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, The 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.