It's June ... What are you reading?

kathy_t

I'm currently reading 33 Men by Jonathan Franklin, a nonfiction book about the lengthy ordeal and arduous rescue of the 33 miners who were trapped deep underground when the San José mine near Copiapó Chile collapsed in August 2010. You probably remember seeing daily updates about the rescue attempt on TV.

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vee_new

Just finished a gentle but entertaining read The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith. Part of his Number 1 Detective Agency series.

Kathy that 'rescue' was so amazing. A similar event to the rescue of the football team boys in Thailand. I often wonder how people who have been through that sort of ordeal manage weeks/months/years later. I am sure I would be a nervous wreck.

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msmeow

Well, dang it, I was 50 pages from the end of the novel about Katherine of Aragon, and my ebook checkout expired! I put a hold on it, so when it’s available I can finish it.

I just started Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny.

Kathy, I remember that rescue, too. I think if I survived an ordeal like that I would be afraid of being in any small space.

Donna

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annpanagain

Vee, I love that series and have read them all


Mentioning about surviving ordeals, I have just watched a documentary about a plane that went rogue and dropped from the skies, was recovered to normal flying altitude and dropped again. Many people were injured, some badly when they flew upwards and crashed down and even broke the overhead fittings with their heads.

Although this happened years ago, they still have trouble with sleeping and flashbacks.


A reminder of danger can stay with you forever. I still can't pick up a lost article from a footpath without remembering how we children were warned not to do this during the war because of the danger of anti-personnel bombs hidden in small articles.

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yoyobon_gw

I just started The Brutal Telling ( #5) by Louise Penny.

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reader_in_transit

Finished 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. Her grown daughter and a couple more people join her working at the farm. The land is another character. The story is just okay. I didn't care for any of the characters, but liked the realistic descriptions of life in the Plains.

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laceyvail 6A, WV

Reading Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, a discussion of how we could improve nursing homes/assisted living to improve the lives of all of us as we age out of our homes. Great book. I encourage everyone to read it.

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yoyobon_gw

One of the big problems with hiring in home care is finding reputable caregivers. Even if you work through a company which supposedly vets these people I have known many who have been robbed by those working in their homes as caregivers.

If you rely on family members to come in and provide support so that you can live at home, frequently the burden is assumed by one person. My husband dedicated 10 years of his retirement life to caring for his mother so that she could remain in her home.....all the while his only other sibling, a sister, lived in the mother's condo in South Florida on the ocean and never once offered to help him by coming up a week and giving him a break. When her mother became housebound she conveniently forgot about her as she lived rent-free on the beach .

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woodnymph2_gw

I've just started "Death at La Fenice" which is a mystery set in Venice, in the world of the Opera. This is also a popular series in Germany.

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yoyobon_gw

Oh , I'll be interested to hear what you think woodnymph......that book is on my TBR pile.

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socks

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. It's excellent.

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annpanagain

Yoyo, I hear you about care givers. I only need a cleaner to do the floors and wash down the shower recess at present and I get them through an agency.

I have never had honesty issues but the personnel keeps changing! It used to be that I would have the same woman for years but now I get whoever is available! Some are dedicated and others are casual workers, wanting to earn money for a project, like hiring a personal trainer or maintaining a horse! (She showed me pictures!) The variety makes life interesting though.

I am off to the library today to find a good mystery but preferably set somewhere warmer than !7thC England in Winter this time.

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astrokath

I have just finished The Border by Don Winslow. It is the final part of a trilogy about Mexican drug cartels and US drug users and agencies. I can't recommend it highly enough if you are able to cope with a fair amount of violence.

I've also listened to A Time of Singing by Elizabeth Chadwick. If you like historical fiction set in medieval England, she is for you. This one is about Isa de Torney who was a mistress of Henry II and then married to Roger Bigod. These books are well researched and written, and also have a nice romantic streak.

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msmeow

Kath, I am planning to download a couple of audio books for our upcoming flights to and from London. A Time for Singing sounds like it would be perfect!

Donna

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astrokath

Donna, I have enjoyed all her books. The Greatest Knight and its sequels The Scarlet Lion and Templar Silks are about William Marshall, and she has a trilogy about Eleanor of Aquitaine too.

