Sunday, June 28, 2020

Of Ballots And Bears by Heather Lende

Heather Lende lives in a small Alaskan town called Haines.  She is the obituary writer for the town's newspaper and as such she gets to know most of the people she shares the town with.   Her husband runs a lumber business and her children grew up to be in the education business, along with other occupations.  In such a small town, everyone depends on others to help and everyone pretty much knows everyone else.

Lende feels the need to do more than write books and be interviewed on NPR.  She decides to run for the position of being one of six people on the town assembly board.  She didn't spend much on her campaign; she felt that after all her time living there, everyone pretty much knew her and her progressive policies.  Much to her surprise, she won one of the seats up for election as did the owner of the newspaper.

This book talks about what governing is really like, how it is often better to listen than to be the first one speaking or the loudest one.  For each issue, she has to balance her own position against what those who elected her feel is best.  She was shocked to see that sometimes, people she had considered friends for years, were against what she honestly thought was best, and would say or do things that were hurtful to her.

The best example of this was the recall election.  One of the biggest issues in Haines was the renovation of the town bay and port.  There were those who were determined to push their idea through stating that it was good for business and there were others who were hesitant to make the changes wondering about the environmental effect.  There was also the issue over hiring someone in the local government to oversee various construction projects.  When Heather, her editor friend and a third member voted to hire someone other than the local favorite, they soon faced a recall election.  It was heart-wrenching for her to realize that there were enough people who thought she had done a poor job to get the recall on the election cycle or that she had misused her position.

Lende has written a series of books about her life in Haines and I've enjoyed every one of them.  The dependent nature of living in such an environment and needing to rely on those around you is clear in everything she writes.  This book shows a naive and vulnerable side of Lende that her earlier books did not but the stories she tells are familiar to those of us who fought politics in jobs and on issues.  Her ability to withstand the storms and learn a series of lessons from this time is interesting and informative.  This book is recommended for memoir readers.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel

In this second installment of the Cromwell trilogy, Henry VIII has been married to Anne Boleyn for around three years.  The bloom is off the lily and although he tore his country apart in order to marry her, Henry is no longer that interested in her.  His first wife, Katherine, is dying in the remote castle she was exiled to, and Anne is still actively trying to get between Henry and his daughter Mary.  Anne's daughter, Elizabeth, is just a small toddler.  Henry's eye has lit upon one of Anne's ladies; Jane Seymour.

Cromwell, of course, is tasked with making what Henry wants happen.  He slowly starts to weave a web, talking with foreign ambassadors, lords of the court, religious men high in rank, and listening, listening, to all the court gossip.  If this is what Henry wants, Cromwell will make it happen and since there is no reason to waste a disaster, will use it to take out those men he has had a grudge against for years, when they conspired to have his beloved master killed.

Anne is arrested along with five men who are charged with having adulterous relations with her.  These include a musician who entertained her in her chambers, her own brother, and various men she has been linked to over the years.  The young men, scared beyond thinking, confess and even those who refuse to are tarred with the brush of adultery and treason and condemned to death.  All five, along with Anne, are executed at the end of this novel.

This book won the Booker Prize in 2012.  It is clear to see why as it is fascinating and the reader feels they have a front-row seat at the machinations of a Tudor court.  Cromwell is the spider in the middle of the web, always there waiting, never forgetting a slight or wrong, and biding his time until he can strike his enemies a blow from which they won't recover.  This book is recommended for literary and historical fiction readers.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Falling Woman by Richard Farrell

Two people's lives collide in a story of aircraft disaster.  Charlie Radford is a young investigator for the national board.  His mentor has been doing this work for years and has investigated some of the most notorious airplane wrecks like the bombing of the aircraft in Locherbie, Scotland.  He tells Charlie that the work is to ask the right questions and to never make assumptions.  Only believe the evidence regardless of what others around you are saying.

