KeskusteluClub Read 2023

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maaliskuu 27, 3:25 pm

Difficult to believe the first quarter of 2023 has gone already, but on the other hand, 2022 does seem like a long time ago.

What were your favourite reads of the last three months? Perhaps you could embellish a bit by telling us how you came to read the book, or why it became a favourite.

maaliskuu 27, 4:11 pm

It is hard to believe that the first quarter is almost done. I've read a lot of good books so far this year, in part due to Paul's African Novel Challenge, but two books stand out:

Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 6-September 30, 1945 by Michihiko Hachiya, translated from the Japanese by Warner Wells. This first-hand account is an invaluable perspective on what life was like in the days after the dropping of the atomic bomb. Thanks to Kevin/stretch for this one. As a follow-up I just purchased Fallout : the Hiroshima cover-up and the reporter who revealed it to the world, recommended by Deborah/arubabookwoman. In Hiroshima Diary, the doctor writes about how research into the medical effects of the radiation was stymied by American censorship.

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This is a novel told from the perspective of a girl living in an abusive, religious household, and the relief offered during a visit to her aunt. Difficult reading but excellent writing and story. Read for March's African Novel Challenge (Adichie and Emecheta).

huhtikuu 1, 7:43 pm

Empire of Pain about the Sackler family and OxyContin, which I acquired as a hardcover awhile back when my book group was considering it, but read as an audio book in short installments on a daily walk. That went so well that I read The Secret of Life about the DNA double helix structure (mentioned on labfs39's thread) as an audio book also, and I liked it so much that I immediately began another audio book by the same author though I was only mildly curious. I'd had Synapsida around for years and suddenly it was relevant to a seminar I'm sitting in on, a delightful though out of date book about mammal evolution. And of about equal appeal and similar relevance was Platypus. This is all more densely non-fiction than I generally can manage, despite aspirations, so we'll see how long this trend lasts.

huhtikuu 1, 9:02 pm

Have to say I am enjoying long long overdue reread of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, classic HST reportage on the the 1972 pres election. Refamiliarization with entities like Scoop Jackson and Wilbur Mills, and machinations of press and pols. Only sorry that Thompson cannot come back for two weeks to file a story on Recent Events. But Johnny Depp blew his cremains out of a cannon years ago, so he's well and truly gone, alas.

>3 qebo: Kudos! The only nonfiction I consumed voraciously this winter were true crime podcasts, and now I feel like such a slut.

huhtikuu 1, 9:33 pm

My best reads of 2023 Q1, based on my usual criterion of including anything I rated at least 4.5 stars:

Tiny Deaths by Robert Shearman
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Pastoralia by George Saunders
What If? 2: Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

So, two short story collections, two wildly different works of non-fiction. Interesting, I guess.

huhtikuu 1, 9:44 pm

Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies (Indigenous Americas) is one of the best, most ingenious, unique books I’ve ever read. It’s not really a novel. It’s similar to poetry. It’s mythology with timelines stretching backward and forward. It’s an attempt to translate first nation language into an English that doesn’t re-colonize it. It is to be experienced without completely understanding. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

huhtikuu 1, 9:56 pm

>4 nohrt4me2:. Oh I can have stretches of months consuming only fictional crime.

huhtikuu 2, 3:02 pm

Q1 had some really good reading for me, although I haven't kept up with the posting.

In fiction:
Compartment No.6 by Rosa Liksom
The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen
Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah
Florida by Lauren Groff
all new authors to me, which is promising for future reading

In nonfiction:
Ginkgo by Peter Crane
Orwell's Roses by Rebecca Solnit

huhtikuu 3, 10:34 am

I gave 4-1/2 to 5 stars to the following books in Q1:

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Your Hearts, Your Scars by Adina Talve-Goodman
No Justice, No Peace: From the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter by Devin Allen
Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the Spanish* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) by Gaspard Chevallier

The Butterfly Hotel by Roger Robinson

huhtikuu 3, 3:59 pm

I didn't read a ton in Q1, but there were some very good ones:

Little Miseries: This Is Not a Story About My Childhood by Kimberly Olson Fakih
O Caledonia by Elspeth Barker
Dinosaurs by Lydia Millet
Obasan by Joy Kogawa

huhtikuu 5, 5:48 am

Posting just the fiction ....

Five or Four and a half stars:

Journeys by Ian R. MacLeod (UK, fantasy, 2010)
An Altered Light by Jens Christian Grøndahl (Denmark, 2004)
This Other Eden by Paul Harding (fiction, US/Maine, 2023) .... read his two previous short novels first...
Salonika Burning by Gail Jones, (Australian, 2022)
Dinosaurs by Lidia Millet (US, 2022)

Four Stars

Pilgrims Way by Abdulrazak Gurnah (fiction, UK, 1988, reread). Nobel Prize winner's first book.
Cancion by Eduardo Halfon (2022) his 3rd slim book in translation

huhtikuu 5, 9:37 am

Most of my top reads in Q1 seem to have been for the Baltic theme, in particular:
Osebol (oral history as you never saw it before)
Lucky Per (why weren’t we told about this a century ago?)
Alles umsonst/All for nothing (Kempowski’s classic)

But I also enjoyed Coupé No. 6 (mentioned above by >8 SassyLassy:), Harry Martinson’s The road and Per-Olof Enquist’s memoir (The wandering pine in English).

