My May reading list erred on the side of “things you shouldn’t read during a pandemic or other depressing time in your life.” One selection was so troubling that I didn’t even want to read anymore but I’m glad I trudged through and finished it.
Here’s the rundown:
A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purcell was time consuming. I was excited to start it but lost my zeal to read about halfway through. This is nonfiction about an American socialite turned spy during World War II. She was a hero of the French Resistance who spent years evading and sabotaging the Nazis.
The author did a good job drawing the reader into this confusing and terrifying world.
The Nazis were notoriously cruel but especially ruthless toward women so capture was unthinkable. Sadly, the story became almost too much to absorb. However, she was an incredible woman and I’m glad I know about her. I’m equally glad to be done with it.
Tony’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani was another good story in a long line of books by an author that I adore. This one is set during the Big Band era and World War II. There are a few flaws to the story including the mention of transistor radios years before they existed but the plot is fun and I enjoyed the break after the horrors of the French Resistance.
No Dream Is Too High by Buzz Aldrin tells an important tale from American and space history. He seems like a likable guy but I didn’t especially enjoy the book. Don’t ask because I don’t know why. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for it but it seemed to me like there were too many technical details to speak to a general audience but probably not enough for the space fans in the audience. However, it is inspiring to think about all he accomplished and I’m glad this American hero chose to record his own account of his life.
The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens is a page turning thriller and an all around good ride. It’s a timely reminder that where humans are concerned there often is more. than meets the eye. This novel tells the story of a college student who investigates a decades old murder, uncovering the truth about a man wrongly convicted of that murder. I know how it ends but would read it again.
Infamy by Richard Reeves is the one that really made me hate reading, if only for just a little while. However, I’m glad I read the book despite the mental anguish inflicted by this meticulously researched and presented book.
This is the most emotionally exhausting book I’ve read in a while. It details how over 120,000 Japanese Americans and aliens were legally and forcefully removed from their homes and relocated to American government run internment camps.
It also talks about the honorable service to the American military given by young Japanese Americans. Many died in the war, others came home with a chest full of medals only to be refused services, threatened, and run out of their own homes.
It’s a timely, disturbing reminder of what happens when we allow mass hysteria and racism to be disguised as patriotism.
Dimestore by Lee Smith was the best thing I read all month. You may be familiar with southerner Lee Smith’s fiction writing but this is a collection of essays that tell the story of her upbringing in rural Virginia. Her dad owned the dimestore in town and her perspective as a child in this hamlet reminds me a lot of the character Scout in Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
She also gives some insight into the world of writing, making me want to sit down and start writing a book.
However, I fear whatever I might write will appear in a callous blogger’s round up of books someday so I may just stick to the reading side of things!
What books are you reading?