Monday, December 30, 2019

Recently Read

Hi everybody!  Long time no see!  I thought I'd pop by with a Recently Read.   As usual, read 'em if you wanna.

1.  Nomads of a Desert City by Barbara Seyda - Nonfiction; vignettes of homeless people in Tuscon.  Told in their own words, these stories are striking.  A quick read that will stay in your mind afterward.

2.  Winds of Skilak by Bonnie Rose Ward - Memoir of homesteading in Alaska in the 1980s.  Lots of details and very interesting.

3. Southern Discomfort by Tena Clark - Memoir of a young woman growing up in the South in the 60s.  Really good. I grew up in the 60s, too, and this book really brought home just how entrenched racism was in the South back then.   But the book's not "just" about racism - it's about dealing with family nutcases, and trying to find your footing when you're different from those around you.

4. The Once and Future King by T.H. White - Described as a "fantasy classic" in the vein of The Hobbit, etc., I was plugging along on this one until a scene describing the brutal death of a cat and then I noped noped noped right out. Did not finish.

5.  City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert - I didn't realize who the author was until I took it home from the library.  Unfortunately, I find the author of  "Eat, Pray, Love" to be absolutely insufferable, so I only got far enough in this one to see that she was basically working from a genre checklist, and put it aside. Did not finish.

6. The Boy Kings of Texas by Domingo Martinez - Memoir of growing up poor in a Texas border town in the 70s and 80s.  Good.

7.  Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts - Novel about the writing of the Wizard and Oz and, years later, the making of the movie.  Very good - I really enjoyed it.

8.  The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora - Novel about two high school friends, one famous and one unbalanced, and what happens when they meet again in adulthood.  This got good reviews so I gave it a shot.  An okay read.

9.  City of Flickering Light by Juliette Fay.  This was a historical novel about Hollywood in the 1920s by the author of The Tumbling Turner Sisters.  I enjoyed it a lot; a fast-paced, light read.

10.  The Able McLaughlins - Pulitzer-prize winning novel from the 20s about early settlers in the midwest.  Right up my alley, but it just seemed awfully dated.  Did not finish.

11.  Freeman by Leonard Pitts, Jr.  - Novel by the noted columnist about the aftereffects of the Civil War on former slaves and an abolitionist.  Involving and good.

12.  All the Forgivenesses by Elizabeth Hardinger - Novel about growing up extremely poor in Kentucky.  Very good.

13.  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline - Historical novel about the childhood of a little girl placed on an orphan train in the late 1800s.  Good.

14.  Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell - Novel about a teen traveling on a river after events break up her family.  Started out strong, but became more improbable and less interesting as it went along.  Did not finish.

15.  Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens.  The first half of this novel was fabulous, detailing a young woman growing up wild in North Carolina marshland.  But then it turned into a poorly-dialogued murder mystery, and I lost interest.  Did not finish.

16.  One Day by Gene Weingarten - Nonfiction consisting of short vignettes about defining moments in people's lives.  I LOVED I Thought My Father Was God by Paul Auster, which had a similar premise, but unfortunately One Day had a very strong Paul-Harvey-The-Rest-of-the-Story vibe to it, unlike Paul Auster's book, which just let people tell their stories, so while One Day was an okay read, it was just that - okay.  And one of the vignettes, about spousal abuse, was frankly so horrifying that I put the book down and walked away.  Did not finish.

17.  The Speed Queen by Stewart O'Nan - A previous book of his, Last Night at the Lobster, showed that O'Nan has a real talent for writing about marginalized people, and I really enjoyed The Speed Queen, a novel about a young woman sitting on death row for crimes she was party to.  Very good - I really liked this one.

So there you go!  A long-delayed Recently Read.  What have you been reading lately?


spiffikins said...

A friend of mine was reading the Crawdads book and really liked it. It isn't my normal type of book, so I haven't picked it up - but it's interesting to hear other opinions!

I hope you had a fabulous Christmas and that 2020 is a Most Excellent New Year!

rockygrace said...

spiff! How ya been?!

A ton of people loved Crawdads - I'm just not really interested in the murder-mystery genre. It's not the book, it's me. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

~~Silk said...


rockygrace said...

Hey Silk, long time no blog! I'm still around but on Facebook now ... you can email me at if you want my Facebook address. Hope all is well with you!