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rosefolly

Reading in July

5 years ago

Not feeling clever today, so I settled for a basic title.


I like tense, dark, borderline bitter fantasies with a struggle for redemption, The Hunger Games series being a well-known example. I just stumbled upon one such and devoured the first two volumes this weekend. They are Nevernight and Godsgrave by Australian writer Jay Kristoff. I'll have to wait until September of next year for the final volume to be published. Such is the risk of reading an incomplete trilogy.


I have another trilogy problem. I signed up to be one of the people who votes for the Hugo awards this year, something I've never done before. Unfortunately, one of the books is the final volume in a trilogy, Stone Sky by N.K. Jemison. It is likely to be one of the better books. I can't reasonably vote unless I've read it, and I have not yet read the first two books in the trilogy. I can't judge the book unless I read all three. With six nominees, that would mean eight books to read in the next couple of weeks. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to handle it.


We have an in-law who used work in the entertainment industry and voted on Academy Awards. I wonder if he worried about his decision the way I am fussing about mine?


Rosefolly

Comments (152)

  • 5 years ago

    I picked up the first of a series "A Cotswold Killing" by Rebecca Tope. I spent some happy weekends in that beautiful area of England and hoped I had found a new to me author I could enjoy.

    It is an interesting mystery but I was startled to find that the main character is a self-harmer! Usually cosy mysteries featuring "Middle Class, Middle Aged." amateur detectives are never that way inclined! Unlike their more hard-boiled sisters these ladies rarely even drink heavily or have any vices, such as a fondness for birthday cake or quarter pound Maccas!

    I hope she stops this by the end of the book...

  • 5 years ago

    Welcome, Winter.

    Finished reading The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece by Jonathan Harr. It is non fiction but it reads almost like a mystery, following the trail of The Taking of Christ, which had been lost for over 200 years, and how it was found. Very interesting, not only because of the history of the painting and its almost 400 year journey, but because of the glimpse into the world of art history scholars.

    I must have seen this painting in my only visit to the museum where it is, but I don't remember it. My reason for visiting was a Vermeer painting, which I remember very well.

    Woodnymph,

    With your art history background, this book may interest you.

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    Reading in July

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    the message that was clear all through my childhood-particularly from my grandmother, was "if you are bored it's your own fault." When I would visit her in the summer and complain about the long, "difficult for a child to understand" sermons at her summer church, she taught me to look around in church and imagine things about the other congregants-change their outfits, imagine their lives, make up stories about them-we did the same thing on long car rides. There was a big house we passed on the way to her beach house-the stories we made up about whoever lived there! I still remember some of them. I tried the same technique with my children-my DD bit, and is rarely bored-always has something going on-but DS thought it was all dumb..."but how do you KNOW that they have 4 boys in that house?" He could never wrap his head around the idea that it didn't matter-it was just a way to pass the time. He does sometimes complain of boredom, and he's not a fiction reader, either. I've concluded it is the brain wiring. As I have a backlog of mysteries and biographies on the shelf, I think July will be a combo of those.
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    July: What are you reading?

