October Reading

sheri_z6

It’s already October! What have you been reading?


I just finished Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, a memoir described as “a therapist, her therapist, and our lives revealed.” It was fabulous. I have never been to therapy, so this was a fascinating look into how therapy works, both from the therapist’s viewpoint, and from that of the patient. The book hops among patient histories (one of which left me weeping, but in a good way) and the author’s own account of her own therapy following a romantic break up. It also sneaks in some history of psychology and psychiatry. It was actually a bit of a page turner and I loved it.


I’m also in the middle of another Charlie Lovett book, The Bookman’s Tale, about an American book seller in England who may have stumbled upon a priceless manuscript annotated by Shakespeare himself. Like Lovett’s other books, this one hops back and forth in time, juxtaposing the book seller’s life in 1995 with the journey the manuscript made from 1592 to 1995. I’ve liked all three of the Lovett books that I’ve read so far, but I still like his newest, The Lost Book of the Grail, best.

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msmeow

I finished Veil of Lies by Jeri Westerson yesterday. It was a good story, but pretty violent & gory. I guess I should be glad I didn't live in medieval times!

I just started Daughter of Twin Oaks by Lauraine Snelling. I didn't quite finish the first chapter before I fell asleep last night, but so far it seems very cliched. It's set on a plantation in 1860 and of course dear papa is a very humane slave owner who teaches the slaves to read and write. The 16 year old daughter is a tomboy who only wants to ride horses. She's being bossed around by the ubiquitous overweight mammy. I wonder if it will get better...

Donna

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woodnymph2_gw

I finished "Becoming" Michele Obama's autobiography. I thoroughly enjoyed it. She led such an interesting life, even before becoming FLOTUS. It was a truly inspiring read and I recommend it to any American, no matter what your political affiliations are.

Now I'm in the middle of "Denmark Vesey's Garden", which is the history of slavery in Charleston, SC, where I live. For those who may not know, Vesey led an unsuccessful slave rebellion in Charleston before the Civil War. The book begins in Colonial times and takes the reader all the way up to the present day city of Charleston. I'm finding it fascinating and well-researched.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

I'm also reading Becoming - Michelle Obama. Sadly though, it's not working for me. It's for my bookclub and otherwise I'd just put it down. This isn't a genre I enjoy- reading about someone's life. I just don't have an interest. It's too bad - there is nothing wrong with it - well constructed, interesting to the right person, and entertaining. Just not to me. I hope this isn't detracting to someone else's enjoyment of it.

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woodnymph2_gw

Skibby, I'd be interested in hearing what the rest of your bookclub thought of "Becoming."

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

Me, too WN - I'll let you know.

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carolyn_ky

I finished Gallows Court, and it is really a good book. You think you've figured it out, and you haven't. You think you are at the end and you're not, and then you still are not. Quite different; I highly recommend it.

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vee_new

Did the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel hit the screens near you? The book from which it was taken was by the writer Deborah Moggach (the book's title was 'These Foolish Things')

I have always enjoyed her work and just finished Heartbreak Hotel, in which a washed up old thesp inherits a rundown b&b on the English/Welsh borders. To bring in much needed cash the new owner runs courses in such subjects as car maintenance and cookery for the recently divorced/separated. These are taken up by a wide variety of unusual but believable characters. All great fun.


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

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annpanagain

Vee, I read the book which was a recommendation and visualised it so well, when the character goes looking for her former home and calling herself "Little Dottie" that I thought there had been an earlier movie made before "Marigold"!

Perhaps I saw a dramatised review?

I did see the "Marigold" movie and the sequel, enjoying them both.

I have only just discovered the 2018 TV adaptation of Vanity Fair and dashed out this morning, braving a very bad storm, to buy the DVD!

I am not joking about the weather, my Daughter has just lost a dividing fence!

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vee_new

Ann, I haven't see the 'Marigold' sequel yet . . . I usually wait until they are on the TV; we own almost no DVD's!

I enjoyed the adaptation of 'Vanity Fair' as I'm am sure you will.

Hope your weather improves. Here we are getting the remnants of Hurricane Lorenzo which hit the Azores a few days ago.

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yoyobon_gw

IMO, the sequel was good but I never feel that sequels quite live up to the first movie. The HP movies are the exceptions.

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annpanagain

Vee, I binge watched five episodes but had to stop at midnight! It was a good adaptation but why make Bute and Martha Sir Pitt's eldest son and wife? I was pleased to see the O'Dowds though. They usually get left out.

The weather has eased but it was vicious for a while. The big Royal Show, where town meets country, had to close before evening. Too dangerous and a child got blown into the air while inside a bubble game! Luckily not too hurt. Today's ticket holders go free tomorrow instead.

