Dispatches from the Distancing – Days 85 & 86

I have been in a funk this weekend–I’m chalking it up to the weather. While we normally have nice, but seasonal, weather it has decided to be crap this weekend. I know that rain and wind doesn’t seem so bad and, honestly, it isn’t. It’s the fact that it comes and goes so you never know what you are going to get. And then I go on social media and see the nice weather everyone else is having and I just want to growl.

And, as for today, I realized that I haven’t had any coffee. Unfortunately, I realized this when it was too late to actually have coffee, so I’m very, very sleepy on top of all of that.

I wish I had something more notable to say about this weekend, but really it all comes down to the fact that I was grumpy and tired. There you go.

I do, however, have quite a bit to report on the reading front, so…

As usual, I am linking up with Kathryn at Book Date and her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading blog hop.

I should preface this by saying that it looks like I did nothing but read this week. The truth is that I finished up some books I’ve been working on for a while and had some really quick reads. But, hey, it helps me with my Goodreads goal!

What I Finished Last Week:

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe
(Goodreads Review)

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that was so highly hyped while it was still being hyped. But, I couldn’t resist in this case.

For the most part, the hype was worth it to me. Thorpe has a very readable style and I am definitely going to put her earlier books on my TBR. The narrator, Michael, is a complex and yet still likable character–even when he does things that may not seem likable. We only see Bunny through his eyes, but I think that is clever. The story is, at its core, Michael’s and Bunny is a large force in it.

It takes a little while for the story to get going and then it goes at full speed. I found myself compelled to keep reading as the story sped on.

My one complaint is that I didn’t find the ending as satisfying as I would like. Unfortunately, I can’t put my finger on what made it fall a bit short–it may have needed more triumph or more tragedy or something (or maybe less hype?), but it didn’t feel completely finished to me.

However, the ending was a small issue in the bigger picture of this story. I enjoyed this one and am looking forward to reading more from Rufi Thorpe.

I’ll Be There For You: The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller
(Goodreads Review)

Friends debuted on my 21st birthday.

I think, because of that, it has always held a special place in my heart. I’ve seen the entire series multiple times and have a tradition of doing a binge-watch of all the Thanksgiving episodes the day before the big day as I prep the meal.

This was a book that I just sort of happened upon as I was looking to burn up some audible credits. Why not give it a try? I expected it to be sort of brainless history to play in the background as I did other things. Instead, I found it to be a fascinating study of Friends place in our popular culture.

I will admit that it did get into the weeds a few times, especially in the very beginning, and this felt more like a podcast than an audiobook. I also found that the narration was slow enough that I had to move it to 1.3x speed. But I found the parts about casting the show and the discussions of the more problematic parts of the show to be especially interesting.

If you were not a Friends fan, this book will mean nothing to you. But if you, like me, just can’t give this show up, I would recommend giving this one a try.

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman
(Goodreads Review)

As someone who doesn’t have sisters, I’m always interested in books about sisters. I enjoyed Loigman’s debut novel, so I made a point of searching out this one and ended up tearing through it in just a couple of days.

What a delight! Millie and Ruth have a very conflicted relationship, but it is one where both are sympathetic and both are to blame. While I think Millie was probably the easier with whom to sympathize, I found myself really feeling for Ruth. Her pain is palpable and while she may not be as congenial as her sister, I found her plight more interesting.

I was also taken with the setting of this novel. Most of the state-side war effort novels I’ve read were focused on the Manhattan project, but this was not. Instead, it is set in the Springfield (MA) Armory–which I had never heard of. Loigman brings the community to life in a way that I don’t usually see–instead of it being about the work done at the facility, it is about the people working there.

While this is lighter than much of the historical fiction I read, it was and enjoyable experience and one I would happily recommend.

The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker

I opted not to review this on Goodreads, only because I took so long to read it (I would only read a little bit at bedtime and then finished it when I was between books) that the first part of the book was not fresh in my mind.

This is part of a series that I’ve read from the beginning. It’s set in London’s West End theatre world and, really, how can I say no to that? The author, Lucy Parker, is also one of the stronger romance writers currently publishing.

This one was a bit more in the television world where the starlet is in a Jane Austen-themed reality show filmed at the estate owned by her most critical critic. And romance ensues. It’s was fun, and it wasn’t especially Austen heavy, which is good for me (I’m a Bronte girl). It was definitely a fun diversion.

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

I also don’t have a Goodreads review for this one. On one hand, this is for my book club and I’d like to keep my thoughts to myself until we discuss it. On the other, there is nothing more I can say about this book than “It’s a feminist mashup of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty by Neil Gaiman.” It’s not a bad book–it’s actually quite good. It’s just that there isn’t much more to it than that. I did hand it over to Lillie to read once I was done as it is something she would like.

What I Started Last Week:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Honestly, I didn’t have much interest in this book. But Lillie does. While she reads far above her grade level, that doesn’t mean that she is ready for content way about her grade. Since this is so new and I had yet to hear much about it, I decided I should preview it before I let my 11 year old read it and downloaded the audiobook. Unfortunately, Lillie is not patient enough to wait for me to listen to it, so we are listening to it together. If nothing else, it gets her to spend time with me!

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

My friend Shauna is never going to let me live down that I’m listening to this. As I said, I am not an Austen person. I have read all of her books, mostly because they were assigned, and they just aren’t for me. But I recently ended my Audible subscription and signed up with Libro and this one looked interesting. I’m basically only listening to a chapter at night and then maybe while I’m out walking, if I walk without Pat, so it will take me a while to get through it.

This Is Big: How the Founder of Weight Watchers Changed the World (and Me) by Marissa Meltzer

When I first heard about this book, I put it on hold at the library and ended up at the top of the holds list! And then the libraries closed (and my library didn’t have an electronic copy of this one). So I went ahead and purchased this one from Powells because I just couldn’t wait! I’m about 1/3 of the way through it and I think it is best described as the Jean Nidetch version of Julie and Julia, even though Jean Nidetch is pretty much the polar opposite of Julia Child. I’m enjoying it and flying through it!

4 thoughts on “Dispatches from the Distancing – Days 85 & 86

  1. Hope you’ve had a coffee fix since! Anne from Modern Mrs Darcy lauds Lucy Parker so I must try her. The Wartime Sisters is another book I’ve sort of had my eye on so good to hear it was a good read.

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  2. What a wonderful variety of books. While I enjoyed The Hunger Games, I really don’t have any interest in learning about Snow’s life. I hope you and your daughter enjoy that one. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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  3. I can relate to grumpy days! In spite of that, and even without coffee, you are spotlighting some interesting books that are now going on my list. I’ve been eyeing The Jane Austen Society for a while, and now I am intrigued by This Is Big.

    I am also curious about The Knockout Queen.

    Enjoy your week; may it be full of good weather and fun books. Stay safe. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Like

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