anniedeighnaugh

What are we reading? Sept 2020 edition

Annie Deighnaugh
22 days ago
last modified: 22 days ago

I'm about 1/3 of the way through Love in the Time of Cholera. I'm withholding judgment at this point.

Next up for book group is The Body in Question: A Novel which is about a man and a woman meet while sequestered as jurors.

What are you reading?

Comments (101)

  • ci_lantro
    10 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    Csarinalex, I've read quite a bit of Rutherford's work, too, but not any of the Irish series. Rutherford is a pretty good story teller but a writer, he isn't. I read his Paris within the past few months & while it was interesting & I learned a lot of factoids about Paris (I enjoyed the parts about the construction of the Eiffel Tower the most), the book read like it was targeted for 7th graders. Possibly I had read a well written book just before I read Paris and it was the contrast that made it seem like so basic 101 writing.?

  • sweet_betsy No AL Z7
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    The Life We Bury, a suspense-filled thriller by Allen Eskens, will keep you on the edge of your seat, a wonderful book. 5 stars

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  • praha
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    Am currently reading Five Presidents, by Clint Hill. Hill is a retired Secret Service man who guarded Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. He has a lot of stories to tell!

    Sable

  • dedtired
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    I finally finished The Hearts Invisible Furies and enjoyed it immensely. The ending is poignant and wonderful. Next I listened to the audiobook of The Great Alone and disliked it. Maybe it was the reader doing so many ridiculous voices but the story was outlandish. Kind of a ripoff of The Shining but not anywhere near as good. I’m now into The Redhead By The Side of The Road and it’s good so far. I’m not too far in but it seems to be an Everyman story.

  • czarinalex
    9 days ago

    ci_lantro... agree that Rutherfurd might not be the greatest writer of all time, but disagree that his writing is basic 7th grade level. And sometimes, you just need a good story, right?

  • justerrilynn
    8 days ago

    I’m reading Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson. It’s slow going as the descriptions on the history of weather is very long and detailed, based on real accounts and the earliest scientists contributions on reading weather. The main story is about the devastating hurricane of 1900 in Galveston Tx and the heat wave that killed many across the U.S. that same year.

  • deegw
    8 days ago

    I just finished Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd and enjoyed it. I was afraid it might be schmaltzy or the plot contrived but it was well done. The history is nicely woven into the plot without being overly detailed and the characters are interesting.

    Here is a nice blurb about it.

    A not-so-religious reimagining of Jesus' life that beautifully tackles the question: What if he had a feminist wife?

  • chisue
    7 days ago

    I enjoyed and laughed out loud reading The Heart's Invisible Furies, but I ended up disliking the narrator as never 'coming into his own'. (The *story* was teriffic!)

    DH and I both liked Love, Death & Rare Books, but -- is there something *wrong* with me -- I didn't like that guy either. (Another person just RE-acting his way though life as son, grandson, some woman's fallback refuge.)

    I read the first 60 pages of Boyne's A Ladder to the Sky. Then I read the last few pages Then I put the book out to go back to the library. Too much 'gay'? IDK. Are all his books about the struggles of gay men? I appreciated the social closeting early on in Hearts, but wearied of 'poor, blighted, gay me'.

  • Bunny
    7 days ago

    I had great hopes for The Book of Longings, but it felt contrived to me. She always managed to show up for the big events in Jesus' life.

  • 4kids4us
    7 days ago

    Chisue, Boyne is gay, so makes sense to me that his main characters often are. I thought Ladder to the Sky was excellent - the main character was a despicable narcissist but the story was intriguing. THIF is definitely my favorite novel of his though. I did just read his latest novel, Traveler at the Gates of Wisdom, and yes, there is a gay character, though unlike his other books that I’ve read (five I’ve read so far), he is not the main character.


    Last night I finished The Mountains Sing. It’s written by a Vietnamese author. She didn’t learn English until the 8th grade, and this was the first work she has written in English, which was apparent to me at times. The story itself follows an extended family living in north Vietnam spanning the 1950s thru early 1980s. The historical and cultural aspects of the book were enlightening to me; I really had no understanding of the atrocities the Vietnamese inflicted upon each other during this time. It was a fairly readable book, but definitely some horrific and violent passages (I also had to suspend disbelief over a few things that were a bit too coincidental). I’m glad I read it, even though the writing could have used better editing.


    Getting ready to start Anxious People, Fredrik Backman’s new release. I have heard wonderful things about it.

  • chisue
    7 days ago

    4kids4us -- I think it IS *me*. (Crabby old lady.)

    I waded through Boyne's Travelers. It was a great point, but I thought he could have made it in fewer pages. ha-ha

    I've started Rimmer's All The Things We Cannot Say. Nice connection with the boy's and the great-grandmother's cognitive problems. I think the author doesn't trust the reader enough, or maybe she just likes to say everything ten ways to Sunday. Less can be more.

