28 January 2020

A plethora of nonfiction reading +

I don't always read paper books, in fact, it has become rare as I travel more for my day job. Living in Spain doesn't give me a wide selection  of paper in English. I love paper but the practicality has driven me into the arms of digital devices. I still have a library/office in my home and enjoy "real" books immensely to look at, read and touch.

 So how on earth am I reading all of these paper at one time? 

I'm in a travel lull. Also in the last year,  I have given myself permission on nonfiction to read on and off. In the past, I pushed myself to finish and often lost enthusiasm and therefore attention span on nonfiction just dragging myself to completion rather than absorbing the information.  In addition I have four more digital nonfiction books underway as well. That brings the total on nonfiction to eight!

I don't think I've ever read so many books at once in my life. It has left me with some anxiousness and I see I need to wrap up a few of them so I don't feel so lost when it's time to read. 
Followers of my blog will know I don't really love reading nonfiction and my relaxing and enjoying comes from fiction which takes my mind away from reality. 
Here's the total: three for research, two were gifts,  one a travelogue - these I love but I stalled out on finishing for some reason; two for work or you could dub them self-improvement.  AND I have a fiction audio book going at the moment. Just finished a paper fiction book on Thursday night as well. 

So what should I pick up now?! 

11 January 2020

Books read in 2019

1. I Must Say, By Martin Short, a memoir, audiobook, he reads it, enjoyable.  He does use swear words a little. 
2. The Camel Club, by David Baldacci , fiction political thriller DC area, felt like a good amount of political soapbox mixed in with the action. Good characters but won't go back for more.
3. The Dead in their Vaulted Arches, by Alan Bradley, fiction mystery, UK 1950s. **** library ebook 
4. The Napoleon of Notting hill, G.K. Chestertoon, fiction audiobook, satire was deep probably a good deal of pop culture commentary over my head but some pithy observations in story form as well. Written in 1904 set in 1984. 
5. A Confederacy of Dunces, by John. Kennedy O’Toole,  humor fiction, Pulitzer prize winner,  dreadful, in my quest for humor, striking out. Perhaps a Strange look into the 1960s. Odd so much that was said would be blackballed as inappropriate today. 
5.5. The empty house, mystery fiction, Abigail Augsburger, Short story audiobook almost like a kids book. Too light.  Too short.
5.6. Infinite Jest. Tried to read It’s won prizes and is lauded as a humor book. I was not enjoying it at all after 3 audio hours and I quit. 
6. The Freedom broker, a Thea Paris novel, by K. J. Howe, Greece, Africa, techno thriller, ****, audiobook, enjoyed the action and the protagonist 
7. Take Out, By Margaret Maron, mystery detective novel NYC, ****
8. The Monkey’s raincoat, by Robert Crais, 1987 mystery novel voted one of the best by independent book sellers. Set in LA, very Hard boiled and definitely a look into the past. Times have really changed a lot. Quick read. Paperback
9. The Spy wore Silk, by Aline Countess of Romanones, nonfiction 1970s, American who spied while being married to a Spanish Count. Book 3 of a series. Set in Morocco mostly during a coup attempt. I find these interesting seeing into the world of the rich and powerful and she has a very nice way of presenting without going political. I like seeing the Spain of that time. 
10. By Reason of Insanity, by Randy Singer, legal thriller, Virginia and Las Vegas, hardback, ***.5
11. Love you more, by Lisa Gardner, Massachusetts, ebook, ****
12.The Queen  Aretha Franklin, by Mikail, Gilmore, nonfiction,  audiobook
13. The child next door, by Shalini Bolander, fiction UK, billed as a thriller but the whiny protagonist wearied me. 
14 .The Innocent Man, by John Grisham, nonfiction, didn’t quite finish. I thought it was fiction it got really long. I’m not great with crime nonfiction. I understand the TV series is good.
15. Chasing a Croatian Girl:a survivor’s tale by Cody Brown, nonfiction, ebook. Humorous, Delightful. Much applies to Spain as well for learning to live somewhere else. 
16. What the Dead know, by Laura Lippman, fiction mystery, Baltimore and Mexico. Good plot twist. Audiobook. 
17. The Gospel as tragedy, comedy and fairytale, by Frederick Buckner, nonfiction 1977.  Poignant and thought provoking. Quick read. Hardback book
18. Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan, all over in Asia and a few other places. The places are viewed the way rich people see them. Fiction. Billed as super funny and it is humorous. I think the idiosyncrasies of the rich may be beyond my humor. 
19. Eva Trout, by Elizabeth Bowen, fiction 1960s Ireland. Paperback purchased at the Dublin Writers Museum. Again some of the humor escaped me plus the end was a shock. 
20. The African Svelte, ingenious misspellings that make surprising sense, by Daniel Menaker with illustrations. Quick nonfiction read. Humorous word play. 
21. Cover her in darkness, by Eileen Rendahl fiction library ebook, Chicago.  Good mystery fiction. ****
22. Stone Cold, by CJ Foxx, Wyoming park service ranger mystery, library ebook. Well written, interesting plot. Park service was an outlier for me. Library ebook. 
23. Never Die Alone, by Lisa Jackson. Mystery suspense, New Orleans, library ebook. Good read. Three or four typos in a mainstream publishers book! 
24. Reconstructing Amelia,  by Kimberly McCreight , fiction  Brooklyn, writing was fine, I didn’t like it. Downward spiral. One of several mysteries I’ve encountered recently that don’t really fit the genre. They are categorizing too loosely or incorrectly. 
25. Don’t Make Me Pullover, by Richard Ratay, nonfiction history and memoir of  family road trip vacations, audio library book. Entertaining. light. 
26. Code Name Lise, by Larry Loftis, nonfiction WWII most decorated female spy. Very Interesting. Exciting. Poignant. Audiobook. 
