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May books - what is everyone reading?

netla
5 years ago

I've been working on my TBR pile lately - picking up books and giving them the 50-page test and then either reading them or setting them aside to be donated. I'm beginning to see actual gaps in the front layer of books in my TBR bookshelf.

The last one I started reading is about haunted houses in Great Britain. I can't remember the exact title (I'm posting from work) but it's a collection of stories about places that are supposed to be haunted, originally published in 1907 and written in a chatty style and with a lot of extraneous information thrown in. However, I like ghost stories and intend to persevere with this one. It was especially interesting to read about supposed hauntings in the Tower of London and Hampton Court, as I recently visited those places and could visualize the surroundings.

Comments (150)

  • yoyobon_gw
    5 years ago

    Okay....I did see James Corden. I really enjoy his "Car Karaoke " segments.

  • sheri_z6
    5 years ago

    I watched most of the wedding first thing this morning (I came in right around the vows), but I've taped hours of the before and after that I'd like to watch tonight. It was SO lovely! That cellist was amazing and the little ones were darling. I also really enjoy looking at the jewelry and the hats. It was just a joy to watch.

    And that tiara! http://www.thecourtjeweller.com/2018/05/bejeweled-close-ups-meghans-wedding.html#more

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  • carolyn_ky
    5 years ago

    My daughter sent me a You Tube on line of the entire ceremony, so I didn't have to get up so early. I agree that it was a lovely wedding.

    I have seen the beautiful church as a tourist.

  • rouan
    5 years ago

    I watched some of it this morning before I went to work and now have a repeat of it on in the background as I am settling in to read this evening.

    I picked up The Old Buzzard Had it Coming by Donis Casey and started it a short time ago. So far it is holding my interest.


  • vee_new
    5 years ago

    yoyo, two more celebs; Serena Williams and Oprah Winfrey.

  • yoyobon_gw
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Yes, Oprah.....hmmmm.

    Apparently all the invitees where given a booklet of British Royal wedding etiquette and one of the rules was that you do not wear white. It was noted in the recaps that Oprah "discovered her dress was too white " and had to create a new outift. ( where was Gayle with her sage advice here ??? )

    I also found it refreshing that the invitees had to wear morning suits and the women couldn't wear strapless or sleeveless dresses , sandals or open toe shoes . I think there was also a dress length suggested as well ( thankfully). Of course hats were required.

    I wondered if those in the choir area were instructed as to how to sit . I hope so. Crossed legs looked very inappropriate. ( IMHO).

  • vee_new
    5 years ago

    yoyo, yes it is usually regarded as 'inappropriate' for anyone other than the bride to wear white (not just on Royal occasions) and black/very dark blue is not usually chosen . . unless you are Posh Spice . . . I didn't know about the 'rules' banning/suggesting not to come in sleeveless/open toes etc I think all the men wearing morning dress looked good. Tuxedos are not warn over here, except as evening wear. I noticed one guy in a top hat; very Fred Astaire.

    Agree about crossed legs in a formal setting, crossed ankles are meant to be OK, also too casual are hands in pockets. A friend sent me photos of her son's wedding. He kept his hands in his pockets throughout the ceremony!

    And here endeth my first, and probably only, lesson in etiquette.

  • yoyobon_gw
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Vee.....Here's something that felt odd to me ...both bride and groom had invited their exes to the wedding. I have to say they are more magnanimous than I'd be !

    As to the " hands in the pockets throughout the ceremony" I suspect that would have been met with some giggles and snickers from young people over here !!

  • vee_new
    5 years ago

    yoyo, re exes that does seem a tad unnecessary, but I suppose they may have accepted knowing they were unlikely to get a better venue this Summer.

    When DH and I 'wed' more than 40 years ago parents (ie my Mother) sent out the invitations nearly all to their friends. She seemed surprised that J and I might want to invite people of our own age . . . or that we actually knew anyone.

    When DD was married I sent out the invitations from a list she gave me. Her husband-to-be kindly asked if there was anybody we would like to invite!

    I did stipulate that anyone not RSVP'ing needn't bother to turn up as I considered it very bad manners. Obviously she spread the word among her high-flying work absorbed friends as several last minute acceptances arrived in the post.

  • vee_new
    5 years ago

    Some photos of THE wedding are out.



    Photos from BBC site.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    5 years ago

    Vee, thanks for posting the wedding photos. I think all are lovely.

