Wednesday, February 05, 2020

January 2020 Reads

I wrote about indulging in my fondness for young reader biographies a couple of posts ago. Here's what I read when I tuned into my slightly more mature side. A good assortment!

The Lager Queen of Minnesota - J. Ryan Stradal. Stradal simply cannot write novels fast enough to suit me. A couple of years ago, I fell in love with the audiobook version of Kitchens of the Great Midwest during a long trip. The Lager Queen of Minnesota is a family saga featuring women in the world of beer brewing, and is equally beguiling. I immediately recommended this novel to The Spine Breakers, a channel on BookTube in which the hosts, Megan and Sue, sample craft beers and discuss what they've been reading. Okay, actually I *insisted* they read it. Hope I didn't come off as obnoxious.

On Swift Horses - Shannon Pufahl. The 1950s American West. A newlywed gets tips on the horses at her job as a waitress in a bar and hides her considerable winnings from her husband. Meanwhile, her brother-in-law wanders to Las Vegas then down to Tijuana. The writing is lovely, but languorous and slow and coming at the reader from an angle. It's hypnotic; it's like being in a fever dream. It's one of those novels that I am sure I'll return to. Shannon Pufahl was unknown to me, but she's on my radar now.

Killers of the Flower Moon - David Grann. This account of the horrific treatment of the Osage in 1920s Oklahoma by greedy whites out to get at the oil on their land made me furious. I lived in Oklahoma during high school and had to take a course in Oklahoma history. Somehow (!) this event, although well-publicized at the time, got shoved into the dustbin of history. I can't believe I didn't hear even a hint of it, because I had an old, old, teacher who was born in Oklahoma and told us all sorts of anecdotes. I highly recommend this book and I am so glad David Grann uncovered this shameful chapter.

The Body: A Guide for Occupants - Bill Bryson. Bryson takes the reader on a journey through all our systems. Many things about our bodies are still unknown country, as he readily admits. Alternately amusing and dismaying, but always interesting.

The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell. I'm so mad at myself for not paying attention to Malcolm Gladwell. No excuse. His books have been in my face for 20 years now. Oh well, I fixed that last year with Talking to Strangers and I've been an ardent fan ever since. Now here's another writer that can't possibly write books fast enough to suit me.

So those are the books I read in January. I had hoped to write more, but this post has been fraught with peril. The computer kind. The kind that brings you to your knees.


Sue F. said...

I bought Killers of the Flower Moon for my husband for Christmas so I could read it! I haven't gotten to it yet, but I will. I have discovered Malcolm Gladwell on his Revisionist History Podcast and am anxious to read his books! So much reading to do!

Ruthiella said...

Oh! So pleased to hear you reference Sue and Megan! I love their channel.

I remember Thomas at Hogglestock didn't like Great Kitchens of the Midwest, but that has actually made me MORE curious to read it instead of less. :D

Bybee said...

Ruthiella, I'm so thrilled that you like Sue and Megan!

The audiobook of GKotM is really charming

Bybee said...

Sue, Malcolm Gladwell is a real treat!