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rouan101

A new year, what are you reading?

rouan
7 years ago

I might have missed it but I didn't see a post for this yet.

i am starting the new year re-reading a Georgette Heyer, The Reluctant Widow. I couldn't find anything to tempt me on my tbr stack so looked through my bookcases until I found something that looked appealing. I haven't read this one in a few years so it feels fresh again.



Comments (90)

  • carolyn_ky
    7 years ago

    Ann, I have read the Duncan books set in Wales and am now on to her next series set in the Catskill Mountains in New York featuring a Shakespearean play group. I like her and suppose I didn't notice her Canadian idioms.

  • kathy_t
    7 years ago

    I'm now reading The Billion Dollar Spy by David E. Hoffman. This is for book club, and not a book I would ever pick up on my own. But I do think it's good to get out of my comfort zone occasionally. The book is about U.S. and Russian espionage during the cold war years.

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    jwttrans, I think our two readings may be compatible--the ambiguously misread situation having to do with misread racial stereotypes, the captain's fixation on skin color blinding him to unrevealed dark designs. And with time the hidden darkness or "evil" is revealed--the desperate escaped slaves are truly murderous and do practically wipe out TWO ships--the one they are in at the beginning of the story and that captain's ship they attack near the end of the story. My only hesitation about our combined reading is that Benito Cereno, read by itself, would tend to solicit an allegorical reading associating innocence with whites and evil with blacks. However, that would be to overlook the blame Melville heaps on the "innocent" white captain whose self-willed "innocence" is not true "innocence," but rather a wilful refusal to see and acknowledge the evil lurking in the depths. He nearly makes himself an accessory to murder, as a result--equally culpable, in other words. That would not be white "innocence," but white culpability. And if anyone has read Melville's other sea fictions, they would know he often depicts the blackness/evil in all men's hearts. (I'm not sure if he includes women or not. Anyone remember any portraits of women in his works? Certainly, a half century later, Conrad writing on racial themes in Heart of Darkness exempted the lovely fiancee--the "intended" -- from the darkness in human hearts, for instance.) But you have a good point on ambiguity--probably works on anything Melville and Hawthorne wrote. That was the way they often set up their allegories as the reader moves from the literal to the figurative/spiritual. Just as Melville explores the ambiguity of whiteness in Moby Dick, so he does by depicting an "innocent" white captain whose innocence is just as ambiguous since he becomes the reason why they are all nearly murdered. That good and evil are NOT black and white, but quite ambiguous in nature, would seem to be Melville's point? Kate
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  • katmarie2014
    7 years ago

    I just finished two books, Whistler A Life for Art's Sake by Daniel E. Sutherland for the art reading club, and The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes which is described as a new history of the Great Depression published in 2007. The book on Whistler was very complete, and it read well though perhaps a bit longer than it needed to be. The Forgotten Man is one I thought I had already read, but realized I had not. My fascination with the Depression era is thanks to a history elective when I pursued my business degree. My primary reason for choosing it is that it fit my schedule. It was one of those courses you don't forget: the professor was knowledgeable, interesting, chose excellent reading sources, and encouraged other opinions and discussion. My fellow students participated, expressed interesting opinions, and did not complain constantly about all the reading any history course requires. It triggered a life-long interest in the times. Now I need something a bit lighter to read next.

  • netla
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I once tried to read one of Phillipa Gregory's historical novelizations and gave up after a few pages when I came across a glaring historical inaccuracy that even a non-English person like myself immediately recognised.

    I've set Georgette Heyer aside for now, first in favour of Hemingway's A Moveable Feast and now for Marco Polo's Travels.

    It has been years since I read any of Hemingway's work, and I had forgotten how much I like his writing style. I also loved his portraits of people, especially Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    The edition I am reading of Marco Polo's Travels is a beautiful, sumptuously illustrated translation with both art and photographs and looks like a modern travelogue. It even has a bound-in bookmark, which didn't stop the previous owner from leaving three more bookmarks inside.

