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March: What are you reading this month?

5 years ago

I noticed that a new thread was needed for a new month of reading.


I am running short on time so I'll make this brief, but I will be back to respond to titles several posters made in the February thread.


Without further ado on my part, tell us what books you are reading and what books are enticing to you.

Comments (157)

  • 5 years ago

    Winter, yes, Black Ascot was great. I liked it better than the past few of the Todd books. Do you think he/they are working their way toward Ian and Bess becoming a couple?

  • 5 years ago

    I don't think so, Carolyn. Once I discovered the Ian Rutledge series, I stopped reading the Bess Crawford series...but...as empathetic a character as Bess is...I don't think the two would work as a couple. IMO they succeed as independent entities but would clash somewhat as a duo. But that's just my opinion. It would, certainly, be an interesting adventure if they do join forces.

    I'm anxious to read the Black Ascot and am so glad that you give it a 5 star review. I was at a loss for something to read before the holidays and decided to reread PD James' Adam Dalgliesh series before I donated my collection to the library. I find PD James almost poetic in her descriptive writing and it's very easy for me to fall under her literary spell. I'm suffering through a dislocated knee and all the related muscle/tendon damage right now so I'm currently very grateful for her talents. If you haven't read any of her Adam Dalgliesh series, you might enjoy her work. Once PD James and I part I shall dive into the Black Ascot. Thank you for your recommendation. I'm glad to read that Todd has rallied to his usual top notch talent.

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  • 5 years ago

    I've just finished "On Hitler's Mountain: Overcoming the Legacy of a Nazi Childhood" by Irmgard Hunt. There have been so many books written about the Holocaust, but I found this one a bit different. It begins with the little girl in Bavaria, in a peaceful, closeknit village amidst stunning mountain scenery. The narrative takes us through Hitler's invasion of Austria, her father's enlistment in the German army and transformation of her village into a center for Third Reich activities. Through much hardship, she and her mother and sister survive and make a new life for themselves in America, finally. I found the details fascinating and the writing extraordinary.

  • 5 years ago

    Oh, no Winter! I hope you recover quickly! Did you slip on ice or snow?

    Donna

  • 5 years ago

    I took a terrible fall about a year ago, Donna, but thought the results of that had repaired itself. I ended up with a rather sizeable contusion an inch or so above my ankle that will never repair...according to my doctor...but don't think that's the cause of this current malaise.

    I have a habit of zooming around with minimal consideration for my surroundings and am beginning to think that my left foot wasn't interested in keeping up with me. I think I went right and the knee/leg either remained stationary or went left. Wearing athletic shoes with rubber soles often results in the sole remaining fixed to the tile or other smooth surface. The result was the knee twisted out of its orbit creating some terrible tears in the surrounding support tissue. I don't respond well to medications of any sort so I'm trying to tolerate this terrible pain with only the use of Tylenol. I've made some healing advances but often they're undone during my nighttime sleep habits. I need to stay as fixed in the bed as that foot did on the tile flooring. I have an uncomfortable feeling that this is going to be a long drawn out healing process and I'm not the happiest of campers about that reality. My next doctor's appointment is in a couple of weeks and I'm hoping he'll offer some encouragement when we meet.

    Thank you for recovery wishes, Donna. I certainly need...and greatly appreciate them.






  • 5 years ago

    Winter, sorry to hear about your problems. I am in trouble with exacerbating a back injury caused in a traffic accident many years ago. This time I pulled a heavy shopping trolley home, overloaded with plants in ceramic pots! Stupid...

    Like you, I don't like taking medication and rely on stretching exercises, heat lamps and creams, resting etc. It takes so long to get better as we age, sadly!

    I read "Death in a White Tie" by Ngaio Marsh and watched the TV episode on DVD. To my annoyance, a dramatic scene in the book was cut out and something that didn't matter to the plot left in!

    I have noticed that with book adaptations made into several films and teleplays, some scenes and even characters are left out of one production and restored in another. EG, the youngest daughter in Sense and Sensibility.

  • 5 years ago

    With all the talk of introverts and extroverts: Did you know that this is National Introverts Week in the USA?

  • 5 years ago

    why?

  • 5 years ago

    Echoing Yoyobon, I'm wondering why? Do introverts really care whether there's an Introverts Week?

