November 28, 2018 – “Read & Tell”

Phinney Books, 7:30pm – Each person can talk about a book they have read during the past month and rate it from 0 to 5. Zero – “I really disliked it.” Five – “Best book I have recently read!”

Sonya – Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, 5.0: A non-fiction book with all of the data behind why we sleep, and more importantly, why we should get 8 hours sleep.  I always knew that sleep was important, but this book laid it out in an understandable way on exactly why. It is hopefully changing the way I sleep!

Dave, The Good Soldier Svejk, Jaroslav Hasek, 3.75:  We saw this image everywhere while walking around Prague, including museums and restaurants.  He considers this the Czech Republic’s version of The Confederacy of Dunces.

Mimi, A Life of My Own: A Memoir by Claire Tomalin, 4.75: She is a British biographer and the biography she did of Samuel Pepys was absolutely brilliant.  She also did one of Austen.  This is her own memoir.

Kjerste, Lethal White (A Cormoran Strike Novel Book 4) by Robert Galbraith, 4.5:  She can say no more than she did give it a 4.5 – nothing more without giving anything away.

Maribeth:  Nothing to recommend this month.

Catherine, Mrs.: Novel by Caitlin Macy, 4.0:   It is an entertaining book for vacation reading – wealthy people in Manhattan connected through a preschool.

  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, 5.0

Shealgh, Washington Black: A Novel by Esi Edugyan, 5.0:  This made the Giller short list and the Booker short list. The writing is beautiful, never really know where it is going, the story and adventure is fabulous. Do stay away from reviews which tell too much of the plot.

Paul, Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, 4.5: It is pretty much straight Lovecraft – good people, bad people and worse people – strange protagonist, written from an African American viewpoint.  If you like Lovecraft, you will like this book.

Kathleen, Of Love and War It’s What I do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War – both books are by Lynsey Addario, 4.5.  Both books specialize in the effects of love and war. She worked her way up to be one of the best known photojournalists of all time.  She is a photojournalist of war and effects of war, especially on women and children.  And how this life affects personal relationships. She was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and fired upon. The photos are devastating and beautiful.

Karen, River of Darkness by Buddy Levy, 5.0:  Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish Conquistador, along with his 3 brothers, conquered the Inca Empire. This is the true story of Gonzalo Pizarro and his expedition from Quito, Ecuador to search for El Dorado. It quickly disintegrated and his lieutenant, Orellana, went for help, but ended up traveling via the Amazon to the Atlantic, the first European to do so. The story is riveting – Gonzalo’s incompetence, his savagery towards the enslaved natives and Orellana’s discoveries of civilizations, some friendly, some hostile, along the Amazon.

Eric, Murder at the Lanterne Rouge (An Aimee Leduc Investigation Book 12) by Cara Black, 4.0: A series of books set in Paris in the 1990s. Protagonist is a young woman who is the private investigator and a computer expert – set in different neighborhoods of Paris, entertaining in the descriptions of the city.

Kris, A Chill in the Air: An Italian War Diary, 1939-1940 by Iris Origo, 4.9:  Origo is probably best known for War in Val d’Orcia about life in WWII on her family’s estate in Tuscany and all that this privileged family did for others at the risk of their own lives. A Chill in the Air is comprised of diary entries in the year or so leading up to Italy’s entry into WWII. There are events and descriptions (e.g. of Mussolini) that will remind you of our times. It is short, succinct, perceptive and well-written.

Pam, Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics, by Stephen Greenblatt, 5.0:  Greenblatt has provided a fascinating look into several of Shakespeare’s tyrants. He notes that in Shakespeare’s time it was dangerous to directly criticize the current ruler or state, so he did it at an “oblique angle” by creating in his plays tyrants from much earlier ages–Richard III, King Lear, MacBeth, Coriolanus and others. He explores the narcissism, misogyny, bullying, corruption and ambition that drove them and eventually brought them to their own destruction, and sometimes, the state’s as well. He also looks at the nobility and the common people who put the tyrants in power, or who supported them, and were also complicit in the erosion of the state. As did Shakespeare, Greenblatt uses the oblique angle in this interesting book, written for such times as these that we find ourselves in.

