Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Midweek Update: December 5, 2018


And now it's December.

November was a blur... the first half in Florida, then back to New York for Thanksgiving. We'll stay here through Christmas, enjoying time with family, buried in snow.

Thanksgiving was the best. We hosted dinner for twenty, then twenty-two for "leftovers" on Friday. The annual Family Christmas Party, complete with Yankee Swap, was at my cousin's on Saturday, and more holiday activities on Sunday. The girls returned to Manhattan Monday... I needed two days to recover!

As for the books, Nonfiction November is history (my summary is here) and our #PalliserParty is back... the grand finale is now underway.

Finished this week//

by Clemantine Wamariya

This is the first book I've read about the Rwandan genocide. When the author was six years old, she and her older sister were separated from their family and spent the next six years as refugees in various African countries. They were then granted refugee status in the U.S., where Clemantine eventually went on to get a degree from Yale. An intense read, but I found the shifts between her time as a refugee and her experiences in the Unites States jarring. A chronological timeline would have been preferable.





by Elinor Lipman, narrated by the author

I've been a fan of Elinor Lipman's novels for some time, but didn't know she'd published an essay collection until Penny mentioned it on goodreads. The book is divided into four sections: Meet the Family, On Writing, Coupling Columns, and Since Then. Topics range from the light-hearted to more serious subjects... from golf and All My Children (remember that soap opera?) to widowhood and caring for aging parents. I loved the audio version - it's short, under four hours,  and she reads it herself!



Current reading//

The Duke's Children by Anthony Trollope

"The truth is he's a nasty, brawling, boasting, ill-conditioned little reptile."

As always, it's a delight to return to Trollope's world. And what could be better than sharing the experience with a like-minded reader? Audrey and I, in an effort to finish the series by the end of the year, have started reading the sixth and final novel. Our #PalliserParty is nearly over.

Like the other books in the series, this is a read/listen combination for me. I have purchased a copy of the newly-restored (and nearly a third longer) edition, but my frustration is mounting as there is no corresponding audio version. I love listening, but hate to miss anything.



Up next//

Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

My library hold is here at last. It's become my tradition to read one of Hilderbrand's winter books around the holidays. This is the first in a new series, and her first novel set outside of Nantucket - it takes place in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. I can't wait to get started!



On the blog//

Nonfiction November Week #5: It's a Wrap

It's time to start thinking about year-end posts... my list of favorites, a new project (I miss Trollope already!) and goals for 2019. I really need a reprise of the TBR Triple Dog Dare... I seem to be losing ground in that department. What do you say James?



That's it for me today....  what's new with you? What have you been reading?



36 comments:

  1. So glad you had a lovely Thanksgiving! Stay warm! I haven't read any of Elin Hilderbrand's winter books, I might have to change that!

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    1. Angela - Hilderbrand's fiction is about as light as I go, but it's just what I need this time of year!

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  2. Your Thanksgiving sounds wonderful. They're saying we could have some snow Sunday but I'm hoping they're wrong. You can keep it all up there.

    One of Vance's high school friends is from Rwanda so I'd like to read The Girl Who Smiled Beads.

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    1. Kathy - If you decided to read The Girl Who Smiled Beads, be prepared for the time jolts. It's an interesting read.

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  3. Sounds like a perfectly wonderful Thanksgiving and all that snow! I agree with you about The Girl Who Smiles Beads. Something about it didn't fully work for me, and I think I'd have enjoyed it more had it been laid out differently.

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    1. Susie - I was disappointed in Clemantine's attitude in The Girl Who Smiled Beads, but it was certainly understandable given her experience.

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  4. Wow! I know Mr.T is writing about politics but how did he look 128 years into the future? :) I wish we knew where the additions were, too. (I'm not actually reading that complete edition though I have it, so perhaps I'll switch. And I miss Glencora. But it's wonderful, as always, to be reading this with you.

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    1. Audrey - They say that history often repeats itself, but it is surprising how much of this feels almost contemporary! I was shocked to read about Glencora in the opening pages. He presence is definitely missed! I'll be starting chapter 30 later today... are we close? Shall I speed up/slow down? There were a couple of nights I couldn't sleep and listened for way too long.

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    2. I'm only on Chapter 13 but I will probably catch up at least over the weekend... sorry to be off-pace!

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    3. Audrey - That's perfect. We're off to NYC tomorrow, so I won't be reading much for the next 4 days :)

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  5. As you know I finished The Duke’s Children a few months ago. I read the restored version. A comparison of the two must be interesting. I am curious as to what you will think of the book.

    I am glad to hear that you had a good Thanksgiving. Mine was good too.

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    1. Brian - Both editions have the same number/titles of chapters. It appears that portions of each chapter were cut. I was trying to go back and read every chapter after I listened to it, but it got to be too much. Now I'm trying to decide whether I should abandon the audio and just stick to the restored print edition... I want the full story! ;-)

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  6. We were out and about today and it was cold and blustery! To our surprise it started to snow! I can’t imagine 22 people stopping by but it had to be wondrous fun! You needed two resting days! At least!

