A funny reader moment happened to me last week when I got together with one of my favorite cousins. “I remember how you used to devour books,” he said, as we reminisced about our childhood. “You’d carry around these big books. I’d ask you how far along you’d gotten, and you’d say, ‘I finished it.'”
I have no recollection of this happening, but it sounds legit. And a fitting memory to introduce this week’s reading roundup, yes? Now let’s get to the books!
As always, esteemed thanks to Taking on a World of Words for hosting WWW Wednesday and Coffee and Cats for introducing me to it!
What are you currently reading?
Harry Mount’s Odyssey: Ancient Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus by Harry Mount. His account of tracing Odysseus’ path includes a mix of memoir, history, and travelogue. I’m enjoying it! It’s not a book I want to rush through, though, as it’s giving me quite a bit to think about ancient Greek literature and culture.
I’m also reading Stargazy Pie by Laura Lockington. This is a totally random selection that I stumbled on at an Athens bookstore nestled among a modest selection of English language novels. Contributing factors to my purchasing decision included: It was inexpensive and in hardcover. (I share this to highlight the randomness of book choices.) Truth is, the novel is a pleasant surprise (*surprise* because I knew exactly zero about it before purchasing it). The story begins with Poppy, a London shopgirl, heading to Cornwall to spend Christmas with her boss/friend Davey’s eccentric upper crust family. Her traveling companion is a monkey called Jicky whose hobbies include … well, let’s leave that bit unsaid. It’s silly, fun, situational hijinks. I’m having a hard time tearing myself away from it, to be honest. I’m in just the right mood for it.
What did you recently finish reading?
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 1: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan. Riordan’s books are my go-to when I want my reading material to relax and entertain me, make me laugh and pull me into a world completely removed from my own. In this new(ish) series, Magnus Chase is a Boston teen who has been homeless since his mother’s death two years prior. After estranged relatives seek him out, Magnus discovers he is the son of a Norse god. And action!
Riordan’s imagination is prodigious, and though others may feel differently, I have yet to tire of his formula melding pop culture and ancient mythology with humor, danger, and adventure. A fun aside for readers of the Percy Jackson books: Magnus is the cousin of Annabeth, who makes two appearances at the beginning and end of the novel.
Not knowing as much about Norse mythology as I do about ancient Greek, I’d still call Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, and The Trials of Apollo my favorite Riordan series. But The Sword of Summer was witty and fun. It kept me engaged, entertained, and chuckling appreciatively from page to page. Meaningful moments about the power of community and discovering who you are and what you do best fill out the fun with a bit of depth.
What do you think you’ll read next?
Once again, it’s so hard to tell where my reader whims will lead me. Last week I picked up a copy of Alexander McCall Smith’s The 2 1/2 Pillars of Wisdom: The Portuguese Irregular Verbs trilogy omnibus. I do like the idea of reading a paper book. On the other hand, it reminded me that I still have the final book in McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series waiting for me on my Nook.
On a whole other note, reading Harry Mount’s Odyssey is making me want to read Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind, which has been in my e-library for a long while. Believe it or not, I haven’t forgotten about #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks … completely.
What books are on your read, reading, and will read lists this week? Any new titles you’re looking forward to this month?
8 Replies to “Wednesday Reading Roundup: July 20”
What a great memory to “relive.” How funny your cousin remembered those moments. Happy reading!
Thank you, Charlie! I couldn’t believe he remembered that. 🙂 Happy reading to you too!
I’m glad you enjoyed Riordan. I always enjoy returning to a favorite author when I need a pick-me-up. Sorry for the late reply. Happy reading and thanks for participating in WWW Wednesday!
Ah, Riordan is so entertaining. I’m looking forward to the next book! Happy reading to you too!
Sorry I’m late – it’s been a busy week. I’m glad you’re having such a great time and enjoying the books you’re reading. I love how you described choosing a random book, as well – I so hear you. I can’t get away from hardcover books I stumble upon at The Dollar Store now and then, myself. I’m glad you’re enjoying this one – and it does sound delightful, with a mischevious monkey. What’s not to love?
Speaking of which, you’ve made me think (yet again) about what I like to read: Your post about French literature made me reflect on what the characteristics of French literature might be. After reading a book I hadn’t heard off your list (well, currently reading and maybe, maybe not finishing because it’s just not for me), and based on my experience with other French books in this genre (although, to be fair, this one, “The Ingredients of Love”, was actually written by a Franco-German author, in German originally), I think I highly prefer light, bubbly, “chick lit”, shall we say, when it’s written for a British audience, by a British author. There seems to be more pure joy involved and this excellent balance of fun and still keeping things at least somewhat intelligent and the characters somewhat relateable. So, when it comes to a light, fun read, I join you on “Team British Literature”. Thanks for that revelation.
Happy reading and a continued good vacation!
I love this revelation, Alysa – so well put. The only “chick lit” I read with pure pleasure is by British authors for British audiences. Jill Mansell is a favorite of mine. I have to say, Stargazy Pie was enjoyable…until I came to a scene where characters attend some sort of festival where people have boot polish on their faces. Then I wanted to weep.
Also, I have to say: I feel so guilty when someone reads a book based on what I wrote about it then doesn’t like it, so I’m sorry about that!
Please don’t feel bad! Your blog inspires me so much and in so many ways – one book I don’t agree on means nothing. Plus, it’s not like you specifically recommended it to me or something: You just wrote about your experience with the book, and I decided to check it out. And I did so, literally: My library had it, so it’s not even like I lost any money on the deal. Plus, it’s not like we’re talking about some book that psychologically scarred me or something; it’s a light romantic comedy that just wasn’t particularly my cup of tea, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You are an amazing book blogger and I owe so much to you as I get back into my reading life – Please don’t feel bad!
Aw, thank you Alysa. I appreciate your taking the time to share that! I’m relieved that you checked it out of the library. 🙂
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