Monday, June 13, 2016

What I'm reading this week (6/13/16)

Last week I finished:

I really, really loved Clint Hill's Five Presidents. It was well-written, and even though it was a long book (about 450 pages), it read like a book half its length. I've mentioned before how much respect I have for this man and how painful I find the fact that he spent nearly 50 years of his life without discussing the details of the Kennedy assassination, feeling tremendous guilt the entire time. He has since come to terms with those feelings, I am happy to report. One thing that I love about this book is how Hill gave readers an honest look at the presidents he served and the historical events he witnessed, but he was never anything but respectful. It didn't come off as pandering or biased or fawning or detached, but you always knew how he felt (esp. about a president) without him saying anything degrading about the man or the office. This was remarkably well done.

One thing that sort of bothered me about this book is that it didn't get very personal, though there was ample room to do so. Secret Service agents like Hill were under tremendous stress, worked long schedules, and spent the great part of the year away from home. While Hill is very honest about how this affected him, he did not talk about how it affected his family, and I wish he would have. Maybe (hopefully) there's another book coming. 

Last week I began and abandoned:

I'd been looking forward to reading West with the Night for months now as part of my 2016 goal of reading books 30 years old or older. I made the mistake of reading the introduction (why do they always tell you what's going to happen in the intro? maddening), and it was discussed that the story is partially fictionalized. Now, I really don't like my nonfiction to touch my fiction on the reading plate of life, so I put the book down in a huff. I don't think I've abandoned it for good, but I do think I'd rather experience this one on audio.

Last week I began:

After abandoning West with the Night, I decided to pick up a treat--the second Flavia de Luce mystery, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag--a title I'll likely not remember by the end of the year. And of course, I'm loving it. Flavia is one of the best characters I've ever encountered in a book. I just adore her.

And I decided that having five books going at once was not enough, so I added a sixth to the juggle when I started The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. Really the only thing that makes this children's literature is the main protagonist being a young girl. The writing is that good. I enjoyed the first book by the author as well (The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate) which won the Newberry Honor in 2010. Both are superb books (so far) and I highly recommend them.

I'm also reading:

I'm still enjoying Sharon Olds' Strike Sparks, though all the sex poems are getting a little old.

I've finally gotten into the recipes of Easy Chinese Recipes, and although the book is sloppily edited and sometimes oddly laid out with two sets of instructions per recipe, many of the recipes sound delicious and quite easy.  

The 50 States is not going to be a fast read due to the enormously difficult layout. I love the layout, until I have to read the book (but again, I'm really, really Type A). This would be a great summer read for a middle-grade reader, though.

My audiobook:

I was a little concerned that as I progressed in the Mitford series I'd find the books boring or repetitive, and I can't vouch for the whole series yet, but that's not true of the third one at least. If you're looking for a nice, comfortable, slow story that reads fast (and Christian themes don't bother you), try Karon's books. I'm very happy with them.

Next up:

Finally, finally.

No comments:

Post a Comment