m reading Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive by Stephanie Land which was on Obama’s summer reading list. At the start of the book the author is working, very hard physical work, and still needing to be enrolled in 7 different government programs in order to survive. I wonder the status of those programs now, and how many women like her don’t have access to them.

Edited: Sep 18, 2019, 9:49pm

I just finished reading The Other Einstein, which is historical fiction. It is so frustrating not to know whether Albert Einstein was really such a mysogynist. However the book was very interesting for its portrayal of expectations and limitations for women in the late 1800s and early 1900s, particularly someone with her background. Now I will have to reread Walter Isaacson's biography of Einstein to see whether any of this comes through. I read it a long time ago and don't remember.

Sep 19, 2019, 3:48am

We read The Other Einstein for my book club. Half of us bought the idea that Einstein was a misogynist, half of us didn't, but I keep hearing the idea referred to more and more often.

Sep 19, 2019, 12:49pm

>4 krazy4katz: & >5 Citizenjoyce:, I have The Other Einstein on my wishlist. It was recommended by a friend who was really outraged by it. Should I read it?

Sep 19, 2019, 4:01pm

I liked it very much. You can read it and see if you think it’s believable.

Edited: Sep 19, 2019, 6:25pm

I finished Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive. It’s quite a book. The two things Stephanie Land had going for her were a strong work ethic and hope. When I read Lena Dunham’s book, I was kind of disgusted at her lack of work ethic. If she was working on a project she liked, she was all gung ho, but when she worked at something she considered beneath her, she was a terrible employee. Land never thought she’d end up homeless working at physically exhausting house cleaning jobs to support her and her child, but that’s what happened, and when she cleaned, she cleaned. The work made her physically ill, the environment made her daughter physically ill, but she gave it her all. And the reason she was able to do so was that, even at her lowest, she had hope for better things - for a better place to live, for more education, for a happy childhood for her daughter and for fulfilling work for herself. One of the reasons that she could maintain that hope was that she had all kinds of government assistance - even though the process of getting and maintaining it was demoralizing. She also, as an extrovert, was able to make friends who helped her. As alone as she felt, someone always came around to offer a little help. She was also assertive enough and intelligent enough to find resources she needed. So many people in poverty lack much of what she had - they don’t have the guidance so they don’t have the hope. Without it, you can’t get out from under because the slightest misfortune can turn what little progress you have made into disaster. I see why Obama recommended this one.

Edited: Sep 20, 2019, 9:22pm

>6 vwinsloe: It was a very well-written story and certainly (if you believe wikipedia) there is a lot of truth in it. The author does discuss her sources at the end of the book, so you can evaluate some of what you read. However, the most egregious acts of Albert Einstein are not that well documented. How much did they work together? What did happen to their first daughter? Was he really that nasty and unfaithful? Unanswered questions that are filled in to make the story because no one knows. I think, given the treatment of women at the time, it wouldn't be too surprising if it is true, but who knows… I do recommend it because it was so interesting, but on the other hand, frustrating not to know what to believe. I'm not sure I can give you an answer except that I don't regret reading it.

ETA: I have been skimming through Walter Isaacson's book on Einstein. It seems to validate Einstein's mysogyny and many affairs, but not necessarily her contributions to his work.

Edited: Sep 21, 2019, 6:44am

>7 Citizenjoyce: & >9 krazy4katz:. I will actively look for it then. Thank you.

Sep 20, 2019, 4:19pm

just reread a barbara kingsolver that I first read ages and ages ago (animal dreams) and absolutely loved it, and found it totally pertinent to today even though she wrote it in the 80's.

also, ::waves madly to all of you:: as i've been away from here for a while...

Sep 21, 2019, 3:29am

Started Bad Girls by Caitlin Davies, a history of Holloway prison,

Sep 21, 2019, 2:47pm

>12 SChant: Looks interesting, and depressing.

Sep 22, 2019, 7:17am

>13 Citizenjoyce: So far a bit underwhelming about the Victorian age and the Suffragettes. I'm hoping it will be a bit more insightful about more recent eras.

Sep 24, 2019, 4:32am

Finished Bad Girls and it's definitely worth a read. The Victorian era is a bit sketchy, the Suffragettes a bit too detailed, but the information and insights after that and up to it's closure in 2015 are fascinating. It seems like the pendulum swings from prison as punishment to prison as rehabilitation every few years but the reasons for women's incarceration are fairly standard throughout - not conforming to society's assumptions about womanhood.

Sep 24, 2019, 8:30am

I seem to be having a bit of a phase on women and the law at the moment. Having just finished Bad Girls I am about to start on Eve Was Shamed, Helena Kennedy's follow up to her 1990's indictment of the British legal system's treatment of women, which I suspect will find that not much has changed.

Sep 24, 2019, 3:24pm

>15 SChant: Sounds good. I just finished The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White, a retelling of the Frankenstein story (with a good mention of Mary Shelley in the afterward. She doesn't talk about women in prison but does have them in a mental institution, which was about the same thing.

Sep 25, 2019, 4:36am

>17 Citizenjoyce: Sounds interesting. I'll have to take a look at that one.

Sep 25, 2019, 9:17am

I am reading Alex and Me by Irene Pepperberg. A great story about her linguistic and intelligence studies and her bonding with an African Gray Parrot. I got it from the Treasure Hunt and it is an amazing story.

Edited: Sep 26, 2019, 3:47am

>19 krazy4katz: It is an amazing story but, as an animal lover, I was disappointed in the lack of affection Pepperberg had for Alex. He seemed to want to be loved, and she found him a fascinating subject. Other than that, the book is great.
>18 SChant: The book is mostly a look at the Frankenstein story from the perspective of Elizabeth, Victor's cousin. There is just a small part of the story set in the insane asylum, but enough to give you the idea of what happens to disappointing wives.

Sep 25, 2019, 9:56pm

>20 Citizenjoyce: I felt she loved him and gave him the best life she could, given her recurring financial problems. At least he had more social interaction than most pet birds and long hours outside a cage. One reason I don't have birds is because they have to be kept in cages. Anyway, at least on the last day, they each said "I love you" to each other. That was nice.

Sep 26, 2019, 4:30am

>20 Citizenjoyce: Re: Frankenstein - have you read The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Theodore Roszak? A strange and passionate tale that won a Tiptree in 1995.

Sep 26, 2019, 5:32pm

>22 SChant: no. It looks good.

Oct 2, 2019, 9:38am

I've been moving, and just got internet service back. Yay! I am reading The Shining Girls which I really started to enjoy about 100 pages in. I am not at all squeamish (good thing!) and what I am most appreciating is the humanizing of the victims and their POVs. This runs contrary to much of the horror genre featuring female victims-- which sometimes is nothing more than rape porn.

Oct 3, 2019, 4:52am

>24 vwinsloe: I agree - Lauren Beukes has stated that that is what she deliberately set out to do.

I've just finished Carrie Vaughn's The Wild Dead, part of her Bannerless saga, and really enjoyed it. The murder-mystery aspect isn't really the most interesting part to me - if you haven't worked it out by page 20 you're not paying attention. The best bit is the world-building. It's post climate-catastrophe, there's very little technology, there are quotas for every form of production, including human reproduction, and parts of the land are littered with the remnants of decaying pre-catastrophe dwellings which are scavenged for useful metal. The setting sounds gloomy, but to my mind the stories of the communities striving not to make the mistakes of previous generations are supremely hopeful.