Tim, Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics, by Stephen Greenblatt, 5.0:  Fascinating read and outstanding.  World-renowned Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt explores the playwright’s insight into bad (and often mad) rulers. In exploring the psyche (and psychoses) of the likes of Richard III, Macbeth, Lear, Coriolanus, and the societies they rule over, Stephen Greenblatt illuminates the ways in which William Shakespeare delved into the lust for absolute power and the catastrophic consequences of its execution.

  • Foundation’s Fear by Gregory Benford 3/5
  • Foundation and Chaos by GregoryBear 3.8/5
  • Foundation’s Triumph by David Brin 4/5
    • The three books comprise the second foundation trilogy that is based on and a prelude to the first book of the original Foundation trilogy. The Authors have taken Asimov’s blending of his robot series and foundation series as a starting point. By and large I loved the original Foundation Trilogy and thought that the attempt to make one unifed series by Asimov was a mistake. The second trilogy is in my opinion convoluted and I started reading the first book in 1997 and finished it this year in order to get to the book by David Brin. I finished the last two books in under three weeks. They were better that the first but not great.
  • The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker 5.0:  A 2018 novel that recounts the events of the Iliad, chiefly from the point of view of Briseis. Well written and a quick read.
  • A Tear at the Edge of Creation by Marcelo Gleiser 4.0:  Gleiser walks us through the basic and cutting-edge science that fueled his own transformation from a believer that under Nature’s apparent complexity there is a simpler underlying reality ( This Theory of Everything would unite the physical laws governing very large bodies (Einstein’s theory of relativity) and those governing tiny ones (quantum mechanics) into a single framework) into a doubter. This scientific quest led him to a new understanding of what it is to be human.

Marla, To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, 5.0: About time travel.

Jon, The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco:  He is finishing it up from last month’s book club.

Billie, Natural Causes by Barbara Ehrenreich, 5.0: She writes about the unecessary testing and medical procedures, a lot of which is B.S., really well-written book. A life changing book.

Advertisements

October 17, 2018 – “Read & Tell”

Phinney Books, 7:30pm – Each person can talk about a book they have read during the past month and rate it from 0 to 5. Zero – “I really disliked it.” Five – “Best book I have recently read!”

Evening Discussion lead by Paul:  The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco – we had a good discussion about the history surrounding the events of the book – wars, discoveries (longitude), and more. Those who read the book agreed that it was good read.

Sonya, I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell, 5.0:  This is an autobiography. Maggie tells the story of her seventeen brushes with death throughout her life. One of the things I find myself constantly saying is that “Life is short, so enjoy the moment.”  And her book certainly supports that saying.  She says it ever so much more eloquently. One of my friends says it rather reads like poetry. And on the fly of the book, it says that you could read it in one sitting – which I did.

Marla – Elmet by Fiona Mozzley, 3.0:  It is about family and power in many incarnations.   Someone with physical power builds a house on some land – which someone else thinks is theirs and they have social power….and on it goes.

Paul – The Growth Delusion: Wealth, Poverty, and the Well-being of Nations by David Pilling, 4.5: The GDP was developed at the beginning of WWII – it has become the measure of how well a nation is doing – It is about the weird things regarding the GDP – for example when a hurricane happens, the GDP goes up – many anomalies.  There is also Green GDP….  Measure the things you value – a nation needs to figure it out.

Kjerste – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, 5.0:  It has been on her bookshelf since December and wanted to read it before the movie comes out.  It is a YA book – about a 17 year old junior in high school – lives in the ghetto, and her mom drives her 45 minutes to a private school – two very different lives which don’t really cross.

Dave:  The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco, 5.0: He read it in India, right before we went to Prague. It has wonderful description of the Jewish cemetery in Prague, and when we visited the cemetery in Prague – we saw that he had it exactly right. It was a very dense read, but was well worth it.

Jon – A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, 5.0:  He had read it before and remembered the plot very well, but had forgotten how funny and sharp a writer he was. He describes everything so well and is funny.

