Thursday, September 22, 2022

Necropolis: Disease, Power, and Capitalism in the Cotton Kingdom by Kathryn Olivarius -- BOOK BEGINNING


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Welcome back to Book Beginnings on Fridays, where participants share the opening sentence (or so) of the book they are reading this week. You can also share from a book you want to highlight just because it caught your fancy.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
One January morning in 1825, a white, seventeen-year-old boy from Newton, New Jersey, woke up with a case of “Mississippi Fever” – an insatiable urge to head west and south.
-- from Necropolis: Disease, Power, and Capitalism in the Cotton Kingdom by Kathryn Olivarius.

This nonfiction book explores the history and sociology of yellow fever in New Orleans in the 19th Century. It looks like a fascinating piece of American history. 

I admit I wouldn't have come across this book on my own. But I'm working on a sexual assault case here in Oregon with the author's mother, an attorney named Ann Olivarius, and Ann gave me a copy. I will definitely read it!


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginning post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings. Thanks!

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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Necropolis:

Early on, Anglo-Americans were genuinely scared that yellow fever would throw a wrench in the wheels of American government. the disease killed so many migrants that it embarrassed American authority.

FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION
Antebellum New Orleans sat at the heart of America's slave and cotton kingdoms. It was also where yellow fever epidemics killed as many as 150,000 people during the nineteenth century. With little understanding of mosquito-borne viruses--and meager public health infrastructure--a person's only protection against the scourge was to "get acclimated" by surviving the disease. About half of those who contracted yellow fever died.
. . . .
The question of good health--who has it, who doesn't, and why--is always in part political. Necropolis shows how powerful nineteenth-century white Orleanians--all allegedly immune--pushed this politics to the extreme. They constructed a society that capitalized mortal risk and equated perceived immunity with creditworthiness and reliability. Instead of trying to curb yellow fever through sanitation or quarantines, immune white Orleanians took advantage of the chaos disease caused. Immunological discrimination therefore became one more form of bias in a society premised on inequality, one more channel by which capital disciplined and divided the population.



Saturday, September 17, 2022

Muse: Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History's Masterpieces by Ruth Millington -- BOOK REVIEW

 

BOOK REVIEW

Muse: Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History's Masterpieces by Ruth Millington (2022, Pegasus Books)

Ruth Millington is an art historian and author, specializing in modern and contemporary art. In Muse, she explores the stories of the people depicted in 30 famous portraits and the relationships they had with the artists who painted them. Millington challenges the idea that muses are young women who pose for old male artists. The muses in her book are women and men, young and old, and all play a more active role in inspiring and influencing the art they are a part of.

Millington writes in a breezy, journalistic style that makes her book approachable to readers who might be interested in but unfamiliar with the artists she examines. The only drawback to the book is that she describes a lot of works of art and there are no pictures or illustrations of them, other than one black and white sketch at the beginning of each chapter. This is understandable because the book would be enormous if it included pictures of all the art described. But be prepared to spend some time on google looking up the artwork as curiosity dictates, which it will.

The artists and the muses who inspired them featured in Millington's book are:

Diego Velázquez and Juan de Pareja

Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar

Gustav Klimpt and Emilie Flöge

David Hockney and Peter Schlesinger

Artemisia Gentileschi (herself)

Frida Kahlo (herself)

Sunil Gupta (himself)

Nilupa Yasmin (herself)

Marlene Dumas and Helena Dumas

Awol Erizki and Beyoncé

Fukase Masahisa and Fukase Sukezo

Alex Katz and Ada Katz

Francis Bacon and George Dyer

Sylvia Sleigh and Lawrence Alloway

Salvador Dalí and Gala Dalí

Pixy Liao and Moro

Marina Abramović and Ulay

Keith Haring and Grace Jones

Tim Walker and Tilda Swinton

Paula Rego and Lila Nunes

Sir John Everett Millais and Elizabeth Siddall

Sir Sidney Nolan and Sunday Reed

Augustus john and Lady Ottoline Morrell

Gabriele D'Annuzio and Marchesa Luisa Casati

Andrew Wyeth and Anna Christina Olson

Chris Ofili and Doreen Lawrence

Lucian Freud and Sue Tilley

Kim Leutwyler and Ollie Henderson

Kehinde Wiley and Souleo

Muse is a fascinating look at the stories behind some of art history's most significant and recognizable master works. Artists and art lovers will be enlightened and entertained by Millington's new book. 



