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msmeow

September reading

msmeow
6 years ago

What are we all reading this month? The weather is still very hot and humid here in central Florida, and now we are keeping an eye on Hurricane Irma.

I read The Devil's Triangle by Catherine Coulter. I used to really enjoy her books, but lately they have too many scenes that cause me to roll my eyes and say, "Oh, please!" This is another story about searching for the Ark of the Covenant.

Now I'm reading The Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke. It's not particularly well-written, and I'm not far enough into it yet to tell if I'll stick with it.

Donna

Comments (67)

  • Rosefolly
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    For the past several weeks I've been having trouble reading anything that requires mental commitment. I have a stack of books on my night table (yes, the Dread TBR pile). I really, really, really wanted to read each and every one of these books, and I still do. All are by authors whose work I thoroughly enjoy. And yet I keep re-reading light genre fiction I've already read, or playing solitaire on my iPhone, my guilty obsession. I think it is related to some stressful situations going on in my life, and as these resolve, I hope to get back into real reading.

    Lest anyone worry I have serious health or life-threatening problems, I do not. The most stressful situation was our homeowners insurance being cancelled because our carrier decided that western United States had become too risky due to wildfires. They dropped everyone, many thousands of policies. We spent two weeks scrambling to find a replacement. In the end we did, and all is now okay. It prompted us to do an assessment of the property, and remove several trees that were too close to the house. I'm actually quite happy with the result.

    Rosefolly

  • msmeow
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Rosefolly, we went through that some years ago when our insurance carrier decided to pull out of FL (it was probably after the Charley-Frances-Ivan-Jeanne string of hurricanes). We went with Amica and have been with them ever since for all of our insurance.

    Donna

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  • woodnymph2_gw
    6 years ago

    I am trying to read "Into the Water" by the author of "Girl On a Train." It is long, with quite a lot of characters, set in a tiny English village. I am finding it very hard to concentrate on any reading, as we await the approach of hurricane "Irma" which is supposed to hit Charleston, SC, where I am, after it slams Florida.

  • vee_new
    6 years ago

    Molly Keane is a biography by her daughter Sally Phipps 'though perhaps relations are not the best people to write about their loved-ones.

    Keane who's early works were written under the pen name M J Farrell is often considered the last of the Anglo-Irish authors as their 'set' has become a dying breed in modern Ireland.

    She grew up to a life of hunting, shooting and fishing among people more interested in fresh air than reading books and for someone with so little formal education Phipps never made it clear how her mother developed her witty style, let alone how she came to have successful plays put on in 30's London.

    For me rather too many lists of the great and the good of the theatre world who visited or bought estates in the Blackwater valley . .. Adele Astaire had been a friend as had Angela Lansbury . . . Also much psychological discussion about not being loved by her mother, another well-known Irish writer.

    For Americans, even those with Irish roots, the place of the Anglo-Irish may not be easy to understand. Many, though not all, from Protestant families who had lived there since late Norman times but were never quiet at home in either country. Keane's house was burnt to the ground by Sinn Fein along with about 200 others in the 1920's but they stayed on, continued to farm and welcomed the Americans who arrived during the '50's and 60's.

    For a feeling of time and place I recommend Keane's 'Good Behaviour'; very funny and clever.

  • kathy_t
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Yesterday, I finished reading Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan. This is a simple tale that describes most of one year in the life of Emily Maxwell, a widow who lives alone in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The book reveals Emily's activities, thoughts and concerns, as well as her relationships with her adult children and grandchildren, all of whom live some distance away. I read it because an 80-something-year-old friend told me the book described her own life uncomfortably well. The book is a bit dreary, but it was rather amazing how well O'Nan managed to describe a lifestyle that I believe is very common among older women.

  • carolyn_ky
    6 years ago

    I posted on another thread that I started Emily, Alone today but am not very far into it. I must have heard about it here.

  • kathy_t
    6 years ago

    Carolyn - I'll be interested to hear how you like Emily, Alone.

  • carolyn_ky
    6 years ago

    I finished Emily, Alone this afternoon. I did like it, but for the life of me I can't see how a man wrote that book. He really got it right about how an older woman lives by herself. I could see a little of myself in it, particularly when she is at home by herself, but I am blessed to have a wonderful daughter and we have always been very close. If the book told how old Emily was, I missed it; but she is the last one of the original home owners still living on her street. It is a sweet and sympathetic tale.

