“My behavior is nonetheless, deplorable. Unfortunately, I’m quite prone to such bouts of deplorability–take for instance, my fondness for reading books at the dinner table.”
― Brandon Sanderson,
I like books. I read them anywhere and everywhere. I would like them in a house. I would like them with a mouse. I would like them here or there. I would like them anywhere (apologies to Dr. Seuss). I take a book with me when I have a doctor’s appt. or while I’m waiting for my car to be serviced. I especially like to read at the table when I eat. When I was working it was always fun to eat my lunch at a local cafe and read the next chapter in my latest novel. Now that I am retired I read at my table at home, mostly at breakfast or lunch, and sometimes, though rarely, at dinner. Usually that is the time to catch up on things with my husband but if he turns the TV on, all bets are off. Most times I watch the TV as well but I’ll be happy to open up the newspaper or a book.
I remember my mother telling me that when she was a girl, her mother and uncle were always telling her to close her books, quit reading at the table, or “get your nose out of that book.” It was considered impolite to read at the table, even though the other adage they subscribed to was, “Children should be seen and not heard.” So why not let them read?
Here are our January books. You may read any of these at the table.
1. Lake in the Clouds by Sara Donati (2003) 651pages. Third in the author’s Wilderness series. The books follow the Bonner Family as they immigrate from England to the untamed wilderness of late-eighteenth-century New York. This story takes place 10 years after their arrival.
2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011) 372 pages. “In the dystopian future of 2044, the world is going down the crapper and many people spend most of their free time playing OASIS, an online virtual reality game, sifting through every minute detail of the creator’s life, for whomever unravels a series of riddles James Halliday left behind inherits it all. Will teenager Wade Watts be the one?” A perfect book for all the nerds and gamers and SF lovers out there.
3. dragonfish by Vu Tran (2015) 304 pages. Robert, an Oakland cop, still cares about Suzy, his Vietnamese wife who left him two years ago after an abusive event. Now she’s disappeared from her new husband, Sonny, a violent Vietnamese smuggler and gambler who’s blackmailing Robert into finding her for him. This was touted as Noir but I think it missed the mark and honestly I just couldn’t like the characters.
4. Get Jiro by Anthony Bourdain (2012) 160 pages. The first graphic novel for this group. The premise: In a not-too-distant future L.A. master chefs rule the town like crime lords and people literally kill for a seat at the best restaurants, a bloody culinary war is raging. And everyone wants the best sushi chef alive, Jiro. Good illustrations and a fun, foodie story. Not for the kiddies, violence and nudity, but not a lot.
5. Vigilantes of Montana by Thomas J. Dimsdale (2003) 203 pages. This book is an account of the notorious “road agents” operating in Montana in the early 1860s during and after the Alder Gulch gold strike. These men took over the towns of Alder Creek, Virginia City and Bannock and ran them as criminal enterprises. Eventually groups of ordinary citizens formed secret vigilante organizations to combat the road agents. Taking the law into their own hands they pursued, shot or hanged as many of the road agents as possible.
6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2006) 552 pages. Set during World War II in Germany, this novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence helping her mother with her laundry business. When she encounters something she can’t resist–books, she becomes a thief. The best part of this book is the narrator, Death. And listening to it as an audiobook is a treat.
7. Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich (2015) 292 pages. Our addicted member Pete has just finished #22 in the Stephanie Plum series. “Are they still good?” I asked him. “Yep!!” he replied. “Can’t wait for #23.”
8. The Solomon Curse by Clive Cussler (2015) 392 pages. #7 in the Sam and Remi Fargo series. The Fargos are a pair of globe-trotting treasure hunters; independently wealthy, they donate artifacts and treasure discovered to the host nation. This time around they are invited to visit a Russian friend who has discovered underwater structures in a Guadalcanal bay.
9. The Professor by Charlotte Bronte (1857) 269 pages.This is Charlotte Brontë’s first novel, published after her death. In it she inhabits the voice and consciousness of a man, William Crimsworth. Like Jane Eyre he is parentless; like Lucy Snowe in Villette he leaves the certainties of England to forge a life in Brussels. But as a man, William has freedom of action, so Brontë is also liberated, exploring the relationship between power and sexual desire. However, reading it in today’s world it sounds pretty tame.
10. Sgt. Reckless: America’s Warhorse by Robin Hutton (2014) 368 pages.”If you love horses, you’ll love this book. If you love stories about war heroes, you’ll love this book. If you love the Marines, you’ll love this book. Sgt. Reckless is a horse, a war hero, and a Marine who served in the Korean War.”