Oct 3, 2019, 8:03am

>25 SChant:. Thanks for confirming my observation.

I'd like to put The Wild Dead on my wishlist. Is the Bannerless series something that the reader needs to start at the beginning?

Oct 3, 2019, 9:26am

>26 vwinsloe: You don't have to have read from the beginning to get into the Bannerless world. There are only 2 full-length novels, Bannerless and The Wild Dead. There's a short story called Amaryllis on the Lightspeed website which you can read for free and see how you like that world. Enjoy!

Oct 3, 2019, 10:31am

>27 SChant:. Oh, excellent! Thanks.

Oct 4, 2019, 10:41am

Hope this is okay, but I just interviewed women's fiction author, Corlet Dawn, on my blog. She is giving away three ecopies of her book, Bee's Flowers. Giveaway ends October 18, 2019. Check it out if interested!

Edited: Oct 6, 2019, 3:48am

I finished some good books lately:
Autumn by Ali Smith starts with the thoughts of a dying man. I almost gave it up then. I didn't think I could take a whole novel of that kind of stream of consciousness, but it goes on to an actual story about a very ill centenarian, the woman who was friends with him when she was a child, her judgmental mother, the pop artist Pauline Boty, Christine Keeler, and Brexit. It turned out to be a very good book.
I read A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult for my RL book club. I'm afraid Picoult just can't write. She strings a bunch of facts together along with stereotypical characters and every social concern of the moment: abortion, racism, LGBT issues, disabilities, rape, coming of age, fathers and daughters, adoption, and domestic terrorism. She does try to present all sides of the abortion issue, and that's about all I can say for the book.
For a person who can write, there was Transcription by Kate Atkinson, a spy novel that shows a woman through 3 decades of her life. The characterization is wonderful.
Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis is a Uruguayan novel about a group of lesbians. It follows them through decades showing changing views of homosexuality and political oppression. Unlike Picoult, De Robertis knows how to write both characters and politics.
The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis is about the treatment of women as the Taliban is taking over Afghanistan, concentrating on the eleven-year-old daughter, Parvana. We all know the politics, but personalizing the story makes us feel it as well as know it.
How to Fight Anti-Semitism by Bari Weiss covers rising anti-semitism not just among right-wingers but also about political liberals. I don't think this story gets covered enough, and she does a very good job of explaining the history of anti-semitism and how people cover those feelings by insisting they don't dislike Jews, they are just anti-zionist.
Right now I'm in the middle of Rachel Maddow's latest, Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth about the necessary corruption that results from the oil and gas industry. I was afraid this would be dry and uninteresting, but Maddow personalizes the story both from the perspective of oil and gas kleptocrats but also from the viewpoint of those who are damaged by them.

Oct 7, 2019, 7:41am

>30 Citizenjoyce: There is a gorgeous animated film of The breadwinner which I found very moving and thought provoking.

Edited: Oct 7, 2019, 2:28pm

>31 Sakerfalcon: Oh, I'll have to look for it.
ETA good, my library has it.

Edited: Oct 7, 2019, 7:38pm

>30 Citizenjoyce:

i've wondered about jodi picoult - was this the first you've read of hers or do you find this pretty typical of her writing?

just starting rebecca by daphne du maurier; i'm excited to read it as somehow i never have.

Oct 7, 2019, 8:41pm

>33 overlycriticalelisa: I read one good book by Picoult, Small Great Things about racism. The characters are stereotypical there also, I guess, but not as much. However, I think the rest of her work follows the formula - use stereotypical characters to present topical social concerns. The social concerns are presented pretty well, but the writing is appalling.

Edited: Oct 7, 2019, 10:12pm

>34 Citizenjoyce: thanks, that's good to know, but too bad. (it's a little surprising that she's so popular, then, but i guess she's not the only bad writer to sell like crazy.)

Oct 8, 2019, 1:51am

>35 overlycriticalelisa: I think she sells well because she covers current controversies, and her characters, though stereotypical, are emotionally appealing. For instance, the fathers in Spark of Light, both the terrorist and the police officer, are completely loving, caring, and supportive. The daughters are loving and caring and in need of support. In fact, all the women are vulnerable and in need of support. People love that stuff.

Edited: Oct 10, 2019, 3:55am

I just finished The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin. Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres, but this one got me wondering. Benjamin had the basics of the lives of Lavinia Warren, Minnie Warren, Charles Stratton and P. T. Barnum, then she just made up a story about them. I guess this is how historical fiction goes, but Benjamin's story involved Lavinia's being judgmental, controlling and virginal her whole life. It's a good story but seems like strange choices.

Oct 14, 2019, 10:59am

I decided to do another Halloween read and I picked out Geek Love from the TBR pile. It started out to be very intriguing but at some point it got too grotesque for my sensibilities. I finished it, but I'm really not sure what the point was. Not for me.

I've started The Island of Sea Women. I've read just about everything that Lisa See has written, and have found all of her books to be an enjoyable learning experience. I hope that this one will prove to be as well.

Edited: Oct 14, 2019, 3:09pm

>39 vwinsloe: Funny, I was just talking about Geek Love. I've read it twice but it's been a few years, I'm thinking I need to read it again. It is grotesque, but it does make an impression.
I recently finished The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan and was amazed to find that it is classed as a children's novel or YA for ages 12 and up. I was hesitant to read The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, which is an adult novel, because I thought it would be too graphic. It is not, but this supposed YA novel is. Bitter is about forced child labor on the cacao farms in The Ivory Coast in Africa. The main characters are children - 15-year-old Amadou, his eight-year old brother, Seydou and the wild 13-year-old girl, Khadija who is dropped into their midst. Sullivan doesn't hold back much when recounting the starvation, beatings, and inhumane punishment these children are subjected to. I think this is too strong a book for most children. It is, however, very well written and very realistic in discussing poverty, classism, and inhumanity. She does a great job in characterizing these children, their coping mechanisms, defeatism, and the willingness to fight.
Just yesterday I finished Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History
by Keith O'Brien, not by, but about women. What a great job it does in describing the women aviators of the 1920s to 1950s. Amelia Earhart was, of course, the star though in comparison to some of the others, it's hard to know why. At first the star was Ruth Nichols, a pretty girl from a rich family. Then there were Louise Thaden, Ruth Elder, and Florence Klingensmith - such impressive women! As with all other occupations, these women were disregarded and hindered from advancement at every turn. They were mocked, and it was likely their planes were sabotaged. If they crashed in inferior planes they were consistently blamed, yet men who did the same were honored. If they got lost, which was a regular occurrence in early aviation, it was because they were silly, easily distractable women. When men pilots got lost, it was unfortunate. I don't know how they managed to carry on against such disdain, but they loved to fly. The book is both inspirational and infuriating. Once again we see the personal damage done to people who fight against stereotypes.
Right now I'm reading a compilation of the first novellas in the Guild Hunter series, Angels' Flight by Nalini Singh about people who hunt vampires for angels. I need a little break from the devastation of previous reads. Sexy vampires, sexy hunters, and frightening angels. This is my idea of a good Halloween read.

Oct 15, 2019, 5:11pm

My library has only 1 Evaristo book, and it’s not this one. Maybe now that will change.

Oct 18, 2019, 12:14pm

>30 Citizenjoyce: and >40 Citizenjoyce:

Thanks for your comments on Blowout, which I just picked up and never having read a Maddow book before, wasn't sure how it would go. And your comments on Fly Girls which make me want to read it even knowing I will cringe a bit.