  • carolyn_ky
    7 years ago

    I have just started Louise's War by Sarah R. Shaber and can tell already that I am going to like it. The main character is working for OSS in Washington D.C. in 1942 and has come across an offer from a man in Vichy France to spy for the Allies if they get his family to the U.S., and his wife is the MCs Jewish former college roommate.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    7 years ago

    I'm now engrossed in Simon Sebag Montifiore's heavy tome (654 pages) "The Romanovs: 1613-1918." This may well be the definitive version of the history of the Russian autocrats. It begins with Ivan the Terrible and ends with the tragedy of the Last Romanov family of Nicholas and Alexandra, executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

    The book seems relevant today, given the autocratic Putin frame of mind, and implications for the future.

    One sad irony --- at first the monarch of England offered the family sanctuary in the UK but his ministers changed his mind, so they were stranded in Ekaterinburg, Russia, until executed.

    The author is a brilliant scholar living in England, also having written "Stalin: the Court of the Red Tzar."

    I visited the U.S.S.R. in 1961, traveling in 3 cities: Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev. I've been fascinated by the Russian people and culture ever since.


  • vee_new
    7 years ago

    Mary, Simon Sebag Montifiore has just 'done' a BBC series (3 episodes) on the history of Vienna, which was very enlightening, although it needed much concentration to get the most out of it. My DD and S-in-L will be visiting the city on a short break in February so have found it a useful introduction . . . I hope they realise how cold it will be.

    Visiting the U.S.S.R in the early '60's must have been quite something and possibly not in a good way as I suppose you had to travel as part of a group and put up with indifferent hotels/food/shops and admire what the Party thought you should visit.

  • carolyn_ky
    7 years ago

    I finished Louise's War, and I love that book! I'm thankful to find out that there are several more Louise books and hoping the library has all of them.

  • yoyobon_gw
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Letters To The Lost by Iona Grey.

    I am really enjoying this story. Has anyone else read it ? ( no spoilers !!)

  • annpanagain
    7 years ago

    Woody, it has now come to light that it was the King who changed his mind. After the murders, he blamed the ministers. I don't think he expected that outcome.

    I recently saw this mentioned in a TV documentary about the three cousins, King George, Kaiser William and Czar Nicholas. It was well researched and very interesting. I had heard of this change of mind before but not the actual details.

  • msmeow
    7 years ago

    I'm about to finish Insidious by Catherine Coulter. It's her typical FBI crime story. Not overly deep, but entertaining.

    We are going on a cruise tomorrow and I'm taking The Nonesuch Lure by Mary Luke, which Yoyobon gave me. I've been saving it for a special occasion! :)

    Donna

  • reader_in_transit
    7 years ago

    Yoyobon,

    I saw Letters to the Lost at the library, but I didn't check it out (I was reading another book at the time). Please, let me know how do you like it.

  • yoyobon_gw
    7 years ago

    Msmeow........have a great cruise and enjoy your book ! :0)

    Reader.......I am really , really enoying it and am about 2/3 through it.. For what it's worth, Rosamunde Pilcher has a rave on the cover .

  • carolyn_ky
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I just looked up Letters to the Lost and have reserved it at the library. It sounds like my cup of tea.

    Today I am reading Buried in the Country, one of Carola Dunn's Cornish mysteries. I prefer her Daisy Dalrymple series, but these are light and fun as well.

    And I love The Nonsuch Lure as well as Anya Seton's Green Darkness which is somewhat similar.

  • reader_in_transit
    7 years ago

    Reading More Than Words, Illustrated Letters from The Smithsonian's Archives of American Art edited by Liza Kirwin. Charming letters with illustrations from artists like Andrew Wyeth, Winslow Homer, illustrators like Rockwell Kent.

  • annpanagain
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I like the character "Jaine Austen" by Laura Levine, so I have borrowed a book of short stories "Candy Cane Murder" which included one of hers.

    The book also includes a story by Leslie Meier featuring Lucy Stone. I stopped reading her books some years ago because the husband grated on me so much! This story goes back to the time when the Stones moved into Tinker's Cove and he was just as much a grump in those days!

    I rarely come across an author who has written such a miserable character as the main man in her heroine's life. I have never read "Jane Eyre" but have the idea that here was a churlish man too! So there must be a few examples out there in Fictionland!

  • Rosefolly
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I just finished reading the final volume of Jo Walton's Thessaly trilogy, Necessity. This series began with The Just City and The Philosopher Kings. I found all three quite fascinating.

