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What I’m Reading Now

December 1, 2018

Actually, I just finished two books (which I read simultaneously, not my usual habit):

THE PEOPLE by Bernard Malamud – This book had been sitting on my TBR shelf for a number years. I put off reading it because I knew there was no ending. It’s the book Malamud was working on when he died of a heart attack in 1986. I found the book at a library book sale and, being a great admirer of his work, I grabbed it. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized it was an unfinished novel. Would I have bought it if I had known that? Probably. As I said, I’m a great admirer of his writing. He tackles important issues of what it means to be human. As such, he’s often dealing with tragedy, but somehow manages to infuse his writing with humor and, for me at least, to show his fellow humans as flawed, but not beyond hope. This novel is set in the nineteenth century and The People referred to in the title are Native Americans. The hero (he did seem a hero to me) is a Jewish peddler who is adopted as their leader and, as such, takes on the suffering of the tribe and has to deal with the brutalities and lies of the government. A number of short stories round out the volume. I haven’t read all of them yet, but the ones I have read confirm my belief in the genius and humanity of Bernard Malamud.

THE FIFTH SEASON (Part 1 of The Broken Earth trilogy) by N. K. Jemisin – This was a completely serendipitous find for me – a gift from an old friend. It’s science fiction/fantasy/dystopian, not my usual genre. My friend recommended it as well-written and thought-provoking (which it is) and challenged me to step outside my comfort zone (which I did). I’m glad I did. By the way, I had to look up DystopianI had only a vague idea of the meaning of the term. A simple definition is opposite of Utopianan apt description of this book. Maybe that’s why I don’t usually choose this genre. However, as I said, I am glad my friend nudged me into reading THE FIFTH SEASON. I tend to be an optimist (despite the current state of our planet) and seeing just how wrong things can go makes me uncomfortable – not a bad thing for a book to do. I found the landscape described in the story disturbing, but not beyond the stretch of my imagination. I always read a book hoping that, no matter bad things are, they will work out in the end. Since I’ve read only the first of the trilogy, I don’t know the ultimate fate of the characters or the world they inhabit but, frankly, it does not look good at this point. I’m putting off reading the other two volumes until after Christmas.

So much for the books I just finished. What am I reading now? I stepped back into my comfort zone with THE BRUTAL TELLING by Louise Penny. It’s part of a series that I love and I don’t understand why I hadn’t already read this book. As always, I’m enjoying time spent in Three Pines – a place where, despite the incidence of murders that take place there, restores my faith in humanity’s innate goodness.

How about you? Anyone care to share what you’re reading? Any recommendations?

16 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2018 2:33 PM

    I’ve only read the first book of the Fifth Season series. I’m a little scared to keep going with it, because the future seems so very bleak in that world. If you’re looking to step out of your comfort zone again, you might like Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. The book is thought provoking in much the same ways as Fifth Season, but there’s a lot more room for optimism.

  2. December 2, 2018 3:45 AM

    I am currently reading Claws for Concern by Miranda (Dean) James. A wonderful cozy that features a librarian and a Maine Coon cat. This one is book number nine.

    • December 2, 2018 8:15 AM

      I’ll have to check it out. Thanks, Amy, for telling me about Claws for Concern – and for stopping by.

  3. December 2, 2018 10:47 AM

    I’m reading and thoroughly enjoying Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny. 14 books in the series and still maintaining the momentum! 🙂

    • December 2, 2018 2:30 PM

      Love her books. As I wrote, I’m reading THE BRUTAL TELLING NOW, an earlier one in the series, which I somehow missed. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  4. Susan Van Kirk permalink
    December 2, 2018 4:59 PM

    Hi, Sandra, I, too, am ready the new Louise Penny book, “Kingdom of the Blind.” It may be treason to say that I have loved some of her books and not others, but I’m afraid that’s the truth. The last one, “Glass Houses,” I didn’t like so much, and this new book is a continuation of that. So far, I like this one better. I also just finished Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (with Anna Waterhouse)’s “Mycroft Holmes.” I liked it, and I’ll probably read the next one called “Mycroft and Sherlock.” Abdul-Jabbar’s take on the Sherlock legend is unique.

    • December 2, 2018 8:07 PM

      “Glass Houses” is on my TBR list too. I’ve liked all her books, but some less than others. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? The basketball player? I’m not familiar with this book, but it sounds interesting. Thanks for calling it to my attention.

  5. December 2, 2018 5:39 PM

    I just finished Carol O’Connell’s Find Me (<a href="; )

    and am now rereading one of my favorites, The Charm School, by Nelson DeMille. (<a href="; )

    I have a ton on my TBR pile, but I’m in the mood for espionage, and it’s been 20+ years since I read it so it’s like new to me. 🙂

    Thereby Hangs a Tail, by Spencer Quinn, is next. It’s a mystery featuring a dog as narrator, and the series is very well done. I think this is book 3. (<a href="; )

    • December 2, 2018 5:40 PM

      darn. The tags didn’t work. Hope you can fix ’em? I don’t know how to edit on this end.

      • December 3, 2018 8:19 AM

        Actually, it looks like they did work. You probably just couldn’t see from your end.

    • December 2, 2018 8:09 PM

      I, too, love to go back and reread some of my old favorites. Love the idea of the series narrated by a dog. Remember “The Art of Racing in the Rain”? Loved that book! Thanks for stopping by and adding to my TBR list (as if I needed that).

      • December 3, 2018 12:14 AM

        Forgot to tell you I shared your post on Linkedin, by the way.

        Do you read Sci-Fi?

  6. Kathleen M Rockwood permalink
    December 2, 2018 9:07 PM

    Reading (and enjoying) Steve Liskow’s Back Door Man. It sports a wonderful variety of well-developed characters and lots of suspense.

    It’s the first one I’ve read, although he has a whole backlist. I’m sure it’s not going to be the last one I read.

    • December 3, 2018 8:16 AM

      Thanks, Kathleen. Well-developed characters, lots of suspense – can’t go wrong with that combo. Will check.

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