Currently reading, “Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work” by Kotler & Wheal
on edit: By the way, many libraries have a streaming aspect to lending audio and e-books. My wife and I have greatly reduced our reading expenses.
If you are looking for a respite from either your or the country's woes, please consider reading Virgil Wander by Leif Enger. Then, if you like that read Peace Like a River, also.
CLAPTON: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton and WONDERFUL TONIGHT by Pattie Boyd
In this autobiography, Eric Clapton, perhaps the world’s most famous blues and rock guitarist, lays bare the torments of his life - thirty-plus years of addiction and bad relationships (beginning with his mother who was 15 when he was born). At the end, he sobers up (25+ years now). He now lives a quiet life with his family in England.
A good companion read is Patti Boyd’s WONDERFUL TONIGHT. Clapton stole her away from George Harrison. Her account of living with these two artists is witty and totally without malice or self-pity.
I have been reading with a loose purpose lately, trying to fill in a dim spot in my understanding of history; roughly 1590 (late Elizabethan reign), through James I, repression of Catholics, Gunpowder Plot, terrifying anti-Catholic reaction, Charles I, revolution, Cromwell and on to the Restoration and the "Glorious" Revolution-- while simultaneously, Shakespeare was at his peak and the Pilgrims were settling America.
With the above in mind, I read WILL IN THE WORLD by Greenblatt ( the historical background behind Shakespeare's works) SAINTS AND STRANGERS (pilgrims settling in America). AFTER ELIZABETH by Leandra de Lisle was so-so but now reading Antonia Fraser's FAITH and TREASON which is much better.
Couple of factoids: (1) we really don't know how or why young Shakespeare left Stratford and wound up in London as an actor, but his upbringing was in the center of Catholic underground intrigue. Author believes he was on the fringes and we know so little about him because, being from a suspected Catholic family, and with all the terror going around, he learned to keep personal knowledge about himself vague.
(2) We generally regard Pilgrims and Puritans as synonymous, but they're not. Pilgrims were English who arrived from Holland in small numbers and settled precariously around Plymouth, Puritans came later direct from England; settled around Boston in far greater numbers. Puritans executed witches -- not the Pilgrims.
Not that any of you asked.
I am listening to audio version an somewhat older book - Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I learned a lot. It is quite fascinating.
I bought the book Sapiens on-line...am reading it now. Just the type of stuff I am studying these days.
I like history and will have to look into these.
I read a book Mayflower which was interesting in the details of the pilgrims and they journey to America. I found it in a used book store. There were a number of copies there, so it might have been for a high school class. It was okay.
There's an author Ken Follett that writes what I think are described as historical novels. Fiction, but enough historical details woven in to place the novel in historical times. My brother-in-law didn't enjoy the mixture, but I have enjoyed his books.
I'll have to see if I can find the ones you mentioned.
I want to stress I am not recommending "After Elizabeth" IMO it is only an average history. Antonia Fraser's FAITH and TREASON is much better, but even here you'll probably want to skip the minutiae of the plotters' trial. Antonia Fraser, BTW, wrote several histories of the Middle Ages and the Plantagenents. Everything she writes is worthwhile as popular history.
SAINTS and STRANGERS is quite good. You'll be particularly interested in how the settlers got along (or didn't!) with the Indians. But the best of the bunch is WILL IN THE WORLD by Greenblatt, a must-read for anyone curious about Shakespeare's historical backdrop, influences, and development.
Valley Forge by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. An excellent read into the campaigns surrounding that dreadful winter. Thus, the title is a bit misleading, but Valley Forge in both our collective memory and as pivotal moment is key. While a military history it shines light into the personalities and politics of both sides in an interesting manner. There will be key folks most of us have either forgotten about or who have been forgotten and insight into how war use to be waged including some amusing insights such as the true story of how when General Howe's dog followed him into the field, but then tagged along with the Continentals when the British retreated, Washington had the dog cleaned, fed and returned with a note. (I'm not a dog lover per se, but I have known more than one person here in Va. who will swear their Coonhounds are from British army foxhounds from this era.)
@richardsok I ordered Will in the World. The author, Stephen Greenblatt, wrote another book I read that I really enjoyed, The Swerve. I think you'd find it enjoyable. Very interesting. I also order The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve that was written by Goldblatt. If I find an author I like, I try to see what else they've written. Will in the World does sound interesting. Thanks.
Thank you Franks for this tip. Peace Like A River is one of my all time favs. I'll have to track down Virgil Wander.
I've been binge reading CJ Box novels. Not very educating but pleasurable entertainment just the same.
“The Mad Boy, Lord Berners, My Grandmother and Me” by Sofka Zinovieff.
If you can slip the surly bonds of 21st Century America and fling your time machine back to 19th and early 20th Century England, and guide your landing craft to rural Oxford and environs and take up with certain of the moneyed gentry living there, then you can thoroughly enjoy this extraordinary family saga.
First, the principal characters as they appear in the title —
1. “The Mad Boy” (Robert Heber-Percy) is Lord Berners’s wild and handsome young lover. He grew up on a large estate near Faringdon, Lord Berners’s country home, and not being the firstborn male, inherited nothing. Thrown upon his own resources in his late teens, he took up with the 48-year-old Lord Berners and lived with him for the remainder of Lord Berners’s life. While favoring men, and being homosexual in most essential respects, Robert was susceptible to casual female dalliances. He married twice (with Lord Berners’s blessings) and sired one child, Victoria, out of Jennifer, the author’s grandmother. Robert’s second wife, ‘Coote’ Lygon, was immortalized as Cordelia in Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited.”