And I've got Autumn sitting on top of a pile ready to go, and here's hoping I start it soon!

Oct 18, 2019, 12:17pm

And I've been reading Pilgrimage 3 by Dorothy Richardson, which is slow going but a very interesting trip inside the protagonist's head as she makes a living as a single, independent woman in early 1900's London.

Oct 18, 2019, 9:44pm

I am reading The Testaments after rereading The Handmaid's Tale. So far, I like it, but it jumps from narrator to narrator and backwards and forwards in time, so it takes some adjustment to keep everything straight.

Oct 19, 2019, 4:40am

>43 LisaMorr: Well shoot, my library doesn't have anything by her.
>44 krazy4katz: It does jump around, but I thought it was easy to follow. I was just thinking today how glad I was that I read it. If someone is going to tell me a story, I want to know how it ends.

Oct 19, 2019, 10:07am

Finished Semiosis by Sue Burke. A bit episodic to start with - and some conclusions were reached rather too glibly at first - but the big ideas drew me in and I was fascinated by the exploration of ethics, sentience, and communication that developed. Highly recommended
I'm also reading Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge - a YA fantasy inspired by early 18th century England (but NOT England), full for warring Guilds, dozens of dispersed kings and queens, a slightly deranged and oppressive Duke, and sprited orphan Mosca and her incompetent spy companion. It's delightful!
My non-fiction is The Friends of Alice Wheeldon by Sheila Rowbotham, a look at how agents provocateurs were used to "fit-up" socialist/feminist Alice and her daughters for helping conscientious objectors during the first world war. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose :(

Oct 19, 2019, 11:12am

recently finished rebecca which somehow i'd managed to never read before. am still thinking about it and all the layers...

Oct 19, 2019, 12:55pm

>46 SChant: Semiosis had so much to say about diversity. These days it seems we want to stay within our own groups and demonize others. Semiosis has interactions between beings that I wouldn't have expected. It was eye-opening.

Oct 26, 2019, 5:47am

>46 SChant:, >48 Citizenjoyce: Semiosis is on my TBR pile. I'll move it up based on your comments.
>46 SChant: Fly by night is so good! Anyone who liked Joan Aiken's books about Dido Twite should read it! The sequel, Twilight robbery is great too.

I've just finished My sister the serial killer which I really enjoyed despite feeling it ended too abruptly. It was an unusual take on family (particularly sibling) relationships and the importance of beauty in determining how an individual will be treated by society. It was a quick read and totally engaging.

Edited: Oct 26, 2019, 1:54pm

>49 Sakerfalcon: I vacillated about reading My Sister the Serial Killer because it didn't sound like anything I'd like. How wrong I was.
I recently finished Disappearing Earth which got rave reviews but is tedious and mundane in my opinion. To get the taste out of my brain I'm reading a sci fi Chilling Effect. I think this is Valerie Valdes's first novel, and I hope she has many more to come. It's about a sarcastic, Hispanic space captain and her interstellar adventures. I'm on a planet right now where, if you lose your identity card you can be hunted for food. OK, I wouldn't last long in her world, but I love the way she forces things to work out. As a bonus, her smelly interspecies romance is fun, not mushy.

Oct 27, 2019, 5:19am

>49 Sakerfalcon: I've read quite a few of Frances Hardinge's books and enjoyed them all. My favourite is Cuckoo Song - I'm sure it would have freaked me out completely if I'd read it as a child!

Oct 28, 2019, 8:18am

The Best of All Possible Worlds was a quick delightful read. There was a lot packed into this anthropological science fiction novel involving immigrants trying to make a new life after the destruction of their planet and most of its inhabitants. Although it touched on subjects like religion, eugenics and slavery, it did so very lightly. The author is Barbadian and has an interesting background which undoubtedly lends a different point of view to her novels. I will look for her next book which is set in the same universe.

Oct 28, 2019, 10:31am

My local volunteer-run library is doing very well with it's Booker winners this year. Had The Testaments a couple of weeks ago and just snagged Girl, Woman, Other last Saturday.
Well done to all those hard-working volunteers!

Oct 28, 2019, 2:16pm

My library system just ordered Girl, Woman, Other. I don’t know how long it will take to get her, so I’ve checked out Mr. Loverman and will probably read it some time next month.

Oct 28, 2019, 2:24pm

>52 vwinsloe: I’m in a little utopia reading challenge next month, The Best of All Possible Worlds would fit just right except my library has only the print, not the audio version. Let’s see if I get to it.

Oct 29, 2019, 12:21am

>53 SChant:, >54 Citizenjoyce:

i saw a headline today (maybe in the guardian?) that with her booker win, bernadine evaristo doubled the lifetime sales of her books in 5 days. pretty important win for her, that one. (my understanding is that prizes don't usually give nearly the bump in sales that you'd expect, so what a lovely exception!)

Oct 29, 2019, 2:02pm

>56 overlycriticalelisa: Wow. I’m glad they went with the tie instead of just giving it to one or the other. Not that Margaret Atwood needed the boost in her sales.

Oct 29, 2019, 2:16pm

>57 Citizenjoyce: or the money, which is why she is donating all of it. such a great story, both of these women.

Oct 30, 2019, 8:22am

>50 Citizenjoyce: Sorry to hear that Disappearing earth was disappointing. I have a copy that I found in the second hand bookshop so I'll read it some time, but will lower my expectations. Chilling effect, however, goes straight onto my wishlist!

Nov 2, 2019, 11:51am

I just finished the amazing novel, Home Fire. This book is so much better than the descriptions would lead anyone to believe. It is a modern retelling of Sophocles's classic play Antigone set primarily in London and Pakistan.

This book would not have been on my radar screen if not for LibraryThing's annual Top Five of 2018 list. Home Fire was 12th on that list and 44th on the Top Five of 2017. I have found really good books on that list every year, and I like it because the book need not have been published in any particular year; it just needs to have been read in that year by the person listing it. The top 20 always contain some real gems!

Nov 2, 2019, 1:53pm

>60 vwinsloe: I’ve checked that book out twice and haven’t read it yet. It sounds like I should.

Nov 3, 2019, 8:18am

>61 Citizenjoyce:. Yes, absolutely. It was surprisingly moving.

Nov 4, 2019, 4:57am

I've started reading Water shall refuse them, a book which intrigued me when I read about it in a Guardian article about "witcherature". It's started well - an English family move to rural Wales for a month to try and get over a family tragedy.

Nov 15, 2019, 9:31am

Finally getting round to reading the 1984 feminist SF novel Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin. Don't know why I didn't read it when it first came out as it's exactly the sort of thing I was interested in!

Nov 15, 2019, 3:29pm

>64 SChant:. I just put that on my wishlist. Thank you.

I am reading The Women of the Copper Country and marveling at how incredibly strong these Union leaders were.

Nov 15, 2019, 11:21pm

>65 vwinsloe: I'm always amazed at how courageous people can be. Union fights traditionally highlight this, also the women who managed to stop the troubles in Ireland. Is there a book about that?

Nov 16, 2019, 7:48am

>66 Citizenjoyce:. Not that I am aware of. It would be an excellent subject though.

