The Merry Month of May ... what are you reading?

kathy_t

Last night I finished The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. A fascinating but nerve-wracking novel about a family who moves from the lower-48 to Alaska to live off-the-grid in a backwoods cabin that the father inherited from a fellow Vietnam War POW buddy. The book is centered on the effect this experience has on their only child, a daughter who was 13 at the time of the move. Quite a story, though the denouement felt rather drawn out to me.

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reader_in_transit

Kathy,

Just half an hour ago I was looking for that May quote in my computer files, as I had saved it a while ago, and found it. So our thoughts were almost at the same time "in a pleasant shade which a grove of myrtles made".


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yoyobon_gw

You're Lucky You're Funny - by Phil Rosenthal , creator and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond sitcom. I found it on the free shelf at the library and decided to read it. I was delighted by his two seasons series I'll Have What Phil's Having.....a travelogue/foodlogue featuring Phil. He's quite the character and rather endearing.

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sheri_z6

I started another urban fantasy book, Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. It's an interesting departure from other post-apocalyptic fiction I've read in that the main characters are Native Americans and the setting is a Navajo reservation -- one of the few places left in the United States that isn't under water after climate change has done its worst. In this "sixth world" after the Big Water, Navajo gods and monsters walk again and Maggie, the main character, is a monster-killer. She's definitely cut from the Kate Daniels cloth, though (happily) not enough so to be a rip-off of that character. I thought the world building was good, the Navajo mythology and traditions are foreign and fascinating, and it's a page turner. Just the setting is so original I'd recommend it based only on that. My only complaint so far is the author writes really graphic violence and gore -- Maggie is battling monsters after all -- so this is not for the faint of heart (or maybe I'm just a wimp ... I've been skimming when descriptions get too graphic). I'm about half way through, so far, so good. This is another one off the TBR pile, always a plus!

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reader_in_transit

Reading The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. It is the summer of 1976, and Mrs. Creasy has disappeared. Ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly start investigating what happened to her.

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carolyn_ky

I'm reading The Lost Man by Jane Harper. Set in Australia in the wide open spaces where three brothers have grown up and now have their own adjacent ranches, with the one of them who lives on the home place, with his wife and children as well as their mother, found dead in the desert with no supplies at the very beginning of the book. I'm not very far into it yet.

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kathy_t

Reader - I like your May quote! Tuck it away again for next year's thread. (I'm a time zone ahead of you, but I'll hold back next May.)

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annpanagain

I thought I would read another Maggie Hope mystery and borrowed "The Prime Minister's Secret Agent". Unfortunately I am feeling put off by some mistakes, such as a mention of jet lag from a trip in a flying boat in 1942!

Ten years before the first passenger jet went into service. I checked!


Should I continue and ignore errors or stop? What do RP'ers do? I have sometimes stopped after the first page in a book when I have come across at least three annoying errors. It is too distracting.

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vee_new

Annpan. I'm reading a book written in the 1980's in which a country funeral is set in a churchyard surrounded by elm trees. By this time almost ALL the elms in England had been destroyed by the Elm Munching Beetle (or whatever it was called). I well remember the sorry sight of hundreds of these once beautiful trees standing dead and stark around field-edges of my native Warwickshire waiting to be felled.

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msmeow

Ann, I guess it's up to the reader whether to continue or not! I have given up on books due to errors. I can overlook a few. I'm currently reading Stalker by Faye Kellerman and it's had quite a few of those type of editorial mistakes, which I don't remember from her previous books. For instance, during a scene where Cindy Decker is driving and discovers she's being followed, it's dusk and the forest is getting darker. Then she pulls off into a parking lot that is brightly lit by the sun!

Vee, that's sad about the elm trees! When we were in Alaska a couple of years ago a lot of trees there were yellow, and one of our tour guides said it was some kind of bug killing them.

Donna

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carolyn_ky

Elm disease killed off American elms, as well, and the pine beetles are eating their way across the West. We drove across country in 2009, and my favorite National Park, the Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado, had dead pines as far as the eye could see. It was sickening. We were into Wyoming before we found ourselves ahead of the little rascals.

I finished The Lost Man. Wow!

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Rosefolly

Sheri, Trail of Lightning is one of the nominees for the Hugo this year so of course I read it. I agreed with you on both parts - original and well done, but the violence level was very disturbing. Probably not going to get my vote for Best Novel but a worthy contender. (Not all nominees are, IMO.)

Carolyn, you will be happy that they have developed American elms resistant to the Dutch elm disease. I don't think they are immune, but they can still be planted and live a reasonable lifespan. And it looks as though scientists are getting close to an American chestnut that can survive the blight that wiped out what was once eastern North America's dominant forest tree. It is in trials right now. As for the pines, the beetles have been around forever. It is the drought that is making them so destructive.

Rouan and I are the daughters of a man who loved trees with all his heart, and we seem to have inherited his feelings in that regard.

Since this is a book thread, I'll mention that I am still working on Hugo nominees, but I'm going to have to take a break and read The Overstory for my garden book club. For some reason I am really dragging my feet. It sounds like such an odd book, and not in a good way. For once I hope I am wrong.

