First or Second Monday or Tuesday Book Day

I'm currently working my way through The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans by Lawrence Powell, a history professor at Tulane. It's occasionally dry in its recounting of names, but the history of New Orleans as a city that kept itself as independent as possible from the various 17th and 18th century colonial powers is an interesting one. I'm almost up to the Louisiana Purchase.

On deck, I have Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard, so I have a little mini theme of city-based historical books going on right now.

What are you reading?

23 thoughts on “First or Second Monday or Tuesday Book Day”

  1. Started and finished last week - "The Paris Architect"

    A nice, entertaining little read about an architect who is both building Nazi factories in occupied Paris, and hiding places for Jews running from the Gestapo. Not the highest of literature by any stretch, but good for what it was.

    Started and abandoned - "Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and other Inscrutable Geographies"

    I wanted more of a physical geography book, but this pulled in a lot of other disciplines, like philosophy, social/cultural geography/theory/critique. Probably a decent book, but not what I was looking for and I peaced out.

      1. It's on my Amazon wishlist, but the St Paul library has no copies - physical or eBook. Hennepin County has 3 copies on order, but I'd be 34th in line.

        Which I should mention, I checked out "Parish Architect" via the eBook option. Clicked checkout and it gave me a few format options. I selected "Kindle" and it sent me to Amazon, where I clicked "send to Kindle". 10 seconds later, I have the book without ever leaving the couch. The future is here, and it's fucking awesome.

  2. I read Roald Dahl's Matilda over two nights, starting on Easter. My folks had a copy then I borrowed CER's. Good, entertaining.

    I'm seven chapters into reading E.B. White's Stuart Little at bedtime to AJR and LBR. Great, short chapters perfect for one or two before bed without getting to long (a problem I've had with other chapter books at bedtime as I can never seem to get the girls to bed until at earliest 10 minutes after "bedtime". I think they're missing much of the humor, but it was that way with Milne, too.

    I'd never read either of these before. Nor have I seen the movies.

    1. I highly recommend E.B. White's The Trumpet Of The Swan for bedtime reading to kids. Especially those who like birds. I am probably starting Charlotte's Web with mine in a week or two.

      1. My wife covered it. I read that one as a youth.
        I don't remember it being as quick a read as Stuart Little, but maybe I'm just a lot older.

    2. Fantastic Mr. Fox was the first chapter book I read to Kernel - she really seemed to enjoy it. Picked up Matilda and James and the Giant Peach a few weeks back, and I think they're just a bit beyond her four-and-a-half year-old grasp.

      I'd read all the books before seeing any of the movies ... enjoyed the latter two movies enough, but loathed the Wes Anderson Fox release from a few years back. We've had that conversation around here.

  3. I'm plugging away again at Infinite Jest. About a page a day, really.

    I took a break for a while to read Finding Darwin's God, a book by Brown University biology professor Kenneth R. Miller that gets quite in-depth on how accepting evolution poses no problem for people of faith. The book is about 90% condemnation of people of faith who reject evolution, and about 10% argument against those who reject faith because of evolution. I found it a very easy read, with lots of accessible, interesting science, and some very solid philosophical thinking. The book matches my views, but certainly made them more informed, so it wasn't purely a case of preaching to the choir. Anyway, I highly recommend this one for anyone who is interested in the topic, or as, at very least, a fair counterpoint to rejection-of-faith approaches. There's no claim that there's proof of the divine, but there's a thorough argument for the possibility thereof. Quite fun.

    1. Took a break from Infinite Jest to read On The Road by Jack Kerouac. Took a break from On the Road to read Ways To Disappear by Idra Novey. Should be done tonite on that.

      1. Finished Ways to Disappear (meh), and On the Road. Kinda stream of consciousy, and a wild journey, but listed as 55th of the top 100 English-based novels in the 20th century???

  4. I just read Slaughterhouse Five. I read it in college but it didn't click for me. This time, I loved it.

    I have been thinking about why I didn't like it the first time. I came up with two reasons.

    First, I had never experienced a "dramedy" at that point everything I watched or read was neatly compartmentalized as either drama or comedy, never that gray area between.

    Second, I had no personal experience with death at that time. The only two relatives I lost before the age of 24 were my great-grandmothers when I was about 6 or 7. I could relateto the helplessness of the story.

    I just started "When Jesus Went to Harvard." It is about applying Jesus' morality to today. I just started so no opinion yet other than I had orgotten how wordy academics can be.

    I spent $70 at the half-price book store last weekend. Picked up the Custer book along with a bunch of Steinbeck.

  5. Finished Speaker for the Dead and bS was right, nothing like Ender’s Game, but a great read nonetheless. I have Xenocide in the pile on my nightstand.

    Finally started The Dark Tower series with The Gunslinger. I’ve read nearly every novel King published from 1974 – ’83, and ’86 thru 2001, but somehow never picked up anything from his opus. A friend recently said it’s his favorite fantasy series of all time, so I picked the first book up (along the second and third … they were like $1.98 apiece). I was thoroughly entertained and cannot wait to get into The Drawing of the Three.

    Read Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane in two days. Could not put it down. Follows the train of thought of a grown man remembering his experiences as seven year old boy who, through interactions with the ladies* at the end of the lane, is exposed to what I can only describe as the place beyond the film behind the screen at the edge of the universe of reality. Mind blowing.
    I also picked up Good Omens, Terry’s first novel with Terry Pratchett.


    'Spoiler' SelectShow
        1. Well, if it had been your #1, then maybe I'd have given you credit! I kid. h/t to Rhu_Rh - He was right, I did like it.

          To be honest, I was just thinking back to bS's comments and didn't remember off the top of my head who else had been promoting these books.

  6. I sort of accidentally took a break from Infinite Jest last month, partly because I had a lot of work-related reading to do on the bus. During that break, I also read Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela Turner. It's a work of young adult nonfiction that might possibly be the bloodiest book I've read. Those samurais were hardcore. I was fascinated to see how Turner was able to make events from so long ago feel vivid and relevant, and I definitely learned a lot about life in twelfth century Japan. Although the book wasn't especially graphic or gratuitous in its depictions of violence, I still read much of the book with a sense of dread.

    I picked Infinite Jest back up the day this post went up, and I'm in the middle of an extremely long and detailed description of a game of Eschaton. The Decemberists video someone (Mags?) brought up a little while ago apparently shows the game being played, so my reward for getting through that scene will be watching the video.

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