Books Overhead, part 3

Well, in addition to the books on my MP3 player and the physical books that are waiting to be read, I have an e-reader, a nook, and I love using it. The only drawback is that it’s entirely too easy to buy books–just a few clicks and  it appears in front of you. But then, um, you notice there’s that charge on your credit card. There are several ways I get around that–borrowing ebooks from the library via Overdrive or downloading them from NetGalley–but there are books that I just have to buy for one reason or another.

A while ago I requested a copy of Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution from NetGalley I couldn’t resist the glowing reviews and it was starting to appear on lots of “best” lists. Once I began reading it I could see why. Marx was charismatic, contentious, and arrogant; a loving father but also heavy drinker and an adulterer whose children grew up in grinding poverty. He was always scrounging money from friends and relatives, sometimes in the most disgraceful ways.  He committed to writing projects and publishers advanced him funds, but Marx was allergic to deadlines or to finishing projects at all. He was hounded from country to country for his political views but always lived in hope of the masses rising up and taking their due.  I grew up during the Cold War, when Marx was a bogeyman, so it’s been a revelation to have him turn into a real person, a brilliant economist and a very fallible husband and father. His long-suffering wife, Jenny, never wavered in her adoration of her scruffy husband or lost faith in his brilliance; she was the rock of his life.  Unfortunately I couldn’t finish the book before it expired so I put a reserve on it at the library. Now I have it sitting on my nightstand, waiting…

I read a review of Thrumpton Hall: A Memoir of Life in My Father’s House by Miranda Seymour and sensed that it was something I had to read. I downloaded a sample to my nook and was instantly absorbed by the author’s painful tale of her upper class dysfunctional English family. So I bought it, although I won’t be able to read it until I go on vacation later this year.

I also have lots of samples on my nook, impatiently waiting for me to make a decision: The Vertigo Years: Europe 1900-1914 by Philip Blom, War and Peace (!), The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good by Robert H. Frank, Carpe Diem Put a Little Latin in Your Life by Harry Mount, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope (I loved The Way We Live Now, hoping this is as wonderful).

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