Erin is a passenger on a cross country flight.  Her life has been in turmoil for the past year.  Her twin daughters have started college.  She had an affair.  Shortly afterward, she got cancer and has been undergoing treatment.  Finishing that, she is in remission and decides to fly to a cancer survivor retreat to decide what she wants to do with what remains of her life.

The flight is not smooth and halfway through, over a cornfield in the middle of the country, the airplane falls apart, the wreckage stretching for miles.   There aren't survivors or are there?  There is a persistent rumor that one woman fell from the sky still in her seat and survived, going to the hospital but with such light injuries that she is able to leave the next morning.  Is that true?

Charlie is surprised and proud to be on the team who goes to the site to investigate the wreck.  He is surprised that his mentor has been overlooked and is not heading up the investigation.  Instead, he is working for a man new to heading up such newsworthy investigations and who is a micromanager.  He decides early on that the woman who survived is real and tasks Charlie with finding out who she is and how she survived.

Richard Farrell has written an absorbing account of how an airline investigation after an incident proceeds.  It highlights the joy of finding a survivor and how such a person is thrust into the limelight and also discusses the rights of a person to remain private in the midst of a clamor for their story.  Both Charlie and Erin grow as individuals and the lessons they learn are ones that will change their lives.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Darwin Affair by Tim Mason

Detective Chief Inspector Charles Field is proud to be in charge of the mission to safeguard the monarchs, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  When there is an assassination attempt right before his eyes as they travel through the streets of London, he is dismayed and unbelieving.  When a thief is killed a block away and in front of the Inspector, he realizes that this was not a random attempt but a conspiracy and the thief's death was just a distraction to keep him from his mission.

The year is 1860 and unrest is stirring around the world.  Things are heating up both in Europe and in the United States, both of which seem headed towards war.  In London, all the talk is of Charles Darwin and his publication of his master work, The Origin Of Species.  It is an epic work but one that divides the populace.  Some regard his work as groundbreaking while others are determined to dispute his conclusions and do what they can to stop publication.  This group are behind the conspiracy to kill the monarch but their target is Prince Albert rather than Queen Victoria.  Albert is interested in science and excited about the ideas of evolution.  He puts Darwin's name up for the most prestigious award in the country and those opposed will do anything to prevent this and the validation it gives to Darwin's ideas.

The conspiracy reaches into the highest areas of the country and the men who are considered aristocrats.  They hire an assassin who is one of the best surgeons in the country, a former choirboy at the best churches and a psychopath.  He cannot be deterred once he sights in on a victim and now Prince Albert is in his sights.  He furthers his work by kidnapping street children and breaking them until they will do anything he commands.  He has no fear, killing one of Chief Field's men right in front of him and his death toll rises day by day.  Can he be stopped?

This is a debut novel and it has already won critical praise.  It is a Forbes Best Historical Novel and a Barnes and Nobles Discover Pick.  The Victorian Age is one of my favorite eras to read about and the villain in this novel is one readers won't soon forget; his inability to be stopped and his cruelty chilling.  Readers will learn about the Victorian Age, the ideas of evolution and the opposition to them, the London police force at this time and the state of medicine.  This book is recommended to readers of both crime and history.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Prairie Fever by Michael Parker

The Stewart family is living in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma, in the early 1900's and the living is hard.  The prairie stretches forever, but it's not necessarily easy farming land.  The winters are brutal with biting winds and blizzards that blow up out of nowhere.  The family has lost two small sons to 'prairie fever' or typhoid and only the daughters are left.  Lorena is seventeen and Elise is fifteen.  They feel alone in the world; their mother has never recovered from their brothers' deaths and their father is a big talker, little action buffoon who drags them from state to state on whatever whims move him along.

Every day the two sisters saddle up Sandy, their horse, and ride the miles into town to school.  Their teacher is Gus McQueen, a man just a few years older than them and with little education or aptitude for teaching although kind and interesting.  Lorena is organized and focused, the best student in school as well as the most beautiful.  Elise is different; she sees the world through dreams and odd takes on common views.  Most don't understand her or the depth of her feelings for those she loves.

