Weekly Reading Round-Up
As the marathon of reading for the new stand alone novel continues, this week I’ve been delving into what it’s like being an American in France. Among others:
— Edith Wharton’s Madame De Treymes, a novella about a Gilded Age American seeking a divorce from her philandering French husband;
— Sarah Turnbull’s Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris, a contemporary memoir of an Australian married to a Frenchman (what really fascinated me about this one were the echoes of Madame De Treymes, even now, a century on);
— and Brooke L. Blower’s Becoming Americans in Paris: Transatlantic Politics and Culture between the World Wars, a monograph about the interaction of American and French culture in the formative period between the wars.
Off topic, I’ve just begun a classic gothic sent to me by my wonderful friend Vicki, Catherine Gaskin’s Edge of Glass. I’ve just begun, but so far it’s very Elsie Lee, with a sensible first person heroine who finds herself plunged into the politics of a moldering Irish mansion and family glass-blowing company. Because I really, really needed something that wasn’t set in France.
What have you been reading this week?
I got out of the box for a seminar on book banning and read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, and really enjoyed it. Also Heyer”s Wonderful Venetia, Julia Quinn”s WhaT Happens in London, and the always terrific Passion of the Purple Plumeria. Am now struggling through Huckleberry Finn for the seminar. HOW did this get to be the Great American Novel?
Try listening to Elijah Woods reading Huck Finn. It brings the book into a whole new light, and I found it MUCH more enjoyable! He has the accents exactly right too.
It’s not been a stellar reading week. I finished up the most recent Dixie Hemingway cat sitter mystery, The Cat Sitter’s Whiskers, which I enjoyed. I read a most recent book from a popular bestseller who i’ve decided to not read anymore because every book is the same story with different names and a slightly different mystery. I read The Swimmer by Joachim Zander and was meh on it because the plot had way too many coincidences. Now I’m about 2/3 of the way through False Colours by Georgette Heyer. This is definitely not my favorite of the Heyers I’ve read. Lady Denville is ridiculous and much of the conversation is silly rather than witty repartee.
Mary Balogh’s newest survivor novel, Only a Promise. Oh, it was so good. The best of the series.
Wow! I can’t wait, as I have thought each Survivor’s Club book the best – especially Only Enchanting. My only dilemma is whether to wait until Only A Kiss comes out in the next couple of months.
“A Girl from Yamhill” which is Beverly Cleary’s autobiography, which was rather dull but proved she had a really psycho mother.
“Bright Young People” wherein I decide that D.J. Taylor thinks too highly of himself because he keeps inserting himself into a biography that isn’t about him.
“Nine Coaches Waiting” just started late last night 😉
Based upon a previous recommendation found here on WRRU, I started on the Courtney Milan Duchess, Countess, Heiress series and have been devouring them. Need to find a good audio book to listen to because absolutely nothing has gotten done!
I am reading The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. It’s out book club pick this month!
The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit- a tale of the wives of Manhattan Project scientists, told entirely in the first person plural. Unique but so far engaging.
Also, I’ve been finishing up Mary Balogh’s mistress trilogy. I just love her so much.
Lastly, listening to Nora Roberts’ Dark Witch. I’ve gotten a few funny looks from people in other cars while I’m driving because the actress reading it gets verrrry into it. I have to turn the volume down when the story gets extra witchy.
Love Mary Balogh. If you haven’t started the Survivor’s Club series, you will really enjoy it.
That’s actually how I was introduced to her! I won an ARC of the second Survivor’s Club book and since then I’ve just been going through all her series!
I love the Slightly series and The Simply series. Some of the characters overlap in these – I started with A Matter of Class and then read the Huxtable series – also excellent. I haven’t been disappointed in any of her books!
I had to intersperse Mary Balough’s “A Matter of Class”, Abigail Reynold’s “Mr. Darcy’s Obsession” and rereading (for the millionth time) “Lady Windermere’s Fan” between John Lawton’s “Then We Take Berlin” and his “Black Out.” Lots of detail about Nazi Germany made hard reading. “Bookended” the week with Charles Todd’s “Proof of Guilt” at the beginning and “Hunting Shadows” at the end of the week.
As for Americans in France you may find the Library of Congress exhibit at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart7.html interesting. Among other things it talks about the intertwining of Jazz in France thanks to the African Americans sent to France during the war and the Harlem Renaissance.
I finished Tracy Grant’s The Berkeley Square Affair and loved it.
Also have been doing the Bubblebath Reader read along of the Pink books and am on Purple Plumeria. The discussion is great.
Just started Julie Klassen’s Lady of Milkweed Manor.
I finished reading Carol Higgins Clark’s Zapped. It was really interesting because it was set during the night of a major blackout in New York and New Jersey which apparently really happened. She had all these shady, and for the most part completely incompetent, would be criminals running about New York in the dark bumping into each other and getting into all sorts of hysterical situations. It was terrific, one of her best.
I am currently reading Julie Klassen’s Lady Of Milkweed Manor with Betty S. That is very much a change of pace. It is a very bleak look at the plight of unwed mother’s in the regency period. It is really good and very shocking. I would dearly love to jump through the pages and give some, or make that most, of the men in it a good punch in the mouth.