Tom – To Float in the Space Between: A Life and Work in Conversation with the Life and Work of Etheridge Knight by Terrance Hayes, 4.5:  It is about Etheridge Knight – a poet who started writing when he was in prison.  Read Tom’s review of this book in his Phinney Ridge October 1 Newsletter.

Juliana – The Help by Kathryn Stockett, 4.0: It is about a main character who is writing a book about domestic workers in the Jim Crow South – describes how scary it would be to be in the  Jim Crow South.

 

September 19, 2018: “Read & Tell”

Phinney Books, 7:30pm – Each person can talk about a book they have read during the past month and rate it from 0 to 5. Zero – “I really disliked it.” Five – “Best book I have recently read!”

  • Marla read, Explore Everything: Place Hacking the City by Bradley Garrett.  It is the second book about exploration that Marla has read.  It is about places you should not go, sewers and bridges.  She rated it 4 stars.
  • Books read by Tim during  August and September 2018
    1.      Circe  by Madeline Miller               4.5/5
    “Circe” combines lively versions of familiar tales with a highly
    psychologized, redemptive and ultimately exculpatory account of the
    protagonist herself.  A fun read2.      The Song of Achilles  by Madeline Miller                4/5
    A very interesting retelling of the Achilles story from the point of view of
    Patroclus, his intimate and, in Miller’s version, his lover.

    3.      Tamed: Ten Species That Changed Our World  by Alice Roberts   5/5
    In Tamed the Author uncovers the deep history of ten familiar species with
    incredible wild pasts.  She reveals how becoming part of our world changed
    these animals and plants, and shows how they became our allies, essential to
    the survival and success of our own species.

    4.      The Oceans Between Stars by Kevin Emerson  4/5
    A YA book continues the adventures of two middle school age children who are
    trying to catch up with the remnant of human civilization that are on a many
    year journey to a new earth like planet in a distant star system.  I found the
    book enjoyable and now must wait for the next and final book in the Chronicle
    of the dark Star.
    .
    5.      1947:  WHERE NOW BEGINS  by Elisabeth Asbrink  translated by Fiona Graham
    4.5/5
    As Nancy Pearl has said about this book of non fiction the echoes of 1947 are
    resonating very, very clearly today.  It is a book that makes you think.

    6.      The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle  4/5
    This work of science fiction by a famous astronomer is very interesting and
    interspersed with real science.

  • Pam, read The Children Act Ian McEwan   Rating:  5A High Court judge presides over cases in the family division.  She is childless.  Her marriage of 37 years is in trouble.  The central tension in the story pivots between the case of a 16-year-old Jehovah’s Witness whose life depends on transfusions, which he and his family refuse on religious grounds, her ruling, and the resulting consequences; and the crisis in her marriage. Told from her point of view, in third person.  McEwan’s writing is brilliant, and the philosophical questions he raises, fascinating.
  • Kris read The Storm Arif Anwar.  A tale of interlocking lives centered in Bangladesh (although a significant part of the story takes place in the U.S.)  The storm of the title refers to a 1970 storm that killed 500,000 people overnight in Bangladesh. I knew almost nothing about Bangladesh, and now I know a little bit more.  The characters’ lives and connections are generally credible, but either I missed something or there is one loose end I would have liked the author to weave in.  I give it a 4.0.
  • Mimi read FEAR by Bob Woodward  Quick read, Mimi finished in 24 hours, it is depressing book about the toddler in the White House.  4.5 rating
  • Judas by Amos Oz is what Paul read. Two main threads, one is that Judas is the only person who gave up anything to follow Christ.  Nobody ever said thank you.  The second thread is a non present character who is the father of one of the characters.  The father is on the family committees and wanted to include the Palestinians in the committee but was kicked off for this view.  Rated a 5.
  • Deb read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  She was cautiously hopeful that things would turn around for the main character.  Deb won’t share the ending.  Main character was in the foster system and later in life meets a woman who teaches her about flowers and their meanings.  That is the glue that holds the story together.   4.5 rating, Good story.
  • Karen read I Shot the Buddha, I Shot the Buddha by Colin CotterillThis is #11 in a series set in Laos in the late 1970s, featuring Dr. Siri Paiboun, a retired surgeon, revolutionary, coroner and detective who is possessed by a powerful 1,000-year old shamanic spirit. He and his wife spend their time at her noodle shop on the Mekhong River when they are not solving mysteries with their friends.The mysteries are exotic as is this one—a monk asks Dr. Siri to help another monk escape to Thailand.  But the real treat is to spend time with Dr. Siri and his friends in Laos shortly after the 1975 communist takeover.

