Written in 1947, Slaves of Solitude crossed my path accidentally while out prowling the vast interwebs. Someone, somewhere described it as one of the best books they'd never heard of. Sold! Like the last novel I finished. It takes place during the Blitz in 1940's London. It centers around a cast of lonely displaced characters living in a boarding house.
The earth was muffled from the stars; the river and the pretty eighteenth century bridge were muffled from the people; the people were muffled from each other. This was war late in 1943.
My reading hasn't been limited to novels. For the new year I gifted myself with a digital subscription to The New Yorker magazine. Tonight I came home, flopped onto the couch, and buried myself in its digital cushion of pages where I was immediatly swept up into a world of saudi royalty, internet archiving, and french satire. Ahhhhh…just what I needed after 4 days of talking and being talked to – uninterrupted reading time. Both pieces below get high marks for their interestingness factor.
And to continue in my online magazine adventures, last week I read THIS. Which is where I found the quote below that I think is quite beautiful.
The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds. In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our own associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas. Deep reading, as Maryanne Wolf argues, is indistinguishable from deep thinking.
Adding to the January pile and my erratic reading habits…
Because every good story is sweeter when balanced with a dose of non-fiction.
Reading anything strange & delightful? Spill!
want to read that Hitchens.
just started non fiction The Demon-Haunted World by carl sagan, and scifi novel Ancillary justice by ann leckie, which won about a zillion awards last year. I like reading more than one book at a time, like I make two or more art pieces at a time, not because I’m a virtuoso but because im brief of attention.
“Grace Grows” by Shelle Sumners seemed like a chic lit/easy read, but after I finished I immediately turned right back to page one and started over. It really hides deep, important issues in a pleasant, fun read. I thought this would be a guilty pleasure book, instead it just is pure pleasure. Highly recommend it.
Oh boy, books. All of these book suggestions about have me crazy! There isn’t enough time in my day! In my life! However…we do seem to manage, eh? I have read all of Michael Pollan’s book and I will say this: don’t bother with COOKED. Very disappointing. I was completely enchanted with Nights at the Circus, a story about a child who is raised in an orphanage (early part of the 20th century) who discovers she is sprouting wings at the onset of puberty. She is half swan! “Fevvers” story is both beautiful and enchanting. Other than that and a few side steps into a couple of Alice Hoffman books (a favorite author) I am rereading the Outlander series which never fails to get me through difficult times.
Amy Huff says
It’s What I do by Lynsey Addario a memoir from a pulitzer prize winning photojournalist. It’s fantastic and doesn’t romanticize the professions of journalism or photojournalism. She really describes what you have to be willing to live with, or die for, to do what she does. Truly great.
The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney about two mysteries in Oklahoma City in the summer of 1986 and how they have impacted people today. Beautifully written and as a homesick Texan/Midwesterner in the PNW, loved the scenery and miss the sunsets even more now.
Both come out in early February.
Just finished reading “All the Light You Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. World War II story with a blind girl living in Paris with her father and a German Orphan boy with a love for radio. Wonderful and emotional as all World War II books are. I highly recommend it.
I just finished The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant. It’s told from the perspective of a grandmother recounting her life in Boston in the early 20th century to her granddaughter. It’s a brave and lovely story and also a quick read. I just started reading Elephant Company by Vicki Constantine Croke. It tells the tale of a young British man working in the teak industry in the jungles of Burma just before World War II. I started reading it only because my son had gotten it as a gift for Christmas and I was out of anything else to read. It is however, surprisingly good and extremely interesting. Next on my list is Vanessa and her Sister by Priya Parmar.
I just started reading Brodeck’s Report by Philippe Claudel. The dutch translation of the original french that is and it makes me wish my french was good enough to read the original. It’s beautiful and horrible all at once. Beautuful for the language and the way the narrator describes things in his report. Definitely a thinker and feeler of things. Horrible because it speaks of very dark aspects in human nature that can make you feel like crying and pessimistic about what we are as a species. In short: I’m mightily intrigued so far.
Susan Sewell says
I just finished The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet. The setting is Japan during the time of Dutch trade. It was compelling and non-formulaic. Keep a character list at the beginning because X-ray isn’t available on Kimble. The names are all multi-syllabic and so…Dutch and so….Japanese. You don’t want Name Recall Stress to get in the way of a great story.
PS No dogs die in this book. Cats either. Monkeys, maybe.
I sobbed my way through my coffee this morning- “Light between Oceans” by ML Stedman. It was so poignant (maybe made more so by the PMS? Lol)
I am reading When Books Went to War: The Stories that helped us win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning. Being a Librarian, I enjoy finding books about how librarians through the ages have gotten books into the hands of those that need them. This book focuses on getting books to soldiers and how publishing companies jumped on board to develop pocket-sized Armed Services Editions. It begins with a book burning in Germany which has made me want to research and read more about that. Reading about book burnings also makes me think of Farenheit 451 which is amazing!! Happy Reading 🙂
Ok out front I have a bad case of the flu, yes th real flu and I am reading the girl in the train. It is a good sick day read, probably not up to the usual standards, but compelling and quick and a thriller.
Sara N. says
If you are interested in life in World War II England (and especially in London), Connie Willis’s books Blackout and All Clear are wonderful. Yes, they are science fiction, but the science fiction never gets in the way of an engrossing story. She has also written The Doomsday Book about the plague in a small village in England that shares the same premise as Blackout and All Clear. That book made the plague and it’s effect on people and the country more real to me than anything else I have read about it.
Carol Kitchell says
Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement if you want total immersion in another culture and time. In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides is the type of adventure non-fiction I wasn’t sure I’d like, but turned out to be very interesting on several levels. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was a gentle read to float in easily. Station Eleven surprised me – a strangely compelling and believable story.
On my to-be-read heap: The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, The Bone Clocks, Michael Pollan’s Cooked, The Book of Strange New Things, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and Egg and Spoon. Jury’s still out on these.
Hey, think I’ll go read!
Maryellen Bess says
My favorite author, Shirley Streshinsky), wrote Hers the Kingdom, about the beginnings of Malibu and the rise of California; The Shores of Paradise, about the loss of the Hawaii’s monarchy; The Time Between, San Francisco before WWII. All face-paced historical novels.
Shar Ulm says
Elizabeth Warren’s A Fighting Chance not necessarily strange (depending on your politics) but at times delightful. My last read was The Envoy about Raoul Wallenberg who saved 100,000 Jews in Hungary. Thanks for the great quote!
As mentioned above, The Boys in the Boat is really good. I’ve also just about finished The Family Fang which is both strange and delightful.
It would be nice if all our weeks were 4-days, wouldn’t it?!?!
Fran Meneley says
The Boys In The Boat…a surprising page turner and very inspiring.
I read an article from the New Yorker in October and thought it was quite good. I will be sure to take a look at your recommendations. The newest book that I am reading is God Never Blinks, 50 lessons for lifes little detours.