I haven't been for years but had good times and memories of the years I did go. Taking the children, then working on a booth and finally showing cats and dogs.

All the fun of the fair!

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carolyn_ky

I saw both Marigold and the sequel and liked both of them

I'm reading Death in Focus, a new cast of characters by Anne Perry, and am enjoying it more than the last several of her Pitt and Monk series. The main character in this one is a 30-year-old woman who is trying to make photography a career. The setting is at the time of Germany's build up to WWII.

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annpanagain

Vee...I have finished the Vanity Fair DVD and liked the ending. That can be tricky for the adapter and I have seen several productions with different finishes to the story.

I rather liked the movie one with Reece Witherspoon, beautifully costumed, riding off on an elephant with Jos Sedley.

Having dashed off to buy the DVD, I now find the series is being shown from next week as Keeping Faith Series 1 has ended. No matter, I would have bought this DVD anyway. I am too impatient to wait for the weekly showings!

I don't often buy DVDs as I can borrow them from local libraries. If it is something I want to keep or has a long waiting list, then I will. There are places that sell them quite cheaply, this one was half the catalogue price, which was where I noticed it. (Although I could also have got a free bonus back-scratcher! )

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vee_new

Glad you enjoyed it Ann. I didn't see the movie. Our nearest/only cinema is several miles away through winding lanes and narrow roads and has, to me, the big disadvantage of before the flick and during the ads and main film, of keeping the sound turned up to the maximum. A headache by the end of the show is guaranteed!

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reader_in_transit

Reading The Lido by Libby Page. "Lido" is British English for open-air public swimming pool or beach. In this case, it is the Brockwell Lido, a swimming pool in Brixton, South London. It is threatened with closure by the gentrification taking over the world's big cities. A young journalist, who writes for the local newspaper, goes to inteview an elderly woman who has launched a campaign to save it.

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annpanagain

Vee, I sympathise! I can go easily to any number of cinemas but haven't been for many years. I have had to go outside into the foyer a few times to get away from the crashing noise also I like to take a break and stretch my aching back and cramped long legs. It is easier to wait until the movie DVD comes out and enjoy it at home.

I finished the Lighthouse Library mystery and hope the library will soon get in one of my requests. If not, I think I shall try one of the Vera series by Ann Cleeves as I have been watching the TV episodes which I missed first time around.

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vee_new

I've never read anything by Ann Cleaves, although I have heard her talk on the radio and she sounds interesting. Plus I know the Shetland Isles quite well and my brother has just bought a house there (check out Raewick) A friend wrote yesterday saying she is 'into' Ruth Rendell's writing and that she is far superior to Cleaves.

Would any RP'er agree? Or is it style over substance?

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annpanagain

Vee, I haven't read either author but I think Rendell writes rather dark mysteries.

I read somewhere that she said she was better than Christie! Yeah? I wonder how many reprints, movies and TV productions she will get to her credit many years after she stops writing? Christie might have her faults but she is just about the most popular mystery writer still! Go Agatha!

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friedag

Carolyn, on your recommendation I have ordered Gallows Court. I have not read any of Martin Edwards' own books, but I've been reading the British Library Crime Classics (two by E.C.R Lorac, John Dickson Carr's first published crime novel, and two by Freeman Wills Crofts, plus a couple of mystery anthologies) which Edwards edited and wrote Introductions for. His introductions are almost more interesting than the books themselves, so I am willing to see what he can do with his own full-length stories. Gallows Court sounds promising -- I like the atmosphere of the Golden Age and Golden Age-inspired mysteries, although I'm usually leery of any story promoted as the launch of a new series!

Have you read Edwards' Lake District mysteries?

I have two reference books, The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books and The Golden Age of Murder by Edwards. One of the points that Edwards made -- or perhaps it was one of his reviewers -- is how women writers of mysteries came to prominence, particularly during the 1920s and 1930s. I bristled a bit about the explanation for this: after the Great War there were superfluous women in Great Britain who would never marry or have children. It was in the decades between the wars that GB, and England especially, became a feminized country when it came to cultural entertainments -- women want to read about women. I'm not so sure about that pronouncement, but what is certain, I think, is there is no doubt that British women writers did create stories that turned American female readers into anglophiles more than half the time! Do you agree? :-)

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carolyn_ky

Yes, Frieda, and I like the Lake District books very much. I read the first of his Harry Devlin books and didn't like it as well.

I have just finished reading Death in Focus, new by Anne Perry and the first of a proposed new series. I liked it far better than the last several of her Pitt and Monk series. It is set in 1930; the heroine is a professional photographer and gets involved with the rising Brown Shirts; and it mentions "superfluous women." You might like to give it a try.

