Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reading Not Stitching

As I've said I've been reading. This is good news for the sad, sad number of books I've been averaging per year but bad news for the stitching. I haven't taken a stitch since February! This is what I've read so far this year. I've given a star rating out of five. (You will see that sometimes a Pulitzer Prize winner gets the same number of stars as a memoir or mystery. I am judging the books against their type rather than each other.)

January 9 The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family, Josh Hanagarne (****) A memoir by a librarian with Tourette's, a love story to books and libraries. A conversational and funny exploration of how Hanagarne tries to control his Tourette's.

January 11 The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (****) A great many echoes of African American literature haunted my reading of this book. Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, for example, shows up in the movement from place to place signifying historical moments. While Ellison's work is about alienation, Cora seeks to find community because in doing so she will mark her own humanity. (Lots of reviewers compare Cora's stay in the attic to Anne Frank, but y'all Harriet Jacobs (Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl) stayed in an attic for seven years while escaping slavery.) I read this book for a book group, and I liked it much better after I had the chance to talk about it.

January 23 Normal, Warren Ellis (**) I really didn't enjoy this one. I didn't think it was well-written, and I wasn't that interested in it. Sci Fi is not my thing.

January 23 Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz (****) The big thesis of this book, that physicians can learn about human medicine by reading the work of veterinarians could have been handled in a short academic paper. What I found so interesting about this book were the fascinating examples and ties between the human and other animals. If you have a medical or scientific background, you might not enjoy it as much as I did.

January 25 Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko (****) I read this for a book group, and it wasn't clear how it met the theme of the club, but it was a beautifully written exploration of the lives of Native American WWII vets.

February 1 Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (***) I was fascinated, but then again, I'm fascinated by the pictures I get biennially of my colon.

February 9 Touchstone, Laurie R. King (****) I was charmed by Harris Stuyvesant, the lunkish-appearing American detective gallivanting through the country houses of England. Deftly plotted.

February 10 A Long Way Home (***) What a remarkable story. Although there was a lot of repetition, it was utterly compelling.

February 14 Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? Mindy Kaling (**) Light and fluffy. I haven't really seen Kaling in anything, so I wasn't particularly attached to her as a writer or actress.

February 20 Pretty Little World, Elizabeth LaBan and Melissa DePino (***) Great beach read. I loved the ending, where we find some nice, perhaps philosophical, conclusions. What we gain--and give up--living communally.

February 26 The Bones of Paris, Laurie R. King (***) The sequel to Touchstone, good read. This book was not as well-plotted nor the characters as well-drawn as the first in the series.

March 5 The Book of Speculation, Erika Swyler (****) Um, I meant to read The Department of Speculation but this speculation was really very good. A librarian, a book, a family mystery, and an old house crumbling into the sea. Enjoyable.

March 9 The Zookeeper's Wife, Diane Ackerman (***) This book needed a judicious editor, but the story of the family--which I am sure is the only part that ended up in the movie--was captivating though harrowing. But there was far too many asides...seriously at one point she's talking about one of the friends of the Zabinskis who was an entomologist who gave his bug collection to a museum and I think she names all 30,000 bugs. Individually, with nicknames and dates of birth. It got in the way.

March 18 The Moor's Account, Laila Lalami (****) This books was so imaginative--the historical representation of a slave on an ill-fated expedition in Florida in the 16th century. Marvelous.

April 19 Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates (*****) Beautifully written. How different the world is for people. You may think we are all living in one America, an equal America, some sort of meritocracy, but Coates demonstrates powerfully that we are not.

Started, will not finish
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, Thom Hartmann This was assigned for my work book club, with the theme of sustainability. I had so many objections to this book, as did my group. Anyway, I couldn't finish it in time for the group, and I refuse to finish thereafter.

Started, will finish
Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation, Andrea Wulf I started this on my trip (Kindle edition) but the book expired and I had too many other books to read on deadline (for three book clubs) that I just couldn't get to it. I'll re-borrow it this summer.

EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want by Frances Moore Lappe This was also for the sustainability book group. I felt so bad about hating Last Hours so much, I read a little less critically. Still, this book is much less all-or-nothing than some environmental books about how we should be living our lives. (I'm very close on this one.)

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee. I was listening to this one on audio and there was a horrible skip in it. So I am waiting for a new edition.

The Mothers, Brit Bennett. I couldn't get into this book at first, so I missed the book group meeting. But eventually I grew to be interested in the characters and the gossipy mothers who begin each chapter. Still, I might have to put it aside to read the last book for my sustainability book group.

I am planning a trip to the stitching store this weekend. I am going to buy what I need to stitch the anniversary sampler. I'm hoping that will get me back into stitching.


Robin said...

Wow,no wonder you haven't had time to stitch. Boy I wish there were time for both. Thanks for the great re-caps. I think I will be adding several to my 'to read' list. Good luck with your trip to the stitching store.

Tricia B said...

I often find myself in the same situation, either reading a lot, or stitching a lot, never both. Every year I try to blanace the two. I read the Underground Railroad two months ago and enjoyed it as well. I read The Moors Account a year ago and loved it. Thanks for the reviews!

Arthemise said...

I too have been reading and not stitching. I'm addicted to urban fantasy, and I go through them like candy. Thank goodness for Kindle Unlimited, or I'd be broke(r).

Sun City Stitcher said...

I go through spurts of reading and not stitching and then back to stitching. I keep a list of books read and so far this year I have read 29 books - best start ever and I was on a good roll when we got the puppy and have a book started. I do still manage to stitch at my weekly stitch group though, but not much progress to show.

Glad you still let us know what you are up too.

Julie said...

That is some list of books read ... well done

Beth said...

Thank you for the books list / reviews. Founding Gardeners was on my radar, most of the others were new to me.