Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Teaser Tuesday: The Girl Inside Me: Poems by Javelin Hardy

There is a little girl inside of me
Trapped, afraid and wanting to be set free.
But I'm 33 now --
What is this little girl doing inside of me?

-- From the title poem in The Girl Inside Me: Poems by Javelin Hardy. Hardy draws on her training and background as a counselor to tell her own story of recovery from abuse in this beautiful book of poetry and historic photographs.

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by The Purple Booker, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Mailbox Monday: Philip Roth

What books came into your house last week? I filled in my Philip Roth TBR shelf with two of his books I haven't read yet.

Roth is one of my favorites and I plan to read all of his books, hits and misses. I’ve read 12 of 31 so far, according to the list I keep here on the blog (see Favorite Authors tab above or list in right column).

Reading Myself and Others, a collection of essays about reading and writing.

The Dying Animal, the last book in his David Kepesh trilogy. The trilogy starts with The Breast, which I haven't read and is generally panned. I read the second one a few months ago, The Professor of Desire, and thought it was great.

I know a lot of women don't like to read Philip Roth, or the other male writers of his generation. I do. I tend to prefer "mid-century" (20th) authors both sexes because I'm drawn to books with hefty plots, omniscient third-person narrators, and a minimum of experimentation. And I like to read books by male authors because I like men and want to understand them. They don't think the same way my women friends and I do!

Which authors do you love so much you want to read all their books? How do you keep track?

Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday, a weekly "show & tell" blog event where participants share the books they acquired the week before. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Mailbox Monday is graciously hosted by Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, and Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Favorite Author: Benjamin Black

Benjamin Black is the pen name of Irish author John Banville. Writing in his own name, Banville won the Booker Prize in 2005 for The Sea, which I loved, but I've only read one of his other novels and don't plan to undertake reading all of them any time soon.

The mysteries he writes as Benjamin Black, on the other hand, enchant me. In particular, his Quirke series puts me under a spell so I feel like I'm right there in 1950s Dublin. That may partly be due to the audiobook reading by actor Timothy Dalton who does such a superb job on the first three.

Banville's Benjamin Black books are below. In addition to the Quirke series, he has written two stand-alone mysteries and a Philip Marlowe novel. Those I have read are in red. Those on my TBR shelf are in blue.

Quirke series

The Lemur (2008)
The Black-Eyed Blonde, a Philip Marlowe novel (2014)
Wolf on a String (2017) (published in the UK as Prague Nights)

NOTE: Updated September 15, 2018

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Book Beginning: Valley of Genius by Adam Fisher




I grew up in what is now known as Silicon Valley. Only in retrospect does it seem like an unusual place.

-- Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom) by Adam Fisher.

This is a fascinating book, even for someone like me who has no connection to the high tech world of Silicon Valley, other than my iPhone.

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

What Are They Reading? Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Authors tend to be readers, so it is natural for them to create characters who like to read. It is always interesting to me to read what books the characters are reading in the books I read. Even if I can't say that ten times fast.

Usually, the characters' choice of books reflects the author's tastes or, I sometimes think, what the author was reading at the time. But sometimes the character's reading material is a clue to the character's personality, or is even a part of the story.

This is an occasional blog event. If anyone wants to join in, grab the button, put up a post, and leave leave a comment with a link to your post.

Katey Kontent, the narrator and heroine of Towles's debut novel, spends a lot of her free time reading and discussing books. Her favorite is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, which she reads over and over. Katie is the daughter of Russian immigrants, grew up in New York City, and uses her smarts and wit to build a career and find her own place in high society. It is understandable that she would be drawn to Pip's complicated story of personal growth.

When Katey's personal life becomes most confusing, she develops a taste for Agatha Christie. By 1938, when most of the novel takes place, Christie had published 30 books, and two came out in 1938. In one of the best scenes in Towles's book, Katey settles in for Christmas Eve 1938 alone, with a 10-pound ham from her boss, a bottle of bourbon, and the newly-released Hercule Poirot’s Christmas.

The title, Rules of Civility, comes from another book, George Washington's Rules of Civility (& Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation), a list of 110 maxims that Washington had written in his own handwriting as a school boy. Katey finds a well-thumbed copy of the George Washington book in protagonist Tinker Grey's apartment and later buy's a secondhand copy for herself. There is an appendix in the Towles book listing the 110 rules.

I loved Rules of Civility as much as I did Towles's second book, A Gentleman in Moscow. I can't wait to see what he writes next.

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