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September Bringing in the Sheaves of Books

5 years ago
last modified: 5 years ago

Blood in the Cotswolds by Rebecca Tope was a well-written and speedy read. As the title suggests it is a who-dunnit in a bucolic setting where the inevitable holidaying detective comes upon bones and mysterious goings-on which may have something to do with the Knights Templars . . . it is set in the 'real' village of Temple Guiting where once those rich and warlike monks where overlords.

Comments (147)

  • 5 years ago

    Winter- I totally agree with your assessment of Pieces of Her. I also enjoy Virgil more than Lucas.

  • 5 years ago

    Thank you, Mark. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who found Karin Slaughter's latest literary contribution something that should have been bypassed. Do you think Dennis Weaver would have made a good Virgil? Every time I read a new Virgil Flowers book I visualize him. :-)

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  • 5 years ago

    Carolyn, I am in Orlando. We've had the East Carolina football team here at my hotel for a week - they had to evacuate and are playing USF in Tampa on 9/22, so they decided to evacuate to Florida. :) We also had an entire retirement home from Hilton Head here late last week. Residents, caregivers and pets. It was quite busy in the lobby!

    Donna

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Woodnymph,

    Glad to hear you--and your beautiful city--didn't have any serious damage from the hurricane. I thought of you as I was watching the news.

    My nephew, 2 nieces (with spouses and children) and former S-I-L all live in New Bern, NC. They fled to eastern Tennessee and are on their way back to NC today. They heard the house of one of the nieces had damage from a falling tree, but it fell on a deck, so hopefully, nothing serious. My S-I-L's workplace was completely flooded. They probably won't have power for days.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Winter- I have a picture in my mind of a longish blonde hair surfer bum looking guy. Blue eyes and tan, slender but strong. Talking about Virgil.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I don't know about the blue eyes...but in my day...Dennis Weaver fit that description....tall, lanky, longer blond hair...with a cowboy hat and lots of attitude. [Sam] McCloud was the TV show...in the '70s. Think I'm dating myself. LOL

  • 5 years ago

    Just did a speed read of Susan Hill's Jacob's Room is Full of Books as the library has a long list of orders for it and we are off on what might prove to be a week's soggy holiday (Atlantic gales sweeping over us) so time was not on my side.

    It is a month by month chat on books, authors, her local scenery, letters from students wanting help, being on 'book-award' panels . . . and the tantrums of literary types when they don't win . . . Hill obviously knows everyone worth knowing in the world of Eng/US Lit.

    I didn't find out who Jacob is/was; probably reading too quickly!

  • 5 years ago

    Rouan, I finished them all but found they were a quick read as there was so much description and little plot so I skip read a lot. Nothing like the intricate plots of the early mystery books. I might read the Arthurian ones but they aren't quite my usual choice. I think I read one a long time ago and didn't take to it.

  • 5 years ago

    Winter, I remember McCloud and Dennis Weaver. :)

    I finished False Prophet by Faye Kellerman. What a dysfunctional family in that story! Wow. It was a good story - well written like all of her books that I've read.

    Donna

  • 5 years ago

    Donna...Don't you think Dennis Weaver/McCloud would make a good Virgil? :-)

    Wood...So glad to see you back and having successfully survived Florence. I hope Frieda was as fortunate with hurricane Lane.

    Still reading Follett's A Column of Fire. I'm afraid life has been interfering with my reading time these days but I'm about a third of the way through and am enjoying his fictionalization of the mid to late 1500's with the religious battles and the ascension of Queen Elizabeth. I will add that I think Follett is slipping a bit in his old age. I find his dialogue is often too 21st century to keep me in the intended atmosphere of the 1500's realm. But his telling of the Spanish inquisition leaves no doubt in ones mind of the cruelty of the times and the part the Catholic church played in unacceptable atrocities. Nor any doubt about the political control the Church employed.

  • 5 years ago

    Winter, yes, I could see Dennis Weaver as Virgil, though my mental image of Virgil is more like Jeff Foxworthy. :)

    I've read Pillars of the Earth (twice) and World Without End. I don't think I've read Column of Fire, though. I've read Night Over Water twice, too. I tried the first book of the trilogy set in the US starting around WWI but couldn't get into it.