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annpanagain

Frieda, I have come across many references to these superfluous women in books written around that time. Some of them were very poor and suffered starvation as work was hard to find if they were not trained. They even went into service as domestics, there is a mention of "a lady parlourmaid" in a Christie book and some became companions to elderly ladies.

I believe that WW1 war marriages were made hastily so that the wife would receive a pension if her husband was killed. The number of young men who died was horrific.

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msmeow

I put aside the Civil War bodice-ripper and am halfway through The Long Way Home by Louise Penny. This one seems to be wrapping up the one story line she didn't finish up in How the Light Gets In.

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Donna.......NO SPOILERS please,but I have to say I 'm on the last few pages of How The Light Gets In and it is nerve-wracking ! I haven't read a book in a long time that I simply cannot put down ! And I have to say that for anyone not familiar with the Louise Penny Three Pines books, you do have to read them in order. Many of the books take up where the last ended. I'm usually not one to get right into the next book in the series but in this case I will have to do that. Wow. Brava, Louise Penny !

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carolyn_ky

I'm in another hard-to-put-down book, What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr. It's nothing like her national park books, beginning with an older patient who escapes from a posh nursing home and doesn't know how she got there. Set in the present, so Victorian stuff.

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carolyn_ky

I've stayed up past my bedtime finishing the Barr book and loved it. Favorite line: "She was forty before she realized that when she asked a man what he was thinking and he said 'Nothing,' he wasn't lying.

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yoyobon_gw

Donna, I finished How The Light Gets In . I loved it and am not ashamed to admit to a few tears :0) What a white-knuckle story. I think I will take a break from the series and read Emotionally Weird next . I have to get myself out of Three Pines !

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annpanagain

Carolyn, did the woman you mentioned find that when she reached forty, she felt that men were no longer interested in her? I have reached over eighty and still get appreciative looks so I would be wondering what is wrong with those men! Or else she needed to smarten herself up...

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msmeow

Bon, this is the fourth LP I've read in a short span of time. I usually take a break between books in a series, too, but with these I wanted to know what was happening next right away!

Donna

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woodnymph2_gw

Yoyo, I respectfully disagree with you about reading the L. Penny books in strict order. I have had to take what was available at the time from my library and I was able to follow them along quite easily, out of order. That's one sign of a skilled author.

I just tried to order from our library the latest L. Penny only to learn that I am 99th on the waiting list!

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kathy_t

I finished reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. It's a very interesting (and true, although novelized) account of how a Jewish man survived the WWII concentration camps by doing a job that gave him certain privileges and more free time than those who labored in the camps. But being the head tattooist also made him appear to be cooperating with Nazi authorities. He used his privileges to help others in the camp though, so he walked a very fine line.

I have to admit that I did not embark on this book very willingly, as I am weary of reading about the atrocities of WWII and can hardly stand to do it any more. I read it for an upcoming discussion in my book group, and I'm not sorry that I did, but I do hope we get past this continuing fascination with the unspeakable violence of that period.

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yoyobon_gw

Woodnymph....however, books 7, 8 , 9 , 10 distinctly carry the same storyline forward much like the HP books do. Her small token reference to a portion of the preceding story does not give you the full information. Some of her early books can stand alone fairly well.

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carolyn_ky

No, Ann, there was no romance in the Barr book. It is about a woman escaping from a care home and trying to find out how she got there. It isn't written as a comedy, but it does have some very funny lines.

I'm 83 myself and have to wonder about the women in my peer group who want to, and do, remarry. One of them remarried last year and is now in a nursing home. I don't want to take care of a sick old man, nor do I want anyone to have to take care of me. So far, I have had excellent health and am very thankful for it. (Appreciative looks are okay.)

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annpanagain

Carolyn, I agree about the remarrying. Would you believe that when I was going to my husband's funeral, someone commented on my appearance and said it would be easy for me to find a new partner! Only one of the many inept and inane remarks people came out with after he died! Luckily I have a sense of the ridiculous.

I think my favourite faux pas was his bank acknowledging the closure of his account by my sending a Death Certificate and they begged him to rejoin.

They sent me a huge box of Belgian chocolates and flowers as an apology when I complained! It was the fault of the computer, of course...

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msmeow

Ann, what an awful thing to say at a funeral!

My mom had no intention of remarrying after my dad died. She survived him by over 20 years and was perfectly happy being on her own.

I am on my third mother-in-law, though. :) After DH's mom died Dad married a lady who was his sister's best friend since childhood. Hubby and his siblings and cousins grew up calling her Aunt Bobbie. After she died he married a lady he met at the retirement community where he lives. They are both in pretty good health, though losing their eyesight. Dad will be 90 in January.