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carolyn_ky

I'm reading Louise's Crossing by Sarah R. Shaber. The Louise books are set in Washington, D.C. during WWII, and she is a sharp young woman catching spies and dealing with rationing and men. The books are somewhat simple but they seem to me to be true to the times.

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friedag

I completed The Devil & Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession by David Grann, a collection of his articles previously published in periodicals such as The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker.

I had read and been fascinated with Grann's journalistic style in Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z, so I very much enjoyed these shorter pieces which mostly predated his book-length efforts. One, "The Old Man and the Gun", struck a chord in my memory. I realized that I had read it before, and I had also been aware of a 'loose' film adaptation of it, starring Robert Redford who announced his retirement from acting right after the film was finished. It is not the best piece in the collection, in my opinion. Two others are far more interesting to me: "Mysterious Circumstances: The Strange Death of a Sherlock Holmes Fanatic" and "True Crime: A Postmodern Murder Mystery".

I don't think I really understood how fanatical some fans of Sherlock Holmes have been -- and continue to be. Some of those who belong to such 'clubs' as The Sherlock Holmes Society of London and The Baker Street Irregulars insist that Arthur Conan Doyle was not the creator of characters called Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson; he was only their representative in the publishing business. Holmes and Watson were real! Some of the club members disdain mentioning Conan Doyle.

The postmodern murder mystery happened in Poland when a man in the business of advertising was obviously murdered in a very odd manner. A short while later a book purporting to be a novel -- an extremely vulgar, sadistic, and sexually explicit one -- was published and initially dismissed as having no literary merit. However, a Polish cold-case detective noticed some bizarre parallels to the real-life murder and the fictional story. He began to wonder if the murderer and the novelist were the same person . . . and the hunt was on for corroboration.

Lest anyone get the impression that Grann concentrates on unusual deaths, there's also a delightful article titled "The Squid Hunter: Chasing the Sea's Most Elusive Creature."

Attributed to Sherlock Holmes (or Conan Doyle, if you dare to say it) is this: ". . . the queer things which are going on [in London], the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to outre results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable."

Well said, Mr Holmes!

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sheri_z6

I just finished Daisy Jones & The Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It's a fictionalized account of a 70's rock band that implodes just as their breakthrough record takes off, and is written as a series of interviews with the various band members and recording production team. Having recently read Ken Calliat's Making Rumours, this book felt familiar (the author even mentions Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, and Christine McVie in her author's note at the end), and I am almost certain she read MR as she lifted one tiny detail about adding the sound of a fist hitting a piece of furniture into a (fictional) song. That detail was a factual part of a story in Making Rumours. As a story, the plot is somewhat predictable, the main characters are interesting, and there is a small plot twist quite near the end. Overall, it's an original approach and her creation of a fictional band and their music -- including all the lyrics to the breakout album -- kept me turning pages.

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msmeow

I am halfway through Bury Your Dead, Louise Penny's sixth book. I am really enjoying it; it's my favorite so far! Gamache and Beauvoir are on leave recuperating from an operation gone bad (which we are gradually learning about during the story). Gamache is in Quebec City and gets involved in a local murder investigation, and Beauvoir is in Three Pines, supposedly on vacation but really trying to quietly re-investigate a previous case.

Donna

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

I've been reading The Big House (Colt) and am about 1/3 of the way through. I'm putting it down because it is, well, dull. (sorry Mr. Colt). It is only in recent years that I've been able to not finish a book I've started but it doesn't come without a fair amount of arguing and justifying in my head. How silly. So I've put all the Library books aside and pulled Guernsey (TG&PPPS) off the bookshelf for a guaranteed good read. I might be able to get in some porch reading time today - the first warm, dry day in about a month. Maybe the weeds need a day to dry out before I start pulling them out. Yeah, that's it.

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msmeow

That sounds logical to me, Skibby! I think I will re-read Guernsey some day soon. I remember enjoying it very much.

Donna

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kathy_t

I really enjoyed Guernsey (TGL&PPPS) also. Rereading would be fun.

