Somehow August is already here and I don’t know if I think it’s too soon or what took so long. I’ve really lost the ability to process time. Also, apparently to dress myself as I went half a day with a tee shirt on backwards. Sigh.
The good news is that my July reading went well, even if it was different from my usual fare. Nonfiction came on strong. This month looks to be fiction forward with several books from authors I love.
(for a more in-depth synopsis of each book, click on title link to go to Goodreads)
In case you hadn’t noticed, my kryptonite is novels about books, libraries, book stores. This makes The Lions of Fifth Avenue an easy choice. It’s about the early years of the library when the superintendent actually had an apartment IN. THE. BUILDING. on Fifth Avenue. The novel has a split timeline that in the early 1900s focuses on Laura, his wife, a theft of rare books and then the early 1990s when her granddaughter gets a job as a curator at the library.
The Boys Club sounds like the kind of reading candy I love—engaging without making my brain work too hard. Alex is a bright, ambitious young lawyer who goes to work in the testosterone fueled department of a large NYC law firm. She’s a rising star until she starts to question the price of success. This sounds good unless it’s a female version of the Firm.
In The Weekend four lifelong friends now in their later years gather at the beach house of one of their group who has recently died. It won’t go well (because where’s the story in that?), but giving my longing to see old friends I’m anxious to read it. I’m ready for mature women sharing their experiences and exploring what’s kept them together as well as buried hurts.
I can’t tell if A Saint from Texas is going to be a light satire about wealth or something heavier. Twin sisters (which seems to be a huge thing in fiction this year) choose paths that split them apart in every way. One, achieves social prominence in Paris, while the other becomes a nun in Colombia. I freely admit, the cover is 75% of the reason I want to read this book. LOVE a good cover.
I’m hesitant about A Traveler at the Gates of Wisdom. John Boyne’s novel The Heart’s Invisible Furies was a favorite, but I didn’t love his last book. This is about a family but crosses a span of 2,000 years. What I’ve heard so far is it reads as stories loosely connected—which reminds me of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. A book I loved, but that took a lot of concentration to read so I’m not sure I’m up for it now. Fingers crossed!
I’m listening to The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and it has been a painful education in the systemic racism that began shortly after institutionalized slavery ended. So much I don’t know and was never taught in school, but need to know now.
Lawrence Osborne’s The Forgiven was one of the most atmospheric cultural novels of the Middle East I’ve ever read.The Glass Kingdom is set in Bangkok where one woman hopes to escape a past that includes a suitcase of stolen money. If it’s Osborne at his best it will be dark, but addictive reading.
David Joy writes Southern literature based on the harsh realities of lost industries and hope amidst a burgeoning drug problem. Not happy, but the kind of reading that is absorbing because the writing is so evocative. When These Mountains Burn is about the father of a dead addict, another addict, and a lawman—all on a collision path in the face of a merciless epidemic.
That’s all the reading I have planned.
It’s not a big deal and there’s nothing wrong, but I’m going to take a bit of a break for a little while. I may post, but it will be sporadic. Writing reviews means sitting at my computer and that’s becoming increasingly unhealthy. The internet beckons and hours later I’m doomscrolling and feeling a choking terror over what’s happening in America. I need to step back and find ways to actively respond. I’ll still be reading because it’s my best escape, but I may not be here as much. Thank you for understanding and I hope you and your families are all safe and healthy.
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