Donna

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annpanagain

Donna, my family seem to be into remarriages and it is very confusing to me.

I was at my Great-grandson's 12th birthday party on Sunday and had most of my family there. The seven grandchildren and wives/partners I know by name but I also have eight great-grandchildren, seven are girls and I have a problem with them as six look very similar, blonde girls with blue eyes! I am fine with the redheaded new baby. Quite distinctive!

Then there were their other relatives and friends...

I smile and nod vaguely at them and bless the fact that I am ancient and am not expected to recognise them all!

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carolyn_ky

Ann, re funeral comments, at my mother's funeral a woman coming through the condolence line told me to "have a nice day." I'm sure she left either biting her tongue or completely unaware of what she had said. That is such a cliched saying and one I try never to use.

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vee_new

re funeral comments: Although we have lived in this village for over 40 years we still don't count as 'locals' and probably never will, so we don't automatically attend the funerals of those who die in the area. A neighbour ( a real local) used to fill me in on all the details. She always attends every such event (though surely not to see her name in the paper) and told me it was necessary to get there early to 'get a good seat'. Of course sitting in the church up to an hour before the service begins means she has plenty of time to catch up on gossip, making a note of who was there, or not. Once, she told me, she went over to a relative of the deceased and told them "People don't live long in your family, do they?" She just did not see the inappropriateness of the remark . . .

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annpanagain

Vee, your comment about not being accepted as a local reminded me of when we went to stay in a very old thatched cottage in a small village in 1942. A woman spoke to my mother and said she was still referred to as "That London Woman" even after twenty-five years residence. The old village women were very inquisitive and even pumped me, a five -year old as to why we were there. They wouldn't ask my mother directly!

Being impressionable I have many memories of that place. We were actually there to be near my father who was stationed in barracks, prior to embarkation to places unknown during WW2.

I have the Shilling Lane book waiting for me at the library, recommended by Carolyn.

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astrokath

I recently read the latest Louise Penny and liked it much more than the previous couple, the last of which I thought had a 'twist' that stood out so much it wasn't twisty at all.

I am devouring Mick Herron's 'Slough House' thrillers. The characters are MI5 operatives who have made mistakes or have problems like alcoholism and have been packed off to do busy work in the hopes that they will resign. However, they keep getting caught up in Secret Service action. The leader of the group is a truly dreadful man who says the most outrageous (but nevertheless funny) things. The thriller aspect is well done, but the characters are the real winners. There is a lot of swearing and unbecoming behaviour though, so not for everyone.

Kathy, I read The Tattooist last year and although I couldn't put it down while I was reading it, I felt unsure about it when I finished. The historical arm of Auschwitz has said, although based 'on a true story', it has very little authenticity. It was originally written as a film script and I felt that was obvious in the writing. The author has now released a book called Cilka's Journey which follows one of the characters to a Soviet gulag, and is said to be an amalgam of several stories.

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yoyobon_gw

I'm reading A Village Affair by Joanna Trollope and am enjoying it so far.

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msmeow

Bon, I can't wait till you read The Long Way Home by Louise Penny! I will be interested in your opinion of it.

Now I guess I'll go back to the Civil War story and see if it gets any better. If not, there are lots more books where it came from. :)

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Donna, I had to take a breather from the drama of HTLGI ......but when I finish being neutralized by Joanna Trollope I will be diving back into Gamache's latest problems with Long Way :0) Honestly, that HTLGI had me thinking about the characters and feeling very stressed over them !! Now, that's great writing !

Bon

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kathy_t

Astrokath - Thanks for that information about The Tatooist… I had no idea its authenticity had been questioned. I think I'll do a little reading about it before our November book club discussion.

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Rosefolly

I've been reading novels with a connection to mythology. It started a while back with Song of Achilles and Circe by Madeleine Miller, both of which I liked. Next I read The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, which I also liked very much. This one covered the same Trojan War events but from the viewpoint of the women captives. Recently I stumbled upon a SF trilogy based on the gods of Ancient Greece living in modern times, but with diminished powers because no one is worshipping them. These are The Immortals, Winter of the Gods, and Olympus Bound, written by Jordanna Max Brodsky. The books are deeply researched, as to both the mythology and the settings. I am currently reading the final novel. Along the way as a break I read Lovely War by Julie Berry, in which Aphrodite, Ares, Hades, Apollo and Hephaestus examine the love affairs of two young couples during World War I. I found it much lighter in tone than any of the other books, but still enjoyable, and it has been getting good reviews. It is written as a YA book, though I didn't realize it when I picked it up.

