Monday, August 4, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. For this meme, bloggers post what they finished last week, what they're currently reading, and what they plan to start this week.
My comments are not meant to be recaps of the story lines as I include a link to Goodreads for their synopsis of the book. I am merely stating how I felt about the book without giving any spoilers.

1 not finished as it expired so I will have to borrow it again. The Nightmare

Love Child: A Novel

Characters were not believable, the setting of South Africa was not fleshed out, and the back and forth from the 1930's to the 1950's was jarring. Another minor annoyance: she names her female main character Bill.

A Bit on the Side
William Trevor is truly a Chekhov for our age, and a new collection of stories from him is always a cause for celebration. In these twelve stories, a waiter divulges a shocking life of crime to his ex-wife; a woman repeats the story of her parents’ unstable marriage after a horrible tragedy; a schoolgirl regrets gossiping about the cuckolded man who tutors her; and, in the volume’s title story, a middle-aged accountant offers his reasons for ending a love affair. At the heart of this stunning collection is Trevor’s characteristic tenderness and unflinching eye for both the humanizing and dehumanizing aspects of modern urban and rural life.

I'm not a fan of short stories and almost didn't open this. Quick read but I didn't feel for any of the characters.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Love him or hate him, Pierre Elliott Trudeau marked us all. The man whose motto was Reason over passion� managed to arouse in Canadians fierce passions of every hue. Acclaimed novelist Nino Ricci begins with the crucial role Trudeau played in the formation of Ricci's own sense of identity in order to examine how he expanded us as a people, not in spite of his contradictions but because of them. Downplaying the perpetual rebel image that Trudeau crafted, Ricci reconstructs the charismatic prime minister as an almost Zelig-like figure. If his beliefs shifted radically over the years from separatist to federalist, from fascist to liberal, from civil rights champion to military strongman Trudeau always acted on deep convictions. Brilliantly argued and sensitively observed, Ricci's Trudeau is an unforgettable portrait of a memorable man.

A good read, far better than the one below. 

Young Trudeau: 1919-1944: Son of Quebec, Father of Canada

This book shines a light of devastating clarity on French-Canadian society in the 1930s and 1940s, when young elites were raised to be pro-fascist, and democratic and liberal were terms of criticism. The model leaders to be admired were good Catholic dictators like Mussolini, Salazar in Portugal, Franco in Spain, and especially Pétain, collaborator with the Nazis in Vichy France. There were even demonstrations against Jews who were demonstrating against what the Nazis were doing in Germany.

Trudeau, far from being the rebel that other biographers have claimed, embraced this ideology. At his elite school, Brébeuf, he was a model student, the editor of the school magazine, and admired by the staff and his fellow students. But the fascist ideas and the people he admired – even when the war was going on, as late as 1944 – included extremists so terrible that at the war’s end they were shot. And then there’s his manifesto and his plan to stage a revolution against les Anglais.

This is astonishing material – and it’s all demonstrably true – based on personal papers of Trudeau that the authors were allowed to access after his death.What they have found has astounded and distressed them, but they both agree that the truth must be published. 

Translated from the forthcoming French edition by William Johnson, this explosive book is sure to hit the headlines.

This provided much more background into Trudeau's young years than the book above. But the writing could get oh so tedious.

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

I always enjoy historical fiction about Hitler as I am horrifyingly intrigued about his rise.
But the characters did nothing for me.


Thirst is about many forms of desire--and most particularly, at its heart, about love unexpectedly found and lost during a difficult time (WWII) and in an unlikely spot: within a hastily arranged union between two young people who begin their marriage as complete strangers. The lovers are Vasanti, an intelligent woman who has nonetheless grown up naive and protected; and Baba, the scion of a prominent Brahmin family who longs to study in London, thus escaping the family compound in Nagpur. The novel moves between the lushness of India and the sombre grayness of London during the Blitz, even as Ghatage brilliantly unwinds the story of two conflicted people who, slowly but surely, learn to tolerate, then like, then passionately love each other just as their worlds fall apart.

I hate it when a book just ends!!! I needed to know more about what happens to Baba and Vasanti.

The first part of the book almost made me put it down, I was so bored. But then it picked up and I really enjoyed the relationship between Baba and Vasanti.

When he starts describing why he had to go to London during the war and then his woe is me attitude in a city that is under siege by the Nazis he got on my nerves and it didn't get any better.
THEN when he goes back to visit Mr. Owens in Wales he totally lost any tolerance I had for him.

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.

Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.


  1. Quite a mix of books in your list. I'll be getting to Rowling's Galbraith spinoff sooner or later.

  2. I'm impressed with how many books you read last week! The only one of those that I have read is the Ricci book on Trudeau. Currently I'm reading a book I should have read years ago: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.


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