    Will there be another Towle book? Two of my all time favorites.

  • Janie
    7 days ago

    justterrilyn - i loved Isaac's Storm and recently read his book The Devil in The White City which was also slow going but I enjoyed it. Its partly a true crime story of a serial killer but its mostly about the architecture and the issues of the building of the 1893 Chicago World''s Fair.

    I also recently finished The Radium Girls which is the true story about the poisoning of the employees (mostly young women)and the cover ups by the companies that painted the radium 'glow in the dark' dials on watches in the 20's and the 30's. Another slow book, but a true story and it started in NJ where I am from so i was interested in the final outcome.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    7 days ago

    I've read Isaac's Storm and didn't find it to be one of Larson's better efforts. His achievements can be quite inconsistent from book to book, I felt the same disappointment with his most recent effort The Splendid and the Vile.

    Two recent books I've read are Tuchman's Zimmermann Telegram (a reread) and Colin Jost's A Very Punchable Face. I enjoyed both. The telegram affair is especially interesting because it shines a light into the dark machinery of foreign relations and intrigue to provide an understanding of not only what went on but why.

  • stacey_mb
    7 days ago

    Elmer, your mention of recent reads comes at a great time for me. I'm reading and also listening to books about World War Two (reviews to come), so I'm definitely ready for a "change of scene." A Very Punchable Face sounds very entertaining and is rated quite highly on Goodreads.com and Audible.com. I think I will get the audio version - fortunately with Jost being a professional performer, the narration is sure to be good.

  • runninginplace
    6 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    I just finished We Are All The Same in the Dark. Second book in a row that had me absorbed and yet the ending was a huge letdown.

    This was yet another in what feels like my summer of dark reading about women being mistreated. The story was about an old unsolved murder and a young woman who returns to her hometown to try to solve it. She was also part of the events that left a friend and her abusive father missing/presumed dead. Excellent writing and the plot and theme drew me in. Then literally mid book there was a surprising shift that I won't specify in case anyone is or will be reading it and the rest was not as gripping....then the mystery was resolved literally in a quick one page summary at the very end of the book. Sigh.

    I've got the latest David Rosenfelt so I am heading into the suspense with a giggle genre with relief.

    I'm also ready to open up You Look So Much Better In Real Life by Al Roker which I found via recommendation on some web site. This one got rave reviews for being true and humorous. Fingers crossed it's both!

  • Sara
    6 days ago

    I’ve only read Devil in the White City by Larson but really enjoyed it-my dad is a huge fan and particularly loved Isaac Storm and Splendid and the Vile-I need to read them. Gave him the latter during COVID and while he was going through radiation and I think he found it a nice distraction.

  • ci_lantro
    6 days ago

    csarinalex, I enjoyed Rutherfurd's Sarum, The Forest and London a lot. Paris was just okay.

  • Elmer J Fudd
    6 days ago

    If you like Colin Jost on TV, I think you'll find his story interesting. As is so often the case, there's "more to know" about him and he's pretty candid.

    As for Larson, I think it isn't easy for him to find situations that fit his schtick - Here's more about A, that you know something about, and B, related to A, that you've never heard about. The Churchill book was particularly disappointing to me, I kept waiting to learn of the new material he promised made his book unlike prior coverage of Churchill. Just like someone trying to write about Lincoln, an obvious question to ask is "What's new to know?" WIth Spendid and Vile, I didn't find anything new that was enlightening or surprising. I think Garden of Beasts and White City are his two best. Others struggle to be as engrossing.

  • Funkyart
    6 days ago

    Ci_lantro, I read A Gentleman in Moscow in Oct 2016.. in Oct as the election approached. I read each night in bed-- so soon it became my respite from the pre-election craziness. I loved the writing, i loved the characters, i loved the story! I even slowed my pace to stretch it out so that I could enjoy a little bit each night-- after the debates/news reports/social media.


    I so wish i had a similar escape as this election approaches!

  • lily316
    6 days ago

    Just finished the latest Nora Roberts book and starting on Mary Trump's.

  • nutsaboutplants
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    Finished a delightful book titled Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by an author unknown to me until this book. It was hilarious overall, though it also touched on some heavy issues. It’s set in London. I was laughing so hard reading some parts. Light reading, but thoroughly enjoyable. 3 stars.

    reading Rage now.

  • Bunny
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    Dead Wake was the first Erik Larson book I read and I found it incredibly engrossing, even if I gasped for air whenever we were inside a U-boat.

    Elmer, it sounds like you might know a lot of history so maybe Erik Larson doesn't have much to add to what you already know. I have always learned plenty [from Larson] about things I didn't already know.

  • runninginplace
    5 days ago

    Funkyart, I read A Gentleman in Moscow in 2016 also, over the holidays. I will never forget the sheer joy of getting in bed each night so I could spend time at the Metropole with the Count and everyone in his world. It really is one of the best books I have ever read.