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reader_in_transit

Finished The Lido by Libby Page. A lido (public open-air swimming pool) in Brixton, South London, is threatened with closure. An elderly woman, whose life revolves around the lido, launches a campaign to save it. A young woman, reporter from the local newspaper, decides to help her. They become friends and, in the long run, make each other's life better. This, and the people surrounding them, was the best thing about the book.

That said, I almost quit reading it halfway because it was too slow. But as I was busy with many other things, I continued to read a few pages at a time. Around page 180 things picked up.

The Brockwell Lido does exist in Brixton. It closed in 1990, but a local campaign succeeded in reopening it in 1994. A few more facts/events in the novel are based in real life.

This is the author's first novel, and it shows. It annoyed me that frequently she tells instead of showing. In addition, there are what I consider clichés, like the young woman wondering what is the destination of passengers on a train, wondering about the lives of those living in homes that she peeks through windows. At times, she could have trimmed her descriptions. However, the story is good, and it was refreshing to see a friendship between a woman in her twenties and an octogenarian.

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carolyn_ky

I'm reading two books. One is Queen of the World by Robert Hardman, a biography of Elizabeth II from the time of her ascension to the throne. It isn't chronological but rather more by subject and is quite interesting and easy to read (except that the author thinks I know more about British persons and politics than I do). I'm not trying to read it straight through--533 pages--but a chapter or so at a time.

The other one is Remembering the Dead by Elizabeth Duncan, a Penny Brannigan cozy set in Wales, one of my "like eating peanuts" series.







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msmeow

"there are what I consider clichés, like the young woman wondering what is the destination of passengers on a train"

R-I-T, I feel the same way about the book I'm trying to read, Daughter of Twin Oaks by Lauraine Snelling. It seems very trite and like the story's been told many times before (by better writers). This author has a lot of published books so somebody must like her writing. :) I decided to stop again and read something else. Maybe I'll finish it, but it's not likely.

Donna

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lemonhead101

Since it's October, I wanted to find a not-that-scary book to read and came up with a 1955 short story collection from Ray Bradbury. Called "The October Country", it contains stories published between the early 1940s and later 1950s. They're good so far - rather reminiscent of "Tales of the Unexpected" (which I just found was actually an English show?). Anyway, these stories are just spooky enough without terrifying me. :-)

I'm also in the middle of reading another (scary) older (1987) book called "And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic" by Randy Shilts. It details the early history of HIV/AIDS and how fast the early epidemic numbers grew as public officials were tardy in recognizing the public health issue that it was, especially within the high-risk populations.

Looking back on it from 3o years on, the signs of alarm seem so very obvious... The book was critically well received, but the gay community were really cross at Shilts' depiction of the cut-throat politics within that population.

It's well written - since it was published in 1987, the HIV/AIDS epidemic was still in its infancy. Shilts received some blowback about some of his very particular details, but considering at which stage the epidemic was, the title is still considered one of the great examples of investigative journalism and narrative nonfiction.

It's interesting to read back and forth between the 1950s short stories from Bradbury and the 1980s' hedonistic party culture of Shilts. Such a contrast!!

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reader_in_transit

Donna,

The book The Lido per se is not a cliché. It's just that those scenes of a young female character seeing a train go by and wondering where the passengers are going, or seeing people through windows and wondering about their lives, it's something I've read before, almost verbatim, in other novels. It must be something they teach in creative writing courses.

However, these characters never wonder where the people on an airplane or a bus are going because trains are romantic, while buses and planes are prosaic (true, there is nothing romantic about the long TSA lines at the airport or the noise planes flying overhead do). So far, in my experience, the character has always been a young woman. Never have I encountered a male character having this sort of musings.

Lemonhead,

I remember clearly reading the TIME magazine review of And the Band Played On back when it was published. If my memory serves me, it traces the epidemic down to the index case (the first identified patient in an epidemic investigation), no?

Let us know what you think when you finish it.

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vee_new

The Documents in the Case is the first Dorothy L Sayers book I have read. It was a reprint from 1930 and the whole story hangs on a series of letters and later reports from the various writers who become involved in the death of one of the characters.

Because of when it was written much of the language/conversations between the participants appears very dated and the whole thing was slow in getting off the ground. The story picks up about halfway through but then takes a serious nose-dive in the last couple of chapters with 'conversations' taking place between scientists about the Meaning of Life.

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annpanagain

Vee...I hope this book hasn't put you off Sayers! I like her books although they are dated. I think the best one is "Busman's Honeymoon." I saw a TV adaptation of it many years ago as well as some of her other books.

I was amused to read that the lifestyle she gave Peter Wimsey was a wish fulfillment for herself. She said that she had a hole in her carpet so gave him a Persian rug!

