(Left to right on the shelf):
- In Search of London – H.V. Morton. (Loved his In Search of England not too long ago so hoping for more of the same.)
- From Holmes to Sherlock – Mattias Bostrom (NF). A deeper dive into the world of Sherlock Holmes and the fans worldwide.
- Notes from Walnut Tree Farm – Roger Deakin. (NF/nature writing.)
- The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin. (NF/aspirational.) (Read in progress.)
- Journal of a Solitude – May Sarton (NF/memoir.)
- Republic of Lies – Anna Merlan (NF/current events.)
- The Iceman Cometh – Eugene O’Neill. (Play.) (Tried to read it but yowzer. So much whining so it was a DNF. Still, gone and out of the house now.)
- Cranford – Elizabeth Gaskell. (F.)
- The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, A Detective and a World of Literary Obsession – Allison Hoover Bartlett. (NF/history.)
- Microbe Hunters – Paul de Kiruif. (NF/science.)
- Londoners – Craig Taylor. (NF/travel.) (Read this. Enjoyed it. Review here.)
- Outrageous Acts and everyday Rebellions – Gloria Steinham. (NF/autobio.)
- What Every Body is Saying – Joe Navarro. (NF/social sci.)
- Freddie & Me – Mike Dawson. (GN/bio.)
- Tales of a Female Nomad – Rita Golden Gaiman. (NF/travel.)
- The Best American Travel Writing 2020 – Robert McFarlane. (NF/travel.) (DNF. For some reason, McFarlane and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on “good writing”.)
- The Winds of War – Herman Wouk. (F.)
- The Crow Trap – Anne Cleeves. (F.)
The usual rules and guidelines apply: I don’t have to stick this list of titles if I find another title to look at and these are just suggestions. Other plans: read more from my TBR and continue to read a wide range of topics and authors (including a push for POC/BAME authors/topics).
I was just thinking about an earlier post I had written which listed some cooler book selections for readers who live in a hot climate and since today is a little cool for here, I thought I would flip that script and do warm books for those who live in a cooler climate and are looking to raise their body temps a little!:
- Agatha Christie’s Death Comes the End (1944) and Death On the Nile (1944), Murder in Mesopotamia (1935) and there may be some others out there… – set in Egypt. F.
- A Town Like Alice – Neville Shute (1950) F.
- Any of the series of “America’s Best Travel Writing” volumes. (See the 2019 and 2016 issues here and there are also several other volumes out in the blog if you’d like to delve a little deeper.) NF.
- The Orchid House – Phyllis Shand Alfrey (1954) F. Set in the Caribbean so tropical and lush.
- DK Eyewitness book: Africa (1995) NF.
- Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’” – Zora Neale Thurston (1931) NF. A hard-hitting read about slavery times.
- The Thornbirds – Colleen McCullough (1977) F. Set in Australia and war.
- Mojo: Conjure Stories – Nalo Hopkinson (2003) – F/short stories. Some of the stories are set in hot places (such as the Caribbean).
- The New Moon’s Arms – Nalo Hopkinson (2007). See above.
- The Jaguar’s Children – John Vaillant (2015) F. Set in Mexico and Arizona. Vaillant also has a great NF about a man-killing tiger in India (The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival ).
- Aya volumes 1-3 – Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie. Graphic novel about African female character.
- Celia, a Slave – Melton McLaurin (NF about individual trapped as a slave in the south U.S.)
- Tirra Lirra by the River – Jessica Anderson (1978). Set in Australia (can be hot).
- Born a Crime – Trevor Noah (2016) NF/autobio. South Africa can be hot…
- The Tortilla Curtain – T.C. Boyle (1995) F. Set in hot place just outside LA.
- Monique and the Mango Rains – Kris Holloway (2007). Set in Mali (West Africa). NF/bio.
- Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going where Captain Cook has Gone Before – Tony Horowitz. NF. (2003). Bio/travel/history to Hawaii and surroundings.
- Farewell Summer – Ray Bradbury (2006) F. Memories from the author’s childhood summer days.
- Sozaboy – Ken Saro-Wiwa (F). Set in Nigeria.
- A Passage to India – E.M. Forster (1924). Set in India.
- The Wind – Dorothy Scarborough (1925). F about living in West Texas.
- The Boy who Harnessed the Wind – William Kamkwamba (2009). Set in hot country.
- The Devil’s Highway – Luis Alberto Urrea (2004). Set in the Arizona desert and about immigration (hot topic!). Urrea is a super writer for both F and NF, btw.
- India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation’s Remaking – Anand Giridharadas. NF/travel/auto/history. (2011). Set in India – hot and lush!
What do you think? Do you have any ideas of any other book titles to add that can spirit readers to a warmer place?
The reads for February 2021 included:
- The Seven Dials Mystery – Agatha Christie F (1929)
- The Book of Unknown Americans – Cristina Henriquiez F (2014)
- Pavilion of Women – Pearl Buck F (1946).
- Patsy – Nicole Dennis-Brown F (2019).
- The Weight of Heaven – Thrity Umriger F (2009).
- The Etymologist – Mark Forsythe NF (2011).
- Mariana – Monica Dickens F (1940).
- By the Sea – Abdulrazak Gurnah F (2002). Note: DNF.
- The Best American Science Writing 2006 – Atul Gwande NF (2007).
- The Country Child – Alison Uttley NF/F? (1931).
So to the numbers:
- Total number of books read in February 2021: 10.
- Total number of pages read: 3,056 pages (av. 306).
- Fiction/Non-Fiction: 7 fiction / 3 non-fiction.
- Diversity: 4 BIPOC. 7 books by women.