2. Lord Berners (Gerald Hugh-Tyrwhitt) inherited Faringdon House near Oxford at a young age and made it an aesthete’s paradise, a gathering place for England’s famous, gifted and beautiful during the 1930s and 1940s.Weekend visitors included the likes of Wallis Simpson, Clarissa Churchill, Anthony Armstrong-Jones, the Mitford sisters, Igor Stravinsky, H.G. Wells, Evelyn Waugh, the Cunard family, Noel Coward, Salvadore Dali, and David Niven. Pretty much everybody who was anybody.
Gerald was immensely rich (Depression era assets of £500,000 not counting second homes in London and Rome), immaculately educated (Cheam, Eton), highly cosmopolitan (fluent in French, German, Italian), an accomplished musician (a protege of Stravinsky), a diplomat, a painter and a writer. His definitive biography is Mark Amory’s “The Last Eccentric” (1998).
3. “My Grandmother” is Jennifer Fry, a kind and gentle society beauty and the only daughter of cocoa magnate, Sir Geoffrey Fry. Already pregnant, she married the Mad Boy in 1942 and moved in with him and Gerald at Faringdon. Their daughter, Victoria, was born there making for a curious and much-talked-about menage. The marriage was doomed, of course, and a divorce followed in a couple of years. Thereafter, Jennifer attracted many friends and lovers and died about ten years ago at age 87.
4. “Me” is Jennifer’s granddaughter, Sofka Zinovieff, the author of this book. A student at Oxford, she was in Greece doing Ph.D. research in anthropology when her grandfather (the Mad Boy) invited her to Farmington and informed her that she would inherit Faringdon. Indeed she did two years later.
I’m tempted to make the stone-built five-bedroom country home at Farringdon a fifth principal character. If those walls could talk!
But enough already.
For maximum reading pleasure, a certain tolerance for High Bohemia is helpful!
I did the same binge-reading thing with John Sandford's Lucas Davenport series (always has the word "Prey" in the title). I read extensively, but you just can't get around to everything. I had seen John Sandford's books for years but never quite got around to picking one up. When "Golden Prey" came out in 2017 I ordered a copy through the public library and was immediately hooked. A bit of checking and I found out that was the 27th book in Sandford's flagship series. I went back to the very first book and was ordering them four and five at a time, until I got caught up. He also has a smaller series featuring a law enforcement named Virgil Flowers, and those are also immensely enjoyable.
As someone has already pointed out, you might get more replies with a more open-ended query, asking people more in general what books they have liked. Anyway, I have always loved to read, and being retired for a few years now I have a lot more time to indulge.
One book that I am currently reading is "Cargill: Trading the World's Grain" by Wayne G. Broehl, Jr. (1992). Obviously not a new release, but since it is a history of the company, it should still be relevant at least up through the 1980's. And it's not like a lot of books are out there about the company. It's a doorstopper of a book, the text clocks in at 877 pages, but it has proven to be quite a bit more interesting and readable than I had imagined. Also working on "China's Asian Dream" by Tom Miller (2017), and "The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier" by Ian Urbina (2019). Several more in the read stack, but three is my limit at one time, and I generally only have one or two going at once.
A question to the author of this thread: Would you be open to a more general book discussion on this thread, or would you prefer to hold it to what folks are reading at the moment?
In my opinion, the original poster does not proscribe or disallow general book discussions here. He merely asks "what are you people reading these days?" Only secondarily does he ask if there's "anything new and good" we've found recently.
Therefore, I post generally.
The Matthew Jones House and a colonial history of the Matthew Jones family by Richard Dunn. A very short book. It is a history, as it says, of the Matthew Jones House which is the oldest house (some say building) owned by the US Army. The house is located at Ft. Eustis in Newport News, VA.
Throughout the US are curious buildings and many have little books written about them. Its a way to gain insight into where one lives if one is interested in such matters.
In this case, this building was build to be seen and impress. Not many buildings before this house was built back in 1720 were built to impress; surviving was of more importance, but its size and prominent location were designed to make it stand out and it was on the leading edge of the construction and design wave and revolution which swept British North America. It was also built as an earthfast house (where the roof supports go vertically all the way into the ground). Architects and history buffs may like the book, but most others won't be interested.
Homes that we are more familiar with such as Mt. Vernon and Monticello have incorporated the themes of this house. Before it and that time, homes in British North America were mostly of medieval design without signal purpose rooms, this changed as evidenced with this house.
Well, the books I mentioned yesterday that I was working on, I had to set to the side, just had five interlibrary loan books come in, and they can only be kept for two weeks and cannot be renewed. Already started on "Saudi America" by Bethany McLean (2018). McLean is an excellent business writer and I have enjoyed her work. This is a small book, if it were fiction it would probably be referred to as a novella, but as usual with her work, interesting and readable right from the start. The others are: "The Big Four" by Ian D. Gow (2018), about the 'big four' remaining accounting firms; "The Other One Percent: Indians in America" by Sanjoy Chakravorty (2017); "The Bank That Lived a Little: Barclays in the Age of the Very Free Market" by Philip Augar (2018); and "The Future is Asian: Commerce, Conflict, and Culture in the 21st Century" by Parag Khanna (2019). My books runneth over!
Laughing Shall I Die: Lives and Deaths of the Great Vikings - Tom Shippey
Revolutionary: George Washington at War - Robert O'Connell
and two current bestsellers ....
The Pioneers - David McCullough
The British Are Coming - Rick Atkinson