26 June 2017

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts: My Reading, Listening, & Viewing Life

Stacked-Up Book Thoughts from Beth Fish ReadsWhere does the time go? I was busy with work this week, but still took advantage of the mild days to do some yard work in between the rain. The weekend was gorgeous, and I loved spending time on the deck reading and relaxing.

In other news, I went on a book organizing binge. Boy is it hard to make decisions about what to keep and what to donate. By the end of the weekend, I had culled print books that I know I'm never going to read, books I'm never going to read again, and books I also own as eBooks or eGalleys. Although painful, it's satisfying to see the pile of books I plan to share with friends and family.

What I Read Last Week

Review: Kiss Carlo by Adriana TrigianiKiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani (Harper, 2017): First, a minor disclaimer: I've met Adriana several times, and although I'm not sure she'd remember who I am, I like her and enjoy her company. Her newest book revisits many of her beloved themes--the Italian-American experience, family, food, and romance. I love Trigiani's sense of humor and her easy-to-connect-with characters. There are a several plot lines in Kiss Carlo, including a family feud, a struggling theater, and a slow-burning match made in heaven. I also liked the post-WWII time period and love the Philadelphia setting, both of which informed the atmosphere of the novel. Start your red sauce, prepare your pasta, and get ready to be embraced by all things Italian! This is a fun read, perfect for a summer afternoon. The audiobook (Harper Audio; 16 hr, 2 min) was read by Edoardo Ballerini, who toed the edge of being overly enthusiastic but still put in a listenable performance (more on the audiobook at AudioFile magazine).

Review: The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan FallonThe Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon (Putnam, 2017): I have nothing but good to say about Fallon's debut novel. I shouldn't have been surprised because I loved her short stories (You Know When the Men Are Gone). Cassie and Margaret have little in common except their husbands are in the military and both are stationed in Jordan. Cassie, who understands how it is for American women in a Muslim country, takes newcomer Margaret under her wing, and the two become friends of a sort. The novel explores Americans overseas, religious and cultural differences, women's roles, marriage, parenthood, friendship, and secrets. You might not like the women--they're certainly not perfect--but I found it difficult to put the book down. It's emotionally strong and I liked the details of what it's like to be a soldier's wife in the Mideast. I was quickly invested the friends' fates, opting for a combination read / listen of the novel because I couldn't put the book down. As for the audiobook, I enjoyed the performances by Jorjeana Marie and Lauren Fortgang (Penguin Audio; 10 hr, 21 min), who worked well together, increasing my connection to the characters and their individual perspectives on life in Jordan. Highly recommended in either medium.


Bloodline on NetflixON TELEVISION, we've finally finished Bloodline. The series is set in the Florida keys and focuses on the Rayburn family in all their messed-up glory! I'm not at all sure what I thought about the final episode. No spoilers, but I was confused most of the time, and I have only a vague idea of what happened to the Rayburns at the end. I'll have to watch that episode again. Still, it was a series worth your time, especially if you like dark themes and a very dysfunctional family. We started Shetland, which is a mystery series set in, well, the Shetlands (duh!). So far we like the characters and love the scenery. We have several streaming shows to catch up on, including Bosch, Orange Is the New Black, Frankie and Grace, and House of Cards. We'll chip away at them slowly ...

Audio stream of US founding documentsAMERICAN INDEPENDENCE: Penguin Random House Audio thinks everyone should be familiar with the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence and so is offering a free audio stream of both founding documents, which you can listen to anytime between June 27 and July 31. According to their press release, the project is in partnership "with numerous bestselling authors and organizations, including PEN America and the National Coalition Against Censorship," and they plan to use the hashtag #WeThePeopleListen across all their social media. Narrators Frank Langella and Boyd Gaines bring these documents to life. Click on the link to learn more about this project and to listen in.


rhapsodyinbooks 6/26/17, 8:39 AM  

The Fallon book sounds good!

bermudaonion 6/26/17, 9:03 AM  

I feel certain Trigiani would remember you - she has a mind like a steel trap. I'm glad you enjoyed Kiss Carlo too. I really want to read The Confusion of Languages.

bermudaonion 6/26/17, 9:03 AM  

Oh, and kudos to you for culling the shelves! I need to work on that!

