Current Books of Choice

Periodically, I will post on the books I’m reading or have read. You can think of it as a personalized goodreads post! In search of a novel, a couple of weeks ago, I picked up the untouched copy of City of Fire that has resided in our home since fall. Bought for my husband, he tried reading it and quickly proclaimed that he wouldn’t be able to get through it. It is nine hundred and some pages long. But, being that we had a bunch of new books I hadn’t read, I reached for this one when I came across it on the bookshelf.

Book #1 – A Thick Paperback….

So far, City of Fire, by Garth Risk Hallberg (2015), has not disappointed! It jumps around a little drawing you into the characters and developing the reasons behind why this unlikely group of personalities seem both lovable and hateable at the same time.  Two hundred pages in, and I am sure I’ll finish it (as I do with almost every book I start to read). I need to know the why behind the what, and this alone will drive me to finish the expertly woven tale of happenings in 1970’s New York City.  There seems something, or someone, for everyone in this tale from aristocracy to flagrant sexual flauntings for both the heterosexual and homosexual, alike. There is an undercurrent of overt social injustice and presumptions based on skin color. Teen sex, drug use, and fantasy are sprinkled into the plot enough to leave the reader shaking their head with judgement, even if it might be misguided and misplaced. It was a “different” time.  And, of course, there’s already been some criminal activity.  An assault on a young girl in the “park” leaves you wondering who could commit such a heinous act. Of course, we’ve been introduced to enough characters to make an educated guess. All this along with some sibling rivalry, a family fortune at stake, and a world based on pretense has been enough to engage me.  As I’ve said before, I know a book is good if I pick it up during the day to sneak in a few pages! (As opposed to just reading it at night before I go to sleep.)

Book #2 – An Audible Experience….

Just before we took my college freshman back to school, we discovered I had been paying for an audible account that I had never used.  The three-month trial period was over and my credit card had reflected this. So, having used the app before, he helped me download it onto my “device.” After perusing what was available, and listening to the sample of voice that would read to me, I chose, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (2018). As a huge fan of The Nightingale by Hannah, I’ve read several of her books.  For some reason, I was leery of this one in print. The voice in the sample of The Great Alone was palatable – not overly expressive but, not dry and monotone, either. I could listen to the story be read to me. (Or, so I thought.)

It’s been a month, and I still have 12 hours and 52 minutes remaining. Chronologically, I am just half way through Chapter Five. In other words, there is a lot remaining to this story. I am not sure Audible is for me! Reading for me is active; the words are scanned by my eyes, I digest the material and imagine things in my own way – with the story being read to me, I find that this isn’t happening. The voice of the characters might be something other that what I would imagine in my own head. It bothers me. And, then it might be the story itself. Don’t get me wrong, Hannah is a great storyteller and novelist.  I read The Nightingale in three days – I couldn’t put it down. But, this? I’m spending most of the time that I listen being enraged with one of the characters for being so insensitive to the needs of others. It is so extreme, I just cannot relate. And, that might be the problem more than the Audible app itself. I cannot relate to any of the characters (so far) or what they are doing in this book.  It will be interesting to find out if I ever finish listening to The Great Alone.

My son agreed. He finds that listening to instructional or inspirational texts on audible is more pleasurable and “easier on the palate” than listening to a creative work.  Not surprisingly, this goes along with my preferring a hard copy of a novel rather than a digital copy, read on my nook.

Book #3 – Not really a textbook, but it is in a way….

Lastly, I just bought a book from Amazon called The Joy of Syntax by June Casagrande (2018).  This little gem, written for word nerds, such as I am, promises to enlighten my language skills in a fun and entertaining way. Yes, I know my weaknesses when it comes to the written word. I know what I produce is at least adequate, perhaps more so. One of my greatest joys in grad school was to have the education professor for my Methods of Teaching and Learning course (EDU 726) tell me I was a strong writer! His comment was much appreciated at the time, and still is.

I have yet to open The Joy of Syntax, but I plan to start today. It’s a small book of only 250 pages and will be a fast read. Hopefully, it’s as entertaining as promised. We’ll see. If so, I know I will be recommending it to others.

What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments below!



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