Thursday, March 02, 2023

February 2022

Some very good reading this month. Also some not so good. All from the public library except for the ARC.

The End of Drum-Time by Pylväinen, Hanna 
Finished Feb 18, Finally finished this Advance Review Copy. (I rec'd two copies of this: one through GoodReads and one through LibraryThing.) I really liked this story of the Sami people of Norway/Sweden/Finland.

Checked out in Feb:
Cocoon by Zhang, Yueran
Finished Feb 24. Two former schoolmates reminisce  about their dysfunctional families, childhood, and young adult years in 1980s-90s Jinan China. Excellent!
In the Upper Country by Thomas, Kai 
Finished Feb 28. Liked this a lot until the last couple of chapter when I totally lost the thread.
Before the Ruins by Gosling, Victoria 
Finished Feb 26. Part coming of age, part mystery in an old manor house.
Clark and Division by Hirahara, Naomi 
Finished Feb 25. Mystery set in the Japanese/American relocation community in 1942 Chicago 
Looking for Jane by Marshall, Heather
Finished Feb 15. Well told story of adoption and abortion in Toronto in the 1960s-1980s
River sing me home by Shearer, Eleanor
Finished Feb 18. From Barbados to British Guiana to Trinidad runaway slave Rachel searches for her lost children. 
Victory city by Rushdie, Salman
Finished Feb 13.  Not my favorite Rushdie
Finna (LitenVerse, #1) by Cipri, Nino
Finished Feb 13. Short & sweet. alternate universes in an Ikeaish store.
Otherlands : a journey through Earth's extinct worlds by Halliday, Thomas
Finished Feb 16. 

Carried over from Jan:
The Torqued man by Mann, Peter
Finished Feb 8. Excellent!
The Shards by Ellis, Bret Easton Mann, Peter
Finished Feb 7. Liked it.
The World and all that it holds by Hemon, Aleksandar
Finished Feb 3. Overwritten war story
Anna May Wong : from laundryman's daughter to Hollywood legend by Hodges, Graham Russell
Finished Feb 2. Interesting bit of film history.
The Best American short stories 2021
Finished Feb 6. Not an impressive selection.
The Miniaturist by Burton, Jessie
Finished Feb 20. Liked it well enough, but reluctant to start the sequel.
The House of fortune by Jessie Burton
Finished Feb 22. The sequel to The Miniaturist was a must faster read than the first book. Not as good but it good enough. There were a couple of unanswered questions so maybe there will be a book three?

Moonrise over New Jessup by Minnicks, Jamila
Passed on this one--it just wasn't that interesting.
Mother ocean father nation by Batsha, Nishant
Returned to library; did not read
Insurrecto by Apostol, Gina
Returned to library; did not read

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

January 2023

Thirteen books read, and one DNF.  Plus I have eleven carryovers to read next month. Maybe I should slow down on my holds. Or spend less time surfing the net.  Also just rush in the library, pick up my holds and not browse.  I have a stack of there or four ARC's I must get to in February. So many must reads for such a short month!

All of these are library books except the DNF/ARC. 

ARC: did not finish:
This is how we love  by Moore, Lisa
I received this in September 2022 as a Goodreads giveaway.
This did not hold my interest at all. After several starts (and setting asides) I finally read about 100 pages and gave up. I felt like I was at someone else's class reunion and everybody was talking about people I didn't know nor care to know. I left early.

Carried over from last year:
Grand Hotel Europa by Pfeijffer, Ilja Leonard 
Finished Jan 3. Loved it!
The performance by Petrucci, Claudia
Finished Jan 6. Interesting psychological puzzle.
The tally stick by Nixon, Carl
Finished Jan 6. Nicely paced suspense. Set in New Zealand

Checked out Jan 3:
The Villa by Hawkins, Rachel
Finished Jan 22. Murder(s?) at an Italian (Orvieto) villa. 
A quiet life by Joella, Ethan
Finished Jan 10.
Fuzz : when nature breaks the law by Roach, Mary 
Finished Jan 16
Stay with me by Adebayo, Ayobami
Finished Jan 13
The accomplice by Lutz, Lisa 
Finished Jan 29. A bit above "just ok"
The tatami galaxy by Morimi, Tomihiko 
Finished Jan 25. Fun parallel universe set in the university section if Kyoto.
The torqued man by Mann, Peter
Carried over to Feb
Tiny imperfections by Frank, Alli 
Finished Jan 20. Light reading. Black admissions director at an elite private school in San Francisco
Under the whispering door by Klune, TJ
Finished Jan 26. A mysterious village tea shop is also a way station for those passing to the other side. Also has a gay love story. 

