After two weeks of driving up and down the East coast—from Virginia to Maine to Virginia to Florida, to Virginia, I am back online. I am also back to work at my seasonal part-time job. Alas, less reading time.
I visited relatives in both Massachusetts and Florida. I had plenty of time to listen to Jon Meacham’s new biography of Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, on audiobooks while driving. It presents Jefferson as a philosopher politician, one who thought idealistically, but acted practically, which translated to compromising principles to get things done. A rare idea! What impressed me most was how much Meachem put Jefferson’s concerns in context, particularly his fears of the possible return to monarchy. Partisan politics thrived even in the early years of our country. What treacherous times! I also had forgotten that long before the Civil War the “united” states were not convinced they wanted to stay that way; in our country’s infancy sections of states were often on the verge of saying “We don’t like your (the other guy’s) policy. We quit.” Northeastern States threatened secession twice during Jefferson’s presidency alone. It’s amazing we even have a country. Actor Edward Hermann read the audiobook. I love his voice.
I also read Ian Rankin’s Naming the Dead, a Rebus crime novel. I’m catching up on back titles by this Scottish author, inspired by recent reads about Irish crime.
I have now finished and reviewed the three crime novels by Irish writer Gene Kerrigan as part of the Europa Challenge. I posted a review of The Midnight Choir this week. People here are just beginning to discover him. His newly released book, The Rage, is climbing the NYT bestseller list.
I also finished The Art of Losing, by the British writer Rebecca Connell, a short thriller and another Europa Edition. A strong first novel with some flaws. Will post a review soon.
I love the Europa challenge; this Penguin imprint has opened a whole new world of international literature to me. Europa specializes in international literary fiction – books that often make bestseller lists in other countries but are unknown here, and Europa Noir, -- international mysteries that do the same. What could be better! Currently reading Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment, another Europa.