I have just finished a cosy mystery which described the clothes worn by just about every character! I winced, reading a line in another book about the heroine "putting earrings in her ears."! Where else?

That was almost as bad as another character who put a straw hat on her head! Although I suppose that one could have worn hers hanging from the back of her neck, like in a Regency production that wants to have bonnets for authenticity but not have the cast actually wear them!

I noticed in the DVD of Vanity Fair, the girls didn't tie their bonnets on but let the ribbons hang loose. Possibly a genuine fashion? Becky's high crowned hats were gorgeous!

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vee_new

Annpan, these days there is no telling where earrings, or any other sort of ring may be found. I still feel quite queasy when I see someone with a tongue piercing.

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friedag

Vee, if you haven't already read The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards, you might appreciate his take on the history of "The Detection Club" whose founding members were Dorothy L Sayers, Anthony Berkeley, and Agatha Christie. G K Chesterton was asked to be the president of this "mutual admiration society." Sayers provided the greatest energy because she knew how to organize and advertise, having worked for an advertising agency. She was described as something of a 'battle axe' who could stand up to Anthony Berkeley's acidity, misogyny, and general cynicism, but she overshadowed shy Agatha Christie. Christie agreed to join because, although she was already famous, she was isolated and needed intellectual stimulation. When Christie attended the Detection Club meetings and dinners, she was mostly an observer who took in the antics and opinions of the more vocal club members.

I never liked Sayers's crime novels as well as Christie's, or those of Anthony Berkeley, for that matter. Lord Peter Wimsey is insufferable, in my opinion, and his romance with Harriet Vane seems to have been Sayers's acknowledgement that she had to bow to the inevitable and satisfy her readers who wanted romance along with solving puzzles. Gaudy Night is considered by many, including Sayers herself, to be her masterpiece although no murder occurs in it.

I suppose what fascinates me most about the Golden Age crime novelists -- and particularly the Detection Club members -- is how flawed many (perhaps most) of them were. And how secretive! Sayers, in spite of courting the spotlight, successfully pulled off her subterfuge to the end of her life. Christie never did set the record straight about her 1926 disappearance, either. Contrast their reactions to the later blabbermouth writers who were elected to the Detection Club (which still exists). Sometimes I think the best books I ever read were those whose authors I knew absolutely nothing about on first reading.

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vee_new

Frieda I've read very little detective fiction though I have watched a few things on TV (almost impossible to NOT see them)

I recently read Deadlier than the Male by Jessica Mann which deals in some depth with several English women crime writers from the so-called Golden Age. You might enjoy it and although it came out in 1980? some copies are still available second hand 'on line'; where I sometimes purchase very cheap older books.

I am just starting a Ruth Rendell. Lots of blood soaking into the tablecloth at the moment.

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kathy_t

Very interesting, Frieda. I knew nothing of The Detection Club before you mentioned it in your post. Thank you.

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annpanagain

Vee, you are quite right about the location of rings in strange places. A masseuse who caters for senior ladies told me of rings in navels and even further South, worn by some of her clients!

I had my ears pierced years ago as I have no proper lobes and was always having clip-ons fall off. My son took me to have it done, assuring me that he would then always know what to get me as a gift. Not one pair have I had from him though!

I am eagerly waiting for the latest Laura Levine "Jaine Austen" mystery. I must admit that I first skip through the story to read the emails from the parents. They are so wonderfully funny, her mother who is always buying stuff from the internet and her father with his mad ideas.

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yoyobon_gw

Ann.., ouch ! And then I try to imagine the scenario.....or the inconvenience.

Talk about your "dangling participles " ! yikes.

SPOILER :

Donna, in HTLGI, when the quint comes to Ruth's house in the very beginning and at first she slams the door in her face then opens it and says " I thought you were dead." Did I miss something ? Did Ruth know who she was all along ? Is that why we were lead to assume falsely that Ruth might be related ? What did you get from this ?

Bon

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msmeow

Bon, I honestly don’t remember what I thought at the time! I can’t even remember who killed the last quint. :)

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reader_in_transit

I got from the library The Joy of Hygge by Jonny Jackson & Elias Larsen because of a butternut squash soup recipe I wanted to try (it turned out to be insipid, I had to add a lot of garlic and sage to improve it). The book has a cozy mood and nice photos (all from Shutterstock). I learned a couple of things about how to store firewood, and that beech and birch are good for burning, but not chestnut, fir or oak. You can read the whole book in less than an hour.

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annpanagain

SPOILER

I started The Spies of Shilling Lane, got to the scene of the bombing with being rather incredulous about the reactions shown by the leading characters but persevered until I got to the rescue with a ballpoint pen! Clang!! Our heroine wouldn't possess one in 1940. The poor abducted girl would still be tied up until the mid-1940s at least!