    Has anyone read any of Stewart O'Nan's other books?

  • reader_in_transit
    6 years ago

    Carolyn,

    Years ago, I read Snow Angels by Stewart O'Nan and I found it so depressing that I've never read anything else by him. I remember thinking that the characters were a bunch of losers that couldn't snap out of it.

    Recently (within the last 6 months, I'd say) someone else here read Last Night at the Lobster by O'Nan and that person's critique was that nothing happens in the book. It is about the last night in a restaurant that is closing.

  • kathy_t
    6 years ago

    Carolyn - Your comments about Emily, Alone are very similar my friend's (the woman who recommended the book to me). And I agree, the description of an older woman's life seems so realistic and indeed, how could it have been written by a man?

    I read Last Night at the Lobster in October 2015 (according to my book journal). Here's what I reported about it here on RP:
    Well, this just wasn’t very interesting to me. It’s about the last night a Red Lobster restaurant is open before closed down by the corporate office. The tale is told by the manager, who describes the inner workings of the restaurant and the personalities of the employees. Customers are not to be told of the closing. The manager, feeling sentimental about the restaurant and his personal involvement with the employees, hopes for a memorable night, but nothing remarkable happens.

    In spite of the fact that nothing very memorable or remarkable happens in either of these books, I am kind of fascinated by O'Nan's powers of observation and his ability to relate the most ordinary, intimate details of the situations he describes. I would not count him out for a future read.

  • msmeow
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    I finished Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman the other day. It's a dark story with lots of murders, but I really like his writing style so I enjoyed the book. I like the way he describes characters when they are first introduced - he really paints a picture of the person's demeanor as well as appearance. He also moves the story along at a good pace.

    Now I'm reading The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews. She's another author whose writing style I enjoy. Her books are stand-alone, each one set in a different place and with a different story line, and I've enjoyed all I've read so far.

    This one starts with a young woman working as a lobbyist in Washington, DC. Her boss has been investigated for corruption involving a congressman, and she is fired and sent packing. Her father has just inherited the family "estate" in a small town in GA, so he talks her into going there to fix up the house to sell.

    Donna

  • phyllis__mn
    6 years ago

    I have just finished Defending Jacob by William Landay. What marvelous writing. I had just tossed a Catherine Coulter book down, as the writing was very irritating to me, for some reason, so I quit it and picked up the Landay book, of which I had no pre-conceived knowledge.

    Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis - a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.

  • netla
    6 years ago

    I have just finished reading Spook by Mary Roach, in which she investigates scientists' attempts to prove or disprove the existence of the soul. Very interesting reading, and occasionally quite funny.

    Now I am reading 1968 by Mark Kurlansky. It's the final book in a reading challenge I am participating in - I had to find a book with a number written in numbers in the title. I have previously read Cod and Salt by Kurlansky, and in both instances I enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book and found the remainder rushed. I hope this one doesn't turn out the same, because I'm really interested in the subject and want to be able to enjoy it all the way through.

  • vee_new
    6 years ago

    Just finished a light read Blowing It by Judy Astley about a couple of ageing rock stars who plan to sell up the big house in the country and 'travel' the world taking in various festivals etc. Of course their children (with daft pop-ish names) who are very conventional and straight-laced are horrified at the possible loss of the family fortune.

    Astley is one of the few English writers who doesn't write the 'Sally Down Our Alley' type of popular fiction where everyone lives in a slum but, though poor, has a heart of gold and is honest as the day is long.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    6 years ago

    I finally finished Paula Hawkins' "Into the Water." I can't say that I recommend it. It is very long, goes back and forth into time often, and has so many characters in it that I was tempted to draw up a genealogical chart. I liked the author's "Girl on a Train" much better.

  • Rosefolly
    6 years ago

    Hmm, Emily Alone sounds like a book that might depress me. I don't think living alone is necessarily a bad thing, though. One can live alone and not live an empty life. Having said that, I do like to have other people around me much (not all) of the time.

  • carolyn_ky
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Rose, I think Emily appealed to me because I am living alone--and I'm not as alone as she was. I could certainly empathize with her, though.

    I started Daniel Silva's House of Spies this afternoon and will grab it again as soon as I finish computing.

