Dispatches from the Distancing – Day 51

Another weekend gone, another weekend of not really doing anything.  We had Zoom church as usual–we’ve found that the bonus room is the best place in the house, if only because it gives the kids to be “in church” while laying down on the ground, or in the giant bean bag.  I foresee some behavior issues when we finally get back to cburch.

Other than washing a load of laundry for a friend whose washer broke, nothing much of note today.  Pat made me watch some incredibly violent films and I made him watch an episode of Drunk History, and episode of America in Color, and a 50 “Oregon from the air” show.  He drew the line at Call the Midwife, though.

Weather wise, today was one those days that alternated between crappy and beautiful.  During one the beautiful periods, the kids decided to put on their swimsuits and have a water gun fight in the backyard.  While it was beautiful, it was also about 55 degrees.  Chris realized he was cold pretty early on.  Lillie insisted it was warm and stayed outside until she figured out Chris wasn’t going to come out again.

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And now it is time to check in with what I’ve been reading.  As usual, I’m linking up with Kathryn at Book Date and her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? blog hop.

What I read last week:

Since it is late, I’m going to cheat a little bit here and put in the reviews I wrote on Goodreads for these books.

Emma in the NightEmma in the Night by Wendy Walker
This was a book that came highly recommended, but I was incredibly underwhelmed. I will admit that, while I love thrillers, it is hard for me to be blown away by them after reading a small number of truly excellent ones. This one, however, fell victim to two of what I consider unforgivable sins.

First of all, I figured out much of the resolution very early on. When I say early on, I would say in about the first quarter of the book or so. I kept hoping for some last minute swerve, but it never came–which made the ending less than satisfactory.

Secondly, I never felt like many of the main players were real. Ironically, the most believable was the one character whose personality was in question. But everyone else? They were just words on a page, lacking any real flesh.

There were times that this book got lost in weeds of its own making, which led me to feel like that there was just a lot of water treading. Finally, the book ends with a quota that essentially explains everything, which I found to be an annoying cherry on the disappointing sundae.

The Paris HoursThe Paris Hours by Alex George
What an absolutely lovely book!

I am a little wary of books that tell numerous individual stories that, somehow, all come together. This book is an example of how to make that work. The novel follows 4 very different characters who seem to have nothing in common. However, unlike many books that use this convention, here the faint threads between the characters start to become apparent early in the story. This solves two problems–wondering for nearly the entire book why I’m reading about these characters and having the end be believable.

The language here is gorgeous, but not overwrought. While this is a literary novel, it is not hard to read. And each of the characters are breath life on the page and the transitions from character to character are smooth and I never felt as thought I was pulled against my will out of one story and into another.

1920s Paris comes to life here and famous figures–Ernest Hemingway, Josephine Baker, and Gertrude, to name a few–make their cameos. This book didn’t just make me want to go to Paris; it made me want to go to Paris in a time machine.

This book is not just one that I would recommend, it is one that will live on my keeper shelf for the days when I just need to escape.

What I’m reading now:

Mrs EverythingMrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
Jennifer Weiner is one of my must-buys.  As soon as I hear that she has a new book out, I pre-order it, which is what I did with this book.  I received it on its release date…and then it sat on my TBR bookshelf since.  There is no “good” reason for this, other than library books were my priority so I was reading very few of my own books.  Then the pandemic started and I’m finally getting to all these books!  And the timing is good, because Weiner’s next book is due to show up on my doorstep this month.

So far, I’m enjoying it.  I’m not far enough into it to have any opinions, but I know that this is based on her mother’s life and, if you follow her, she talks frequently about her mother.  Because of that, I feel both like I already know this story, as well as this is the story I’ve been waiting to read.

 

6 thoughts on “Dispatches from the Distancing – Day 51

  1. I enjoyed Mrs. Everything…and I also have the ARC of her next book, Big Summer. I have another of her books still unread on my Kindle: Hungry Heart. I really need to get around to it.

    The Paris Hours looks very tempting.

    Enjoy your week…and here are my WEEKLY UPDATES

    Like

  2. I’m so glad to hear The Paris Hours was so good. I got it from BOTM, but have yet to feel motivated to actually pick it up. have a great week.

    Like

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About mdawnott