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    A BURNT-OUT CASE SBS TV showed the docudrama Lamumba two nights ago, on the evening of 30 July 2010. I had never really got a handle on the events of the historical crisis associated with the legendary African leader Patrice Lamumba, events which took place when I was in my mid-teens. Lumumba is a 2000 film directed by the award-winning Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck(b. 1953). It is centred around Patrice Lumumba in the months before and after the Democratic Republic of the Congo achieved independence from Belgium in June 1960. Raoul Peck's film is a coproduction of France, Belgium, Germany, and Haiti. Lumumba dramatises the rise and fall of Patrice Lumumba. In late October 1959, just days after I joined the BahaÂi Faith at the age of 15, Lumumba was arrested for allegedly inciting an anti-colonial riot in the city of Stanleyville where thirty people were killed. He was sentenced to six months in prison. His name was just a news item on the distant periphery of my life, immersed as I was in a smalltown culture in the 1950s, in Ontario Canada. The plot of this docudrama is based on the final months of the life of Patrice Lumumba in his role as the first Prime Minister of the Congo. His tenure in office lasted two months until he was driven from office in September 1960. Joseph Kasavubu was sworn in alongside Lumumba as the first president of the country, and together they attempted to prevent the Congo succumbing to secession and anarchy. The film concluded with the army chief-of-staff, Joseph Mobutu, seizing power in a CIA sponsored coup.-Ron Price with thanks to SBS TV, "Lamumba," 30 July 2010. All of this got me back into Graham Greene who went to the Belgian Congo in January 1959, just before the Congo crisis broke out, with a new novel already beginning to form in his head by way of a situation involving a stranger who turned up in a remote leper settlement for no apparent reason. While Greene was writing A Burnt-Out Case in 1959 in the months leading up to and after I became a member of the BahaÂi Faith. This novel is one of those in the running for the most depressing narratives ever written. The reader only has to endure for a short time the company of the burnt-out character whose name in the novel was Querry. Greene had to live with him and in him--in his head--for eighteen months. Greene wrote that: "Success as a novelist is often more dangerous than failure; the ripples often break over a wider coast line. The Heart of the Matter(1948) was a success in the great vulgar sense of that term. There must have been something corrupt there, for the book appealed too often to weak elements in its readers. Never had I received so many letters from strangers, perhaps the majority of them from women and priests. At a stroke I found myself regarded as a Catholic author in England, Europe and America -- the last title to which I had ever aspired. This account may seem cynical and unfeeling, but in the years...
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    sheilaaus122 - While I was struggling with the first chapter of The Sound and the Fury I did look online to find out just what the hell I was reading. That definitely helped. It was still a challenge but once I understood who the characters were it all made much more sense. I suppose a "real reader" would just plow through and try to figure it out themselves. I didn't mind my cheat and I think it also explains, in part at least, why the book was not well received when published but praised later. Finish the book. You are so close. I have no plans to read anything else by Faulkner. ;-) BTW - When I showed DH what I was reading his reaction was: "The only good thing I can say about Faulkner is that it's not Dickens." haha He's right. Sort of. I'd certainly pick up another Faulkner before anything by Dickens.
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    I finished The Dry yesterday. It was a good, fast-moving page-turner. I'm not sure how I expected it to end, but I guess, with the relatively small cast of characters, it couldn't have been too surprising. Maybe because the last couple of books I've read were told in the first-person, in one instance by more than one person, I had to keep reminding myself that Aaron Falk was not telling this story. It did use the device of telling parts of the story--the truth--by switching to italics and stepping completely out of the current narrative. I guess that's one way to let the reader into things that the present-time characters aren't planning to reveal or even know about. I did find that more than a couple of paragraphs were harder to read in italics. I give it a B.
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  • 5 years ago

    Annpan, re the 'self-harming' in your book. I'm sure this is something that was not generally know /talked about 40-50 years ago and writers have jumped on the band wagon.

    A while ago I read a whodunnit set in the 1850's in which the hero spent time in the London sewers, which could be conveniently accessed through the family latrine, where he frequently slashed his arms with a knife. He then bandaged the cuts with rags. He must have been one tough cookie as he never got blood-poisoning or any other infections from the foul conditions. But as he probably drank water from the Thames into which these early sewers flowed he may have had total immunity from germs. It was an unbelievable/unmemorable plot!

    Btw what is a Maccas?

  • 5 years ago

    Maccas is short for McDonalds. Aussies love abbreviations! And Maccas hamburgers...

  • 5 years ago

    Thanks Annpan. I am probably the only person in the UK who has never been to a McDonalds . . . or the only one without a mobile/cell phone, nor have I been to a bowling alley. What a quiet life I have led. I wonder if I am missing anything? ;-(

  • 5 years ago

    Vee, never thrown a bowling ball, chowing down a Maccas burger in the other hand, chatting to your BF on a phone tucked tightly by your shoulder and jaw?