  • rouan
    6 years ago

    I finished a re-read of Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn and have picked up False Colors by Georgette Heyer to read again. It was mentioned on another forum I visit; the reader brought up that she believes a secondary character (the mother of a main character) is really the primary romantic female lead. An interesting idea so I am going to read this with a fresh eye to see whether I agree with her or not.

  • annpanagain
    6 years ago

    Rouan, I don't recall thinking that when I read False Colours, although she is a charming person.

    I do remember preferring her sister-in-law in "Lady Of Quality" to the main character, who I thought was rather second rate. I read that book when it came out so I can't remember why I got that impression.

  • rouan
    6 years ago

    Annpan, I felt that Lady of Quality was a re-working of Black Sheep, which I preferred to LoQ. I'll have to read it again as it's been a while since I read it, and refresh my memory of the sister-in-law.

  • annpanagain
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I have just finished The Plague Road by L.C. Tyler, third in the John Grey series. I liked it very much and so did a lot of the Goodreads reviewers.

    I usually get their like-minded opinions after I have read a book. The five star ones if I liked it and the two if I didn't! Then a couple of the opposite for balance.

  • merryworld
    6 years ago

    I finished Crazy Rich Asians. A lot of ends left untied, but I guess those stories are for book two. This was a very nostalgic book for me, especially because Kwan talks a lot about Singaporean food, which I miss very much, and uses a lot of Singlish. But, most of the characters are pretty awful, and I don't think I'll be picking up book two anytime soon.

    I'm halfway through The Sixth Extinction, and it's alarming to say the least, but also fascinating. The first chapter was shocking to me, amphibians are going extinct. I almost cried last night when my husband accidentally stepped on a small toad while putting the dog out ( he was not that pleased about it either, but for other reasons). My grandchildren will probably never see a frog in its natural habitat. Or a coral reef. Anyway, it's a great look at natural history, evolution, our environment and the changes scientists are finding in the natural world.


  • carolyn_ky
    6 years ago

    When I got home from church Sunday, an Amazon package was waiting for me on the front porch. Now I have:

    A Legacy of Spies, John LeCarre
    A Column of Fire, Ken Follett
    The Unquiet Grave, Sharyn McCrumb

    Pure riches, and I finished House of Spies this afternoon.

  • kathy_t
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I am currently reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and liking it a lot. I remember that Yoyobon recommended it rather highly, and perhaps someone else. A very interesting book, indeed.

    I watched an interview with Amor Towles and if I remember correctly, he said it took him four years (my goodness!) just to outline the book. His detailed planning certainly shows in the result. Sometimes I wonder about authors who claim to just start writing, not knowing where their book will lead them.

  • vee_new
    6 years ago

    Kathy . . . Snap . . . almost, as I have just started Amor Towles Rules of Civility as . . .Moscow' is not available over here yet (or not in our county library).

    Elegantly written except for lack of 'speech marks' which makes it a bit difficult to follow.

    Thank you Yoyo as I hadn't heard of this author before.

    I sure that authors who just 'write' are often the ones who equally just 'stop' leaving us all hanging.

    I have also just started a bio of Emma Darwin by Edna Healey. She was the wife of Charles Darwin and luckily there are several family trees given, as her family and Darwin's were heavily linked, as they were with the Wedgwood's (of pottery fame) . . . cousins marrying cousins etc They make Queen Victoria's royal tree look positively simple. They and their many children all seem to have inherited good brains!

  • msmeow
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Kathy, I would think it would depend on what type of book you're writing and how you process things, don't you? Some people can fly by the seat of their pants and others have to do lots of research before they do anything. When I worked for a church we did an assessment called Kolbe that classified people by how they work - red and blue are the detail people who want/need as much information as possible before starting a project. Yellows are the "craft" people - they'll take the parts and play with them to make them work. Then the greens are the ones who jump in with both feet and figure it out as they go. Needless to say, blues and reds don't work well with greens! It was very enlightening.

    I finished The Fixer Upper last night. It was a very good story!

    Donna

  • kathy_t
    6 years ago

    Donna - You definitely have something there with regard to the colorful personality types. Having earned my living as a technical writer for a number of years, it is just really difficult for me to imagine sitting down to write without knowing how the piece will end, the path it will take to reach that end, and who precisely the audience is. Thus, I have not yet written a novel!