When Gus and Lorena ride out in a blizzard to go after Elise who has taken off on what seems to her a necessary adventure, things change.  They rescue Elise right before death and Gus' relationship with the girls changes forever.  He and Lorena become a couple, but down the road, he ends up falling in love and marrying Elise instead; an act that creates a lifelong rift between the two sisters.

Michael Parker has a talent for bringing characters to life and leaving readers not only interested in other times and the difficulties people had then, but with lifelong friends in their minds.  No one reading about Elise will forget her quickly and the stories of life in those earlier times shows starkly the difficulties of communication and how distance meant something back then that it doesn't mean in our hurried world.  The story unfolds slowly giving the reader time to sink into the time period and get to know each character.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Happy Isles Of Oceania by Paul Theroux

In the early 1990's, travel writer and author Paul Theroux is at a lifestyle change as his marriage has fallen apart.  He decides to go back on the road and travels through the islands of Oceania where he will have time to process the change and think about the future.  As he travels, he explains the layout of the archipeleo as well as the culture of the people he encounters.

It is an ambitious undertaking.  He visits islands which most people have heard of, Fiji, New Zealand, the Solomons, Samoa, Hawaii, Easter Island and Tahiti.  But he also visits small islands many people have no idea existed such as Vanuatu, Marquesas, Moorea, the Trobriand Islands, the Tongatapu Group and the Vava'u Group.  He takes a small collapsible kayak and where he can, he paddles around the islands and camps out by himself.

Wherever he goes, he tries to establish contact with the local inhabitants.  He asks them all what words they use for various items, seeking commonalities between the islands hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles apart.  He asks them where they believe they come from and about their religion.  He asks them what they eat and how they cook it.  He asks about cannibalism as many of these tribes were involved in that in past times.

Theroux encounters difficulties.  One of the biggest is the relationships he wants to establish.  In these island cultures, family is everything, and a man by himself is seen as vulnerable and strange.  To prefer solitude is outside of their experience.  He also encounters crocodiles and rip tides that make boating difficult.  On many islands, every inch of land is owned and the subject of fierce dominion and there is no where he can camp.

Although he finds much to praise about the islanders, he also finds troubling aspects to their lives.  As in his other books, he bemoans the physical size and obesity of many of the tribes.  He doesn't like the way the old cultures and artifacts are ignored or destroyed.  The reliance of the inhabitants on various government handouts is troubling and he finds many people to be thieves or lazy.

I've enjoyed Theroux's travel books for many years.  I started with the train journey books and have read several of his books about different places such as various parts of Africa and England as well as the United States.  His keen eye for history and his interest in learning the stories of those he encounters makes for an interesting read.  This book is recommended for readers who enjoy travel writing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

In 1960's Tallahassee, Florida, young men knew that if they fell afoul of the law they were headed to the Nickel Academy.  Set up to provide a residence and place for young men who didn't have homes or who broke the law, the original intent was quickly subverted and the institution became a hellhole where young males were subjected to horrible treatment.  Education was almost nonexistent as the residents were used as cheap labor, farming, running a print shop and doing odd jobs for well connected individuals in the neighboring towns.

This is the place Elwood Curtis finds himself in.  Curtis was a studious young man, interested in education and doing whatever he could to make life better for his grandmother and himself.  Instead, he finds himself swept up when he takes a ride from someone up to no good and before he knows it, he is at the Nickel Academy.

In addition to using the residents as labor, there were many other issues.  Food was cheap and poor, as the best food sent to the place was sold to bars and groceries in the neighboring towns.  Any boy could be disciplined and hit by any staff member and it was commonplace.  For those boys who offended more brazenly, staff would come in the night and take them to a shed where they were beaten until they required hospitalization.  Elwood finds himself in this category when he gets in a fight defending a younger boy.  The worst offenders against the men who ruled the place just disappeared never to be seen again until a secret graveyard was discovered during an investigation of the place.