    Donna

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    This morning I finished The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. At the beginning, I thought it was pretty funny, but the humor became repetitive and had less appeal for me as the book continued. I did enjoy it, but I won't be seeking out other books by this author.

  • 5 years ago

    I had to go find a photo of Foxworthy [really dating myself now] but...yes...I, also, can see him as Virgil. He and Weaver are similar in looks...to me. LOL

    I've read everything that Follett has ever written save this latest Column of Fire. I just think he's getting lazy in his dialogue with the casual use of 21st century vocabulary...in some instances. Maybe it's just me but I find it rather out of character when I read a noble using the expression "Oh sh-t!" LOL There are other similar "slips" but at the moment...my tired brain can't bring them to the front. Suffice to say...such verbiage jolted me out of the realm...so to speak. But that won't deter my finishing the tome. I like him as an author and I enjoy his books.

  • 5 years ago

    Winter I agree with you about Follett's rather lazy use of 'modern' words and remember when reading Pillars of the Earth ( if that's the one where the cathedral is built) and when the mason's son is born they decide to name him after his father Thomas, but to call him Tommy for short. I realise we don't know what everyday language people used in the Middle Ages but I'm pretty sure the diminutive of Thomas, assuming there was one, would have been Tomkin/Tompkin.

    The only other book of his I've read was one set in war-time Denmark when a schoolboy makes a glider to escape from the Germans. A clever lad!

  • 5 years ago

    Thanks, Vee. I was beginning to think it was my imagination. His earlier works didn't seem to reflect his current level of laxness. He spins a good yarn and his historical facts are usually right on the money...but his latest relaxation of dialogue somehow detracts. Compared to Sharon Kay Penman who writes in a similar venue, he's beginning to come up wanting. I hope it's only temporary.

    I, too, remember the "Tommy" nick name designation. He went to such pains to describe structural designs, tools, construction and life styles, one would think he'd pay more attention to the language of the day for complete authenticity.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks, Kathy, for your brief review above of The Rosie Project. I have the book somewhere, but haven't read it yet.

  • 5 years ago

    Reader - You're welcome. I bought The Rosie Project at a library book sale and its very colorful cover has been in my line of sight for a couple of years. I was glad to finally move it off that particular TBR pile. It does have some very funny moments in it; I'll give it that. And it's short.

  • 5 years ago

    I have just finished Kathleen Tessaro's The Perfume Collector. Tessaro is a fine storyteller and I enjoyed reading about the perfume trade and the two intertwining stories she tells in the novel.

    Before that I reread Alice by Christina Henry, in anticipation of receiving the sequel, Red Queen, in the mail soon. Alice is a modern take, or properly a sequel, to Alice in Wonderland that shows a very dark interpretation of what really happened to Alice after she went down the rabbit hole.

    Am now juggling a history of the Romanov family with John Waters' Carsick, about hitch-hiking across America.

  • 5 years ago

    Netla, I've read a lot about the Romanov family and find them fascinating. I traveled in Russia decades ago and have never lost my interest in it and its people. Just now, I'm reading "Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets (an oral history)" by Svetlana Alexievich. I'm finding it very well written, with much of the prose sounding almost like poetry in terms of descriptions of places and the culture.

  • 5 years ago

    Finished Tabloid City by Pete Hamill. An unusual narrative, told from the point of view of 14 characters (all in the 3rd person) during a night, a day and night again. All the characters are loosely connected, though it is not obvious to the reader at the beginning.

    It is an homage to the dying world of newspapers the way they were before the digital age. It is also a sort of "a moment in time" diorama of New York City.

  • 5 years ago

    I finished Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley. I like her books and have read all of them except Named of the Dragon which my library doesn't have. I've just ordered it from Abe Books for $3.98 with no shipping!

    I, too, have all of Ken Follett's books. I think I most enjoyed the first one I read of his, The Eye of the Needle. It had such a satisfactory ending.