- Library books vs. books I owned (and thus removed from the home abode): 3 library books, 7 owned books (whee!) and 0 e-books.
Plans for March 2021 include a long weekend off for Spring Break (abbreviated due to COVID). Finish up my ongoing read of “Far From the Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy. I also want to continue to include more BIPOC writing on my list. Continue this pace of reading and continue this streak of reading more from my own TBR as opposed to those titles from the library.
February is almost done but it seemed to move very fast for me in some ways and rather slow in others. I teach at a university and we had some really bad weather last week (including about four inches of snow and ice). Since our area is not that experienced with snow, the entire week of classes and work was cancelled due to the weather, which was pretty weird. It was fine but it did make my week seem a bit off.
And how did I spend that precious time? Not really sure. I know that there were some naps and a couple of library trips and some reading from the TBR. The Superhero had to go to work (since he’s a first responder person) which meant a lot of alone time for me (which was fine). I watched some more of the really addictive The Great British Baking Show (I love Noel Fielding), and made some bread-and-butter pudding (since the weather was so cold and it seems a very cozy pudding to me). That was yummy and easy to make.
This week, I’m back in the office and prepping lectures and answering emails. The weather is now back up to the 60s as a high and the only traces of all the snow we had last week are a few patches in the shadows. Not to be surprised though, as West Texas is known for its weird weather patterns. I call the early Spring months the “ski jacket and shorts” months because you will probably need both of them by the end of the day. 😉
I’m still teaching online which is becoming more second nature to me and probably to the students as well. My preference is to teach F2F but with things as they are in the world around us, online it is so I’m striving to provide an equal educational experience via the online world. I have a feeling that it’s a learning experience for everyone who does it and I’ve definitely learned some tricks of the trade.
(Naturally, there has been a jigsaw puzzle in progress. Perfect weather for such an indoor sport!)
Book-wise, I had a B&N gift card burning a hole in my pocket (left over from Christmas) so I went there and spent a lovely hour or so strolling around their stock shelves. Ended up buying two NF paperbacks: America’s Best Travel Writing 2020 (edited by Robert McFarlane) and Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman. Very looking forward to reading these at some point in the near future…
Right now, I’m reading a book called “By the Sea” by Abdulrazak Gurnah, a fiction and rather a broccoli book if I’m honest. (“Broccoli books” are those that perhaps don’t taste that great but are really good for you… 🙂 )
ETA: “By the Sea” ended up being a DNF. Way too obtuse and wordy for me right now.
ETA2: The Travel Writing volume ended up being a surprising DNF as well. McFarlane and I just don’t see eye-to-eye on what constitutes good writing apparently. ;-}
Now the calendar has turned the month to February, thought it might be time for a little catch-up. The university has been in action for a few weeks now and the routines are setting into place rather nicely. I say it every year but it makes it no less true: I am so lucky (and appreciative) to hold a faculty position. It never gets old!
Life has been pretty smooth lately. I am teaching 100 percent online this semester which is new for me, but it’s working out. I do still come into the office (since my position is split between faculty responsibilities and some editorial ones) but since I really like coming to work, that works out fine. (I know – I am fortunate to have this set-up.)
The West Texas weather is edging into Spring with some regularly occurring warmer daytime temps. We still have the biting cold at night for the most part – that’s why I call our Spring “Ski-jacket-and-shorts” weather since you’ll need both of them by the end of the day!) It’s snowed in March before but it’s been 80 so it keeps you on your toes. It also means having a flexible wardrobe and dressing in layers if you want to keep up with the thermometer. 🙂
I’m now out of my reading slump (thank goodness). It’s interesting to watch how personal interests wax and wane over the weeks. After a serious bout of doing jigsaw puzzles, I haven’t done one since the new year, but now the itch is back and I’m planning on starting a new puzzle this weekend. <rubs hands with glee>
It has been similar with books. I was still reading per se, but it wasn’t books. I was reading absolutely anything else but just had a stubborn disinterest for them but I’m happy to note that this is no longer the case. (See ref above re: waxing and waning.)
My titles have been trending towards the “read-like-hot-knife-through-butter” category in that they haven’t been particularly demanding of my brain cells. That’s not to say that they haven’t been fun and interesting: just not giving me an intellectual workout. I think it was linked with the return to school. I was also not very well but that’s improved. (I can’t concentrate if I’m feeling a bit sick.)
Had a really good experience with Stephen King’s Misery and I’m interested in tracking down another King read so long as it’s a thriller and not horror. (Thanks to Mark, I have some titles to track down now. Thanks!)
Wanting another fairly smooth read, I picked up The Seven Dials Mystery, a random Agatha Christie murder-mystery. Goodness me. Christie can write well. It was a good palate-cleanser and I enjoyed it. It hit the spot.
Then I went looking for a POC author (since I’m working on diversifying my authors/titles this year) and came up The Book of Unknown Americans by Christine Hernandez. This was an enjoyable story and I loved its structure. Each character is given his/her own chapter from his/her own POV and the narrative just cycles through this handful of POVs so that you can see what different people are thinking and reacting at different times. It worked really well and I thoroughly enjoyed this read as well. No idea where I found the title – it might have been on the New Reads shelf at the library…
Since that title, I wanted to focus on a classic and preferably a classic that was sitting on my TBR pile, so I pulled down Pavilion of Women by Pearl S. Buck (1946), a quiet but riveting plot featuring Madam Wu and revolving around a momentous 40th birthday. Madame Wu decides to upend her life and allow her husband to take a concubine which leads to a life of freedom for the protagonist. It’s a very domestic novel about a marriage in China and it’s been interesting so far.