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02 October 2018 @ 05:09 pm
Third Quarter 2018 Goals and Books  
The only one of my goals for the year I made any real progress on this quarter is reading. And, even there, I am up to 27 books out of the 52 I want to get through. I need to read shorter books.


  1. Jacqueline Briskin, California Generation. This book follows several students at California High School as they move on to college and jobs during the 1960’s. Issues include drugs, interracial relationships, abortion, homosexuality, and the Vietnam War. This was less trashy than I expected it to be, but it’s definitely not great literature. If it were written now, it would have been a TV soap opera, not a novel.

  2. Lisa See, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. This was a book club selection. I was skeptical, but this story of a woman from the Akha hill tribe in China drew me in immediately. There are some shocking aspects of the Akha culture and this story of a young woman who has to find her way between her traditional upbringing and the modern world was fascinating. Mixed in with it, there’s the story of her abandoned daughter, who is facing a similar, but different, challenge as an adopted Chinese girl in Southern California. I absolutely loved this book and recommend it highly.

  3. Maisie Mosco, Glittering Harvest. This is the third book in the series about the Sandberg family. It includes the deaths of some of the older members of the family, as well as various triumphs and tragedies for the younger members. It was pretty entertaining, but you don’t really need to read it to enjoy the earlier books in the series.

  4. Joe Bden, Promise Me, Dad. I got this for having attended one of Biden’s talks. It’s more or less about his son, Beau, whose death of brain cancer was behind Biden’s decision not to run for President in 2016. There is, however, also a lot of material about how much effort Biden put in on foreign policy issues and how wonderful his relationship with Obama was, and other things that suggest he could be considering a future run. I do (mostly) like Biden, but I’d much rather see someone younger be the Democratic nominee. This book didn’t do much to change my mind on that.

  5. Alexander McCall Smith, The Bertie Project. Oh, how nice to be back on Scotland Street! There are such great characters and such bizarre circumstances (e.g. the extreme sports indulged in by Bruce’s new girlfriend). Another fun entry in a series I love.

  6. Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries. This was another book club selection. What monstrous people voted for an 800 page novel? My wrists hurt while reading it. I don’t mind long novels per se, but there were a lot of characters to keep track of. The story involves some mysterious doings in a gold rush town in New Zealand. While it was a quicker read than I expected, the payoff was disappointing. On the plus side, it led my book club to decide on a 400 page limit for the future.

  7. Stuart Rojstaczer, The Mathematician’s Shiva. Interestingly, the person who recommended this book to me is not Jewish. The story involves Rachaela Karnokovitch, a mathematics professor who may have solved the Navier-Stokes problem. The story of her son (and other relatives), who are set upon by other mathematicians looking for the solution of the problem, is interspersed with her memories of her harsh Polish childhood. The characters are interesting (and, sometimes, bizarre) and the relationships feel real. Recommended.

  8. Helen Van Slyke,Always is Not Forever. My mother had a lot of trashy novels. This one involves a young woman who marries a famous musician whose controlling mother can’t accept her. The great tragedy comes when their daughter is born deaf. I realized how much times have changed when I found myself thinking, "what’s the big deal?" There’s rather too much of the stand by your man, regardless of how badly he treats you, crap here.

  9. Andy Raskin, The Ramen King and I. What do you do if you can’t stop cheating on the women you claim to love and your mentor from your support group says you need to find a higher power, but you’re an atheist? If you’re Andy Raskin, you write letters to Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen noodles. Those letters – along with Raskin’s attempts to meet the great man – make for a surprisingly amusing book, with a serious point.

  10. Benjamin Alire Saenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. When a teenager recommends a young adult novel to you, you listen. And when [personal profile] piefessor also recommends it, you really listen. This story of two teenage boys and their complicated relationships with each other and with their parents was charming and moving. I can now add my recommendation.



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FanSee: Books 'n green applefansee on October 3rd, 2018 03:08 am (UTC)
I agree with you on Biden: too old.

I'll have to look for The Tea Girl, sounds like...um...my cup of tea.

Never heard of this series by Alexander McCall Smith. I'll give a try, with the hope that I've discovered another series I want to follow.

I will probably look for Aristotle and Dante too, although, with the number of unread books I have around here, both digital and physical, I shouldn't. But I probably will. FanSee
Julie: Original ★ time for tearagnarok_08 on October 3rd, 2018 04:48 am (UTC)
I'll have to take a look at The Tea Girl.
rosegardenfaerosegardenfae on October 3rd, 2018 12:32 pm (UTC)

I've got to stop reading about recommended books lol as I have a huge stack to get through already and my non- reader husband is getting a funny look every time another shows up in the mail. And yet, the Lisa See novel calls to me as I have read and enjoyed most of her other work.