  • 5 years ago

    I finally had to donate all of Follett's books to the library to make room for more books and I've since rued doing it. I'd like to revisit some of what I considered my more enjoyable reads. I loved the Fall of Giants trilogy [inc. Winter of the World and Edge of Eternity]. I liked Night Over Water, too...for the character studies...crammed into the space of an airplane for thirty hours.

  • 5 years ago

    Maybe borrow them from the library, Winter? That way you don't have to give them shelf space.

    I've culled more books from my shelves than I currently won, and I currently own a lot. I don't smoke or do drugs (even though some are now legal here), so this is my vice of choice. I've only ever regretted giving up maybe a dozen at most.

    I have only one more of the Heinlein juveniles to read, and I'm taking a break with John Scalzi's military SF Ghost Brigades. And I'm about a quarter of the way through Lui Cixin's Dark Forest. Definitely a SF streak here.

  • 5 years ago

    "Maybe borrow them from the library, Winter?"

    That's a thought, Rose. I can borrow back what I already donated. :-) On the other hand...I might get lucky and they might be selling the old copies at one of their sales...for a couple of dollars/book.

    I'm a child of a newspaper owning family. Books and related written material have always been my mainstay in life. But I'm also forced to practicality from time-to-time and this town house has just so much space. Unfortunately...I must leave room to physically exist within these four walls. As it is now...there are books and multiple book shelves in every room giving me occasional pause for the psi weight tolerance of the structure. But contentment abounds.

  • 5 years ago

    You all are braver women than I am. I don't know what I would do if I had to downsize my books.

    I am currently reading The Beat Goes On, a book of the Rebus short stories by Ian Rankin. I started it while hanging out at my daughter's the week of the nosebleeds and brought it home with me. I have read some of the stories in the past but can't remember them so it's just as good the second time around. Some of them are new, though. DD has all the Rankin books.

  • 5 years ago

    I snuck away from my book club(s) assigned reading to finish Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. What a delight! I just loved it all. In reading the list of other books that he wrote I find that I've read a couple of his thrillers which I very much enjoyed. He certainly has a range of talent. Now back to J. R. Moeringer's The Tender Bar. I may put this up - I like it well enough but it just doesn't seem right for me right now. I picked up an ILL yesterday- The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland. So between my two ILLs and my regular library selections this week I have a lot of choices as to what's next. Ahhhhh.

    I bought a large bookcase at an estate sale last weekend and as I go to stock the shelves with the stacks piling up on the floor (don't act as though you don't know about this) from a series of sales I know that some (many) of my TBRs will change to Must Read Now. I've been postponing this job because of that but am curious what the living floor looks like. I'm looking forward to many happy hours lugging books upstairs and arranging.

  • 5 years ago

    Skibby...You're a delight! I laughed out loud at your books-on-the-floor telling. You're right! I've found little stacks here and there when I wasn't paying attention. But I have to seriously police myself or there wouldn't be room for me. :-)

    So glad to read your praises for William Kent Krueger. I think other members of the group have recommended him, too...but your current mention brings him back to the front of my brain. I've intended to buy Ordinary Grace for a while and keep getting sidetracked. Now I must...if I can find more space.

    Thank you for the much needed giggles. It's been a particularly testing week on my end and I needed them.

  • 5 years ago

    Skibby - I'm so glad you liked Ordinary Grace. I read it in January and it remains my favorite read so far this year. I first heard of it from Reader-In-Transit here on Reader's Paradise. I believe I read that Kent Krueger is working on another stand-alone book (not one of his crime/mystery series) that will be similar to Ordinary Grace. Darn - where is my memory that I can't say for sure?

  • 5 years ago

    Carolyn, as I have moved several times across Australia or back and forth to the UK and Australia, I have had to downsize in a spectacular way, taking only a couple of dozen books each time because of the freight. How to choose what to let go of is painful!

  • 5 years ago

    Winter, you sound like me in terms of needing to be constantly around reading materials. I am the child of librarians and school teachers and inherited old books from both my parents, which they had when they were children. When I downsized 8 years ago to move from VA to SC, it broke my heart to sell half my book collection. (My late husband ( a journalist), had built bookshelves to house all our tomes in each room). Now, I am in an apt. with still too many books and I moved some of my free standing bookshelves along with me. I still regret giving up some of my old favorites, as they carried so many happy memories. Downsizing is necessary but oh, so painful!