  • carolyn_ky
    6 years ago

    Ann, I believe you recommended Kerry Greenwood. I am reading her Earthly Delights featuring Corinna Chapman and am delighted to find that my library has all of these and many of her other books. I didn't realize she wrote the Phryne Fisher books of which I've enjoyed some TV programs on PBS, as I am enjoying this book.

  • annpanagain
    6 years ago

    Carolyn, I am so pleased you are enjoying those books. Not a good idea to read if on a diet though as you can almost smell the baked goods!

    Kathy, I have been reading a series of books and the author noted that she got hooked into writing them to find out what happened to her characters! She wanted to finish the series but the publishers didn't want a final one!

    Boo!! I wanted to know too.

    A few authors have mentioned that they didn't know the outcome of their books when they started!

  • yoyobon_gw
    6 years ago

    Okay........I've stopped reading The Alice Network three quarters of the way through it.

    And I slammed it shut in disgust.

    But for the fact that I sold it on Amazon just to get it out of my house, I would have thrown it off the deck !

    I think that I must be one of three people who didn't care for the story.

    When I read a book I want to be entertained, delighted, intrigued, engrossed in the characters, ..........I don't enjoy reading books about man's inhumanity to man.

    Her heavy hand in describing the horrors and abuses In France during the German occupation was not my kind of reading.

    Reviews of this book , however, indicate that most readers loved it .

    To each their own taste.

  • carolyn_ky
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Started Gentleman from Moscow this morning. I haven't read much yet, but I like it from the beginning.

    Ann, now you tell me! I am on a low carb diet.

  • netla
    6 years ago

    I am currently reading 1968 by Mark Kurlansky, but it's going slow, as I let myself be roped into teaching part of a university course on translation technology and I have to prepare all the teaching material myself and have limited time for pleasure reading.

  • yoyobon_gw
    6 years ago


    " okay,,,,,I'll teach the class " = roped into

    Having to prepare all the teaching material as well = hog-tied !!

  • ci_lantro
    6 years ago

    Finished The Count of Monte Cristo and picked up another from the TBR pile. Read and finished Mostly Tail Feathers: Stories about Guns and Dogs and Birds and Other Odds and Ends by Gene Hill. Old book (1975) by a writer for Sports Afield. I enjoyed it. Light, easy read.

  • netla
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Yoyobon, hehe, yeah, it's somewhat like that, but I think it will be a valuable experience for me.

    I did manage to get some reading done over the weekend and finished a TBR book: The Devil's Detective
    by Simon Kurt Unsworth. I'm still mulling it over and trying to decide if I liked it or not, but I will say it would be a good Halloween read.

  • kathy_t
    6 years ago

    A question for those who've read A Gentleman in Moscow (which I'm still reading): Did you notice that all the chapter titles start with the letter A?

  • yoyobon_gw
    6 years ago

    And so does the title ........Ach du lieber !

  • kathy_t
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Ha - quite true, Yoyobon! To be more specific though, I think that every noun in every chapter title begins with an A.

    A few random examples as I page through the book:
    An Acquaintanceship
    An Actress, an Apparition, and an Apiary
    Ascending, Alighting
    Arrivederci

  • annpanagain
    6 years ago

    I am so over reading Agatha Raisin mysteries which are overstretched now but I still do! The last one I read reminded me of my father making up stories to put me to sleep and adding extra bits on desperately when I still hadn't dropped off!

    I noticed Pushing up Daisies in Large Print as I was about to leave the library so I took it for easy bedtime reading.

    Someone had decided to edit and add comments in ink! Even pencilled additions are annoying. They can be erased ...but INK!

    I didn't agree with the alterations either.

    eg...Engllsh people do say "in two hours time" even if "time" isn't necessary. It is a speech pattern as were some of the other alterations.

  • yoyobon_gw
    6 years ago

    Kathy.....perhaps it's a secret code , and you can figure it out !


  • vee_new
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Annpan, I felt like that with the first Agatha Raisin book and couldn't even look at another. It wasn't helped by my knowing the area in which the books are set, so I kept taking exception to the 'artistic licence' taken ie being able to drive to central London in an hour and then park right outside her office . . .

  • annpanagain
    6 years ago

    Vee, yes, I like fiction to have some basis in fact!

