anniedeighnaugh

What are we reading? Sept 2020 edition

Annie Deighnaugh
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months 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 (119)

  • Funkyart
    last month

    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
    last month

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

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  • nutsaboutplants
    last month
    last modified: last month

    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
    last month
    last modified: last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month
    last modified: last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

    "[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
    last month

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

  • Kathsgrdn
    last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month
    last modified: last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month
    last modified: last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month
    last modified: last month

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

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

  • salonva
    last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

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

    Sue

  • ci_lantro
    last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

    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.

  • kkay_md
    last month

    I just read Educated, a remarkable memoir by Tara Westover. I'm currently reading the novel Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid and listening to the audiobook Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, non-fiction, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson. Wilkerson also wrote The Warmth of Other Suns, which I just ordered. Also have Patchett's The Dutch House in the queue...

  • ci_lantro
    last month

    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.


    Runninginplace, that's a good way of putting it. The bits of history were interesting in a way but there just wasn't much story there. And the most interesting character in the book flits off to LA and out of the story about half way through the book. All in all, it was not shabby for what it was, a debut novel. While I wasn't expecting another AGIM I was expecting more depth.

  • beesneeds
    last month

    Have to preface my read with a little story.

    I happened to go by the local library earlier this week, and decided to stop by and see what they were up to and if the annual book sale was happening next month. Turned out no, understandably. Their sale basement is always full though, would I like a private shop since they offer them at this time?

    Yes please. Picked over the whole room, all myself. Walked out with a couple granb bags of junk food reading, a big stack of food related mystery paperback reading. A big handful of vintage yarn work small books and thins with patterns and tricks she will like learning or working in. And some random books, bringing me to tonights title..


    Super Formulas Arts & Crafts,

    How to make more than 360 useful products that contain honey and beeswax,,, ...adhesives..art mediums... batik...candles... curiosities..essential oils...floor wax...herbs...hair product...leather...makeup... mock marble... paint removers...polish...skep-making... skin cream...soap...Ukrainian easter eggs


    by Elaine C. White


    I think it might be the longest title I've ever read :)

  • Bunny
    last month

    Last night I finished We Were the Lucky Ones. Many thanks to those who recommended it here. 4.5 stars.

    It went a little slow at first, but gradually picked up speed. I read the last half non-stop. I was glad I printed out the family tree before I started because I would get people confused.

    What a family! They crossed oceans to be together. When I think about the trials we face today and wonder if everything's gone to the dogs, I get inspiration and hope from these people and their courage facing the unspeakable.

    Just picked up Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. Another book from the library that's in mint condition.

  • Bestyears
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Last night I started The Summer Wives, and I'm really enjoying it. I found the title on a 'new books to watch' list, though I don't remember where specifically. And it's a 2018 book, so there's that, LOL.


    From the Amazon description:

    • It's 1951 and Miranda's mother has just married into one of the wealthiest families on Winthrop Island, a glamorous haven set off the New England coast. But beneath the surface, the island is a delicate balance of tension between the wealthy summer families who holiday there and the Portuguese fishermen and domestic workers who keep the island going. As Miranda begins to fall for Joseph, the lighthouse keeper's handsome son, the tension rises inexorably to the surface and an explosive end to the summer will change everyone, forever…


    It's a beautifully written book. almost old-fashioned feeling somehow. Whether that's the first-person narration or something else, I'm not sure. Really enjoying it.

  • runninginplace
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I thought others might be interested in the list below-these are our upcoming book club selections. We meet monthly from September-June and take a summer break. So at our September meeting we discuss the summer choice, then everyone nominates 3 books and we select 9 from that list that we'll read for the cycle. There are 11 members so we usually have a pretty good range.

    I"m excited about this year's choices. Along with novels, we've got a business leader's memoir, a book of essays by a Black doctor, a thinly veiled novelization about a real life story and a non fiction title relevant to current events...and actually one of the novels (The Vanishing Half) was described as of the moment as well.

    Bonus points if anyone can figure out which are my picks. Hint: I have two on the list ;)

    The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

    The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

    The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper

    The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger

    The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah

    The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

    Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and CS Lewis by Patti Callahan

    The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

    Long Man by Amy Greene

    Summer Reading Suggestion:

    Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

  • Bunny
    last month

    As much as I loved Fredrik Backman's Beartown and Us Against You, Anxious People did not work for me. It was just too annoying, the people, that is. I just couldn't do it, so I bailed about 40 pages in.

