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February, the shortest month - What are you reading?

14 years ago

I am three-quarters of the way through William Brodrick's The Sixth Lamentation. I'm finding it okay but not very compelling. It is advertised as a literary thriller. I read another of his novels, of which I had the same opinion. If something doesn't happen very soon, I will skip to the last chapter and be done. I have so many good books waiting for me!

Comments (98)

  • 14 years ago

    I've just finished the latest No.1 Ladies Detective Agency "The Double Comfort Safari Club" a rather odd title as it does not have a club of this name in the book!
    However, I did enjoy catching up with old 'friends'.

  • 14 years ago

    A good friend of mine saved all her "New York Times Book Review" sections for me since December, so I've been reading through those and jotting down still more book titles.

    I zipped through The Trouble with Angels (original title Life with Mother Superior) by Jane Trahey which was cute, but not much more. I've also started Howard Zinn's History of the American People which is fascinating -- I'm going slow with this so I can take it all in.

    Four library books also arrived this week, so I have an embarrassment of riches.

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  • 14 years ago

    I picked up the "Tell Me where It Hurts" Brit-vet book and once I got past the bit when he was trying to show off how smooth and witty he was and got more onto the animal cases, it got a lot better. His editor should have chopped out the first third of the book bc he comes across as an arrogant chappie.

    Completely gave up on Barchester Towers.... with relief.

  • 14 years ago

    I am enthralled with the poetry of John Clare, the "peasant poet" born in 1783. What a wonderful vision he had.

    On completely different note, I am laughing uproariously at Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog, Lisa Scottoline's collection of essays on life, dogs, motherhood, sisterhood, daughterhood, jeans, carbohydrates. She manages to write of these things without smarminess or overt sentimentality. These are perfect because they are short and sweet and can be easily read in five-minute blocks, which suits me right now.

  • 14 years ago

    I've picked up and put down half a dozen books after reading only a few chapters, not liking them enough to finish them. I did finish The Dean's Watch by Elizabeth Goudge. It was readable, but not a favorite. I liked others of her books better. Last night I finished Heart's Blood, a fantasy novel by Judith Marillier set it medieval Ireland. It really was pretty good -- much better than anything I'd read in a while. Such a relief to find a coherent, engaging book with interesting characters! It doesn't make my top ten list, or even my top hundred, but I would recommend it without reservation as an enjoyable read for anyone who enjoys fantasy.

    Rosefolly

  • 14 years ago

    I am currently engrossed in Colm Toibin's novel, The Story of the Night, set in Argentina during the brutal oppression of the late Peronist years.

    I am also nibbling away at two classics, Mrs. Radcliffe's lurid gothic The Italian, and Sheridan Lefanu's The House By The Churchyard, which is promising to be an enjoyably creepy read.

  • 14 years ago

    Just read Crocodile on The Sandbank and have fallen in love with Amelia Peabody. :)

    Rosefolly, I read Heart's Blood last month. I like Marillier. Have you read her earlier books (Sevenwaters, etc)?

    I also ran through the Wolf (Firekeeper) fantasy series by Jane Lindskold, which was interesting but I found the final book unsatisfying.

    Also am reading Edward Eager's Half-Magic with my 8yo.

  • 14 years ago

    I finished Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson, and I loved it! Another book, like GLPPPS, which when finished leads to a sigh and the thought 'I could read more of that'.
    It's the story of Major Ernest Pettigrew (Ret) who lives in Edgecombe St Mary, a more modern Miss Marple type village. He is widowed, has a selfish, annoying son, and lots of lady neighbours. Some of the characters sound like stock types - the local slightly scatty Lord, the rather brash American -and the story has some unlikely turns, but it all seems to work. The book is good fun, it is well written, and the Major is likeable and witty. At times I laughed out loud.
    The book is due out here in March, but I'm not sure of release times in other places.
    Highly recommended.