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reader_in_transit

Got from the library The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith. There are 3 storylines: the owner of the painting in NYC in 1958, a young woman doing her doctorate in art history in NYC at the same time (and who does a forgery of the painting), and the painter herself between 1636-1649 in the Netherlands. But the action also moves back and forth to Sydney, Australia in 2000. So far, very good.

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sheri_z6

I'm about a third of the way into The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling. I'm usually not a mystery reader but this has me hooked. I'm not sure what I expected (I loved Harry Potter and couldn't imagine what JKR writing in a completely different genre would be like) but it's quite good and I can't wait to get back to it.

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yoyobon_gw

Sheri, good to know. I have that book and have never picked it up .

Kathy, did you see the movie on Netflix ( or was it Amazon Prime...) ? Quite good and beautiful scenery.

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kathy_t

Yoyobon - I did see the movie on Netflix. It was … nice … but didn't do the book justice, in my opinion. In other words, as usual, the book is better than the movie.

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woodnymph2_gw

I just finished "Death at la Fenice" by Donna Leon. I found it good but not great. It took me some time to adjust to the slow pace, but I was glad I read all the way to the end, which takes a most bizarre twist.

Incredibly, a friend had just given me 4 of this series (films). They have German subtitles but I am enjoying them. The series by the same name as the book I found superior to the mystery novel. That does not happen often. Venice is a magical city, so I greatly enjoyed that setting.

Now, it's on to Delia Owen's tome.

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msmeow

Sheri, I enjoyed Cuckoo's Calling, too. I recently read Lethal White (the next in the series) and enjoyed it, too.

Donna

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reader_in_transit

Woodnymph,

I read Death at La Fenice years ago, when Donna Leon had written only a handful of them (there are now over 20 books to the series). I found it just okay, though I enjoyed the setting very much.

BTW, the opera singer in that novel appears again in book twentysomething, Falling in Love, (I found that on the Internet, I have read only 2 books of the series).

Even though the books have been translated from the original English to other languages, D. Leon has requested that they not be translated into Italian (one wonders why...)

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woodnymph2_gw

Reader--- that's interesting. Maybe Death at La Fenice was based upon actual Italians and actual events. I found it odd that it was the Germans who made a series of this, not the Brits or Americans.

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kathy_t

I finished reading 33 Men by Jonathan Franklin, the nonfiction book describing the ordeal of the 33 miners who were trapped in a Chilean mine in 2010. It was very interesting. There were a lot of surprises in it for me about things that went on during the two-month rescue operation. I mean, who would have thought families would be able to smuggle contraband down to the miners? Well, they did. That is just one of many things that surprised me.

That said, I did not find the book to be particularly well-written, and I questioned some of the author's "insights" into the situation. And somehow, there were more photos of the author in the book than of any single trapped miner. Hmmm... but still, it was a very interesting read.

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msmeow

I finished Louise Penny’s Bury Your Dead today. I loved it! Hands down my favorite LP book so far. I highly recommend it,

Donna

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woodnymph2_gw

Having just finished two books with a setting in Venice made me long for more of my favorite city. So I went to my bookshelves and pulled out an old volume of Daphne DuMaurier's short stories. "Don't Look Now" is set in Venice and reading alone at night I found it a bit scary. This author is incomparable and a master story-teller, in my opinion. She is a long time favorite with me, going back for years. I recall my mother was reading her work when I was growing up, as well, and I inherited 2 volumes that I have kept.

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vee_new

I too remember the "Don't Look Now' story and have heard it presented as a radio play. It certainly makes the hairs on the back of one's neck stand up.

One of her last books The House on the Strand (1969) is similarly 'spooky' and unsettling.

The only books of D du M's that I found less satisfying were some of her early 'romantic' works.

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yoyobon_gw

I loved reading D du M and enjoyed almost all her books . Those two mentioned above were favorites.

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msmeow

I started a book called The Immortalists but gave up after a few chapters. I kept thinking, "Do I want to keep reading this?" After about 10 times thinking that, I decided no. :)

I had Where'd You Go, Bernadette on hold at the library and it just became available, so I think I'll read that next.

Donna

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Rosefolly

As a follow up to The Song of Achilles, I am now reading The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. It's a very different point of view, and so far I think it is also quite well done. The Song of Achilles is my favorite book of the two, but The Silence of the Girls gives it a run for the money.

