November - December Tub o’ Books

From the postcard collection The Snooty Bookshop by Tom Gauld

From the postcard collection The Snooty Bookshop by Tom Gauld

I am such a promiscuous reader. I always have something going in every port: In addition to the nightstand there’s the couch book, the kitchen table book, the tablet full of books I carry out of the house for anyplace I might get stuck waiting. The research books piled on one side of my desk, work-avoidance books on the other. And the middle-of-the-night, try-to-go-back-to-sleep book. All chosen carefully, especially that last one.   Barbara Kingsolver

BOUGHT. Waiting to read…

Unsheltered, Barbara Kingsolver

Bird Note, NPR

The Alice Network, Kate Quinn

The Art of the Wasted Day

Dark, Sacred Night, Michael Connelly

The 40s, The 50s, The 60s. Three books, each a collection of articles from the New Yorker from those decades. 

Past Tense, Lee Child

Ashes of Fiery Weather, Kathleen Donohue

The Lost Art of Reading, Books and Resistance in a Troubled Time, David L.  Ulin

Limitless, 24 Remarkable American Women of Vision, Grit, and Guts, Leah Tinari

The Book, An Homage. Burkhard Spinnen

READ or currently READING:

Not commenting too much this time for lack of space and time, but I enjoyed them all in very different ways.

Everybody’s Fool, Richard Russo.

The Soul of America, Jon Meacham.

The Clock Dance, Anne Tyler.

Becoming, Michelle Obama.

The Secrets of Mary Bowser. Lois Leveen

Invisible Thread, Laura Schroff

Holy Ghost, John Sanford. I love Virgil Flowers, what can I say?

The Disappearance, C. J. Box

Big Magic, Elizaabeth Gilbert

The Outsider, Stephen King. (Listening.)

The Library Book, which I talked about last time and is on a slew of best book lists for 2018. .  

”In the towering, towering mess that sits beside my bed, I have the makings of a pretty good small-town library.”  

 Susan Orlean By the Book interview


I had a reasonably-sized list of books borrowed until the last few days of December. However, I visited several bookstores in the past couple of weeks  and besides buying a handful, I noted the many titles of others that intrigued me. I ordered them at the library thinking they would arrive in dribs and drabs but Hello! There were 14 of them waiting for me on the shelf.   And then another big batch. Good thing there’s a long winter’s month ahead of me, Actually three months, which is the time Ill get to keep most of them. The pile doesn’t stay that big. If a book doesn’t interest me real soon, it’s off to the bag of returns. Too many other. Here is a small sample of books under audition:

The Missing Ingredient, (the Curious Role of TIme in Food and Flavor. By Jenny Linford.

On Paper, Nicholas A. Basbanes. The Everything of its Two-Thousand Year History

The One from the Other, Philip Kerr. A Bernie Gunther novel, the series of which came highly recommended.

The Mental Load, a Feminist Comic, Emma

In the Presence of Books, Deborah Dewit Marchant.

Bruno, Chief of Police, Martin Walker

Morningstar, Growing Up With Books, Ann Hood

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry. Kathleen Flynn

And some more pictured here:

Here is an author interview of John Sandford, the author who invented Virgil Flowers, whose real name, I found out in this piece, is John Camp!. He mentions the Bernie Gunther novels/mysteries that take place in Hitler’s Germany and I have in my borrowed stack. Stay tuned. (Does anybody know about this series?) 

Readers want to feel secure in the hands of the author. My interpretation of that, and what I look for, is the author’s ability to induce that reading trance in which you live the story. That requires both a good tale and a facility with language. I can usually tell if that’s going to happen in a novel within the first page or two. There is one famous best-selling thriller author — I won’t name him — who tells good stories, but his bumbling language drives me crazy and I can’t read him. There’s another one who writes well, but whose portrayals of personal relationships seem stuck in middle school, and I can’t read her, either. If the first two pages of a novel pull me in, I’ll usually buy it, even if it turns out, in the end, to suck. I’ll no longer buy a novel with “Girl” in the title (though I’ve bought several in the past) nor will I buy novels that I’ve never heard of, but make the best-seller lists on the strength of a movie.

AND, while we’re on the subject, here is an essay for those of us who have lots and lots of unread books on their shelves that may make you feel better, “The Importance of Unread Books” by Kevin Mims. Subtitled “Why a personal library should include books you’ll never get around to finishing.”  

AND,  I am going to seek out Life in the Garden by Penelope Lively. She weaves history, literature, geography, horticulture and personal memoir...”Dame Penelope is 85 and I want to be like her when I grow up,” one reviewer wrote.

AND, Mapping Out Where Noir Lives in the City of Angels

 The image header of this post is by Quint Buchholz “Nachts Mit Dem Buch” from incognito, printed in Germany.