    Nuts, that book sounds great! I just placed a hold and there are plenty of copies available in our system so I should be able to start reading it very soon.

  • Bunny
    5 days ago

    Running, when I read A Gentleman for the second time, I knew what the ending was. Even so, i burst into tears the second time, exactly like I did the first.

  • olychick
    5 days ago

    Nuts, thanks for the reminder about that book. I heard of it some time ago, but it fell off my radar. I, too, put it on hold at my library. Looking forward to it!

  • runninginplace
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    Funky you make such a good point about how a wonderful book can transport one away from negativity and nastiness in the Real World. Maybe we should think of books we've read-a la A Gentleman in Moscow-that are great escapist fare! Things that leave us feeling happy, and/or transport us to a kinder gentler place for a little while.


    Edited to add: here's a nominee. I read Cold Sassy Tree years ago and I still remember feeling as if I was rocking gently while sipping sweet tea in this porch swing of a novel.

  • olychick
    5 days ago

    Running, that's a great idea. Do you want to start a new thread so we can keep it going beyond the Sept reading thread?

  • Bestyears
    5 days ago

    I just started Monogamy, by Sue Miller, an author I've been reading for over 25 years I think. I'm also reading Summer Wives, by Beatriz Williams. Both of these books feel intuitively like the type that resonate with me, so I expect I'll enjoy them. I'm also sampling Sisters and Secrets, by Jennifer Ryan and The Fountains of Silence, by Ruta Sepetys.

  • stacey_mb
    5 days ago

    "[Despite being warned about grave military occurrences] ...Hitler's peculiar logic and the reality of events at the front had nothing to do with each other; neither was of any relevance to the other." Author Vasily Grossman gives a remarkable picture of Hitler and the attempted Nazi invasion of Russia beginning in June, 1941 in his book Stalingrad. The lengthy novel (961 pages of the main text) is a panoramic portrayal mainly of the Russian side of the struggle. The book is in three parts and part one is not as active, setting the scene for the remainder of the action. The book ends as Stalingrad is being attacked by determined Nazi forces and the story is continued in Life and Fate, Grossman's subsequent novel. Stalingrad is an enormously remarkable book and has been compared to War and Peace.

    As I read the novel, I also listened to The First Wave : The D-Day Warriors Who Led the Way to Victory in World War II by Alex Kershaw. This is a book that would be good to read rather than listen to because it would be valuable to have maps to view. I didn't plan my literature selections this way, but I'm glad that I did because these two major events illuminated each other. It's sobering to be reminded that so many (mostly) men gave up their lives to defeat the Nazis and in some cases fought on despite the most fearsome conditions. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

  • olychick
    5 days ago

    And we owe them vigilance that history doesn't repeat itself.

  • Kathsgrdn
    5 days ago

    Still reading The Lacuna. I only read it at night before I go to sleep so it's slow going. I like it okay, I'm only 1/4 of the way through it.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    5 days ago

    I guess I forgot to post...I read The Body in Question for our book group and we had our discussion last night. Pretty consistent take on the book: there was so much more the author could've done with it. In fact our group came up with lots of potential spin off themes which would've been far more interesting to explore than what she did with it. I'd give it 2 stars only.

  • olychick
    5 days ago

    I finally finished Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver last night. I am a big fan of her writing and this did not disappoint. I was a little anxious about where it was headed (maybe too depressing for me right now) but it turned out to be a great story, with some interesting historical elements. Highly recommend it.

  • Jasdip
    4 days ago

    I'm on the 3rd book of the Outlander series, "Voyager". I've been getting them from the library, and the library has waived all of their late fees till the rest of the year. Good thing, each of her books is over 700 pages, with many in the 800's.

    BUT I'm so excited, I found 6 of the Outlander novels at Value Village today, 3 are hardcovers. The paperbacks are so difficult to hold comfortably when they're that thick. This series is worth having and re-reading (to me).

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    I finished Love in the Time of Cholera, and I know my GF said it was really good and it was recommended here, but my reaction was meh. I like books that go down easy and this one I had to push myself through it. It never really intrigued me. I think it's a style issue with the very descriptive and what I call "cerebral" writing style. I'm sure there's a proper term for it. But it was too much mental thoughts and description and not enough action and interaction for my taste. And I fundamentally didn't like the lead character who I found creepy. 2 stars.

    Next up is Against the Wind for book club.

  • runninginplace
    4 days ago

    Oly, maybe we can just use a particular tag, like Happy Book ;). As things get darker and grimmer in the world, I think I"m going to need a lot of happy reading to counteract Real Life!

  • hooked123
    4 days ago

    I am reading Autumn Light by Pico Iyer, it's very good so far. I am also reading Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. I have always been curious about this book and found it on Audible narrated by Maggie Gllynhaal, who has an amazing voice.