So I went to Goodreads to see what other readers thought of the book in the one and two star ratings. That place is to me like going to a Book Club, finding like minded readers! Mostly thought the plot preposterous too but I shall skip to finish. I do want to find out the dreaded family secret!

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netla

I have been on a classics kick lately. After reading In Search of the Castaways by Jules Verne in September, I went on to read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells and finished both yesterday (I was reading them in tandem).

I found 'Leagues' somewhat tedious at times, what with all the descriptions of sea creatures that needed looking up in a dictionary (because I'm too curious not to). It was an annotated edition, but didn't have enough definitions of all the sea creatures. I really think that there should exist a naturalist's edition with photos and illustrations. (I'm sure Prof. Aronnax would approve).

As for 'Island', it was interesting to read and consider the moral and ethical implications of Dr. Moreau's experiments. The book, and especially the ending, has strong echoes of the fourth journey and ending of Swift's Gulliver's Travels, with both narrators having become detached from the human race, one because he feels he is back amongst the beast people of the island, and the other because he feels that he and all other humans are but beasts compared with the noble houyhnhnms.

I am now reading The Mysterious Island by Verne.

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yoyobon_gw

reader........have you ever tried making Roast Butternut Squash Bisque ? I had it in Vermont one winter and loved it ! It is very simple to make and so delicious and satisfying.

Butternut Bisque

1. Cut in half lengthwise , take out seeds and roast one butternut squash in 375 degree oven until very tender. Scoop out when cool and puree.

2. Saute' in 1 Tbsp. olive oil : 1/2 c. finely diced onions or leeks. Do not brown.

3. Add pureed squash, 1/4 t. cinnamon, 2 T sherry, 1/4 t. ginger , pinch of nutmeg,

2 1/2 c. chicken stock. Simmer 20 min.

4. Whisk in 1/4 c. heavy cream or Half N Half.

Serve with herb croutons if desired. This freezes very well.


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reader_in_transit

Thanks, Yoyobon, for the recipe. It is not that different from the one in the book, except it has heavy cream and spices. The one in the book calls for roasting the butternut squash after it has been coated with a small amount of olive oil and "a handful" of chopped sage leaves. The onions are cooked separately. What I liked about it is that it is healthy, no cream. But your recipe has only a small amount of heavy cream, so that's acceptable too. I may give it a try once I get some cooking sherry. Adding spices, in lieu of sage, will give it a different, but interesting flavor. Thanks again!

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yoyobon_gw

reader....the sweeter spices give a wonderful contrast to the onion /stock base.

You can use half fat milk instead of cream or even non fat milk. Your choice.

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msmeow

Netla, I read The Mysterious Island every summer when I was in high school (probably junior high, too - I think I read it five or six times). At that time I had a crush on the teenage character. I recently tried to read it again but gave up before halfway. It just didn't have the same magic, I guess. :)

Donna

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netla

Donna, I definitely think The Mysterious Island is a book that one can become enamoured with if it's read at the right age. It's a perfect example of the kind of adventure novel that appeals to young readers.

So far, I find it enjoyable to compare it with the other Verne novels I have read and to read about all the unbelievable things the castaways are able to achieve because they have an engineer with them, and I am half-appalled at the abandon with which they slaughter the animals around them and alter the nature and habitat in which they find themselves. But I would probably do the same if I were to find myself stranded on a desert island with no hope of rescue.

Believe it or not, it appeals to me because it reminds me, in some way I can’t quite explain, of Enid Blyton’s The Island of Adventure and The Valley of Adventure, two books that I highly enjoyed as a child. It may be becuase of the indomitable spirit of adventure and discovery that suffuses all of these books.

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woodnymph2_gw

Having finished "Denmark Vesey's Garden" (about early slavery in Charleston SC) I am now halfway through "Disappointment River" by Brian Castner. It's a story of western exploration of the Yukon territory in upper Canada. McKenzie was a Scot, born on one of the poor and desolate isles, who made his way in the 1700's to New York, Detroit, and on to Canada. He wanted to find the fabled water route to China across the continent that had baffled other explorers before him, such as Columbus. He set out with Native Americans as guides ( First Peoples, to Canadians) and braved mosquito infestations, white water rapids. frigid temps and more. The book is interspersed by the author's own exploration of the same territory in 2016, with violent weather, thievery, rough waters and enormous insects. The river he explored is now named "McKenzie" for the original adventurer. It's a fascinating portrait of the mostly unsettled part of Canada and of the tribal remnants, thus far.