    Yes, you ARE missing out!

  • 5 years ago

    Vee.....you've never know the misery of a gutter ball , a missed " call" or burger indigestion: as Ina Garten would say : " How great is that ! "

  • 5 years ago

    I don't usually eat hamburgers but we went to the McDonalds in Hong Kong and sat in the basement area with a lot of Chinese students. They seemed to be very interested in me. My husband explained the reason "You are holding it upside down!" Nothing to do with coming from Australia the Land Downunder.

  • 5 years ago

    Vee, in my area we refer to the restaurant above as "Mickey D's." :)

    Donna

  • 5 years ago

    anna....."upside down" ??? Like the top of the bun ( with seeds ) on the bottom ??

    Ummm.......ooookaaaay.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Just finishing Auntie Poldi And The Sicilian Lions , which I did enjoy very much.

    Now will read The House On The Edge Of Night....which got lots of good reviews.

  • 5 years ago

    Hi, yoyo, it seemed the easiest way to hold it together in the grease proof wrapper it was served in. The curved shape of the rather crusty bun's top was like a cup, so upside down it went.

    I googled and found several names are used for McDonalds in different countries. The menus vary too for local tastes.

    BTW, I am an Ann with no "e" although I got so tired of saying that, I gave my D the full works! Annpan was my nickname as a child.

  • 5 years ago

    Yoyobon,

    Let me know how do you like The House at the Edge of the Night by Catherine Banner. It is on my very long list of "Books to Maybe Read Someday".

  • 5 years ago

    Ann, that's kind of funny that the students were watching you. I don't think I've ever paid any attention to how someone else in a restaurant is eating! Unless it's someone with me. I do tease my DH about eating all of one thing then going on to the next.

    Donna

  • 5 years ago

    Reader in transit --- Thanks for recommending the book about Caravaggio to me. You are correct, I'm sure, with my background in art history I would find it interesting. I will definitely look for it

  • 5 years ago

    Welcome to Readers' Paradise, Winter!

    Lemonhead, it made me smile when you said you discussed books with your mother. My sister Rouan and I used to talk about books with our mother all the time, a happy memory. I do miss that. My own daughters are not really readers, so I don't share that with them. Maybe some day one of my grandchildren (all very young now) will turn out that way. I keep giving them books in hope it will happen!

    Beginning my final Hugo book today.

  • 5 years ago

    Re grandchildren and books. I recently sorted out the best-kept books that my own children had enjoyed and gave them to our granddaughter, aged seven. Among them were the Little House on the Prairie series, the ones about Harry the White Dog with Black Spots, some of the Thomas the Tank Engine . . . and so on. When our son brought the child for a visit I asked had she read/looked at any of them and she told me that "Mummy's thrown them all away because they were dusty" I had to bite my tongue (something I am not good at) so as not to upset her and think maybe it is because her Mother is Japanese and possibly has different standards from us . . . We are all very polite to each other on the very rare occasions we meet but other gifts we have given seem to have 'disappeared' without a trace.

    DH thinks the child is probably too tired to read as after school she has 'activities' such as extra maths classes, swimming, gym, tennis, piano and all day on Saturday after a very long journey 'Japanese school'. She will either grow up to be a genius or a rebel!

  • 5 years ago

    Oh Vee, that is so sad.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Vee, that was upsetting for me to even read about!

    I am rather fed up with one granddaughter who never acknowledges gifts for herself and her two girls which I have sent via my son when he visits them. An email even would be acceptable as the art of writing thank you notes seems to have died out!

