Whimpulsive, it's not a word, but it should be, because it's the best description of both my reading habits and my blog posting habits. This blog is primarily about the books I'm reading with occasional other stuff thrown in.
It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence. In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows. Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land. Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.
When I read Jiles first novel Enemy Women I had mixed feelings about it. While I appreciated the lyrical writing I felt that maybe the book was a victim of a timing issue in not being as fast paced as I was expecting and wanting to read at that time. One thing about her writing style that irritated me was that she doesn’t use quotation marks and sometimes it was difficult to distinguish what a character was actually saying from what they were thinking.
I kept hearing glowing reviews of this book in my LibraryThing group, but I was hesitant to read it due to my previous experience with her work. Then I realized that if I listened to the book I wouldn’t be annoyed by the lack of quotation marks. The story features a character who reads the news aloud for a living, which was another reason I was glad to have chosen the audio format.
The last book I listened to that Grover Gardner narrated was a fast paced murder mystery set in Sicily from the Inspector Montalbano series. This book was so completely different in style I was curious to find out how Gardner chose to handle the narration and how it would be different from the way he narrates the Montalbano series.
I absolutely loved his narration of this book He doesn’t do a lot of strongly distinct voices for different characters like some narrators do. Instead his voice and cadence change more subtly yet provide a distinct voices and accents while still being very much Grover Gardner. It worked so well for this book and made it a wonderful listening experience.
As for the story itself, I loved it. The journeys of Captain Kidd and Johanna were both physical and emotional. The writing was beautiful. I liked the way that Jiles gradually filled in Kidd’s life story through occasional flashbacks rather than in one big information dump. I wanted to wrap up Johanna in one big virtual hug. I’ve read and heard other stories of real children kidnapped at a young age and returned (sometimes against their will) to white American society so Johanna’s struggle with her situation had a ring of truth to me.
I’ve gone on far too long but I’ll end with a strong recommendation for this book and and even stronger recommendation for the audio format.
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.
I’m not going to even attempt to write a review of this book other than to say either read it or listen to it if you haven’t. It will make you think about things you don’t want to think about but you should. Just read or listen to it, please.
I will drop a few quotes and links to other reviews that are far better written than I could possibly do.
But race is the child of racism, not the father. And the process of naming “the people” has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy. Difference in hue and hair is old. But the belief in the preeminence of hue and hair, the notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that they signify deeper attributes, which are indelible—this is the new idea at the heart of these new people who have been brought up hopelessly, tragically, deceitfully, to believe that they are white.
I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was a jail of other people’s interests. The library was open, unending, free.
You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable.
It is not necessary that you believe that the officer who choked Eric Garner set out that day to destroy a body. All you need to understand is that the officer carries with him the power of the American state and the weight of an American legacy, and they necessitate that of the bodies destroyed every year, some wild and disproportionate number of them will be black.
Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered.
Bout of Books 22 ended last night. It was my fifteenth Bout of Books and I’ve got the next one marked on my calendar the week of August 20th-26th.
Once again I had a great time having a reason to say “nope, it’s Bout of Books and I’m going to read instead”.
I had a great reading week. The main reason I like Bout of Books is that it’s a low-pressure readathon. I never feel like I need to stop doing everything else to just read but I am encouraged to maximize and make more time for reading than I normally do. Obviously I worked full time all week so that limited my reading time but I managed to get a lot of reading hours in.
I managed to make some changes to my daily routine that I should make regular habits. I traded my bus/train ride twitter and phone game time for reading. I also made sure to stay away from the phone apps and read on my lunch break.
I don’t track pages read but I do track time spent reading and listening to audiobooks. Last Bout of Books I read for 22 hours and 35 minutes. I always go into Bout of Books thinking that if I could read for more than 20 hours during the week I’d call it a success. .
For this Bout of Books I ended up with 22 hours and 34 minutes of reading so I’m happy with that I’m pleased with the balance between reading and listening this time with around 10 hours of audiobook time and 12 and a half hours of print reading.
The Old Buzzard Had It Coming: An Alafair Tucker Mystery by Donis Casey
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: #1 in the Alafair Tucker series
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 216Source: Library
From the publisher:
Alafair Tucker is a strong woman, the core of family life on a farm in Oklahoma where the back-breaking work and daily logistics of caring for her husband Shaw, their nine children, and being neighborly requires hard muscle and a clear head. She’s also a woman of strong opinions, and it is her opinion that her neighbor, Harley Day, is a drunkard and a reprobate. So, when Harley’s body is discovered frozen in a snowdrift one January day in 1912, she isn’t surprised that his long-suffering family isn’t, if not actually celebrating, much grieving.
When Alafair helps Harley’s wife prepare the body for burial, she discovers that Harley’s demise was anything but natural—there is a bullet lodged behind his ear. Alafair is concerned when she hears that Harley’s son, John Lee, is the prime suspect in his father’s murder, for Alafair’s seventeen-year-old daughter Phoebe is in love with the boy. At first, Alafair’s only fear is that Phoebe is in for a broken heart, but as she begins to unravel the events that led to Harley’s death, she discovers that Phoebe might be more than just John Lee’s sweetheart: she may be his accomplice in murder.
I first heard about this book from a friend on LibraryThing. She enjoyed the book and I loved the title. The library had a copy so on to the TBR stack it went.
This is the first in a series. I liked Alafair Tucker from the moment I met her. She’s managing her large family in 1912 Oklahoma better than I can manage myself and my Husband in 2018. She does it with humor and love and the need to solve the puzzle of the murder of a neighbor. She’s not doing this because she cared deeply about the neighbor but because her daughter is involved with the man’s son, who just happens to be the prime suspect.