    Like spending time with Mma Precious Ramotswe of Botswana in Alexander McCall Smith’s #1 Ladies Detective Agency series or with Commissario Guido Brunetti in Donna Leon’s Venice.

  • Kathleen read The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.  This is Madeline’s first novel.  It is narrated by Patroclus.  rated 5
  • Tom read Berlin, 550 page graphic novel by Jason Lutes.  Novel is about Germany in from 1928-1933.  It follows a relationship between a journalist and art student. Style is similar to Tin Tin.  rated 4.75
  • Shelagh read Mean Spirit by Linda Hogan, story from the perspective of native americans.  rated 4.8.  She liked the 3 dimensional aspect of it.
  • Catherine, read the Wrong Heaven by Amy Bonnaffons.  Set of short stories that are magical realism with humor.  4.5 rating
  • Maribeth has a partial report.  Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan.  Story of a photographer from Seattle.  He tried to take photos of tribal life and the people before the way of life went away.   He spends a summer with President Roosevelt.  Good look at Seattle in the early part of the 1900’s when Seattle exploded.   Good bookend to tonights story.  no rating yet as she is still reading.
  • Billie read Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout.  She rated it 4.5.
  • Kjersti read the March trilogy and rated it a 5.

August 15, 2018: “Read & Tell”

Phinney Books, 7:30pm – Each person can talk about a book they have read during the past month and rate it from 0 to 5. Zero – “I really disliked it.” Five – “Best book I have recently read!”

 

Marla read Less by Andrew Sean Greer, rated 3 stars.  It was a fun fluffy read.

Billie read Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent.  A woman on Roosevelt Island who met a man and he cooks her dinner once a week.  Good food reading, rated a 4.

Paul read Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World and Why Things Are Better Than You Think.  Written by Hans Rosling, he is a Swedish doctor who has spent time in 3rd world countries and is famous for this book.  Bill Gates has made it available for free download to college students.  He has also created a graph about life expectancy. Check out his website.   Rated 4.5, relatively fast read.

Tom read A Chill in The Air by Iris Origo.  Iris Origo is well know for her book, War in Val’d’Orcia, another war diary.  She is a wealthy American married to an Italian.  They purchased a farm in Tuscany in the 1920’s and hid refugees during WWII.  Rated 4.0

Mimi read Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent.  A British novel, where a woman and her son move to  Essex after her husband has died.   Rated 4.5

Kjersti read So Lucky by Nicola Griffith.  A novel about a woman with MS. Rated 4

Karen read The Pope who Would be King.

Although Pope Pius IX ruled for thirty-two years, beginning in 1846, the book focuses on the two years of his exile from Rome. Disguised, he fled in the middle of the night when the citizens turned against him realizing he had no intention of moving towards a modern, secular republic. He returned, revengeful and entrenched in his belief in papal infallibility and the absolute authority of the Catholic church over most aspects of daily life. He fought tooth and nail for every last shred of power and relevancy, but the new world finally birthed due to actions of other countries and the desire of the Roman citizens. He was the last pope-­king.

Rating: 3.75 This is not a book for the lay reader. I am a lay reader and at times was burdened by so much information. Also, I looked forward to understanding more about the “emergence of modern Europe,” but this was only addressed in the Epilogue.

Kathleen read There There, about urban Indians going to a Pow Wow.  Each chapter is a different story.   Rated 4.5

Pam completed finished a book she put down for book bingo.