  • 14 years ago

    Yesterday I read A Thousand Days in Venice and today Death of a Valentine, the latest Hamish McBeth. Both obviously very quick reads but enjoyable while looking out at the snow. The Venice one made me hungry.

  • 14 years ago

    Ajpa, I did read her Sevenwater series, but none of her other books. Do you recommend the others?

    Today I began reading Thrones, Dominations, Jill Paton Walsh's completion of an unfinished Dorothy Sayers novel. I'm curious to see how well the tone matches the other Lord Peter Wimsey books.

    Rosefolly

  • 14 years ago

    Rosefolly, Marillier's Bridei trilogy is a lot like Sevenwaters. The Wolfskin/Foxmask duo is Vikings. I found them engrossing.
    Wildwood Dancing is a Young Adult retelling of 12 Dancing Princesses. I really liked it -- if you like reading YA I highly rec it.

    I was just thinking of borrowing Thrones, Dominations from the lib a few weeks ago. Let me know what you think.

  • 14 years ago

    Ajpa, I like it so far, though I'm still in the part Dorothy Sayers wrote. Apparently she abandoned it after Edward VIII left the throne for Wallis Simpson, thinking that the portraits of three marriages portrayed in the story would disturb people at such a time, and later just couldn't make it work. She left notes so that Jill Paton Walsh knew how Sayers had intended the mystery to unfold.

    I think I will read Wildwood Dancing. I enjoy reading YA lit, some of it anyway, and "Twelve Dancing Princesses" is one of my two favorite fairy tales. The other is "Beauty and the Beast" which is turned into novels (and TV shows and movies) frequently, but I haven't seen anyone try with this one before.

    Rosefolly

  • 14 years ago

    Am just about to finish John Demos' "The Unredeemed Captive." I have found it a fascinating piece of historical research, based on the true story of a young girl in Puritan New England kidnapped by Native Americans, who, when later given the opportunity, refused to return to her former family and society, but chose to remain with the tribe and convert to Catholicism.

    Thanks to whoever on this forum recommended this!

  • 14 years ago

    I have started Too Many Murders by Colleen McCullough. I always enjoy her books, and my daughter just came by and dropped off a Valentine card and a box of See's chocolates (which I am grudgingly sharing with DH). It is starting to snow again, so this will be a cozy evening with book, candy, and Northanger Abbey coming up on Masterpiece Theater at 9:00 pm.

  • 14 years ago

    I have started Andrea Levy's new book A Long Song. So far I am undecided. The speech is nearly all dialect, and I am finding it a bit hard going, although the story is interesting.

  • 14 years ago

    OOoh, Kath. I just read a review about Levy's new book and was wondering how it was.... I loved the first two books, and am curious about this one....

    You'll have to let me know what you think at the end.... I've love to hear about it.

  • 14 years ago

    Some of the more recent books I have read (I haven't been here in a while):
    The Miracle at Speedy Motors (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #9... by Alexander McCall Smith: Entertaining like all his books are. Just a fun read!

    The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: Great, Great book. I can't wait to see the movie.

    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith: Interesting read. It was difficult to put this one down with all the zombie action in it. ha!

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1) by Stieg Larsson: I couldn't put this one down and had to buy the second book in the series right away. I read this in about two days. Definetly on my list of the best books ever.

    The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2) by Stieg Larsson: This second book was better than the first. I'm waiting for the third book now which hasn't come out in the US yet but have a friend who got a copy in the UK. can't wait.

  • 14 years ago

    Now reading "Journey Through Britain" by John Hillaby. Written in the sixties, it covers Hillaby's walking adventures as he traverses the British Isles from Land's End to John O'Groats. He has a great eye for details, a hilarious sense of humor (and timing), and also a copious knowledge of legends and such about the places he travels through. It's honestly fascinating, and I can't wait to go home tonight.

    It's not a journey I've hankered to do myself - rain, camping, bogs - but it's interesting to read about.