Thursday, September 15, 2022

Gathering Five Storms by Jim Geraghty -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Welcome back to Book Beginnings on Fridays, where participants share the opening sentence (or so) of the book they are reading this week. You can also share from a book you want to highlight just because it caught your fancy.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
By every measure, the operation was a success, but it marked the first time Katrina Leonidivna had ever vomited on her target.
-- Gathering Five Storms by Jim Geraghty. Well, that's a sentence that gets your attention!

Gathering Five Storms is the third book in Jim Geraghty’s Dangerous Clique series. The first is Between Two Scorpions, the second is Hunting Four Horsemen.

All three are still sitting on my TBR shelf. But Hubby read the first two and liked them. They are fast-paced, wise-cracking thrillers set right this minute.

 

YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginning post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings. Thanks!

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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Gathering Five Storms:
“We’re putting together a team at Langley and we’re looking to borrow someone with serious cyber and hacking skills, possibly long-term,” Raquel began. “We need someone smart, creative, adaptable – the kind of person who can handle any problem thrown their way without flinching.”
FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESCRIPTION
Storms are brewing. Is it too much for the Dangerous Clique to survive?

Few within the US government know that the Dangerous Clique – a wisecracking, ragtag bunch of rogue CIA operatives operating outside the lines exists. But over the years, the team has made dangerous enemies – and now someone knows exactly who they are and is bringing the fight to them.

After a foiled strike on CIA headquarters and a threatening note that hints that those behind the attack have an axe to grind against the Clique, Katrina Leonidivna, her husband Alec Flanagan, and the rest of the team reexamine their old case files to determine who wants them dead. The chase leads them down memory lane and around the globe as the crew reminisces about the chaotic first days of their partnership.



Thursday, September 8, 2022

Crybaby: Infertility, Illness, and other Things That Were Not the End of the World by Cheryl E. Klein -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

After a busy spring, my law partner and I coasted through summer. Now we are back at the grindstone! We have a sexual assault trial against a public school coming up at the end of the month and an appeal brief due in the Boy Scout bankruptcy on behalf of our sex abuse clients next month. I was hoping to spend more time with this blog in the fall, but looks like work calls instead! 

I still hope to find time to read at least. Even when I don't have time to post about books, I always have my nose stuck in one. 

And I always have time for Book Beginnings on Fridays. Please join me to share the first sentence (or so) of the book that you are reading. Or share from a book that caught your fancy this week. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

I had hoped my three weeks at the MacDowell artist colony would be a happy ending to a harrowing two years.

-- Crybaby: Infertility, Illness, and other Things That Were Not the End of the World by Cheryl E. Klein (2022, Brown Paper Press).

Cheryl E. Klein is a "failed perfectionist and successful hypochondriac" who had a hard time accepting that the world would not end when she was unable to have a baby. Her new memoir follows her through a series of disasters that bring her to consider the adventure of open adoption. 

Crybaby launches September 20 and is available for pre-order. Read more about it on the Brown Paper Press website

YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the linky box below. Use the #bookbeginnings hashtag if you share on social media. 

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THE FRIDAY 56

Another fun Friday event is The Friday 56. Share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your book, or 56% of the way through your e-book or audiobook, on this weekly event hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Crybaby:
I didn't technically believe in fate, but maybe, once events were set in motion, there was a way to sniff out your own most likely future. Maybe life was threaded with motifs, and twins were one of mine. 





Monday, September 5, 2022

Friends of the Library -- MAILBOX HOLIDAY MONDAY

 

MAILBOX MONDAY

Thanks to a client meeting south of Portland, I had a chance to swing by two of my new favorite Friends shops. I don't get out to the exurbs often and when I do, I like to hit the library shops. I came home with a nice little book haul. 

See any in this batch of new-to-me books that catches your fancy? (Links here so you can read more about them. See gobbledygook section here.)