  • 5 years ago

    Reading The Address by Fiona Davis and enjoying it very much.

  • 5 years ago

    Wood...What I'm finding even worse than parting with those old friends is discovering at some future date that I need/want something housed in those relocated tomes that's not always available at my library. My only solace these days is this PC. The digital world may not be my preferred touchy-feely venue but it's providing what my limited living space can no longer accommodate. You're so right! Downsizing is painful!

  • 5 years ago

    Woodnymph, the woman who came to clean the construction dust from my house following the recent remodeling/nose bleeding episodes, after dusting books and frames of bookmarks, said to me, "You have to have been a liberrian." I wasn't, of course, but I took it as a compliment. I am the daughter of an elementary teacher who loved to read.

  • 5 years ago

    I enjoyed The Rosie Project, but didn't much like the sequel.

    I am reading an ARC of the new Louise Penny book, The Kingdom of the Blind. It's interesting, but I am beginning to feel these books are a bit repetitive, which is sad because I love the characters.


  • 5 years ago

    Kath, I've also read several of the Penny mysteries, and I agree, after about 4 or 5, they do seem predictable and repetitive. But I do like the characters and the setting.

  • 5 years ago

    I've only read two L Penny books so far, but I would think it would be a bit of a stretch to have murders one after another in a small, isolated community like that. Kind of like the TV show Murder She Wrote. I mean, really, how many murders can there be in Cabot Cove, Maine? :)

    I'm continuing my Faye Kellerman obsession, currently halfway through Grievous Sin. I had placed a hold on Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe, and forgotten that I also placed a hold on Beach House Memories. Of course, both of those became available at the same time!

    Donna

  • 5 years ago

    Winter - your comment: " giving me occasional pause for the psi weight tolerance of the structure" made me laugh out loud so loudly in the office that people came to ask me what was so funny. :-) Thank you for that this rainy Wednesday!

  • 5 years ago
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    Back to reading: I haven't been able to read at my typical speed lately due to being busy at work. I'm teaching a new class (to me), and so since the class is pretty visually oriented, I'm having to create lots and lots of Powerpoint slides for the classroom presentation. I'll tell you this: I'm learning a lot about Powerpoint! :-}

    Needing a rather lightweight read (to balance school stuff), I happened to find a brand-new copy of the old kids' classic, "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster (1961), and not having read it before, found it an enjoyable read. Nothing to write home about though, so happy to pass it on to a charity shop.

    Then, for some reason, I was reminded of Leah Remini (Hollywood actress) and her time in Scientology (I know...) and had a good read of that. She can write really well (or her ghostwriter can!), but I'm still at a loss at why people join that group/cult. I think it preys on people who are feeling a bit lost and looking for somewhere to belong because it seems like a big racket to me. (Easy for me to say when I'm not in it, huh?) Still, enjoyed the read.

    Now reading "Warriors Don't Cry" by Melba Padillo, who was one of that small (very brave) group of HS students who fought against segregation and attended the first school in Arkansas that was forced to segregate. Goodness gracious. I knew that African-Americans had gone through so much at this time, but blimey. These were just teenagers and people (both adults and children) were awful to them and to their families. It's actually quite hard to read for me, but I keep reminding myself that if they were brave enough to actually live through that, the least I can do is read about it.

    And then, on a lighter note, I'm reading "The Power" by Naomi Alderman, some spec fiction about gender roles and the issue of power/no power. Very interesting with lots of think about. (Would make a good book club title, methinks.)

  • 5 years ago

    Well Lemon...it should have been psf [per square foot] rather than psi. My eyesight and my fingers don't always agree but that's neither here no there. Whatever it was about my statement that gave you such a jocular moment, enjoy!

  • 5 years ago

    Lemonhead, several years ago a friend of mine was in LA with her (then) teenage granddaughter. The GD is a singer/songwriter and was doing the audition circuit. One "audition" turned out to be at a Scientology building, and at one point my friend and her GD found themselves locked in a room! Once someone came to get them from the locked room for the "audition" they managed to get away and get out of the building. It was very scary for them.

