Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Day In the Life

          You asked about the eight books I read over the holidays. . . Let me tell you I didn't throw myself into literature, well actually I did with The Human Stain by Philip Roth and somewhat with Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach, but I pulled myself up and out of all that intellectual stimulation, which I presume we owe to "serious" writers, and went right over to Scott Turrow's Pleading Guilty, and Elmore Leonard's Split Images and Unknown Man #89 (I love the way Leonard does staccato dialog and his wicked sense of humor).

          I like to escape into the heart-pounding suspense of crime and punishment and sometimes just desserts. 

           Then I read the very short version of The French Revolution (about 160 pages) by J.M. Roberts and a quick re-read of Madame de Pompadour by Nancy Mitford. As I write this I'm working my way through Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham. I'm assuming it's an enormous tome -- I'm reading it on my Kindle -- because I am barely 10 percent into it and I've been reading it for three days. It's a magnificent book, I highly recommend it.

          To be perfectly honest, I didn't finish The Human Stain, and this is my second go at it. I do plan to apply myself with the rigor it merits when I feel I can handle it.


Lorrie said...

A little bit of light, a little bit of serious makes for a good reading week. Thanks for sharing. I'm always on the lookout for good books to read.

Lost in Provence said...

What is wrong with me that I can't concentrate on anything right now? I call it winter fuzzy brain. So I am hopping from thing to thing without diving in. Thank you for giving me a few more options for dabbling. Sigh.

And I believe certain books are for certain times in our lives too. I keep coming back to Joyce every few years and saying "nope, not yet."

Sandy at You May Be Wandering said...

I am happy to hear you are enjoying Jon Meacham's book on Jefferson - I am a Meacham fan but wasn't sure I wanted to tackle a history book right now. I did go to the University of Virginia, founded by TJ himself, so it probably should be something I read.

Human Stain is not one of the better Philip Roth books - have you tried American Pastoral?? It's great!

Thanks for the other recommendations!


Mary said...

My reading is from reserves from our wonderful local library. I was only able to get to around page 200 in The Art of Power - Thomas Jefferson so I have requested it again. Yes, it is a slow read and a large one, but very interesting and I am eager to return to it!
Recently I was introduced to Martin Walker's books about the Dordogne - fiction and the one I just couldn't put down - The Crowded Grave was so fascinating I stayed up and finished it in 2 days!

BigLittleWolf said...

I picked up The Human Stain just last week, and its on the top of the pile (along with essays).

I used to love Roth, I saw a film version of this book (excellent - with Nicole Kidman and Anthony Hopkins). I'm looking forward to reading it.

By the way, when I find that my concentration is flagging I turn to poetry or short stories. You can enjoy the pleasures of reading in snippets.

So many books! (So little time.) And then of course there are the magazines... And yes, I still love them in print - with all their heft and glossy pages.

Anonymous said...

A nice blend of cerebral reading and mind candy, Tish. Isn't it silly that I've struggled so much with the Mitford bio of La Pomp??

I'm right now re-reading Laclos's "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" and reading for the first time "How the French Invented Love," a brand-new release. Recommend both very much.

Will have to pick up the Jefferson for my husband. History and political science whiz.

xoxo --

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

I do not know why but I have always enjoyed reading about Jefferson. I took a class in college just on Jefferson...I will have to pick this one up.
You are inspirational, Tish...thanks for pushing us forward!!

Belle de Ville said...

Happy New Year Tish,
I thought that I had read all of Nancy Mitford's books but I didn't even know about this book. I will order it right away because I am fascinated with all this 18th Century.

Kathy said...

As Sandy said, The Human Stain is not one of Roth's best books, however the book is terrific. American Pastoral is the best in my opinion. I have the winter fuzzy brain too, or I'm just picking one loser book after another. I might try the Thomas Jefferson book, because fiction isn't doing it for me right now, which is unusual. Have never read a Nancy Mitford book either, but might try one of those? Thanks for all the recommendations.

Splenderosa said...

I am so thankful Kindle has the ability for us to "sample" the books before buying them. I love this feature. I'm reading several things right now, some self-help books, spy thrillers, the new Michael Jackson book someone gave me for Christmas, and now I'll go back to read Ian's book you referenced. I love his writing. Happy New Year, Tish !!

Karen Albert said...

I do like to have a mix in my reading repertoire! You have given me some good ideas Tish!

All the best in the New Year ahead!
Art by Karena

Joni said...

Nice variety of books! I definitely want to check out Madame de Pompadour.

I just finished reading A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson and will be starting something decidedly less heady -- Paris, My Sweet by Amy Thomas.

Pat said...

I have the Jeffersonn book and it is on my to-do list. Having gone to his alma mater, I've always been interested in his life and his philosophy. Good to hear a positive review.

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