This week’s installment has the following fascinating elements:  a royal wedding, a literary canon, more Paris (like we can ever get enough), a trip down a river, volunteer opportunities, and a baseball book that is not even really about baseball.

Let us begin!

Asha says “Sadly, this week does not feature any sketchy tales, instead--I’m reading Half the SkyTurning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof.  I’ve always wanted to read this book but could never find the time, but then I read Think by Lisa Bloom and she mentions this book and I realized that I had to read it as soon as possible. Between Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World and Half the Sky, I have decided that I need to do more so I started volunteering in Stamford.”       


Marianne is working her way through Twenty five Books that Shaped America:  How White Whales, Green Lightsand Restless Spirits Forged our National Identity by Thomas C.Foster. “Written by the author of  How to Read Literature Like a Professor Foster has chosen twenty five works of literature that he feels significantly impacted the development of the American character. While lists like these are always subjective, this book has really caught my attention.  While my intent was to casually peruse and skim through the titles, I keep stopping to read the whole entry.  I particularly liked "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  The author finds it ironic that the most devastating portrait of capitalism run wild in Roaring 20s New York was written by a person who himself chased everything related to over the top consumerism.”


Barbara M is “reading The Most Beautiful Walk in the World : A Pedestrain in Paris by John Baxter an interesting perspective of Paris as seen by an ex-pat. “




P-Tone aka Pat T. is enjoying “The Commoner by John Schwartz. Haruko, a young Japanese girl, meets the Crown Prince of Japan at a tennis match and over time and more tennis matches they find they are attracted to one another. Haruko is from a good family, but none the less a commoner who marries the Crown Princess and must learn the customs and culture of the Imperial Family. She overcomes many hardships throughout her marriage and perseveres to become the Empress of Japan.”


Abby says “There are a times I need to wait a bit once I've finished a book to decide how I felt about it.  For me, Once Upon A River by Bonnie Jo Campbell was that kind of book.  I've decided I really liked it!  Set in the early 1980's this unique mix of The Odyssey and Huckleberry Finn follows the story of young Margot Crane who decides to live on and off of the river outside of Kalamazoo, Michigan.  I was a huge fan of Tom Robb Smith's debut novel Child 44, and to a slightly lesser degree The Secret Speech.  I was incredibly excited when the publisher sent me an advance copy of his latest, Agent 6.  See, I don't just read Scandinavian crime; I am also sucker for a mystery set in the old Soviet Union.  In this series, lead character Leo Demidov is an agent of the State.  Leo works hard to be a believer in the State yet has strong issues of conscience with the demands of the Stalinist government. His relationship with his wife, Raisa is also somewhat fascinating. I'm not yet far into Agent 6, but look forward to seeing Leo's struggle and continued evolution.”

I am really enjoying a first novel that is coming out the beginning of September. Chad Harbach’s  The Art of Fielding is a book that is about baseball the way A River Runs Through It is about fly fishing.  What this means is that you do not need to be sportif (and please believe me when I say I am so very  far from sportif ) to enjoy this wonderful glimpse into the world of Westish College and most specifically Henry Skrimshander, star short stop, who seems to be destined for the Big Leagues until something goes horribly wrong and his whole life’s purpose is called into question.  Even the minor characters are lush and fully formed and I must say I love them all.  


Have a happy weekend!