Sunday, July 31, 2022

July 2022

Dang. Only three books read in July. My lowest ever. Granted, add an inter-city move to it, burying you in boxes, as well as an 8-day business trip, and maybe you'll slow down a bit. Also, start and stop a couple books, that probably affects your reading numbers. Right now I'm reading From Here to Eternity (Audible) and an Esperanto book (see below). 

  • Proportional Response, by Tim Enright. Written by my neighbor and friend. His first book. Great story but needed some serious editing. I gave him notes. 
  • Transcription, by Kate Atkinson. Out-freaking-standing. I'm not sure she can write a bad book, but I aim to find out.
  • Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Meh. But it was on my 50 Classics list for the Classics Club.
But I did buy some books:
  • Fortunes of War: The Balkan Trilogy, by Olivia Manning.
  • Words on the Move: Why English Won't - and Can't - Sit Still (Like, Literally), by John McWhorter. Love the title and the author. His linguistics books are great.
  • The River Between, by Ngugi wa Thiong'o. Need to read more African authors. $2 Kindle deal.
  • Transcription, by Kate Atkinson. See above.
  • Life with Picasso, by Francoise Gilot. Have always wanted this, the NYRB version, and no-shit it came up in Kindle deals one day for two bucks. Started it and it is great so far.
  • Futility: A Novel, by William Gerhardie. Read in some booky blog that Gerhardie was loved by Evelyn Waugh. Had never heard that, but this book was cheap on Kindle so I got it. Will probably start it soon.
  • Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons: (Opinions), by Kurt Vonnegut. I can't not buy a Vonnegut book when it's a two dollar Kindle deal.
Language-wise I finished my BLTS with Serbian/Croatian. Have a 6 week break then I'll start it up again, but for only 8 weeks. Then the DLPT. Hoping for a 2/2. We'll see. 

Middle Egyptian going well. I skipped one homework as I had just returned from Florida and didn't have the time to do it, but we did just submit the last homework for the penultimate chapter. Now on to chapter 8. Do I see the end in sight?

And reading Esperanto again. I started La memorańĶoj de Julia Agripina, which is good so far. It's long, so I'll be reading it for quite a while, but it's nice to have on Kindle. It's part of Stafeto's Esperanto series.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Transcription, by Kate Atkinson

 Again, I must ask why I don't simply read everything by this woman, one after the other. This one was awesome. Got it on a Kindle deal ($3 I think) and it drew me in from page 1.

Spoilers below

Juliet works for MI5 during WWII. Does all kinds of fun things, as well as horrible things, witness or actor. Yes, in my wheelhouse: Between the wars and British. And like my previous Atkinson reads (A God in Ruins and Life After Life), jumping through time. Expertly. The ending. Phew. Unexpected. I won't even talk about it here with the spoiler warning, 'cause I want you all to experience the joy. 

Everything is here that you'd find in a JLC Smiley novel. The case officers, the officious work colleague, the secretly gay gentleman, the mata hari, peer offspring. Everything I love in a novel. Wonderful, wish it had been twice as long. 

Spoilers done.

I encourage everyone who likes well written novels with solid and well thought-out plots to read Atkinson. Start with Life after Life and immediately follow it up with A God in Ruins. Two of the best books I've read in the last 10 years, hands down.

Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 OK, read it. Not just for the Classics Club #ccspin, but also because it is a classic and his The Great Gatsby is incredible. This one, meh. While I love Brit lit between the wars, not as hip to jazz age setting in American lit. 

Not that it was bad. Great writing, of course. But my cares for a man who screws around on his wife, or wives that do on their husbands, it's just not that interesting. I don't understand how I can watch Midsomer Murders and marvel at the seemingly ubiquitous affairs British husbands and wives have, and be entertained by it, yet when I read it in American lit, not too interested. Not sure why. 

Maybe I prefer it in comedic works? Evelyn Waugh has plenty of affairs (again, British) but they're not the point of the story. Perhaps that's it? Rosemary and Dick and Nicole and...who cares. I was, however, shocked at the relationship between two characters in Tender is the Night; didn't expect that in something written in 1934. 

Like I said, great writing. Won't argue that. The guy knew how to write. But finishing this one...not sure I'll rush out to read another by him for a long while.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Still here

 The family and I have been moving this month, so my reading has slowed down. I just finished a friend's novel. It's his first and I've promised him some constructive criticism. I edit/copyedit at work, and it is hard for me to read books with typos, fragments, or other grammatical issues. My friend's novel is a good story, but is hurt by a lack of editing. 

Separately, I'm going to ask him if he'd be willing to do an interview with me, to then be published on this blog. We'll see!

Middle Egyptian is still going well. As is BCS. I didn't do any class last week, and didn't on Monday this week because we were still drowning in boxes. I sucked during Wednesday's class, but not as sucky as I thought. 

I'm also listening to Tender is the Night, and jeez what a story. Great writing, and wow, the situation between Nicole and her father. Holy crap!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab

 Great book. I'm on a roll.  Spoilers : Adeline "Addie" LaRue has a problem. She's being forced to marry. This is 1600s Fr...