Hello from sunny, warm Sanibel. Although February is nearly over, this is my first update post all month. The weeks are flying! We enjoyed our oldest daughter's visit at the beginning of the month, spent a couple of days with friends vacationing in the area, and had a wonderful time with my sister and brother-in-law this past week. Now we're alone for ten days, but eagerly awaiting Twin A's arrival.
Blogging may have fallen by the wayside, but I did manage to read a few books.
by Jane ZiegelmanAfter Lisa mentioned this book on twitter, I borrowed both the ebook and audiobook from the library. They both happened to be available and I was between books... perfect timing. In addition, my book club read 97 Orchard a few years ago, so I was familiar with Ziegelman's style. She presents a lot of interesting information here, but I became bored around the 40% mark and ended up skimming the second half. Unless you have a particular fascination with depression-era food, I'd say it's safe to skip this one.
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
This is the "it" book I never got around to reading last year. My daughter brought her hardcover copy when she visited and I used an audible credit to purchase the audio version narrated by Michael Crouch. The read/listen combination drew me in immediately.
The Great Believers is what I'd consider an issue novel. It's about the AIDS crisis in 1980s Chicago and it triggered memories, both happy and sad, of lost friends. It also prompted me to reflect on my time as a clinical pharmacist at a teaching hospital, where my "territory" included the AIDS ward. Therapies mentioned in the book, standard in the mid-80s, seem positively prehistoric by today's standards. Needless to say, the book brought tears to my eyes more than once.
Makkai uses a dual timeline to tell the story, alternating between the 1980s and today. Obviously, many characters are absent from the present day narrative. The contemporary story, mostly set in Paris, is far weaker. While I understand the author's choice, I wonder if it might have been better told chronologically.
Morningstar: Growing Up With Books by Ann Hood
An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten
Another recommendation from Diane, this book is a series of comical short stories and the 88-year-old "elderly lady" just happens to be a serial killer. I borrowed the tiny hardcover book from the library and laughed out loud several times as I read. Even the table of contents made me smile:
An Elderly Lady Has Accommodation Problems
An Elderly Lady and Her Travels
An Elderly Lady Seeks Peace at Christmastime
The Antique Dealer's Death
An Elderly Lady is Faced With a DilemmaThis book was just plain fun. I plan to read more from this author, too. Thanks, Diane!
Set aside for now//
Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum
A week or two ago I read (wish I could remember where - blog? twitter?) a comment stating that the reader gave a book only 25 to 50 pages. If it hadn't sufficiently drawn her in, or if she could put it down and never wonder about the characters or subject matter, then it was time to move on. There are so many other potential great reads out there. I must have seen that comment at precisely the right time. I decided to move on, too.
by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
narrated by Linda Lavin
My RBG reading, or in this case listening, continues. This audiobook features archival original recordings of Justice Ginsburg’s speeches and bench announcements, as well as a speech delivered by her husband Marty. Audio is definitely the way to go here!
Some Prefer Nettles by Junichirō TanizakiI'm reading this for the Back to the Classics Challenge... classic in translation, take two! So far, so good.
This post is far too long, so I'll forgo "In the kitchen" and save photos of my new bike for next time. I won't let three or four weeks elapse either. Thank you for reading all the way to the end!
How's your winter going? What's the best book you've read this month?