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    1. Patty - And now it's snowing here again! I feel like I'm getting a full winter in just one month. Our Thanksgiving is definitely crazy, but every one bring something... I'm just glad I have a double oven in this house!

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  7. Reading Trollope is one of my reading goals for next year. :)

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    1. Lark - If you're considering one of Trollope's series, overall I enjoyed The Barsetshire Chronicles more than The Pallisers. But you really can't go wrong with either one. I'll be reading some of his standalone novels next year.

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  8. Never read Hildebrand but she's very popular in my local library. I'm intrigued now, I do like American novels with a strong sense of place.

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    1. Vintage Reading - As I said to Angela above, Hilderbrand is about as light as I go for fiction. She does a wonderful job of grounding her novels to their location. Most are on the island of Nantucket, but her last one (The Perfect Couple) had several scenes set in NYC where characters visited stores, restaurants, parks, etc. that were all very familiar.

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  9. I get exhausted reading about your busy holiday but it does sound so wonderful. I’ll have to check out Hilderbrand’s newest. It would he interesting to read with her change of venue.

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    1. Darlene - I have such a large family and Thanksgiving is the one holiday where everybody is home... it's definitely crazy and completely exhausting, but so much fun! Hoping to start the new Hilderbrand novel this weekend :)

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  10. Oh that winter scene is beautiful! You've had your plate full with lots of happenings but glad you are still getting your reading in. All the books you mention sound great but in particular the Hilderbrand book catches my eye. I need some calm, comfort type reads as we get into the busy-ness of the season!

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    1. Iliana - Hilderbrand is my favorite light fiction - I always enjoy the Nantucket setting! Hope the new novel set in the Virgin Islands is just as good.

      I have a feeling I'll get more than my fill of winter before we head back to Florida ;-)

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  11. Looks like you got some great ones read this last month! Enjoy your holiday December!

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    1. Thans, Heather. I enjoyed Nonfiction November and look forward to some lighter fiction for the holidays.

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  12. Wow, that's a lot of Thanksgiving celebrations but sounds like so much fun, I love spending time with family. Your snowy photo is beautiful!

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    1. Vicki - Thanksgiving always seems to be a marathon holiday around here, but it really is fun. It's still snowing here today. I do like the snow around Christmas, but am looking forward to being back in Florida soon.

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  13. Winter in Paradise sounds like an enticing title to me. And the color of that water! Too bad about the Beads book. I'd have liked to read it but I know that skipping around sort of frustrates me too. Still her rise to Yale sounds very impressive. Enjoy your week.

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    1. Susan - I haven't gotten to Winter in Paradise yet... the restored Trollope edition is much longer than anticipated, but so good. Hope my library ebook doesn't 'disappear' on me ;-)

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  14. Glad u had a nice Thanksgiving - weekend, despite -- that snow. I have the library edition of Winter in Paradise - hope to start it soon. I love E. Lipman as well and happy she has a new one coming soon. I didn't know she had a s.s. collection.

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    1. Diane - Lipman's essays are very good, but on my goodreads year in books (they just came out yesterday) it was my least read/reviewed book of the year. Surprising.

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  15. JoAnn, I don't know where November went either! I think I blinked and missed it! Sounds like you had a great time with family and friends though. No snow here, but as the weather gets colder I am looking forward to a comforting re-read of Emma by Jane Austen; my result for the Classic Club's last Spin event. Happy reading!

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    1. Jessica - I hope you enjoy rereading Emma... such a wonderful book! I'm busy with Trollope this month. The restored edition of The Duke's Children is very good, but a little longer than I was expecting.

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  16. That photo makes me cold, just looking at it! It's cold in north Florida too but obviously not as bad as the northern states. Love your Thanksgiving celebration, it's nice that you can get together with so many folks in your family. Great food too!

    I finally got around to Eleanor Oliphant and I think you for suggesting it to me. Loved it. Now I am gearing up for the 2019 book/reading challenges.

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    1. Tina - I'm so glad you enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant! My mother and sister both loved it, too. My plans for 2019 are starting to come together, too... this hasn't been my best reading year, so I'm going to make a few changes.

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  17. JoAnn,
    I've been late responding to this wonderful post. As a blogging friend, I commiserate with you 100% about missing Trollope! Gosh--would a space of time and then rereading his novels offer any comfort? Reading a good bio about him? He seems to have been too important to your reading life to kiss him goodbye.
    I have unfortunately revealed to you, without thinking, of one of my biggest dreads in my reading life. It's coming to the end of reading a favorite author's oeuvre. Incapacitating dread, and incapacitating in the sense that I just can't read those one or two last books. Enough about my hang-ups.
    Once again, I have found your reading year to be incredibly interesting. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Judith - I'm planning to keep some Trollope in my life for 2019 by reading a couple of his stand-alone novels. He was so prolific (40+ books) that I may never read them all ;-)

      I've felt the same way about running out of a favorite author's books. For that reason I never read Emma until a few years ago (the dread of never experiencing a new Austen novel) but am now content with the joys of rereading.

      This hasn't been the best reading year for me, as you know. I've read a few gems, but for the most part have felt aimless and haphazard in my choices. Trying to come up with a better plan for 2019. We'll see what develops...

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