Posts by Sharlene

Reader. Book blogger. Parent. Eater of foods aplenty. Tea drinker. Crocheter

The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester

The topic – precision engineering – isn’t something that immediately draws me in. But having read Winchester’s books before, I know them to be well-written and thoroughly researched. And when I listened to the sample of the first pages, which he reads, I was drawn in to the story because he began with how his father used to work as an engineer in a factory and one day brought home some machined metal tiles called gauge blocks used for measuring things. And I liked how Winchester talked fondly about visiting his father in the factory and watching the machines and how Winchester started writing this book about precision.

And in the end, this book was full of fascinating insights into the world of precision – from cars to guns to airplane engines. It’s not easy to make notes while listening to an audiobook and part of me wishes I had had a printed copy alongside but I quite liked that Winchester, in his sore-throaty voice, read the book himself.

The Perfectionists is full of facts and insights that I had never thought to think about, all these big and small things that make our world go round, that enables me to type this sentence out on my phone. How our world has changed so much in what is just a few decades. You don’t have to love science or engineering to read or listen to this fascinating book. You just need a little bit of curiosity about how this world is as it is today.

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Book Beginnings/Friday 56 with The Night Tiger

Beginning:

The old man is dying. Ren can see it in the shallow breaths, the sunken face, and the skin stretched thinly over his cheekbones. Yet he wants the shutters open. Irritably, he beckons the boy over, and Ren, his throat tight as though he’s swallowed a stone, throws open the second-storey window.

56:

They sprang apart as soon as they became aware of the intruder and the salesman said nothing, but he’d given William a look. That was the worst part, the knowing in his eyes. For unlike other locals, he knows William’s name and exactly where he works. Talk is bad for William, especially after what happened in England.

 

 

Fridays are for Book Beginnings on Rose City Reader, Friday 56 on Freda’s Voice

 

 

 

Library Loot (March 6 to 12)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

There were so many awesome books on hold for me at the library this week! I’m so excited to share this week’s loot with you. Hope you’ll share your loot too!

 

My Sister, the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on this book!
When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in “self-defence” and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating a doctor at the hospital where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

 

The Plotters – Un-su Kim, translated by Sora Kim-Russell

Can’t remember where I first heard of this book but I immediately placed a hold on it! And here it is.

Behind every assassination, there is an anonymous mastermind–a plotter–working in the shadows. Plotters quietly dictate the moves of the city’s most dangerous criminals, but their existence is little more than legend. Just who are the plotters? And more important, what do they want?
Reseng is an assassin. Raised by a cantankerous killer named Old Raccoon in the crime headquarters “The Library,” Reseng never questioned anything: where to go, who to kill, or why his home was filled with books that no one ever read. But one day, Reseng steps out of line on a job, toppling a set of carefully calibrated plans. And when he uncovers an extraordinary scheme set into motion by an eccentric trio of young women–a convenience store clerk, her wheelchair-bound sister, and a cross-eyed librarian–Reseng will have to decide if he will remain a pawn or finally take control of the plot.
Crackling with action and filled with unforgettable characters, The Plotters is a deeply entertaining thriller that soars with the soul, wit, and lyricism of real literary craft.

All You Can Ever Know – Nicole Chung

Another book I was waiting for ages on the hold list!

What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?

Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life; that forever feeling slightly out of place was simply her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as she grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.

With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.

Hey, Kiddo – Jarrett J Krosoczka

I think I saw this on some “best of” lists and was curious.

Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn’t know his father’s name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddotraces Krosoczka’s search for his father, his difficult interactions with his mother, his day-to-day life with his grandparents, and his path to becoming an artist.

Sabrina – Nick Drnaso

Saw this on the Goodreads Best Books list.

When Sabrina disappears, an airman in the U.S. Air Force is drawn into a web of suppositions, wild theories, and outright lies. He reports to work every night in a bare, sterile fortress that serves as no protection from a situation that threatens the sanity of Teddy, his childhood friend and the boyfriend of the missing woman. Sabrina’s grieving sister, Sandra, struggles to fill her days as she waits in purgatory. After a videotape surfaces, we see devastation shown through a cinematic lens, as true tragedy is distorted when fringe thinkers and conspiracy theorists begin to interpret events to fit their own narratives.