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woodnymph2_gw

rosefolly, what great news about bug resistant trees. Had not heard this. I recall being shocked to learn some years back that the trees in the Great Smokey National Park in NC are being destroyed by air pollution, caused by humans. I'm a forest lover myself, thus my monniker, "Woodnymph."

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reader_in_transit

Woodnymph,

Have you read or heard about shinrin-yoku (forest bathing)? It originated in Japan, it is an accepted therapeutic option there to lower stress (and blood pressure!).

One of the main researchers and proponents of forest bathing in Japan, Dr. Qing Li, is an immunologist, who found the immune system has a favorable response to forest bathing. He published a book about it, which has been translated into English: Forest Bathing, How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness. Since he is a scientist, I expect he has backed his theory with scientific evidence. I haven't read his book, but read about his findings in another book, The Nature Fix by Florence Williams. This is good news for woodnymphs and forest lovers .

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reader_in_transit

I should add that there are a bunch of other books about shinrin-yoku/forest bathing, besides the one above. As it gains popularity, a slew of books have been published on the topic. BTW, there is no actual "bathing" involved, but more of an immersion in the natural surroundings.

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annpanagain

That is a relief! I was visualising running around the Bush, sky-clad, covered in flies as one would be, here in Australia!


I am reading a reprint of "Quick Curtain" by Alan Melville. A very amusing murder mystery from 1934. Not that the murder is amusing, it is the theatrical background he describes so well. I am old enough to recognise some of the people or the types he is having gentle digs at!

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msmeow

I finished Stalker by Faye Kellerman today. I enjoyed it a lot, except the ending was odd and a little disappointing.

I’ve just started Lethal White by Robert Galbraith. The main character is Cormoran Strike. I know I’ve read at least one other with him, so I hope I’ll like it.

Donna

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carolyn_ky

Msmeow, I read The Cuckoo's Calling by Galbraith and liked it very much.

I am reading Broken Bone China by Laura Childs, a series I have followed because I love Charleston, tearooms, teacups, and afternoon tea; but either I haven't paid close attention or she and/or her editor are deteriorating. She writes all right consistently as alright, has ended one sentence with someone and I instead of the appropriate me, and wrote about a place where rogue pirates were hanged until dead. Really?

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annpanagain

Well, they could be half-hanged for later drawing and quartering.....not alright either!

In a recent TV documentary, it was mentioned that Guy Fawkes jumped down when being hanged to make sure of death and avoid the horrible butchery.


I am really enjoying "Quick Curtain", sitting snugly at home wrapped in a knee rug against the cold and chortling a lot!


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vee_new

Annpan, is that really true about Guy Fawkes? Were those guilty of treason not just drawn and quartered whether quite dead or not . . . just to make the point . .. as it were?

On a happier note I remember Alan Melville from his humerous talks on BBC radio many years ago.And we could be wrapped in rugs here as the May temps have plunged to near freezing!

To all you Robert Galbraith fans. You do know it is really J K Rowling in grown-up mode don't you?

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msmeow

Carolyn, I read Cuckoo also. When I realized that I decided to stop with Lethal White and read the other two in the series. The second one is The Silkworm.

Vee, I did know that Robert Galthwaite is JK Rowling. :)

Carolyn, in one of the Outlander novels a character who is known for his preaching and lovely singing voice is hanged by the villains. He survives the hanging but his voice is ruined.

Donna

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carolyn_ky

Yes, I do remember that poor character and knew that Galbraith is JKR. I only read the first Harry Potter to find out what all the fuss was about.

Now in Broken Bone China, Theodosia has gifted her dog with a chew bone.

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annpanagain

Vee, according to History.com, Guy Fawkes jumped from the ladder to the scaffold, breaking his neck. The gruesome punishment he was sentenced to was, of course, a public spectacle and deemed a proper punishment for one of a group who intended mass murder. As you can imagine, a warning to others who plotted harm.

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yoyobon_gw

Where The Crawdads Sing

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tackykat

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. Really enjoying it so far but reading slower than I usually do.

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kathy_t

Tackykat - That is one of my favorites. Enjoy your slow read.

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annpanagain

I don't think I shall reread The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie for a while!

We are getting the TV adaptation by a writer who regularly mutilates the original books!

I shall watch but as though it is a play I am seeing penned by someone else.

I have been reading the howls of anger from Agatha's fans!

The TV book adaptation I like best in the Poirot canon is The Hollow.

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woodnymph2_gw

reader in transit, thanks for the mention. I have read an excerpt from the "forest bathing" book and loved it. I want to find it and read it in its entirety, as it is certainly my own philosophy.

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reader_in_transit

Woodnymph,

I plan to read it, though will have to wait as all the library copies are checked out. If you read it first, let me know what you think.

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kathy_t

I've started reading Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. It's about a group of people who have all signed up for a 10-day visit at a health resort in Australia. I'm more than 100 pages in and I still have no idea what the plot is going to be, but it's been very amusing learning about the nine strangers as they arrive at the resort.

Yoyobon - I keep thinking of you as I read this because I believe it's your kind of humor. (Like I know you so well - LOL.)

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carolyn_ky

I finished Broken Bone China and don't think I will keep reading this series. The last straw was mantel spelled M-A-N-T-L-E three times. That is one of my pettest pet peeves, plus the book wasn't very interesting. I still like teashops, though.