    Yes, I agree with you that there is a huge difference between the present demeanor of Meaghan and that of the former bride Diana. Di was only about 19 or 20 when she wed Charles --- much too young and unseasoned, in my opinion. Whereas Meaghan, at 36, is quite poised and calm, in contrast. She has already had a fulfilling career of her own and has become her "own person" as we say here. She is quite self-assured, which I think will serve her well in her new public role. No wonder the Queen has approved the match.

  • carolyn_ky
    5 years ago

    My local paper reported that Amal Clooney's Oscar de la Renta dress cost $380,000. I know they have the money, but I can't imagine paying that much even for a top designer dress. In fact, I can't imagine a designer coming up with a price tag like that. Ms. Provincial, here, from Podunk, KY.

    I know you will all like to know that I stayed up until 2:00 am last night finishing John Hart's new book, The Hush. It is much more mystical than I like, but I found it un-put-downable.

  • yoyobon_gw
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Carolyn,,,I can't find that figure anywhere in the coverage of Amal's dress ( which was voted as best outfit for a guest at the Royal Wedding ! ). I wonder if that is correct. I cannot believe that dress , couture or otherwise, would have that price tag.

    The bridal gown for Meghan didn't cost that much !

    "The dress on everyone's mind this weekend cost a staggering 200,000 Great British Pounds, or $269,420.20. That includes £78,000 for custom-made fabric and £4,000 for fittings. Markle was reportedly willing to shell out for the dress because she is a big fan of Keller."

  • carolyn_ky
    5 years ago

    I would be glad to know that there are some extra zeroes in there!

  • annpanagain
    5 years ago

    Amal's Oscar dress was for her own wedding, she wore a yellow Stella McCartney for the Royal Wedding. I don't know how much that cost.

    A lot of the expense of wedding dresses is for the cost of hand embroidery. White on white is a killer for the eyesight! I chose an inexpensive ready made silver-grey cocktail dress which I wore many times after.

  • kathy_t
    5 years ago

    I recently read The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin. I'm attracted to people-stranded-on-snowy-mountains-in-dangerous-situations books, and this is one of them. Two strangers whose last-plane-out has been cancelled team up and hire a crusty old pilot to get them out of the mountains just ahead of the giant snow storm. You can guess what happens. Luckily for the female stranger whose leg is broken in the inevitable crash, the male stranger is an orthopedic surgeon. (Even on the worst days, a little luck can come your way.) Yes, a bit predictable, but not totally …. I'm telling you, there's a surprise in this one. Hardly great literature, but I enjoyed it.

  • carolyn_ky
    5 years ago

    Thanks for the dress info, Annpan. I googled for the cost, but no one seems to know or at least to be telling.

    I've started The Knowledge, a new Richard Jury book by Martha Grimes. I'm glad to have a new one; I like Richard. The book is about London cab drivers, one of whom finds himself driving a murderer--not a spoiler because it happens right away--and the grueling knowledge of the city that they must have in order to drive black cabs.

  • yoyobon_gw
    5 years ago

    I am still plugging away at Women In Sunlight by Frances Mayes. Although I enjoyed her first two novels year ago, it appears that Ms Mayes has lost some of her ability to write a story that is easy to follow. It is difficult to know which character is speaking , and it is painfully clear that Ms. Mayes needed a copy editor desperately. She uses incomplete sentences, awkward phrases or one word as a sentence creating more disorder and confusion by her "style". The story is mediocre and frequently a challenge to keep straight.

  • msmeow
    5 years ago

    I gave up on Sting by Sandra Brown. I couldn't get into it - just not in the mood I guess. I also gave up on Legacy of Spies by John LeCarre. I was starting to get into it but it was due in 2 days so I decided to try it again later.

    Now I'm reading Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks (yes, THE Tom Hanks LOL). It's supposed to be a collection of short stories, but the three I've read so far have all had the same characters,. I'm enjoying it. He writes with a conversational style that feels like just hanging out talking to a friend. The narrator is male so of course in my mind I see Tom Hanks. :)

    Donna

  • woodnymph2_gw
    5 years ago

    The Hurricane Season here in America will be starting June 1. I just happen to be reading "Isaac's Storm" by Erik Larsen. It's about the utter destruction of Galveston, Texas by a major hurricane in 1900.

  • msmeow
    5 years ago

    There is actually a tropical "thing" out in the Gulf now. We're forecast to get up to 6" of rain this weekend in central FL!