    I just read that Finland has the happiest people in the world. The Finns are also considered some of the most introverted people. I wonder if there's a correlation between happiest and most introverted? :-)

  • 5 years ago

    Since it is the Equinox today and also the occasion of a SuperMoon perhaps a traditional shrinking violet introvert might go out at that moonrise moment with one of their own !

  • 5 years ago

    Netla, I didn't know it's introverts week. Probably because I don't talk to people. :)

    I finished Jupiter's Bones by Faye Kellerman yesterday. It started with the apparent suicide of a cult leader and then members kept disappearing. It was really intense toward the end! I enjoyed it a lot.

    Carolyn mentioned the Bryant & May series so I thought I'd give one a try. It's called The Water Room. I haven't read enough yet to form an opinion.

    Winter, I hope your knee feels better soon. I twisted my knee in a similar fashion not too long ago. I'm also currently going to PT for arthritis in my knees. Not too bad yet, but I want to learn what to do and what not to do going forward.

    Ann, I hope your back feels better soon, too! As they say, getting old ain't for sissies, is it?

    Donna

  • 5 years ago

    "It takes so long to get better as we age, sadly!"

    Oh Ann...I so agree. What complicates matters even more is that we don't seem to acknowledge that we've reached a point in life where we should be slowing down. Like you...I tackle the same chores today that I gave no thought to doing years ago. And, remember too late that my parts are showing the wear and tear of living longer. I'm an avid walker and that seems to have protected me for some years. But the winter here prohibited for my walking habits this year and I fear that's what may have aided and abetted this current malady.

    Donna...I, too, have arthritis in both knees. No doubt that's exacerbated this current problem. You're very wise to be going to PT. I have a feeling that's the next directive from my doctor. I'd welcome it at this point if it helps. My doctor has always been very happy that I'm a walker because it strengthens the muscles that surround these delicate knees of ours. So put your walkin' shoes on young lady. If I hadn't been such an idiot in such a hurry that fateful day...I'm sure I wouldn't be in such pain. My only hope right now is that the damage I did is reversible.

    Thanks once again for the well wishes.

  • 5 years ago

    Winter, I just heard recently that Tylenol is the least effective pain med there is. I know many people can't take others because of being on blood thinners.

    Re Bess and Ian, each has been referred to in the last of their books. That made me wonder if there are plans to hook them up. At least Bess would be understanding about Hamish.

    I have read some of P. D. James but many years ago. Awhile ago I made a list of her books and thought I would start from the first and read forward through them, but I haven't done that yet. So many books . . .

  • 5 years ago

    An medical article in AARP mag just noted that Tylenol is the best pain med as far as safety . It stated that unless a person suffers from cancer pain they should be able to find relief with Tylenol. It added that when opioids are used the body actually feels pain more acutely thus necessitating higher and higher doses..

    When I had extensive oral surgery recently the surgeon recommended Tylenol every 6 hours to "keep on top of the pain" and it worked like a charm !

  • 5 years ago

    I do believe that Tylenol has its place in pain relief but 2 every 6 hours is not cutting it with me right now. Of course...if I could sit perfectly still and not have to meet the physical demands of my home to survive....it would probably be more helpful. Regularly going up and down stairs just to meet the necessities of each day is not helping matters at all. And I don't have the availability of help. So I slowly trudge on. I can't raise or bend this leg without considerable pain so getting fully dressed every morning is an act of contortion-ism that would probably make good material for some comedians stage presentation.

    I did some extensive research today and have decided to try Aleve/naproxin.. It has no aspirin in it which I can't take. It does have a couple of concerns...as in light sensitivity [not good for my ailing eyes] and has a propensity to cause digestive problems but I think sun glasses will solve the eye sensitivity issue for the time that I need to take it. And...if I suspect the slightest digestive problems or bleeding...I will stop taking it immediately. I'm very fortunate at my age [I'm an octogenarian] not to have to take medications for any health issues. All my "system" figures are within normal, acceptable ranges and I hope they stay that way. Taking 1 Aleve every 12 hours vs 2 Tylenol every 6 hours is much more appealing to me. Plus the naproxin is recommended for the reduction of inflammation as well as pain.