Checked out Jan 5:
Murder at the Majestic Hotel  (A Stella and Lyndy Mystery #4) McKenna, Clara
Finished Jan 7. Edwardian, sort of a locked room mystery. Set in York. 

Checked out Jan 10: (all carried over to Feb)
Anna May Wong : from laundryman's daughter to Hollywood legend
by Hodges, Graham Russell
The best American short stories 2021

Checked out Jan 18:  (all carried over to Feb)
The house of fortune : a novel by Jessie Burton
The miniaturist by Burton, Jessie
The shards by Ellis, Bret Easton

Checked out Jan 21:
Insurrecto by Apostol, Gina
Carried over to Feb
Night of the living rez by Talty, Morgan
Finished Jan 28. 
In the Time of Our History by Pari, Susanne
Finished Jan 30. Loved this story of Iranian/American family.

Checked out Jan 27:  (all carried over to Feb)
Moonrise over New Jessup by Minnicks, Jamila
The world and all that it holds by Hemon, Aleksandar
Mother ocean father nation by Batsha, Nishant

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

December 2022

A very strange month in which I finished only seven books!  But! I almost finished a long one (552 pages) which my housemate checked out on her card thinking I might like it. She was right:
Grand Hotel Europa by Pfeijffer, Ilja Leonard 

After I finish it, I may get around to an end of year wrap up  -  or not.

A Curious Invitation: The Forty Greatest Parties in Literature by Field, Suzette 
Finished Dec 4. An enjoyable read. About time I got around to it. It's been on my kindle since December of 2014
This Is How We Love by Moore, Lisa 
Review copy via GoodReads giveaway. Not enjoying this at all. Probably won't finish it.

Checked out Nov 25
Agent Josephine : American beauty, French hero, British spy by Lewis, Damien
Finished Dec 8. Ok, but not the best.
Deer man : seven years of living in the wild by Delorme, Geoffroy
Finished Dec 10. Interesting read. Roe deer in France. 

Checked out Nov 28
Dogs of summer by Abreu, Andrea
Finished Dec 27. A short book that seemed to take forever to read. I kept setting it aside and forgetting about it. Meh girls coming of age in a boring summer.

Checked out Dec 10
Spaceman of Bohemia by Kalfar, Jaroslav
Finished Dec 12. Liked this one.

Checked out Dec 18
A dangerous business by Smiley, Jane
Finished Dec 20. Disappointing, rather boring "mystery" by an author I usually enjoy reading.
The performance by Petrucci, Claudia --carried forward into Jan
The tally stick by Nixon, Carl               --carried forward into January

Checked out Dec 22
The Bullet that misses (Thursday Murder Club #3)  by Osman, Richard
Finished Dec 26. Slightly better than the first two (which were pretty good).

Thursday, December 01, 2022

November 2022

Made some selection errors this month--several abandoned, skimmed, and ho hum books. BUT--there were two amazing biographies( Samuel Adams and George B.), a pleasant quirky mystery (The enigma of Room 622),  and a good enough family saga. My total read was a bit lower than usual but those two bios were long.

Carried over from October
France : an adventure history by Robb, Graham
  Decided not to read this (Nov12)
Girl at war by Nović, Sara
 Finished Nov 15. just ok
The enigma of Room 622 by Dicker, Joël
 Finished Nov 6. Liked it, liked it not, liked it, liked it not, liked it!
The marsh queen by Hartman, Virginia 
 Decided to skip this one--too slow. (Nov 3) Promoted "For fans of Where the Crawdads Sing..." Not!

