What I’m Reading

9/5/17–I’ve read See What I Have Done, a novel of Lizzie Borden by Sarah Schmidt. I’ve also read Thunder and Lightning, by Natalie Goldberg (I’m on a Nat indulgence). I’m currently reading Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins.

8/4/17–I’ve read The Changeling by Victor Lavalle. I’m currently reading several books right now–Long Quiet Highway: Waking Up in America, by Natalie Goldberg, and If You Want to Write, by Brenda Ueland. Also still working on My Cousin Rachel, and Children of Earth and Sky. Lots of reading going on!

7/7/17–I’m reading Hunger, by Roxanne Gay. I’m also reading My Cousin Rachel, by Daphne du Maurier, as we are planning on resurrecting the Book Club soon, and we’ve decided on this book.

6/21/17–I’m reading Love and Trouble, by Claire Dederer.

6/1/17–I’m reading My Life with Bob, by Pamela Paul.

5/17/17–I’m currently reading The Shadow Land, by Elizabeth Kostova; still working on Kay’s Children.

4/7/2017–The book club is on hiatus for a few months. I’m reading Uprooted, by Naomi Novik, as well as Kay’s Children.

3/1/17–The book club is reading The Light Between the Oceans, by M.L. Stedman. I’m also finally reading Guy Gavriel Kay’s latest, Children of Earth and Sky.

2/2/2017–We’re reading The Bookseller, by Cynthia Swanson, for the book club.

1/26/17–We’re reading We’ll Always Have Paris, short stories by Ray Bradbury, for the book club.

12/21/16-I’m reading The Last One, by Alexandra Oliva, for the book club. I’m also reading Low Country Bribe, by Hope C. Clark. I bought the book as payment to continue to receive her great newsletter for writers, called Funds for Writers.

11/29/16–The book club is reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs. In between book club books, I’m reading The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry.

11/14/2016–I’m reading The Wonder, by Emma Donahue, for the book club.

10/7/2016–I’m reading Night of the Animals, by Bill Broun for the book club.

9/30/16–While my niece catches up with Dark Matter, I’m reading Dimestore: A Writer’s Life, by Lee Smith.

Sept. 12, 2016–I suggested we read Blake Couch’s novel Dark Matter for the book club. My sister liked the TV show Wayward Pines, based on the book by the same author.

August 30, 2016–I’m reading Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman for the book club.

August 10, 2016–Since I finished The Forgetting Time in a week, I picked up Circling the Sun, by Paula McLain, while I wait for my book club to catch up.

August 1, 2016-Our book club is reading The Forgetting Time, by Sharon Guskin.

July 5, 2016–I’m reading Smoke, by Dan Vyleta, for the book club.

June 3, 2016-Our book club is reading The Ice Twins, by S.K. Tremayne. Between book club reads, I also started City of Mirrors, by Justin Cronin. I loved the first two books in that series, The Passage and The Twelve.

May 4, 2016-I’m reading Black Rabbit Hall, by Eve Chase, for the book club.

April 13, 2016-I’m reading Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn. I loved Gone Girl and Sharp Objects; this is the first book read on my new Kindle.

March 11, 2016–Our book club will read The Bookman’s Tale, by Charlie Lovett.

February 8, 2016–Our book club will read The Martian, by Andy Weir. Not our usual pick, but we wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

January 19, 2016–I’m reading Steering the Craft: A 21st Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story, by Ursula K. LeGuin. I haven’t read a book on writing for awhile, and I admire LeGuin, so I thought I’d dip in and see what she has to say on writing. As always, will review once finished.

December 30, 2015–Our book club has decided to read Angels of Destruction, by Keith Donohue. We loved Donohue’s The Stolen Child, and this one sounds just as intriguing. Review once it’s finished.

December 10, 2015–Now reading The Girl on the Train for my book club. So far, it’s sucked me right in. I’ll have a review in the blog once finished.

November 12, 2015–I recently finished reading The Annotated Persuasion, by Jane Austen. It includes notes, maps, and definitions to help the reader understand Austen’s Regency England. Look for a review in the blog soon!

I’ve started reading Rebecca, by Daphne duMaurier, the first book in a book club I just joined. The members of the book club include myself, my sister Cindy, and my niece Amber (and maybe a few more friends). I’ll review it in the blog when finished.

 

Here are a couple of reviews I did on this page before I finalized my blog format:

October 2015–I spent September reading Station Eleven, by Hilary St. John Mandel, which takes place after a devastating flu epidemic. Far from yet another end-of-the-world story, this spare, eloquent novel blends everything I love about genre and literary fiction, and is another stellar example of how the two styles don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive.

It begins with Shakespeare, as Arthur Leander, a prominent actor, portrays King Lear, on what is to be the last day of the known world. He suffers a heart attack on stage, and a stranger (of sorts) leaps onstage to help, but it’s too late. As Arthur dies, the Georgian flu begins its near annihilation of the human species.

It turns out the stranger, Jeevan Chaudhary, is linked to Arthur, as are many of the other characters in the novel. It’s this connection to Arthur and the ripples left behind by his life that forms the core of the book, rather than any showdown between good and evil. There is an antagonist called The Prophet, a religious zealot who causes some problems for The Travelling Symphony, a band of actors and musicians who travel through the isolated communities after the flu (“Because Survival Isn’t Enough”); but this conflict isn’t the entire focus of the book, and the Prophet himself turns out to have a profound link to Arthur as well.

“Station Eleven” refers to a sci-fi graphic novel written and illustrated by one of Arthur’s ex-wives, Miranda, and showcases some of the themes of the book: the mourning of a lost world, and the search for home. As the novel unfolds back and forth across time, as the threads of Arthur’s life are woven together and connections are revealed, the narrative becomes much more than another dystopian yarn. It examines the nature of fame and the longing for immortality.It’s about art and how it connects us and reflects our experiences as human beings. Its about memory and remembrance. It’s a book I won’t soon forget.

StationElevenHCUS2

 

 

Over the summer I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s exquisite The Signature of All Things, a story about a woman scientist in a time when it was not expected or encouraged. Alma Whittaker was born in 1800 to a self-made millionaire and his  no-nonsense Dutch wife, in Philadelphia. The book spans the entirety of her life, from her indulged childhood, through her early years of heartbreak and the study of mosses, to her middle years of disappointment and more heartbreak. Her search for a lost husband takes her across the world to Tahiti, while her later years are spent in Amsterdam, pursuing her ideas on evolution and natural selection, at the same time Darwin was coming up with his evolutionary theories.

It’s a fat 500 pages, and I loved it. I’ll not soon forget Alma, privileged and homely, brilliant and lonely, brave and stubborn. The book is full of ideas and questions about the interplay between biology and spirituality, and the puzzle of human  beings; but it’s also full of love and thwarted desire, of desperate loneliness, and the dignity of work and study. It’s a complete arc of an extraordinary woman’s life, and despite all the heartbreak and struggle and loss, she’s content at the end of her life, having spent it doing what she loved: studying the world. Despite the mysteries that remain, it proves enough.

Signature

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