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America
Michael Eric Dyson Rating: 4.8

Written in the structural form of a sermon, this powerful book is a series of essays about
the state of race in America, to help white Americans understand difficult truths about
being black in America, and whites’ part in the racial divide. It includes a chapter with
practical suggestions on how the reader can make things better, both through actions as
well as reading to become better educated about black history and culture. He offers an
extensive reading list and comments.
Tony Morrison noted: “Elegantly written, Tears We Cannot Stop is powerful in several
areas: moving personal recollections; profound cultural analysis; and guidance for
moral redemption. A work to relish.” I would add, a book sorely needed for the times we
live in.
Dyson is a University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University and an ordained
minister. He’s also a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and
contributes to several other publications. He’s the author of 19 books.

Tim read When the English Fall by David Williams.  Not his favorite book.  If we had a major solar flare it would disrupt our society but it would not upset the Amish society. Can a peaceful and non violent society work when the world falls apart?  Gave it a 4

 

 

 

July 18, 2018: “Read & Tell”

Phinney Books, 7:30pm – Each person can talk about a book they have read during the past month and rate it from 0 to 5. Zero – “I really disliked it.” Five – “Best book I have recently read!”
Billie read Heart Buries by Theresa Marie Halport.  Interviewed by Trevor Noah.  A lot of pain and suffering 3.5 rating.
Mimi read Paula Hawkins, In the Water, it was similar to her first book.  It is ok and Mimi read it 2 weeks ago and doesn’t remember anything about it so rated it a 3.25.
Kris The Dry by Jane Harper.  Mystery-thriller set in Australia, not far from Melbourne, in a small farming community enduring its second year of a severe drought.  Protagonist works as a federal police officer in Melbourne; goes home to the farming community for the funeral of one of his childhood/adolescent friends.  He is dead, as are his wife and six-year old son.  Law enforcement conclusion is that the father killed his wife and son, and then killed himself.  Both the dead man and the protagonist are suspected of knowing more than they let on about the death of a young woman when they were teenagers.  Parents of the dead man cannot believe their son would have killed his family.  They ask his visiting police officer friend to look into it.  Book is fast-paced and well-written.  Author wrote it after taking an online writing course (and she also had a career as a journalist)  4.75
Kjersti read Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford. 4.5
Shelagh read There There 4.8 rating by Tommy Orange.   Set in Sacramento at a pow wow.  The ending is f-ing cataclysmic.  Giving attention to other native american authors.
Maribeth read Pachenko. It spans four generations who moved to American from Japan.  There is a tragic event of one of the characters that caught her by surprise.  4.75
Tom talked about Woman in Black by Madeleine St. John.  Text classics in Australia reissued the book.  It is a comedy about women who work in the frock department in the 1960’s.    Great characters and good things happen.   4.75
Kathleen read Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. It is told from the point of view of refugees.  There were many doors and the book took a magic realism perspective.  Liked the writing, gave it a 5.
Catherine read Go Went Gone and 5 Days at Memorial and really liked it 4.75.
Age of Dignity AI Jen Poo, a non fiction book about aging and caring in America.
Jon is continuing to read Chernow’s Hamilton and gives it a 4.5
Kitty read Go Went Gone
Deb read a mystery by Ruth Ware titled, The Woman in Cabin 10.
Rates it a 4 as it was entertaining and kept her interest.
Tim read the Razors Edge by W. Somerset Maugham.  Tells a story of WW1 pilot.  It is dated in the way woman are viewed and no one has to work but has money.  Signed up to see the movie and rated the book a 5
Pam read Warlight, by Michael Ondaatje and rated it a 5.Set in 1945 Britain, just after the end of the war, two kids, 14 and 16, are seemingly abandoned by their parents and placed in boarding schools. The story is narrated by Nathaniel, 14.  He and his sister, Rachel, both run away from their  boarding schools to live again at home full time with the appointed”guardian” and his friend, whom  the kids believe to be “criminals.”  The kids each lead their own secretive lives of adventure, which are abruptly brought to a halt.  The story flips several years ahead as Nathaniel  attempts to learn the story of his mother both during the war and after, a search that itself seems obscured by “warlight.”  I loved the writing, the narration and how Ondaatje wove researched details of the war in Britain into the story.  Fascinating and intriguing, woven through with desire.