Picked up several of my latest requests of older books at the library today and am ready to start The Angel Maker by Tessa Harris first.

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yoyobon_gw

Kathy....I'll check it out. We frequently seem to enjoy the same book choices :0)

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reader_in_transit

Finished The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. Mostly first person narrative by ten-year old Grace, it takes place in the very hot summer of 1976 (well, at least hot for England, it is barely in the low 80's), when a neighbor, Mrs. Creasy disappears. Grace and her friend Tilly visit the neighborhood homes, looking for God, thinking that if they find him, they may find Mrs. Creasy.

Everybody on The Avenue has a personal secret, but there is also a collective secret of something that happened almost a decade before (I'm not giving anything away, this is on the backcover of the book).

The girls and their friendship is what I enjoyed the most. However, secrets are hinted over and over without resolution. The ending was particularly disappointing.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

I finished Haruf's Eventide a couple of days ago. What a gem. I went as slowly as I could but couldn't make it last forever, as much as I would have liked to. I was able to start this right after putting down Plainsong. While I have plenty to chose from for the next book I'm in no hurry to start something else. I'm still lingering in Holt, Colorado. I own Plainsong but Eventide was a Library book. I'll find it somewhere for sale to add to my permanent library even though I suspect I have a copy lurking in a bookcase here somewhere.

The next read for bookclub is My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman. This will be a re-read for me and I'm not really in the mood for it presently. Our last meeting we discussed poetry and each read a poem of our choosing. I'm also trying my hand at writing some. Something sparked with me and I believe I have discovered a wonderful new genre for me to enjoy. (I was so hoping this would be the case). Yesterday I bought Mary Oliver's Devotions. A couple of her poems were read aloud at our meeting. I don't normally buy new at full price, let alone travel any distance to find a book but I considered this a reading emergency. :) Happy times!

Slightly OT - last night I watched a film of Enchanted April. Enjoyed that very much. The book is on the TBR list.

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woodnymph2_gw

Skibby, I own several books of Mary Oliver's work. Until her recent death, she was my favorite living poet. I never tire of reading her poems.

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Rosefolly

Skibby, I like the concept of a reading emergency. There is indeed such a thing.


Took a break from the Hugo candidates. I will only list ones that seem noteworthy when I come across them. It would be tedious to those who do not enjoy SF&F if I listed them all. Anyway, I read a couple of D.E. Stevenson novels, Listening Valley and Still Glides the Stream. I couldn't have found a more different genre! Now I must move on to The Overstory. Book club #2 is discussing it this coming Wednesday and I am still dragging my heels.

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reader_in_transit

Skibby,

Was it the movie with Miranda Richardson and Polly Walker, and wisteria in the background? It is a lovely, feel-good movie. If you liked it, chances are you'll like the book too.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

Yes, RinT, that's the one. Thanks for the book endorsement. I'm looking forward to it.

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sheri_z6

Rosefolly, I read The Overstory for my book group last year, and while it was a slog in some places, it was beautifully written with some utterly breathtaking descriptions and turns of phrase. The book had a lot to teach and say about trees and humanity and I'm still thinking about it (in a good way) months later, so there are pluses! On the minus side, it is LONG and there is an entire sub-plot and two characters who could have been, IMO, completely removed from the book and nothing would be lacking. Please let us know what you think when you finish it.

I just finished Storm of Locusts, the sequel to Rebecca Roanhorse's Trail of Lightning. I think this shaping up to be a very good series, though the violence continues to force me to skim in spots. The story is good, the world building is solid, the female characters are terrific, and as I said before, the Native American aspects of the story make it strong and original.

I just started another urban fantasy, Storm Cursed, the newest Mercy Thompson book by Patricia Briggs. This is, I believe the tenth or eleventh book in the Mercyverse, and I do enjoy this series. The set up for this story was also pretty graphic and violent. I think I'll need something sweet and calm after this!

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yoyobon_gw

Skibby......Re: The Enchanted April, have you read any of her other books ?

The author, is Elizabeth Von Arnim and I have read all but two of her books. She was a woman before her time and her books are quirky and delightful .

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

Thanks Yoyobon. Her books sound wonderful. My Library has none of them. Not one. I'll have to try a little harder.

Overstory looks good to me too. Rosefolly, what makes you reluctant about this one?

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annpanagain

My reading emergency is when a new book in a favourite series is published and the library waiting list is too long. Book Depository to the rescue!

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kathy_t

Yoyobon - Now I'm at page 200 of Nine Perfect Strangers, and it's not so funny any more. I think the moral of this story is wait until you finish the book before recommending it! I'm not saying it's bad, but it's taken a turn.

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tackykat

Kathy, I know it was aimed at another poster, but thanks for the warning on the L. Moriarty book. I liked The Husband's Secret but found Big Little Lies to be pretty overrated. She is not really on my watch-list anymore.

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carolyn_ky

I'm reading The Angel Makers by Tessa Harris. It's set in London during the Jack the Ripper killings and is about baby farmers. It's pretty depressing reading but a good story.

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woodnymph2_gw

I finished "Who Killed Daniel Pearl" by Levy and found it intriguing. I learned a lot about the events in Pakistan surrounding the destruction of the Twin Towers in 9-11, and mysterious vanished "nuclear suitcases." It read like a detective story in part.