    The books are an examination of Plato's Republic through the medium of science fiction. The goddess Athene decides to see if Plato's republic would work. To this end she gathers philosophy-loving scholars from throughout history to serve as teachers, slave children from the classical world to be citizens, and robots from the future to perform the manual labor that was done by slaves in those days. The god Apollo decides to incarnate as one of the children so he can understand what it is like to be human. I thoroughly enjoyed all three, and recommend them highly, especially if you enjoy interesting stories with characters who have conversations about meaning and purpose. I never found it dull.

  • rouan
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I put aside the books I mentioned in an earlier post to read AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller. I got so involved in it that I read it cover to cover (including while eating supper) in basically one sitting. Now, perhaps, I will get back to Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods.

  • yoyobon_gw
    7 years ago

    Just finished Letters To The Lost and I loved it all.


  • sheri_z6
    7 years ago

    I'm re-reading Elizabeth Hunter's Irin Chronicles (The Scribe, The Singer, The Secret) to re-acquaint myself with the storyline before reading the (newish) fourth book in the series, The Staff and the Blade. Hunter is one of my favorite urban fantasy / romance authors, and I've enjoyed re-reading these.

    After I finish the fourth book, it's onto Geraldine Brooks' The Secret Chord for my book group meeting in February.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    7 years ago

    rouan, I liked the Bryson book so much I read it twice.

    Sheri, I would be interested in hearing your opinion of "The Secret Chord." Brooks is an author I normally like but I just could not get into that one.

  • rouan
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I have just finished Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods. To my surprise, I realized that I had read the whole book before, I just didn't remember finishing it. So now, if I ever say I haven't finished it and want to read it in it's entirety, you can remind me that yes, I did...twice!

  • vee_new
    7 years ago

    Out of my usual comfort zone Caedmon's Song by Peter Robinson is one of his 'early works'. He has since written many 'Inspector Banks' whodunnits which seem very popular.

    I found the whole premise of this book disturbing . . . the mutilation and murder of young women as seen through the recollections of a 'victim' makes for unsettling reading. Though we were spared too much graphic detail there was far too much banal explanations of the mundane doings of the young woman. "Cleaned teeth" "went to toilet" that added nothing to the 'plot' or the tension. Banks also likes to 'over-set the scene' with clear descriptions of the northern fishing port, the very many pubs and fish and chip shops and sleazy bed and breakfast places.

    In the 'afterwards' to the book Banks explains that he rewrote parts of it and left out his references to Mrs Thatcher(!) but still retained the huge number of cigarettes smoked and the double brandies quoffed . . . did students really have that much money to spend in the '80's?

    But . . . it was a page turner with some unexpected twists.

  • merryworld
    7 years ago

    I'm reading The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens for book club and I would like to throw it across the room because the characters are idiots. Unfortunately it's on my Kindle, so no throwing.

    My first book of the year was Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. It's a memoir about her life as a paleobiologist. Lots of fascinating info about plants and trees and life of a scientist.

    I think next up will be Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell about otters in Scotland. Otters and Scotland!

  • vee_new
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    merry, Ring of Bright Water had become a 'classic' over here. Maxwell has written a couple of other books about his remote life on the Western edge of Scotland.

  • rouan
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I picked up George Lucas: A Life by Brian Jay Jones from the library yesterday and have found it quite interesting. I'm about a third of the way through it and am up to where he is working on the script for the original Star Wars movie. If this was fiction, at this point I would be wondering if things would work out and the film get made, but since it isn't, I can relax and enjoy the ride.

  • lemonhead101
    7 years ago

    RIT - your book of letters sounds really interesting. I'll have to chase it down at the library. I've just finished a reread of The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle (fab the second time around), and now I'm in Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles (loving it). Oh, and my NF read is Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris. She is/was one of the top editors at The New Yorker, and she is as nitpicky as I am about writing. It's good to meet another one of my tribe. :-)

  • sheri_z6
    7 years ago

    Merryworld, I've been interested in reading Lab Girl, do you think it would make a good book group book? I need to choose something within the next couple of months.

    Woodnymph, I haven't started The Secret Chord yet, but I'll be happy to let you know what I think of it. I loved People of the Book, but thought Caleb's Crossing was just OK ... I'm hoping TSC will be better.