  • 14 years ago

    Reading now: Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk

  • 14 years ago

    Well, lemonhead, I finished The Long Song by Levy and it was.....vaguely unsatisfactory. I can't quite put my finger on what didn't please me. The history of the period was interesting, but I felt some of the characters were a bit wooden, and in some cases, caricatures. The dialect was definitely off-putting, although I don't usually mind that. Perhaps it was because I didn't really like the main character, Miss July.
    I'm sorry to be so unclear, but I would say worth reading, but not on my favourites list.

  • 14 years ago

    I finished the silly book by the comedian chelsea Handler. Then finished Love the one your with by Emily Griffin. If you are 20 something it might hold your interest. A bunch of spoiled, stupid kids playing grown up.
    Now into Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I'm liking it so far. Sounds like it will continue to be a good read.

  • 14 years ago

    I'm re-reading "The Normandy Diary of Marie-Louise Osmont." This is a true depiction of life on a former farm/chateau during WW II. The manor is overrun first by the German occupiers, later by the British, after the Normandy invasion. Both groups camped out in the chateau, which sustained a lot of damage from shelling, bombs, etc. and the general chaos. The author gives a lot of interesting detail on the harsh conditions endured, and survived.

  • 14 years ago

    jungseed--Water for Elephants is one of my favorites. And I think I read Love the One You're With also but not sure. Obviously, it wasn't that memorable but her books are always entertaining.

  • 14 years ago

    I just started The Irregulars, Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington, by Jennet Conant. Good so far.

  • 14 years ago

    Finished After the Funeral. I wanted just about every character to be guilty, either for being self-centered, callous or dormat-like. Reader_intransit, Mr.Goby must be in a different Christie book.

    Also finished Aska which was both gruesome and funny, a tough task to pull off. Very good, tight plotting and realistic characters.

    I am taking a break from the travelogues and will probably read the latest by Arnaldur Indriðason next - another Icelandic author I heartily recommend to mystery fans.

    Also finished the Bhagavad-Gita, a beautiful translation that mixes prose and poetry, done by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood. A very soothing book, full of beautiful words and deep philosophy. I would read a chapter every night before going to bed and fall asleep relaxed and at peace with the world.

  • 14 years ago

    Another Agatha Christie fan here. Mr. Goby is in Chapter 12. I haven't read them all, but so far my favorite is Cards on the Table.

  • 14 years ago

    I've started Edward Rutherfurd's New York and am liking it better than some of his. The stories of the families are better and are more tied together than some. Particularly in London, I got really confused trying to keep everyone sorted out.

  • 14 years ago

    Netla-thanks for the heads up on the title and when Yrsa S. new book comes out in English-I LOVE her books.

  • 14 years ago

    Reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

  • 14 years ago

    River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze

    If you have an interest in China, this is an enjoyable book written by a former Peace Corps Volunteer who served as an English teacher in China.

  • 14 years ago

    drove2u, I enjoyed People of the Book very much. It has a similar structure to one of my all time favourite books, The Source by Michener, where an item is seen in the present time, then the story of it at another time is told.
    I am now reading an uncorrected proof of Elizabeth George's next Lynley book, This Body of Death. This is a long book (nearly 600 pages) and the writing is tiny in this format, although no doubt it will be OK when in trade paperback. So far it is very interesting, with two seemingly unconnected stories being told. I'll report back later.

  • 14 years ago

    Thanks to your many recommendations, I am reading "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle." Love it!

  • 14 years ago

    I'm into Alison Weir's Mistress of the Monarchy, a biography of Katherine Swynford. Being a huge fan of Anya Seton's novel, I didn't really expect to like this; instead I find I can hardly put it down. Weir spins a good tale with very little solid information, and the pictures are wonderful.

  • 14 years ago

    just realized that I needed to get cracking on an ILL book due soon, so now reading "Down the Common: A Year in the Life of a Mediaevel Woman" by Ann Baer. It is surprisingly high on the "un-put-down-able meter" but I do wonder how accurate it is... Very good though.