    Carolyn...I must have missed the references to Bess. I remember you conjecturing about their meeting up in previous posts but couldn't find references to them then. Of course...my eyesight isn't the best these days.
    And I've yet to read Black Ascot. You're right! Bess would definitely understand Hamish. Personally...I'd hate to see him vanish. I wonder if Ian would introduce them to one another. I kinda like the fact that Hamish guards Ian. He's a wonderful writer's "tool". I wonder if Todd knew just how successful Hamish would be as the series moved on. He's a very smart addition.

    Yes...PD James was prolific. :-) All tolled...I think there are 14 Dalgliesh novels. I did what you considered. I started at the beginning some years ago and read forward. Currently...in my re-reading of the series, I' m reading The Murder Room written in 2003....which may or may not be # 10 in the series. Actually, I'm quite amazed at how much I'm enjoying re-reading the entire series. I'm definitely looking forward to Black Ascot but meandering through the last of PD James is equally enjoyable. She's so thorough in her writing of the investigation proceedings.

    YoYo...are you referring to the AARP issue with Martin Short on the cover? There's an excellent article in there about the Relief of 8 Ailments. It's not much help to me now with this current "mess" but the article is very informative and one which I shall save for future reference. I love the AARP magazine. It's one I read from cover-to-cover when it arrives. There's always something helpful in it.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Winter, you are fortunate not to be on any regular medication. I am 81 and only need a small daily dose of Oroxine for thyroid balance. When I went on holiday with a senior group I noticed some people had that many pills I wonder they didn't rattle, poor things!

    I do wish I had a larger home than my one bedroom place but there isn't much to do either. I have a cleaner who does floor cleaning for me which saves me that effort. The weather has been so warm and humid I need to rest a lot but the young weather girl on TV also said she needed an afternoon nap so I don't worry about my recent doziness now!

    I have been trying to read an old murder mystery "Wobble to Death" by Peter Lovesey but keep falling asleep after a few sentences!

  • 5 years ago

    Carolyn and Winter: Your back-and-forth speculation about the development of the characters of Hamish, Ian, and Bess and their stories spread into multiple books reminds me fondly of listening to my grandmother, mother, and aunts discussing the serials they followed on the radio and later on television. There were sagas they followed in the daily newspaper comic strips and the special Sunday "funny papers," too. (I remember one fairly well: Mary Worth, which always confused me because I couldn't discern what was 'funny' about it.) At any rate, these women in my family would get so wound up about what they thought was going to happen! For the longest time, I thought they were talking about real people.

    Do you think the same sort of involvement with the characters, although they are fictional, is part of what makes book series so appealing to you and legions of other readers?

    Perhaps I have missed out. I suppose I am like Huck Finn when he heard about Moses and the Bullrushers <sic>. . . and then lost interest. ;-)

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

  • 5 years ago

    Well, Yoyo, what about the fortune makes it 'desperate'? More information, please.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    A quote in the preface of the story is The Quaker's Advice to the Young Pretender :

    " Whoever joins with thee or stands up for thee, by doing so forfeits all he hath...What is it to us that thou callest thy Name Stuart ? A Name that will gain thee no Man that was not bewitched to thee before, by desperate Superstition, or desperate Ambition, or a desperate Fortune." (sic)

    Here is the blurb :

    For nearly three hundred years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has kept its secrets. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas travels to Paris to crack the cipher.

    Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing—for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.

    As Mary's gripping tale of rebellion and betrayal is revealed to her, Sara faces events in her own life that require letting go of everything she thought she knew—about herself, about loyalty, and especially about love. Though divided by centuries, these two women are united in a quest to discover the limits of trust and the unlikely coincidences of fate.

  • 5 years ago

    Ann...I always wonder how people deal with numerous necessary medications, too. Like you...I think they probably rattle in the breeze. But the more frightening issue to me is how they manage to keep them all straight and to take them on time. That would be my biggest worry if I ever had to deal with that kind of situation. I hope it doesn't become a reality in my life.

    You have my deepest admiration for your tolerance of the heat and humidity. I dread the summer weather here. It's usually identical to what you're tolerating now and I positively wilt. Nothing in this body works the way it's supposed to once the humidity starts to rise. My electric bill for air conditioner usage during the warmer months is always higher than my winter heating bill.