    One of my favourite impossibilities was in a Mary Stewart book where the heroine ate a three course meal while conducting a three minute, at most, conversation.

  • friedag
    6 years ago

    Vee, do you recall The Missing Will & A Dubious Codicil: A Double Autobiography by Michael Wharton? I finished it a week or so ago after noticing on the flyleaf where I had penciled in your name and the date 7 May 2006, probably because you reviewed it or at least mentioned it. Apparently, it took me more than eleven years to eventually get around to reading it!

    I should have suspected that Wharton had a wry, tongue-in-cheek style when I saw the title of the first chapter, "The Deformative Years." I wound up enjoying the second part, A Dubious Codicil, more than the first part because it covered the years he worked in Fleet Street writing the Peter Simple column for The Daily Telegraph (1957-1987, three or four times a week). Then he wrote a weekly column for the Sunday Telegraph for several years in the 1990s and then back to The Daily Telegraph for a weekly contribution. His last piece appeared there in January 2006, the month he died at age 92.

    Vee, did you follow Peter Simple? His glee at sticking his finger in the eyes of politicians and political junkies is hilarious to me (and infuriating, no doubt, to those who think politics should always be taken seriously but who are not so hidebound as to never read something that doesn't bolster their own opinions). Are there any Peter Simple-types left?

    I think I knew the young, female English reporter whose faux pas in 1974 was referring to Robert Mugabe as "Bob" to his face.

  • msgt800
    6 years ago

    Reading The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye by David Lagercrantz I'm in the midle at first it was a little slow, but now
    almost all the characters and situations are going to be linked and the reading
    is becoming easier and the plot is better paced.

    Only one thing is missing, the
    researches, in “The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo” by Larson one of the things
    that fascinated me, were the description of how the researches were done. In
    this novel there’s nothing similar. But I think it ‘s still a good thriller,
    only you don’t have to compare it with the first three of Millenium saga

  • vee_new
    6 years ago

    Frieda, long time no hear from . . . I was only thinking this morning before reading your comment above how common coincidences can be. I had been reading an article by the son of Telegraph journalist Tom Utley, where Michael Wharton's name cropped up. They both used to sit in the Fleet St pub The King and Keys writing their copy.

    I have no recollection of the book you mentioned but have 'looked it up' and see it has positive reviews. Very few papers run columns similar to 'Peter Simple' which was a great favourite of my late Mother's. The only journalist who comes close in style these days is Craig Brown. Is it because we have to be SO politically correct these days to prevent a potential snowflake melting in a fit of the vapours at every unpopular yet amusing truism?

    I understand that the Telegraph is still the paper studied by journalists who want to read the news while the Guardian is read by those who want to be told what they should be believing.

    BTW the Utley article comes from the monthly magazine The Oldie with articles not unlike Punch or the New Yorker and aimed at the 'more mature' reader . .. I've been reading it for years . . .well before maturity set in.


    Scroll down for "Last Orders at Maggie's Pub"

  • annpanagain
    6 years ago

    Vee, I used to like The Oldie too, very wry. I grew up with Beachcomber in the Daily Mail and love ironic humour. I wish I had someone to share with when I see things on TV programs that demonstrate it unconsciously.

    Eg...A recent current affairs discussion program had the panel full of praise for an advert against racism but later decried the negative standpoint by older people in a future guidance survey. Some panel members said that these people would be dead by 2030 so their opinion shouldn't count!

    So racism is bad but age-ism isn't!

    I have just started the new No 1 Ladies Detective Agency "The House of Unexpected Sisters" by Alexander McCall Smith.

  • kathy_t
    6 years ago

    I was struck by this comment that Vee made:
    I understand that the Telegraph is still the paper studied by journalists who want to read the news while the Guardian is read by those who want to be told what they should be believing.

    I have come to regard with suspicion most all U.S. news sources I am familiar with as being the Guardian type - telling us what we should believe. I'd be interested to know if any U.S. news source has a reputation like the Telegraph - where one can simply read the news.

  • kathy_t
    6 years ago

    Finished reading A Gentleman in Moscow last night. Really enjoyed it!

  • carolyn_ky
    6 years ago

    Me, too, Kathy. It's my favorite book I've read this year.

    I'm now reading The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths. It is her other series, not the Ruth Galloway one. I prefer Ruth but am reading these as well. I'm not far enough into it to know what it will be like.


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