Sunday, May 03, 2020
Posted by JaneGS
April was a tough month on so many fronts, but at least I read some great books!
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, by Erik Larson - I like Larson's books and have read most of them and this is one of the best. Focus is on the Churchill family and the prime minister's staff. Larson's primary sources were the diaries of Churchill's youngest daughters, Mary, and one of his private secretaries, John Colville. While most of the narrative is on the British experience, it was interesting to read about the German perspective of the same events. Absolutely powerful book - one of the best of 2020 for me.
Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson - the first in Atkinson's Jackson Brodie mysteries, I absolutely loved this book. Atkinson is a very literary writer and this was a very literary mystery - she did a superb job of telling 4-5 different stories simultaneously, while also introducing her main character and giving us his back story. Eager to read the rest in this series.
Empire Falls, by Richard Russo - this is part of my Maine reading project for 2020, and was a very interesting story about a depressing little town in Maine. The mill has closed, no jobs or prospects of jobs, and the main character Miles is struggling with family, his past, his faith, and his job. Nevertheless, I thought it a compelling novel, and I plan to read more of Russo. Sadly, as expected, our trip to Maine this summer is cancelled, but I am enjoying digging into the fiction of the region.
Girl, Woman, Other, by Evaristo Bernardine - just finished this incredible book last night, and recommend it to anyone who wants to get a different view of Britain than the land served up by most of the novels I read. This is a collection of short stories about women of color in Britain whose lives intersect in the most interesting ways. This was one of the Tournament of Books contenders in 2020, making it to the quarter finals. I had read a few reviews that made it intriguing to me, and I thought it powerful, well-written and inventive, and broadened my horizons considerably.
The Atomic City Girls, by Janet Beard - I picked this up on impulse and wasn't disappointed. A novel about the women who worked at the Oak Ridge, TN factories that processed the plutonium used in the Manhattan Project (aka the atomic bomb). A fascinating story about race, naivete, patriotism, and ambition. I liked the main character, June, and thought her coming of age story was interesting and believable.
Hope you are all staying well and healthy, practicing social distancing, and finding comfort and strength or whatever you need from the reading you are able to do.