What We're Reading in July, 2016

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What We're Reading in July, 2016

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jul 1, 2016, 9:16am

Against Medical Advice by James Patterson.

Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians and fellow book-lovers everywhere.

jul 2, 2016, 10:59am

The Age of the Gladiators. Sort of written in a way for people who have zero knowledge of history.

jul 2, 2016, 6:52pm

Onions in the Stew by Betty MacDonald 1954

3.5/5 stars

Betty is one of my favorite authors and she wrote so few books that I re-read this one about her life with her daughters and second husband on Vashon Island in Washington state at the end of WWII. She is funny and smart and has the same problems we have with our children even in different time periods. My favorite book of hers was The Plague and I and talked about her time with TB. She is best known for her book The Egg and I which was made into a film and covered her first marriage while living on a farm. And how can I forget her children's series about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle which I loved as a child.

Redigerat: jul 22, 2016, 2:49pm

I'm listening to an audiobook that Betty MacDonald fans might also appreciate: The Curve of Time, adventures of a Canadian widow and her kids boating along the British Columbia coast in the 1920's.

For non-fiction print (actually a library ebook download), I'm reading The White Road (link issue) by Edmund de Waal, story of porcelain through the ages. The travel narrative and manufacturing aspects are fine, but I'm getting bogged down and skimming through the historical details. (ended up bailing on it)

jul 7, 2016, 1:08pm

Just finished Levels of Life by Julian Barnes this morning.

jul 7, 2016, 5:00pm

What You Can When You Can: Healthy Living on Your Terms
by Carla Birnberg and Roni Noone
3/5 stars
This book deals with healthy living, watching what you eat and exercising without giving up after a few days. They have lots of suggestions and there is even an online community to help you keep up your healthy objectives on your own terms. I thought the ideas of what to do were great and the small changes are easy for anyone to do.

jul 9, 2016, 12:47pm

Are You My Mother?
by Alison Bechdel
3/5 stars

Cartoonist Alison Bechdel who chronicled her relationship with her father, takes on her relationship with her mother in this graphic novel. Bechdel has a tumultuous relationship with both parents but her father had died before she wrote Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. However, as we find in this book her mother is still alive and her dread in showing this book to her mother is a big part of this book along with her relationships with her lovers and therapists. As Bechdel deals with her psychological issues with her mother, she also writes about the history of the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott who she is studying to get a grip on her issues. Not an easy read. Uncomfortable subject matter but interesting. I liked Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic better because the story line flowed better for me. This has a lot of psychological discussion and the story line breaks when she discusses Winnicott which is somewhat distracting but this is an amazing and brave book and kudos to her for writing it.

Redigerat: jul 12, 2016, 8:15pm

Just started The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock's Shower by Robert Graysmith.

jul 18, 2016, 12:15pm

jul 18, 2016, 2:09pm

Just finished Early Review book Words on the Move by John McWhorter

jul 19, 2016, 6:39am

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

Doughty has had a fascination and dread of death since an early age, witnessing another child's death by falling. Not happy with the funeral industry she works in, she gives a nuts and bolts view of the processes and dreams of changing it. Her reflections on our society allowing strangers to take over those final rituals and substitute others are thoughtful. I plan to check out her Order of the Good Death death acceptance collective.

jul 20, 2016, 6:30pm

jul 21, 2016, 5:45pm

The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock's Shower by Robert Graysmith
3.5/5 stars

Robert Graysmith writes an intriguing true life story that centers around the movie Psycho, especially Marli Renfro, the body double for Janet Leigh in Psycho, Sonny Busch, the killer of elderly women in California in the 1960's and the changing morality of the country at that time including the rise of Playboy, the sex industry and gambling. This was hard to put down and my only complaint was that times he was a bit wordy but it was still worth reading.

