Monday, May 2, 2016

What I'm reading this week (5/2/16)

 My husband had to work Saturday, so I had a free reading day. I willfully neglected housework (it doesn't take much for me to do this) and lazed on the couch all day hopping from book to book.  

Last week I finished:

My re-read of The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry (on audio) was a treat. I'd forgotten much of the details of the book, so it felt new. I can't recommend the audio version highly enough.

I also finished Rob Lowe's first autobiography Stories I Only Tell My Friends. Three things about Rob Lowe: (1) He knows he's handsome, which makes him less so to me. (2) He's like the Forest Gump of celebrity friendships--he met or worked with or slept with EVERYONE you can think of in Hollywood (and if he didn't sleep with them, he slept with their daughters). (3) Rob Lowe is quite famous considering he's done very little of note since his breakthrough in The Outsiders in 1983 (this book only takes us up through his leaving The West Wing). I don't quite understand it. All in all, this was a nice romp through Hollywood, but I don't think Mr. Lowe and I would be friends if we met. It's not that I disliked Lowe or the book, it's each his own.

I also finished the second Ms. Marvel comic, Generation Why. I can't even really tell you the plotline, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I'm not sure that I'll continue with the series--the novelty might have worn off for me--but I've enjoyed taking in a new genre.

This week I'll be reading:

The Summer before the War is set in England at the breakout of World War I. It's one of those big chunky novels where not much happens, but the characters are well fleshed out and you just go along for the ride. It's sort of Jane Austen-y but updated and without the humor. Which makes it sound awful, but if you're in the mood to slow your reading down and just go where a plot takes you, this is a good fit. I'm enjoying it.

Last week I also began The Road Not Taken: Finding America in the Poem Everyone Loves and Almost Everyone Gets Wrong. You might have to be a poetry and/or literary nerd to enjoy this book, but I am both. I'm learning about Robert Frost, whom I know embarrassingly little about, and also (eventually, hopefully) will get to the bottom of the meaning of his poem that's always been an enigma to me. It's iconic, but it really makes no sense.

Hubs and I have been dipping in and out of Ken Burns' Jazz series on PBS. We both just sit there for as long as it's on, transfixed. Not only is Ken Burns a genius, but the history of Jazz is just incredible. I mean, here is a group of people with a history of being separate and not equal creating a musical form that gave birth to most other America forms of music from rock and roll to R&B to pop to rap. One of the jazz musicians interviewed in the series is Wynton Marsalis whom I've fallen in love with. He's an extraordinary person with a way of expressing himself that is at once humble and expert, honest and passionate. So I checked the library for any books by him, and I found Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life. I'd intended to just add it to my reading list, but I read a page or two and just kept going. Fascinating.

My current audiobook:

You know how I complain about Bill Bryson's books being hit or miss for me? Well, In a Sunburned Country is fast becoming one of my favorite Bryson books. A definite "hit." He's at his best here, stranding the line between a history of Australia and travelogue. His dry humor is a delight. The audio version is read by him and very engaging.

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