  • 5 years ago

    Annpan, I must say we do receive a 'thank you card' from g-daughter for the too-soon to disappear presents/gifts, heavily annotated with pictures of pink princesses, characters from 'Frozen' Star Wars' etc which gives us some slight connection with her.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Vee, I agree that is unsettling . I have found that gifts, once given, are at the mercy of the reciever. That knowledge has forced me to learn to give without expectations. Through the years I enjoyed collecting antique oak furniture and refinishing it . As a result when my two children were ready to go out on their own they had a wonderful selection of furniture at their disposal. My daughter treasured each piece.....my son used it in his first apartment, then when he built a home instead of offering it back to me , he and his fiancee' put it all out to the curb for anyone to take who wanted it. His logic was that he didn't want 'old" furniture in a new home. I think I bit through my tongue at that one.

    And as for thank yous from grandchildren......since I don't text , I rarely get any kind of thank you at all. It must be the "new" etiquette standard.

  • 5 years ago

    No, yoyo, just plain bad manners!

    I don't give cherished things away unless I am sure they will be appreciated. Even then I can get upset if they are mistreated! I gave my eldest GD a lovely golden pine desk and found to my dismay she had used the wrong oil polish and it had darkened the wood. After consideration, I did tell her and she won't make the same mistake next time! It is taking a while for the colour to return as the dark oil has to fade. She did know what she should have used but tried the oil her husband uses on his boat wood!

  • 5 years ago

    I finished the Alex Cross novel last night. As I mentioned, it was very gruesome, so I downloaded some new titles from the library that will hopefully be lighter, happier reading. :)

    I've read one chapter of Adrift on St. John by Rebecca M Hale, and so far there's something about her style that is annoying me. I haven't read enough to put my finger on it, so I'll keep with it a while longer.

    Donna

  • 5 years ago

    Vee, that is very disturbing! I would be quite upset. Re her schedule, in America, many children are "overscheduled" with extracurricular activities after school every day of the week, including weekends. I think this is not a good idea. When I was a girl, there was lots of time for day-dreaming, drawing on my own, roaming in the woods, reading for pleasure, etc. I think unscheduled time engenders creativity in kids. I did have some piano and ballet lessons, but these were only 2 days a week. Summers were taken care of with activities in camps.

    I've just started my 4th Louise Penney mystery. I think it's her first: "Still Life." So far, so good. I enjoy the tidbits of history that the author inserts into the narrative.

  • 5 years ago

    yoyo, I think your oak furniture was far more valuable than a selection of children's books but, as you say once you pass on a 'gift' it is out of your hands however tactless or thoughtless the 'receiver' is.

    Re 'thank you letters' or those demanding an RSVP. Some years ago when our daughter got married we sent out invitations as 'parents of the bride' and most people answered 'though some more promptly than others. However there were a few who hadn't got back in touch within a week or so of the event. I think without exception they were friends of the Happy Couple. I took a dim view of this as numbers for catering etc had to be taken into account and told my daughter that IF they didn't reply I wouldn't expect them either at the church or the reception.

    "Oh Mother" (DD calls me that when 'put-out') They all have busy lives/jobs and so-and-so is a Dr . . ." I said I didn't care about how hard-pressed, over-worked or how many patients they were curing: basic manners cost no more than the price of a stamp.

    She must have got busy on the phone as everyone had replied in writing within a couple of days. I can be a hard and cruel Mother at times but am far too old to care. ;-)

  • 5 years ago

    Vee, those books were precious and I'm so sorry they were tossed! I have kept many of the books I loved as a child (Harry the Dirty Dog and the Little House books among them) and also a full box of books my kids loved as children. I even have a bunch of my mother's childhood books that I enjoyed back in my 'tweens (Dana Girls and Nancy Drew). I just can't part with them.

    When my daughter moved out she took her Harry Potter books and that was pretty much it from the childhood library. My son's bookcase currently holds Game of Thrones books, Witcher novels (by Andrzej Sapkowski), and baseball books, though since he's started college he just doesn't read for pleasure anymore.

    I'm keeping the kid books in the hope I'll be able to read them to future grandkids. What's another decade or so in storage, right? (Yes, I have a book addiction. No, it's not considered hoarding if it's books ...)