    Frieda...I remember Mary Worth! Perhaps those printed sagas were yesteryear's answer to today's soap operas. Or...if nothing else, perhaps they were submitted to the public as demonstrations of how to live life in a somewhat agreeable manner. A nickel bought the reader a daily session on the psychiatrist's couch. They weren't judgmental but they did suggest palatable solutions to life's issues. If I remember correctly, Mary Worth was also offered on the radio as were so many of those earlier characters.

    "Do you think the same sort of involvement with the characters, although
    they are fictional, is part of what makes book series so appealing to
    you and legions of other readers?"

    I can't answer that question per se. I do think that it's somewhat natural to adopt the characters of any series...written, oral or visual. As a reader, we want them to win at life. Or in situations where their behavior is despicable...we want them to be punished. As a matter of fact, I don't think one needs to be involved with a series to do that. Whether intended or not...characters are teaching/learning tools. We adopt them because they appeal to our basic geniality. If the Mary Worth's of the world can overcome some social malady or worse...then perhaps the reader can do the same. Or...at least learn to recognize the signs of what they're facing and accept a more rational solution.
    Then, there's always just the pure pleasure of relaxing within the fantasy world...giving reality a vacation for a while. Personally...I find that most enjoyable. Plus I'm an inveterate puzzle solver. Charles Todd and other mystery writers pleasantly test my talents from page 1 through to the end.

  • 5 years ago

    Frieda, yes I do get involved with the characters in the series books I read. If I don't like them, I don't continue. I enjoy the deeper characterization that builds from book to book.

    My mother liked the radio soap operas. Once when I was small, we had a radio where the sound was going out, and it was louder if you put your hand on top of it. It was my job to sit beside the radio with my hand on it so Mama could get on with her work. I particularly remember one called Our Gal Sunday, the story that asks the question, can a girl raised in a little mining town in the West be happy as the wife of a wealthy and titled Englishman. Poor Sunday had a lot of hard trouble.

  • 5 years ago

    Oh my! The memories! I remember Our Gal Sunday, Carolyn. How about Portia Faces Life? We even had a radio like yours. By putting your hand on its top...you grounded it. That's why the sound improved.

    I wonder how much the Depression and WWII years influenced the production of those old soap operas. Also...whether they were created for radio because most people in those days couldn't afford [dollar wise or time wise] series books for entertainment. Hmmmm.

    As an aside...I took my first naproxin this morning and am about to take # 2. It's working!!! I am overjoyed....and so looking forward to a night of blissful sleep. Still can't bend the leg but miracles only happen in books...on the radio...and on TV. :-) They take a little longer here.


  • 5 years ago

    Winter, that is good that you have found something that works. My daughter is in continual pain from a traffic accident but has found a US hemp oil product free of marijuana that helps. Border Control is very stringent here!

    I have been to a chiropractor today with a follow up next Tuesday. I get five free visits a year from the Government. The usual cost is $A90 for 20 mins.


  • 5 years ago

    Oh Ann...I'm so sorry for your daughter's pain. The naproxin is working in the sense that it's 100 times better than the Tylenol but it's not 100%. It will help me stay mobile until the damage is either repaired surgically or it heals on its own. It did afford me a wonderful night's sleep last night for which I am very grateful. I suspect...once I've reached a point of either no pain or tolerable pain that PT will be part of my life for some time to come. I've never been to a chiropractor by I have no doubts that my back could benefit from one. I'm very glad it helps you. Every time my neck snaps I wonder if my head if going to come unhinged. I'm sure a chiropractor could fix it. I'm not sure my insurance includes chiropractic benefits but I intend to investigate the possibility.

    We have the availability of the hemp oil here, too. It's becoming quite a popular topic and it's going to be sold at pharmacies. I'm not as well informed about it as I should be but I do know that many people are very enthusiastic about its pain relief/tolerance potential. I hope it continues to work for your daughter. IMO, there's nothing worse than constant pain. It robs one of the simple enjoyments in life.

  • 5 years ago

    We can get it in tablet form here. In the old days Kentucky grew a lot of hemp, and farmers are getting excited about it again now that tobacco is no longer a big money crop for us. My chiropractor, who has helped my sacroiliac pain tremendously, recommends the pills highly for patients with chronic arthritis and such.

