Month two of 2017 is a wrap and I’m happy to report that by-and-large my reading mojo is returning. Whether that’s due to better books coming out or the fact that I’ve doubled the amount of time I spend working out to keep myself mentally sound while trying to deal with the toxic levels of fear and absurdity in our government right now, who knows? February was still largely a month of library reading, but March is a busy month for new releases, so I won’t be spending as much time on backlist library books for awhile. And best news of all, I read and reviewed a new mystery from a debut author that was a tour de force of suspense and crazy. In case you missed it, I’ll say it again: read Dead Letters NOW.
Here’s how the rest of February went.
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Published by Simon & Schuster
Publication date: September 27th 2016
Well, really, do you need me to say more? I probably need to cite my bona fides as a fan of the Boss—saw him at Red Rocks in CO on my 21st birthday (EPIC- even though car battery died and left us stranded at 1am at Red Rocks in the days long before cell phones) and camped out overnight to get tickets to his Atlanta concert in the 80s. This memoir is great reading for two reasons: One, while he bares his heart in his lyrics, he’s a pretty private guy so this is a very honest look at his upbringing and personal life—including his battle with depression. Two, the man can WRITE. OK, his lyrics have always been soulful, but prose is a different story and he brings to it the same raw beauty. This is not just some rocker’s reminiscences about his tour escapades.
The Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky: review to follow
Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt: review
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders: review
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez: review to follow
Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication date: February 21st 2006
I’m still turning to Picoult for escapist, can’t-stop-reading books mostly because she a huge backlist and I never read her before. This one, about religion and child custody was very good, but without the usual full satisfaction at the ending. Maybe because of my own personal issues.Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Mothering Sunday was the name in England for the one day that live-in help would have the entire day off to go visit their mothers. In this quiet novel of inward focus, an 80-year-old author remembers her days as a maid and the brief affair that changed her life and led to her desire to write. A novel of reminiscence and introspection.Truth Like the Sun by Jim Lynch
Published by Knopf
Publication date: April 10th 2012
Lynch’s latest novel, Before the Wind, was one of my favorites of 2016 so I wanted to try some of his other novels. He’s a Seattle native and this one is about a fictional character responsible for bringing the 1962 World’s Fair to Seattle. Much of the behind-the-scenes elements were interesting, but this had nowhere near the pull of Before the Wind.Dry Ice (Alan Gregory #15) by Stephen White
Publication date: January 1st 1970
Another failsafe author for me. White is a psychologist with MS and uses both in his novels, which makes for interesting reading if you like psychological thrillers and have MS. This one is a bit darker as it starts pulling apart Dr. Alan Gregory’s life and marriage. If you haven’t read him yet, he’s great for suspense without gore.
March Releases (reviews to follow)
In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunnant: Sequel to book about the Borgias- from the height of their power to the family’s downfall.
The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon: Third book in a seven part science fiction series and still so good I’m ready for book 4.
The Trophy Child by Paula Daly: Apparently the British suffer from all the social ailments we do except I thought this would a satire and it’s a murder mystery.
Sarah's Book Shelves says
So glad to hear you’re getting back into the swing of things. And sad to hear Lynch’s novel was a dud. Someone recommended one of his others to me – possibly The Highest Tide?
And didn’t realize you read Mothering Sunday…sounds like you liked it!
I did like it. It was exactly as you described it- very internalized. Sad but lovely.
Susie | Novel Visits says
Glad to hear your reading mojo is back. What a relief! (Could it also have something to do with the days getting longer, again? I always love it when it’s not dark at 5 any more!)
It’s possible. I think, mostly, I’ve taken back control of what I will and won’t do regarding the political climate these days. Trump is not going away and while I cannot fathom how his actions and those of the people he’s surrounded himself with are even possible, I can’t let them ruin my health. So, I’m taking action where I can but limiting the time I spend reading the news. It’s going to be a long 4 years.
Kate @ booksaremyfavouriteandbest says
Born to Run is on my wishlist (I thought I had dropped enough hints at Christmas time but apparently not…) – I saw him perform a month ago at Hanging Rock (regional Victoria, Australia) and he was, as ever, sensational.
I loved Mothering Sunday – a perfect Sunday read.
I follow his Instagram account and saw a lot of photos from the Australian tour- it looked amazing. I haven’t seen him in decades so need to get after that again!
I love your Bruce Springsteen stories; oh, the adventures we had before the convenience/hassle of cell phones, right? I remember hearing a lot of good things about Mothering Sunday, but it kind of fell off my radar; I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it. I’m also happy to hear that your reading mojo is coming back, bit by bit; hope your upcoming month is a good one, government nastiness not withstanding.
Oh Lordy, Tara, pay phones! Remember?! It was the best concert but trying to get home at 1am was not fun.
Eva @ The Paperback Princess says
Ohhh I’m looking forward to your thoughts on The Book of Unknown Americans!
I’m so glad that you are getting your reading mojo back! I have no doubt the extra exercise is helping but I get the sense overall that folks are feeling like they have some control back. There’s a solidarity that was missing in January when everyone was just dreading what was to come.
I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of Dead Letters! Looks like it will show up mid-week. Promise I will not wait a minute longer than I have to, to read it. And if I get side-eye from my husband about the order (which ended up including three other books) I’m sending him your way.
LOL! Tell him your deranged American book pal said you needed the book for your sanity!
I feel like Unknown Americans is more timely than ever- but not sure I can do justice to it without climbing on my soapbox and screaming.
So glad you put Bruce right up top where he deserves to be. So glad you liked his book, like I did. I’m a huge fan as well, and loved your stories about the Red Rocks concert and Alabama. I have a few Bruce concert stories like that myself. I’ve seen him in concert in L.A., Seattle, Vancouver, and D.C. a few times. These are spread out over various decades. So good! I thought his prose in the book were wonderful … and every once in awhile I’ll hear him reading from it on Sirius radio, the E Street radio station and think I’ve died and gone to heaven …. I almost remember each line as it reads it from when I read it … crazy.