    I finally started Pachinko and it's an easy read. I'm not a huge fan of sweeping family sagas, but I think I'll enjoy this. Book group is five days away, I need to read faster.

  • 5 years ago

    I've kept a goodly number of my childhood favorites: "Little Women", "The Magnificent Barb", "King Arthur", "Robin Hood", "Joan of Arc", "Dog of Flanders", "Lassie Come Home", "A Bird's Christmas Carol", "A Secret Garden", and many others.

    Sheri, if your son has all of the "Game of Thrones" books, that's very ambitious reading!

  • 5 years ago

    I still have a few of my childhood books What Katy Did which I never enjoyed, the Alice books, which I didn't appreciate, Little Women which I loved. My late Mother had managed to save a few of hers despite many moves, so we have ancient copies of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Little Dorrit given as a prize to a 10 year old in the 1920's . . . I can't see a modern child of that age even bothering to open such 'old-fashioned' works.

    Many of my books came from the US where my grandmother worked in a bookshop cum lending library. My father in a philanthropic mood gave them all away, along with my brother's bike and beloved train-set, not to the poor and needy but to a boy who already had a bike so sold my brother's and the electric train plus all the 'extras' to an adult friend. Heaven knows what he did with it, or if he had expressed the urge to own such a thing when in his 40's.

    Dad claimed the books went to the local children's 'Isolation Hospital' set out in the middle of a remote field. They were probably heavily fumigated, went all floppy and were never seen again!

  • 5 years ago

    Sadly I have no books to pass on so I bought my first GreatGD the boxed complete works of Beatrix Potter and then found they were available on CDs. I bought that set as well and a child's CD player. My GD said this was a great success. When the toddler woke up in the night, she was able to play them and go back to sleep, a huge benefit to weary parents!

  • 5 years ago

    Oh as a lover of reading, it makes me sad to hear that old “dusty” books were tossed away. I hope they were at least donated so that someone else might enjoy them! MIL is a bit of a pack rat so she saved (way too many) things from dh’s childhood. When we married , she gave us two full boxes of the Christmas ornaments he received every year. I actually appreciated that and enjoyed decorating our tree every year with those momentos. However, about two weeks ago, a box from MIL arrived in the mail addressed to dh. When I asked what it was, he said ornaments. Um, we’ve been married 22 years and dh hasn’t laid eyes on these for at least 30 years. With the two boxes we got 22 years ago as well as all our own ornaments we’ve accumulated together, I don’t really want them! Sigh.

    My parents are not savers so I have no books from my childhood. I would love to have some of my favorites like Nancy Drew and Madeline to have shared with my girls. MIL was a teacher whose home was filled with bookshelves of kids’ books, even well after she retired. I do have a few books from dh’s childhood that still sit on my shelf and show their age. I loved reading them to my boys. I donate most of my kids’ books now, due to lack of storage space, but have kept a couple shelves of my favorites, especially board books that I hope to someday read to future grandchildren.

    Getting back on topic for this thread (I’m mostly a lurker here!), I’m currently reading The Lewis Man by Peter May. I only discovered this author last year and just love the setting of his mysteries in the outer Hebrides of Scotland. I am also trying to tackle The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner. I don’t recall where I heard about the novel but it’s very gritty. I’ve been listening to it in the car during my many travels this summer back and forth to the beach but don’t think I’d ever get through it if I were reading a hard copy. I just saw the other day that it is on the long list for the Booker Prize. It’s definitely not an easy read. I’ll definitely be looking for a light fluffy book next!

  • 5 years ago

    4kids4us - I'm sure that Martin-z would be interested in your comments about The Mars Room. You might want to post them on his Booker Prize Longlist 2018 thread. I'm not sure he follows our monthly reading threads.

  • 5 years ago

    I just finished reading Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan for the second time. I liked it three years ago, and this time, I liked it even more. It's very short, and it's about the final night that a Red Lobster restaurant is open before being closed down by its parent company. What I like is O'Nan's gift for capturing the details in ordinary situations that make reading about them almost visual. I can so clearly see the snow storm he describes, and the elderly couple who are the final diners on the last night. I could give lots more examples.