Lindsey 6/26/17, 9:31 AM  

I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed The Confusion of Languages! It's always exciting when you have good evidence to push a book up to the top of your tbr list. :)

Susie | Novel Visits 6/26/17, 9:35 AM  

Cleaning out books is always hard. I got ride of a bunch of hardbacks last summer and felt much better once it was done.

I also read A Confusion of Languages last week and liked it very much, though I felt like it got a tad tedious at times. I t reminded me of In the Kingdom of Men by Km Barnes.

Kathy Martin 6/26/17, 9:53 AM  

I've never read anything by Trigiani but have been tempted by a couple. I'll have to give her a try. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

Laurel-Rain Snow 6/26/17, 11:13 AM  

Yes, the wrap-up to Bloodline was confusing...and in the final season, I hated all the characters...LOL. Maybe I should watch it again, too.

I love Grace and Frankie; House of Cards; OITNB; and Wentworth, an Australian show that is fast becoming my favorite "prison" show.

I've enjoyed most of Trigiani's books...All the Stars in the Heavens was not a favorite. But I'm looking forward to Kiss Carlo.

Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your week. Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

Vicki 6/26/17, 2:19 PM  

I'll have to check out Bloodline, it sounds good.

JoAnn 6/26/17, 2:39 PM  

I have high hopes for The Confusion of Languages... glad to hear it gets a thumbs up from you!

pussreboots 6/26/17, 4:05 PM  

I have the Confusion of Languages on my wishlist. It's been a busy week with a cracked toilet, day camp, and paperwork for cross country. Come see what I'm reading

Yvonne 6/26/17, 6:31 PM  

I've only read a couple of books by Adriana Trigiani but I loved what I read. Kiss Carlo sounds good.

I'm enjoying watching Ray Donovan now. I still have to watch the last season of Bloodline and the latest of Orange is the New Black.

Have a great week!

Sue Jackson 6/26/17, 7:30 PM  

Good for you for culling books! I really need to do that - our bookcases are all overflowing here.

The Confusion of Languages sounds really good - I'll have to check that out.

My mom and her husband love Bloodline - we've only watched the first episode so far. And we LOVE Bosch and OITNB - both such great shows! We're caught up on Bosch and about halfway through the new season of OITNB.

Enjoy your books - and TV - this week!


2017 Big Book Summer Challenge

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 6/26/17, 7:38 PM  

Those two books sound like satisfying reads.

And good job in cleaning out your books.

Greg 6/26/17, 8:12 PM  

It was a nice weekend here as well. I'm loving Shetland at the moment, and Bloodline... I liked the first season a lot, the second one less so but the third season I had problems with. Still the scenery is stunning and the acting is great.

Iliana 6/26/17, 8:29 PM  

I've been doing a bit of book organizing and it can get so overwhelming! Before I know it, I'm just sitting down "discover" old shelf sitters. Ha. The books sound really good but I have got to see Shetland! I didn't realize that was based on the Ann Cleeves series. I've really enjoyed several of the books so I'm curious to watch this.

Mystica 6/27/17, 2:49 AM  

Kiss Carlo is all around the blogs! pretty cover as well.

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 6/27/17, 8:04 AM  

I really loved the first season of Bloodline, but it kind of lost me partway through the second season. But so many of my friends said I should go back to it.

Katherine P 6/27/17, 4:48 PM  

Kiss Carlo and The Confusion of Languages both look like wonderful reads. I've been wanting to try something by Trigiani for ages. I've heard really good things about Bloodline though this last season does seem to be getting some mixed reviews.

Daryl 7/2/17, 2:56 PM  

my husband has watched Bloodline and was amazed i had started watching ..i have no idea why but there you have it .. i am fairly sure only 5 episodes in that the eldest brother is 'bad to the bone' and not even learning about his childhood makes me care what happens to him ... and last night we watched the first two episodes of Shetland - dont think i am familiar with the books its based on but with good writing/acting and that scenery its not important ...

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