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msmeow

Rosefolly, I didn't care for Song of Achilles. I didn't like either Achilles or the guy telling the story. :)

Donna

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carolyn_ky

I'm reading Redemption by David Baldacci. It is the newest of his Memory Man series where the main character, a former policeman and now with the FBI, cannot forget anything due to a head injury.

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Rosefolly

Donna, then you might or might not like The Silence of the Girls. The narrator is one of the captive women in the Trojan War, and she has a very different point of view of what was happening.

I did not know it when I began the book, but have since read that the author won the Booker prize for a previous novel in 1995.

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msmeow

Rosefolly, I'll probably skip that one! :)

Carolyn, thanks for the heads-up. I just put my name on the waiting list for Redemption. Maybe I'll get it before we go on vacation - it would be a great book to read on our long flight to or from London.

Donna

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donnamira

Although it wasn't a standout for me, I did like The Song of Achilles, which I finished about a week ago, so Rosefolly, I may check out the Barker novel too. I seem to be on a Homer kick lately - I read the new translation of the Odyssey by Emily Wilson last year, the memoir/critical analysis by Daniel Mendelsohn, and I'm currently reading The Lost Books of the Odyssey, by Zachary Mason. It's billed as a novel, but it's really a series of short stories, all riffs on various events and characters of both the Odyssey and the lliad. The framework is that these are just translations of old manuscripts found in archaeological sites, showing the supposed variations in the original legend. Most of them are quite inventive and draw on the famous traits of Odysseus as 'clever' and 'wily' and not always in the most positive light (in the one I'm currently reading, Odysseus has just created a golem to take to Troy as a stand-in for Achilles), although I'm not sure how someone not familiar with the original might appreciate the collection.


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woodnymph2_gw

I've just finished "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owen and made my commentary of the thread by that name.

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vee_new

Just reading Jigs and Reels a collection of short stories by Joanne Harris. She writes a couple of sentences about each story to either set the scene or describe how the idea came to her. Enjoyable so far.

What is a crawdad and why do they sing?

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reader_in_transit

Finished The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith, and enjoyed it very much.

There are three storylines: in NYC the owner of the painting and an artist who paints a forgery of it, in the Netherlands, over three centuries ago, the painter herself. This last character was inspired in part by real life Dutch artist Judith Leyster, whose self-portrait is in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

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kathy_t

I'm currently reading Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman and liking it quite a lot so far. The humor is very well done, in my opinion.

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msmeow

Vee, a crawdad is a crustacean similar to langostines. Here they are also called crawfish, crayfish, mudbugs, and probably other names I'm forgetting! :) As far as I know they don't make any noise, though.

Donna

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vee_new

Thank you Donna. I'm rather vague about crustaceans!

When do you make your trip over here? Bring umbrellas, raincoats, wellies etc. It has rained and rained country-wide . . . and may continue to do so for several more days. You have been warned.

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carolyn_ky

I've begun Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths, a gothic stand-alone tale that seems as if it will be terrific. It starts with the murder of the heroine's best friend. They are teachers at an English school, and Clare teaches a course every year on the author who owned the house where they teach. She has his diary and keeps one of her own.

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msmeow

Vee, we’ve been watching the weather! We arrive at Gatwick early on June 29 and sail out that afternoon. We arrive back at Southampton on July 6 and fly home on July 8.

We’ve been having thunderstorms every day here, too. Living in Florida you just deal with rain. If you could make it somewhat warmer we’d appreciate it! LOL

I just finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette? I loved it! I could hardly put it down. Thanks to all who recommended it.

Donna

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lulu bella

Msmeow- I recently read The Immortalists and I struggled with it. It is for book club so I persevered. I can tell you- I think you made a wise decision. :)

And yes, Where’d You Go, Bernadette was a good one.

