Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Reading Envy 055: Too Late for an Autopsy

Julie Davis revisits the podcast to talk about recent reads from the Victorian era onward.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 055: Too Late for an Autopsy.

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Books discussed:

Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
Hard Times by Charles Dickens
Forty Rooms by Olga Grushin
The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Also discussed:

The Last Policeman by Ben Winters (The Last Policeman #1)
Countdown City by Ben Winters (The Last Policeman #2)
World of Trouble by Ben Winters (The Last Policeman #3)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (film)
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie Mallowan
Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens
"On Fairy Stories" by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
A Jane Austen Education by Williams Deresiewicz
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Stoner by John Williams
A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep by Rumer Godden
Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
March Upcountry by David Weber by John Ringo
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Dead Lions by Mick Herron
Slow Horses by Mick Herron
The Elephant Company by Vicki Croke
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

Related Episodes:

Episode 003 - 3 of 5 Stars with guest Julie Davis

Stalk us online:

Julie at The Happy Catholic
SFF Audio
Julie at A Good Story is Hard to Find
Julie at Forgotten Classics
Jenny at Goodreads
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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Review of Eleanor by Jason Gurley

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

Publisher summary (from Penguin Random House):

When a terrible accident claims the life of Eleanor’s twin, her family is left in tatters, and her reality begins to unravel, dropping her in and out of unfamiliar worlds. When she returns to her own time and place, hours and days have flown by without her. One fateful day, Eleanor leaps from a cliff…and vanishes. In a strange in-between place, she meets a mysterious stranger who understands the weight of her family history: Eleanor’s twin wasn’t the only tragic loss. And unless Eleanor can master her strange new abilities, she may not be the last.

 I finished this novel almost a month ago, but already had a moment where something I read in another book triggered a memory of a scene in this book, and it took me a moment to track down the connection. There are parts of the writing in this novel that are so vivid, and so unusual, that they tuck themselves away, waiting for another moment to come to mind!

The fantastical elements of this novel don't really start until around page 80, but really they are what make it a special read. Up until then, it is more of a novel of a family and the loss of a child, but then it morphs and shifts into a much more engaging story of the afterlife and twin connections, grief and healing, and the power of dreams.

The writing of these other worlds, other presences, is descriptive and beautiful. The real world is logically sad and difficult for Eleanor.

Set in the dreary northwest, specifically the Oregon coast, I was surprised at the amount of ocean swimming the characters did. I grew up in Oregon an hour from the ocean and we were told NEVER to swim in it, the dangerous rip tides/currents being ever-present. Also the water is freezing cold all of the time. So I kept being pulled out of the novel to wonder if there are people out there swimming along the Oregon coast - but surely they aren't rowing out from the shore - the waves are pretty dramatic. The author lives in Oregon now; what does he know that I do not? I just can't reconcile it. Surely the coast is not so different from 15 years ago. This is just a little complaint from a longtime Oregonian.

This is the novel that The Lovely Bones wished it was. Not exactly the same premise but the story as a whole seems better connected and more realistic despite the fantastical elements.

I was provided this book through Blogging for Books, who got it from the publisher.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Reading Envy 054: Retired Pirates

Jenny is joined by Jason, a welcome repeat guest who comes on the podcast before and after the long gardening season. Jenny's two dogs are also in the background in the first half, gnawing on some bones. They meander downstairs by the end. Join us in the pub where we discuss pirates, dragons, sparse prose, and marriage.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 054: Retired Pirates.

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Book selections:

Black River by S.M. Hulse
You by Caroline Kepnes; Read by Santino Fontana
The Quiet Season by Jerry Apps
Wedlocked: A Memoir by Jay Ponteri
The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson-Smith
Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Other books mentioned:
Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr
A Night Without Armor by Jewel
Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
We Have Raised All of You by Katy Simpson-Smith

Other mentions:
Deckle Edge Literary Festival
Open Book Series (Columbia, SC)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (tv show)
Frozen (film)
Scratch 'n' Spin (Columbia, SC)
Mary Oliver
A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (PBS show)
Paul Yoon
Nebula Awards

Related podcast episodes:
Reading Envy Episode 014: Flannery O'Connor with Zombies
Reading Envy Episode 025: Mule and Plow
Reading Envy Episode 042 - It Begins with Rain
Reading Envy Episode 046 - Books for Your Kitty Party (The Best of 2015) 

Stalk us online:
Jason on Twitter
Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Library Books Mid-March 2016

I bring home a lot of books from the library. But I have reasons!! So many reasons. And I think some of these are due soon, so I'd better get reading.