Nov 17, 2019, 2:41am

I had two great reads so far this month.
Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep is an amazing read. First, it starts off with the trial of a man who murdered another man who made his money by taking out insurance policies on people, mostly members of his family, then murdering them and suing the insurance companies to force them to pay. Amazing that such a thing could happen. Harper Lee is barely mentioned as the woman who is going to write a book about the case. Then the book goes into a biography of Lee that is just fascinating. I hated Go Set A Watchman and found it hard to believe that the Atticus of the book was the same Atticus of To Kill a Mockingbird. Now I understand. The book is worth 5 stars just to get that idea through my thick skull, but the rest of the story earns the stars too. I am so happy I read it.
And finally, at this late stage of my life, I read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Ann Bronte. I knew nothing about this book except that it was a classic by one of the Bronte sisters. In fact, I assumed the Tenant would be a man. What a pleasant surprise. This is my little review: At least one of the Bronte sisters god her assessment of men right and wasn't blinded by romantic propaganda. See
Yes, Ann does rely on religion for her morality and she is very strict with that morality, but she sees what happens when you let romance guide your choice of men, and she has her main character council other women and men about the treatment of women. Finally, a classic that views relationships realistically. I loved this and can't believe it took me so long to find it.

Nov 17, 2019, 5:19am

>68 Citizenjoyce: So glad you enjoyed The Tennant of Wildfell Hall. Ann's is the only work by the Brontë sisters I can stand! Agnes Grey is pretty good too - looking at the dismal lot of the Victorian governess, and women in general in that era.

Edited: Nov 18, 2019, 12:13am

>69 SChant: I'll have to try it. Ooops, looks like I read it 7 years ago and gave it 4 stars. I guess if I read it again, it'll be like reading a whole new book since I seem to have completely forgotten it.

Edited: Nov 25, 2019, 10:45am

Of interest to anyone who has read Rough Magic, which is up for a Sports Book of the Year award:

Nov 25, 2019, 12:31pm

>71 vwinsloe: I can see why she got the advice about not including her period. For many sport=macho and is as far away from menstruation as possible. But it is the 21st century. My grandson played baseball in school for 12 years. I can’t imagine that he would be upset by reading about a little blood. What a funny and amazingly spontaneous life this young woman has lead.

Nov 25, 2019, 12:33pm

I just finished The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I’ve loved everything she has written, but this is not my favorite. It is, however, quite good. It reminded me a little of Little Women in that the wrong things happen to the wrong people at the wrong times.

Nov 26, 2019, 8:08am

Started Naomi Klein's On Fire: the Burning Case for the Green New Deal. I read her Shock Doctrine earlier this year and was walking around in a state of rage at politicians and corporations for weeks afterwards. I fully expect this one to do the same for me - which is very motivational if any election candidates come knocking at my door :)
On a lighter note, I've re-read A Wizard of Earthsea for my SF&F reading group, but will carry on and complete the rest of the quartet as Tehanu is my favourite of the series, even though it is not highly regarded by some.

Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 9:33am

It seems as though I have read quite a few good books this year and it is going to be difficult to choose a top 5 for the LibraryThing list in January.

November continued the trend with The Scorpio Races and Where the Crawdads Sing. The first I enjoyed despite my general dislike of YA novels, which goes to show me that it is worth seeking out the really good YA fantasy out there.

I had low expectations for Where the Crawdad Sings and probably would not have picked it up at all if it weren't for the fact that everyone is reading it and it practically leapt off the library sale cart into my hand. It was a bit heavy handed, and actually kind of read like YA, with a single plot line and quite a few cardboard characters. I don't like romance at all, and mystery not much, so I was surprised that I enjoyed reading this as much as I did, when it had strong elements of both. Perhaps it was the lively descriptions of the marsh land and the birds and insects that inhabit it that drew me in, or maybe it was just the way the story went back and forth between two time periods. Who knows; worth reading anyway.

Dec 1, 2019, 10:18pm

>75 vwinsloe: I'm on a Women Reading Books site on Facebook. Throughout the month of October and much of November almost every day, sometimes more than once a day, someone would post, "I just read Where the Crawdads Sing. Wow, what a great book, what do you think?" It got to be kind of humorous, but it drove some people crazy leading to posts like, "If anyone else posts about Where the Crawdads Sing, I'm going to scream." But it's one of those books you want to make sure everyone else reads. I read it right after Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover and was amazed at how well the two books emphasized the same thing, that education can change your life. Educated is the nonfiction and more complex look at the subject, WTCS is just enjoyable. I'm glad I read both.
I just finished three mysteries - well, I guess more police procedurals. I don't enjoy mysteries, but I do like books where strong women solve or do something important. I love the Alex Morrow series about a Scottish police detective, so I read the third in the series, Gods and Beasts. It's the usual story about a woman's having to fight for respect in a police department. Morrow has her share of fighting, but she's remarkably open-minded and can see the good in even very distasteful men (kind of like Tina Fey with Tracy Morgan). No one is all good or all bad, many twists and turns and a little cliff hanger at the end of this book. 4 stars from me, I love her.
I read the first Prime Suspect. I so loved the Helen Mirren tv series, and I can see why it's so good. I didn't realize there was also another British tv series by La Plante, Widows. I didn't see it, but I loved the American movie.
Then there was The Drowning by Camilla Lackberg which is the sixth in the Erica Falck & Patrik Hedström series. This time the woman isn't the police detective, she's a crime novel writer marries to a detective and throughout the series, she becomes increasingly housebound and pregnant but helps her husband solve crimes by butting in where she's not wanted. That in itself is grating, but this particular book ends with a gigantic cliff hanger that ended up with my giving the book only two stars. Lackberg is very big in Sweden, and she sells lots of books. I can think of no reason for such a ridiculous cliff hanger except to ensure that there will be readers for the next book. Well, I won't be one of them. Enough is enough.

Dec 3, 2019, 4:17am

Finished The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective by Susannah Stapleton, an absolutely delightful account of the life and times of the eponymous detective, featuring runaway heiresses, drug dens, stolen jewels, and family secrets! In a standard biography the author is usually in the background, but here, in keeping with the flamboyant sleuth's own methods, Stapleton presents the work in the style of a lively detective novel, detailing her searches and surprises along the way.

Dec 3, 2019, 6:22am

>77 SChant: Well shoot, not in my library system. Maybe they'll get it eventually.

Dec 10, 2019, 12:49pm

>79 LisaMorr: I was able to get Volume 1 of pilgrimage free from Amazon, so we'll see how that goes.

Dec 15, 2019, 5:45am

Started A History of Their Own: Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present. It's quite an old book - first published 1988 - and already in the first few pages (Prehistory) I'm aware of how investigation and analysis has moved on in the understanding of early humanity. Anyway, it's interesting to see how earlier feminist research into women's history took shape.

Dec 15, 2019, 2:27pm

>81 SChant: Wow, almost a prehistorical book itself as far as women's studies go. Interesting.

Dec 21, 2019, 8:53am

Just in time for the Christmas close-down the local library has got FIVE of the books I've had on order for weeks, 3 of which are by women!
Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. I heard her speak at a Sheffield Off the Shelf event in October - she was very funny, passionate and knowledgeable.
She-Wolves by Helen Castor. She was on a BBC history podcast talking about Joan of Arc - again, funny and knowledgeable.
An audiobook by Gladys Mitchell, Golden Age crime writer - The Saltmarsh Murders.

Dec 21, 2019, 3:00pm

>83 SChant: I’ve put a hold on invisible women. It looks good, as do the others.