Elwood makes some friends there like Turner who stays cool and reserved but who has plans to escape.  There is also Jose who is Hispanic so sent back and forth repeatedly between the white boy's barracks and the black barracks.  You needed friends to survive but you had to be very careful who you trusted.  Friendship was just another item that could be twisted to be used against you.

Colson Whitehead has written a novel that exposes the horrors of what occurred in such places.  It won the Pultizer Prize, the Kirkus Prize and is longlisted for the National Book Award.  It has been chosen as a best book of the year by multiple organizations such as Time, NPR, the Washington Post, Vox and others.  It takes the reader inside the lives of these young men and shows what occurs when someone is totally at the whim of those in power and when your life is valueless to them.  The book ends with a twist that is stunning and readers won't soon forget it.  This book is recommended to readers of literary fiction and those interested in reading about the experience of young black men and racism.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Hollowpoint by Rob Reuland

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Giobberti was one of the up and coming stars of the New York DA's Office.  He was until the death of his five year old daughter and the breakup of his marriage afterwards.  He was out of work for an extended time and now that he is back, he just can't bring himself to care much about anything.  Is what he does of any use in the world?  He careens from case to case and woman to woman, never caring much about anything.

Now he has a new case.  A fourteen year old girl has been killed in her bedroom, her baby in the same room.  She lived with her mother who is an addict and an older sister.  The girl was shot in the head, while she was naked and in her bed with a hollowpoint bullet.

A neighbor reports seeing a man fleeing the scene.  She knows the man who used to live downstairs with his grandmother growing up.  He has been in prison but recently released.  He seems like the perfect suspect and is quickly arrested.  But his story points to a more sinister story.  Was the mother a prostitute and did she prostitute her daughters for money to buy drugs?  Was the man the father of the young girl's baby?  What actually happened that night?

Rob Reuland is following the old maxim 'Write what you know' in this novel.  He is himself a senior assistant district attorney in the Brooklyn district attorney's office.  He does a good job of portraying the cynical nature of the men and women forced to deal with senseless crimes day after day.  It leaves them numbed and unsympathetic, both to their clients and themselves to the reader.  The case is successfully resolved and by the end, perhaps DA Giobberti is starting to find redemption also.  This book is recommended for readers of noir detective novels.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Frye by Rachel Joyce

Harold Frye has retired and he's not sure what the rest of his life will be.  For the past six months, he has basically sat in his house with his wife Maureen, and done nothing.  He and Maureen don't have much of a marriage anymore; in fact they barely speak.  She spends her time cleaning and cooking and making it very evident that she resents doing both.

But things change with the delivery of a letter.  It is a letter from a former co-worker, a woman named Queenie Hennessey.  Harold hasn't heard from her in years since she left the firm suddenly and the news now isn't good.  Queenie is writing to tell him that she is dying and remembers their friendship fondly.

Harold writes a quick letter back.  He starts off out the door to walk to the mailbox but when he reaches it he decides that its a nice day and he will walk to the next mailbox.  He continues to do this until by nightfall he is several miles away from home.  Along the way, he meets a shop employee who tells him about her aunt who hung on for much longer than the doctors expected because she had things to look forward to.

That's it.  Harold calls the hospice and tells the nurse who answers to tell Queenie to hold on, that he is on his way.  Although it is hundreds of miles, Harold firmly believes if you just keep walking you will eventually reach your goal.  As the days turn into weeks, his trip becomes a pilgrimage that is widely publicized, although Harold can't figure out why.  As he walks, he goes back over his life and where it went wrong and thinks about how he can change things at home.  Will he make it to Queenie's side before she dies?