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donnamira

I finished The Lost Books of the Odyssey - a clever idea but it petered out at the end. I could have done without the anachronistic medieval/chess tale and the Theseus variant. On to Nature's Mutiny by Philipp Blom. Its subtitle explains it all: How the Little Ice Age of the Long Seventeenth Century Transformed the West and Shaped the Present. Written in German only 2 years ago, and translated into English this year by the author (who is a professional translator as well as journalist and historian), it should be up to date and I'm looking forward to it. I imagine it will be a good companion to Sam White's A Cold Welcome (how the Little Ice Age affected European exploration of the Americas), which I read last year.


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yoyobon_gw

Enjoying the 5th Louise Penny Book with Cover The Butter as my next book.

( Kathy---it actually looks like a good book ....TBD :0)

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kathy_t

Yoyobon - I'll be eager to hear about Cover the Butter. This morning I finished a book that I discovered solely through "the game." It was Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell. I'm being kind when I say it was only mildly amusing. For example, the fact that a customer asked for George Orwell's 1986 just really does not tickle my funny bone much.

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yoyobon_gw

Kathy....this is why humor is such a sticky wicket ( am I allowed to use that expression even though I'm not British? Do I even know what it means ??)

It's really very hit and miss. ( as are, perhaps, sticky wickets ? And what makes a wicket sticky anyway ?)


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sheri_z6

I just finished Kristen Hannah's The Great Alone. It just sucked me in despite the dysfunctional family subject matter that I usually steer clear of. Set initially in 1974, it's the story of 14 year-old Leni and her parents, a hippie mom and a Vietnam POW dad whose PTSD drives him to move the family to Alaska. Once there and barely scraping by, he still can't outrun his demons. It's a gripping mix of a coming of age story, a tale of spousal abuse and also deep love, and a paean to the magnificence that is the Alaskan wildness. I'm looking forward to the book group discussion later this week.

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carolyn_ky

I'm reading Blood Harvest by S. J. Bolton and am really engrossed in it. Funny, because my book record shows that I read it ten years ago, and I don't remember a single thing about it.

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kathy_t

Sheri - I consider your review of The Great Alone to be spot on (meaning our opinions are pretty much exactly the same). Unlike you, though, I don't avoid dysfunctional family subject matter. Well functioning families may be wonderful, but in my opinion, they don't make for very interesting reading.

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yoyobon_gw

Kathy.....lol, by that assessment I am guessing you'd LOVE my family !

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kathy_t

Yoyobon - If you write a book about your family, I'll be the first to buy it!

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indygo

I just finished The Age of Light by Whitney Schrarer. It's a fictionalized account of Lee Miller (Vogue model turned photographer--a surrealist and then photojournalist who photographed the opening of the concentration camps after WW2) and Man Ray. It was fascinating in part because Lee Miller is fascinating. A lot about her time in Paris in the 20s, with Andre Breton and Kiki Montparnasse and Jean Cocteau, etc., playing minor roles. Very little about the war years. Now I'm reading Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and The Last Trial of Harper Lee. This is about the true crime novel that Harper Lee spent years trying to write after assisting Truman Capote with In Cold Blood. It's really great, a bit like Devil in the White City in its structure. Highly recommend.

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msmeow

Bon, that's funny - my DH and I were just discussing the phrase "sticky wicket" yesterday!

I'm reading The Forgotten by Faye Kellerman.

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Maybe Vee can enlighten us as to the phrase and game :0)

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vee_new

yoyo, the game of cricket would be far too complicated for me to try and explain and I'm no expert. Kath, Colleen or Annpan in Australia might be better. It is taken very seriously there especially when they beat the English team!

A 'sticky wicket' usually means a difficult/delicate situation. I suppose from the fact that when the 'wicket' (ie the piece of ground between the stumps) becomes wet/muddy it is difficult to bowl or bat accurately.

BTW the cricket World Cup is taking place in England and Wales at the moment. In the recent game between India and Pakistan over 700,000 ticket were applied for and world-wide over a billion people watched it on TV . . . don't know how they counted them all.

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yoyobon_gw

Thanks Vee.......okay, this is how far off I was with my guesses: I assumed the wicket was a mallet !

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msmeow

And I thought the wicket was the loop a croquet ball goes through! LOL I can see where you would find the wicket sticky if it's muddy.

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yoyobon_gw

Donna, that was my second guess !

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vee_new

See below for a video explaining the rules of cricket. A short test will follow.