Jan 8, 9:10am

I've not had much reading enjoyment lately, but I fear that it is me, not the books. Since I last checked in, I read An American Marriage and Becoming both of which were solid but just okay. I admired Asymmetry, which I just finished as we are apparently entering into yet another war in the mid-east. So at least there was some synchronicity there.

I promised myself that I would finally read The Earthsea Trilogy and Tehanu this year, and there is no time like the present. I hope that it will hold my attention and take me away from the distressful news of current events.

Edited: Jan 11, 1:52am

I read three really good books about rape in the last month. First was Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller, the woman who was raped by Brock Turner and whose identity was hidden for years. Wow, did he pick the wrong woman! He thought she was just some drunk he could wipe himself on, and instead she's intelligent, perceptive and articulate. She describes what it is like to spend years trying to prove that you don't deserve to be raped - how can you possibly do that? She describes both the courtroom scenes and her recovery so that even those of us who can't understand how a person could still suffer from a rape years later finally get it. I recommend it to everyone, especially to judges. I googled what's going on with Brock Turner these days and found accounts of his working as a lawn man or in a manufacturing plant for $12 an hour. This rich guy with all his connections, how could that be true? Then I realized, he was on parole for 3 years, he had to hold a job and act like a good guy. Well, that's over now, so I imagine his family will cushion his damaged psyche, but he still has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. I imagine that could be an inconvenience.
Then I read Afternoon of a Faun a Weinstein related novel by James Lasdun that shows how the accused man thinks of the allegation and what he can do about it if he has any power.
Then to top it off I read Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow about the difficulty he had reporting on the Weinstein case. He also mentions trump, Woody Allen and the guys at NBC. It kind of reads like a spy novel with powerful men seeming to have unlimited resources to keep themselves out of the legal system. He also tells of women feeling they should have done something different to protect themselves. So the women not only have to suffer rape and degradation, they have to think it was possibly their own fault.
Enough of rape, now I'm reading What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Mona Hanna-Attisha, the doctor who fought to get Michigan politicians to admit the degree of damage Flint water was doing and to get clean water to those affected. Wow, this is a driven, competent woman, one to be proud of.

Edited: Jan 13, 8:20am

>86 Citizenjoyce:. Two of those were on my wish list, the other two I never heard of, but I am adding them. Thanks.

Edited: Jan 13, 9:18pm

I am reading The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks. She is such a fabulous writer! It is historical fiction, I guess, if you believe that King David existed. She apparently sticks to the biblical story but of course manages to bring it alive in a way that you feel you know the main characters intimately.

I recognize now that when I was in Hebrew School, the teachers didn't go over all the violence that happened before and during his rule to unite Judah and Israel. Even though we read the Old Testament, somehow I missed that part. No one ever talked about how horribly violent it was "back in the day". Also, no one talked about how many wives all these people had. Very interesting to think about all that was hidden while I was growing up.

Jan 14, 1:05am

>88 krazy4katz: I think Bible study usually involves selective Bible study. Geraldine Brooks can't be beaten for historical fiction, but I think this was my least favorite of hers.

Edited: Jan 26, 11:16pm

I just finished one of Book Riots best books of 2019, Bunny by Mona Awad. I loved it, but it has only a 3.55 LT rating because, it seems from the reviews, many people can't figure out what's going on. I think these people have never read fairy tales or mythology or science fiction/fantasy. I listened to a description of it by the author after I read the book, and if you're going to do so, please also wait until after you've finished. It's one of those books where you don't want anything to be given away except maybe to say that graduate writer's programs can be brutal. I see why Book Riot rated it so highly. I'd love to see it made into those movies within movies where you see the writer in the writer's program writing the novel then see the novel portrayed. Little Women for the bizarre set.

Jan 27, 8:05am

>90 Citizenjoyce:. Oooooo, that's intriguing.

I just finished the Earthsea and was very happy that SChant recommended Tehanu because it absolutely made the whole thing worth it for me. Without it, Earthsea was just decent children's literature.

I've moved on to Conversations with Friends and the transition is difficult.

Jan 27, 4:03pm

>91 vwinsloe: I tried Earthsea before and didn’t like it. I’m not as much interested in fantasy as I am science fiction, but I’ll give it another try.

Jan 28, 6:53am

>92 Citizenjoyce:. I read A Wizard of Earthsea many, many years ago and was not impressed. But I decided to try the whole trilogy plus Tehanu this year. As it turns out, the second book in the trilogy The Tombs of Atuan appealed to me quite a bit, but Tehanu made the whole thing worthwhile. I don't think that Tehanu could be fully enjoyed on its own.

Jan 28, 10:25am

>90 Citizenjoyce: Bunny is high on my wishlist. Your comments have moved it up even further!

Jan 28, 11:36am

>93 vwinsloe: Wow, that's a lot of reading for the final pay off. We'll see if I can do it.
>94 Sakerfalcon: I came close to not reading it after the LT reviews. I'm glad I didn't let them dissuade me.

Edited: Jan 28, 4:04pm

>86 Citizenjoyce: I need to get and read Know My Name and that Ronan Farrow book - thanks for sharing your comments.

>90 Citizenjoyce: and thanks also for the Bunny recommendation.

And in general thanks for the Earthsea reminders. For anyone who is interested, a link to a guided Ursula K. LeGuin re-read was posted in the What Are We Reading Thread:

Jan 28, 5:24pm

>96 LisaMorr: Thanks for that link.

Feb 4, 2:04am

I finished the newest trump revelation book, A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig. It's a well-researched synopsis of trump and company from the run up to the election to the response to the Mueller Report with an addendum discussing the impeachment. It's pretty much everything you know but in more detail. I did learn some new things, such as that when trump finally tired of Kirstjen Nielsen's inability to solve his "immigration problem" he fired her and withdrew all her security support. She had been receiving death threats and he sent people right around to remove the cameras that were part of her home security. Pretty clever. He does amaze with the new ways he finds to be cruel. And his appointees and hangers on, respected though they may or may not have been before becoming entangled with him, never seemed to disengage from him for moral reasons. They just kept worrying that what he was doing was so illegal he would get himself in trouble. It's a great cast of characters. (Except for Rex Tillerson he did disapprove of trump's design to turn our military into a band of soldiers of fortune.) So, if you haven't already read 400 books about the disaster, I'd recommend trying this one.

Feb 5, 6:55am

Not by a woman, but about a woman, I've started Grace Hopper and the invention of the information age by Kurt W Beyer. I read a lot of Women in Science and Tech books and this has been on my TBR pile for ages.

Feb 5, 2:50pm

>99 SChant: looks interesting.

Feb 9, 8:51am

I finished Conversations with Friends which did not much resonate with me. I think that I am too old. The polyamorous relationships didn't offend me, but perhaps too much drama (insert eye roll.)

I have started The Library Book am finding it intriguing so far.

Feb 9, 6:01pm

>101 vwinsloe: how funny. Sometimes people engaged in different forms of sexual expression delight in the idea that they are shocking us when really we find all that drama tedious. Sometimes people think sex is a new invention. I hope you find The Library Book as engrossing as I did.

Feb 10, 5:04am

>100 Citizenjoyce: It's a little dry - even for someone who's interested in the history of computing :0 So I'm taking a break from it to pogo through Revenge of the She-punks by Vivien Goldman, which not only takes me back to my mis-spent youth (!) but also has tracklists of newer stuff that has passed me by. Enjoying it immensely!