    I'm just finishing up The Staff and the Blade by Elizabeth Hunter -- a very satisfying fourth entry to her Irin Chronicles. If you like urban fantasy, she has three different series and I can't recommend her highly enough.

  • msmeow
    7 years ago

    Lemonhead, I didn't know there were still some people nitpicky about writing! It's hard to tell sometimes. :)

    I'm thoroughly enjoying yet another read of The Nonesuch Lure. This is probably the 7th or 8th time I've read it. This time I'm noticing a few typos and some inconsistencies that I haven't noticed before, but I'm still enjoying it very much.

    Donna

  • carolyn_ky
    7 years ago

    I started Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson today. This is my first by her. She has written a lot of mysteries, and I'm not sure how I have missed her all these years. This book begins with a young woman who runs away to a Scottish bookshop she had visited once as a tourist.

  • vee_new
    7 years ago

    On the recommendation of several of you here I have ordered and just picked up from the library A Man Called Ove I'm only allowed to keep it for a fortnight as it is in great demand and I have it as a 'special loan' from another branch of the county library system. They obviously can't afford to buy more copies :-(

  • annpanagain
    7 years ago

    I sometimes read non-fiction and was intrigued by a mention in the stopyourkillingme newsletter about "A is for Arsenic The Poisons of Agatha Christie." I was given the Large Print edition by my library, borrowed from another with a high price tag of $A85.50 if lost!

    It is a very technical book and as I have no idea of chemicals, am unable to say how accurate it is. The references to the AC books are not always accurate though! The author, Kathryn Harkup must have confused one character's book demise with the TV production which is different.

    Also the indicated footnotes don't always match up but that could be a fault of the printer.

    I skipped most of the explanations of the poisons!



  • katmarie2014
    7 years ago

    I was convinced to read a book by a local author set in a local, quaint small town. I finished it, though I am not sure why. By the second chapter, I had figured out the entire plot. It was supposed to be a mystery, but read more like a romance. I also finished The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows, which I think was mentioned here. It was a good book, but not the same level as the books compared to it in the reviews I read. I have another local author, local town book I have started, and this one has some definite potential.

  • merryworld
    7 years ago

    sheri_z I found Lab Girl interesting and there's a lot in it that could lead to great discussions, though not necessarily of the literary kind. For example, she talks about the funding of curiosity based science, how we graduate a large number of scientists every year, but there is not enough funding to go around and pay these new scientists to do what they're trained to do. She also suffers from mental illness, her description of having to go off her meds when she was pregnant was harrowing. The way the book is set up, one chapter is about the way plants work and the next is biographical, there's some fodder there for a literary discussion. I would recommend it for my book club, but every book club is different. You could read a few chapters (they're short) and see what you think.


  • sheri_z6
    7 years ago

    Merryworld, thank you, that helps a lot. It's definitely something I want to read, but it might not fit the book group. Thanks!


  • carolyn_ky
    7 years ago

    I'm reading Bryant & May, Strange Tide by Christopher Fowler. I love these books because of all the esoteric London information.

  • sheri_z6
    7 years ago

    I'm cramming in one last fantasy book before I start The Secret Chord. I finally got to the newest Kate Daniels book by Ilona Andrews, Magic Binds. So far, it's been an enjoyable roller-coaster of a book. This is book 9 in the series, and I think there's only one more to go. I can't wait to see how it all winds up.

  • kathy_t
    7 years ago

    I've never previously read anything by Georgette Heyer, but the many mentions of her on RP made me curious, so while at the library the other day, I picked up a copy of Why Shoot a Butler? and am enjoying it very much.

    I really like her humor, as this sentence from the book illustrates: "His sense of propriety was offended by her lack of hypocrisy; he could not forgive such plain speaking, however unsatisfactory Mark Brown might have been."

  • woodnymph2_gw
    7 years ago

    I'm just finishing up "Jane Doe January: My Twenty Year Search for Truth and Justice" by Emily Winslow. This is unlike anything I have ever read. It is a sort of memoir, but the author is also a mystery writer, so in a sense, it reads like a detective story, even though the writer is the protagonist. It is her true story. I won't give away the ending. In part, it is also a portrait of the contrast of life in East Coast America with small town life in Cambridge, England. The author married a Brit and is connected to the Cambridge choirs and ecclesiastic life there. The subject matter is not for everyone, but I like her writing style, so I'm glad I persisted in following the plot to the end....