A Reading Diary by Alberto Manguel
The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
Light Years by James Salter
Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
Sinners Welcome: Poems by Mary Karr
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Decolonising the Mind by Ngugi ma Thiong'o
Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen
Updraft by Fran Wilde
The Potbellied Virgin by Alicia Yanez Cossio
Memory Wall: Stories by Anthony Doerr
Forty Rooms by Olga Grushin
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
I Call Myself a Feminist: The View from Twenty-Five Women Under Thirty by various
The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman

The Nebula Award nominees were recently announced, and that sent me to the public library for the Jemisin, Schoen, and Wilde. When I got there, Valente jumped off the new books shelf too.

I requested the Karr, Levithan, Salter, and Gawande from interlibrary loan all for different reasons. I was curious about Karr in poetry form, Levithan was recommended to me as a romance I might like, Salter was mentioned on a podcast, and Gawande I was interested in since my Dad is battling cancer. I can't get the nerve to crack the cover, so it may not be the right time for me to read this book about mortality.

The Cossio, Thiong'o, and feminist anthology are for book clubs, and the Doerr, Grushin, Gaiman, and Manguel are just for my curiosity! Actually I had previously read the Grushin as a review copy and wanted to read from it for my podcast, and checked out the library copy. Look for that on an upcoming episode.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Books I Read in February

I wanted to try something new to see what kind of response I got. Will this be redundant to Goodreads? Does everyone who know me in Twitter and through Google+ already read what I post in Goodreads? So far I post about the books I bring home but not the books I've read, and that seemed missing. What if I posted links to the books I finished every month? I only talk about six books at the most on Reading Envy, and often read more than that. Those marked with an asterisk have been or will be on an episode.

Let me know if this is interesting to you!

Books 25-53 of 2016

25. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull (my review)
26. Ice Diaries: An Antarctic Memoir by Jean McNeil (my review)*
27. Sugar in the Blood: A Family's Story of Slavery and Empire by Andrea Stuart (my review)
28. Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie (my review)
29. The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (my review)*
30. Last Sext by Melissa Broder (my review)
31. Speak by Louisa Hall (my review)*
32. In Between the Sheets by Ian McEwan (my review)
33. The Sunlight Dialogues by John Gardner (my review)*
34. Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjon (my review)
35. The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi (my review)
36. Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems by Robin Coste Lewis (my review)
37. Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga (my review)*
38. The Book of Secrets by M.G. Vassanji (my review)
39. The Vegetarian by Han Kang (my review)
40. Blue in a Red State by Justin Krebs (my review)
41. The Duchess War by Courtney Milan (my review)
42. Child of Dandelions by Shenaaz Nanji (my review)
43. The Stranger by Albert Camus (my review)
44. Between the Tides by Patti Callahan Henry (my review)
45. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (my review)*
46. Contemplative Practices in Higher Education by Daniel Barbezat (my review)
47. Wedlocked: A Memoir by Jay Ponteri (my review)*
48. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (my review)*
49. Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr (my review)
50. The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan (my review)
51. Sinners Welcome: Poems by Mary Karr (my review)
52: Savor: Rustic Recipes Inspired by Forest, Field and Farm by Ilona Oppenheim (my review)
53. Contemplative Teaching and Learning by Keith Kroll (my review)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Reading Envy 053: The Pool I Rarely Swim In

Jenny meets up with Luke Christie, a recent graduate of the university where she works, and avid reader. We compete with the squirrels in the ceiling to talk about the books we have been reading. The file is a little distorted, for which I apologize - I'm having some issues in somehow adding distortion when I export to MP3 in Audacity.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 053: The Pool I Rarely Swim In.

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
Or subscribe via iTunes by clicking: Subscribe

Or listen through TuneIn

Books discussed:


My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (Norton Critical Editions)
The Sunlight Dialogues by John Gardner
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff 
Speak by Louisa Hall

Other mentions:
Furman University Communication Studies
M. Judson Books - Lauren Groff Sit-Down Supper
Ron Rash
George Singleton
Wiley Cash
Lee Smith
Louise Erdrich
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Ursula K. Le Guin
Olive Kittredge by Elizabeth Strout
Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout
We Wish to Inform You... by Philip Gourevitch
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Joni Tevis
The Moby-Dick Marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum
Ulysses by James Joyce
The Pioneers by James Fenimore Cooper
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Les Misérables (the musical)
Hope Leslie by Catharina Maria Sedgwick
Grendel by John Gardner
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace (miniseries)
How to be Both by Ali Smith
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Fortune Smiles:Stories by Adam Johnson
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
The Met Live in HD
Elena Ferrante
Best of 2015 New York times lists
Empire of Cotton: A Global History by Sven Beckert
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
10:04 by Ben Lerner

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Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Luke on Twitter