Currently Reading: Three Books

Mom and her dog Suki

I’m back in Connecticut after a few weeks in Illinois helping out my Mom. She had a dog leash accident and subsequent surgery that has taken her left hand out of commission for a couple months. She was also ordered not to drive until the surgeon clears her. She’s healing well and committed to doing her physical therapy exercises each day. Go, Mom! Her surgeon told her that he’s had many patients with injuries from dog leashes. A nurse friend once told me that she often sees people in her ER with injuries from leashes, including a surprising number who have been dragged along the sidewalk by their dogs. Ouch. Small dogs can be tripping hazards and big dogs bring other challenges, but I love them all.

On to currently reading.

According to Goodreads, I’m currently reading 14 books, but I’m actively only reading three. I’ve had to put the others aside, for now, as I dive into reading projects.

Book 1: Nonfiction / American History

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

A lot of people say this book should be required reading for all Americans and although I’m only 30% in at this time, I agree. It is fascinating, eye-opening, and enraging. The conditions that Black people lived under in the Jim Crow South ranged from dismal to horrific. Wilkerson weaves the stories of three individuals’ experiences through the larger story of life under Jim Crow and the migration of Southern Blacks to the North and West between 1915 and the 1970s.

Wilkerson provides background on the decades leading up to the start of the Great Migration. After the Civil War, formerly enslaved people were able to enjoy rights they were denied during slavery, such as the right to marry, education, and voting (for men), and tells how those rights were eroded by the end of the 19th century — in just a few decades — by the Supreme Court, mob rule, and the caste system. It is sad and frustrating that something similar is going on again in the USA. Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1894 Supreme Court case which ruled that “‘equal but separate’ accommodations were constitutional” was voted 8-1 (38).

Book 2: Fiction / Classic

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I’m reading East of Eden for my book club [formerly the Willa Cather Book Club, now named the Vintage Book Club]. I was a bit intimidated by this novel perhaps because of its Biblical inspiration or because it’s on my book bestie Emily’s top ten list of favorite novels (reading a friend’s favorite can be dicey). The first pages came close to being a confirmation of my dread, but then I got into it and am whizzing through. It’s 602 pages, another notch for #BigBookSummer.

The characters are compelling and curious and the story has gone in unexpected, exciting directions. I have about 70 pages to go and plan on finishing it this evening. I can’t wait to see what happens to the main characters (especially Cathy).

Book 3: Nonfiction / Diary or personal writing

A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf

I’m reading this one on my e-reader, which means only at bedtime. I don’t remember how it came to be on my e-reader, and then one day I noticed it on my Goodreads currently reading list. Weird and creepy. I like to think this happened when I juggled/almost dropped my iPad and accidentally hit random buttons, rather than there being a secret plot to get me to read more Woolf. When I noticed it on my currently reading list, I shrugged and decided to read it.

Woolf died in 1941 and A Writer’s Diary was published posthumously in 1953. Woolf’s husband, Leonard, read her diaries and pulled out the bits concerned with her writing and reading. It is perfect bedtime reading. I read a few entries and drift off to sleep with Woolf’s wit and love of literature swirling in my brain.


  1. The one about the Great Migration is on my watch list, such a fascinating and important topic. In dog-accident-related data points, I tripped over a dog when I was out running a few years ago and ended up cracking some ribs!

  2. I too am a polyreader, though I don’t think I’ve ever had 14 books going at once! If I have more than 3 or 4 I start to get twitchy and some of them are naturally pushed to the side, so I end up resetting them on my GR list. I usually have one print, one ebook, and one audio, and normally I try to have different styles and genres so I can mix it up. Right now I have a biography/memoir, a diary, and a historical fiction.

    I read The Great Migration a couple of years ago and found it fascinating, I sped through it in less than a week. I’ve also been wanting to read her book Caste which I’ve heard is excellent. I also loved East of Eden, I love Steinbeck. I haven’t read much Viriginia Woolf but I think The Waves might be a good starting point. I’m not very good with stream-of-consciousness writing so I suspect I’ll like her earlier works better than the later stuff.

    And I’m glad your mom is on the mend, I also love dogs but they do get underfoot, don’t they? Suki looks adorable though, very snuggly!

    • Suki is SO snuggly! She was on the couch with me every time I was reading. It was also nice to be around a dog who doesn’t shed, unlike my two hairy beasts.

      Sometimes I reset my Goodreads but other times I just let it ride. I can probably DNF a couple of them at this point. Normally I prefer to do as you do — a paper book, audio, and digital. So far with Woolf, I’ve read Orlando (remember loving it!) and Mrs. Dalloway (glad to have it under my belt). And of course A Room of One’s Own, which is fab. I had to give a lecture on Woolf once and have forgotten more about her than I remember. I’d like to read To the Lighthouse this year and just added The Waves to my TBR. Thanks for the rec. I’m not much on stream-of-consciousness either.

  3. I see so many dog owners being dragged along by their pet because they haven’t trained the animal to walk with them properly (not that I am suggesting your mom is guilty of that!) I wince every time I see it because the dog just has to sniff something that makes them excited and they’re off, pulling the owner with them.

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