Snow days of reading

Oh, how I shovelled (see spelling rules here) and worried during the great #blizzard2016; #snowzilla (as branded by the Washington Post!)

I had hours of blissful reading, too!

I was in the middle of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, inspired by #Hamilton the musical which I can’t stop listening. I had lovely novels just whispering to me to open, and I succumbed. Take a break – I promise I will get back to you, Alexander.



Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian is a skeezy story, suburban Dad with wife and daughter caught up with Eastern European sex trade and murder in his front room. This book is saved by the author with good writing and the humanity of all characters.

The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee is set in Hong Kong. It tells the stories of women, as the OED cites a usage of the term in 1918 “Patriots and expatriates are alike the children of circumstances.” Beautifully written. I want to re-read this one.

River Road by Carol Goodman is a story set in update New York of small town and college collisions – literally. The snowy landscape fit the mood; the academic interactions rang true; and story of death and grief in many forms is saved by good writing and plot twists.

One Thousand Things Worth Knowing: Poems by Paul Muldoon. Snow and time to think call for some poetry. This is a new author (to me) and the poems are intricate and interwoven – constructed over short stanzas to tell deep stories.

One Thousand Things Worth Knowing confirms Nick Laird’s assessment, in The New York Review of Books, that Muldoon is “the most formally ambitious and technically innovative of modern poets,” an experimenter and craftsman who “writes poems like no one else.” GoodReads review

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg may take another snowstorm to do it justice. I have only begun reading this title. Good to know I am not alone in looking up Latin references  and words:

Sentence after sentence is dressed up with flourishes of diction and description, often with word choices that require research. On page 12, a character is abandoned by his boyfriend on Christmas. “But Solitas radix malorum est, Mercer would think later, looking back. . . . There was something eschatological about the weak afternoon light, made weaker by the tree, and the layer of soot that coated the window, and about the chill blown through the crack he’d left open.” If you don’t have to look up the Latin, you may have to refresh your memory as to how light and chill might be eschatological. Marian Winick 

Yet, I’m pulled right back in by p. 14:

It was if the universe was trying to teach him some lesson. The challenge, he guessed, was to refuse to learn.

I’m in love with Charlie by p. 19. This one will take me longer to read than my usual four pages a night reading while working! Here is the NY Times review.

Thanks #snowzilla. I love to read.


About Kimberly Hoffman

Twitter: KMH_nowinVA
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