  • 5 years ago

    Winter, chiropractors are different in their methods so you need to find one that suits you. Some work with manual manipulation and some use other aids such as a clicker or a friction machine or even the bed you lie on which angles and drops to loosen joints. I have had chiropractic treatment for many years for various conditions and have experienced all these kinds of practices.

  • 5 years ago

    Continuing my synoptic reading inspired by Nancy Issenberg's White Trash and J. D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, I finished Jim Goad's The Redneck Manifesto: How Hillbillies, Hicks, and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats. Well, Goad surely has an appropriate surname to author a book that literally goads a reader! He's satirical and profane, and my ears would be burning if I had listened to him say the things he wrote. Some of it is almost hysterically funny in a gallows humor way. He tells a lot of American history that I seriously doubt could be told in any other style than a dirty diatribe. To think, this book came out in 1997! Maybe people had more of a sense of humor twenty-two years ago.

    I've also been reading Stayin Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class by Jefferson R. Cowie. Many of us lived through the 1970s, but how many really understand what happened during that decade? Cowie proposes that the 1970s are perhaps the most misunderstood ten years of the twentieth century. I certainly have misjudged a lot of what was the American experience of those years, because I spent nearly seven years of that time living outside the U.S. I'm catching up on what I missed. I told a friend about this book, because he said that most of the 1970s was a big blur to him. He didn't say why, and I didn't want to ask. :-)

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Re: Tylenol. I read once that about 10% of people are immune to Tylenol and get no pain relief whatsoever from it. Truth be told, I read this as an article in the newspaper, not the most reliable source for science information. However I personally have never had the slightest effect from it and regard it as useless. Maybe it is an okay fever reducer. In any case I no longer waste time taking it. Also, it is not thought to be safe. I don't know how it got that reputation. It can be dangerous to the liver either through taking too high a dose or through chronic use. If I can't take aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen, I do without (and complain bitterly). Admittedly I have never had a painful condition where I could not take either aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen, so I have not been put to the test. I earnestly hope that never happens.

    P.S. Here are some links. I am not familiar with this organization, so keep that in mind.

    https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/09/11/tylenol-far-most-dangerous-drug-ever-made-11711

    https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/09/18/tylenol-isnt-so-safe-least-it-works-right-11827 

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Where'd You Go, Bernadette ? - Maria Semple

    A really delightful read !

  • 5 years ago

    I have finished A Darkness More than Night, the first in a three-book omnibus of Harry Bosch mysteries by Michael Connelly and started the second one, City of Bones. It is convenient to have the three consecutive books, but I don't think I will try this again. The book is too heavy and unwieldy. I am reading it with a pillow in my lap to prop it on. I like the stories, though. Harry is a tough act to follow, troubled policeman that he is.

    Regarding Tylenol, I am one of those people who can't take the PM version. It keeps me awake instead of making me sleepy, and I also greatly prefer aspirin or ibuprofen.

  • 5 years ago

    I stayed up all night to finish Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe. It's very good, I think, but I'm a bit troubled by the conclusion made by Keefe or whether there actually is -- or can be -- a conclusion. Perhaps I am just tired and after a nap things might be clearer to me. I've been trying to find the phrase told by the I.R.A. to its members that inspired the title . . . I know it is mentioned in the beginning but I can't find it now!

    I had heard of the Price sisters, Dolours and Marian, and knew that Dolours later married the actor Stephen Rea. I had also heard of Dolours's death in 2013, perhaps from an accidental overdose of medication or quite possibly from 'slow suicide' that had taken her years to accomplish.

    I suspect the whole subject is too complex to fully understand all aspects of it from just reading this one book. Looks like I will have to read a lot more corroborative and support writing! Have any of you read Keefe's book or have suggestions for other books about 'The Troubles'?

  • 5 years ago

    Frieda, having for years heard daily on the news and read about the Troubles I don't think I would want to read about them, however well-written the book. We have several friends, who when young were brought to England to get them away from the horrors. Going back to the 1920's a school friend of my Mother was told that her Father had been shot by the IRA. A case of 'a knock on the door at night'.

