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The Only Luxury of Covid – Reading Lots of Books

By Ann Boland July 26, 2022 Lifestyle

Covid finally caught up with me – in Sheboygan, WI on a ladies’ trip. Five of us tested positive after returning home. No, we didn’t mask; a mistake in hindsight. But for three weeks, I did nothing but read and binge television.

A Libertarian Walks into a Bear by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling

Loved this book! Hongoltz-Hetling is a reporter, and he tells this story without taking sides. Being pejorative about any of the protagonists would be so easy. They are all at fault. Who knew all of these fascinating things about New Hampshire? Highly recommended.

About Your Father and Other Celebrities I Have Known by Peggy Rowe

Peggy Rowe is so much fun. Read this book! She was 80 when it was published. You will love her dry wit and joie de vivre.

Nine Lives by Peter Swanson

A new riff on Agatha Christy’s And Then There Were None. I keep being suckered into reading new mysteries, hoping there will be a breakthrough in the formula. There isn’t. This is a quick, fun read that follows the Christy pattern to a T.

The Second Empress by Michell Moran

I listened to this book when I couldn’t get out of bed, but couldn’t sleep either. A good read, told from the points of view of various members of the court of Napoleon and the Hapsburg court.

We’re all familiar with Josephine, first wife of Napoleon. She was divorced because she bore no heirs. Since Napoleon was at the height of his power, he negotiated a marriage with Hapsburg princess Marie-Louise. Chapters are devoted to the point of view of different members of the entourage. Enjoyable and educational.

Ring by André Alexis

André Alexis is a fascinating award-winning Canadian writer. Ring is the last of his Quincunx Series: five books, each one on a different theme: faith, place, love, power, hatred. I’ve read them all.

By far the most outstanding is Fifteen Dogs, a must-read for literature lovers, but not if you are disturbed by dog death. Ring was ok. It’s hard not to love Canadians. As a country, they are far more sensible than the U.S., but rather predictable.

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy

Fun, psychological thriller. Quick read but be careful because you cannot be quite sure who the protagonist is. When I finished the book, I reread the first four chapters to unravel my confusion about who was speaking to the reader. Recommended.

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

Ferrante’s rambling first-person narrative eventually gets old in this female coming of age book set in Naples. Lying Life lacks the complex characters of the Neapolitan Quartet. I almost gave up because the end was so predictable, but I labored onward. Save yourself the trouble.

The Carlucci Betrayal by Robert B. Wilkins

Blood and guts in New Orleans during Prohibition. Gangsters try to outsmart each other for money and for love. A good yarn.

Cartographers by Peng Shepard

Interesting dip into the world of those who make maps. Especially printed maps and how a cartographer protects their proprietary interests. A bit paranormal, but at an acceptable level. Recommended.

I’m Not Ready for This by Anna Lind Thomas

Second book by this rising young comedy writer. Good, easy read. Perhaps not as engaging as her first book, We’ll Laugh About This Someday. Got the feeling she had to rush this one to print.

The Dive from Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer

A laundry room book: we have a free book exchange. Pickings range from lots of Harlin Coben and romance novels to textbooks from 1960. Occasionally, I strike a great one, like Hidden Valley Road.

This one was not so great because the story was rather boring and predictable. Teenagers fall in love, become engaged in their early 20s. Female begins to have doubts, then her fiancé has an accident and is paralyzed. The rest of his life will be in a wheelchair. They end as friends.

How do you spend your time when you are sick? What movies and books help you recover?

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The Author

Ann Boland is committed to Chicago theater, opera, and arts. Involved as a theatre-goer since the early 80s, she’s witnessed firsthand the rise of Chicago's theater scene, its exceptional local talent, and the vigor of each new generation. To support her good and bad habits, Ann handles public relations for authors and the arts.

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