Mar 5, 7:22am

I finished The Library Book and although I really enjoyed reading about many of the quirky past librarians, the style of this book was not for me. I had the same complaint about Rin Tin Tin and I am not certain whether it is particular to Susan Orlean or whether it is so-called "immersive journalism" since I don't think that I have read anything else with that label.

More recently I read Future Home of the Living God which was, of course, well written but seemingly not fully formed. There are so many ideas and themes in that book that I am still pulling at the various threads to see where they lead. The whole idea of "tricky men" who are blue and what that means is an intriguing puzzle.

So now I've started The Giver of Stars which (although probably a romance, bleh) I hope will be a comfort read since it involves librarians on horseback.

Mar 6, 2:35am

>104 vwinsloe: I thought Future Home of the Living God was ok. I didn't love it the way I usually love Erdrich's books, but I did love The Library Book.
I tried again to read The Wizard of Earthsea and had to abandon it. The timing wasn't fair to it. I was all fantasyed out after reading The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty - 576 pages of battles for succession with a tiny bit of characterization. I just couldn't immerse myself in another fantasy. However, I'm now reading The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 13 - Jonathan Strahan that has some great fantasy stories. What I like about them is that they don't revolve around succession of power or battles. "Olivia's Table" about cooking for ghosts was great, "Mother Tongue" about what a women is willing to sacrifice for her daughter gives food for thought, "Field Biology of the Wee Fairies" describes a science oriented type girl and her take on fairies.
Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout is a sequel to the wonderful Olive Kitteridge. You remember how at the end of the first book we really developed a respect for Olive and grew to like her? At the beginning of Olive, Again we lose all that. Olive is just a narcissist pain, and we have to start all over again to appreciate her.
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo is, what is it called novelized non-fiction? The author lived for months with each of these women who has been taken advantage of sexually in different ways, then she tells their stories. Each of these women likes sex (how dare she?) but has been sexually damaged. Who would ever think of doing such a project?

Mar 6, 5:57am

>105 Citizenjoyce: I really like the SF and F Best of the year anthologies. I collected a lot of the Year's best fantasy and horror volumes edited by Terry Windling and Ellen Datlow, although I have a bad habit of reading the first couple of stories and then getting sidetracked. But they were a great source for discovering new-to-me authors.

I'm currently reading The eighth life, which is a doorstep of a historical novel about a family in C20th Georgia (the former Soviet republic, not the US state). I'm making slow progress because it is so huge but I'm really enjoying it. It's an immersive read that doesn't downplay the horrors of the Soviet era, yet doesn't milk them for effect either.
And I'm also reading The queens of Innis Lear, a high fantasy based on King Lear with lots of character development of the three sisters. It is beautifully writing and very compelling so far.

Edited: Mar 12, 5:58pm

>105 Citizenjoyce: & >106 Sakerfalcon: I am looking forward to reading The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 of which one of the editors is Carmen Maria Machado whose book of short stories Her Body and Other Parties knocked me out.

I finished The Giver of Stars which had some good depictions of characters in rural Kentucky in the early part of the 20th Century, but was otherwise predictable.

Now I'm reading An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good thanks to Citizenjoyce. Hee-hee!

Mar 12, 11:28pm

>107 vwinsloe: Did you read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson? There's talk that The Giver of Stars is plagiarized from it. What do you think?
That elderly lady really is up to no good.

Mar 13, 9:56am

>108 Citizenjoyce:. I have not read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek but it is on my TBR list. I have heard the rumors of plagiary, but I am not sure that it was not simply a case of using the same historical source material. When I have read the other book, I will probably be able to tell. I am avoiding American Dirt because of the plagiary concerns, but I think that raises different issues about the publishing industry and Latinx writers.

I finished An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good and can't wait to pass it on to my 90 year old mother, if I dare visit her during this age of social distancing. So worrisome!

I just started The Calculating Stars- no opinion yet.

Mar 13, 10:53am

>107 vwinsloe: I too am looking forward to that volume as I also enjoyed Her body and other parties I also really want to get Machado's memoir, In the dream house, which was published recently.

I'm currently reading Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson which is very funny as well as thought-provoking.

Mar 16, 6:33am

I'm about half-way through A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine. It has a lot of world-building but that intertwines beautifully with the slow unfolding of the plot. I'm find it fascinating and very immersive, and enjoying the wry wit of the central character - she doesn't take herself too seriously - which gives the whole book a light touch even though it deals with political maneouvring and intrigue.

Mar 22, 8:59am

I finished The Calculating Stars and found it to be an enjoyable read. The author seemed to have thoroughly researched the mid to late 1950s and it was reminiscent of the Mad Men TV series with a feminist twist.

>111 SChant: That one is on my list.

On another note, I passed along to my mother An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good as well as The Giver of Stars when I saw her outdoors at a safe distance last Sunday. She loved them both and has run out of books. The residents of her Senior living facility have been asked to stay in the apartments and to have no visitors. Their meals are being dropped off at their doors. The problem is that SHE HAS RUN OUT OF BOOKS. Being 90 years old, her computer skills are limited to email. I am thinking of buying her a bunch of used books on, but I don't know how long it will take for them to reach her or what she has already read. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Mar 22, 5:45pm

112 Oh no, what a problem. I get most of my audiobooks from Libby or Overdrive. It’s been a long time since I ordered books from a thrift site but I don’t think it took too long to get them; however these days, who knows?

Mar 22, 6:00pm

I just finished Topics of Conversation by Miranda Popkey and this is my review:

This book is a misogynist and incel’s dream since it is full of distasteful women characters. There’s a woman who is repulsed by tenderness so she ditches her loving husband who is kind to everyone and pursues a man to dominate and be cruel to her. There’s the woman who has everything: beauty, wealth, equality, health, a good career, a loving husband, a well cared for daughter and is still not satisfied. These women call their breasts tits, defend the use of the word cunt and drink lots. They have disdain for everything. The author lists sources of inspiration for the book, one of them being Louis C. K., but also women, and it seems that she has taken the worst from the worst characters and compiled them into one distasteful book. I can’t think of anyone to whom I would recommend it

Mar 23, 7:55am

>114 Citizenjoyce:. For those who "aren't like other girls" perhaps.

Mar 23, 2:57pm

>115 vwinsloe: there are, no doubt, many who will find it interesting, even enlightening. I shudder to think of how many.

Mar 24, 7:21am

I've just finished the monumental The eighth life. This novel follows a Georgian family during the rise and fall of the USSR. There are strong, flawed women in each generation, many trapped by circumstances and dealing with them in their own way. Some survive, some are overwhelmed, all are memorable. It was interesting to me to see the historical events from the POV of one of the Republics rather than from a Russian perspective, and there is a strong sense of Georgian identity conveyed through the descriptions of places, food and customs. If you have time to invest and don't mind reading about some traumatic times, this is a very good read.

Mar 24, 2:16pm

>117 Sakerfalcon: Regular life in the USSR was amazing. So much love for Stalin as their country crumbled.

Mar 25, 6:37am

Reading 2 very different works at the moment.

The first is Nevertheless She Persisted, flash fiction released by Tor for International Womens Day, containing stories by such luminaries as Kameron Hurley, Amal El-Mohtar, Jo Walton, Nisi Shawl and more. It's very entertaining.