    Nymph, I read his Dead Wake. I hate to use the word "enjoyed", since it's about the Lusitania being torpedoed and sunk, but I did...I liked the way he told the story from the POV of passengers and crew on the ship, as well as the Germans on the U-boat that launched the torpedo. I'll have to read Isaac's Storm.

    Donna

  • carolyn_ky
    5 years ago

    Finished The Knowledge this afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's been four years since Martha Grimes published a book. Doesn't she know we want more?

  • yoyobon_gw
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    If this book ( Women In Sunlight) wasn't such a big one I'd throw it at the wall. France Mayes has lost her story-telling talent in this inane piece of work.

    I need a really GOOD book to get into. I'll have to go through my TBR and hope that I've got something that will hold my interest.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    5 years ago

    Donna, I also liked "Dead Wake". I highly recommend "Isaac's Storm." Larson tells the factual history through the personal vision of real people. I like his writing style. Out of this first tropical cyclone, we here in SC are predicted to get a lot of rain, starting Monday, all during the holiday. But luckily, no winds.

  • yoyobon_gw
    5 years ago

    Just got a copy of The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie.

  • carolyn_ky
    5 years ago

    Reading Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe, recommended by Donna above. Makes me want a beach vacation, but maybe not this weekend during the coming storm. Hope everyone down south is safe.

  • vee_new
    5 years ago

    Have been reading The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain. Rather a sad book, set in pre-post war Switzerland, where Gustav is being brought up by an unloving mother in dismal poverty. The 'sonata' of the title refers to his friend and would-be young concert pianist Anton, a boy who never quite 'makes the grade'. The writing is in short chapters and simple sentences, so no florid descriptions of snow on mountain tops etc . .. but it is bleak and as Switzerland is always thought of as 'neutral' so Gustav, with his lack of ambition and wanting nothing more than to make his mother love him, does nothing more interesting than learn to play gin-rummy and take a trip to Paris with the ancient ex-lover of his father . . . but for excitement I think the cards win.

  • msmeow
    5 years ago

    Carolyn, in central FL this is the most boring tropical storm ever! It’s been breezy and has sprinkled rain a couple of times. Very dark and cloudy, though.

    Donna

  • msmeow
    5 years ago

    I finished Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks. It turned out only some of the stories had the same characters. A few I skipped altogether, some I didn't care for, and some were interesting.

    I started The Rooster Bar by John Grisham last night. Only one chapter in so I can't tell if I'm going to like it or not. It's been a while since I read Grisham.

    Donna

  • woodnymph2_gw
    5 years ago

    Vee, I read that Rose Tremain novel about a year ago. I had liked her previous work. I felt this book was a departure from her usual style. It seemed rather slow paced and different in mood. Perhaps Tremain has evolved into some other interior region that we readers can only guess at. It seemed quite a change of pace.

  • kathy_t
    5 years ago

    Vee - in your review of The Gustave Sonata, I'm curious about the meaning of the phrase "pre-post war." Does it mean pre and post, or something else?

  • vee_new
    5 years ago

    Kathy, sorry not to have made it clearer but I just meant that the story starts before WW11 and then carries on afterwards, although not a 'War story ' itself (this being Switzerland) it plays a part in the story with the Jews who managed to get to that country and avoid the Nazis.

    Woodnymph/Mary I too found the book hard work. I checked out a few reviews after I had finished reading. Most people thought it was Tremain's best book to date and found deep insights throughout. The 'Irish Times' suggested if there was a prize for 'bleakest novel of the year' it would win hands down!

    Kathy, if you read it let us know what you think

  • socks
    5 years ago

    Just finished Spinning Jenny by McLain (hope I didn't already post this). I enjoyed the book very much. Slavery theme, but different from most. I would recommend this book.

    Now reading Telegraph Days by McMurtry. A fun, easy read, not sure I would recommend.

    Next up: Before We Were Yours by Wingate. Looking forward to starting that one.

  • carolyn_ky
    5 years ago

    I just started The Punishment She Deserves today. I do like Lynley and Barbara and most everything Elizabeth George writes, although I was a bit put out by What Came Before He Shot Her. I read later that she wanted to include that material in the previous book when he shot her, but the editors thought it way too long.