    I checked some of the reviews on the US Amazon site and was interested in that few Americans knew much about those sorry times, or had a very one-sided view despite/because of so many having an Irish heritage.

    I have no time to write more now but hope the subject didn't give you night mares after too much reading.

  • 5 years ago

    I finished three books while we were away last week. I read Blood Apprentice by Elizabeth Hunter, re-read Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, and followed that with Jasper Fforde's newest, Early Riser. One of the best part of our vacation was to have time to just sit by the pool and read.

    Elizabeth Hunter is one of my favorite authors and I'll read anything she writes. This newest addition to her Elemental Legacy series deals with treasure-hunting partners Ben (human) and Tenzin (vampire) seeking a long-lost pirate treasure, and is set in post-hurricane Puerto Rico. A nice addition to the series and I'm already eager for the next installment.

    Garden Spells is an old favorite, re-read to refresh my memory of the characters before reading its sequel, First Frost. There are magical elements in these stories, but they are set in our ordinary world.

    I have had The Eyre Affair sitting in my TBR pile for literally a decade, but had never read any Jasper Fforde before last week. My daughter brought Early Riser with her and passed it along to me when she was done and I really enjoyed it. It was a bit of straight up lunacy set in a semi-familiar world where humans hibernate and things get wonky for those who stay awake over winter. I will definitely be looking for more Fforde books to read.

  • 5 years ago

    Friedag, I’m halfway through Say Nothing - very interesting read so far. I only have an elementary understanding of Northern Ireland’s history. I was only a kid during the time frame of this book (early 70s) but I do remember the news stories about Bobby Sands hunger strike and death. I knew nothing about the Price sisters, nor did I know that Stephen Rea had been married to a member of the IRA. I agree, the subject is complex and hope to read other works to learn more.

  • 5 years ago

    I am reading "The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village" and not liking it very much! Author Joanna Nell is a doctor with geriatric patients and her main character seems to have all the worst traits that an almost eighty year old can possess! I am fascinated at how different to me she is. Thank goodness!

    Surely no one who reads women's magazines could think that Low GI would have anything to do with a US serviceman? Rather unrealistic. I don't find her malapropisms amusing either, just exasperating.

    I might get too annoyed to finish or persevere in case the story improves!

    The book rates very well on Goodreads so I could be out of step but there you go! Perhaps the reviewers aren't in their eighties and have a general impression of what it can be like in real life!

  • 5 years ago

    Three cheers for octogenarians who have it together.


  • 5 years ago

    This octogenarian has lost the challenge with Naproxin. My system just won't accept it. I began to show definite signs of negative side effects a couple of days ago...only six 220 mg OTC pills into the dosing...but tried to overlook them. When my water retention reached the point where I not only couldn't get a sock and shoe on the offending appendage but could barely see my toes...I knew it was time to wave the white flag.. Now I'm patiently waiting to see how long it will take for the water retention to abate. Because I had traumatic surgery for thrombophlebitis in my early 20's...I can't afford to fool around with anything that causes water retention in my legs.

    On a more positive note...I found enough time to be destracted from my ills to finish PD Jame's The Murder Room [which is # 12 in the series, Carolyn] and am a chapter or two into The Lighthouse. James is getting rather romantic with AD in these last few books. I suspect a wedding before the series is finished. Or, let's say this. An offer of marriage has been happily accepted. Hopefully the wedding will follow. :-) But one never knows.

    As a side note, I'm amazed at how much I'm enjoying re-reading this series. When I started this project over the holidays I feared that I would remember too many poignant details to enjoy a second reading. That hasn't been the case and I've been delighted to progress onward. Whether I owe this enjoyment to an aging octogenarian's brain or the gazillion books I read after I read the Dalgliesh series...only my shadow knows.

  • 5 years ago

    Has anyone read other Maria Semple books ? I am absolutely loving Where'd You Go, Bernadette? and would like to read another by her if it's as delightful.

  • 5 years ago

    Last night I finished reading John Grisham's The Reckoning. What a complicated tale of family woes and legal maneuverings. In the opening chapter, the main character, a well-respected pillar of the community, walks into the office of his small-town Methodist minister and shoots him dead. He is sent to jail and a trial ensues. He refuses to state his reason for the murder and he refuses to allow his attorney to use an insanity plea, thus leaving no defense. Then the backstory begins, and among other things, you read about the horrible years the protagonist spent in the Phillipines in WWII, including his participation in the Bataan Death March as an American POW of the Japanese army. (That is a part of WWII I knew almost nothing about. It was very hard reading, as is most WWII literature.) Many many pages later, the reader finally learns the reason for the murder.