  • Returning to Earth by Jim Harrison is a favorite book of mine but I couldn't remember if I had a copy. I do, so I'll give this one away. Happens!
  • Lark Rise to Candleford is Flora Thompson's lightly fictionalized memoir describing English life in a hamlet, a village, and a country town in the 1880s. I read about this trilogy in Foxed Quarterly and it sounds delightful! While I’d love to get my hands on a fancy Slightly Foxed edition, I’ll settle for good over perfect for now.
  • Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane. I've read a couple of books in his Patrick Kenzie/Angela Gennaro series and liked them, so want to read more.
  • Devil's Breath by G. M. Malliet is another book in her Max Tudor series. I read the first book in the series and want to get back to it. 
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot is one I recently reread, but I couldn't resist the Signet Classic edition from the 10¢ box.
  • The Golden Calf by Helene Tursten is a Swedish mystery I picked up because I'm gathering Soho Crime editions. I love the books' color block spines and the stories' (usually) foreign locations. 
  • Death at the Alma Mater by G. H. Malliet is from her St. Just series, which I haven't tried, but it looks so good I wanted to read start.
  • Not in the Flesh by Ruth Rendell is from her Inspector Wexford series which I've started and want to keep reading. It turns out I also have a copy of this one already. That's the good thing about Friends of the Library shops. I don't feel guilty about spending $1 on a duplicate copy I can pass on to a friend, especially knowing the dollar went to the library. 


YOUR MAILBOX MONDAY BOOKS

What books came into your house recently?

Join other book lovers on Mailbox Monday to share the books that came into your house lately. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught Our Eye.

Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit and Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf graciously host Mailbox Monday. They are looking for a helper. If you are interested, see the website for details. 


Thursday, September 1, 2022

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

 

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

September is here! It's a long holiday weekend, back to school vibes are thrumming, hints of fall are sort of in the air (although not in the temperatures). The first week of September always feels like a seasonal pivot, even if it is still summer on the calendar and on the thermometer. 

So, are you reading your last summer book? Will you switch genres or moods as we head into autumn? Please share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, or just a book that caught your fancy. That's what Book Beginnings on Fridays is all about. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

We were fractious and overpaid.

-- Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. 

What do you think? That's a short opening sentence and give me no idea where the story will go. But I love the word fractious!

According to the cover, Then We Came to the End was a National Bestseller and a National Book Award Finalist when it came out in 2007. I know nothing about it, including how it came to be on my TBR shelf! I mean, I must have known at some time how it got there, but I can no longer remember. I assume I came across it at one of my book haunts, like a Friends of the Library shop or a neighborhood Little Free Library. 

It's a novel about the demise of a Chicago advertising agency. It looks funny and interesting. I just started it today and look forward to reading it over Labor Day weekend. 

YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Leave a link to your Book Beginning post in the box below. If you share on SM, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings.

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THE FRIDAY 56

Another weekly teaser event is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice where you can find details and add a link to your post. The idea is to share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book you are featuring. You can also find a teaser from 56% of the way through your ebook or audiobook.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Then We Came to the End:
His weekends were long dark shadows of mystery. In all likelihood, he spent his days off in the office, cultivating his master plan. 
I'm hooked! I love a funny book, even if it is dark humor, like I suspect this is going to be. 




Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

 

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

I can't believe that it will be September next week! Kids are going back to school. It is still full-on summer here in Oregon. I haven't had a twinge of autumn yearning yet and it usually hits me by now. Are you still in summer mode or thinking of sweater weather? 

It doesn't matter if you are still reading your beach books or have made a seasonal switch. Please share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week here on Book Beginnings on Fridays. You can also share from a book you feel like spotlighting. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

“To be born again,” sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, “first you have to die.”

-- The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie.

This book has been on my TBR shelf forever. I finally decided to read it with my ears and put the audiobook on hold at my library several months ago. But I kept delaying the hold because I didn't have the energy for a 22 hours of magic realism, which is not my favorite genre.  

But after Rushdie was viciously attacked earlier this month, I knew I had to finally read it. My library hold popped up again, so I am listening to the audiobook. Like Midnight's Children, Rushdie's other famous novel, The Satanic Verses is magical, complicated, funny, outrageous, and brilliant. I should have read it earlier. I'm glad I'm reading it now. 


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the linky box below and use the #bookbeginnigns hashtag if you share on social media. Thanks for playing along!

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THE FRIDAY 56

Another fun Friday event is The Friday 56. Share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your book, or 56% of the way through your e-book or audiobook, on this weekly event hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From The Satanic Verses:
Damn you, India, Saladin Chamcha cursed silently, sinking back into his seat. To hell with you, I escaped your clutches long ago, you won’t get your hooks into me again, you cannot drag me back.
Have you read The Satanic Verses? What did you think?


