Wednesday, November 29, 2023

WWW Wednesday – November 29

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading
I have been enjoying Ann Patchett’s essay collection, These Precious Days, and I can’t help thinking she would be a fun friend. She takes herself seriously but has a sense of humor, thank goodness. The essays are about random topics, including her three fathers, her husband’s love of flying planes, and her determination to downsize; all extremely readable.
Despite being weary of the current craze of combining World War II and books (yes, I do like both but I don’t believe there were so many book groups populating 1940s London as publishers want me to think), I am listening to The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson (2023). It is allegedly based on a true story of a librarian who created a library in an underground shelter at the Bethnal Green tube station during WWII. It’s got a Catherine Cookson feeling but I like it.

Just finished
Home at Night by Paula Munier (2023) is the fifth book about Mercy Carr and her dog Elvis. I had forgotten she impulsively got married at the end of the previous book (which was way too slapstick for me; it reminded me of the first episode of The Brady Bunch). In this book, Mercy and her new husband buy a Victorian manor she has admired since childhood but there’s a small problem – her dog finds a dead body in the library. I liked this but my sister did not.
I also just finished The Agency for Scandal by Laura Wood (2023). I love this author but the plot – impoverished heroine becoming an undercover detective in late 19th century London society – was awfully far-fetched and I wished someone had corrected the grammatical mistakes. Look for A Sky Painted Gold instead.
It took me a while to read The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds (2015), about a Brooklyn teen who loses his mother and finds comfort by working in a funeral parlor.  I liked the quirky characters and the way Matt overcomes his loneliness by making new friends.  This was the October selection for the de Grummond Book Club but I missed the discussion.


I have three books I was planning to read for Nonfiction November, and although I probably won’t get to them this week, they are high on my list:
Becoming Ezra Jack Keats, a biography of the famous author of The Snowy Day, by Virginia Butler (2023). I have peeked at this but I need uninterrupted time (when does that ever happen?).
Game of Edges: The Analytics Revolution and the Future of Professional Sports by Bruce Schoenfeld (2023). Basically, Bruce (a college friend) is examining how big business sports are now being managed by data, rather than predictions and sentiment.
The World of Elizabeth Goudge by Sylvia Gower (2002). I have been in the middle of this book about Goudge’s life and writing since June, occasionally misplacing it. I guess the truth is that it is less interesting than her books but I do want to finish before the end of the year.

What are you reading this week?  Are you planning any holiday themed books for December?


TracyK said...

Glen and I recently bought a different book of essays by Ann Patchett: This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Neither of us has read it yet, but we expect to enjoy it. Your future nonfiction reading looks interesting too.

Emily G. said...

Alas, we are in agreement on the new Laura Wood. There are several recent novels about 19th-century women in London joining secret societies to help other women--the poor publishers must be disappointed about the timing--and unfortunately, hers was not nearly the best. I hope she returns to her previous style in the future. Yes, "A Sky Painted Gold," or "Under a Dancing Star" or "A Snowfall of Silver." I do love her titles!

Fanda Classiclit said...

Home at Night seems fun, at least I like the cover (well, I love any cover with dogs in it, so...).
I plan to read some Christmas-themed novella or short stories for next month, and am reading (and listening) some books by Dean Street Press for Dean Street December.

Cath said...

What a lovely cover the Goudge book has. I always think 'jigsaw' when I see pictures like that.

Yes, these WW2 bookish books are another 'thing' it seems. You left one for me when you were her, that I've yet to read, The Last Bookshop in London. As to book groups, to me they feel like more of a modern phenomenon that have really taken off in the past 20 years. I expect there were book groups back in the day but suspect they may have been restricted to nice middle-class ladies in towns and villages. I'm trying to remember whether The Provincial Lady belonged to one, I feel liked she would be the sort who wouldn't have time to read the book and would go along and try to wing it. I may even be remembering a real scene. Time for a reread I think.

CLM said...

Tracy, someone just told me how much she had enjoyed that book of essays which apparently discusses how Patchett got over her first bad marriage and met her second husband.

Emily, you were right about that Laura Wood. I could accept the too-perfect-to-be-true duke but the rest was unconvincing. However, I understand the desire to try something different and just hope it isn't a series.

Fanda, I am going to do some Dean Street December too. If you like mysteries that aren't cozies, you would like this Paula Munier series but I always say to start with the first book in the series, which was probably the best.

Cath, I just finished another that got good reviews, in which the American heroine learns she has an aunt in Cambridge who wants to leave her a bookstore *and* there happens to be a handsome titled gentleman next door, plus people trying to kill her.

JaneGS said...

I really enjoyed These Precious Days--and as you say, so readable. I really enjoyed reading about various aspects of Patchett's life and interests.

thecuecard said...

Yeah I liked These Precious Days ... and on the whole like Patchett's nonfiction books better than her fiction. The last essay about Tom Hanks's assistant ... is a sad gut punch. I still think about it sometimes.

CLM said...

That's the one I am reading now! I guessed it wasn't going to end well. It also really brings back that first month of the pandemic and it was when Tom Hanks announced he and his wife had Covid that people started to take it seriously (well, the sensible ones).