Thursday, February 28, 2019

reading here and there

It occurred to me, some time last October, that I used to really enjoy reading. That is, I hadn't read a book in a long time, and I did not really have an excuse. So I looked up how to read library books on my iPhone, installed Libby, got my library account re-activated (I had applied for one many years ago but it had expired from inactivity), and have been burning my way through books, my appetite much returned.
  • The Nutmeg of Consolation by Patrick O'Brian. Still a classic to my heart, an excellent appetizer easing me back on the reading track. I don't think I could ever tire of this series. 5/5
  • Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. Superbly written, I so enjoyed the film that I was pleased to find that the novel gave so much more. Sublime, thoughtful narrative. 5/5
  • Master of the Senate by Robert A. Caro. I only made it through a 1/4 of the 1200+ pages before I had to return it but that was enough to convince me that this was a historical work worthy of its many accolades. An efficient, dense tome.
  • The Senate, William S. White, the body's most prominent chronicler, wrote in 1956, is "the South's unending revenge upon the North for Gettysburg." Not just revenge, unending revenge.
  • A Great Deliverance by Elizabeth George. A great disappointment, how such dreck makes it to the best-seller's list is beyond me. While individually the characters are not so terrible, having them all together was simply too much to take. An unsatisfying mystery of shallow, absurd characters. 1/5
  • Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick. I'd read this many years ago and remembered liking it. Certainly the world-building is a delight -- typical Dick stuff. What I didn't recall was the heavy sexism, and the main character being such an arse to everyone around him. 3/5
Becoming so enamored with reading on a device but tired of straining on a small screen, I asked my family to get me a Kobo Clara HD e-reader for Christmas*, which is now a constant companion.
  • The Outsider by Stephen King. Was King always this bad or did my tastes change so? While the build up to the mystery was intriguing, the beginning interviews were rather tedious and the ending anticlimactic. Also, he falls in love? Really? 2/5
  • Kill All Normies by Angela Nagle. Biting political commentary and eye-opening history lessons, relevant to a pre- and post-Trump world. 5/5
  • The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline. Riveting, plausible post-apocalyptic story set in Ontario. 4/5
  • The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso. I can't remember who suggested this one but I found it a bit too much of a child's story for my liking -- overly tidy, the love story uninspired. 3/5
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. This did not age well. I couldn't finish it, saw no reason to do so.
  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. About half-way through and loving it. Every word finely crafted, every sentence manicured for maximum impact. Unforgettable.
I also, as many of you do I'm sure, have a stack of books that I am very slowly making my way through. Currently I'm on The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll, a gift from my father-in-law. It's really quite decent, slowed only by the details of the atrocities those poor animals have suffered through at people's hands.

* Kindle doesn't directly support library loans.