My schedule is finally back to normal at work and just knowing that is making me feel a lot better. For the last few weeks I had been going into work each day not sure who I was going to be working with, not sure how I was going to manage to get everything done that needed to get done. The shift I was working wasn’t a radically different schedule, but seemed more time consuming and definitely included a lot more travel time because of the way my hours were set up.
Today is my third day off (and I have two more days off, so YAY!). Yesterday I did some housework and took the cat to the vet and today is pouring outside so I’m totally justifying a lazy day. I ventured out long enough to drive over the mountain to the library to check out some new books and although originally was going to start reading them at the coffee shop decided to just come home. Just way too nasty out and I was already soaked. So came home, changed into sweats and a teeshirt and have started my rainy day hibernation. Totally plan to read, catch up on my book reviews and hopefully my emails. I have emails from February to reply to.
From Goodreads: The summer of 1927 began with one of the signature events of the twentieth century: on May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first man to cross the Atlantic by plane nonstop, and when he landed in Le Bourget airfield near Paris, he ignited an explosion of worldwide rapture and instantly became the most famous person on the planet. Meanwhile, the titanically talented Babe Ruth was beginning his assault on the home run record, which would culminate on September 30 with his sixtieth blast, one of the most resonant and durable records in sports history. In between those dates a Queens housewife named Ruth Snyder and her corset-salesman lover garroted her husband, leading to a murder trial that became a huge tabloid sensation. Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly sat atop a flagpole in Newark, New Jersey, for twelve days—a new record. The American South was clobbered by unprecedented rain and by flooding of the Mississippi basin, a great human disaster, the relief efforts for which were guided by the uncannily able and insufferably pompous Herbert Hoover. Calvin Coolidge interrupted an already leisurely presidency for an even more relaxing three-month vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The gangster Al Capone tightened his grip on the illegal booze business through a gaudy and murderous reign of terror and municipal corruption. The first true “talking picture,” Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer, was filmed and forever changed the motion picture industry. The four most powerful central bankers on earth met in secret session on a Long Island estate and made a fateful decision that virtually guaranteed a future crash and depression.
All this and much, much more transpired in that epochal summer of 1927, and Bill Bryson captures its outsized personalities, exciting events, and occasional just plain weirdness with his trademark vividness, eye for telling detail, and delicious humor. In that year America stepped out onto the world stage as the main event, and One Summer transforms it all into narrative nonfiction of the highest ordert
I love Bill Bryson’s travelogues. I first picked up In a Sunburnt Country when I was in college (and obsessed with Australia) and instantly fell in love with the mix of facinating facts about science and history and everything in between and Bill Bryson’s sidesplitting sense of humor. My most vivid memory of reading In a Sunburnt Country is nearly giving myself a stroke from trying not to laugh out loud too wildly while reading a passage of Bryson falling asleep in the car during his travels.
So far though, I have been less than impressed with Bill Bryson’s non travel writing. His childhood memoir was enjoyable and his other books were interesting enough but there was something missing. So I went into One Summer with guarded expectations.
Although there were not any laugh out loud, probably shouldn’t read this in public, moments, I found myself thoroughly enjoying this book. I’m not much of a history buff, so I had no idea how much stuff went on during such a short amount of time. A lot of the people involved with the events I had heard of, but not in a very detailed way so it was nice to actually get a better idea of who they actually were and why they were so significant in history.
I was very satisfied with this read, and I think it would be a good starting point for someone wanting to explore history a bit more. I can’t say it was a quick read (because there was so much to process throughout) but something that would be worth the investment.
From Goodreads: During the rainy season of 1995, in the bustling town of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, one family’s life is disrupted by the sudden disappearance of seventeen-year-old Paul Utu, beloved brother and son. As they grapple with the sudden loss of their darling boy, they embark on a painful and moving journey of immense power which changes their lives forever and shatters the fragile ecosystem of their once ordered family. Ajie, the youngest sibling, is burdened with the guilt of having seen Paul last and convinced that his vanished brother was betrayed long ago. But his search for the truth uncovers hidden family secrets and reawakens old, long forgotten ghosts as rumours of police brutality, oil shortages, and frenzied student protests serve as a backdrop to his pursuit.