  • 5 years ago

    I am well into the third and last book in the Harry Bosch opus. This one is Lost Light. I really like these books, but they do show the underside of the life of our policemen and the FBI. More than I want to believe is based on reality, at any rate.

  • 5 years ago

    Kathy, the Grisham book sounds interesting with the protagonist being in the Philippines during WWII. It makes me curious about what that has to do with his shooting of a Methodist minister. What is the time setting? How many years after the war ended?

    My father was stationed in the Philippines during the war. He would never talk about his experiences there, except he acknowledged that was where he contracted malaria. When he arrived home in Iowa, he swore he would never set foot off the North American continent again. He never did -- not even when I moved to Hawai'i and invited him and my mother to come visit. He declined the invitation and Mama came alone. His reason he said, "That's too close to the Philippines for me!"

  • 5 years ago

    Frieda - The murder of the minister occurred in 1946, so the protagonist had not been back from the war for very long. Part of his standing in the community was that of a war hero. During his years at war, the army visited the family and told them that he was missing and presumed dead. So that's what the family and believed, of course. In truth, when he fell out of the Bataan Death March, he survived and became a guerilla fighter in the jungle.

    The description of this character's service in the Philippines was truly horrible. I certainly hope your father did not experience anything that bad, but I had the impression that everything about the war in the Philippines was pretty terrible. If my father had fought there, I don't think I would want to read this book. It's just too heartbreaking. By the way, I believe the American surrender in the Bataan Peninsula was the only surrender of US armed forces in a foreign war.

  • 5 years ago

    Frieda, my dad was also in the Philippines in WWII and didn't talk about it. He would talk to my DH about it (a little) and that really surprised my mom!

  • 5 years ago

    Frieda, regarding Irish history, I would recommend your going back into history far earlier than the time of The Troubles to get an accurate picture of the reason behind certain events, however egregious. I took two college classes here on Irish history and the Penal Laws stands out large in my mind, which was quite early. I recall we read some Irish nonfiction and fiction. I will try to look up my class notes and give recommendations.

  • 5 years ago

    I finished the Bosch book, took it back to the library, and picked up The Vanishing Man by Charles Finch. It is a prequel to his series about a man who sets up a private inquiry business in the early Victorian era. The opening of the first book of the series had me hooked, beginning with the main character sitting in his easy chair in his library with a cup of tea in front of a fire perusing travel books. The last two or three have not been as much fun, so I'm glad to go back to his young days.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Carolyn,

    You are talking about detective and gentleman Charles Lenox, no? That opening scene in his library in the first book, A Beautiful Blue Death, was charming and cozy. In that book also he frequently visited the clubs he belonged too, which I don't think he did as much in the next couple of books. I don't read a lot of mystery books, but I've read the first 3 of the series. I'm disappointed to hear that the last books have not been as good. Have you read all of them?

    His butler, Graham, and Lady Jane are quite charming too.

  • 5 years ago

    I finished The Water Room by Christopher Fowler last night. It took me quite a while to get into it, but I ended up enjoying it a lot. It has a lot of plot twists and some interesting London history. Of course I "Google-mapped" Balaklava Street and found that there is a Balaclava Road in London (just across the Tower Bridge from where we will be staying in July), but I assume the street in the book is made-up.

    Now I've started The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny.

    Donna

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I've read three of the Christopher Fowler books now and am taking a break, but I enjoyed them and will be back to read more, Donna. My DH Tom has been reading them for years, but I needed a little additional nudge from outside the walls of our house, so thank you!

  • 5 years ago

    Donna, yes, the Charles Finch books. The one I've just finished, The Vanishing Man, and the one before that, The Woman in the Water, are both prequels to the series; and it is fun to read about his early exploits and learning to be a private detective before it was a profession. I have read and enjoyed them all, but some are more fun than others.

    I get monthly notices from the website stopyou'rekillingme.com that give me updates by author on the release of new mysteries.

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