Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Unraveled Wednesday: A Reading Update

Yes, I know it's Wednesday and not one of my usual blogging days. But it's been a while since I did a reading update, so today I'm joining up with Kat and friends to do just that.

First, let's look at recent finishes:

This is the current selection for the Read With Us book discussion group (are we calling it a book club?) that Bonny, Carole, and Kym have been hosting. I was able to get it from my local library after only a short wait, and I enjoyed it. It was hard to read at times because although my relationship with my mother was nothing like the author's, I really empathized with her. Ultimately I found this memoir to be a contemplation of relationships and what happens when someone is forced into an inappropriate one. I gave it 4 stars.

I'd started listening to this via the Craftlit podcast and then borrowed the audiobook from the library so I could finish it sooner (getting one or two chapters at a time means it will take months to finish via the podcast!). I'm still planning to listen to it (again) on the podcast because the readers are excellent and I value Heather's insights, but I'm also glad I listened on my own. The readers for this version were Jenny Agutter and Alex Jennings, both familiar voices due to the many PBS shows I've watched. I enjoyed the book but got a little bored in the middle. I gave it 3 stars.

It had been a while since I'd read any of Toni Morrison's fiction, but reading this collection made me want to do just that. Her writing is really exquisite. I feel like I probably could have gotten more out of this book had I read it in a class setting, where there was an opportunity to study and discuss it, but even so it was a good read. My one criticism is that only one or two selections gave any context for the speech or essay. I would have liked to have known when each piece was written and, for the speeches, where it was delivered. I gave it 4 stars.

Cold Earth (Shetland series #7)

I'll admit I was very impatient waiting for this one. I can plow through these books in a couple of days, so it was annoying to see that I was next in line to get it from the library but whoever had it was taking so long to read it. But I devoured it as soon as I got it and really enjoyed it. Though the murder is getting to be less important to me than the characters, I was still pleased that I was surprised by the identity of the killer (murder mysteries are less exciting to me when I figure it out on my own). I gave it 4 stars.

Now let's talk about what I'm currently reading:

I would have liked to have liked to have been done with this book by now, but because it's a hard copy that I own, it often gets pushed aside when a library book hold comes up. I think I have less than 100 pages left to read, so really if I sit down one day and focus on it, I should be able to finish. But as I've said before, I am taking my time because I am reading this to learn, not to entertain, and I expect that it's a book I'll revisit in the future. I do want to finish soon, though, because later in the month I'm attending a virtual conference that my employer is hosting and Kendi is one of the keynote speakers!

This is turning out to be the it book of the summer that everyone seems to be reading! After Eileen raved about it in one of the Sunday Zoom calls that Mary hosts, I borrowed the audiobook from the library to listen to while I run and walk. I've got about two hours left to listen, so about two more days of exercise. I'm really enjoying it and am looking forward to seeing how the many characters and many story lines come together in the end.

Wild Fire (Shetland series #8)

I added the final Shetland book to my library holds as soon as I returned the previous one and was delighted to discover it was ready for me yesterday morning. As much as I'd like to savor this final installment, I'm really rushing through it instead. I'm already more than 50% through it and am likely to finish it before the day is out.

Here's a look at the state of my bingo cards (yes, there are two!):

I am very close to a cover-all on my first card. I have only two empty spaces -- Title That's a Character's Name (for which I've already picked a book) and With an Unreliable Narrator. Anyone have a good recommendation for the latter? Or a good recommendation in general? I have a handful of books on hold at the library, but I'm always looking to add to my TBR pile!


  1. Wo - great reading streak. I need to find my bingo card and see if I even have a bingo. I read My Sunshine Away for that square last year.

  2. That is a great reading streak! I finished Wild Game a little bit ago. Looking forward to the discussion in a couple of weeks. I didn't enjoy it all that much and wouldn't give it 4 stars...but it was interesting. Currently reading Song Yet Sung and thoroughly enjoying it!

  3. How fortunate that you’ll have the opportunity to hear Kendi speak! I’m on ch 12, and I’m reading in a similar fashion as you are. I don’t think I’d get as much out of it if I read any faster. Will put Unsung on my list! I’ll keep thinking about that unreliable narrator. Wish I had a quick one to offer up. Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying is probably the last one I read. Curious what you’ll pick!

  4. So many good books! I really enjoyed Song Yet Sung and have McBride's Deacon King Kong and The Color of Water on hold. I definitely want to read the Shetland series later this summer; you've made it sound very good! Several of my favorite books with unreliable narrators are The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time by Mark Haddon, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, and The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

  5. Nice going Sarah! Those bingo cards are impressive! Reading Bonny's comment...Rebecca was really good if you've not read it. And wow...Kendi as a great.

  6. I am echoing Bonny's suggestions on the unreliable narrator! All of those are great books!

  7. I would add Bitter Orange and The Murder of Roger Akroyd to your unreliable narrator list. And I second Bonny's suggestion of The Secret History.

    You've done some amazing reading lately!!

  8. What a great reading season, Sarah! Love Bonny and Katie's unreliable narrator recs. The Curious Incident is a favorite of mine AND it's great on audio. The Murder of Roger Akroyd is a classic, though. Both are QUICK reads.

  9. Whoa. That is a lot of reading. I had similar thoughts about Morrison's essays. There is a bibliography of sources at the very end with dates that seemed to relate to some of the pieces. Like you I now want to reread some of her novels.