  • 4kids4us
    last month

    Bunny I’ve heard rave reviews about Anxious People. I started it over a week ago and despite having plenty of time to read, I just don’t find myself rushing to pick it up. I’m only about 1/3 of the way through. I feel like it’s the type of book you just have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy, based on the nature of how it is written. I’m not going to give up, but I completely understand how you find the characters annoying.

  • Bunny
    last month

    4kids, I’m glad it’s not just me. It got rave reviews here. And I’m such a Beartown fan. i Have so much other reading to do for another project that I don’t have time for annoying books. Back to Circe.

  • runninginplace
    last month

    I apologize for not recalling who recommended it, but I just finished Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows and want to say thank you! I loved it, what a warm hearted story and with a great theme of women becoming empowered and free to express themselves. The characters were realistic, plot had a lot of zing to it including a murder mystery and the outcome was very satisfying Highly recommend this and again my sincere appreciation for the recommendation.


    I started Monogamy by Sue Miller yesterday but I'm not sure I'm going to keep reading. So far it just isn't holding my attention. I think the dramatic lynchpin of the story is about to unfold so I'm going to give this one a 50-page trial. If it doesn't pull me in, that's enough for me.

  • nutsaboutplants
    last month

    Running, glad you enjoyed Erotic Stories ... I too found it uplifting, though obviously a light-hearted tale.

  • chisue
    last month

    We're on a Patchett kick. We both enjoyed The Dutch House (DH more than I). I loved Run and am starting Commonwealth, which DH loved. He is halfway through Bel Canto.

    Maybe the people making comments in library books lack access to a resource like the KT!

  • kadefol
    last month

    The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan I am half way through and really like it, so far. It weaves together several story lines, so you do have to pay a bit of attention.

  • sweet_betsy No AL Z7
    last month

    Finally got Where the Crawdads Sing as an E-book after placing it on hold from my library. What a great book! 5 stars

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    Based on recommendations here, I'm reading Heart's Invisible Furies...I'm only about 1/4 of the way through it and I'm really enjoying it! I'll be looking for more of John Boyne's books for sure.

  • phyllis__mn
    last month

    Our local book club has just been given Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. I'm enjoying it a lot, as i didn't care for the last three months' selections, which were by LaVere Spencer and two by Kent Nerbern. The first was just too "romancie" for me, and the last two I just plowed through.

  • jojoco
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I finished a bunch of books this summer while hunkered down. My favorite was Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson. It is the story of an unlikely nanny to two high profile children who have the annoying habit of combusting. It is so wonderfully done and the nanny is a jaded badass with a soft side. Highly recommend. (Plus, every reviewer--NPR, NYT--has loved it.)

    In a close-second is Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara. In this book, the impoverished inner city of Delhi (I think) becomes a character. The story is about three nine year olds in India who try to solve the disappearance of a classmate. The main character, Jai, gets his detective smarts from what he sees on crime shows, although it is his smarter female friend who seems to ask the right questions, much to Jai's annoyance. The story is rich in details about community living, from schooling to the public toilets, to street food. It has a lot of "Slum dog Millionaire" about it. And like that movie, (which I loved,) It is both funny and heartbreaking as the book is loosely based on the huge numbers of children in India who go missing each year.

    Yes, life for Jai and his family is unimaginably difficult, but it would be wrong to say it isn't joyful as well.

    I also read Louise Penny's A Better Man. I love the Inspector character, but I felt the plot on this one was really weak. But in the end, it wasn't so much of a whodunnit than a conscience wrestling match. And for that this book was good.


    Eta: I also read 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand. Meh. It's a hallmark movie by an author who writes two novels each year. If you like your chick lit set in Nantucket, you'll love it. I found it formulaic and the characters did nothing for me. It should come with a bottle of Barefoot brand white wine.


    I also read The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. It was captivating, sad, joyous and funny, though usually never at the same time. I passed it along to my parents who both loved it too.


  • tcufrog
    last month

    My kids are distance learning and my husband is working from home right now. He had to go to Houston for a few days for work so we tagged along and rented a beach house in Galveston. I'm currently reading The Splendid and the Vile and The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry. The latter book is a fun book to read before Halloween because it talks about modern-day witches in Salem. I also bought Isaac's Storm by Eric Larson since it's about the Galveston Hurricane and September by Rosamunde Pilcher. I like to read the last book every September. It's the perfect fun but melancholy book for the start of autumn. I like it better than Shell Seekers.