Recent reading…

By Caitlin Kelly

Trying hard to get off the computer and read more books.

Lots more books!

Five recently read:

Range, by David Epstein.

I wouldn’t have read it normally but got a free copy as research for an article and it was edited by a super-smart editor, (my editor on Malled.) The basic premise, comforting to me, is that being a generalist able to shift gears quickly and easily between ideas and industries (as needed) is a useful skill and one much derided in favor of being a specialist. I’ve seen this in my own worklife and as the (loathed word) “gig economy” forces millions of us into insecure work, these skills may be more important than ever.


Conversations With Friends, Sally Rooney

Here’s a Vox story about Rooney and her books’ popularity. I have to admit I didn’t love this book, about two young Dublin women who used to be lovers and one of whom is now having an affair with an older married man. I would have enjoyed this book in my 20s or maybe 30s. Not now.


The Wych Elm, Tana French

Also by a hugely popular Irish author, whose other books I’ve enjoyed. Much as this set the scene well — also in Dublin,  a city I’ve visited a few times — and offered powerful characters, this one also left me cold. It felt too long. Maybe I really am not a fiction reader?




Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick

Loving this one so far — the 1968 basis for Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, two of my favorite films ever. I don’t normally read sci-fi but this is great.




All That You Leave Behind, Erin Lee Carr

Hmmmmm. This one was a reminder that privileged young women with powerful and connected parents can quickly and easily carve out a path in cut-throat New York media while dozens of talented and hard-working journalists able to even get a job can do  theirs without drinking and drugging and breaking things — and getting second and third chances. Like many readers, I picked this up because I admired her late father, New York Times media writer David Carr. I also admire her skill as a documentary film-maker, and enjoyed her film about Olympic athletes and Larry Nassar, At The Heart of Gold.


What have you read recently you’d recommend?

26 thoughts on “Recent reading…

  1. I recently read and enjoyed The Institute, Stephen King’s new novel. I’m currently reading Violet by Scott Thomas, the author of my current favorite novel, Kill Creek. And on the audio book side, I’m listening to the short story collection “Growing Things” by Paul Tremblay, and The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    Also, read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? for a class in college. Wow, that was a trippy story. Very different from the movie, which was the author’s opinion as well.

    1. Stephen King is amazing; I was amused to see that It and the recent sequel filmed in “Derry, Maine” was Port Hope, Ontario, a town I recognized from the first frame.

      I am not nearly as good as I need to be to read new-to-me genres and almost never read short stories or poetry.

      1. Can’t. As I’ve said here before, writing Blown Away exposed me to a lot of violence and death — I have no appetite for more. Maybe something historical like The Devil In the White City.

      2. Now there’s a good book. There’s supposed to be a movie adaptation in the works, but it’s been years since I’ve heard anything regarding it. I’m guessing the project is as dead as HH Holmes himself.

  2. Samantha Power’s new memoir – The Education of an Idealist. Excellent as all her writing is.
    I find myself choking up – from personal bits but even more from what seems a lifetime ago – idealism seemed possible, rational – even thoughtful- discourse was the norm . And yet only a few years have passed but what destruction has been wrought. Sigh.

  3. Margaret

    Hi Caitlin, I love talking books and agree that The Witch Elm was far too long. Several people have recommended Range so I’m going to read that too.
    I recently read Ask Again, Yes by Beth Keane and thought it was excellent. My sister (a librarian) has recommended The Seal Woman’s Gift which is set in the Faroe Islands. The author, Sally Magnusson is the daughter of Magnus Magnusson of Mastermind fame. She’s a journalist.

  4. I’m not much into fiction any more. The odd one, maybe. I really like reading biographies or sociological works like those of Malcolm Gladwell. I’m looking forward to his latest – “Conversations with Strangers.”

  5. I’ve recently finished ‘The Lady of the Rivers’ by Phillipa Gregory. I really enjoy historical fiction when well done and this one is part of a series that covered the reign of King Henry VI, through the War of the Roses. More than being about Henry though, it was about the strong women of the time, beginning with the end of Joan of Arc, and how they had to work their way around and through the times of patriarchal and religious rule, all while in the midst of family battles for the throne.

    I’m now reading ‘The Monk of Mocha’ by Dave Eggars. It’s a fascinating non-fiction recounting of a young Yemini American man, son of refugees, who went on a quest to discover and bring the world’s original coffee, (from Yemen) into the world’s forefront. He endured many dangers and close-death experiences along the way and is a person who refused to give up. Fascinating read.

    1. Hi Beth. Please read my comment below and like it. I probably don’t even have to, you will like it, I’m sure. Have you read anything by Sharon Kay Penman or Bernard Cornwell?

  6. Well, shit. I did write a comment and I could have sworn I saw it here but I’ve been wrong before. (like you wouldn’t believe). Anyway, here’s my drastically abbreviated comment for your reading pleasure: The last book I read was Blown Away by Caitlin Kelly. I’m not going to tell you how I feel about it, just that you need to read it and see how you feel. This book is important,, especially now, so read it. There you go.

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