What I read last week: January 1-10

In an effort to keep up with my goal of keeping track of what I'm reading this year, I've decided to post once a week about what I've read in the previous week.  I'll probably write a short blurb about most books and possibly a longer review of what I enjoyed most.  Some weeks this will be a really short list, other weeks longer.  It just depends on what I'm reading.  

This first list is for January 1-10.

  • Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline.  I enjoy Scottoline's work.  They are kind of standard legal thrillers but the main character is a woman, which makes them different from most of these types of novels.  In this book, Bennie Rosato has a chance to represent a client that she felt like she'd failed in the past.  It's a quick read and an enjoyable vacation.

 

  • All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani.  I picked up this book because of the picture on the inside cover of Clark Gable and Loretta Young.  My husband looks like Clark Gable so, of course, I'm a fan.  Anyway, this novel is an old Hollywood tale.  It spins the story of Loretta Young's life in Hollywood, her relationship with Clark Gable and the lengths to which she goes to hide her pregnancy from the studio bosses.  The book makes it seem like Gable and Young were star-crossed lovers.  It all seemed very sweet.  I did a little reading about the Gable/Young situation, though, and near the end of her life Loretta Young claimed that she actually became pregnant as the result of Gable raping her.  Kind of changed my view of this book, actually,  Interesting story and good writing but I hate to romanticize something that may have been more horrific.

 

  • Circling the Sun by Paula McLain.  I think I'm the only person on the planet who didn't really enjoy The Paris Wife so it took me longer than it should have to pick up this second novel by McLain.  I wish I'd gotten to it much sooner because it was a real joy to read.  Circling the Sun tells the story of Beryl Markham.  Markham was a British-born Kenyan aviator and horse trainer.  She was one of the first female bush pilots and helped pioneer the practice of spotting game from the air and radioing their locations to safaris on the ground.  The book jacket makes a big deal about Markham's "love triangle" with Karen Blixen (who wrote Out of Africa as Isak Dinesen) and Denys Finch Hatton.  Truth is, that was such a small part of the book that it doesn't seem worth mentioning.  The real star of this novel is colonial era Africa. I loved everything about the descriptions of Africa and the people who lived there.  The insular, almost incestuous, relationships between the few British residents of Kenya were interesting to read about and, honestly, made me understand Markham's rebellion against tradition.  There are few and fleeting descriptions and conversations of the native Kenyans and each mention made me long for so much more.  This was really an excellent novel, by far my favorite of the week.

 

This was kind of a slow week because I got caught up in some other reading.  I'm currently reading H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, You Are Not a Stranger Here by Adam Haslett, and City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg.  I'm sure you'll hear about these, and possibly others, next week!