Category Archives: Reading

Finished two, selected another

I finished The Sympathizer yesterday and Chocolat today. The Sympathizer is exquisitely written, but highly disturbing. It’s going to be difficult to talk about it on Thursday with my book group colleagues. I usually feel inferior to them, intellectually, anyway — so if everyone gushes over the book, I might lose it. I know one friend liked it and seemed surprised that I didn’t. I didn’t need to read the rape scene to live a more fulfilled life though. And of course there are the descriptions of torture. And the squid.

Chocolat, on the other hand was lovely to read. It is quite different from the film — enough so that I was often able to not picture Johnny Depp as Roux. It was, of course, a much lighter read than The Sympathizer and contained no more torture than a devout priest’s self torture. No rape, but definitely physical abuse. And no squid.

I think the next book that takes the place of Chocolat (an unread eBook) will be The End of Your Life Bookclub by Will Schwalbe. It was a bookgroup read back when I was still using my Nook instead of a Kindle — a long time ago. I started reading it but could not get into it. I think I skipped book group that month. I imagine reading it will give me more ideas of books to read.

Four books at once

Since the first of the year I’ve been reading 4 different books — each for a different purpose and sometimes in a different place in the house.

Book Group:

The Sympathizer by  Viet Thanh Nguyen

For book group I am reading Viet Thanh Nguyen’s 2016 Pulitzer Prize winning book The Sympathizer. I’ve known we were reading this for months and started and stopped many times during those months. I finally had to keep going because book group is on the 24th of this month.

I don’t like it much, although there are parts that I find interesting. I think the biggest problem is that I know very little about the Viet Nam war and the book is about the Viet Nam war, its aftermath, the refugees, the Viet Cong, etc.

I’ll keep going, finish it and put it behind me. Often when I read about something I knew little about I’ve been compelled to learn more, but not with this book, although I might watch the Ken Burns’ series about the Viet Nam war.

I am reading this on my Kindle or Kindle app whenever I get a chance.

Owned, unread hard-copy book:

Points of View: An Anthology of Short Stories edited by James Moffett & Kenneth R. McElheny

I picked this out to read sometime late last year because I didn’t have the energy to devote to a novel. I’m enjoying it — skipping the stories I have already read. I was surprised to really enjoy a longish short story by Henry James called “A Bundle of Letters”.

I am only reading this in the living room on the couch and usually onlywhen I wake up in the middle of the night and don’t want to use a device that might mess up my sleep even more.

Owned, unread eBook: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

I bought this years ago when someone in book group chose Peaches for Father Francis, the third book in the Chocolat series. I’d hoped to read Chocolat and The Girl with no Shadow before Peaches for Father Francis so I was up to date on everything with Vianne and Anouk. I ended up finishing none of them.

This is my fun read right now. Enjoying this book immensely. I’ve seen the film several times and love it more each time I see it.

I am reading this in bed before I fall asleep on an old Nook after my other book obligations have been met.

Year-long challenge: The Books of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

I mistakenly asked Clare for an illustrated copy of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea books, thinking I’d finally read books that I’d meant to read years ago and she obliged. The book weighs a lot and holding it, even for the three pages a day that I decided would get me through all 1008 pages, is a chore.

It took a couple chapters, but I can now say I am getting into the book although as it turns out that the book I’d been meaning to read by Le Guin was The Left Hand of Darkness.

Oh well, three pages a day is nothing — and I am building up my arm muscles in the process.

I am only reading this when I sit on the couch in the living room, usually while I drink my coffee in the morning.