Man, it’s been awhile since I have updated. And I’ve had a lot of time to read, what with sitting around in hospitals and at the house waiting on a heart patient hubby.
What I finished since last time: Jacqueline Winspear’s Lesson in Secrets – the eighth in the Maisie Dobbs series. I am still enjoying the series, though I wish Winspear would allow Maisie some personal happiness without attached angst.
He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly. I disliked this book. Not a single character to like. Everyone was selfish and shallow. And I am sick unto death of the “twist ending”, which since they advertise it on the cover of the book, can’t really be a twist ending now can it? This book has about convinced me that I hate current literary fiction.
The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham. An Albert Campion mystery with hardly any Albert Campion in it. Great secondary characters, though, especially Canon Avril and Inspector Luke. Allingham is an acquired taste, I think. Not as immediately loveable as Christie.
A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute. I like Neville Shute. His writing is not high-falutin’ but given my recent go-rounds with modern fiction, it was ok. The story is actually based on a real story Shute heard, so it rings true. I’d like to see the miniseries/movie, but our library doesn’t have it and neither does Netflix!
Tales from a Village School by Miss Read. Didn’t realize this one was a collection of short pieces. It would have been better to have read these after I knew more about Fairacre.
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. Second in the Queen’s Thief series. Loved this. Loved the characters. Loved the long con. Turner really gets the relationship between God and worshipper – and that it is not a safe relationship. Like Aslan not being a tame lion, the gods in Turner’s world are not accountable to humans, but humans to them. That is a rare gift in current fiction.
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Sort of the other side of Tom Hanks in Castaway, focusing on the one left behind instead of the one who was away. Interesting take, and a brave choice in the end – and one I didn’t expect.
Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison. Again another book with no characters to really like. Sigh. Twisty end AGAIN. Come on writers! Enough!
Village School by Miss Read. I expected this to be on the saccharine side. It was NOT. Miss Read is clear-eyed about her students’ gifts and faults. It is obvious she loves them, but she doesn’t idealize them – nor does she any of the other villagers. A good look at a rural school post-war. First in the Fairacre series. I loved this and it was just what I needed to read in a stressful time.
Village Diary by Miss Read. Second in the Fairacres series. A year in the village and school with all its highs and lows. Some interesting thoughts about the slower country life and the way it meets human needs in a way that a fast-paced urban life may not. She is aware of the changes that are coming to village and realizes there is often nothing that can be done to stop them, but she doesn’t think they are always without drawbacks. Loved this.
Girls in White Dresses by Alex Gates. I got this on a daily deal. I think it must have been self-published, which is not a bad thing, but I think Gates could have been helped a LOT by a good editor. Told in first person (which I usually don’t care for much), very choppy sentences, too often telling, not showing. But there were some interesting insights and the author did understand that not every cult leader is a cynical bastard who doesn’t believe what he is saying but is just tricking everyone. This go round, the leader was a bad guy, but he was at least a true believer bad guy. I have Gates’ 2nd book. I will probably read it, but it’s not top of the TBR pile.
The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Fenollera. So disappointed in this book. GREAT ideas underlying it, but I didn’t think it worked as a book. Perhaps a good discussion starter about the kind of life that is really human and humane.
Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder. A look at those people who are living in RVs, trailers, and vans, not because they are living a wonderful retirement but because they have HAD to do so because of economics. Sobering look at choices that some have made, just to get by. Not sensationalized – no policy measures proposed, just an honest look at a subset of Americans that are largely unknown. Interesting read.
Whew! That was a lot in 2 months!
Currently reading: J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter. So far it is sort of an “old-fashioned” biography – starting at the beginning and progressing along. It is well-written and I am really enjoying it so far, but I’m only at the point where he begins with the stories that will become The Silmarillion. (Which I have never read, but now want to!)
In the on deck circle: Not sure yet. I’m thinking something off my own shelves. Perhaps Quo Vadis?
Did not finish: The Girls of Atomic City – just couldn’t keep everything straight and I didn’t really care. It is rare for me not to finish. I usually don’t even start, they sit around for awhile, then I take them back to the library. This one I got about 1/3 in and closed it up and donated it to the Little Free Library at our park.
How ’bout y’all?