This novel was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2012.  Harold is an interesting character and the slow unfolding of his life and secrets will keep the reader's attention.  The novel provides plenty of things to think about, how our own lives might be different than we expected, the mistakes we let take over our lives, and what is truly important in life.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta

Meadow and Carrie are best friends, growing up in Los Angeles.  It's not a friendship most would have predicted.  Meadow is thin, mysterious, the ultimate cool girl while Carrie is chubby and still looking to find herself.  They meet at school in a film class and become fast friends, making movies and finding their life's work.  They both get into a prestigious Eastern film university and Carrie stays and graduates from there.  Her work is mainstream and soon she is a successful filmmaker with awards from the industry and a marriage and children.  Meadow goes a different route, making indie films that are praised but not commercial successes, films that ask questions or just highlight a topic that Meadow finds interesting.  She moves too fast and at her own whims, going where her latest interest takes her.  She is moving too fast to accumulate things like a family or a home.

Jelly is a mystery.  She was blind once for months as the result of an illness.  She met people at the school for the blind she attended that introduced her to phone phreaking.  From that, Jelly came up with what sustains her life.  She calls men, rich successful men and seduces them, not with sex but with listening.  Soon these men stop whatever they are doing to talk with Jelly for hours, telling her things they never share with anyone else.  Jelly's life collides with Meadow's, when Meadow hears about her and talks Jelly into being the topic of her latest documentary.  The film and its consequences changes everyone's lives.

Dana Spiotta is one of those authors whom other authors respect.  Her works have included Stone Arabia, Eat The Document and Lightning Field.  These works have been finalists for awards such as the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  Her work highlights the absurdity of modern life and the yearning for connection with others that most people have.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Table Of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips

Sir Humphrey du Val's life has been better.  He used to be a Knight of the Round Table, respected by all.  But after his wife ran off with another man and the disgrace that followed that, he has been demoted down to the Table Of Less Valued Knights with those knights who just don't cut the mustard and must sit looking longingly at his former station.  So when a damsel in distress shows up looking for a knight to help her on a quest, Humphrey jumps at the chance.

Elaine is the damsel and she is looking for help to find her fiance.  He was kidnapped right after the tournament at which their engagement was announced.  Her parents seem to think it was her fault and have tasked her with the job of getting him back.  Sir Humphrey and his squire, a young giant named Conrad who rides an elephant, suit up and off the three go.

They aren't the only ones with a quest.  Queen Martha Of Puddock is on the road as well.  When her father died, she became queen but it was not what she wanted.  Along with the crown, she is married the day after her father's death to an obnoxious young prince who is determined that he is the true ruler and his ruling needs to start with controlling Martha.  She is determined to get out of being the Queen and the best way to do that is to find her long lost brother.  She takes to the road to find him and to flee her husband.  When the two groups meet and join forces, events start to fall into place quickly.

This novel was nominated for the Bailey's Prize for Women in 2015.  It is a rollicking tale that reimagines how it was to be royalty or a knight in medieval times and how those roles might be improved.  Readers will be delighted at how things turn out and will enjoy their time with Sir Humphrey, Elaine and Queen Martha.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

This novel explores the lives of twelve women of color in England.  Each chapter is written in the voice of the woman being featured and talks about her life and the various hardships and obstacles she has encountered.  The women's lives are intertwined in various ways and those relationships are explored as well.

Amma is a gay playwright.  Her work has been experimental and on the fringes but is finally starting to get mainstream support.  Her work partner is Dominique who handles the business end of setting up and managing plays.  Dominique goes to America with her latest partner and ends up in an abusive relationship where her partner wants to control her every movement and thought.  Shirley is one of Amma's oldest friends and is a teacher who starts out inspired but becomes cynical over the years.  She mentors students she thinks will benefit and Carole is one of these.  Carole goes on to become a banker with a stable marriage while her best friend LaTisha ends up working dead end jobs and having three children by three different men.  Bummi is LaTisha's mom and a cleaner while Carole's mom, Winsome ends up in an adultous relationship with Carole's husband.

Yazz is Amma's daughter and has grown up self-confident and sure of her path.  She is currently in college.  Penelope is another teacher who works with Shirley and who goes through several marriages.  Megan/Morgan is a woman who rebels against the upbringing and expectations of her parents and ends up in a stable relationship with a transgender man who is now a woman.  They spend a lot of time at the farm of Morgan's grandmother, Hattie.  Hattie accepts Morgan and Bibi's relationship and plans to leave the farm to them rather than to her daughter, Grace and her other children who never showed any interest.

