Sunday Sum-Up

Another week has gone by, and once again I don’t know where the time has gone. I’ve spent my days getting the last few things done before I pack up and head to the airport on Tuesday. I bought a watch, got in touch with my hotel in Reykjavic about mundane things like check-in time and parking, and have been trying to get over the fact that my first time driving in a foreign country will be a stretch of highway about 40 miles long after a night of very little sleep. Fun!

Needless to say, it’s going to be a busy, busy week. Today, my book club is going to an orchard to Nebraska City (about an hour and a half drive away) to pick peaches, and then if it doesn’t starting pouring tonight I’m planning to go to the annual lantern float at a local park tonight. Then tomorrow I’ll be packing, Tuesday I head to the airport, and Wednesday my adventure in Iceland begins! I’ll update as I can while I’m away, but no guarantees.

And now for books!

I finished up a couple of in-progress books, started and finished another, and finally remembered a short story by my favorite mystery writer.

24612045I listened to the audiobook version of Eddie Izzard’s memoir, Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens, narrated by Izzard himself. While I do love Izzard’s comedy and the random little asides he has in his stand-up routines, I wish I had read this book instead of listening to it. There are tons of footnotes, especially early in the book where Izzard finds it necessary to explain the 1960s and 1970s British culture of his childhood. He interrupts the narrative to read the footnotes and it really disrupts the flow of the story. Had I read the book, it wouldn’t have been so distracting. It does get better as it goes, with fewer footnotes and a faster-paced narrative, but that’s something like eight hours into a twelve hour work.

644655I also finished up Ann Cleeves’s Raven Black, which is the first of her Shetland Islands mystery series. I’m not sure what to think of this one. The story was interesting, the writing was good, and the characters were interesting, but 1) it didn’t spend that much time with the detective, Jimmy Perez, who was wonderful in the television show, Shetland, and 2) the show follows the book fairly closely, so I spent the whole book knowing whodunnit, wondering how they were going to find the killer there vs. how they found the killer on the show. I might give the next book a shot. We’ll see.

 

 

25908693I started and finished The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, and it was wonderful! The only problem I had with the book was that it wasn’t long enough. It’s about 260 pages and covers almost twenty years of A.J.’s life, so Zevin has to race through the story. Her characters were complex and interesting, and the story was engaging, so she could have spent more time engaging with the characters and taking a deeper dive into their lives. That said, I enjoyed this book immensely and would definitely recommend it.

 

 

The last thing I read this week was a Barker & Llewelyn short story by Will Thomas, An Awkward Way to Die. I knew it was coming out at the beginning of August, but I’d forgotten all about it until I saw a posting about it on Facebook. It’s short, fun, and provides a little taste of my favorite detective duo until the next book in the series comes out this fall.

I’m currently reading H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald. It’s a memoir of the author’s life in falconry and her training of a goshawk, how she recovered from her grief after her father’s death, and her relationship with a particular book by T.H. White. It’s not a linear narrative, so it’s initially a little strange but once you get used to it, it’s rather beautiful. I’m about 15% of the way through it.

And that’s all for now! If I don’t get moving I’m going to be late for peach picking!

Have a great week, everyone! I’ll write more when I can!

Goodreads Monday- Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme where you randomly select a book from To Be Read list and show it off. It’s hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, just pick a book, tell us about it, and don’t forget to link back to Lauren’s page so we can share our literary finds.


24612045Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens
by Eddie Izzard
400 pages
published June 13, 2017

From Goodreads: Critically acclaimed, award-winning British comedian and actor Eddie Izzard details his childhood, his first performances on the streets of London, his ascent to worldwide success on stage and screen, and his comedy shows which have won over audiences around the world.