The second is Targeted: My Inside Story of Cambridge Analytica and How Trump, Brexit and Facebook Broke Democracy by Brittany Kaiser. I'm about half-way through and the author seems to be trying to portray herself as a naive idealist overwhelmed by a charismatic man, but honestly she comes across as just as self-centred and amoral as the rest of her cohorts in that world.

Mar 25, 9:46am

>119 SChant: I saw Nevertheless She Persisted linked on some email list that I am on, and I meant to download it. I should find out if it is still available. Thanks for the reminder.

Mar 25, 11:29am

>120 vwinsloe: Here is a link: Nevertheless She Persisted, (the actual download links are a ways down the page).

Mar 25, 1:57pm

>119 SChant: That's the problem with some whistleblower books. Sometimes crooks just want to rat on other crooks, I don't want to read those books. I didn't read Omarosa's and I won't read Bolton's either.

Mar 25, 4:59pm

>121 ScoLgo: Thank You!

Mar 25, 6:47pm

>123 vwinsloe: You're very welcome. I plan to start reading this collection later this week. I hope you enjoy it!

Edited: Mar 26, 5:14am

>122 Citizenjoyce: Yep - I'd agree with that, but I thought Edward Snowden's Permanent Record was pretty good. He dissed the political culture mostly, rather than individuals.

Mar 26, 4:59pm

>125 SChant: I don’t see myself reading anything by Snowden, but I’ll keep it in the back of my mind.

Mar 27, 3:52am

For any Star Trek fans who are too cheap to sign up for another streaming service (guilty) Patrick Stewart is letting us watch the new Star Trek for free for a month:

Mar 27, 8:19am

>127 Citizenjoyce:. Thanks. I'm tempted, but you know they get you hooked and then you have to cancel. They did the same sort of thing with ST Discovery as I recall.

Mar 27, 4:57pm

>128 vwinsloe: oh, it’s one of those deals. That’s disappointing.

Edited: Mar 31, 2:01am

i've had an unusually productive reading month, finishing 4 books by and/or about women!

Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie - not one of may faves of hers, but the ending saved it for me and pushed it to 4/5 stars

Uncomfortable Labels by Laura Kate Dale - her writing style is not for me, but her story was thought provoking and has stayed with me. 4/5 stars

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa - a novel about maths i didnt know i needed! an easier read than i expected. loved it! 5/5 stars

Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn- book 1 of the prequel to the ottori series (which i have not yet picked up). hearn's writing reads like a folk lore. simple and straightforward, but you get the sense of something more bubbling underneath. i already got a copy of book 2 ^_^ 4.5/5 stars

I hope I can keep this up ^_^

Mar 31, 3:05am

>130 riida: I can't remember why I read The Housekeeper and the Professor, I think someone recommended it. It's not the sort of book I would have picked up on my own, but I loved it. I always feel good when I hear of someone else who tries it.
I just finished 2 books, one I loved and one I couldn't wait to end.
I read Laini Taylor's Smoke and Bone series and was entranced throughout, so I thought I'd like her Strange the Dreamer which is the first book in another series. From about 1/3 of the way through the book I kept wishing it would end but stuck with it because I hoped it would get better. It did kind of but not enough so that the first thought I had when finishing it was "thank heavens that's over."
Due to a recommendation on another site, I read Dragonfly, yet another novel about WWII, this time about young American spies in France. Both novels were about the same length, but I loved this one to the end. It's not literature, but a good story with interesting, somewhat complex characters. Of course, all the characters are extraordinarily beautiful, there were only two flaws, one man was born missing a thumb and one woman was only five feet tall. But still they had some complexity and the plot was engrossing.
I hope you're all trying not to go stir crazy. If it weren't for the deaths and the horror of hospital work and the crashing economy this would be the perfect crisis for an introvert like me. Talking on the phone and texting with no personal interaction is no chore.

Apr 3, 3:46am

I'm about halfway through Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo about magical secret societies at Yale. They're like Skill and Bones with many famous people on their roster. Our heroine asks if the magic really works. They tell her Anderson Cooper, a member, is really 5'2", weighs 200 pounds and speaks with a heavy Long Island accent. That sealed the deal for me. I love it.

Apr 3, 7:49am

>132 Citizenjoyce:. That's really good to hear! I have that book sitting in my TBR pile.

I am finally reading The Song of Achilles. Madeline Miller is an extraordinary writer.

Edited: Apr 4, 2:21pm

I am reading Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde. So far it is very good! A developing friendship between a high school kid who doesn't fit in anywhere and a lonely 92-year old woman who lives in his building.

Apr 3, 3:35pm

Here are some free entertainment opportunities for us stay at homes:
Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals Youtube:
Free audio books- really free, you don’t even need to give your name.
And free

Apr 4, 6:01am

> 131Citizenjoyce: i know what you mean about ogawa's book. it really is not something one would ordinarily pick up based on the synopsis or title alone, but its so easy to fall in love with! also, i have been considering laini taylor and leigh bardugo for a while now...maybe time i pick up some of their books :)

Apr 4, 3:12pm

>136 riida: I can definitely recommend Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.

Apr 6, 5:38pm

I just finished The Binding by Bridget Collins. A tough read for me! I went in with no idea what to expect. I bought the book because of the beautiful cover and on the recommendation of my bookseller. It was worth the effort. Beautiful prose. I'd love to read it again.

Apr 6, 11:02pm

>138 riida: If Tracy Chevalier recommends it, it must be good. I've requested it from the library.
I just finished Burn The Place, another memoir by a crazy alcoholic chef, this time Iliana Regan. I've worked in only two nice restaurants, the owners of both were alcoholics, the chefs were crazy. Regan thought, growing up, that her crazy family was normal. It seems half the time people with crazy families think they're normal and families with normal families think they're crazy. So Regan grew up confused about gender, she really, really wanted to be a boy, her parents had a very strained relationship, her sister was an alcoholic, but they all loved food. She knows about food literally from the ground up - where to find the best mushrooms, what they look like and how each one tastes. Her dad killed and butchered animals, her mother cooked great polish food, and Italian, and fish. And they all had great work ethics. So, it takes all kinds. Regan admits that she was mighty harsh early in her restauranteur career, but she has mellowed some. She's had a wild life, but she sure makes you want to taste her food.

Apr 7, 7:46am

I tried to make The Song of Achilles last as long as possible, but alas, I reached the final page.

So for something that couldn't be compared, I started Daisy Jones & the Six. It is written in a excepts from interviews and reviews, which is different than the usual fiction style. I am not into rock music, but I am the right age to appreciate the scene of the late 60s and 70s. So far it is holding my interest.

>138 riida:. Putting that on my wish list. Thanks.

Edited: Apr 9, 5:09am

Not written by a woman, but about a remarkable women Negative Gravity: A Life of Beatrice Shilling. She studied engineering in 1929 - an unusual choice for a woman at the time - rebuilt her own motor-cycle, became a specialist in aircraft engineering, during the Secong World War solved the problem of fighter planes losing power when diving, and continued working in aeronautics until 1969.

Apr 10, 8:17pm

The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical today is Jesus Christ Superstar with Tim Minchin playing Judas. It's great.

Edited: Apr 12, 6:27am

>119 SChant: Well, I'm reading Targeted: The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower's Inside Story of How Big Data, Trump, and Facebook Broke Democracy and How It Can Happen Again . This innocent woman's innocent mom worked for Enron and she innocently worked for Cambridge Analytica. I guess we all think we"re ethical - but I'll withhold judgement for now. She says she didn't know what she was getting into at the beginning. I can believe I would have been that naive, but she'd been in politics a while.