This novel won the Booker Prize in 2019.  It is an interesting viewpoint into the lives of everyday women and how they manage to live their lives and work out the difficulties they encounter all of which are amplified by the fact that they have to handle the racism that is endemic.  The stories require close reading as it is easy to miss a touchpoint between the various women if the reader isn't paying attention or to lose track with so many main characters to keep up with.  But it is a magnificent work and one that will richly reward the reader.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and those interested in reading more about the experiences of women of color.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick

To be a pilot of an iron dragon, one must be at least a half human as humans can touch iron while fae cannot.  Caitlin of House Sans Merci is in training to be a pilot as she has fled her loveless home and the wicked woman who calls herself her mother.  All that remains in that place for her is her brother and that is not enough to live there.

But all is not well.  Caitlin has a mishap during a landing and her dragon is injured.  Not enough to worry about but there has to be an inquiry.  While she is awaiting that, she receives news that her father is ill and her presence is required at home.  She also finds that the routine inquiry has been escalated and she is in danger of being booted out of the Iron Squadron.

Returning home, she is there as her father dies and her brother is installed as the new Lord of Sans Merci.  Caitlin leaves there and soon is on the run when it turns out that after her departure, her brother has disappeared and she is wanted for his murder.  Aghast and desperate, she destroys her dragon and goes on the run to prove her innocence.

This is the second book in the faerie world Michael Swanwick created in his novel, The Iron Dragon's Daughter.  It is a cruel world, full of steampunk and cruel personalities whose true missions are shrouded in secrecy.  Caitlin meets many people on her quest, both friends and enemies although it is sometimes difficult to tell one from the other.  This book is recommended for science fiction readers.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Booksie's Shelves, June 3, 2020

Another month of isolation at home, another month of reading as solace.  I read eighteen books in May but added many more.  As our country hides from the virus and tears itself apart over racial injustices, sometimes it seems more than one can stand.  Books are always solace and hope that things will improve.  We did loosen up our isolation a bit.  Our daughter came home for two weeks which was wonderful.  I've been to the dentist for a routine appointment and have two annual doctor's appointments in June.  I've been attending my three book clubs online and listening to author and publishers discussions.  In wonderful news, our son got engaged and we will have another daughter to add to our family.  But whatever else is going on, books are always the standby.  Here's the ebooks I bought in May:

1.  Saint X, Alexis Schaitkin, literary fiction
2.  Death Is In The Details, Heather Sunseri, mystery
3.  Motherless Brooklyn, Jonathan Letham, literary fiction
4.  Florida, Lauren Groff, anthology
5.  The Second Coming, Walker Percy, literary fiction
6.  The Turner House, Angela Fourney, historical fiction
7.  The Poison Path, Solomon Carter, mystery
8.  The Other Magic, Derrick Symthe, fantasy
9.  Night Moves, Jonathan Kellerman, mystery
10.  Pilgrim At Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard, nonfiction
11.  Neuromancer, William Gibson, sci fi
12.  Beloved, Toni Morrison, literary fiction
13.  The Pleasing Hour, Lily King, literary fiction
14.  The Tethered Mage, Melissa Caruso, fantasy
15.  Theory Of Bastards, Audrey Schulman, fantasy
16.  Angelmaker, Nick Harkaway, sci fi
17.  Ducks, Newburyport, Lucy Ellman, literary fiction
18.  Fires That Forge, R.J. Hanson, fantasy
19.  First Blood, Angela Marsons, mystery
20.  Department Of Speculation, Jenny Offill, literary ficiton
21.  American Elsewhere, Robert Jackson Bennett, fantasy
22.  Fake Like Me, Barbara Bouland, mystery
23.  And Their Children After Them, Nicolas Mathieu, literary fiction
24.  The Chimes, Anna Smaill, literary fiction
25.  The Year Of The Runaways, Sunjeev Sahota, literary fiction
26.  Into The Wildbarrens, Christian Sterling, fantasy
27.  Monkey Beach, Eden Robinson, literary fiction
28.  The Keeper Chronicles, J.A. Andrews, fantasy
29.  The Lonely Hearts Hotel, Heather O'Neill, literary fiction
30.  Three Things About Elsie, Joanna Cannon, literary fiction
31.  The Most Fun We Ever Had, Claire Lombardo, literary fiction
32.  Stay With Me, Ayobami Adebayo, literary fiction
33.  The Keepers Of The House, Shirley Ann Grau, literary fiction
34.  Get Lucky, Katherine Center, women's fiction
35.  Dead Reckoning, Caitlin Rother, nonfiction true crime
36.  The Fallen, David Baldacci, mystery
37.  The Fix, David Baldacci, mystery
38.  Redemption, David Baldacci, mystery
39.  Righteous, Joe Ide, mystery
40.  The Silence Of The Girls, Pat Barker, literary fiction
41.  Your Blue Is Not My Blue, Aspen Matis, memoir