How to Play Cricket

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annpanagain

Vee, no good asking me anything about sports. Unlike the rest of my family, I am not interested in any of them. So it is ironic that I have been a sports writer in a way, editing a motoring magazine although I can't drive and reporting on horse races.

My husband got me into both of these jobs and I offloaded the technical side of the magazine to others and just did the easy part of correcting the writing and spelling.

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yoyobon_gw

Vee........this is like homework ! Will this grade count ?

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vee_new

Oh! yes yoyo. The highest marks will be awarded a prize of two tickets to watch the three days of a Test Match. These take place in various parts of the world during the 'Summer Months'. You may choose to visit S Africa, Australia, NZ, W Indies, England, India, Pakistan etc. You will be tagged, so escape from the ground will be impossible. Matches usually begin at about 11am and go onto until dusk with breaks for meals (yes really) You must pray that 'bad light stops play' so you can make your get away.

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yoyobon_gw

Can I swap those tickets for seats at the Yankee/Red Sox game in London ? ;0)

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vee_new

Sorry yoyo, no chance!

I remember back 'in the day' mid-50's my parents bought a TV set for my grandfather to watch. Whenever a cricket test match was on or tennis from Wimbledon all our favourite children's TV programmes were off air (only one channel). Dad and Gramp would sit in the dark for hours at a time . . . to us a game of cricket was slower than watching paint dry.

Later Dad took to watching afternoon horse racing. He said he always noted the horses in the paddock, the build up to the event and the betting but always fell asleep and missed the actual races.

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vee_new

A book that had been gathering dust is Eric Newby's A Small Place in Italy. I had lent it to an Italian friend and had forgotten to ask her what she thought of it.

Newby, was a travel writer and during WWII had been captured in the Italy Apennines. When the Italians capitulated he escaped and hid in the mountains for several months, only to be betrayed and re-taken by the Germans.

Many years later, he and his wife who he had met during these dangerous years went back to Italy hoping to buy a 'holiday home'. This books describes finding a run-down property in Northern Tuscany, the help of 'locals' in doing it up, joining in the grape and olive harvest and hunting for fungi.

The trouble with this 'story' was that Newby ran out of steam. He didn't seem to have enough for the last few chapters which became little more than long paragraphs about odd characters, some history of the area, a long day's walk following one he had made in 1943 and a picturesque train journey.

The Italian friend could have done without the many words and phrases, first in Italian then repeated in English.

I found the total lack of maps, photos or plans of the house made it difficult to follow what he was describing. I had to look in an atlas to see roughly where his property was! A pity as it could have been so much better.


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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

Truly, Vee. It sure sounds like it could have been great. I wonder if I'd like it anyway.

I'm reading The Guernsey Literary and PPS - as slowly as I can. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed this the other two times I read it. It's been quite a while. Also reading the new C.J. Box - The Wolf Pack. Quite good. Love that Joe Pickett! I guess I'm just not cut out to read more than one book at a time. I just can't change my mood that quickly, and I don't want to. So faced with one book I'm in the mood for (Guernsey) and one Library book with a due date, I'll finish The Wolf Pack and then move on to Guernsey.

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yoyobon_gw

Vee....I've read so many Italian memoir/adventure/buy that house books and several were very good. One of my many favorites is Seasons In Basilicata by David Yeadon.

I also really enjoyed the books by Marlena di Blasi telling her story of life, love and food in Italy. The first in the series is A Thousand Days In Venice .

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vee_new

Slightly OT but after writing about A Small Place in Italy above, my inbox became cluttered with 'Italian related stuff'. Do others have eg's of this happening to them?

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yoyobon_gw

OT....no......but I installed Adblocker ( free) on my computer. It is amazing. To date it has blocked 83,000 ads !

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annpanagain

Hooray for Adblocker! When I got my new laptop, it was one of the immediate installations I downloaded!

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woodnymph2_gw

I've just finished a NF work by Roger Housdan: "Saved by Beauty." It's a travelogue and memoir about Iran, preceded with history of ancient Persia and its religions. I found it well-written and interesting, with a bizarre twist at the end. Emphasis is placed on the various cultures within parts of Iran, such as the Kurds, as well as the architecture and gardens. The author is fond of the poetry of Rumi and Omar Khayim and interspersed some of these poems within the book. Iran is so much more than what we observe today, in terms of more than fundamentalist radical Islam. Housdan found that many of its ordinary people remember the glories of their past and long to return to that more balanced way of life.