  • annpanagain
    5 years ago

    I haven't read Joanna Trollope novels for many years since I was so disappointed by "Marrying the Mistress" that I wrote a scathing review on Amazon! However Vee reminded me about her so I picked up a couple of her books and was intrigued by "Sense and Sensibility" which was written for The Austen Project.

    I liked her take on the story, what was done to the original characters fitted in very well to the 21st Century. Owners of stately homes do have to think of ways to make them pay and wives do have to look after their own children more since a Nanny costs so much!

    I wasn't so sure of the guitars over piano playing though! However, as we Brits might say "Jolly Good Show!".

  • annpanagain
    5 years ago

    Thinking along the lines of the modern use of Stately Homes, I wonder what the 21st Century Pemberley would be like, apart from having its shades well and truly polluted by coachloads of tourists, something which started with Homes many years ago? Conferences, perhaps? Having been away from the UK for some fifteen years, I have no idea of what is going on there!

  • vee_new
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    annpan, re your query about today's use of Stately Homes. We visited an interesting eg of one while visiting my brother near Stratford. When I grew up in the area Compton Verney was a private house that had originally been lived in by the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire. I don't know if the family went 'into decline' but the house certainly did and after changing hands several times has since been rescued by the wealthy Moores family of Liverpool (think football pools). Today the parts that are open to the public house a number of art galleries, a shop and large restaurant. DH and I spent several hours taking in the exhibition on artist Eric Ravilious and his 'group'. In the early summer sunshine the grounds (Capability Brown) were especially charming.

    Compton Verney

  • annpanagain
    5 years ago

    Vee, we went to quite a few Stately Homes when we were living in the UK in 1990-2002 and even stayed at one in Scotland which was a guest house.

    A problem back then was that we had a dog. A Cavalier King Charles Blenheim spaniel who wasn't very welcome at most places, even at Blenheim Palace! He was allowed into the open air tea room though and excited a lot of interest and requests for selfies with him. Such a show off! He enjoyed himself very much even if we hadn't...

    Only one place we went to had a dedicated dog area with kennels. I hope things are better now. Strangely enough, Public transport was never a problem with a dog. We even rode a little train up a Scottish mountain and went on a boat trip to look at seals with no refusals!

  • vee_new
    5 years ago

    Annpan re the dog problem. Sometimes when we book a holiday 'rental' we try and get a 'no dogs allowed' place, not just because we don't have a dog, but also many pet owners allow their hairy friends to sit on the furniture, even the beds and use the gardens/lawns as loos.

    Some eating places will let in a 'well-behaved' pet but I think this is discouraged by the health police. I have seen a dog 'helping' the owner of a café by licking the floor while she cleaned the tables.

    I was checking out a museum on a website and came across a 'one star' report from a very angry man saying his dog had not been allowed to go round . . . so he would never visit the area again saying that humans should not take precedence over animals. ;-(

    And don't get me started on people who let their dogs 'foul' the pavements, parks and open spaces, or clear up and put the evidence in a plastic bag which they then throw into the hedgerow/stream/someone's property.

    Or similar owners who let their dogs run wild, chases and kill sheep and lambs, bite people etc and take NO responsibility of their so-called -pet.

    I say this as someone who has been bitten, in totally unprovoked incidents, by badly behaved dogs "Oh! Little Pongo has never bitten anyone before." "Oh dear, you shouldn't have had the hood up on your coat Lady Precious Stream just doesn't like people with hoods." "Oh! I forgot to put Gnasher's muzzle on."

    These are all true remarks that have been made to me . . . though names may have been changed to protect the dog's identities.

    End of rant . . . and I do actually quite like well-behaved dogs!

  • vee_new
    5 years ago

    Just to add, I'm not a huge fan of Stately Homes and the trail of sorry damp tourists tramping through room after room with little time to do more than glance at the dark oil-paintings, shredded wallpaper and wormy furniture. I prefer the grounds and the much more interesting 'servants quarters' or 'usual offices' as they used to be described in auction catalogues. We can learn so much more of 'everyday life' from the kitchens, brew houses and laundries.

    No wonder Winston's mother went into labour while visiting. I don't think a window has been opened since 1743.


  • yoyobon_gw
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I have owned dogs almost all my life and I understand the responsibility of that.

    It has been my experience that dogs make better pets than people do because they can be trained and are usually happy to comply with rules.

    In our town there is a public walking trail with specific rules for dogs. Now, if dogs could read I am certain there would never be a problem. However we have to rely on the owner to read two simple rules and follow them...and this is where we run into problems.