    Donna

  • 5 years ago

    That does sound terrifying. I'm glad they escaped.

  • 5 years ago

    I finished Birds in Fall by Brad Kessler. What a good read for me. I loved the setting, the characters, the side notes and the writing. It had a sad premise but wasn't a sad book. I also learned a fair amount about bird migration which I found very interesting (as a beginning birder) and in particular about kingfishers. I think kingfishers will be my new side project as this is the second book I've read with KFs as part of the story.

    I put The Tender Bar aside as it wasn't the right thing for me right now. I'll pick it back up later I suppose. On to The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland. I'm only a short way into it but I don't particularly like it yet. I'll continue for a while as I don't like not finishing a book; I've only recently given myself permission to do so and I'm hesitant to take advantage of my own leniency. :)

    I'm still working on filling my new bookcase upstairs. This is turning into quite a big undertaking. I've made 12 or 15 trips up the stairs with armloads so far and haven't made a dent. I may have something related to kingfishers hidden in there but doubtful I have any mythology. The hunt begins!

  • 5 years ago
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    Skibby, there is a book called Kingfishers Catch Fire by Rumer Godden. I read it so long ago that I can't remember the story, but you might be interested in looking it up. It's set in India, and the title is from a Gerard Manly Hopkins poem.

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    Skibby, I quite often get annoyed with a book halfway through and skip to the end, just to see how the plot works out. Would you continue to eat something when you don't like the taste?

    I have started Sophie Hannah's third book of "Poirot" mysteries. "The Mystery of Three Quarters." I wasn't too impressed with the other two but this one has me intrigued. Just one little mistake in referring to a woman of 50-60 as middle aged. During that time a woman in her 50's was described by contemporary authors as elderly! I know, I am being super-critical...

  • 5 years ago

    I'm reading Kindred Spirits by Jo Bannister. I enjoy her books, but she changes series too quickly for me. Instead of going on too long until the books become samey a la the other thread, she leaves her characters before I'm ready to say goodby. This is the fifth of her Gabriel Ashe offerings, a man who almost went mad after losing his sons to an ex-wife but now has them back again. Set in England.

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    Anna......lol......I have taken one taste of a dessert and if it is not really, really delicious I don't waste the calories on it !

    Life is too short to eat mediocre desserts or read unenjoyable books.

  • 5 years ago

    Skibby - I had not previously heard of Birds in Fall, but your description of it intrigues me. Would you recommend I add it to my TBR list? Do you think one needs to be a birder to enjoy it?

  • 5 years ago

    Birds in Fall won't be everyone's perfect read but it was for me. It's not about birding. The main character is an ornithologist and so there was an underlying theme that described bird migration and other behaviors that could be seen as parallels with human behaviors. Another character's passion is classical music - so there is some interesting things about music. The premise of the book is after a plane crash off Nova Scotia victims' families gather on the island at a B & B to await news/fate of their loved ones. The story is about them and how they handle their grief, each in their own way including the B & B owners and the islanders. I'm not describing this well but I thought it was beautifully written and had many layers. I found the characters deep and complex. I finished this a few days ago and still can't stop thinking about it and I plan on buying this for my own library at home. I hope I didn't turn you off completely with my clumsy description - I very much recommend this. Despite the grim situation, it isn't a sad book. I hope you try it and let us know how you like it.

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    Have just returned from a week's break with a 'new' library book . . . and only a fortnight in which to read it. Clock Dance by Anne Tyler, a writer who's work I enjoy as her female characters are mature and really 'human' warts and all. For me her 'stories' take second place to her descriptions of what make people tick, their inadequacies, foibles etc. The rather inept or demanding husbands, the grown-up children who never quite come up to expectation and the women who have to make their way through this maze of needs and demands and come out stronger and wiser.

  • 5 years ago

    Vee - That's an excellent description of Anne Tyler's themes. I like her too and have read several of her books over the course of many years. I'll look forward to your review of Clock Dance.

    Skibby - Your description of Birds in Fall does not seem at all clumsy to me. On the contrary, it makes me more interested. I will seek it out in the hopefully not-too-distant future. My local public library does not list it in their catalog; otherwise I would have already reserved it.