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sheri_z6

I'm definitely in summer reading mode. I just finished Lucy Parker's The Austen Playbook, a contemporary romance set amidst the London West End theater set. She's written three prior books (Act Like It, Pretty Face, Making Up), all with the same setting. Her main characters are actors and theater people, the stories usually include a theater or film production of some sort, and it's obvious she knows her subject matter. She's a very entertaining and solid writer and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I've just started another book by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Hunter. Hooked is the second book in her 7th and Main series. She's more known as Urban Fantasy writer, but these are contemporary romances.

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astrokath

Vee, I used to watch quite a lot of cricket, but not so much now. I also used to score for my son's team, and it is a complicated job that requires a lot of concentration.

I also have to say that the winner of your competition will actually get to spend 5 days at a test match, unless it is rained out (usually in England) or one team is much better than another and bowls them out twice quickly.

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vee_new

Thanks Kath. I find myself listening to various cricket commentaries while doing the ironing! I think I must lose consciousness after the first three days . . . I tried ironing while watching the tennis from Wimbledon but found I kept on burning myself.

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yoyobon_gw

Save The Plums For Me - Ruth Reikl

Can anyone suggest a murder/mystery series like Three Pines Gamache novels that would be as engaging and enjoyable ? I'm asking for a friend since I'm mid-series of the wonderful Louise Penny novels.

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woodnymph2_gw

I have always enjoyed the Simon Serailler series of mysteries by Susan Hill. In fact, I think they are better written than those of L. Penny.

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kathy_t

That's saying a lot, Woodnymph. I'll have to give Susan Hill a try.

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vee_new

I'd second the Susan Hill 'mysteries'. They are better read in the correct order.

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carolyn_ky

I like Deborah Crombie's series, also best read in order. The first is pretty old. She doesn't write a new one as frequently as some authors do.

I also like James R. Benn's Billy Boyle series, James Lee Burke, Ann Cleeves' Shetland books, Jeanne M. Dams, Martin Edwards' Lake District series, Charles Finch,

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carolyn_ky

Sorry--I hit submit by mistake.

, , , Elly Griffiths, Martha Grimes' Jury books, C. S. Harris, Veronica Heley, Anthony Horowitz, Julia Keller, Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott books, Cynthia Riggs, Sarah Shaber's Louise books, Jeri Westerson, Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, Victoria Thompson, Daniel Silva, Peter Robinson, Ian Rankin .

As you see, mysteries are my favorite. Many of these are not like Louise Penny's writing, but they are not horror or gruesome, either. I have lots more authors on my list with new ones always being added. My husband used to claim to worry because I know so many ways to kill people.

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msmeow

I started The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks the other day. So far it has failed to impress me. It's starting out with the bitter ex-wife more or less stalking the ex-husband and his new love (soon to be wife). If that's the whole story then I'm not interested. But I'll give it a bit longer and see if it improves.

Donna

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carolyn_ky

It rained all afternoon, and I read all afternoon to finish The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton. It is a page turner mystery where a policewoman goes to a funeral back in the town where as a young officer she was instrumental in the arrest of a man convicted and who served a life sentence for terrible crimes that still need answers.

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woodnymph2_gw

I'm reading "A Turn in the South" by V.S. Naipaul. The author is of Indian ancestry, raised in Trinidad, educated in England. In this work he travels through the American South, exploring Atlanta, Alabama, Mississippi, Nashville,Charleston, and North Carolina. It's a bit dated, having been written in the late 70's. Still, I consider it a worthwhile read. as it is always interesting to hear the opinions of my country as seen through the eyes of a non-American.

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kathy_t

I finished reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I really loved this book. It was such a nice surprise. It's about a young woman who lives alone and barely any outside contact with the world until she and a coworker together assist an elderly man they find unconscious on the street outside their office. This event leads to a series of experiences in which Eleanor is forced to interact more with the world. The book is full of humor and heart. However, in spite of that, I think those who do not like reading about dysfunctional families might want to avoid this book. For others, I definitely recommend it.

