Saturday, April 25, 2009

An Eight-Book Week (Yikes!)

For the last few weeks, I've been reading books one-at-a-time instead of dipping in and out of 6-8 books at once as I've come to see as the more normal way for me to read. I made the change figuring that it would be easier to write reviews of the books if I concentrated on just a single book rather than reading a group of them at the same time. The ease with which I can prepare a decent book review increased so slightly, however, that I am easing back into my old pattern again. I just cannot resist the call of that stack of books over in the corner waiting for my attention.

My willpower to resist opening a new book diminishes in direct proportion to the number of books by which my reading stack increases and, just this week, I added 8 books to the pile.

Three of them are library books:

Man in the Dark by Paul Auster - a novel about a retired book critic who imagines, while in bed trying to recover from a car accident, an alternative U.S.A. in which 9-11 never happened and the 2000 election led to the breaking up of the Union.

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris - a novel about what it's like in the office world of cubicle dwellers who find themselves in the midst of a business downturn serious enough to threaten their jobs.

Passing Strange by Martha A. Sandweiss - I read a Houston Chronicle review of this one last week and managed to snag it from the library yesterday. It is the true story of a well-known 19th century scientist and western USA explorer who lived two very separate lives, one in which everyone believed him to be single, and another in which he passed himself off as a black man from the West Indies and raised a black family in New York City. I've only read a few pages of the book but I continue to be fascinated by the man's story. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction this time.

Two new ARCs arrived this week (and I think there are at least six more due in the next few days):

The Chameleon Conspiracy by Haggai Carmon - This is an international thriller involving a master criminal, the Mossad, the CIA and sleeper agents.

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo - This one is to be published in June and involves a serial killer who has returned to haunt the same Amish community that he struck years earlier. The case is placed in the hands of a female Police Chief, Kate Burkholder, and it appears that this may be first book of a series. I've always been fascinated by the Amish lifestyle and could not resist this one when it was offered to me.

The last three of this weeks new adds come from my trip to Barnes & Noble this morning. It has been almost a month since I've seen the inside of a bookstore (can't remember the last time that happened), so I consider myself lucky to have only purchased three books today:

Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto by Mark R. Levin -This one has been the number one bestseller on the NYT list almost from the moment it hit the shelves and it takes a long, hard look at where this country is headed based on our history, our constitution, and our dreams.

Restless by William Boyd - Boyd is one of my favorite writers and it's been way too long since I've last read him. This is a spy thriller with a nice twist: the spy is an old lady who has been a sleeper since the end of World War II and she needs the help of her daughter to carry out her last mission.

The Mickey Mantle Novel by Peter Golenbock - Golenbock is one of my favorite sportswriters and he knew Mantle, Martin, Pepitone, Bouton and the rest of that bunch when they were on top of the world. I am going to have to keep reminding myself that this one is fiction as I read it. It promises to be quite frank about the sexual escapades of those days and the like. The 1960 Yankees were the first team I ever closely followed as a kid and players from that era are still special to me.

And that's it for just this week. I don't add 8 books every week, but this is not all that unusual, really. I only read 2-3 books a week, so you can see the problem - but what a great problem to have. Life is sweet!


  1. I'm so happy to see you're reading "Then We Came to the End." I read this last year (?) and I liked it a lot. I thought the praise was well-deserved. I hope you like it!

  2. I was in an indie bookstore today and one of the employees had written a review of the Levin book - the review was soooo biased that I was appalled. No matter what one's views, this author has a good grasp on the historical importance of what has and is going on.

    And to make matters worse, the writing was HORRIBLE. This so-called reviewer needs to learn how to write. His writing is disorganized and about every fifth word was capitalized.

  3. I'm doing the opposite -- usually I balance reading about 4-6 books at a time, but right now I'm trying to just read two (I have to have a little variety). We'll see how long that lasts. I always have way too many to choose from, which I do consider a lovely problem.

  4. Interested to hear your take on all of them, but especially "Liberty and Tyranny."

  5. In the picture, I could see the number "7" on the back of the Yankee's uniform so I knew you'd be reading something about "The Mick".....Enjoy!!!

  6. I'm about 150 pages into it, J.S., and really enjoying it but it hits a little too close to my own past experiences sometimes and I shudder. :-)

  7. I've had similar experiences, JoAnn, even at Barnes & Noble and have wondered how such sloppy "reviews" slip through the management before being posted on the shelves. I also wonder why they don't worry more about alienating at least 50% of their customer base by being so obviously prejudiced in their politics. It's bad enough that most conservative books are somewhat "hidden" by staff already...

  8. Bookfool, I've actually found that I read more pages per day when I'm choosing from at least a half-dozen books - it cuts down on the threat of potentially becoming so bored with what I'm reading that I either fall asleep or put the book down for the day.

  9. I'm looking forward to that one, too, Annie. I can barely stand to listen to the author on the radio because of his voice and delivery but it's hard not to agree with most of what he says...presentation, be damned.

  10. The Mick, indeed, Reader...a novel written in first person as if Mickey is telling the truth about his life for the first time so that his wife will understand what drove him and so that his fans will understand why he was so rude over the years.

  11. I'm interested in "Then We Came To The End". It's popped up over here, but I don't see it *everywhere*
    I might suggest it as a future book club read.

    Now that I have a library to visit, my eyes are bigger than my stomach...bringing home much more than I can get read!