Friday, August 7, 2020

First lines: June-July 2020 edition

College class reading, guarded by Isaac Newton, Auguste Rodin, and
Karl Marx finger puppets.
Not my reading list! 

In June I completed reading two books.  In July I managed to finish five books.  Of those seven, two were YA fiction. 


Herewith the first lines, and then the titles.



Book 1

On a spring morning in 1997, Jim Harper, a young man from Durham, North Carolina, woke up in his two-bedroom apartment with no clue that he would soon become gravely ill.



Book 2

Terence crept nervously through the forest, glancing often over his shoulder. He was a slim, agile boy, perhaps fourteen years old – though he did not know his age exactly – and he moved easily among the brambles.



Book 3

September 1981

People wishing to time travel go to Houston Intercontinental Airport.  At the orientation, the staff tell them that time travel is just like air travel, you even go to the same facility.



Book 4

Chapter 1: The Return of Utopia

Let’s start with a little history lesson: In the past, everything was worse.

For roughly 99% of the world’s history, 99% of humanity was poor, hungry, dirty, afraid, stupid, sick, and ugly.



Book 5

There was a time, and it was many years ago now, when I had to stay in a hospital for almost nine weeks. This was in New York City, and at night a view of the Chrysler Building, with its geometric brilliance of lights, was directly visible from my bed.



Book 6

“That is my decision. We need not discuss it,” said the man at the desk. He was already looking at a book. His two children left the room, closing the door behind them.



Book 7

After my junior year of college, ten friends and I planned a trip to drive across the country.


And the titles revealed:




The two books I finished in June:



Book 1

Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine  by Damon Tweedy.  © 2015. 

This memoir flows well, and gives good insights into racism in American medical treatment.  I read it for book club.


Book 2

The Squire's Tale , by Gerald Morris

 (The Squire's Tales, #1)  YA fiction.

Quite violent.  Lots of cleaving in two, without much remorse.   


* * * * * * *


The five books I finished in July:



Book 3

An Ocean of Minutes, by Thea Lim.  © 2018.

A dystopian novel with a rather terrifying premise, but I really liked the main character.  This is odd because the character kept making bad choices, which usually turns me off. 


The lesson I drew from this book:  Do. Not. Time-travel.  We read it for book club, because we hadn’t read any science fiction since our second book, several years ago.  An Ocean of Minutes was more dystopian lit than science fiction. Is there any other sci fi novel where the time travel does not take the traveler into the distant future, but only a few years ahead, and to a time that is in our own history? Polly, the main character, time travels from the 1980s to the late 1990s.  Despite the fact that she ends up in a time period we all had experienced, the 1990s we encountered in this book were quite disorienting, and yet, the book addresses a very current issue in this country.  A pandemic is involved, but is really only background in the story. 


Book 4

Utopia for Realists, by Rutger Bregman  © 2014, 2017.  English translation © 2016 by Elizabeth Manton.

Take the dive into some ideas from the left side of politics and economics.  See what you think.  I found it quite interesting.  Bregman is an entertaining writer.



Book 5

My Name Is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout.  © 2016.

Not a lot of events in this book, but interesting examination of relationships.  The story is related in a dreamy way, with what might be called an unreliable narrator. 

Read for the other book club. 



Book 6

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness series Book 1)

by Tamora Pierce (Y.A. fantasy).  © 1983. 

This is the first title in a young adult fantasy series, written in what I want to say was a simpler time.   Fantasy is not really my favorite genre, but I found the characters enjoyable.  There is lots to please the fantasy fan here – magic, wizards, knights, swords.  A bully, an honorable thief, and a dread illness also feature in the plot.



Book 7

Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism, by Drew G.I. Hart.  © 2016.

My review is here at this link.



I also have been reading this book since 2018.

These Truths: A History of the United States, by Jill Lepore, © 2018.  

Almost half the way through. 


Melissa said...

You've been hitting the sci fi stuff! That's new for you, isn't it?
Your book club and mine really pick similar stuff. I enjoy Elizabeth Strout's WRITING but not her stories. Does that make sense?

Common Household Mom said...

@Melissa, yes, sci fi and fantasy are not usually in my reading list.

And that is a great way to describe the book by Elizabeth Strout that we read. I haven't read any of her other writing. The book we read was almost like a dream sequence. The plot was underwhelming. But I enjoyed reading it.