Marla read, How the Post Office Created America by Winifred Gallagher.  Marla loves the post office.  As people moved west and wanted to communicate their correspondence to the ease, it helped establish transportation.

June 20, 2018: “Read & Tell”

Phinney Books, 7:30pm – Each person can talk about a book they have read during the past month and rate it from 0 to 5. Zero – “I really disliked it.” Five – “Best book I have recently read!”

Marla read Lawn Boy Jonathan Enison he creates excellent characters Rating 5
Tim1. Chemistry by Weike Wang 4.5/5
Wry, unique, touching tale of the limits of parental and partnership pressure as Student tries to deal with her life before, during and after her quest for a PhD in Chemistry.

2. The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov 5/5
A landmark of science fiction’s “Golden Age,” Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy is composed of the novels Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation, It is set in the far future, Foundation envisions a Galactic Empire that has thrived for 12,000 years, but whose decline into an age of barbarism lasting some thirty millennia is imminent–if the predictions of renegade psycho-historian Hari Seldon are accurate. Hoping to shorten the interval of this impending new Dark Age, Seldon convinces the Empire’s Commission of Public Safety to allow him to create a Foundation on which the future Empire will be erected.

Pam read The Overstory by Richard Powers.  About 9 characters that are woven together.  He has done a tremendous amount of research on trees.  History of eco activist of 1970 & 80’s.   Cerebral book, give it a 5.
Kjersti is still reading The Woman Who Would be King by Kara Cooney.  Great informatio about Egypt but difficult writing style so gives it a 2.75
Lilly read Barbarian Days.
Mimi, The Arcanum: The Extraordinary True Story by Janet Gleeson.  Book about porcelain, the technique was perfected by Chinese. Rated 4.5
Billie read Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, a L.A. times journalist.  She covered North Korea and she wrote about their journey into the famine.  Not a long read but informative. 5 rating
Jon is reading Ron Chernow’s Hamilton, he has a gift for making the time come alive.  4.5
Paul read, Fascism A Warning by Madeleine Albright.  She defines fascism and follows through with classic fascist leaders.  She points out that fascism was successful for a few years and solved problems.  Includes modern fascists along with Trump.  5
Kathleen read Circe by  Madeleine Miller  The daughter of Helios, the sun god.  She was banned.   She is a wise woman who knows a lot about herbs and magic and is a monster. She gave it a 5.
Shelagh also read Circe.  She likes books that tell the story of a woman who was overlooked in history.  Great read, fleshing out of Circe. 5 rating as well
Jennifer read Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk set in 1942 small farming town.   Coming of age story involving prejudice and sociopath.  Many functional strong family relationships within the story dealing with characters who inject the dysfunction.  5
Catherine, her first ridge readers, is reading Orange World by Karen Russell in the New Yorker, where a woman makes a deal with the devil while she is pregnant.   Vampires in the Lemon Grove, reminds her of this article. gets 5 out of 5
Maribeth read All the Light We cannot See, set in Nazi occupied France during WW2.
Karen read the novel Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.  She follows 4 generations of Koreans starting in Korea in the 20th century to Japan.  Loved reading it because the characters are so flushed out.    Suffer immense cruelty and prejudice but are a loyal family who stay true to each other.  History has failed us but no matter.

 

May 16, 2018: “Read & Tell”

Phinney Books, 7:30pm – Each person can talk about a book they have read during the past month and rate it from 0 to 5. Zero – “I really disliked it.” Five – “Best book I have recently read!”

SonyaThe Arcanum: The Extraordinary True Story by Janet Gleeson, 5.0:  Read the description from Karen who read it last month.  Totally agree with her – who would ever have thought that the history of porcelain could be so fascinating?!

Marla, The Fire This Time:  A New Generation Speaks About Race by Jessmyn Ward, 3.5: collection of short essays, memoir, and a few poems – some are fabulous, some are mediocre.

Tim, The Death of Chaos by L.E. Modesitt Jr, 4.5:  This is the sequel to the Magic of Recluse in which Lerris continues his growth as a master of order magic and his life fighting the chaos that threatens his friends and Recluse.