    Rule #1 - Clean up after your dog ( put waste in a plastic bag and deposit in the waste cans located along the trail).

    Rule #2 - All dogs must be on a 4 foot leash.

    Easy? SImple? You'd think so, but you'd be wrong.

    I've seen owners allow the dog to leave piles along the trail and walk away from it

    And the most egregious was the obnoxious woman who allowed her pitbull to run freely while she HELD the leash in her hand. As I tried to avoid her dog, I pointed out that dogs needed to be ON the leash, not NEAR the leash. I was told what I could do with my opinion AND the leash !!

  • annpanagain
    5 years ago

    I agree, some dog owners spoil things for others who are conscientious!

    Here is a sad but funny story. My husband was taken to hospital once in an ambulance and the little girl spaniel we had followed him into it. The ambulance man started to protest but his partner said that they had had far worse come in! Considering that she was regularly washed and groomed, I would agree that she was more hygienic than some of their customers...

  • msmeow
    5 years ago

    Aww, Ann, that's so sweet!

    When I was a kid I fell out of a tree in our back yard. It knocked the wind out of me so I just laid there for a bit. When I opened my eyes my cat was staring into my eyes and licking my face. :)

    Donna

  • carolyn_ky
    5 years ago

    My brother-in-law had a mini-stroke, and when he came to his dog was licking his face.

  • Rosefolly
    5 years ago

    I like dogs, too. We have two rat terriers, friendly with people but not other dogs, and very excitable and energetic. We do not travel with them, or nor do we inflict them on people who do not say they want us to do so. I can get them to do Sit and Down, but have never been able to get them to walk nicely on a leash. Every time I tried, I kept tripping and nearly falling. It felt dangerous, and eventually I decided it was not worth the risk. W have a large fenced yard, and they get plenty of exercise within its confines. It makes cleaning up after them easy, too.

    Currently reading, and so far liking, a book from my TBR pile, River of Stars by Guy Gabriel Kay. He is a Canadian writer of heavily historically influenced fantasy. His fantasy elements are more an imaginary but realistic version of an era and culture, rather than a magical one. I read one of his books every year or so and am not quite halfway through his works. River of Stars (Song Dynasty) takes place in not-China, as did his earlier book Under Heaven (Tang Dynasty). I read and liked that one two or three years ago.

    Rosefolly

  • annpanagain
    5 years ago

    Actually it is June here! I am reading one of the books Vee mentioned where everyone went to a university, have wonderful high achieving careers and miserable private lives. I shall be honest and say that I worked for the money only and wasn't really good at anything much except finding requested but mis-shelved library books and relating to people!

    Funny story, I was sympathising with a Professor who was complaining that academics were being portrayed as absent minded. He went away quite cheerfully but returned after a couple of minutes to sheepishly collect his umbrella!

  • yoyobon_gw
    5 years ago

    Rose....my son has a Rat Terrier. She will kill any animal that cannot outrun her and she runs like the wind ! She is excellent at getting out a garden snake upon command and it is a pretty entertaining scene to watch her fling it into the air . One day she decided to rid their property of chipmunks ( I love chippies) and as she did each one in, she stacked them neatly in a pile at their front door ! My son says she figures that she's providing for the pack .

  • Rosefolly
    5 years ago

    Yoyobon, Archie doesn't share. Anything. He won't even let his buddy Nero in on the fun. But yes, they are genetically programed with a powerful prey drive for any small creature except other dogs. Extremely affectionate with humans, though.

    Picked up a couple of SF/F novels from the library, but not very good. I already forget the one I finished, and I returned them both with the second only half read. Not worth wasting the time.

  • annpanagain
    5 years ago

    My Siamese cat loved to share and to rival the numerous headless rabbits our black cat brought home, he once found a nest of highly lethal dugite snakes and with much yowelling proudly gifted us, one by one, with the babies!

    They weren't hunters when we lived in a suburb but when we moved to the country, it aroused all their hunting instincts. Shop food was no longer good enough!

  • yoyobon_gw
    5 years ago

    Rose...the rat terrier son has is more demanding than affectionate. She is the center of some universe in her mind and constantly demands attention by pawing at you to pet her. Worse than that is when she tries to sneak in a lick to get your attention. It is usually aimed at your face and she comes at you like a striking snake ! My son says that she is as cuddly as a bag of door knobs .