Monday, August 22, 2022

Sleuthing Out Books with My Private Eye -- MAILBOX MONDAY


MAILBOX MONDAY

I was having lunch with my private eye the other day . . .

That really has nothing to do with anything, but saying it always makes me laugh. And I really do have a private eye. She's amazing! She helps me and my law partner with our sex abuse cases because they usually involve child abuse that happened decades ago. Most often, our clients were molested in the 1980s or 1990s, but we have cases involving abuse as far back as the 1960s. Our private eye finds witnesses and documents to help us prove our cases. 

But what does that have to do with this stack of books? That is a mystery! The solution is that we met for lunch in a suburb of Portland that has a Friends of the Library store I had never explored. It was a really good one. I came home with an overflowing tote bag of books.

See anything here you’d like to investigate?

  • Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe. I read this as an audiobook years ago, loved it, and wanted a book book on my shelves.
  • Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather, which I want to read because I love Cather.
  • The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro are two plays by Pierre-Augustin Beaumarchais, on which the operas by Rossini and Mozart are based. 
  • The Spoils of Poynton is a Henry James book I've never heard of.
  • The Major Plays of Chekhov is a Signet Classic edition of a book I already have but haven't read. I'm enchanted by Signet Classic covers these days. 
  • The Heart of Darkness & The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad is another Signet Classics edition. I got this one because I haven't read The Secret Sharer.
  • The Egoist is a tragicomical novel by George Meredith published in 1879. I've never heard of it, but might read it for Victober.
  • The Wings of the Dove by Henry James. This is another one I read years ago but wanted to add a Modern Library edition to my collection.
  • Hetty Dorval by Ethel Wilson is a book I know nothing about, But I've never found a Persephone edition at library store so nabbed it. 
  • Jane Austen's "juvenilia," because I haven't read any of these and liked the Penguin Classics edition. 
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Again, I read it a long time ago and have a fancy edition. But I wanted a paperback if I want to reread it. 
  • The Long Day Waned is Anthony Burgess's "Malayan Trilogy" and all three novels sound really good. 
  • Tales of Old Inns by Richard Keverne is a vintage travel guide to England's historic inns and hotels. Pure charm!
  • Faith Fox by Jane Gardam I got because I read her Old Filth trilogy last year and now want to read everything she wrote. 

The last books are five Soho Crime books. I realized about a month ago that I had a nice little collection started of Soho Crime mystery books published by Soho Press. Since then, I've looked for more at library stores and found another dozen or so. I like the collection because the color block spines look so cool together. But I like the books because Soho Crime's theme is publishing mystery series set all around the world. For example, Qiu Xiaolong's series is set in China and Eliot Pattison's is set in Tibet.


YOUR MAILBOX MONDAY BOOKS

What books came into your house recently?

Join other book lovers on Mailbox Monday to share the books that came into your house lately. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf, and Velvet of vvb32reads graciously host Mailbox Monday.



Thursday, August 18, 2022

The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

After finally finishing The Mirror and the Light, I'm ready for a fast summer read! The Mirror and the Light was interesting, even engaging, but so long. I felt like I was living through Tudor England in real time. 

What are you reading this week? Please share the opening sentence (or so) with us here on Books Beginnings on Fridays. You can also share from a book that caught your fancy, even if you are not reading it right now. 

MY BOOK BEGINING

I was standing at the bar in the Green Parrot, waiting for a guy named Carlos from Miami who’d called my cell a few days ago and said he might have a job for me.
-- The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille. 

That's the kind of opening sentence I like because it creates a visual picture and sets up the story for all sorts of interesting possibilities. We know the narrator drinks, hangs out in fun bars (snooty bars are not named the Green Parrot and customers don't stand at the bar), and works some sort of free lance job where he takes work from strangers who call him out of the blue. He could be anything from a caterer to a mercenary. As it turns out, he has his own charter boat.


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginning post in the Linky box below. Please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag if you share on social media.

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THE FRIDAY 56

Another fun Friday event is The Friday 56. Share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your book, or 56% of the way through your e-book or audiobook, on this weekly event hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From The Cuban Affair:

“Then what are you doing in Cuba while I’m fishing?”

DeMille knows how to keep a story moving fast. This one is no exception. I just started it and it is racing along. 





Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The Reservoir by David Duchovny -- BOOK REVIEW

BOOK REVIEW

The Reservoir by David Duchovny (2022, Akashic Books)

David Duchovny's new books, The Reservoir, is a novella about Ridley, a man living through the lockdown phase of the pandemic in an Upper West Side apartment overlooking the Central Park Reservoir in Manhattan. He retired early from a job on Wall Street, so the lockdown leaves him with time on his hands to contemplate art, solitude, New York, his relationship with his daughter, what it means to be a grandfather, and life itself.

Ridley's reverie is disturbed by a light flashing in the window of an apartment across the park. He believes a woman is communicating to him, trying to make a connection. It may be enough to get him outside of his apartment for the first time in months. His adventure starts there.

I don’t know what I expected, but I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. What a story! The humor might not appeal to everyone – it reminded me of Philip Roth, masculine, self-deprecating, and subtly sarcastic. But that’s the kind of humor I like. 

The Reservoir is funny, audacious, imaginative, and clever, full of literary allusions and quirky humor. In the end, though, it is a classic tragedy for contemporary times. It’s a story that will stick with me.

NOTES

Yes, we're talking about that David Duchovny, from The X-Files. He writes books. He also has a band. 

Maybe everyone knows these things except me, because I know less than nothing about celebrity news. But I learned about his writing career (and his singing/songwriting) when I watched The Chair, a low-key hilarious tv show in which Sandra Oh plays the chair of the English Department at a Northeast liberal arts college. Duchovny gets foisted on her as the big ticket speaker for the annual literary lecture and she’s peeved. This clip is my favorite scene. Bear with the little ten-second teaser at the beginning. Duchovny plays himself and steals the show. 

When I saw on the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program that he had a new book, I was willing to give it a try. 

Have you read any Duchovny books? Would you read this one?



Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Do you read different books in the summer than you do in the winter? I always think I'm going to read something fun and light in the summer, and end up reading the same kinds of books I read the rest of the year. I need to be more conscientious of my seasonal book choices.

But week in and week out, I am here on Fridays to share the opening sentence of the book I'm reading, or just a book I want to highlight, on Book Beginnings on Fridays. Thank you for joining me!

MY BOOK BEGINNING

Once the queen’s head is severed, he walks away.

-- The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel. 

This is the third book in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy. The first two, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, both won Booker Prizes. I'm afraid that meant she had free reign with this one. I find it long and meandering compared to the first two. I feel like I sat down for a steak and am trying to eat an entire cow!

Have you read this one or the other books in the trilogy?


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please leave a link to your book beginning post in the linky box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings.

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THE FRIDAY 56

Another fun Friday event is The Friday 56. Share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your book, or 56% of the way through your e-book or audiobook, on this weekly event hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From The Mirror and the Light:
Suffolk says, “It’s in every tavern and marketplace. At the very instant Anna’s head leapt from her body, the candles on Katherine’s tomb ignited—without touch of living hand.”


Thursday, August 4, 2022

The Reservoir by David Duchovny -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

 


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

These summer weeks are just drifting by! Welcome back to Book Beginnings on Fridays, where you can share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week. You can also chose to share from a book that captured your fancy, even if you are not reading it right now. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING
The reservoir is why Ridley took this apartment eleven years ago. A view of water -- so hard to come by in New York City. 
-- The Reservoir by David Duchovny.

Yes, that David Duchovny. We all think of The X-Files when we hear his name. But he writes books. He's also has a band. Not being one to keep up on celebrity news, maybe I'm the last person to know all this, but I about fell out of my chair laughing when I saw Duchovny on The Chair with Sandra Oh. He steals the show with this scene (the clip has a 10 second trailer at the beginning before it starts for real with her knocking on the door -- stick with it).

The Reservoir is Duchovney's new novella, following four novels. He wrote The Reservoir during the pandemic, about a man stuck in his New York apartment during the pandemic. The man believes a woman across Central Park is signaling to him in Morse code and that there is a mystery that can only be solved by discovering what lies at the bottom of the reservoir in the park. It's parts mystery, father/daughter story, dark rom-com, and psychological delusion.

I got my copy of The Reservoir through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. It looks like a quick summer read so I plan to read it this month.


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Leave a link to your Book Beginnings post in the Linky box below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag. Have fun!