I just finished an unusual biographical work by former Poet Laureate Donald Hall: "Essays After Eighty." He lives in an old farmhouse in New Hampshire, mostly alone. I loved his descriptions of the natural landscape, his family memories, and mostly his sense of humor. Not the book for everyone, but I liked it a lot.

I'm currently dipping in and out of a very long biography of Thomas Jefferson by Jon Meacham. Very heavy to hold up and read in bed!

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donnamira

Woodnymph, I read Donald Hall's Essays After Eighty a few years ago, and enjoyed it enough to check out a volume of his poetry, and recently I picked up his follow-on essay collection: Notes Nearing Ninety. The new one is currently on Mt TBR because I keep borrowing books from the library, which of course have time limits on them, but when I get around to reading it, I'll post a comment or 2. When I discovered that he was actually teaching at UM-Ann Arbor while I was a student there (never had a class with him, I was on a science track...), I was curious enough to check out other works by him. His poetry contains a lot of personal references and uses extremely straightforward language, but it's stylish and universal, so you might enjoy that too. I read the collection called "Selected Poems of Donald Hall" which he had selected himself. I also read "Christmas at Eagle Pond," a novelette that appears to be a memory but is actually a 'memory' he invented because he had always wanted to spend the holiday with his grandparents but never did. A slight book but a lovely picture of the past.

I recently finished Sheri Tepper's The Margarets, which I found intriguing (an individual is split into 7 parallel selves at critical junctures of her life in order to meet a prophetic condition of 'one person walking seven roads at once') except for the Disneyesque ending, which disappointed me mightily. I am currently reading Nnedi Okorafor's Lagoon, an equally intriguing first-contact novel set in Nigeria, but finding it difficult to keep track of all the characters, a problem which I had with the Tepper book as well. Makes me wonder if senioritis is catching up with me? :(



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yoyobon_gw

Just finished Where The Crawdads Sing and will begin reading Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple.

I really enjoyed Crawdads, particularly the beautiful way she used words to describe the natural world and the character in it. It would be a really interesting book to discuss in a book club.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

I've found the perfect transition book, ( a cerebral palate cleanser, if you will) - Magic Elizabeth by Norma Kassirer. This is one of my favorite childhood reads. I have my original purchase from Scholastic Book Services from 1966 for a (then) cover price of 50 cents. It's got it all - nine year old girl, spooky house, spooky old great-aunt, spooky black cat, magic doll. Tension and release, then all is right with the world. Wonderful! Is this a favorite for anyone else?

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bigdogstwo

Hi all,

I have been enjoying the spring time and reading with either windows open or out on the back porch. Alas, the weather turned downright chilly again today. Is it terribly wrong to want both windows open and fireplace on?

I re-read The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, and again, enjoyed every page. But this time, I read it as a part of an informal book group, most of whom have no interest or knowledge of British history. For them, it was an entirely different experience. They were frustrated, bored, confused, and not nearly as impressed with the convalescent sleuthing as I was both times I read it.

Also just finished The Woman in Cabin 10. Not terribly impressed. It felt like Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None but set in a different location. I won't be in a hurry to read another by Ruth Ware.

Then came Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson. I usually zip right through his books. But while this title was interesting, it did not keep me interested. I wanted to have read it, but was never looking forward to picking it up.

Now reading a slim Modern Library volume that I found on my shelf last night. It is a volume of Tolstoy's "short novels" the first is entitled The Hussars. After reading more modern books, picking up Tolstoy was like a breath of fresh air. A deep inhale... ahhhh… THIS is what writers should do... LIVE in the story, not just pound it out on a keyboard.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms on RP!
PAM


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sheri_z6

Skibby, I loved Magic Elizabeth! That was a Scholastic Book Fair purchase back in the day for sure. My copy is long gone, but I would love to read it again.

Like Skibby, I also needed a "cerebral palate cleanser" after the all the violence in the last three books I read. I'm re-reading Gail Carriger's Finishing School series, Etiquette & Espionage, Curtsies & Conspiracies, Waistcoats & Weaponry, and Manners & Mutiny. I'd read the first three ages ago and have forgotten enough that I didn't want to read the last one without a refresher. These are low-key, amusing steampunk, and I'm enjoying them.

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annpanagain

Not only is it Mother's Day in Australia too but also my birthday. Eighty-two! Where did all that time go? When I was young I thought people of that age were ancient and I suppose they were more set in their ways back then. Now centenarians go for a sky dive to celebrate!

I am going to my eldest GD's home for a roast chicken and all the trimmings lunch, celebrating with other mothers in my family.

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kathy_t

Well, Happy Birthday To You, Annpan! Nice to let the kiddos do the cooking, huh?

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msmeow

Happy birthday, Ann! Enjoy the time with your family!

Pam, did you finish Isaac’s Storm? I found all the technical weather descriptions at the beginning to be quite a slog, but once I got past that and into the story of the storm and it’s aftermath it was captivating.

I’m still working on The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith.

Donna

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annpanagain

Thank you, I did have a lovely lunch party and scored a lot of useful gifts, as requested, Baileys Irish Cream, for night caps, chocolates, Scottish shortbread etc.