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yoyobon_gw

Kathy.... :0))....I enjoyed it too. Although Eleanor is a very disturbed woman she is totally endearing . I loaned it to a friend who is a psychologist and she didn't care for it....too much like work for her .

Have you read Where'd You Go Bernadette?

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kathy_t

Yoyobon - Yes, I've read Where'd You Go Bernadette. Same type of humor. I liked that one very much too. And you know, one of my favorite TV shows was (still is) Monk. Same idea.

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msmeow

Kathy, I will have to read Eleanor Oliphant. I just finished Bernadette last week and loved it, and I was a big fan of the show Monk.

Donna

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kathy_t

Donna - Eleanor might make a good airplane/cruise ship book. Just sayin' ...

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msmeow

Haha, Kathy! I'll have to see if I can get it. Though I already have a virtual stack of ebooks and audio books for the trip.

Donna

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

It looks like I need to catch up here. I finished CJ Box's newest Joe Pickett novel called Wolf Pack. I liked it very much. Then I remembered I have a book club in a few weeks so I read that before I let it get away from me. It was Love Anthony by Lisa Genova. I had read this when it was first published but couldn't really remember much about it. Certainly was powerful and well done. Next up was If I Forget You by Christopher Thomas Greene. He's one of our local authors and I recently viewed an archived video of him speaking at our Library for our Authors at the Aldrich program. He read a couple of lengthy excerpts from this book, which was his new release at the time. (2016) This was a wonderful book - I really like his writing. I know I have at least one more of his hiding in one of the bookcases that I'll have to find. Then I read Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan. A very short book and a fast read and I loved it all out of proportion. It seemed so genuine to me. I have other Stewart O'Nan books lurking around here somewhere. I have nothing picked out for the next book yet. The best news? The weather is finally good, so porch time!

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vee_new

My DD and S-in-L took a 'break' to NYC earlier in the year and brought me back a copy of 97 Orchard 'an edible history of 5 immigrant families in one New York Tenement' by Jane Ziegelman.

The sort of book you can pop into and out of now and again.

I'm only about halfway through but finding out much about the Jewish community in the Lower East Side and how their eating patterns were formed by a mixture of where they had come from in Europe and the American traditions they met once they had crossed the Atlantic.

Of course what Ms Ziegelman knows about the actual inhabitants of this neighbourhood has been gleaned from census returns, rate books etc. These people didn't leave memoirs, write notes or recipes and as soon as the husbands got a better paying job they upped sticks and moved to a more prosperous area. So the families were always at the 'bottom of the honest heap'

It appears that many of the Jewish community were eager to 'conform' to US working practices, some of them changed their Sabbath to a Sunday and started cooking shell fish and pig/pork, in its many forms.

Much info on German/Polish/ Lithuanian bread making, but only a little about the Irish influence, possibly because it was not much different from what was being eaten in England and therefore by the earlier 'settlers' to the City.

The only negative thing about the book is the very pale ink used and the close small print. It makes reading for long rather a chore!


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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

I forgot to mention that I also received my first issue of Bookmarks magazine. Now I feel all worldly and sophisticated. Tra-la!

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yoyobon_gw

skibby......." for everyone who hasn't read everything " Love it !

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yoyobon_gw

I just ordered a copy of Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald which was just released this month. It has super reviews. I'm eager to read it !

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kathy_t

Yoyobon and Skibby - I'm curious about the "for everyone who hasn't read everything" quote. I can't find it. Am I missing something?

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

It's the slogan for Bookmarks magazine.

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kathy_t

Well, that's clever. (I've never seen an issue.)

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carolyn_ky

I'm halfway through The Devil's Feast by M. J. Carter. Set in 1800s London, random clientele of a topnotch men's club are being poisoned just before a banquet for the Prince of Egypt being prepared at the request of Lord Palmerston. It makes you hungry reading the menus, but most of the vegetables seem to be turnips and peas. Haven't seen a thing about kale so far.

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yoyobon_gw

Buddha's Brain alternating with the Ruth Reichl book.

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