The Hag’s Book Bag: What I’m reading

Posted: January 27, 2012 in favorite things

Terror, Dan Simmons: A gut-wrenching tale of privation suffered by a motley crew of 19th century British sailors in the Arctic, complete with a menacing monster and a mysterious mute maiden. For those of you who like nautical tales, this is a doozey… My first read of the prolific Simmons.

The Paris Wife, Paula McLain: I’m a sucker for anything about the Lost Generation and the years spanning WWI until the outbreak of WWII. Such cataclysmic changes in society and manners. Such style. A tale of Hemingway and and his first wife Hayley Richardson in Paris in the 1920s.

V is for Vengeance: Sue Grafton’s latest installment in her alphabetical mystery series starring the unflappable Kinsey Millhone. Christmas present. Read it in one afternoon and promptly passed it on to my mother-in-law. Just fun.

Draw A Straight Line and Follow It: The Music and Mysticism of LaMonte Young, Jeremy Grimshaw: A biography of one of the founders of American minimalism, a crony of Yoko Ono and John Cage and a major influence on U2 and Coldplay. (And a local boy, to boot.) Very strange dude. All about breaking music down into math and physics. The book was very dense and I only “got” about a third of what he was talking about musically, but what an interesting life.

What’s on deck: Joan Didion’s Blue Nights and Where I Was From, Robert Barnard’s A Charitable Body, and a couple of British murder mysteries I bought used on Amazon. (More evidence of my Amazon One Click madness…)

What’s sitting on your bedside table? I’m always looking for a good read.

  1. Donna says:

    Terror sounds great! Thanks for the recommendation. I loved The Paris Wife. I recommend:

    Just Kids by Patti Smith (yes, the rocker, and she won a National Book Award). Amazing writing and an incredible story of her artistic development and love/friendship with the gay artist Robert Mapplethorpe.

    Sex on the Moon by Ben Mezrich. Non-fiction, a story about the college kid who stole the moon rocks from NASA.

    The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton. Mystery about a locksmith who can’t talk.

    Doc: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell. Story of Doc Holliday.

    11/22/63 by Stephen King. Time traveler attempts to prevent the assassination of President Kennedy. I don’t exactly review the book, but I do discuss it a bit in my most recent blog post on rock the silver.

    Happy reading!

    • msmeta says:

      I loved Just Kids, too. It was particularly interesting to remember what was going on in my dull little life while they were cavorting all over the Chelsea Hotel! The Spouse has 11/22/63 on his iPad, and as soon as he figures out how to get us a joint account, I’ll read that. It’s gotten surprisingly good reviews, considering how the critics usually hate King. Thanks!

  2. I tend to get to the Bookers late (sometimes really late), so I surprised myself by very much enjoying Peter Carey’s The True History of the Kelly Gang. In a way this followed, though by almost a year, my enjoyment of True Grit — a novel I would not have considered, since I always thought I hated westerns (despite a brief flirtation with Zane Gray in my early 20s). The 2011 reprint, coinciding with the film, claimed it was serious literary fiction. Maybe not quite, but it was jolly good. Before that I was gripped by We Need to Talk about Kevin (my reading also prompted by a film I didn’t see, and the novel also literary and good — though I don’t think I will go a lot further with that author).

    Okay, here’s a punt, since you are an anglophile: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. A sweet, light work, not great literature, but not at all bad and well and intelligently written. I enjoyed it, and imagine you might too. Let me know.

    • msmeta says:

      Somewhere in the house I have a copy of True Grit from when the original John Wayne movie came out (I think it was my dad’s) and I still haven’t read it. More motivation. And I found Major Pettigrew on Amazon. I think my book club would like it. Thanks. Are you staying warm, my dear?

  3. Maggie O'C says:

    Last night I finished “The Abstinence Teacher’ by Tom Perrotta. I thought it was useless. I’m reading Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Shaara, I loved his civil war books, his dad wrote the Killer Angels which is outstanding. I also have “The Summer We Fell Apart” on deck.

    Have you ever gone to great way to get books for cheap although now I have so many books I don’t know when I will read them all.

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