The Reading Room

I will try to keep up with what I am reading here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

#28, Paris in the Present Tense, by Mark Helprin

Mark Helprin is a wondrous writer. His evocation of Paris is beautifully done. I didn't want this book to end.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

#27, With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa, by Eugene B. Sledge

This grim but fascinating memoir of a Marine in two of the toughest battles of the Pacific War gives a front-line soldier's view of the fear,tedium, and soul-killing horror of life on the front-lines. Honest and compassionate, it makes you pray for an end to war so no one has to endure anything like this again. If you have seen "The Pacific", you'll recognize many of the incidents.

Friday, October 13, 2017

#26, The Iron Sickle, by Martin Limon

A nice mystery set in South Korea in the 1970's. The partners Sueno and Bascom are tracking down a mysterious man killing Americans with an iron sickle. Why is he doing this, and where will he strike next? A fast-moving pace and a satisfying ending.

#25, Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng

Even seemingly small transgressions can have far-reaching consequences. The intertwined relationships of two families are insightfully portrayed, and the repercussions of tensions and problems (the "little fires" of the title, I presume) erupt in unexpected ways.

#24, Saints for All Occassions, by J. J. Courtney Sullivan

The story of two sisters who emigrated from Ireland in the 1950's has some very strong evocations of family life and the hardship and promises of leaving one's homeland. The only part that grated on me was the description of kindly Benedictine nuns in the '70's advising young women to 'protect themselves' when having sex, not that this may not have happened, but we were clearly meant to applaud the enlightened view of the compassionate nuns and decry the rigidity of the heartless male hierarchy. All in all, a pleasant read.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

#23, Archie Meets Nero Wolfe: A Prequel to Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries, by Robert Goldsborough

Well done! This a fitting imagining of the first meeting between Archie and Nero Wolfe, and a good mystery to solve to boot.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

#22, Murder, Stage Left, by Robert Goldsborough

This is a reasonably good approximation of the Rex Stout stories. When I read the first of these, Murder in E minor, way back when, I was disappointed, but this was 'satisfactory'. If you are a Nero Wolfe fan who has read all the originals, you could do worse!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

#21, The Making of Europe, by Christopher Dawson

Christopher Dawson always enlightens me. The depth of his erudition and his broad view of the development of cultures, especially focused on the role of religion. and especially Catholicism, provides insight rarely found in anyone else. A classic.

#20, Odd Numbers by Ann Holt

Set in Norway, the story begins with the bombing of the offices of a moderate Muslim organization in Oslo. This book is "Hanne Wilhelmsen #9". I have not read the first 8. Hanne Wilhelmsen has become reclusive since being paralyzed in a shooting several years ago. Once a top investigator, she is now just beginning to try to reconnect with her past. On old friend ask for her help, and the plot spins on from there. Not b ad, but the leftish politics of Hanne leaves me a little cold, especially when it is assumed that we will agree!

Monday, August 07, 2017

#19 The Wrong Side of Goodbye, by Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly never disappoints!