No toiletries or lingerie, please! I have more than enough of those....and candles!

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vee_new

A very Happy Birthday Annpan. I bet you didn't need any help blowing out those candles especially after a couple of Baileys. Your gifts sound most useful and, more to the point, enyoyable.

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carolyn_ky

Happy Birthday, Ann. Now you are as old as I am, but my birthday is in July when I will be 83. You asked the right question: where did all the time go? My daughter is 63,

I began another Harry Busch book last night, The Closers. I like Harry very much.

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annpanagain

Carolyn, I was eligible at sixty for the British Old Age pension when I was living in the UK and when I mentioned it to my mother, she wailed to my father that "Ann is getting the pension!" They, along with my MiL seemed to visualise me as still in my twenties, I think!

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woodnymph2_gw

Donnamira, thanks for telling me about Donald Hall's poetry and his "Notes Nearing Ninety." I will look for both. I have read some of his late wife's poetry and admired it.

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carolyn_ky

Ann, I remember being given the OAP entrance price to something in London before I was 65. It quite took me aback. Senior does seem a bit more polite!

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annpanagain

I don't know if sixty is still the pensionable age for women in the UK. Here in Australia it varies according to some circumstances like marriage, also even for single women it keeps changing. My D now has to wait until she is in her late sixties to become eligible.

The Govt. keep "moving the gaol posts" as people are living longer. Men may have to work to around seventy, ridiculous for labouring workers.


I have been in a reading slump, just rereading books or bits of books from my own shelves. It could be the cold weather!

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carolyn_ky

I've just finished Michael Connelly's The Closers, in which Harry Bosch goes back to work three years after his resignation. Another good book showing he hasn't changed in his determined pursuit of the bad guys or in going his own way in capturing them.

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kathy_t

I finished reading Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. I know I've waffled on this one, but in the end it was okay - enjoyable even. However the humor, which attracted me in the beginning, was inconsistent as the book progressed. It's not a comedy - just a description of a most unusual health spa stay for nine people who got to know each other rather well through it all. I know this is lame, but while I'm not endorsing it, I don't not recommend it.

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msmeow

I finally finished The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith yesterday. Has anyone else read it? The story was all about sexual activities and had some pretty gruesome details, but I like the main characters (private investigator Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin). I thought the book was too long, though...I was losing interest toward the end and just ready to be done.

I've started Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, a novel by Alison Weir. I believe she's written a novel about each of Henry VIII's wives. I haven't gotten far enough to tell if I'll stick with it, though. Sometimes historical fiction is richly written, but so far this is more like just recounting events, and is rather flat. Not really dull, just not exciting either. :)

Donna

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vee_new

A couple of quick reads. A pb that has been on a bookshelf for years The Fifth Summer by Titia Sutherland. A family go to a villa on the Italian Riviera for their annual holiday where the teenage children have 'adventures', the wife, a successful writer, is looking for l u u rve with a steamy self-centred Italian and too many minor characters intrude on the lack-lustre plot.

The Face of Trepass by Ruth Rendell. About yet another writer, a rather feckless and uncouth character living in squalor in a rundown cottage in Epping Forest (just East of London where RR comes from) He has an unlikely 'relationship' with a young rich woman (luckily we are spared the details) who is using him for her own crafty ends. It isn't until the final page that the excellent 'plotting' of the novel becomes apparent . .. which is why, I suppose, RR is such a master of her craft.

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lemonhead101

I've just finished a rather interesting read of a NF called "For Her Own Good: Two Centuries of the Experts' Advice to Women" by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deidre English (originally published in 1978 but updated [mostly] in 2005).

It's a good review of 200 years of the "scientific" experts who have been the lead advisers in how women, in general, should live their lives and raise their children. "Advisers" is a large catch-all for the years' worth of people who have informing women the "best ways" to handle their housework, their sex lives, their educational attainments, and almost every other way there is to live. (Think Ann Landers, Dr. Spock etc.)

It's really interesting in parts: women were not allowed to go to university in the nineteenth century because the "science" (i.e. white men) believed that higher ed would lead to women's uteruses (uterii?) to fall out of their bodies. Since children were the be-all and end-all in Victorian times, the men shuddered to think of what would happen if women (and girls) got a decent education. Who would have the children?

Menstruation was an illness requiring seclusion; pregnancy required confinement to a home, women were property (not humans), and as the years go by, women are there only to serve the men, then perhaps have children (if the women behaved as they were supposed to), then to live their entire lives around their kids, and then suddenly in the 1960s and 1970s, to live their best lives somehow -- this at a time when women's lib was new and some of the men in power were threatened.

It's a curious journey across the years to see how the "scientists" were of the time and what their "advice" was to their current women. Looking back, many of these ideas are ridiculous, but women still fight for equal pay, access to health care, control of their bodies etc. (See the recent legislation of AL, for example.)

Since it was mostly updated in 2003, the read is quite a current text, but there is still quite a bit of dated info in there. Still, interesting all the same and fascinating in others.

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annpanagain

We have just heard about the AL ruling and those people's ears would be bright red if they heard the comments made here about them!

The weather has improved today so I can get out to the library, the last book I borrowed I found I had already read!

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astrokath

Firstly, Happy Birthday to Ann!