  • msmeow
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I finished The Nonsuch Lure again last night. I've read it so many times it's like an old friend. :)

    After that one and Three Sisters, Three Queens I'm taking a break from the 15th century and re-reading The Modigliani Scandal by Ken Follett. I also downloaded Pillars of the Earth by Follett (back to the 15th century! But I think it starts in the 12th or maybe earlier), which will be my third reading of that one. I guess I'm in re-reading mode. LOL

    Donna

  • woodnymph2_gw
    7 years ago

    I get into re-reading modes, too. I recently re-read an old favorite: Tracey Chevalier's "Virgin Blue."

  • Rosefolly
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    MsMeow, I understand about re-read books being old friends. I read the Nonsuch Lure myself some years ago. Perhaps I'll read it again soon. I looked up the author's other books, and none of them appealed to me in the way that one did.

    Speaking of books we really like, I believe I have just run across one of this year's favorite books. A year from now when we post our best books of the year, it is most unlikely that I will do any better at calling them up than I have in years past, so I'll tell you about it now. The book in question is News of the World by Paulette Giles. It is a jewel of a book, a short, beautifully written story with characters you instantly care about. A war-weary retired soldier is making a living in his final years by traveling around the wild west in 1870 by reading the news to the local people. They are isolated from the wider world, and not all of them literate. One day he agrees to the task of escorting a 10 year old girl who spent several years as a Kiowa captive back to her remaining relatives. The plot is exciting, but it is the thoughts and emotions of the man and the child that really engage the reader. I highly recommend it. I read it as a library book, but plan to buy a copy to keep for my own.

    I expect to re-read it someday.

    Rosefolly

  • carolyn_ky
    7 years ago

    Rosefolly, upon your glowing recommendation, I have just requested News of the World from the library. I am No. 38 in line--something to look forward to for awhile, I guess.

    I'm reading Beloved Poison by E. S. Thomson. It is set in London in the 1830s and is about a hospital located in an old church in dreadful condition--and conditions--with doctors at war with one doctor who is trying to introduce the new idea of cleanliness.

  • vee_new
    7 years ago

    Have just finished Fredrik Backman's A Man Called Ove in translation. Set in small town snow-covered Sweden with the main character a cantankerous old-before-his-time people despiser. His empty days are filled with the minutiae of checking for cigarette ends, erecting 'No Parking' signs and keeping an angry eye on his disliked neighbours. We read about his rather sad earlier life, the goodness of his late wife and his gradual involvement with the people in the adjoining houses. Rather too much is made of the make of car that everyone drives and every chapter has him standing with his hands in his pockets insulting someone. Despite Ove's rudeness and lack of empathy with almost everyone, he readily accepts 'foreigners' and 'gays' . . . which may be Backman's way of warding off abuse from the Bloggasphere(sp?) as I believe this work first came out in blog installments.

    Some descriptions are funny although towards the end it does become rather saccharine-sweet.

  • katmarie2014
    7 years ago

    I finally got Coffin Road by Peter May, recommended by carolyn_ky earlier in the month, and finished it quickly. Thank you, I loved it. This is a new author for me. It was one of those that once I got into it I just couldn't put it down. Our library doesn't have any of his others that I could find. Then, right in a row three electronic books I had on hold request became available. We can only check the electronic ones out for two weeks, and with my schedule this week and next I may not get the them all, but what a problem to have.

  • carolyn_ky
    7 years ago

    Glad you liked it katmarie. May's Lewis trilogy is excellent. Maybe you can suggest it for your library to order.

  • carolyn_ky
    7 years ago

    I finished Beloved Poisontoday. It was a bit dark but good. Have just read a couple of chapters in Letters to the Lost while eating supper. It's too soon to tell what it will be like.

  • Rosefolly
    7 years ago

    I also just read Letters to the Lost. An enjoyable read, but not one for the Best Books 2017 list.

  • carolyn_ky
    7 years ago

    I read almost all day today and just finished Letters to the Lost and loved it, Rose. It may be on my Best Books list for this year.

  • dandyrandylou
    7 years ago

    Now reading "The Tea Planter's Wife" by Dinah Jefferies, an author formerly unknown to me. The story takes place in Ceylon, and so far is fascinating.