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friedag

Within the past month or so, Vee and another RPer exchanged posts about A House in Flanders by Michael Jenkins. I can't find those mentions now, because I keep getting an "Oops! An error has occurred" message when I try to search Houzz for Jenkins' book. My apologies for not remembering the other RP poster by name.

At any rate, I recall reading Jenkins' slender book a few years ago and liking it very much. I found it again yesterday on my very messy and disorganized bookshelves. It's only 171 pages long, so it only took me a couple of hours, including interruptions, to reread. I was as entertained as the first time.

However, I remembered the story of the fourteen-year-old English boy spending the summer of 1951 in the French part of Flanders as a memoir. It's even billed as a memoir in the blurbs on the back cover. Yet I thought there was something odd about that claim. For one, the village is not named and its location is a bit vague.

I flipped to the "about the author" page and found this disclaimer:

This book is based on a real period in my boyhood, but telling of it owes something to my imagination and any resemblance between the characters and persons now alive is both accidental and coincidental.

Well, I do understand why writers have to make this sort of disclaimer. They have to change names, locations, and disguise events to prevent lawsuits, but it's rather dissatisfying because I don't know what the writer changed and I'll never know if the story would have been as compelling if everything in it was real. I recently read Georges Simenon's largely autobiographical novel, Pedigree, which he had to revise because too many readers in Liege, Belgium recognized, or thought they recognized, themselves or events and brought libel suits against Simenon. Grrr!

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yoyobon_gw

This is the second time I'm trying to read Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald. The first time I put it down with disgust, feeling it was poorly written and over-hyped. After a few months I thought perhaps I'd been too harsh so here I go again. It took to page 5 before I find this sentence :

"Joe hadn't had his coffee yet, but he moved to her side in just a few steps."

*sigh*...how can I respect a writer who would put something like that down on paper ? It is inane and meaningless !

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annpanagain

Yoyo, I too get put off an author because of that kind of writing. I am still getting the "taste" of the Shilling Lane book out of my head! Among the many things that annoyed me about that book was the comment about people digging up flower gardens to grow vegetables "for eating"!

I am not sure if "taste" is the best word but I can't think of a better. The book was so ludicrous! One character gets tortured and beaten up several times, falls out of a moving vehicle and she runs off after that!

She survives all trauma with the resilience of the cartoon animal in a Road Runner short!

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yoyobon_gw

Ann......I wonder if they believe their writing is great. Otherwise why write such drivel. After that coffee sentence i cited, I now find that I'm more aware of her awkward thinking/writing , which doesn't bode well for my finishing the book.

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vee_new

yoyo, there are SO many things wrong with the sentence you quoted above!

No need for yet at the end of the sentence. How/why did coffee make Joe move faster? Was she so far away from him that it was surprising he reached her in so few steps?

I have noticed (even here at RP) many Americans describe their need for a morning cup of coffee as though they must take a drug to kick-start their day!

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vee_new

Frieda (and anyone because I know it is unlikely Frieda will pick up this thread!) I found some interesting info on Michael Jenkins (A House in Flanders) via the Wikipedia site and although there is nothing about his French family is seems easy to see why he explains in the forward to the book how parts of it are based on his 'imagination'. I don't think it means he is 'making it up' so much as trying to 'remember' facts that took place many years before and possibly put them into some sort of order.

It is difficult to imagine a 'modern' 14 year old fitting in to that setting and not being bored out of their tiny mind with what appears to be little action, just quiet day-to-day living.



Michael Jenkins . . see also Elizabeth Jenkins, his Aunt and author

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msmeow

Bon, presumably Joe could move to her side in just one step if he'd had coffee! LOL

I'm reading another Faye Kellerman, Street Dreams. In general I like her writing and I think she tells a good story, but there are a couple of phrases that she uses far too much, and now that I've read quite a few of her books I'm hyper-aware of them. The one that comes to mind is, "He/she blew out air." Why not just say they sighed?

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

Donna.....lol " faster than a speeding bullet....."

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carolyn_ky

I checked out both Home Fires and Keep the Home Fires Burning from the Library. The first is from Julie Summers' social history of the Women's Institute organization, and the latter is evidently four volumes in one book by S. Block and carries on the story that Masterpiece Theater began and did not complete. At least, I hope that is what it is. I liked the program very much and was sorry they dropped it at mid-point.

I began Home Fires this afternoon thinking it was the TV production story. It is not; it is what Ms. Summers wrote and was approached to see if she would it let it be written up as a story and produced. The book is a factual account describing different groups of the WI and how it became such an important part of English and Welsh life for farm women who were mostly kept at home by their family responsibilities and how it expanded to help feed the country and house the needy during WWII.

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