a blog by Ellen Davies

What I’m reading – March update

What I’m reading – March update

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my reading list! Here it is. And what are you reading? Leave a note for me in the comments section.

 

Euphoria by Lily King. Quick read, novel based on the life of Margaret Mead. Reminded me of State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, but that novel was more complex.

 

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani. Shivers down my spine. There is not much suspense here—the children are dead in the first sentence, and the book is about how it happened. 

 

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. Shocking story of the mistreatment of the Osage tribe, many of whom got rich from the oil discovered on their lands. But just as many were cheated, swindled, and murdered for this money. David Grann ties their sad story with the early days of the FBI, back when J. Edgar Hoover was just getting started.

 

Endurance by Scott Kelly. Memoir by the man who spent a year living aboard the International Space Station. A fascinating read if you are curious, as I am, about life in space. I never thought about all the work involved (maintaining carbon monoxide filters, being prepared to administer medical aid) and the dangers (one slip up could be fatal). However Scott Kelly has the ego of a swaggering hotshot Navy pilot who went on to become an astronaut, so if you can get past that, it’s a decent read.

 

From the New Yorker magazine, “The White Darkness,” by David Grann. Long article (and probably a segment from an upcoming book) about Henry Worsley, a man who (like Scott Kelly, above) was obsessed with Ernest Shackelton and wanted to re-create his journey across Antarctica. First he goes with two other men, then he goes alone. Henry Worsley and Scott Kelly are a lot alike: both are specially trained military men, both at the top of their profession. We don’t get to hear Worsley’s voice, however. Actually, Scott Kelly’s book would be a much better book if he had let David Grann write it. But I digress. This article is fascinating–crossing Antarctica is just as challenging as living in space.

 

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. A novel about the imagined life of Christina and Andrew Wyeth. One of Wyeth’s most famous paintings is Christina’s World, which pictures a crippled Christina sprawled on the grass, looking up at her house on the hill. This book imagines who she really was. In reality, she was Wyeth’s muse for nearly 30 years. This novel tells the story of her life before she met him. I was captivated by her independence, as well as her rather bleak life. Her father made her quit school at age 12 to take care of the family, and she spent her life cooking and cleaning in a house with no running water. Her body slowly deteriorated to the point where she could no longer walk (but she still did all her chores). She was too proud to accept help, she mistook overtures of friendship for pity, and she was bitter when her brother wanted a different life. So bitter that he gave up the idea and stayed living in the house with her. Like I said, bleak! 


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