Monday, March 20, 2017

The RAHM Report for March 20, 2017

I have been trying for weeks to come up with a name for a weekly report about what I've been reading. I finally settled on the RAHM (Read-at-Home Mom) Report. I'll still be occasionally linking up with It's Monday, What Are You Reading? but I wanted the freedom to post on other days of the week, too, so the feature needed to have its own blog-specific name.

In any case, the last time I reported on my reading was February 20, so I have a full month of reading to share.

Adult Books

Since I last posted, I finished two more cozy mysteries: State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy and Cover Story by Erika Chase.

The writing in State of the Onion was probably the best I've found in a cozy mystery since I started really getting into them last summer. The second book of the series is only available to me through inter-library loan so it might be a while before I can read it, but it's the series I am most interested in continuing right now.

Cover Story was not as good as the previous titles in that series. I didn't care for the new character who was introduced and the mystery dragged on too much. I still want to read the other books, but I'm taking a break for a while.

I'm also reading two nonfiction titles. My progress through Lois Lenski, Storycatcher has been painfully slow, and that's partly because the book reads more like a textbook than a creative narrative. This wouldn't be a problem if I just needed to read small sections for research purposes, but trying to read the entire book is a bit tedious. My husband, who read the book already, says it is worth pushing through, so I'm going to stick with it; it just might take a while to finish.

The other nonfiction book is The Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn, which I'm reading with the church small group I just joined after being invited by a friend. It explains the Book of Revelation in light of the Mass, and in the two meetings I've attended so far, the discussions have been great. Prior to this, I'd only heard Scott Hahn on the radio, but I'm really liking his writing style.

Up next, I have Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon checked out on my phone from Hoopla. I read the first chapter and loved the writing, but I'm not sure I'll have time to finish it in a timely manner.

Deal Me in Challenge

I fell way behind on this short story challenge, but have finally caught up through the current week. The stories I read are below:

  • "The Voice of the City" by O. Henry (♣10)
    This is not as meaty as some of O. Henry's other stories, but it had a tongue in cheek tone that I enjoyed. The narrator decides that he must find out what the voice of New York City sounds like. He says, "Chicago says, unhesitatingly, ‘I will;’ Philadelphia says, ‘I should;’ New Orleans says, ‘I used to;’ Louisville says, ‘Don’t care if I do;’ St. Louis says, ‘Excuse me;’ Pittsburg says, ‘Smoke up.’" But no matter who he asks, no one will tell him what New York says. Finally, he realizes that everyone's reluctance to answer him is an answer of its own. 
  • "Eve's Diary" by Mark Twain (♠6)
    When I added this story to my list, I knew I was probably going to end up reading it separately from its companion piece, Excerpts from Adam's Diary, and that is what happened. I did like the way it made me think about odd it must have been to suddenly exist one day as a full-grown adult, and I thought much of the story was very funny. For example, Eve says things about Adam like, "When the dodo came along he thought it was a wildcat--I saw it in his eye." Strangely, though, the story only has Adam and Eve begin to love each other after the fall and that struck me as odd. Eve was given to Adam for companionship, and I think the intention was for them to love each other and live happily in paradise. I'd never read an intepretation - even a facetious one - where love only came about as a result of sex. I'll be anxious to read the other story and see how it completes the full picture. 
  •  "A Poison That Leaves No Trace" from Kinsey & Me by Sue Grafton (7)
    It turned out that I had read this story before, not from the book in which it was included, but from a collection of mystery stories I tracked down from a library a number of years ago. There aren't too many scenes in the Kinsey Millhone books where Kinsey is fooled, so it was fun seeing that, and the twist at the end caught me by surprise even though I did remember it vaguely once I finished. 
  • "Non Sung Smoke" from Kinsey & Me by Sue Grafton (9)
    This story was also very compelling. Kinsey helps a young woman locate a man she met at a bar only to have the man turn up dead the next morning. The unraveling of how the man ends up dead is excellent detective work on Kinsey's part, and for such a short story, this one carries a lot of suspense. Of the short stories I've read from this collection so far, this might be my favorite.

Children's Books

I've finished two books in the past month and started two others. I read The Matchlock Gun in one sitting and reviewed it last week for Old School Kidlit and Newbery Through the Decades. I also finally finished Cloud and Wallfish. It was a compelling story, and I'm hoping to post a full-length review soon. It's been a while since I made it through a newer middle grade novel, so I was glad it ended up being so good.

Currently I am reading The Hotel Cat aloud to Miss Muffet at bedtime. We have maybe four chapters left, so that should be finished by the end of the week. On my own, I'm reading The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley and The Impossible Clue by Sarah Rubin, both of which I borrowed from the library. The Harlem Charade is great so far; I'm having a harder time getting into The Impossible Clue. Both are due back to the library next weekend, so I will either finish them or return them unfinished by next week at this time.

Up next on my to-read list is a book my husband just finished, which he has passed onto me with high praise: Sticks Across the Chimney by Nora Burglon. I am hoping to review it in time to count it toward the Old School Kidlit Challenge.

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