27. An Innocent Client, a Joe Dillard mystery by Scott Pratt, courtroom drama, set in the south,  audiobook.  Good book. Twist in plot. 
28. 4th of July, Murder Club series, California, by James Patterson with Maxine Paetro, library ebook. Cop detective series. Easy read.I like the friends together in this.  
29. Does this Beach make me look fat? By Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella, humorous life memoir, library audiobook read by authors mother and daughter. Funny bits. But I was done before the book was. 
30. The Fear Index, by Robert Harris, thriller fiction, Geneva Switzerland. Twist ending! Very good. 
31. Woman of God, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, library audiobook. Sudan, Europe, Massachusetts. Very Interesting themes. Enjoyed this one a lot. 
 32. The Melody Lingers On, by Mary Higgins Clark, mystery New York City, library ebook. Quick read.
 33. Fierce Optimism, Leeza Gibbons, memoir, audiobook, library. I liked the theme of optimism but lost interest toward the end. 
34.  Double Blind, Iris Johansson, mystery, California, library ebook. Good read. Main character was blind and had surgery to correct it so she observes better than most people. 
35. The story of my life by Helen Keller. Audiobook. Overcoming adversity is a great theme! Short book 
36. The Game Changer, by Louise Phillips, mystery set in Ireland. Ebook. I must have read something very similar. It felt familiar but the end was different than I thought so not a reread. It was distracting to me to keep thinking that plus I predicted much of it. 
37. Trust Me, by Hank Phillips Ryan, mystery, Massachusetts, library ebook. I enjoyed this book 
38. Dark Horse, by Tami Hoag, mystery, Florida, audio library book.  Older technology references but a good plot. 
39. Redemption, by David Baldacci, Amos Decker detective novel, Ohio, library ebook. I like this series. Though the hook that brought me to it (his brain injury) has faded as the series has gone on.
40. Under the Beetle’s Cellar, by. Mary Willis Walker mystery  mystery fiction set in Texas, writer protagonist, audiobook. Suspenseful!
41. Agatha Raisin and the haunted house, M C Beaton, Sleuth mystery, UK. I think I read this one years ago but didn’t realize until the middle. This was an audiobook from the library. Reader was very good. 
42. Dare to lead, by Brene Brown, I had resisted her books as pop culture but it was a library ebook. Extremely good. Audiobook read by her. I went to the website and printed things afterward. 
43. No good deed goes unpunished or unrewarded, by Paul Cowell.  Nonfiction.  A gift.  this Book had some great take aways. It made me feel less alone. Paperback 
44. The Convent, by PaƱos Karnezis, fiction, drama, set in Spain turn of the century. Well written, melancholy. Paperback hanging around in my house. Maybe a re-read. Sigh.
45. My Lost Family, by Daniel Ben-Moshe, Amazon original, turns out this “audio book”was a repurposed podcast, it was very good and was offered free on audible. I felt gipped by it being offered as a “free book.” Nonfiction his mother had children before him that were taken by their father and he didn’t know them. 
46. Burnout Generation, by Anne Helen. Peterson, again a freebie on amazon audible that was  a podcast, it’s probably going to be a book on how millennials are so burned out and have so little chance of getting out of debt. My take away is that I’m flirting with burnout and while they feel it is unique to their generation it is not. Sure some things in every era are unique but challenges  and fulfillment are not so unusual as stressors but they didn’t ask me.
47. A Window Opens, By Elisabeth Egan, chic lit, library ebook. Just a reminder why I don’t read this genre, I wanted an audiobook quickly and grabbed it from the library. This is the most unrealistic couple conflict ever. Ending was easy to see. It wasn’t poorly written just not my thing I guess. 
48. On Borrowed time, by David Rosenfelt. Mystery with odd twist. Again pretty sure I read this before but can’t find it on my lists. I wonder too if the same themes appeal to me and I read similar books by accident. It was well written. 
49 Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeman, fiction audiobook. Good Scottish accents. Feel good story overcoming adversity.  If this is chic lit, I stand corrected. Well done. 
50. All the Dead Lie Down, by Mary Willis Walker, mystery fiction, Texas. Must be set about 1995 technology wise. I enjoyed the plot. Protagonist forgets she has a gun though.... really? The characters were interesting. Suspenseful. 
51. Mr. Mercedes, by Stephen King, mystery Pittsburgh. Audio library book. I’d never read one of his regular mysteries. I liked the plot description before I realized it was him. Engaged my suspense immediately. He’s a very good writer. Being him though, there were some very icky scenes in there but compelling. 
52. Time travel to the Old Testament. By Chris Sinkinson, nonfiction, very readable and great context for some things that aren’t obvious to our world today. Paperback book I bought from the author at an event.
53.  A Thousand Naked Strangers, a paramedics wild ride to the edge and back, by Kevin Hazzard, nonfiction, audio library book. Rough language but very interesting peak into another world. I hope to never need to go there. 
54. Chosen People, by Robert Whitlow,  Atlanta, and Israel, Christian Fiction, ebook. It was well written. I don’t read this genre much because it always gets obvious. The plot kept me interested.
55.As I lay dying, by William Faulkner, south country family, audiobook. Wish I had these 6 hours back. Depressing!! But the personalities and voices come through strong and clear in the writing. I guess he’s not my taste either. I picked it up from one of those: books you should read if you didn’t in school type lists.

55.5 Gravity, Seven Essential Truths about Influence, Leadership and your Soul by Ronald Kuest and Michael Forney. Nonfiction. Paper book, a gift. Some good points, clearly written, but didn’t feel unique to others I’ve read. I didn’t quite finish, but have kept it around to pick up if it strikes me to do so.