Monday, October 3, 2022

First Lines: September 2022 edition


Below are the first lines of the books I finished reading in September.



Book 1

I would like to say a few things about my first husband, William.


Book 2

We had better move, said Mr. Abbott casually. 


Book 3

Before we talk about anything else, can we just start with awe?  I am completely in awe of this moment we’re having right now --  you and me.  When I was younger, disability didn’t seem to exist outside my visits to the hospital and seating clinics for repairs on my wheelchair.


Book 4

There was a stand-up special ten or fifteen years ago called Welcome to Turtle Island.


Book 5

To prohibit illicit carnal intercourse between Europeans and natives and other acts in relation thereto.


Did not finish 


Every age hath its consolations, as well as its sufferings.  – Adam Ferguson.

For a period of nearly half a century, from about the time of the Highland rebellion of 1745 until the French Revolution of 1789, the small city of Edinburgh ruled the Western intellect.  For near fifty years, a city that had for centuries been a byword for poverty, religious bigotry, violence and squalor laid the mental foundations for the modern world.



The titles and authors revealed:



Book 1

Oh William! By Elizabeth Strout. Published 2021.  240 pages.

Interesting characters, although they are not particularly happy.  Excellent writing.  I was quite distracted while reading it, so I probably didn’t enjoy it to its fullest.   It was extremely well received in book club.  I thought the portrayal of rural New England was spot on.



Book 2

 Miss Buncle Married, by D.E. Stevenson.  Published 1936, 352 pages.

The second in a series about Barbara Buncle, now married and living in a different small village in England in the 1930s.  I enjoyed this one even more than the first one. This book is part of the Furrowed Middlebrow set of books.   Sometimes I need to unclench my jaw, and the Furrowed Middlebrow collection is exactly right for those times. 


Book 3

Sitting Pretty, by Rebekah Taussig.  Published 2020, 256 pages.

I read this in order to educate myself about how people with disabilities interact with the world.  This book was a good start, and I recommend it.   I still have plenty more to learn.


Book 4

We Had a Little Real Estate Problem: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans & Comedy by Kliph Nesteroff.  Published 2021.  336 pages. 

I am the least likely person to read a book about comedians.  However, the author of this book kept me interested.  The last few chapters were especially relevant.  The text of the book is far less than 336 pages.  At the end of the chapters there are many photos, followed by notes and an index.

Book 5

Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah.  Published 2016.  289 pages.

I first read this book in June 2017.  I am re-reading it as an assignment from my church’s anti-racism group.  Trevor Noah was a toddler when the apartheid system was coming to an end in South Africa.  Our group is hoping that his insights about the apartheid system and the aftermath will be instructive to us.


Did not finish 

Crowded With Genius:  The Scottish Enlightenment: Edinburgh’s Moment of the Mind, by James Buchan.  Published 2003. 340 pages of text.  436 pages with notes and index.  

I enjoyed the start of this book, with its descriptions of then back-water town of Edinburgh, Scotland.  But I soon found the book was too dense and confusing and I didn’t get past the first chapter. I think I would need to already know a lot of Scottish history to make sense of this book.  The court in Edinburgh was called The Session, which makes me wonder if this is where the Presbyterian Church got its terminology for the governing board of local congregations.

Please do tell -- what are you reading these days?


Aileen said...

I have read the first Miss Buncle book, but not the others yet. I do really love D. E. Stevenson. I recently finished her trilogy about a family in Scotland. I also liked the "Mrs Tim" series.

Currently I'm reading an obscure book, Mexico Unknown, by Lorna Whishaw, a Canadian writer. It's a memoir of her time living in Mexico in the 1950s while her geologist husband worked at a mine. It's interesting and well written, but there's some disturbing content. It's hard to be confronted with injustice in the world, even things that happened decades ago.

Common Household Mom said...

Oooh, I will have to check out D.E. Stevenson's novels about the family in Scotland.

In the first Miss Buncle book, I had a bit of trouble keeping all the characters straight but it was still fun. I liked the characters in the second book even more than the ones in the first book.

Sometimes I seem to be able to tolerate reading quite disturbing content, and other times I just can't proceed. I am going to have to quit reading a book about French collaborators with the Nazis because it is just too horrible. And yet, I am interested because I have never read a book that approaches the Nazi atrocities from the point of view of collaborators.

Melissa said...

I waffle on Strout--she's arguably a brilliant writer and creates a setting like no other. There's a terrific sparseness to her writing style and her characters are so REAL. BUT. I struggle to ENJOY her books. They require a LOT of me as a reader.
Your reading is so wonderfully varied. I enjoy your monthly lists.
Going to look for D E Stevenson, I think I'd like those.
That Nesteroff book was a delight--and I'm currently watching Rutherford Falls. His book adds to my appreciation of the humor in that show. And the actors in it.
I forced my son to read Trevor Noah's book and he liked it, too. (He's a senior, has never enjoyed reading to my despair)
Have you read Still Life by Sarah Winman? It is FABULOUS. I am halfway through (book club read for the month) and LOVING IT.