  • 14 years ago

    I finished the George book, This Body of Death. I was pleased to see Linley back and Barbara in fine form in this book, but I felt it needed some editting. It was very long, and I thought some passages and at least one character could easily have been done away with (in thebook sense, not murdered LOL). That said, the mystery part was very good, and many of the characters very interesting. I'm sorry to say that I didn't catch on to the link between the two parts until quite late, but can't now say why, as in retropect it seems obvious.

  • 14 years ago

    Enjoyed the "Down the Common/year in the Life of Mediaeval Woman" book, although the end was a bit of a let-down. Still, did realize that I would hate to a woman in that time in England - cold, wet, miserable, never-ending chores and children.... Yikes.

    Now on to another ILL: Greenbanks by Dorothy Whipple which I am really enjoying although it took a bit of time to sort the multiple characters out. Was this an RP recommendation? Probably but sorry - can't remember who. Thanks, anyway....

  • 14 years ago

    Liz, I must try and get that book from the library. Being a woman in England today doesn't see SO different from Medieval times except we have washing machines. :-)

    I've just finished Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant. What a change to read a book where there are no male characters only strong females. I enjoyed this better than her previous two.
    For anyone interested in the music of Palestrina the site below is of a musical group Musica Secreta who perform works from the period as they would have been heard in the Ferrara of the mid sixteenth century.
    Click on 'Information and Sounds'

    Here is a link that might be useful: Musica Secreta

  • 14 years ago

    I am reading Lambs Of God by Marelle Day, a very amusing read, it's about three hermit nuns living in an abandoned island monastery, all very contented until the arrival of a church man!!

  • 14 years ago

    I am now reading Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir.
    My friends at work, many of whom collect bookmarks, are very impressed that I am using a bookmark from Iceland with this book - thank you Netla! (PS can you give me some idea of the pronunciation of the author's first name? Is it 'ursa' or more like 'ear-sa'?)
    So far, I am enjoying it very much.

  • 14 years ago

    Finished Water for Elephants, what a wonderful story. Thank you guys so much for that one. Gave it to a girlfriend to read and recommended it to another.
    Started Barbara Kingsolvers new one. So far I'm thinking of putting it down.

  • 14 years ago

    I'm a nurse, in pediatrics, and we tend to use our first names for the ease of the kids...so also, therefore, their parents. Recently, I have had more and more parents refer to me as Miss Veronica. Many Jamaican, but also many women of color with accents that indicate Southern backgrounds. 23 years of nursing, and this has only been happening in the last 3 months. Their ages are from the 20's to the grandmotherly type.

  • 14 years ago

    Astrokath, I can't think of a way to write the pronunciation of Yrsa's name in a way that would correctly convey the pronunciation, because I can't remember an exact corresponding sound to the 'Y' in English. It's close to 'i' as it is pronounced in 'it' and 'pin'. You roll the r slightly, and then a short 's' and a clipped 'a' at the end. Stress is on the first syllable.

    For some reason I can't concentrate on Between the Woods and the Water and Danube and am instead reading The Mulatta and Mister Fly (Mulata de tal in Spanish) by Miguel Ãngel Asturias, as part of a global reading challenge I am participating in. The challenge is to read one book from each of the continents. To spice things up, I decided to make mine about all new authors and countries. Asturias is the North-American author, and Orhan Pamuk was the European one - which is funny, because both come from countries some people think belong to other continents (South-America and Asia, respectively).

  • 14 years ago

    Thanks Netla, that does give me a good idea of how it is said.

  • 14 years ago

    Finished up "Greenbanks" - loved it - very Barbara Pymish in a way - and now on to "In the Sun's House: My Year of Teaching on the Navajo Reservation" by Kurt Caswell.

    Kurt is a young prof at the university where I work and his work is really good. I usually think that since it's a "local" author, it can't be really that good, but I'm very wrong in this case. Fascinating intersection between nature and teaching and cross-cultural references...