Over the course of a thirty-year career, Eddie Izzard has proven himself to be a creative chameleon, inhabiting the stage and film and television screen with an unbelievable fervor. Born in Yemen, and raised in Ireland, Wales and post-war England, he lost his mother at the age of six. In his teens, he dropped out of university and took to the streets of London as part of a two-man escape act; when his partner went on vacation, Izzard kept busy by inventing a one-man act, and thus a career was ignited. As a stand-up comedian, Izzard has captivated audiences with his surreal, stream-of-consciousness comedy–lines such as “Cake or Death?” “Death Star Canteen,” and “Do You Have a Flag?” have the status of great rock lyrics. As a self-proclaimed “Executive Transvestite,” Izzard broke the mold performing in full make-up and heels, and has become as famous for his advocacy for LGBT rights as he has for his art. In Believe Me, he recounts the dizzying rise he made from street busking to London’s West End, to Wembley Stadium and New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Still performing more than 100 shows a year–thus far in a record-breaking twenty-eight countries worldwide–Izzard is arguably one of today’s top Kings of Comedy. With his brand of keenly intelligent humor, that ranges from world history to pop culture, politics and philosophy, he has built an extraordinary fan base that transcends age, gender, and race. Writing with the same candor and razor-sharp insight evident in his comedy, he reflects on a childhood marked by unutterable loss, sexuality and coming out, as well as a life in show business, politics, and philanthropy. Honest and generous, Izzard’s Believe Me is an inspired account of a very singular life thus far.


I’ve loved Eddie Izzard’s brand of comedy for years now and can think of a quote for almost every occasion. When I’m having a lousy day, I’ll pop in one of my old DVDs from one of his tours (Dressed to Kill is my favorite), and the day is suddenly better. I was happy to see his memoir show up in bookstores, as he has led an extraordinary life with so many ups and downs it’s hard to keep track of them. I decided I’d try out the audiobook version, so I’m on the waiting list at my local library. I can’t wait to listen to it!

Julie & Julia

There’s this thing that we do, we modern people who maybe don’t have the opportunity to go and do Big Things like travel the globe or discover new islands or new species of animals in the depths of the Amazon or wherever. We take a year, and we turn it into a project- read 100 books (which I’ve done), or read the encyclopedia, or visit every state capital in the US or something of the sort. And we write about it on the way, the disasters we’ve encountered, the lessons we’ve learned, how we’ve grown- or not grown. Or whatever.

DSC02754Julie Powell decided to make every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year, and blog about it while she did so. This was all the way back in 2002, when blogging was new and the trope of “My Year of _______ ” wasn’t the thing it is now. She didn’t do it for the hope of a book contract (which ended up happening) or for fame (which ended up happening, too). She did it because she was in a dead-end job, staring 30 in the face, and desperate to do something Else.

So she started cooking. A lot. With a lot of butter.

Through the whole process, Powell is wonderfully candid about her failures- at cooking, at housekeeping, at keeping her cool- as well as her successes. And she is quite down to Earth about the minor fame that grew out of her little blog. She was interviewed by the New York Times and CBS, had dinner with major food critics, and through it all she says things like, “I’m not sure why they found me so interesting. It’s all very surreal”. I imagine it was.

So if you like quirky memoirs and yearlong projects, I recommend this book. Just be prepared for a lot of vivid descriptions of things like cow brains and the fact that Powell really likes the word ‘f*ck’.


 

At long last, I’ve finally received the digital copy of Robert Galbraith’s third Cormoran Strike novel, Career of Evil. I only requested it back in February after I raced through the first two books. I’m ten percent of the way through the book, and am quite drawn into the story so far, even if the thought of poor Robin receiving a woman’s leg is pretty gross.


 

black-sails-season-2-posterI’ve also started watching season 2 of Starz’s Black Sails. I thoroughly enjoyed season 1, but hadn’t watched season 2 until I found the set at the library. It’s a period piece about pirates, has complicated interpersonal relationships and politics, amazing production value, and doesn’t stray into the sort of melodrama I don’t care for. It’s always interesting when the characters you’re rooting for are Bad People, and the ones you are hoping will fail are the ones who are meant to keep peace and order.