DH and I finished listening to The Caine Mutiny by Wouk, and although large parts of it were not on the face of it exciting, it was a very good book.

I finished listening to The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley, and it couldn't end quickly enough for me. The whole thing was overwritten, and although the story was interesting, the ending wasn't satisfying either, as it had a snippet from the next book (I presume) tacked on as part of this book.

I'm currently reading The Border by Don Winslow, which is the last of a trilogy about drug cartels in Mexico. Although the books are rather violent, it is an interesting and informative story.


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msmeow

Astrokath, Herman Wouk just passed away yesterday. He was 10 days from his 104th birthday!

Donna

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carolyn_ky

I'm reading A Dangerous Collaboration. It's a continuation of the Victorian era series by by Veronica Speedwell and is set on an island off Cornwall but not St. Michael's Mount. Mystery involving a new bride who disappeared on her wedding day,

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msmeow

I haven’t totally given up on the novel about Katherine of Aragon, but I’ve also started The King’s Witch by Tracy Borman. It’s about a young woman named Frances Gorges who was a skilled healer and was caring for Queen Elizabeth at the time she died. Once King James of Scotland becomes King of England as well things change. I’m only a few chapters into it but I’m enjoying it very much.

Donna

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annpanagain

Donna, I saw Katherine of Aragon's bed in a private collection in a remote part of Western Australia. I couldn't help being struck by the location which would have been as unlikely as seeing it on the Moon to the original owner! It was ornately carved and featured pomegranates. The collection was sold eventually, I believe.

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msmeow

That’s really cool, Ann!

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bigdogstwo

Reading Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston. It is hard-reading but important, from my perspective, for the understanding of our past. My opinion at this point, 40% done, is that those throwing around terms like "racist, fascist, Nazi", etc, have no inkling of real history. If they did, they would understand that to toss these words around is to cheapen their meanings, thus diluting the history of those who truly suffered. Just my two pennies...

PAM

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woodnymph2_gw

I'm engrossed in a novel by Cerwiden Dove: "In the Garden of the Fugitives." It's a tale of two intertwining lives over a period of decades, set partly in South Africa and partly in an archaelogical dig in Pompeii. I had never heard of this author, but I find she has a gift with words and narrative descriptions, along with a psychological bent. I think it is the best work of fiction I've read in a very long time, and I don't want it to end.

Waiting in the wings is "The Clockmaker's Daughter."

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kathy_t

I am about half way through Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and trying very hard not to peek at the discussion going on in another thread here. I feel like I know who committed the murder, but then I think, no, that's too obvious. Then again, there aren't very many potential suspects. We shall see.

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vee_new

Just finished Deadlier than the Male: An Investigation into Feminine Crime Writing by Jessica Mann A very detailed look at the history of women's 'crime fiction' from the nineteen hundreds to its heyday in the 1920-30's. The second part of the book deals with the lives and work of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Margery Allingham, Josephine Tey and Ngaigo Marsh.

I feel that Mann must have read every book in that genre, knowing quite obscure details of the why's and wherefore's on the character development of the various detectives Poirot, Roderick Allewyn, Albert Campion and several in between.

In all a very scholarly work in no way written in the style of her subjects. Interesting to me was the fact that both Sayers and Tey (under the name Gordon Daviot ) wrote successful plays.

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reader_in_transit

Reading Land that Moves, Land that Stands Still by Kent Nelson, about a woman who is left an alfalfa farm in South Dakota when her husband dies in an accident.

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msmeow

I decided to stick with the novel about Katherine of Aragon. I'm also still working on The King's Witch, set 100 years later. It's interesting switching between the courts of Henry VIII and James. Currently both books are about the first year or two after each king was crowned.

Donna

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assa aum

I finished reading Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. I know I've waffled on this one, but in the end it was okay - enjoyable even. However the humor, which attracted me in the beginning, was inconsistent as the book progressed. It's not a comedy - just a description of a most unusual health spa stay for nine people who got to know each other rather well through it all. I know this is lame, but while I'm not endorsing it, I don't not recommend it..

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kathy_t

That post just above is kind of odd - a copy/paste of my earlier post. Hmmm...

I finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Although not a perfect novel, I enjoyed it a lot.

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carolyn_ky

I have started Careless Love by Peter Robinson. Just a little way into it, the author has taken a chapter to recap Inspector Banks' dinner alone, personal life, and an in-depth review of his music preferences and all his electronic devices as well as those of the murder victim. TMI for me, although I have always enjoyed his books.

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reader_in_transit

Kathy,

Did you notice that the same thing happened on the thread "April is the Cruelest Month... What are you reading?" A post that Siobhan posted on April 2 has been copied/pasted, and posted earlier today under a different name (the same name/person that copied and pasted your post from May 14).

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kathy_t

Reader - I did notice that. Strange.

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annpanagain

All the subject heading turned back to black again as though I hadn't read them!

Some gremlin is in the system?

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annpanagain

Did your subject headings go black as though unread too?

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yoyobon_gw

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

I was reading Today Will Be Better by Maria Semple having gotten almost 3/4 of the way through it and I decided I hated the book and put it in a pile to be given to the library. Life is too short to read bad books.

