It’s 2023 - What Are You Reading?

With the new year comes new (and old!) books to delve into.

What are you looking forward to reading? Works from authors you love? New releases, translations, reprints?

Link to the 2021-2022 thread:

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I’m quite anal in my book reading. I read them strictly in order of purchase and, if a cookbook, I don’t cook from it until Mrs H has also read it.

So, my current book is “Northerners - A History”, by Brian Groom. It’s, erm, a history of Northern England. I’m about half way through and am just about to embark on the chapter named the Victorian Era (although the last couple of chapters have been pretty much Victorian era as well).

As for upcoming books, I have several trashy crime novels on the shelf. I have a number of favourite authors and, a couple of times a year, stock up on any new releases. There’s also further trashy crime novels that we bought for our planned holiday in Tenerife over Christmas, that we had to cancel due to not being able to get travel insurance at present.

On the food front, the shelf also has “My Life in Food”, Albert Roux’s autobiography. There’s also “The Spanish Home Kitchen” by Jose Pizarro (whose London restaurant we may get round to visiting sometime). I’m particularly looking forward to “Gastro Obscura - a food adventurer’s guide” by Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras. This was Mrs H’s second attempt to buy me a Christmas present - the cardigan she originally bought (and which Father Christmas delivered and left under the tree) just wasnt right and had to go back.

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Presently, I am reading “Nomadland” by Jessica Bruder
It is a true book about seniors (in the U.S.) who lost their homes or their investments took a dive or some other financial crisis and are forced to live in vans, old RV’s or cars. They travel the US looking for work.
Amazon hires them during the Christmas rush and they go pick beets when its time to harvest beets and other odd jobs.
Although, Sunshine and I are on a fairly tight budget we have a home and are thankful for a roof over our heads and a hot meal – each night. Many seniors are not as lucky.

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I started the year with The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea. Delightful, earthy, poignant, and laugh-provoking.

That was followed by The Impossible City: A Hong Kong Memoir by Karen Cheung. Fascinating, insightful, disquieting. I am almost embarrassed by how much I learned about the history, culture, and politics - and found myself aching at the loss of so much.

Needing a break for my psyche, I next read The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup. Police procedural/thriller/Nordic crime. Unsettling and absorbing. Read like the outline of a screenplay - and was made into a Netflix production.

Then, for a very different experience, came South to America: A Journey Below the Mason Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry. History, memoir, travelogue, culture. Makes my Top Five list of Non-Fiction and I’ll definitely reread it, along with gifting and recommending. Complex, upsetting, joyful, thoughtful and thought-provoking and and and and … impossible for me to sum up.

Last night I started The Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras which looks promising.

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someone in my home bought the book “Spare” – the dog literally ate it yesterday. Big laughs!

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Unbelievably, the fastest ever selling non-fiction book in the UK. A book I have absolutely zero interest in reading. It’s either true or it isnt but, really, who gives a flying fuck one way or the other - folk just want to read what one over privileged, entitled rich man has to say about his over privileged entitled rich family. You just don’t get this crap about the family of the head of state of Germany, Italy or Ireland.

(PS: I can do a much longer rant about the British royal family, and its very adverse effect on British society, but it would be way, way over the “no politics” line of this forum.

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It’s not on my reading list but I can see the appeal for some folks. It’s another world stranger than fiction. And we all have family issues. The Crown was a big hit here and had some good parts - alternatively it’s also the best sleeping pill known to mankind.

My recent list has included

Really the Blues – New York Review Books (nyrb.com) (Mezz Mezzrow, Louis Armstrong’s jazz colleague, friend and weed dealer aka Muggles like the song)

New Edition Of Ian Hunter’s Definitive ‘Diary of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ | uDiscover (udiscovermusic.com) (gritty side of Los Angeles and rock and roll, Ian is very funny and insightful)

both written in the beat style. Super light stuff, I devoured em both.

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Interesting subject, to me right now at least. I’ve been binge watching “Vera” and am intrigued by the landscape, the accents, and words like “bairn”. I got curious and started to look up a few things.

I’ve been reading (actually listening on Audible) to a lot of “Agatha Raisin” “cozy” mysteries too, but can’t quite say why. Maybe because it’s “super light stuff”, to quote @chienrouge .

I’ve had Gastro Obscura on my list for awhile. Hmmmm…I may even have it on Kindle! I’m always neglecting my stuff on Kindle, but don’t know what I would do with more books.

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Unread NYer issues from last Dec. I am eternally behind :grimacing:

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*Many * of those look promising! I might try to read more nonfiction this year.

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It’s set in a lovely part of the world - we’ve often stayed in Northumberland and are toying with the idea of another week up there this summer… I’ve actually never got to grips with “Vera” which is odd because Ann Cleeves also writes “Shetland” of which I’m a big fan

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Lovely sort of like the central coast of California to me. Like Monterey. Probably “stark” to some, but lovely in it’s own way. I was intrigued by why trees seemed somewhat absent. Trees are also relatively absent on the Central coast of California, I think at least compared to places on the other side of the Rockies. I’m curious about if they have anything in common, and why.

I am always intrigued by the idea of how countries in Europe and elsewhere relate to the size of regions or states in the US, even within California, and how that effects ones view.

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I’ve read The Chestnut Man and also saw the Netflix adaption.
I am currently reading Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway series. She is a forensic archaeologist that gets involved in murder investigations. @Harters I love trashy crime novels and I’m always looking for new authors. Would you care to share?

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Looking them up!

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Interesting question. And one I can only answer for myself.

I’ve been visiting the States periodically since 1980 and have always said it’s the most “foreign” country I visit, even though the language is the same. Part of that is cultural but, yes, size is important. The UK is slightly smaller in area than Michigan. And, I think that brings a different perspective (not least as there’s probably few Britons could point to Michigan on a map). On trips, I have never ceased to wonder just how big America is - I’ve stood on observation points on the Blue Ridge Highway in North Carolina and seen nothing but hills stretching out to the horizon. It’s awesome.

I think our small country may make us parochial or, at least, look at things in a different scale. Depending on circumstances, I have several different identities. I’m a European, with UK citizenship, living in Northwest England. I’m a Cestrian and Mancunian. And, always, a Manchester City fan. These are all important.

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Interesting. After writing that yesterday, I learned that California is 1.7x the size of The UK, with half as many people! And then seeing all that open space on " Vera".

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We’ve seen every episode and are now grappling with the sad news:

It’s a good final series for Perez but the good news is that there’s to be a further series after that - so moody land and seascapes will continue. I’d rather hoped that Tosh would get a promotion but, no, the new lead role will be played by the excellent Ashley Jensen.

Good news indeed about Ashley Jensen. Presumably her wardrobe will be toned down – we’ve also seen every Agatha Raisin. As for the characters’ roster roles, those surrounding the lead hold the show together; Tosh, Billy, and Sandy are indispensable.

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Hopefully, one day, they’ll let Billy out of the police station to do some proper coppering.

Oh, and if gritty Brit police drama is your thing, then keep an eye out for “Happy Valley”, which is currently on its third and final series here. You need to start with series 1 to get the full awfulness of the back stories.