What’s on Your Bathtub Ledge? Peerless Reader! What are you currently soaking in? Poetry? Crime? Romance? Graphics? Self Help? Memoir? Fantasy? Mystery?
While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams
Just finished Barbara Kingsolver's "Demon Copperhead," over Memorial Day. Masterful update of David Copperfield, set in Appalachia as the oxycodone epidemic played out. I read it over four days sitting in a rocking chair in a screened-in porch overlooking a river in southern Missouri. Also read "A Fever in the Heartland, by Tim Egan, about the rise and fall of the KKK in the Midwest. Completely horrifying and lays out the roadmap for the current rise in white supremacy. Now engrossed in "Mad Honey," a novel about trans kids in America.
I am reading a first edition of Seth Abramson’s brilliant Proof of Collusion:How Trump Betrayed America. I’ve been following this entire sorry mess for years now and I though I understood it, but this book has rocked me. Abramson is a Dartmouth/Harvard Law grad with a PhD in English who had a long career as a criminal DEFENSE attorney. Just reading the first introductory chapter where he develops the theory of the case of how Putin played (and still plays) the long game using TFG as the useful idiot, names names, shows calendars, tells how minutely this was all put together (ever wonder why the Miss Universe competition mattered so much?), quotes public sources, explains how as a defense atty he spent his career looking for alternative explanations that could be exculpatory ... and finds exactly *none* is (not to overwork a word) brilliant. Stunning. I wish I could spend the next two days reading it nonstop.
Since the recent death of the great writer, Martin Amis, I am refeading his “London Fields.” However, regardless of what I'm reading, I always simultaneously read David Sedaris, because no one can make me laugh (or cry) more sincerely.
What are YOU reading, please?
Listening while walking. "The Splendid and The Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance" by Erik Larson. I love all of his books!
Walking & Listening to “It’s Okay to be Angry with Capitalism” Bernie Sanders. If you’re looking for transparency, a voice of reason and the sound and comfort of truth, this is it.
I just finished Margo Price’s memoir, “Maybe We’ll Make It.” Highly recommend for anyone who has struggled to find their creative voice. She completely shatters the notions of overnight success or success before 30. Just like all of us, she screwed up many times. She burned bridges. She had many people tell her she wasn’t good enough. She absorbed generational traumas and experienced her own heartbreaking loss. But she just kept making music year after year until she finally pushed through.
Sadly, I have become somewhat addicted to the drama and petty outrage on Reddit. As I also use Reddit for news and for my political work, I cannot say I would forswear it completely, but I must get it under control. I also read for rest and relaxation, and love police procedurals and suspense, wrapped in my recliner with a quilt, a neck pillow, and a dog.
I am reading “Spare” by Prince Harry on the beach, and on the porch, under the striped umbrella, looking at the beach. I will be here 2 weeks, so I also brought “Say Nothing” by Patrick Radden Keefe - a non-fiction book to enlighten me further about “the troubles” (I have just finished the delightful series “Derry Girls” on Netflix and history classes happened a long time ago). The other one I half-read a few weeks ago, that I brought with me to finish, is a hilarious, quirky one called “The Untidy Pilgrim” by Eugene Walter about a young man who moves to Mobile Alabama for a job in the early 50s. I looked Eugene up for reference on what I was getting into with this one and he’s an interesting fellow, to say the least.
I’m reading The Oregon Trail, by Rinker Buck, who decided to travel via mule driven wooden cart, with his quirky brother, along the roads that have covered the original Oregon Trail. Buck makes it fascinating, delving into the details of wagon making, mule breeding and care, history and sociology of the era (1850-60 ish). I’m living in a rural area of Oregon after a lifetime in the city, and this book helps to illustrate the reasons why rural people here, many of whom are descendants of that journey, are so different than I am.
Studs Terkel’s book Working. So interesting to read the stories of workers from the early 70’s. They are so deeply personal.
Reading "Martin Scorsese: A Journey," by Mary Pat Kelly -- and where else but in my fern house, a screened-in structure in the woods behind my house. (Absolute heaven.)
“Norwood” by Charles Portia
“The Trial of Henry Kissinger” by Christopher Hitchens
BONUS: A “Don’t Read” except if you want a laugh riot: “Atlas Shrugged.”
I doubt I’ll be the only one to warn people off of “Atlas Shrugged,” or that I even need to — never read it myself, but I feel certain nonetheless that it is the “We Built This City” of novels. When my wife was younger, she considered the presence of this awful book on any prospective boyfriend’s shelf an instant deal-breaker.
When I learned to read, my parents bought a reading lamp for me that hooked over my headboard and shone down only on my book. I would spend the last hour awake reading and rereading my favorite books. It was a great way to fall asleep: Place the book on my nightstand and pull the little chain that turned off the light bulb. I've tried to replicate that peaceful time but couldn't find the brown metal hooded bed light. Found one with a creamy lace lampshade that has the same two hooks that go over the headboard. Now, however, I barely read a few pages before falling asleep without any routine. My husband has to remove the book and turn off the light. Aging in place.
100 years of solitude is possibly the best book ever written.