  • stacey_mb
    3 days ago
    last modified: 3 days ago

    Here's a cheerful book suggestion, copied from when I was doing Book of the Week. Enslaved by ducks / by Bob Tarte.Bob Tarte, who wrote a music
    column, was recently married and new property owner in the country. His wife
    Linda was an animal lover and talked him into acquiring just one pet, a rabbit
    named Binky, who was no trouble to care for, so he was assured. Binky took over
    their lives with his “demands,” but when he died, Bob and Linda were bereft.
    They gradually acquired more and more animals until their lives were completely
    taken over by the demands of their eccentric menagerie.

    I really loved this funny and true story about this Michigan couple for the lively and affectionate way in which the author describes how they acquired the animals and how their lives were changed with their new acquisitions.

  • olychick
    3 days ago

    Running, I was thinking it would be good to have them all on one thread that runs multiple months, instead of having to search through each month's thread looking for Happy suggestions?

    I'm happy to start it, if others would contribute. Maybe Stacey would repost her suggestion there, too?

  • olychick
    3 days ago
    last modified: 3 days ago

    I started a Happy Reads thread (for those who haven't seen it).

    https://www.gardenweb.com/discussions/5998181/happy-reads#comments

  • salonva
    3 days ago

    I have just finished The Heart's Invisible Furies. I would give it 4.5 stars. Mostly I loved it and found it so compelling, but after about 400 pages or so, I was getting a bit tired of it. I enjoyed the current events references, the coincidences, but some of them got a bit too much or too much of a stretch. I thought it was really well written and the author sure can tell a story. I loved the humor in it as well. I am going to suggest if for a book club read as it most definitely has an abundance of points to discuss.

  • Joaniepoanie
    3 days ago

    I just finished Body in Question and agree with Annie. Without giving too much away, the main character’s reaction to what was happening with her husband was not in any way believable and that’s when the novel really fell flat for me, although there were inklings up to that point. An easy read, but disappointing.

  • liz
    3 days ago

    I just started a series of books by Sarah Graves, the first one being "Dead Cat Bounce" the character lives in Eastport Maine and gets involved in solving murders

  • Marilyn_Sue
    2 days ago

    It seems all I get around to reading are cook books and I do love reading them.

    Sue

  • ci_lantro
    yesterday

    I finished Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. 3-3.25 stars. Other may like it more than I did. A little too much 'woman's bookish' for my taste.

    Have started an old book (1943) that I picked up at a rummage sale. Thunderhead by Mary O'Hara. It's the second book in a trilogy and the sequel to My Friend Flicka. I haven't read MFF, seen the movie or the TV series.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    14 hours ago

    I finished Against the Wind for our book group. I think we'll have fun discussing it, the book kept me intrigued, but I'm only giving it 3 stars because of the ending. This author clearly thinks this first novel of his will be so successful that he'll get to publish a sequel, because he just ended it with a whole passel of threads hanging. Most frustrating and irritating enough that I suspect I won't follow up when/if it is published. We aren't in the days of Dickens any more.

  • runninginplace
    5 hours ago

    Ci_lantro I didn't care much for Rules of Civility either. I think because A Gentleman in Moscow was such a stunning, wonderful book I probably expected more. It felt like a modern lens applied to a recent historical period and although well crafted it certainly didn't move me the way AGIM did.


    I just started Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and so far am liking it a lot. Two minor annoyances: the central character is obnoxious and someone penciled all over my library copy.


    Note to fellow patrons-if you don't own the book DO NOT circle names, underline paragraphs and draw ellipses around phrases you happen to like. Buy your own copy for that stuff and get a (reading) room!

  • Bestyears
    2 hours ago

    running -have you called your library? My husband just paid a hefty book replacement fee (we dont' really mind and think of it as a donation to our wonderful library). But he was charged for the damage that he immediately noticed shortly after he opened the book and suffered through while reading it. Apparently the library had missed it when it was checked in prior to his loan, and since he didn't call them, once they noted it upon his return, it looked to them as if he had done it.

  • Bestyears
    2 hours ago

    I just finished Monogamy, by Sue Miller. It is the kind of quiet, domestic book I particularly enjoy, where truth emerges from the small, everyday events that bind us together. Saying good morning to a neighbor, sharing dinner with friends and relatives, etc. I think I read that the author is about 75 now. She's been writing a long time. Not easy work. Good for her.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    1 hour ago

    I did get called by a library once. No idea what happened, but had DH drop the book off in the book drop and it was fine. They called to say that someone had scribbled in pencil in the book. I explained that I was in my 60s, DH even older and we have no children or grandchildren and the book was fine when I returned it, and that I'm not prone to scribbling. Fortunately, it was pencil and they were able to erase it.