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kathy_t

Annpan - I think I recall that "headings going black" thing happening to me in the past, but not lately. Since our read vs. unread headings would be different for each of us, I presume that information is stored in the cookies that this site maintains on our individual computers - so maybe you have reset something? Like deleted your browsing history or something? (Boy, don't I sound like I know what I'm talking about - hah!)

Yoyobon - I liked Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette a lot, and an interview I saw with Maria Semple was very interesting and funny. Too bad that didn't assure us another good book. Thanks for the warning.

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vee_new

Among the many books I inherited from my late Mother was Travellers on a Trade Wind by Scottish writer Marcia Pirie. It was the last book she was able to read 'properly' before she lost her sight. I should have read it ages ago as it has been gathering dust for many years. I know almost nothing about sailing or Endurance 35 ketches with self-tacking staysails or the purpose of a storm jib, but leaving these difficulties aside I found the style of writing and the small pen sketches (Pirie is an artist) plus the descriptions of the long trip made with her husband (in all they were away from England for over eight years) fascinating. From the Queen Charlotte islands to the Marquesas to Tahiti, Hawaii, the Galapagos following in the wake of Cook, Vancouver, Melville and meeting a wide array of the sailing brotherhood and living among the peoples of those islands at a time, in the late '80's . .. just before these places were changed probably forever as 'civilisation' took hold and more simple ways of life were lost.

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annpanagain

Kathy, deleting history does reset the read/unread headings, changing black to grey but in this case, I didn't do it! I can usually guess from the times given if I have caught up with the previous session.

In view of the odd things happening here recently, I presume someone is tinkering and improving us! Preserve us from this!

I have had my emails messed about with recently due to "improvements" by my IP and have lost ones I put on hold. Leave me alone!

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woodnymph2_gw

I am trying to get through Kate Morton's "The Watchmaker's Daughter". I am not sure I will finish this long tome. There are so many characters, so many disparate trails to follow, and the novel jumps back and forth through time from past to present to past, etc. etc. I liked the premise and the very beginning, but now I am starting to feel a bit lost in the details. Has anyone else here read this and what did you think of it? I had greatly liked everything else I had read by Morton ("House at Riverton", et al.).

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msmeow

Woodnymph, I started it and had the same reaction. That's the one with the little asides, right? I didn't care for that, and also found it hard to follow. I didn't get far before I gave up.

Donna

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woodnymph2_gw

Thanks, Donna. I think the book is too long and some of the characters could have been eliminated without any loss. I wanted to like this because I had enjoyed Morton's others.

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yoyobon_gw

It sounds like we need to add Kate Morton to the list of authors who ran out of steam.....stayed too long at the fair.

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sheri_z6

Woodnymph, I also started The Clockmaker's Daughter and just couldn't get into it. I may try again, but maybe not -- there's lots more in the TBR pile to choose from. I've liked all her books up until this one, here's hoping the next one is better (and I'll get it from the library rather than buy it immediately).

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vee_new

For what it's worth, I haven't been able to get through any of Kate Morton's books ;-(

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msmeow

I finished The King’s Witch, about a woman named Frances Gorges. Her family estate was Longford Castle. She lived at the time of the Gunpowder Plot (1610 or so) which was intended to blow up Westminster and kill King James, his sons Henry and Charles, and most of Parliament.

Frances was very skilled at using herbs for healing, and in King James’ court that was considered witchcraft.

I enjoyed the book a lot. The author, Tracy Borman, is the curator of the Historic Royal Palaces. She has written non-fiction books about British history, but this is her first novel.

I recommend it! Especially for those who like historical fiction.

Donna

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vee_new

Donna, I notice there is a follow-up book to the King's Witch . . .The Devil's Slave which you might enjoy. I haven't read either so cannot comment on the plot etc.

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lemonhead101

Vee - Your sailing/traveling book sounds like a good read. I haven't been able to pick up a book lately, so perhaps I should trawl my TBR to find out if I have a similar sailing/travel book. I bet I do. Thank you!

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vee_new

lemonhead/liz you can pick up a copy of 'Travellers on a Trade Wind' very cheap via Am*zon uk


Short talk by the author Marcia Pirie

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yoyobon_gw

The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones, a book I discovered on the library free shelf. It moves very slowly in a dark, witty sort of way. Not sure where it's going but it is pleasant enough to read . I withhold judgement until I've finished it .

A grand old manor house deep in the English countryside will open its doors to reveal the story of an unexpectedly dramatic day in the life of one eccentric, rather dysfunctional, and entirely unforgettable family. Set in the early years of the twentieth century, award-winning author Sadie Jones’s The Uninvited Guests is, in the words of Jacqueline Winspear, the New York Times bestselling author of the Maisie Dobbs mysteries A Lesson in Secrets and Elegy for Eddie, “a sinister tragi-comedy of errors, in which the dark underbelly of human nature is revealed in true Shakespearean fashion.”

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carolyn_ky

After waiting several weeks for it to become available from the library, I have started to read, a chapter at a time, Women Rowing North: Navigating Life's Currents and Flourishing as We Age by Mary Pipher. In reading the Introduction, I found myself nodding, smiling, and chuckling out loud a couple of times. From the inside flap, "The author shows that most older women are deeply happy and filled with gratitude for the gifts of life. Their struggles help them grow into the authentic, empathetic, and wise people they have always wanted to be."

