First Monday on a Second Tuesday Book Day

Book Club! - This month the WGOM book club is doing The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. Thanks to eschapp for setting that up.

This month I read Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, which won the Man Booker International Award for translated literature.  It was really interesting, it made me hold a lot of ideas and themes in my head at the same time.  There wasn't much overreaching narrative, but there were lots of vignettes that very clearly fit together with themes of travel, observation and preservation, and the futility of the human desire to keep things familiar and the same.  I enjoyed it, although if you're looking for a "great story", this is probably not your book.

I also loved Not Here by Hieu Minh Nguyen.  The poems had absence and hurt, but with an enormous amount of tenderness that made them great to read.  It reminded me of Slow Lightning by Eduardo Corral (another favorite - Corral just announced he's got a second book coming out, I'll definitely be buying that sight unseen).

16 thoughts on “First Monday on a Second Tuesday Book Day”

  1. I've been working my way through e.e. cumming's complete works and some Yeats collections lately. I think I mentioned this last month that I was in a bit of a reading slump so I started reading some random poetry I picked up from Half Price Books. That slump was also the impetus for book club, and I'm nearly finished with TMF.

    Other than that I've been reading a bunch of Backpacker and Outdoors mags that I've been wanting to spend some time reading.

  2. I read both The Politics of Resentment and The Fall of Wisconsin (ht to coc and ch there) in that order. The first was interesting reading quotes from people around the state during some really turbulent (and ongoingly turbulent) times here, especially since I was down here in Madison during all of it.

    'FZ' SelectShow
  3. I finished "Disturbing the Peace" by Vaclav Havel and Karel Hvížďala. It was a very interesting insight into the world of Czechoslovakia in the Cold War era. IT was a little difficult to put into context because it was released right around the time I was born, in a time I have no memory of.

    Cold War stuff in general is a little tricky for me. I know plenty of Citizens remember all kinds of stuff about it, but I was like 4 when the Wall came down, so I do not know a world with the USSR really. I have no reference for what it was like to live through except through texts like this.
    I'm working on "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" right now. It's a quick, entertaining read. It's easy to see how easily Bond became a huge movie franchise. I don't think I've seen the film version of this. I would't be reading it except it was $0.49 at Goodwill and I thought "Eh, why not?"

    1. I think the single best course I took while an undergraduate was a monograph on Havel, from his plays & anti-kody, through his involvement with Charter 77, his imprisonment & the letters to Olga, and on into the Velvet Revolution & major speeches of his presidency. I think he’s easily one of the most important thinkers of the past century. I find myself thinking of his perspective on how to live in a totalitarian state often these days.

        1. That’s very kind & thoughtful of you, Mags. I actually have a copy, so I’ll release any claim to it. Others here would likely find it interesting; maybe it could be a roving copy?

  4. I just finished the second Jack Reacher book. I have a question from it. Are there people that would actually have sex after burying a crucified colleague? It doesn't seem real romantic to me.

  5. I read Blood in the Water about the Attica prison riot. Boy, that was a complete disaster on every level. I felt a few parts lagged a little, but the story of the actual riot as well as the question for justice by both the inmates and the families of the hostages was very interesting.

  6. I finished Jeff Greenfield’s Then Everything Changed and progressed on Almost to the Presidency (a joint biography of HHH & Gene McCarthy). Greenfield's biases annoyed me, but his counterfactuals kept me interested. Of the major figures he covers, the one I am (still) least familiar with is Gary Hart. I'm a bit stalled on Almost to the Presidency, as I'm rereading our book club selection along with Sarah Bakewell's The Existentialist Café. I enjoy philosophy written for non-specialists (one of the reasons Havel appeals to me). Bakewell's an engaging writer & juggles a cast of heavy-hitters (Sartre, de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty, Husserl, Heidegger, and Camus) effectively.

  7. Mayle's
    A Year in Provence was a fun and fast read.

    Murata's Convenience Store Woman, The Maltese Falcon, and Xenophone's Guide to the Poles finished my list.

    My key book story though is that I hauled all my books from the 3rd floor down to the first, stacked them in 3 piles - keep, toss, and take to Minny (for future re-read) and took more than a third to Good Will.

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