Checked out Oct 29 
Maiden voyages : magnificent ocean liners and the women who traveled and worked aboard them by Evans, Siân
 Finished Nov 15. Fun somewhat gossipy account.
The Whalebone Theatre by Quinn, Joanna
 Finished Nov 3. Had a bit of trouble getting into this family saga but ended up really liking it 
The revolutionary : Samuel Adams by Schiff, Stacy
 Finished Nov 14 (a bit of skimming here and there) Enjoyed this though it covered a lot I already knew.
The singularities by Banville, John
 Abandoned Nov 8 (halfway through). The first half was  ok with interesting (singular) characters, but I just wasn't at all curious about where this was going.
We are the light by Quick, Matthew
  Abandoned Nov 11 (page 35). Too much Jung. And I didn't care for the slow reveal of what happened at the theater. 

Checked out Nov 15
Mr. B : George Balanchine's 20th century by Homans, Jennifer
 Finished Nov 29. Whew! (and I mean that in a good way.)
The rabbit hutch by Gunty, Tess
 Finished Nov 20. First 75 pages went rather smoothly and then it started to disintegrate. I find it hard to believe I only had it for five days; it felt like it took me a month to finish. Tedious.

Monday, October 31, 2022

October 2022

All books this month were from the public library. Some were great, many were good, and there were a few I just couldn't make it through.

Carry over from Sep  
The books of Jacob by Tokarczuk, Olga
 Abandoned Oct 12.  Read about 100 pages and enjoyed it, but not enough to want to read 800 more pages.

Checked out Sep 29 
Lucy by the sea : a novel by Strout, Elizabeth 
 Finished Oct 2. If, in a few years, anyone asks what the Pandemic Lockdown was like.....
Odinary grace : a novel by Krueger, William Kent  
 Finished Oct 11. Liked this much better than the Krueger I read last month.
Shrines of gaiety : a novel by Atkinson, Kate 
 Finished Oct 4. Overall a good romp, but a trifle slow at times.
The pastor by Ørstavik, Hanne; translated from the Norwegian by Aitken Martin
 Finished Oct 4. Meh...but it did make me curious about the Sámi.
The slow march of light : a novel : inspired by a true story of resilience and hope by Moore, Heather B.
 Finished Oct 10. Didn't care much for the mix of fact and fiction.
Checked out Oct 6 
Invisible ink : a novel by Modiano, Patrick
 Finished Oct 9. Of course I liked it; it's Modiano!
Jollof rice and other revolutions : a novel in interlocking stories by Ogunyemi, Omolola Ijeoma
 Finished Oct 8. Liked most of this one (except maybe the final story set in the future)
The Book of goose by Li, Yiyun
 Finished Oct 14. Really liked this one!
The sixteen trees of the Somme by Mytting, Lars
 Finished Oct 16. Really enjoyed this.
Checked out Oct 15
The Marriage Portrait by O'Farrell, Maggie
 Finished Oct 29. Lovely writing but too much of it. It felt "padded."  Also, I really get annoyed when writers of historical fiction change the names of historical characters to "...avoid confusion with other characters in the book." Seems a bit lazy--a good writer can write it so there is no confusion.
Nights of plague by Pamuk, Orhan
 Finished Oct 23. Excellence! 
The hero of this by book by McCracken, Eli
 Finished Oct 17. A slightly fictionalized memorial to her mother.
The village idiot by Stern, Steve
 Finished Oct 27. Nice bio-fic of the artist Chaim Soutine.
We spread by Reid, Iain
 Finished Oct 26. Excellent.

Checked out Oct 25 (last 4 carried over to November)
Art of the chicken : a master chef's paintings, stories, and recipes of the humble bird by Pépin, Jacques  
 Finished Oct 28.  Love the illustrations! A delightful surprise every time you turn a page. 
The cook by Kerangal, Maylis de
 Finished Oct 30. This fictional story of a cook was no where as good as the  Pépin book.
France : an adventure history by Robb, Graham
Girl at war by Nović, Sara
The enigma of Room 622 by Dicker, Joël
The marsh queen by Hartman, Virginia  (may not read this one)