A Higher Loyalty (Truth, Lies and Leadership) by James Comey 4.8:  A fascinating book about recent events and insights into the life of this former US Attorney, assistant Attorney General and FBI director.

The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K Le Guin 4.0:  In this novella terran colonists have taken over the planet locals call Athshe, meaning “forest,” rather than “dirt,” like their home planet Terra. They follow the 19th century model of colonization: felling trees, planting farms, digging mines & enslaving indigenous peoples. The natives are unequipped to comprehend this. They’re a subsistence race who rely on the forests & have no cultural precedent for tyranny, slavery or war. The invaders take their land without resistance until one fatal act sets rebellion in motion & changes the people of both worlds forever.

Pam, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership by Jim Comey, 5.0:  Surprised at how good it was – not ghostwritten, ethics in general and ethics in government – a bit about his young life, and then with Bush, and then of course with Trump – fabulous book, thoughtful, beautifully written, it gave her hope.

Kris, The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa, 5.0:   Italian classic set in Sicily during Italian unification.  The main character is a Sicilian nobleman trying to navigate the changes. Gives an idea of daily life, of both rich and poor, during the period and the history of Sicily with its numerous conquerors and occupiers. Haven’t quite finished the book, but so far she gives it a 5.0  (And, it’s a classic. . . .)

Paul, Republican Like Me: How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right by Ken Stern, 4.0:  He lives in the right-wing and tries to learn what they stand for – for example, gun control, evangelicals.  He does need a better editor, but it is a good uncomfortable book to read.  Even though it is not really well-written, because it pushes him out of his comfort zone, he gave it the rating of 4.0.

Kjerste, The Turtles of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye, 5.0:  A young adult book, story of a 3rd grade kid with parents who are professors – moving to Michigan from Oman, spends time with his grandpa, moving adventure, got to know a little about the country, teaching some language of Oman.

Dave – Read mostly about prison reform and recidivism

Shelagh, What You are Getting Wrong about Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte, 5.0:  Much welcome correction to Hillbilly Elegy.  She is a historian and community activist.  J.D. Vance has many ties with right-wing communities.  About rich people buying resources and turning it into a company town.  Different areas in Appalachia are very different from each other.

Kathleen, Mister Monkey: A Novel by Francine Prose, 4.5:  She was in Sicily and didn’t get lots of reading done, but she did read this book.  It is a children’s book which turns into a musical  – off-off-off-off-Broadway children’s musical, moves between characters.

Karen, The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea, 4.5:  She listened to his interview on NPR – frustrated a bit by the very complicated family tree – yes, there is drug, murder, cancer, but it is very funny – it is fun to spend time with these people – 4.5 for now and maybe 5.0 when she reads it again.

Lilly, What Happened by Hilary Clinton, 4.0: It was good, a brilliant thoughtful woman – no real surprises – how can they be honest with themselves with such a complex situation and such a short time.  For example, when she says “I take responsibility for such and such” – how can she be so sure of what she did and didn’t have responsibility for.

Mimi, You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfield, 4.25: A collection of short stories.

Hawley, The Punch, 4.0: Novel about 2 brothers, their addled, aging mother, and a plot involving bigamy, among other things. 

Perotta, Joe College, 3.5:  got it out of a little library.  I think it’s one of his earlier ones.  Eh. 
 
Benjamin, The Swans of 5th Avenue, sort of fiction, sort of NF, 2.75: another pick from a little library.  A lightly fictionalized account of Truman Capote’s falling out with the society divas of NYC.  A little goes a long way.  2.75
 
Wolitzer, The Female Persuasion, 4.5: Meg Wolitzer’s latest, about young feminists vs. old- guard feminism.  I really liked it.  
 
Robertson, Testimony, MEMOIR, 4.0: I’ve always been a big fan of The Band, so I enjoyed Robbie Robertson’s memoir, which differs considerably from Levon Helm’s account! 
 
Abrams, All the Pieces Matter: the Inside Story of the Wire, 5.0:  The Wire was my all-time favorite TV show (I’ve only watched it 3 times, straight through).  Loved it.