Away from the Baltic, maybe the best was Jenny Erpenbeck’s Kairos. But there was a lot of good stuff on the Nobel pile too, and a couple of fun outliers, especially the off-beat mountaineering classic The ascent of Rum Doodle

huhtikuu 15, 4:21 pm

>12 thorold: Jenny Erpenbeck is one of my favorite authors and I hadn’t realised she had a new novel out. So thanks for the heads up. Unfortunately it’s still only available in German in audio and so I’ll have to wait. Such a pity as she is the narrator for Kairos. I love hearing books narrated by their author.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 15, 4:36 pm

I have had a difficult last three months but have just finished reading Italian Shoes by Henning Mankell which is well worth it despite the subject matter. Old age is depressing and it’s good that its experiences are addressed in so many novels. I wonder if it’s more meaningful for older readers? I know when I was young, hearing about old age was not a concern and I can’t remember reading anything that even touched on it.
Markell expresses it so well so I will close with a quote from Italian Shoes.
It seems not so long ago that I was in the first act. Now the epilogue has already started..” - Henning Mankell, “Italian Shoes

huhtikuu 15, 5:04 pm

My favorites from quarter 1:

Anne by Constance Fenimore Woolson - I tore through this little-known work by a 19th century American author

reread of To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf - good book to reread

nonfiction book called Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King about Thurgood Marshall and the systemic racism and violence that Black Americans dealt (deal?) with in central Florida

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy takes place in Northern Ireland during the Troubles - one of the best new books I've read in a while

huhtikuu 15, 7:13 pm

Favorite reads in Q1:

The Bigger They Come, Erle Stanley Gardner (originally published as by A. A. Fair) -- the first in a series about the Cool and Lam detective agency. Snappy dialogue, a distinctive pair of detectives, and a climax based on a loophole in Arizona law that the state legislature corrected after the book was published.

Let's Do It: The Birth of Pop Music: A History, Bob Stanley -- pop music in the US and UK from (roughly) 1900 to 1950. Lots of fascinating music and artists to be discovered here, many of them largely forgotten these days.

Light from Uncommon Stars, Ryka Aoki -- SF/fantasy novel about a found family of three women in the San Gabriel Valley. Combines familiar tropes -- a teenage runaway, a family of extraterrestrial refugees, a deal with the devil -- in unexpected ways.

Murder Your Employer, Rupert Holmes -- three stories of murder set in the early 1950s, as narrated by the dean of the McMasters Conservatory, where each of the would-be killers has been educated in the art of murder. Light, witty, and cleverly plotted.

huhtikuu 15, 10:52 pm

>15 dianeham: no I haven’t read either but interestingly I was thinking of reading Barry’s The Secret Scripture just yesterday. I am finding so many new authors from reading suggestions in Club Read. I used to look at a different range of books when I was in Australia. More British/Irish/Australian centric back in Australia where I’ve spent most of my life and all my formal education.

huhtikuu 16, 2:30 pm

Quicksand, Junichiro Tanizaki. Mad love featuring two women, plus complications in the form of some dudes.

Désir d'Afrique : essai introduced me to dozens of African authors and a new understanding of the problems of this lit in general.

Kanthapura, Raja Rao. Anti-capitalist anti-colonialist rebellion in a small village in India.

A spectre, haunting : on the Communist Manifesto, China Miéville

And, numero uno: I will marry when I want, Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʾo, a play about continued exploitation after colonialism was nominally defeated. But exploitation cannot end as long as capitalism exists.

toukokuu 3, 12:19 am

Since I'm "Keeping it Light" for 2023, most of my best reads were children's books. :-) Starting to get into some heavier stuff now in the 2nd quarter...

Purple stars went to
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
Homer's Odyssey
Heart of a Samurai

Blue stars:
Pucky, Prince of Bacon
Murder on the Orient Express

toukokuu 3, 9:07 am

heinäkuu 29, 11:24 am

A late update but I use these quarterly CR posts to help narrow down my top 10 annual list for my non-LT friends.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
The Deadly Daylight by Ash Harrier
City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
City of Miracle by Robert Jackson Bennett

heinäkuu 29, 12:36 pm

Very late to the party too, but my top Q1 reads were Germinal by Zola (5 star read) and Carol by Patricia Highsmith. The Dry Heart by Natalia Ginzburg also deserves a mention.

heinäkuu 29, 6:29 pm

>22 rhian_of_oz: Great way to use them.

>23 AlisonY: Germinal is an all time favourite of mine. Will you be reading more Zola?

heinäkuu 30, 7:19 am

>24 SassyLassy: Yes I definitely will read more Zola. I had some great advice on my thread re a suggested reading order.