Sunday, January 13, 2013

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.

2012 Recap and 2013 Recap

The Street Sweeper
From the civil rights struggle in the United States to the Nazi crimes against humanity in Europe, there are more stories than people passing one another every day on the bustling streets of every crowded city. Only some stories survive to become history.

Recently released from prison, Lamont Williams, an African American probationary janitor in a Manhattan hospital and father of a little girl he can’t locate, strikes up an unlikely friendship with an elderly patient, a Holocaust survivor who was a prisoner in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

A few blocks uptown, historian Adam Zignelik, an untenured Columbia professor, finds both his career and his long-term romantic relationship falling apart. Emerging from the depths of his own personal history, Adam sees, in a promising research topic suggested by an American World War II veteran, the beginnings of something that might just save him professionally, and perhaps even personally.

As these men try to survive in early-twenty-first-century New York, history comes to life in ways neither of them could have foreseen. Two very different paths—Lamont’s and Adam’s—lead to one greater story as The Street Sweeper, in dealing with memory, love, guilt, heroism, the extremes of racism and unexpected kindness, spans the twentieth century to the present, and spans the globe from New York to Chicago to Auschwitz.

Epic in scope, this is a remarkable feat of storytelling.

I don't normally repeat the synopsis I posted last week, but this book so blew me away that I want everyone to read it!

I had not read Perlman before (but you can be sure I will be reading more of him).He is an engaging writer – you can feel the tension and visually see the characters and the scenes.  I immediately started to care about Lamont as he sat on a bus just wishing he could hide.

But then when Perlman begins his descriptions of the Holocaust well then I was just hooked. We had been to Nuremberg  in 2012 as well as we visited a concentration camp much like the one Perlman describes.
I couldn't put this book down, it gave me chills and I didn't want it to end. I loved the way that the characters and plot lines became intertwined.

City of the Mind
Synopsis from GoodReads

Penelope Lively is one of England's greatest living writers. In City of the Mind, Matthew Halland is an architect intimately involved with the new face of London, while haunted by the destruction and loss in its history. Matthew has a rich and moving relationship with his daughter Jane, and becomes entangled with an array of fascinating characters, from Rutter, a corrupt real estate developer whose Mafia-like ways disgust him, to Sarah, a romantic ray of hope who enters his life. In Lively's most ambitious novel, she has created a wonderfully rich and audacious confrontation with the mystery of London.

I was disappointed as it is the first of her books that I had read and the fact that she is considered one of England's greatest living writers excited me. Also it takes place in London, perhaps my favourite city on earth.
Matthew is a divorced architect responsible for the renovation of an old building into a state of the art office building. He meets a girl, has outings with his daughter and is contacted by a crooked business man who threatens him to go to work for him.
Then she throws in some confusing chapters about bombings during the war. Perhaps this is meant to signify the old face of London that was rebuilt and is now being rebuilt once again.
The book then comes to an abrupt end just as I thought I might begin to like the story as it might get interesting.

At least I did enjoy Matthew's wanderings around London and especially his descriptions of Covent Gardens.

STARTED  and finished THIS WEEK:
The Yips
Image and synopsis from GoodReads.
There was a rat in the bath', Gene explains. 'It's a long story, but basically I fished it out and was carrying around by the tail, not quite sure how to dispose of it, when I managed to barge in on this woman having a genital tattoo'.

2006 is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Tiger Woods' reputation is entirely untarnished and the English Defence League does not exist yet. Storm-clouds of a different kind are gathering above the bar of Luton's less than exclusive Thistle Hotel. Among those caught up in the unfolding drama are a man who's had cancer seven times, a woman priest with an unruly fringe, the troubled family of a notorious local fascist, an interfering barmaid with three E's at A-level but a PhD in bullshit, and a free-thinking Muslim sex therapist and his considerably more pious wife. But at the heart of every intrigue and the bottom of every mystery is the repugnantly charismatic figure of Stuart Ransom – a golfer in free-fall.

Nicola Barker's ‘The Yips’ is at once a historical novel of the pre-Twitter moment, the filthiest state-of-the-nation novel since Martin Amis' ‘Money’ and the most flamboyant piece of comic fiction ever to be set in Luton.

I tried, I really did. But I started this after finishing The Street Sweeper and was immediately bored.
Then the next day I went back to it and decided to read a few reviews, once I saw it was 500 pages  (I read on an e-reader) I decided to give it up as I felt I couldn't suffer for that long. It was just so boring and insufferable. The characters are tedious and there is no plot.

Adam and Eve and Pinch Me
Synopsis from GoodReads

Minty’s boyfriend, Jock, was killed in the disastrous train wreck at Paddington, shortly after he borrowed all her savings. Now he has come back to haunt her. Zillah lost her estranged husband, Jerry, in that same accident. She is not convinced he is actually dead, but for reasons of her own decides not to pursue the matter. Fiona’s fiancé, Jeff, has simply disappeared–quite inexplicably since she was supporting him in style.

In her ingeniously unnerving new novel, Ruth Rendell deftly traces the connections among these women–and between them a series of vicious stabbings terrifying London. Adam and Eve and Pinch Me is a masterpiece of malice and psychological suspense.


  1. The Street Sweeper sounds good. I'll have to look for it.

  2. The Street Sweeper sounds amazing! That is exactly the kind of book that I like :)

    Have a great week of reading!

  3. These all look so good, but The Street Sweeper is a definite must read.

    Thanks for sharing.


  4. Thanks for sharing these. Hadn't heard about The Street Sweeper but it sounds awesome.

  5. The Street Sweeper is heading for my wish list. Thank you for sharing!!

  6. I took out a P. Lively book from the library and it stunk. glad it is not just me.

  7. The Street Sweeper has been on my must read soon list for a while - it has gotten such universal acclaim

    Have a great reading week!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out


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