January with the King’s Men

January started with my first official appointment to a chiropractor. I mentioned elsewhere that he wasn’t really confident he could put me back together, but that’s there and not here. Not being able to run has given me more time to read…much more than I realized. You can get a lot done with an extra 4-5 hours a week! With that being said, here are the books:


  • Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright. This story stayed with me for a really long time.
  • Tea From an Empty Cup by Pat Cadigan. I think I was most disappointed by this one because I saw the ending a mile away.
  • On the Beach by Nevil Shute. I listened to this on audio and I still can’t stop thinking about it.
  • Black Alibi by Cornell Woolrich. I read this one in a day.
  • Wake Up, Darlin’ Corey by M.K. Wren. Another really short book.
  • What Did It Mean? by Angela Thirkell. I gave up on this one after 120 pages. Boring!


  • Partisans: Marriage, Politics, and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals by David Laskin.
  • War Child by Emmanuel Jal. Probably the most raw and captivating story of the month. Read in a weekend.
  • Traveller’s Prelude by Freya Stark
  • Practicing History by Barbara Tuchman. No one does history like Barbara. (AB/print)
  • Last Cheater’s Waltz by Ellen Meloy. She has a wicked sense of humor.

Series continuations:

  • Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle by Dorothy Gilman. The last Pollifax mystery I will read.  Read in a day.

Early Reviews:

  • Brain Food: the Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Health by Lisa Mosconi. This took me a really long time to read. You may have seen it on other lists. There was just a lot to it.



Laskin, David. Partisans: Marriage, Politics, and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Reason read: January 26th is Spouse Day. Read in honor of the many different couplings in Partisans.

This is like a good gossip story. At the center are six women who ruled their lives without thought of public image or reputation. They were writers who lived before the age of feminism and railed against its confines. It was a compliment to be told “you write like a man.” They were allowed to have egos, be promiscuous, vicious, betraying…all without a second thought. If feminine wile got you somewhere, so much the better. These were the New York Intellectuals who slept with men indiscriminately, married or otherwise. At their center is the Partisan Review and everyone who was associated with the magazine. Probably the best known, Mary McCarthy sleeps with the editor of PR before marrying writer Edmund Wilson. Then there’s Jean Stafford who wrote for PR while married to Robert Lowell. When the two divorced Lowell went on to marry another PR insider, Elizabeth Hardwick. Allan Tate was married to Caroline Gordon but had an affair with Elizabeth Hardwick. Are you keeping track? Other intellectuals include Hannah Arendt and Diane Trilling. They had their own dramas as well.

Quotes to quote, “They certainly had no sense of sisterly comradeship; and yet they were keenly aware of what and how other women writers were doing and where they stood” (p 191).

Author fact: Laskin has written a bunch of other books. I am only reading Partisans for the Challenge.

Book trivia: Partisans includes a bunch of black and white photographs. Mary McCarthy dominates the selection with five photographs but Robert Lowell is a close second with four images. That would make sense with Mary McCarthy being the most successful out of the whole group.

Nancy said: Partisans “explores connections and differences among writers who were associated with Partisan Review magazine” (p 110). As an aside, I’m not sure why she mentioned Delmore Schwartz. Delmore was barely a blip in the story compared to other notables such as Elizabeth Bishop or Randall Jarrell.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Group Portraits” (p 108).

January’s Time

This year, more than ever, I am struck by time’s marching; the relentless footfalls of days and weeks passing by. I know that is mortality speaking, but it rings eerie in my mind nonetheless. Not helping the doom and gloom is the first book on my list, On The Beach by Nevil Shute. I wanted a different book from Shute but there isn’t a library local enough to loan it to me.

Here are the planned books for January 2018:


  • On The Beach (AB) by Nevil Shute (previously mentioned) – in honor of Shute’s birth month.
  • Clara Callan by Richard Wright – in honor of Sisters Week being in January.
  • Tea From an Empty Cup by Pat Cadigan – in honor of January being Science Fiction Month.


  • Partisans: Marriage, Politics and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals by David Laskin – in honor of January 26th being Spouses’s Day.
  • War Child: a Child Soldier’s Story by Emmanuel Jal – in honor of the end of the Sudan civil war.
  • Travellers’ Prelude: Autobiography 1893-1927 by Freya Stark – in honor of Freya Stark’s birth month.
  • Practicing History by Barbara Tuchman (AB) – in honor of Tuchman’s birth month.

Series Continuations:

  • Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle by Dorothy Gilman – started in September in honor of Grandparents’ Day.

For the Early Review program for LibraryThing:

  • Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power by Lisa Mosconi, PhD (finishing).
  • Pep Talk for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo by Grant Faulkner (also finishing).