Much Laughter, a Few Tears: Memoirs of a Woman's Friendship With Betty Macdonald and Her Family
by Blanche Caffiere
4/5 stars

I love Betty MacDonald, author of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and The Egg and I and have read a lot of her books years ago but now with the internet I have been able to find more books about her and this book was about her and her friendship with the author. I thought this book would be just so-so but I really enjoyed this book, it was well written and a fast read. This is not just about MacDonald, Caffiere talks about her life, her family and life in Washington State. It was also a peek to what life was like during and after the depression and before TVs and computers. This book was not readily available at a lot of libraries but thank goodness for inter-library loan-I got this from a state 1400 miles away but it is also available to buy online.

jul 22, 2016, 2:19pm

Starting H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald for a book club.

jul 22, 2016, 2:45pm

I'm just wrapping up Stalin's Secret Pogrom, which is horrifically maddening on so many levels. *rages* These 15 people, who ran (or in some cases, were nominally affiliated with) a propaganda committee during the war, which published all sorts of USSR-positive things about Jews in order to get the West on their side and into the fight and monetarily invested etc, and did a damn good job of it, too. ...And then the war was won, and they became obsolete, and they & others wanted them to take on other supportive roles which the govt did not like, so they were arrested. And held for 4 years in Lefortovo & Lubyanka, while investigators tried to come up with evidence to convict them of treason etc, however these were all upstanding citizens, lifelong Party members, Bolsheviks, people who had had serious trust bestowed upon them over the years... Therefore the sole "evidence" against them was fabricated testimonies. They were forced through a sham of a trial, which was completely secret, with not even prosecutors or defense, only them and a couple judges. Oh did I mention their sentences were already determined before the "trial" even started? Those being executions for all but one, who was exiled for 10 years (which was reduced to 5). Just infuriating.

Redigerat: jul 22, 2016, 2:52pm

I bailed on H is for Hawk, but many liked it.

Almost finished with Walking Through Walls, which is largely a biography of the author's fascinating dad, told from the son's point of view.

Redigerat: jul 22, 2016, 3:15pm

I finished In a Narrow Grave: Essays on Texas by Larry McMurtry. In these essays, originally published in 1968 (almost 50 years ago!), McMurtry gives us his insightful, sometimes funny and just as often poignant, take on Texas culture of the time (within the context of the state's history, of course). McMurtry's major theme was the final passing of the cowboy culture into legend, and the rise of the oil culture, which he doubted would produce any sort of mythology of its own.

jul 26, 2016, 7:04am

I finished Hope in the Dark, a book I became aware of from someone on Library Thing. Sorry I don't remember who. It's a perfect book to read as I give my city of Philadelphia over to the Democratic National Convention. The book focused on hope in the face of many wrongs as a necessary ingredient to propel social activism. That being the case, it pointed out the many successful changes brought about and noted that there are no final victories since perfection is not possible. The success of activism is, in part, in the effort. I found it inspiring and comforting.

jul 26, 2016, 5:22pm

I finished Tomorrowland on audio. I found it really interesting - the stuff about prosthetic arms and eyes was really interesting. But the section about sperm banks was a little weird.

jul 26, 2016, 7:57pm

>20 cmbohn: I liked the first half, but he lost me at the psychedelic drugs.

jul 27, 2016, 12:16pm

>20 cmbohn: Sounds like a interesting book. Have you read any of Kotler's other books?

jul 29, 2016, 8:21am

I'm reading a memoir for a book club: They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson.

jul 30, 2016, 6:17pm

Recently finished actress Leah Remini's story of growing up, and leaving, Scientology: Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology -- highly recommended!

okt 21, 2016, 9:38pm

21-22 I'm not sure I'd try the drugs, even for cancer relief, but it was interesting all the same. No, I haven't read anything else by him. What do you recommend?

I just finished The Lost Tribe of Coney Island and it was quite an eye-opener. This American doctor decides to import some Filipino natives and exhibit them at the fair! It was bizarre and fascinating.