Six Degrees of Separation – from It to The True Deceiver

 

December’s Six Degrees, hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite And Best, starts with It by Stephen King.

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Reblog: thoughts by Miri on The Age of American Unreason

I’m doing something that I rarely do. I’m reblogging something I’ve just read that is an excellent analysis of why US politics and, in many ways, western democracy in general is in the state it currently is.

The Age of American Unreason, by Susan Jacoby

Miri explores interesting non-fiction and writes thoughtful and thought-provoking analyses of what she’s read. If you’re anything like me and enraged by a gamut of injustices, chances are you’re also something like Miri and should subscribe to her blog.

I’m currently reading Laurie Penny’s Bitch Doctrine (review coming soon), and a lot of the ground Miri covers in this blog post chimes with the things Penny says in her essays.

Let’s hear it for the women who use their reason to question the world around them.

Fierce Kingdom

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Read 19/11/2017-23/11/2017

Rating: 4 stars

I don’t want to give too much away about this book, because I appreciated the suspense of not knowing what would happen next. It’s a stellar story, full of tension balanced by sweet humour and almost surreal moments of drifting thought, the mind’s way of distracting from stress and danger rendered in words on a page. Continue reading

History of Wolves

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Read 05/11/2027-10/11/2017

Rating: 4 stars

Emily Fridlund’s novel grabbed my intention when it made the Booker long list. The Booker shadow panel assembled for The Reader’s Room book review blog described it in ways that made me want to read it. I appreciate that none of them wanted to give away plot lines, but their descriptions seemed extra elliptical in a way that intrigued me.

Now that I’ve read the book, I realise that this obscure way of not giving away the plot was because the plot itself is slippery. Continue reading

Half Broke Horses

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Read 02/11/2017-05/11/2017

Rating: 3 stars

I chose this book for Arizona on my US Reading Challenge. It has good scores on both Goodreads and LibraryThing, and a review in the New York Times praised it for its reminder of what life was like for many in the western states of the US from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. The publisher, Simon and Schuster, has this to say:

Half Broke Horses is Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults, as riveting and dramatic as Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa or Beryl Markham’s West with the Night. Destined to become a classic, it will transfix readers everywhere.

Wow, right? Continue reading

The 19th Wife

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Read 16/10/2017-30/10/2017

Rating: 4 stars

Onward in my tour of US authors by state, and to Utah. All that I know about Utah is it has a Salt Lake and is the home state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. All that I know about the Latter Day Saints, or Mormons, is gleaned from being an archivist and having watched a couple of episodes of Big Love once. Continue reading

My Ántonia

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Read 08/10/2017-16/10/2017

Rating: 4 stars

I chose this book for Nebraska in the US Road Trip reading challenge that The Reader’s Room ran from July to September. I didn’t manage to complete the challenge, but I’ve decided to carry on because I’m enjoying discovering new-to-me American authors. I hadn’t heard of Willa Cather. My Ántonia has a 34-page introduction in the Oxford World’s Classics edition that I borrowed from the library, which I skipped to read the novel, but then didn’t return to because I didn’t want someone else’s academic critique to spoil the book with earnest dullness. Maybe it wasn’t dull at all. (It looked dull.)

Anyway, to my hopefully not dull critique of the novel! Jim Burden, a New York-based lawyer for a railway company, encounters an old friend on a train journey across Iowa. They begin to reminisce about a woman, the Ántonia of the title, whom they both knew in Nebraska when they were young.

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