    But to be fair, I feel I must report that another person in my book club told us via email that she found the book "boring and pointless." Strangely, I do understand how a person might react that way. The book truly does describe a night of staff activities at a restaurant. Yet, I found it rather poignant, with the manager sincerely trying to do his best by his staff, who were losing their jobs, and also continue to give customers a good dining experience on this very last night.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Finished that last of my Hugo books, and I'll be voting for N. K. Jemisin's book later today. It really was the best, though not the only one I enjoyed. I'll write more later, but right now all day today I will be trying to cram read my book club's book for tomorrow's meeting. It won't be a fair read, but at least I'll be able to participate in the discussion.

  • 5 years ago

    Kathy-T:

    You mentioned your read of Stewart O'Nan's "Last Night at the Red Lobster". I agree with your opinion that it's a book where, if you were to describe the plot, it could be a hard sell, but it's about more than that, isn't it? I really enjoyed this read, and I've gone on to read other O'Nan's works as well. I've enjoyed 90% of them which I think is a good batting average. Most of his other books are similar to this, so you might like to try.

    And if you like O'Nan's style of writing, you might also like work by Jonathon Tropper who writes in a similar vein.

  • 5 years ago

    It's been a busy week. I'm teaching this second summer session*, and the students keep me on my toes. I love it when I can "reach" students and help them learn that writing is a skill (that can be mostly learnt) instead of some mystical muse-influence situation. (At least the writing that I teach in this class is. It's writing that is adapted to a particular communication field - not creative for the most part...)

    Reading: I've been re-reading my way through the never-ending project of learning the AP Style Book, reading the class textbook, grading work, and creating PPT presentations. So reading is occurring - just not much leisure reading.

    I say that and then remember that I have picked up "The Chosen Place, the Timeless People", a 1960's novel written by Paule Marshall, an American writer who was brought up in the Caribbean and who uses her experiences on a tropical island to color the plot of her books. (She's very good.) This one is a little harder to keep up with than her other work (that I've read), but it's still good. Just have to concentrate a little harder! :-)

    Two more weeks of school, and then I'm off on holiday (for realz).

    *In America, university education offers 1-2 abbreviated school sessions over the summer. They cover the same material as the "long" semesters (the autumn and spring terms), but it's speeded up significantly. If a student is in a hurry to graduate (for various reasons), s/he can opt to take classes over the summer when it's traditionally the long university holiday for faculty and students. It's also an optional thing for faculty to teach.

  • 5 years ago

    Lemonhead (Liz, right?) - Thanks for your suggestions about reading more O'Nan and also Jonathan Tropper. I like to have lots of choices on my TBR list!

  • 5 years ago

    Am into The House On The Edge Of Night and am realizing that I'm not a big fan of expansive sagas.

  • 5 years ago

    Yoyo - But that book has such a lovely cover!

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    My book club just read The Best Land Under Heaven by Michael Wallis, a history of the Donner party. I knew the general outline and some of the characters, but learned quite a bit more by reading this book. Such a tragic intersection of bad decisions with plain bad luck! The winter they tried to cross the Sierras was one of the worst winters there in recorded history. We all liked the book a great deal, and I would recommend it. The author gave what seemed to us a very balanced account, as accurate and well-researched as possible while managing to avoid sensationalizing the events. It had the added interest for us that it is local history. The survivors mostly settled in towns that immediately surround us. We were so intrigued that we are thinking of a trip this fall to visit Truckee and Donner Lake, the site of that terrible winter.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    kathy......LOL !!!!! ( a pretty cover will seduce me)

    Oh you are SOOOOO right, but the story is SOOOO tedious that it is actually making me wish bad things upon this family !