In a tale that moves seamlessly back and forth through time, Ajie relives a trip to the family’s ancestral village where, together, he and his family listen to the myths of how their people settled there, while the villagers argue over the mysterious Company, who found oil on their land and will do anything to guarantee support. As the story builds towards its stunning conclusion, it becomes clear that only once past and present come to a crossroads will Ajie and his family finally find the answers they have been searching for.
And After Many Days introduces Ile’s spellbinding ability to tightly weave together personal and political loss until, inevitably, the two threads become nearly indistinguishable. It is a masterful story of childhood, of the delicate, complex balance between the powerful and the powerless, and a searing portrait of a community as the old order gives way to the new.
I won a copy of this book through The First Reads Giveaway on Goodreads.
I wasn’t a huge fan of And After Many Days. I’m not sure exactly where the book failed me, it wasn’t the writing…which was the best part of the book. It wasn’t the characters, who were fleshed out. It wasn’t even the story, which was actually intriguing. Maybe it wasn’t anything in particular. Maybe it was just me. Maybe I was the one that could not focus enough in the story to get lost in it’s pages. Maybe I just didn’t care enough.
Truthfully though, I think it was the pacing that lost me. I wanted a book that moved forward, that showed the aftermath of the disappearance of Paul, and instead, the book was told almost entirely in flashbacks. Interesting, and a good way of experiencing the Nigerian culture…but did not match up with the expectations I had set up for myself.
I’m still giving it a respectable three stars as I did feel as though it was well written and it was a good book overall, it just wasn’t what I wanted at the time.
From Goodreads: Thirteen-year-old Lizzie Hood and her next-door neighbor, Evie Verver, are inseparable, best friends who swap clothes, bathing suits, and field-hockey sticks and between whom, presumably, there are no secrets. Then one afternoon, Evie disappears, and as a rabid, giddy panic spreads through the balmy suburban community, everyone turns to Lizzie for answers. Was Evie unhappy, troubled, or upset? Had she mentioned being followed? Would she have gotten into the car of a stranger?
Compelled by curiosity, Lizzie takes up her own furtive pursuit of the truth. Haunted by dreams of her lost friend and titillated by her own new power as the center of the disappearance, Lizzie uncovers secret after secret and begins to wonder if she knew anything at all about her best friend.
This was the second Megan Abbott book I read, and it was the book that made me realize that Megan Abbott is good at what she does. Really good. She is one disturbing writer and I love it.
This was a quick read and by the time I got to the end I was equally glad that it ended, but still confused and uncomfortable. I still couldn’t decide all the people who were involved. I couldn’t decide who were the bad guys and who weren’t. I wasn’t even convinced that Lizzy wasn’t involved. It just seemed a little too suspicious.
If you are looking for a creepy mystery story, this is a great choice.
I was thinking of doing the 24 hour readathon today….but then on Wednesday I was told asked if I would change my schedule to accommodate some vacancies…so instead of working a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday shift…it’s Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. This sucks on about 100 different levels, most being that I had a short weekend and I’ll be at work around the clock from tomorrow at 9am until 9pm on Tuesday evening. I’m suppose to have time off on Tuesday…but no way of going home…so not into this week.
The good news though is that I’m getting a new bed. Finally broke down yesterday and went bed shopping. I also bought a new (used) desk from Goodwill so I’ll have a separate computer station and writing station.
I’m several books behind in writing reviews. Maybe I’ll get to them today. Maybe not. I’ll do my best.
Tuesday night and this week has already been too much. My husband and I were out of synch most of the weekend, now we are in battle against the Man aka various US beuractic offices….then I got no sleep last night, walked into work to the news that a co-worker in the agency has died very suddenly.
The good part of the day was I was able to take some time to head back home to vote. So there was that. I didn’t think I was going to manage it.
Now I need some sleep.