It’s an enjoyable cozy mystery. Sure some of it is predictable but the setting in small town in pre World War 1 Oklahoma is enough different to make it feel fresh. At this point in time there are ten books in this series. I plan to continue reading it.
The enthralling story of the rise and reign of O-Six, the celebrated Yellowstone wolf, and the people who loved or feared her
Before men ruled the earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West.
With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, O-Six, a charismatic alpha female named for the year of her birth. Uncommonly powerful, with gray fur and faint black ovals around each eye, O-Six is a kind and merciful leader, a fiercely intelligent fighter, and a doting mother. She is beloved by wolf watchers, particularly renowned naturalist Rick McIntyre, and becomes something of a social media star, with followers around the world.
But as she raises her pups and protects her pack, O-Six is challenged on all fronts: by hunters, who compete with wolves for the elk they both prize; by cattle ranchers who are losing livestock and have the ear of politicians; and by other Yellowstone wolves who are vying for control of the park’s stunningly beautiful Lamar Valley.
These forces collide in American Wolf, a riveting multigenerational saga of hardship and triumph that tells a larger story about the ongoing cultural clash in the West—between those fighting for a vanishing way of life and those committed to restoring one of the country’s most iconic landscapes.
I learned about this book from a friend in my LibraryThing group. It sounded interesting and was available at the library so I picked it up. I’m so glad I did.
This was a fascinating book. It’s about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone and several generations of wolves born in and around the park. The story is primarily about the alpha female wolf known as 0-Six and her pack. She was killed in a legal hunt in 2012 when the pack was outside of the park’s boundaries.
In addition to telling the story of 0-Six and her pack this book is also about the park rangers who studied and observed the wolves and interacted with the public who were also avid wolf watchers.
The politics of the Endangered Species Act and the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone and other areas is a complicated topic. The benefits of having the wolf population in the Yellowstoneecosystem are clear but outside the park boundaries many ranchers and hunters are decidedly anti-wolf. The political battles are the background to the story of 0-Six.
I learned a lot while reading this book. Some of it was beautiful regarding how the wolves live and hunt. Some of it was ugly regarding the the battles between pro and anti wolf groups and the way politics plays a role in all of this.
It’s Monday What Are You Reading? is a weekly reading roundup is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.
This is technically a weekly meme but I don’t read fast enough to make that worthwhile so I post it every two or three weeks.
Finished in Print
One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson
This is another book I’ve had on my shelf for ages. I read it for last month’s history category for my LibraryThing nonfiction challenge and also for the Season category for What’s in a Name. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Lots of fascinating historical tidbits. I had no idea Charles Lindbergh was such a jerk.
American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee
I picked this one up after it was recommended by a friend in my LibraryThing group. It’s about wolves being reintroduced into Yellowstone and the results of that both naturally and politically. It was an absolutely fascinating book and I highly recommend it.
Started in Print
The Old Buzzard Had It Coming by Donis Casey
Yet another one that I first heard about from someone in my LibraryThing group. It’s the first in a cozy mystery series that’s set in 1912 Oklahoma featuring a wife and mother of nine as the main character. I’m about halfway through and liking it a lot.
Finished on Audio
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse narrated by Jonathan Cecil
I wanted a break from crime fiction and listening to Wodehouse always makes my commuting and errand time much more pleasant. I enjoy Jonathan Cecil’s narration of the Jeeves and Wooster series.
Started on Audio
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, narrated by the author
I’ve been hearing about this book for a long time and decided that now was the time to listen to it. It’s a short but important book about America’s racial history and what it’s like to inhabit a black body framed as a letter to the author’s adolescent son. I’ve only listened to a little bit of it so far but it’s already a powerful experience.
Bout of Books 22 kicked off at Midnight last night. I can always find a way to make Bout of Books work for me. I have a busy week ahead but I’m going to make as much time for reading as I can.
The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon was created by Amanda @ On a Book Bender on a complete whim in August 2011. It took on a life of its own and was such a hit that Amanda decided to do it again and turn it into a somewhat regular occurrence.
Bout of Books is a week long read-a-thon, usually from 12:01am on a Monday through 11:59pm on a Sunday in whatever time zone you are in.
It is low pressure, meaning participants are only asked to push themselves to read more than they normally would during any given week. There is no competition between readers.
How much time a reader wants, and can commit, to read, tweet, or network with fellow bloggers is left to individual preference. All challenges and giveaways are optional.
Networking with fellow bloggers is actively encouraged, though never required.
Use Twitter to post updates throughout the read-a-thon. Everyone will be tweeting with the #boutofbooks hashtag.
I have several books on my desk and on my ereader. In addition I’ve just started a short audiobook and may or may not finish another short one this week.
I will be using this post as my tracking post and adding daily updates each morning about what reading I have accomplished the day before. I’ll post updates here every morning Tuesday through Saturday. I’ll include my Sunday reading on my final wrap up post.
One thing I do a little different this week is to track all my reading time. I have a time tracking app on my phone and watch so it’s easy to hit the start and stop button and track whether it’s reading or listening time. One benefit of using this is it keeps me focused. I find I’m less inclined to get distracted by stuff that I could be doing around the house or playing on my phone if I’m feeling like I’m “on the clock” for reading.
I’m not making any specific reading plans because I’d rather just read whatever looks good at the moment.