I plan to read it slowly, interspersed with some choice murder mysteries, in order to glean nuggets from it that I would tend to read over and forget if I gulp it down quickly.

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woodnymph2_gw

I struggled through "The Clockmaker's Daughter" and it was with relief that I picked up a more cheerful tome. Morton's novel had a dark ending which unsettled me. I'm greatly enjoying "A Thousand Days in Venice", a memoir by Marlena de Blasi. It's the story of a late life marriage between an American woman and an Italian male. The author was an independent female with her own business who relocated to Venice in mid-life. She details her cultural struggles with humor and wisdom. An excellent cook, the author closes the book with Italian recipes.

The book is so well-written that I can even forgive her lack of a proofreader: e.g. I cringed when I read "taught" instead of "taut."

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donnamira

Last year I read Sam White's A Cold Welcome: The Little Ice Age and Europe's Encounter with North America, and last week I discovered in the library a great companion volume to that book: Jamestown, Quebec, Santa Fe: Three North American Beginnings. The White book concentrated on these 3 settlements, so this more general history is useful for additional perspective. It was actually written about 12 years ago to accompany a touring museum exhibit of archaeological artifacts, so it's a large format book with lots of photos, and an essay from a different historian on each of the 3 settlements.

I'm returning half-read another book I borrowed: The Furthest Station, a novella which is part of an urban fantasy series about a special unit within the London police which investigates magical crimes. Supposed to be funny, it's told in first person and after a half-dozen occurrences of the cringe-inducing "Me and So-and-so did something...." I gave up. I assume it's deliberate and intended to add something to the character, but it backfired for me. I can count on one hand the books I intentionally decided not to finish, and this is one.


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yoyobon_gw

Just finished The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones and I have to say that it was an enjoyable book ! Unusual , a bit strange but left me with a chuckle at the end.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

I finished Dear Fahrenheit 451, Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks by Annie Spense. On the cover: A Librarian's love letters and breakup notes to the books in her life. Rather a silly premise but a fun read. Before that I read The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson. I loved this. It's a true crime story of a 20 year old professional flautist who robs the British Museum of Natural History, taking 299 bird skins that date back to Darwin times. He then plans to sell them to professional and hobbyist fly-tiers for fishing and competition purposes. Not to diminish the import of the crimes, it was very funny in many spots. There was a well done section dedicated to natural history which makes me want to pull Origin of Species off the TBReR shelf if I can locate it. This one makes it into my top five lifetimes reads. If you like natural history, fly-fishing, quirky crimes or just an entertaining story, you're apt to like this. I couldn't put it down and am looking to buy a copy for my own Library.

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yoyobon_gw

Just started A Brutal Telling by Louise Penny and always love coming back to Three Pines :0)

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kathy_t

Skibby - Regarding your statement about The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson: This one makes it into my top five lifetimes reads. Wow - that is quite an accolade! Doesn't happen very often. I must add this book to my TBR list.

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donnamira

Skibby, a friend gave me The Feather Thief for Christmas, and I keep putting off reading it so I can finish my library books before they are due. Maybe it's time to switch from library books to Mt TBR, and start with that one. :) Of course, I just put Book Crush, which you mentioned in your other post on hold. Mt TBR just keeps growing and growing.

Our book club is meeting in about 10 days, so I finally started this month's selection, Louisa on the Front Lines, by Samantha Seiple, about Louisa May Alcott's time as a Civil War nurse.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

I hope you do like it Kathy - I feel responsible now! I seem to remember that you liked some others that I enjoyed so here's hoping.

Let us know what you think too, Donnamira. My taste doesn't always run with the crowd.

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annpanagain

I have just finished "The Bleak Midwinter" by L. C. Tyler, the fifth in the John Grey historical series. I wasn't enjoying this one so much to start with as it dealt with the treatment of witches. It got better for me later. In the author's notes, he mentioned feeling angry as he was writing this book and I must have sensed it!

I think he has made a mistake in the dating of events as the story starts in December 1668 and although a year at least has gone by, at the end of the book the Postscript is dated December 1668! Witchcraft at work at the printers?

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msmeow

Picky, picky, Ann! LOL

Bon, A Brutal Telling is the most recent L Penny I read. I liked it though the ending was a little disturbing for me.

I'm still working on the novel about Katherine of Aragon. I have fewer than 200 pages to go, so hopefully I will finish it this weekend.

Donna

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assa aum

Reading The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. It is the summer of 1976, and Mrs. Creasy has disappeared. Ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly start investigating what happened to her.

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annpanagain

Donna, I know that I am picky but an editor should have noticed that and I didn't even mention the word "prevaricate" being used instead of "procrastinate".

That happens so often!


We are just into Freezing June now and I have "When life gives you Lululemons" by Lauren Weisberger on hand. A Devil wears Prada novel. I always had a sneaking sympathy for Miranda Priestly as I too once edited a magazine! Not an easy thing to do.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

This is late for this thread but I wanted to correct an error I posted earlier about The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson. He was not a professional flautist - he was still a student at the Royal Academy of Music at the time of the heist. Not an important detail to some but the mistake bothered me. Sorry about that!

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