The follow-up to Nick Drnaso’s Beverly, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Sabrina depicts a modern world devoid of personal interaction and responsibility, where relationships are stripped of intimacy through glowing computer screens. Presenting an indictment of our modern state, Drnaso contemplates the dangers of a fake-news climate. Timely and articulate, Sabrina leaves you gutted, searching for meaning in the aftermath of disaster.

Paper Girls Vol 5 – Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matthew Wilson

Can anyone escape fate? That’s what Mac and her fellow newspaper delivery girls must discover as they escape the year 2000 and travel to the distant future. Plus, the truth behind the mysterious “old-timers” is finally revealed.

The kids’ loot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist

The 2019 longlist was just announced! How many have you read?

I’ve read 3 only and am about to start on My Sister, the Serial Killer. What about you?

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

The Pisces by Melissa Broder

Milkman by Anna Burns

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li

Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

Praise Song for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden

Circe by Madeline Miller

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

Normal People by Sally Rooney

It’s Monday and it was another wet weekend

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Let me know in the comments!

We had a bit of a wet one. But still did our usual swim class, tennis sessions, lunches out. We also met up with the husband’s cousin who had just flown in from Singapore for the week for work.

 

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

 

 

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

 

 

 

 

Watching:

The Grand Tour

Listening:

The Perfectionists – I’m almost done!

Eating:

Waffles

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold

Cooking:

Browsing:

Much as I love peanut butter, I haven’t actually eaten a peanut dessert of the western variety, at least none I can remember. But this salted peanut tart has me considering!

A great post on book recommendation sites and whether they work

Just learnt about Serial Box from Jenny at Reading the End

Last week:

I read:


Witch Boy – Molly Ostertag
Golden Tresses of Dead – Alan Bradley
The Wedding Date – Jasmine Guillory
I posted:

 

Golden Tresses of the Dead

#BookBeginnings #Friday56 with Why I Wake Early

Reading notes (February 28, 2019)

Library Loot (February 27 to March 5)

Top Places In Books I’d Like to Visit #toptentuesday

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

Golden Tresses of the Dead

I tend not to be a series continuer. Duologies, trilogies I do manage to finish. Maybe because I know that there it is, that’s the end, I can read that and be done with it. But when it comes to series with many books, like Laurie R Kong’s Mary Russell series, or the Outlander series, I tend to take my time with them. And to be honest, sometimes I forget about them, distracted by all the shiny pretties that publishers keep churning out and bookstagrammers keep posting beautiful photos of.

But somehow this series by Alan Bradley is something I always remember to pick up. And not terribly far from its publication date either.

In this tenth book, Flavia has two cases to solve. One involves a finger found in her sister’s wedding cake. Yes, Feely is getting married. As a result we don’t see very much of her – or Daffy really. Instead it’s become the Flavia and Dogger show with a side act of Undine, Flavia’s cousin, who apparently knows quite a bit about automobiles.

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The case itself was interesting enough and I loved having more of Dogger and getting to know the snarky Undine but I did miss that banter among the three sisters. But as always, it was a delight to jump into a new mystery with Flavia, severed finger and all.

#BookBeginnings #Friday56 with Why I Wake Early

 

Beginning:
Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universse
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.

56:

Have You Seen Blacksnake Swimming?

Down at Blackwater
blacksnake went swimming, scrolling
close to the shore, only
his head above the water, the long
yard of his body just beneath the surface,
quick and gleaming. The day was hot, but there
in the water, another snake might have
danced with him. But, since he was alone
he whirled a little, unnecessarily, and picked up speed,
so that on both sides he made a lacy wake
and there was a rippling sound,
a sort of soft music, just enough
to amuse that narrow mouth, whose corners,
in that coolness, were lifted in even more
than his usual gentleman’s smile.

Fridays are for Book Beginnings on Rose City Reader, Friday 56 on Freda’s Voice