I've been buying a lot of the Booker and Orange Prize nominees.  Here are the physical books that came through the door:

1.  Operation Wandering Soul, Richard Powers, literary fiction, purchased
2.  Communion Town, Sam Thompson, literary fiction, purchased
3.  The Teleportation Accident, Ned Beauman, literary fiction, purchased
4.  Six Wakes, Mur Lafferty, science fiction, purchased
5.  Satin Island, Tom McCarthy, literary fiction, purchased
6.  Philida, Andre Brink, literary fiction, purchased
7.  Fever Of The Bone, Val McDermid, mystery, purchased
8.  The Plague Of Doves, Louise Erdrich, literary fiction, purchased
9.  Is This Tomorrow, Caroline Leavitt, literary fiction, purchased
10.  The MacGuffin, Stanley Elkin, literary fiction, purchased
11.  The World Before Us, Aislinn Hunter, literary fiction, purchased
12.  Richard Dooling, White Man's Grave, literary fiction, purchased

Here's what I'm reading:

1.  Cloudstreet, Tim Winton, paperback
2.  Underland, Richard McFarland, audio
3.  Innocents And Others, Dana Spiotta, Kindle Fire
4.  The Table Of Less Valued Knights, Marie Phillips, paperback
5.  The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce, paperback
6.  The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead, Kindle Fire
7.  Three Things About Elsie, Joanna Cannon, Kindle Fire
8.  The Happy Isles Of Oceania, Paul Theroux, paperback
9.  The Cold Cold Ground, Adrian McKinty, audio

Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Lord Of Chaos by Robert Jordan

This is book six in the Wheel Of Time series.  In this novel, more of the main characters are brought back together.  Perrin senses that Rand needs him and he and his wife travel to the city where Rand is currently located.  Min also reunites with Rand and is determined to make him see her as more than a friend.  Mat is already there and serving as a general much to his dismay.  Even Lolial, the ogre has reunited with Rand as he has been staying with Perrin and comes with him.

But not everyone is there.  Elayne and Nynaeve are off on a mission to find a plate that will control weather even though Rand is looking for Elayne to make her Queen in her homeland.  Egwene has the biggest change.  She has been in the village where the Aes Sedai have gathered who fled the White Tower, after studying with the Aiel Wise Ones.  She is shocked to be selected as the new Amyrlin Seat at her young age and experience.  Can she live up to the new responsibilities?

Rand is determined to fight Sammael, one of the Forsaken.  He is gathering an army and deciding on strategy.  Many believe that he had Morganse, Elayne's mother, killed and that causes some discontent.  In reality, she fled and is amassing an army of her own.  Rand is visited by delegations from both the White Tower and the new gathering of Aes Sedai.  He doesn't trust either and soon will learn that he is right to do so.  This book is recommended for readers of epic fantasy.