It’s been an interesting week. As I shared on my personal Instagram, it’s been a rough one, too. What do I do when I’m having a bad week? Read, obviously.
The last couple of weeks, I’ve been juggling a veritable carousel of books. Here’s the rundown:
The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux – I fully expected to finish this one in time for next Monday’s podcast episode. (It didn’t happen.) Basically, this is a dark comedy about a prepper, Allie Fox, who uproots his family from rural Massachusetts and relocates to Central America. It’s as weird as it sounds. I find a steady diet of cynicism to be a bit much, but there are some genuinely humorous moments. Be warned, offensive (not funny) language also abounds, as well as racial slurs. I am curious to see how it ends, though I can’t imagine it ends well.
When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro – On Goodreads, I described this as “Sherlock Holmes meets Empire of the Sun.” It’s not Ishiguro’s most gripping novel – for that, see An Artist of the Floating World or A Pale View of Hills – but I’m liking it so far.
The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor – Last Monday I shared my first impressions of Flannery O’Connor. Still have a ways to go to finish her short stories, though.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne – My third reading, I think. Love this book.
About Orchids: A Chat by Frederick Boyle – I keep falling asleep to this!
The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman – Reading this for work. Interesting stuff.
The Book of Daniel (NKJV) – I finished Job (which I appreciated, though still don’t fully understand) and then decided return to a childhood favorite, Daniel. Daniel has an interesting narrative format… I’d forgotten chapter 4 which reads like a proclamation by Nebuchadnezzar. Really fascinating to re-read it now.
Did I mention I started The Lost City of Z by David Grann? To be honest, the storytelling style really turns me off in a historical book… However, the subject matter interests me. I hope to get back to this one soon.
And Ben-Hur. No, I have not abandoned my book journal for the year. It’ll be back, soonish.
wow! serious reading! Z is incredible: i haven't read the book, but i've run across the story in other formats. Orellana's journey down the Amazon in the 16th C. when he saw all those cities alongside the river but no one believed him and it turned out to be true; i guess there's a movie about it which i'd like to see…
This is an impressive list of books. I usually have two books started at any one time. I almost never exceed that number. Thus, I am also very impressed at the number of books that you are juggling. Sorry to hear that you had a bad week. I hope that things look up going forward.
I can't imagine falling asleep to a book about orchids. It sounds so spellbinding. 😉 The Mosquito Coast sounds fun. I've definitely heard Theroux' name before.
I celebrate your eclectic reading. Yet I am also envious. I tend now to be an intensive rather than extensive reader. In any case, I very much look forward to your postings about your far ranging adventures in books. FYI … my address has changed for reasons too difficult to explain or justify.https://miscellaneousinformalinquiries.blogspot.com/
Interesting, I'll have to look up Orellana. I can readily see the explorers' fascination with lost cities. In fact, they say T. E. Lawrence wanted to go with Fawcett on his last trip. It's mind-boggling to think what might have happened… as it was, Lawrence (in spite of his war trauma) went on to make important contributions to rescue boats.
Thanks, Brian. I think I've got carried away this time…but, at least there's variety!
I guess Theroux is more famous for his travelogues… I'm not even quite sure how I stumbled across this one. What makes it work (so far) is a level of empathy the author creates for Allie, in spite of the latter's general orneriness. Allie's tirades against American consumerism and complacency have a grain of truth in them…
Thanks, R. T. – I should have some full-length reviews up in the next week or so. Admittedly, this list arose more out of boredom than ambition. Once I find a book that really grabs me, I do like to focus on it. :)Thanks also for the address update! I'll add it to my blog reader.
interesting! didn't know that about Lawrence…