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THE FRIDAY 56

Another fun Friday event is The Friday 56. Share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your book, or 56% of the way through your e-book or audiobook, on this weekly event hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From The Reservoir:
He showered, shampooed, shaved, trimmed his eyebrows and nose hairs, and doused himself with some old cologne. Does cologne get better with age, like wine?


Monday, August 1, 2022

I Meant to Tell You and The Reservoir -- MAILBOX MONDAY


MAILBOX MONDAY

What books came into your house last week? 

Two new books came my way. Both look like fun!

I Meant to Tell You by Fran Hawthorne

Fran Hawthorne's new novel, I Meant to Tell You, starts with the disclosure of a little secret and follows the ripple effects of that disclosure. 

Miranda and Russ are engaged to be married and Russ is ready to start a new job in the U.S. Attorney's office. As part of a routine FBI background check, both must disclose any criminal history. Miranda had never told Russ that years earlier, she had tried to help a friend and her child leave the US for Israel during her friend's nasty divorce. Although Miranda did not know this trip was illegal, is was, and she and her friend were arrested at the airport. Miranda was sentenced for a misdemeanor, which was later expunged. Because the conviction was not on her record, she didn't mention it to Russ or the FBI. Big mistake. 

The story unspools from there. Hawthorne narrates the book through the multiple voices of those affected.

I Meant to Tell You doesn't launch until November, but is available for pre-order. I am excited to get my hands on an early review copy. This is Fran Hawthorne's second novel after her 2018 debut, The Heirs

The Reservoir by David Duchovny

Yes, David Duchovny from The X-Files writes books. He's also a singer/songwriter. Maybe everyone knew this already, but it was news to me when I watched The Chair with Sandra Oh. Duchovny steals the show with this scene (the clip has a 10 second trailer at the beginning before it starts for real with her knocking on the door -- stick with it). 

The Reservoir is Duchovney's new novella, which he wrote during the pandemic, about a man stuck in his New York apartment during the pandemic. The man becomes convinced a woman across Central Park is signaling to him in Morse code and that the key to the mystery lies at the bottom of the reservoir in the park. It's part dark rom-com, part mystery, part psychological delusion.

The Reservoir is out now. I scored a review copy from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. It looks like a perfect summer read so I plan to read it this month.



YOUR MAILBOX MONDAY BOOKS

Join other book lovers on Mailbox Monday to share the books that came into your house last week. Visit the Mailbox Monday website to find links to all the participants' posts and read more about Books that Caught our Eye.

Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit, Martha of Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf, and Velvet of vvb32reads graciously host Mailbox Monday.



Thursday, July 28, 2022

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towels -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

It's hot this week here in Oregon. Like most Oregonians, I complain when it rains all spring and then I complain that it is too hot. It's a summer ritual! But I live in a 110 year old house with no air conditioning, so hot gets hot. My cats sure love it. 

Book Beginnings will take my mind off melting. Please share the opening sentence (or so) from the book you are reading this week, or just a book you feel like sharing. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

June 12, 1954 – The drive from Salina to Morgan was three hours, and for much of it, Emmett hadn’t said a word.
-- The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towels. This is one of the books my Book Club picked for later this fall and I'm getting a jump on it because my library hold came up. 

Have you read it?

I loved A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility. I've heard this one drags in comparison, but I'm willing to read it through. A long slow book doesn't sound too bad for this long slow summer week. 


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please leave a link to your Book Beginning post in the Linky box below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag. 

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THE FRIDAY 56

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.

MY FRIDAY 56

From The Lincoln Highway:
I love it when life pulls a rabbit out of a hat. Like when the blue-plate special is turkey and stuffing in the middle of May.
That is an image that stuck with me when I read it. Although the idea of a Thanksgiving-style turkey dinner on this sweltering summer day sounds horrible! 




Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Erica Jong's Top 100 20th Century Novels by Women -- LIST


Erica Jong's Top 100 20th Century Novels by Women

At the turn of the Millennium, there was a flurry of "Top 100" book lists. The Modern Library’s list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century, started the craze (and led to this blog). Erica Jong wrote an article for The Nation criticizing the Modern Library’s list for including relatively few books by women.

