Friday, October 16, 2015

October (first half) 2015 Reading

Several more of my requests came in at the library so I've been reading a lot and I'm splitting my monthly "reads" post into two parts. The month was off to a great start with a wonderful story collection, a great non-fiction, a lovely historical novel, and an amazing novel about the victim from Camus' The Stranger.
There were some disappointments too, but only one that I didn't finish.


Only the Animals; Dovey, Ceridwen
Ten short stories, told in the voices of the souls of animals caught up in human conflicts.excellent! Love the cover.
Library Book.


The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World; Wulf, Andrea
I loved this book. It's not just about Humboldt's life, travels, theories and writings; it also covers his influence on other scientists and scientific thinking from his own time to the present.
Library book.

The Distant Marvels; Acevedo, Chantel
I had not heard anything about this book until I picked it up from the new book shelf at a library I rarely visit. After I checked it out, I had a hard time putting it down. A marvelous story teller tells a tale about a marvelous story teller, Maria Sirena, whose story is set in the history of Cuba's struggle for independence. A tragic tale beautifully told. (The book is much better than the cover photo indicates.)
Library book.


The Meursault Investigation; Daoud, Kamel; John Cullen (Translator)
This novel tells the story of "The Arab," the nameless victim in Camus' The Stranger. The narrator, who claims to be the brother of Musa ("The Arab"), tells the story of his family and the aftermath of his brother's death. It's both a stunning homage to Camus and a striking commentary on colonialism and Algerian independence.
Library book.

Chaucer's Tale: 1386 and the Road to Canterbury; Strohm, Paul
How Chaucer became the "father of English literature." A crucial year in the life of the giant literary figure. Strohm knows his stuff and knows how to present it in an accessible manner--well researched, scholarly without being dull.
Library book.

Gold Fame Citrus; Watkins, Claire Vaye
Dystopian fiction is always a challenge for me--especially if involves drought in Southern California; so this was a difficult read. But it is very well written and worth the effort.
Library book.

Among the Ten Thousand Things; Pierpont, Julia
A sensitive story marriage gone wrong and the effects of a family's breakup on a couple and their two children. An impressive debut novel using multiple points of view. 
Library book. 

The Girl from the Garden; Foroutan, Parnaz
Story of the problems of a wealthy Iranian Jewish family in Kermanshah. Related as the memories of a descendant living out the end of her life in Los Angeles as an exile from the 1979 Revolution. It has a rather dreamy, mythic quality. A nice read, maybe three stars.
Library book.

One Day; Nicholls, David
Read this because I liked his recent novel Us. Enjoyed this one, but the newer one is better, he's tightened up his writing a bit. Will definitely read more by Nicholls. 
Library book.

Undermajordomo Minor; deWitt, Patrick
For me, the title was the best thing about this darkish, lightish fantasy. A disappointment because I liked his  The Sisters Brothers so much.
Library book. 

Man at the Helm; Stibbe, Nina
I was hoping for a light, amusing read (beware of the word "hilarious" in a book description), but this was only "ok"."  I wouldn't recommend.
Library book.

Did not finish 
H is for Hawk; Macdonald, Helen 
This was a holdover from September. The writing was fine, but not good enough to make me like the subject. I read about a third of it.
Library book. 

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