  • 14 years ago

    In order to get through more books, I have decided to read as many as I can have going at the same time - that way if I'm not feeling awake enough or in the mood enough to read, say "Wolf Hall", I'll pick up something different.

    I am currently reading David Gemmel's "Troy - Lord of the Silver Bow", the first in a trilogy. Well-written but I don't lose myself in it or reach for it every chance I get like I do with Barbara Gowdy's book "Helpless". Very disturbing subject matter but I like the way she writes; great character development and I feel like I am getting a real glimpse inside a truly disturbed mind (the mind one of her character's, not the author's :c) This is the first book I have read by her and I will definitely read her other books now.

    Also read "Match me if you can" a romance/humour book by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. She came highly recommended and, although romance is not my favourite genre (too formulaic/boring), I did enjoy it and would look for her other books. It was like watching a nice romantic/comedy movie where there is actual chemistry between the two leads. A nice beach, vacation read (warning: some adult content/language).

  • 14 years ago

    friedag, I notice your knowledge of "To Kill a Mockingbird." That book is so far ahead of "The Help" in just about everything - plot, character development, authenticity and plausibility - that it almost seems unfair to compare them. I am obligated to finish "The Help" for TWO book discussion groups, but I am about ready to scream for relief. I think I will put it down for awhile and maybe when I come back it will be more tolerable. I am to the part just after Skeeter and her parents went to dinner at the boyfriend's parents' home. Is there more or less melodrama to come?

  • 14 years ago

    Finally finished "Wolf Hall." I thought it was OK. I read it on my Kindle, so didn't have easy access to the character lists at the beginning of the book, which would have been a big help. It was a little hard to follow for that reason.

    I'm now reading (rereading?) "Pride and Prejudice," which I love, love, love. I don't know if I actually read it before, or just know it from the movie with Colin Firth (yum). I have a degree in English and American Literature, so I feel like I surely must have read it somewhere along the way.

  • 14 years ago

    After finishing D.E. Stevenson's charming Miss Buncle's Book I tracked down the two sequels, Miss Buncle Married and The Two Mrs. Abbotts. While not as good as the first book, I'm thoroughly enjoying the two follow-ups. These are OOP, but a library in a nearby town still had them. The local librarian commented , "Oh, these are quite old books!" and looked at me quizzically as if she couldn't fathom why I'd want them. *sigh*

    Astrokath, I am really looking forward to Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. Glad to hear you really liked it.

  • 14 years ago

    I downloaded Book of A Thousand Days by Shannon Hale to listen to on my mp3 player. I think I would have preferred to read it instead of listen to it as I kept getting annoyed with the characters. When I can't skim through some sections that are annoying or that I don't like what's happening, it makes the book harder to finish. I did persevere however, and ended up thinking it was okay after all.

    Thanks to my watching the Olympics for the past several days, I haven't read much else. Maybe march will be a better reading month for me. It will help also that two authors I like have new books coming out in March as well!

    Sarah Addison Allen has The Girl Who Chased the Moon coming out March 16 and Megan Whalen Turner has A Conspiracy of Kings due out on the 23rd. I have both on order and will be eagerly anticipating their arrival!

  • 14 years ago

    I finished New York and really liked it. Rutherfurd seems to have gotten the hang of tying his generations of families together so that you don't lose track of who is who in the books so easily. I thought the two Ireland books were easier to follow that his earlier ones, and this one is even more so. Of course, this one begins only in 1664 so he doesn't have so many centuries to cover. He wrote a great deal about the Revolutionary War, quite a bit about the Civil War, a little about WWI, hardly any about WWII, and skipped Korea and Vietnam altogether. The book ends soon after 9/11.

    Today I read The Red Door by Charles Todd. It is another in the Ian Rutledge series. My daughter the nurse and I both enjoyed his last one before this that featured a new character, a WWI nurse.