She titled her article "I've Got a Little List" and included her own list of the Top 100 20th Century Novels by Women. Jong explained that she had compiled the list from votes cast by those “250 or so distinguished women writers and critics” and “about thirty male novelists, critics and poets” whom she solicited directly, as well as participants in “the rather lively writers’ forum” on Jong’s website. The list is in order of the number of votes received. 

Jong's method for creating the list was not scientific. But the results provide excellent reading. 

Here is Jong's list. I've noted if I've read a book, if it's on my TBR shelf, or if it is available as an audiobook from my library. 

See any favorites?

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell FINISHED

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice ON OVERDRIVE

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf FINISHED

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf FINISHED

The Waves by Virginia Woolf TBR SHELF

Orlando by Virginia Woolf FINISHED

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes TBR SHELF

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton FINISHED

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton FINISHED

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton FINISHED

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall ON OVERDRIVE

Burger's Daughter by Nadine Gordimer TBR SHELF

The Dollmaker by Harriette Simpson Arnow

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood FINISHED

My Ántonia by Willa Cather FINISHED

Fear of Flying by Erica Jong (reviewed hereFINISHED

Fanny by Erica Jong

Obasan by Joy Kogawa FINISHED

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing FINISHED

The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing

The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing TBR SHELF

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee FINISHED

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy ON OVERDRIVE

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley FINISHED

Her First American by Lore Segal FINISHED

The Color Purple by Alice Walker FINISHED

The Third Life of Grange Copeland by Alice Walker

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley FINISHED

Memento Mori by Muriel Spark FINISHED

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark FINISHED

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison FINISHED

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (reviewed hereFINISHED

Anya by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer TBR SHELF

Trust by Cynthia Ozick TBR SHELF

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan FINISHED

The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan FINISHED

Chilly Scenes of Winter by Ann Beattie TBR SHELF

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston FINISHED

A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion TBR SHELF

Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion (reviewed hereFINISHED

The Group by Mary McCarthy FINISHED

The Company She Keeps by Mary McCarthy FINISHED

The Little Disturbances of Man by Grace Paley TBR SHELF

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath FINISHED

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers FINISHED
 
The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen FINISHED

Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor FINISHED

Anywhere But Here by Mona Simpson TBR SHELF

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison FINISHED

Beloved by Toni Morrison FINISHED

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (reviewed hereFINISHED

Mr. Fortune's Maggot by Sylvia Townsend Warner TBR SHELF

Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter FINISHED

Progress of Stories by Laura Riding

Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (Booker winnerFINISHED

The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald FINISHED

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende FINISHED

Possession by A.S. Byatt FINISHED

The Ghost Road by Pat Barker TBR SHELF

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown ON OVERDRIVE

Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner FINISHED

Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter TBR SHELF

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (reviewed hereFINISHED

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn ON OVERDRIVE

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (reviewed hereFINISHED

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym FINISHED

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko TBR SHELF
 
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler FINISHED

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler FINISHED

Things Invisible to See by Nancy Willard (reviewed hereFINISHED

Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson FINISHED

Disturbances in the Field by Lynne Sharon Schwartz TBR SHELF

Civil Wars by Rosellen Brown TBR SHELF

Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr

The Mountain Lion by Jean Stafford TBR SHELF

Novel on Yellow Paper by Stevie Smith

The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx FINISHED

The Mind-Body Problem by Rebecca Goldstein

The Children of Men by P.D. James FINISHED

Stones From the River by Ursula Hegi FINISHED

The Life and Loves of a She-Devil by Fay Weldon FINISHED

Collected Stories by Katherine Mansfield TBR SHELF

Life in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis TBR SHELF

The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich TBR SHELF

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin DNF 

The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O'Brien TBR SHELF

Realms of Gold by Margaret Drabble TBR SHELF

The Waterfall by Margaret Drabble FINISHED

The Locusts Have No King by Dawn Powell

The Women's Room by Marilyn French

The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty FINISHED

The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields FINISHED

Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid TBR SHELF

Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen TBR SHELF

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein FINISHED

A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch FINISHED

Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai

The Drowning Season by Alice Hoffman FINISHED

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend ON OVERDRIVE

The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer TBR SHELF


NOTE

This is a repost of a list I first posted in 2009. So far, I've read 57 of the 100 and gave up on another one, so I have 42 to go. Of those that I read because they were on this list, my favorites are Play It as It LaysThings Invisible to See, and The Children of Men




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