Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Salon: Dec. 15 Reading update

I’m glad: I don’t live in Maine anymore, where the temperature is in the teens and the snow is piling up. Central Virginia is a lovely place to live – it has seasons, but the winters are mild. Just right for this time in my life.

This week:
Finished: my Coursera class on the historical novel. I listened to my last lecture. I liked the class, especially the lectures. Best book for me was the last one: The Ghost Bride. It’s also one that crosses genres and perhaps, the historic part is the least dominant for me.
Reading: Melanie Benjamin’s The Aviator’s Wife, which I find mediocre.  Reading for book club. Another so-so New York Times best seller. It’s a fast read and does highlight the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh as well as what marriage was like in the first half of the 20th century for a woman, gifted in her right, who was married to one of the most famous men of their time. Also: Celebrity and paparazzi problems; baby kidnapped; Nazi sympathizer; polygamist etc.  
At the book’s midpoint, I’m wondering if it isn’t a bit presumptuous to put words into the mouth (first-person narration) of a woman who just died in 2001, who was a writer in her own right and whose children guard the family’s privacy.  Daughter Reese Lindbergh, also a writer, is the notable exception. In addition there’s A Scott Berg’s biography, titled Lindbergh, which won the Pulitzer Prize and which apparently goes into detail about the marriage – but not the secret families.  Why wouldn’t one just read that and Anne’s and Reese’s own writing (all of which I haven’t done, though I confess I am now intrigued by Gifts from the Sea)?  Probably won’t; I’m not that interested in the Lindberghs.
Conclusion: Might be good for adolescents, but not for serious readers.
Also reading:  Elizabeth’s Strout’s Olive Kitteridge. How did I miss her books when they came out? Lovin’ it. I’m identifying with the territory.  I too spent a lot of time around a Cook’s Corner in a small Maine town.
Looking forward to: Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.
New to me: Reading books on Kindle. Doing okay.

Listening to: Audiobook—John Boyne’s The Absolutist.
Looking forward to: End of year round-up, new challenges


  1. I've read nothing but positive things about Olive Kitteridge. I may have to pick that one up someday. I hope you're able to join us for The Goldfinch. Have a good week.

  2. Someone recently mentioned The Aviator's Wife at the library where I work and I think their reaction was basically similar to yours in "Why bother when you go to the source?"

    Wow. Don't sound so excited about reading books on the Kindle. ;) <-- from me who usually reads books on ereader, but lately has been reading a few print books, for a change :).

  3. Bryan, It's just that I haven't figured out all the things I can do yet. I know highlighting and note taking are available as well as looking up words. I just don't have down all the swipes yet. I'm going to consult with friends so I can get better at using it. The reading on it is fine. (But I still like "real" books.

  4. I have been curious about The Aviator's Wife...I read another book by this author, and she did a great job of "reimagining" the story. Thanks for sharing...and here's MY WEEKLY SUNDAY/MONDAY UPDATES

  5. How is The Absolutist? I bought it in a charity shop but haven't got around to reading it.

    1. It comes highly recommended by a friend I respect. I not far enough along for my own opinion to form.

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  7. I've never read any Elizabeth Strout; sounds like I need to!

  8. Yes. I don't know why it took me so long. Well worth reading.

  9. I think my 'Gold finch' hold will be a long wait ! Happy Christmas Barbara