Immediate book meme: Old Adult edition

Time for another round of Darwin’s Immediate Book Meme! The Darwins (who are not responsible for the terrible image at the top. I’m responsible for it. I alone) say:

There are plenty of memes that want to know all about your book history and your all-time greats and your grand ambitions, but let’s focus on something more revealing: the books you’re actually reading now, or just read, or are about to read. Let’s call it The Immediate Book Meme.

1. What book are you reading now?

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.

This is one of the books I agreed to read in our almost-successful summer book swap.  It’s a dystopian YA novel (I know. WHERE DID I EVER FIND SUCH A THING?). The author’s vocabulary has an oddly stunted, juvenile quality to it, but the way the story unfolds is pretty skillful, and the plot is a pretty good adventure. The action takes place in Opium, a country that runs between the US and the former Mexico, where super-wealthy drug lords control the lives of everyone else, even putting brain implants on some, to make them pliant, witless slaves, and making clones of themselves to use as ever-ready organ donors. But . . . dun dun dun . . . one clone is different. Not bad at all, and unexpectedly Catholic in its ideas and also explicitly in the plot, in places.

I’m also in the middle — well, “middle,” but really about 3/4 of an inch in, and the thing is about seven inches thick — of War and Peace.

As far as I can remember, I’m reading the Constance Garnett translation.

In a reverse from last time I read this book, I’m finding the “war” part much more compelling than the “peace” part; and I’m finding Tolstoy much snippier than I may be able to handle for the whole seven inches.

1a. Readaloud

Nothing at the moment, sadly. We’re still adjusting to the school schedule, and we’re doing well if we get to bed half an hour later than we meant to, so read-alouds aren’t happening now. I’d like to read Out Of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis

to the middle and older kids, and probably a Narnia book to the younger kids.

2. What book did you just finish?

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

Here’s a book I avoided my whole life, because something something Oprah something, bestseller ptui ptui. You know: Lit major reasons. Well, my older girls assigned it to me, and it’s great. It’s great! It’s miraculously light on agenda and heavy on well-conceived characters, searingly memorable scenes, and a beautiful melancholy that stays with you (because you needed that). Each chapter could stand alone as a well-crafted short story. It’s not Dostoevsky, but it’s worth your time.

3. What do you plan to read next?

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

Boy, did I overestimate how many books I could easily read over the summer. My kids have been begging me to read this slim volume apparently about a gorilla, so I guess I will.
4. What book do you keep meaning to finish?
Another Summer Reading Swap assignment, and what a slog. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever read, but, on the other hand, it stinks.It’s written by someone who enjoys reading quirky, fascinating, fantastical story about scrappy kids solving mysteries. There’s a good story in there, but it needs to be edited, and then that editor needs to quit because she wanted to be with her boyfriend in Scottsdale, and then another editor needs to take over, rename the publishing house, cut about 40% out of this particular novel and replace it with something that makes some sense, and then buy everyone new office chairs.

5. What book do you keep meaning to start?

The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander

Everyone tells me this is so good, so I just now finally ordered it–
Shut up, Amazon! I’ve been busy! You don’t know me!
6. What is your current reading trend?
YA, I guess. I could really go for something Old Adult for a change. But not too hard, because I am tired.

7 thoughts on “Immediate book meme: Old Adult edition”

  1. Just finished: the Edge of Sadness, by Edwin O Connor. Keep meaning to start: the Edge of Sadness, by Edwin O’Connor. Once is just not enough for this book, and its gifts are especially accessible for Catholics. I laughed, I cried, and I found practical advice for my life. This book won the Pulitzer prize in 1962, and have you ever heard of it? I hadn’t.
    Currently reading: the Reed of God.
    Currently wish I could talk to on a daily basis: Caryl Houselander.

  2. Ivan was a gorilla kept in a cage at shopping center near an area I grew up in Washington state. In later years my son and husband were able to visit him at Zoo Atlanta. I keep meaning to get the book and read it but I imagine it will be a bit sad.

  3. Reading – The Hidden Treasure of Glaston (lovely), Rejected Princesses (fun and informative)
    Just read – Franny and Zooey (a reread – I found an old copy at a flea market. I love it so.)
    Reading next – The Twelfth Night
    Meaning to finish – Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of the Greek Myths
    Meaning to start – The Winter’s Tale (the school where I work is performing it in November, so I have a deadline!)
    Trend – ?

  4. Reading now: “Man Before God” by Adrienne von Speyr. I like her, but since she just kind of dictated her books to von Balthasar, she didn’t clean them up or edit for publication as that wasn’t her intent. So I don’t recommend her to people who are just starting out with theology or spiritual reading. But I get a lot out of reading her and anything that isn’t helpful, I find easy to dismiss. Rereading “Confederacy of Dunces” which is so hilarious, but again with a very limited audience I can recommend it to – but it would be SO up your alley, Simcha, if you haven’t read it.
    Just finished: “Viper’s Tangle” by Mauriac. Liked that one too; probably a bad sign for my personal life that I was a little surprised by the repeated requests by both the author and the intro not to hate the narrator. I didn’t think he was too hard to find some sympathy for.
    Up next: not sure, but I recently got some more Graham Greene books from a friend who was clearing out her library and had multiple copies. So probably one of those, but at this point in pregnancy my brain isn’t sure it’s up for that.
    Don’t think I have a “meaning to finish” right now, but you reminded me I’ve been meaning to read “Reed of God” for years…

  5. Hi Simcha, I read the Joy Luck Club so many years ago, after seeing the film.

    It’s one of the occasions that even though there are differences, I really liked both the film and the book.

    Were you a fan of the film?

  6. Currently reading: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek. I remember reading The Road to Wellville a looong time ago and thinking, “No WAY was Dr. John Harvey Kellogg that much of a weirdo,” and and after reading 3/4 of this excellent biography of JH Kellogg and his brother Will, I have to say, Nope, he was MORE of a weirdo than that.

    Just finished: Eleanor Oliphant is Perfectly Fine. This book was wonderful. I loved that it was a debut novel AND as good as it was, because I’m hoping the author keeps writing. I just loved it.

    Reading next: No idea. I might dip back into my beloved Miss Read Fairacre books, just for a breather, and then re-read some Jeffrey Deaver (Lincoln Rhyme series).

    Keep meaning to finish: nothing. If a book doesn’t hold my attention, I don’t bother with it.

    Keep meaning to start: Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor. I love her short stories, I love her letters and essays, I just can’t seem to get into her novels.

    1. I agree about O’Connor. I thought The Violent Bear It Away was a little more accessible, at least – though I did read that one for a class, so there was some direction.

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