    I must confess that I switched to The Death Of Mrs. Westaway and am gritting my teeth through another of Ms. Ware's characters who seems to react to everything surprising or stressful with some sort of stomach situation: churning, clenching, lurching, flipping.

    My kingdom for a good book.

  • 5 years ago

    I have a couple of books with handsome cats on the cover. Rather than shelve them into my bookcase, I have them facing forward. They are like the paintings I no longer hang on my walls. Too much tall furniture, bookcases, china cabinet, wall mounted air conditioner etc has left me with not enough display space.

    My previous apartment had a larger main room. Luckily my D has space so I didn't have to lose the pleasure of seeing them completely.

    The downside of downsizing!

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Annpan - Great idea to use book covers as art!

    Having dealt with dispossessing myself of several deceased relatives' possessions, I'm all about downsizing. I'm trying to get a start on my own downsizing before it becomes a necessity. It will be a long time, however, before books reach a priority status in this project.

  • 5 years ago

    Downsizing is a "necessary evil." Yet, I'm glad I did it 8 years ago while I still had some physical strength for lifting heavy boxes. While I miss my former large house with antiques, I don't miss the sense of feeling "owned" by my possessions. Now, I am traveling much lighter....

    I just finished my 4th Louise Penney mystery (her first) "Still Life." I have enjoyed learning tidbits about French Canada and its history and foods. Also, I find her style satisfying, in that she neatly ties up her mystery plots at the end, and all the details come together like a tightly woven quilt.

  • 5 years ago

    Tom and I seriously considered moving about a year ago. In the end we stayed where we are. But in anticipation of the move we went through the house and got rid of a number of possessions.

    I am sorry to say that in the time since then we have probably replaced at least half of them. It is not only nature that abhors a vacuum.

  • 5 years ago

    I am on the third book of my exploration of Gothic literature. Unlike The Castle of Otranto, which is made up of one suspense scene after another, The Old English Baron is long-winded, wordy and full of exposition and the author manages to kill the thrill of the handful of suspense scenes almost before they begin, by explaining too much.

    I am now reading Vathek by William Beckford, and find it is the first of these books that I would call a full-blown Gothic novel. As well as being an influential on the Gothic genre, it also influenced the fantasy and horror genres, and both Keats and Byron, as well as Poe and Lovecraft, were influenced by it. It is highly entertaining and Beckford mixed together an Oriental setting with Gothic elements like supernatural happenings, villainy and dark deeds, and added both humour and horror to the mix.

  • 5 years ago

    Picked up a very cheap paperback of The Letter by Kathryn Hughes. It reads like a tale from a women's magazine. Very simple writing and a story line of knocked- about wives, slimy boyfriends, a pregnant girl being sent to Ireland to give birth (usually the other way round) but adds mean and cruel nuns and priests to the plot . . . and to think . .. over 4500 people gave it 5 stars on amazon; but it did have a Happy Ending.

  • 5 years ago

    I started The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, mostly b/c so many folks here praised her writing. I've read about 50 pages and am about to give up. It's just too...flowery? Maybe verbose is the word I'm looking for. I don't mind an author painting a picture with words but so far she seems to spend far too much time painting and too little time telling the story. Maybe I'm just not in the mood for it right now. :)

    Donna

  • 5 years ago

    Donna, I am not as big a fan of Kate Morton as others here are. Too moody and wordy for me, though in other hands, I sometimes like a lot of description. However, I listened to The Distant Hours as a recording, and I liked it much better. Perhaps it will work for you as well.

  • 5 years ago

    I tried to read something by Kate Morton and couldn't get on with it at all. Too long, too verbose, not well written, hadn't done the 'homework' on her 'English setting' . ..

    The amazon review compared her work to 'The Go-Between'. I don't think so.

  • 5 years ago

    I'm so disgusted with Ruth Ware's latest " Mrs. Westaway blah blah blah" that I decided to write the predicted ending of the story on a slip of paper and I tucked it into the end of the book. At the completion of this book Ms. Ware and I are parting company.