Thursday, June 04, 2020

What I'm Reading Now

I'll be honest, mostly lately I've been doing re-reads. Not enough energy to focus on something new. But I did read these: Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir ...Robin Ha, Almost American Girl

This is a graphic novel, about Ha's experience as a 14-15 year old immigrating to the USA (Alabama, to be specific, and then Virginia) from Korea.

Nothing all that exciting or unexpected happens, but it's very readable and well-drawn. I enjoyed it a lot. The parts set in Korea were my favorite.

Martha Wells, Murderbot Diaries

These were a re-read, because my library finally got hard copies of all of them. I'll read e-books, but I greatly prefer the real thing.

Also the new one just came out. 

I love Murderbot.

Emma Straub, All Adults Here

All Adults Here: A Novel - Kindle edition by Straub, Emma ...This is a novel about a grandmother and her three children and three of her grandchildren and what happens to them over the course of about a year.

Nothing major happens. There's not exactly a plot here, is what I'm saying. But it's life in a New England town, and it was a lot of fun to read. I like the goat-farmer daughter and the grandkid who is the child of bohos in New York. I also like the bohos in New York. Oh, and grandma, who was widowed about ten years before the book opens, is in love with the woman who cuts her hair. That romance is a lot of fun, too.

Recommended if you want some light reading.

Ursula LeGuin, The Beginning Place

This is a LeGuin book which somehow I have not only never read but never even heard of. Wikipedia tells me it was first published in 1980. How did I miss it? I do not know.

It's a portal story, sort of. A young man and a young woman come separately across the threshold from their very depressing 1980s life, into the "ain land," or the Evening Land, as Hugh (the young man) calls it. It's a utopian space, at least at first glance; but our main characters soon become aware that this utopia is being destroyed by some unnamed force which is closing in.

Nevil Shute, Pastoral

In my ongoing quest to read all of Nevil Shute, I checked this one out of the library. It's not bad.

This one was written in 1944, and is very much concerned with the war. A bomber pilot, stationed at an airbase near Oxford, falls in love with a W.A.C.C signal officer. That's the plot: wartime romance.

It's a slow, quiet book, except for the parts where the pilot and his crew are out on "operations," as they're called, which are harrowing and a little terrifying. I admit I skipped ahead to make sure Peter Marshall, the pilot, lived through the book. (He does.)

The details make this one worth reading -- the details of the bombing operations, surely, but also the details of life in rural England during the war. Marshall and most of the other characters are all in their late teens and early 20s, which -- as the base commander, an old man of 32 notes -- explains why they're all so focused on finding someone to fall in love with. (The exception is the navigator on Marshall's crew, an old man of 25 who is already married. This guy might be my favorite character. Or maybe the old woman who owns the trout pond. She's also wonderful.)

Anyway, lots of details about daily life, not much plot. Very enjoyable.

Nevil Shute, The Breaking Wave

Another book about post-war Britain and Australia. This one is much less cheery than the previous -- it's mainly about a Wren who encounters a lot of death, and is responsible for a lot of death, and ends up with PTSD. Told from the POV of the man who is, more or less, in love with her, although they only meet once.

This was very readable, but I absolutely would not start reading Shute with this one. It's also very grim.

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