Monday, February 20, 2017

Latest Reading Material

It's time to catch up on some reading! There was a lull over the holidays and I missed having a book or two by the side of my reading chair. I'm playing catch-up and thought I would share what I've read over the last two to three months.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
This is a sweet story of a sixty-nine year old widower who lives life in a very precise manner, day after day, since his wife died. One day he finds a charm bracelet his wife had hidden away and his curiosity is piqued to know where it came from and why he never knew about it. He begins making inquiries and follows clues as each charm reveals something about his wife's past. His monotonous life suddenly takes an interesting turn as he must travel to the source of the clues in order to unravel each charm's meaning.

A Gentleman in Moscow
 A Gentleman in Moscow received a rare 5-star rating from me on Goodreads. In 1922, a Bolshevik tribunal sentences Count Alexander Rostov to house arrest at the Metropol, an elegant hotel in the heart of the city. Once a guest in the most lavish rooms, the Count now must live his life in the hotel's attic for the remainder of his days. An interesting array of hotel guests cross his path and deeply affect his life. Riddled with humor, embellished with elegant history, the Count must find his purpose within this small but wonderful enclave.

Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey
I've been interested in learning more about the politics of the 1960's and the causes of the radical social unrest at that time in order to compare it to what we see in politics today. This is only the beginning of what could end up in a life long attempt for me to understand that era. I combined this reading with "Destructive Generation" by Peter Collier and David Horowitz. Wow. Obviously what we see on the surface of political passion is only the tip of what lurks beneath. The author was raised in the environment of the radical left and we see his earnest life's work to promote the beliefs of socialist agendas in a time that culminates in the 1960's. His work with the Black Panthers leads to troubling revelations and Horowitz begins to question his beliefs. Revealing, yet troubling, this book is well worth the dive into this topic. So much of what I recall hearing in the news during the 60's pops up in this book. However, being a child, I had no idea the social and political upheaval in our country followed such a purposeful agenda of the radical left.

How High the Moon
It was time for a little "fluff" after reading the previous heavy topic. It is often difficult for me to believe authors who write from a child's perspective. Most of them don't pull it off very well, including this one. This story is about an orphaned girl whose mother runs away, leaving her with the mother's boyfriend. He is a sweet guy who does his best to raise this spunky girl. The story presents a cast of small town characters in a 1950's setting. It was an okay read, but nothing to write home about.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
This is the last book I just finished. It's currently in high demand at our library, perhaps because it speaks on a topic rooted right here in the Appalachian Mountains. The author was born and raised mainly in Kentucky by his grandmother in a dirt poor environment. The story is the author's memoir, but, he also discusses the plight and causes of the poor families living in this region of our country and the hopelessness that persists from one generation to the next. With the encouragement of his grandmother, J.D. Vance finds a way out of the vicious cycle, joins the marines, and goes on to graduate from Yale Law School. He purports to be the very rare example of what most kids living in the Appalachian culture experience. Their plight is not very different from that in our inner cities. It's an interesting topic, again if you want to read something thought provoking and current to today's issues.


  1. I have Hillbilly Elegy on my Kindle - I started reading it and put it aside, for some reason. I think it was during the holidays and I was so busy. I'll get back to it.

    Love the thought of the one with the charm bracelet. I'll check it out. And I've heard good things about A Gentleman in Moscow - thanks for the reminder, I'll put this one on my list, too.

  2. Just finished reading The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper which was on my list after reading about it in Book Page ans then your recommendation. It was a wonderful and very fast read fir a debut novel. Thanks for the recommendations here, I will check out A Gentleman in Moscow at the library. Also, here's one for you...Our Souls at Night which was the last book written by Kent Haruf. My current read is The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George.

  3. Another suggestion is the Rules of Civility which was Amor Towqles debut novel which I just finished reading while on the wait list for A Gentleman in Moscow.

    1. Dorothy- I've read "Rules of Civility" and it's one of my favorite books!