Apr 12, 9:15am

>142 Citizenjoyce:. I love that musical. I did my director's book on it while attending Emerson College as a theater arts major. I was impressed with the John Legend version that was televised last year, too.

I just finished Daisy Jones & the Six, and I can see why it is so popular. The interview style format was very successful, and the ending was emotionally satisfying.

Apr 12, 10:19am

>144 Citizenjoyce: That's pretty much the conclusion I came to!

Apr 12, 9:22pm

For Shakespeare lovers, you can see Hamlet until the 19th

And even better The National Theatre from the UK is streaming amazing productions on their youtube page, National Theatre Live. The production this week is Jane Eyre.
I watched Jane Eyre today. It's very good, but I couldn't help but think of the joke about the Bronte sisters' taste in men.

Apr 14, 4:07am

Started The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington by Joanna Moorhead, a chatty and affectionate biography of the fascinating surrealist artist.

Apr 14, 5:14am

>148 SChant: This is on my TBR pile, so I look forward to your review! I love Carrington's work and wish more of it was in public collections.

Apr 14, 12:01pm

>145 vwinsloe: you've picked my interest for Daisy Jones & the six

Apr 14, 12:05pm

i just finished Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers...for a 200 page short novel, it took me so loooooong to finish it :( her style is just so different from Christie that my mind was refusing to digest it (in spite of the intriguing mystery). maybe i'll have a better experience with a 2nd book from Sayers (already picked up from my local charity shop weeks ago)

Apr 14, 12:20pm

I started reading Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman after watching the Netflix series. It is very interesting to understand the cultural background behind one of the most extreme Hasidic sects. Also watching her grow up under this system and being castigated for her inability to conform makes for a great story.

Apr 14, 10:33pm

>119 SChant: I finished Targeted: The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower's Inside Story of How Big Data, Trump, and Facebook Broke Democracy and How It Can Happen Again and am so glad I read this great book. It shows how we poor humans can ease into absolutely immoral acts by telling ourselves over and over again that we're doing the right thing, or we might be doing something a little wrong but we're doing it for a good reason (financially helping out our destitute parents - the ones with closets full of designer clothes and storage units full of possessions), or we know what we're doing might be a little iffy but we're doing a really good job. I'm a great proponent of having a good work ethic. Brittany Kaiser has a great work ethic, but it turns out that maybe a great work ethic in the pursuit of immortality might not be laudable after all. This is Shakespearean in its analysis of humanity.

Apr 16, 5:13am

Hi, I'm completely new here but love the idea of a group dedicated to women's writing :) So I'll share: I have just started reading a beauty and the beast re-write by Katherine MacDonald , I am only about 100 pages in but I am loving it - it has emotional depth and the imagery is so distinct I can not just picture it but actually feel it. And it swaps 'cursed furniture' for hidden fairies. If anyone here enjoys anything fairy related (in the dark fantasy fashion) then I highly recommend it.

On another note, can anyone recommend any good sci-fi or fantasy fiction by women writers? I have suddenly found I have a lot of time for reading on my hands...(I will definitely consider any independant/self published authors, since I have made it a personal goal to read more of those).

Apr 16, 6:32am

>149 Sakerfalcon: Finished the Leonora Carrington book - a quick read and fascinating person but the book was a little unsatisfying.
Link to my review

Apr 16, 10:28am

>154 A.G.Pointer: said "...can anyone recommend any good sci-fi or fantasy fiction by women writers?"

Check out the Women of Genre Fiction reading challenge over on World's Without End. There are links in the description that lead to a ton of great SF/F books written by women.

Apr 16, 11:18am

>155 SChant: Thank you for that! I will read the book with your reservations in mind. I bought Dorothea Tanning's Between lives after seeing the exhibition at Tate Modern last year, another book that is still on Mount Tbr.

Apr 16, 11:49am

>154 A.G.Pointer:. The Goblin Emperor and Uprooted are both outstanding.

Apr 16, 3:13pm

>154 A.G.Pointer: I love speculative fiction and have finished 3 good ones this month. The Ninth House is about magical societies at Yale. Frankissstein is a kind of retelling, spin-off of Frankinstein with a QUILTBAG twist and cryogenics. It gives lots to think about. Now I'm almost finished with a book of short stories, Vampires in the Lemon Grove that has some excellent ones. So far my favorites are "Reeling for the Empire" about some amazing transformations in Japan, and "The New Veterans" about a very effective masseuse.
I love fairy tales and classics retold but, alas, my library doesn't have The Rose and the Thorn.

Apr 17, 7:54am

>157 Sakerfalcon: I'd love to hear your opinion of the Dorothea Tanning book when you get round to it - sounds tempting. I guess you know about this site?

Apr 17, 8:46am

>160 SChant: I didn't so thank you for that!

Apr 17, 10:18am

About to start Eve and the New Jerusalem by Barbara Taylor. It's a bit old by now - published in the 1980s - but I'm always interested in women's history so will give it a go.

Apr 17, 7:23pm

> 154 A.G.Pointer:

i have just finished The Binding (Bridget Collins), and last November I read a gift from my SantaThing (!!!), The Age of Miracles (Karen Walker). both are beautifully written, both proved better than i anticipated, and both left me aching inside weeks after the last pages.

enjoy ^_^

Apr 17, 7:32pm

just finished listening to the Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel) audiobook. its about the rise of Oliver Cromwell, and its so very british, very deliciously political ^_^ even though Cromwell is the main character, i was entranced by the women in the story (Anne and Mary Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon, even Jane Seymour). They were women trapped in their moment in history, and while i dont think i can judge their actions, I like how they push against their boxes anyway and are arguably just as decadent, cunning, and dangerous as the men. i have to find the TV adaptation! ^_^

Apr 18, 5:36am

>164 riida: I think you mean Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to Henry VIII in the early C16th, not Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England in the mid-C17th.

Apr 18, 9:19am

i'm reading parable of the sower. it's my first octavia butler and whew it's incredible how prescient she was.

Apr 19, 5:26am

>166 overlycriticalelisa: You have to be brave to read Octavia Butler, she is definitely no Polyanna.

Edited: Apr 19, 9:32am

>166 overlycriticalelisa:. I never read The Parable of the Talents and have it sitting in my TBR pile, so I think that I will reread The Parable of the Sower first.

>159 Citizenjoyce:. I have Vampires in the Lemon Grove sitting in my TBR pile as well. Lucky me.

>163 riida: I have Karen Thompson Walker's latest book The Dreamers in my pile. I hope that it is as good as The Age of Miracles in which I found the writing to be absolutely gorgeous.

Apr 20, 1:17am

>167 Citizenjoyce:: i'm not sure what's wrong with me but i found parable of the sower pretty hopeful in spite of it all. now i'm into parable of the talents and can't say the same, so far. this one is hitting me harder.

Apr 20, 5:59am

I'm currently reading Wolf winter, a Swedish historical novel set among homesteaders on a remote mountain. It's very good so far.

Apr 20, 9:05am

>170 Sakerfalcon:. Thanks, I've added that to my wish list. For some reason, I've never read a novel by a Swedish woman that I did not enjoy.

I'm going to try to continue this thread on a new page since it has gotten quote long and I've been getting the continue link. I hope that everyone will join me there.

Apr 27, 11:58am

> 165 SChant: oh my gosh you're right!!
This topic was continued by What Are We Reading, Page 10.

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