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kathy_tt

As the pandemic marches on, what are you reading in August 2020?

kathy_t
3 years ago

By now it's clear that hot summer weather has not slowed the pandemic as predicted, but we who love reading are fortunate indeed as we continue to self isolate.


I'm currently enjoying The One-in-a-million Boy by Monica Wood. My secondary book, White Fragility by Robin Diangelo, is a struggle. It's not exactly written in layman's language - very erudite IMO.

Comments (91)

  • masgar14
    3 years ago

    msmeow. Valle D'Aosta mountain 's Italy

  • yoyobon_gw
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Buona fortuna e buon viaggio !

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  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    I've just finished Murder Is My Neighbor, an Ellie Quicke mystery by Veronica Heley. Popcorn reading, but enjoyable. Ellie's daughter is a piece of work, and Ellie finally seems to have worked up enough spunk to say no to giving her more money to squander plus solving another murder for her unbelievably dense detective.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    Now on to Curtain Call by Graham Hurley. I'm not sure how I heard about this one. It isn't a mystery but is the first of a series featuring Enora Anderson, an actress who is in the process of divorcing her husband who has enticed their 17-year-old son to go away with him. It's a good story. Set in Portsmouth, England.



  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    Curtain Call is a really good book, and there are two more to follow. I've just finished it and look forward to the others, but I have some more checked out to read first.

  • msmeow
    3 years ago

    Masgar, have a wonderful trip!

    Carolyn, I may give Curtain Call a try. I could use a change of genre.

    I’m just keeping on with the Women’s Murder Club series and the Decker/Lazarus series by Faye Kellerman. I’m nearing the end of both.

    Donna

  • yoyobon_gw
    3 years ago

    A Treacherous Curse , Veronica Speedwell Mystery #3. Just love this series.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Devil's Fjord, David Hewson

    New author for me. The setting is the Faroes, off Denmark, and it is too stark for me. I will finish it, though. What else is there to do? A year ago yesterday, we left for our Switzerland & Austria tour. This year we can't even fly into Hawaii with a 14-day quarantine, not that I would want to fly anywhere right now. About all I do is read and eat.

  • sheri_z6
    3 years ago

    I just finished The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow. I loved it. It was a good story with a wonderful heroine (and her dog), interesting world-building, and beautiful writing with an occasional incandescent turn of phrase. Definitely among the top ten books I've read this year. If you liked The Night Circus, you'll like this book.

    Carolyn, I was able to get all three of the Victoria Thompson Counterfeit Lady mysteries from the library and that's what I'll be reading next.

  • annpanagain
    3 years ago

    Carolyn, same with me! Excepting I am not eating a lot and have lost 10kgs over the last few months when everyone else seems to be complaining about gaining weight!

    I am getting tempting brochures from the travel agent I went with once for trips within the State as we can't go past the border still. However, I am taking trips vicariously with my son who is touring up North, sightseeing and getting gigs, playing the guitar and singing at various venues on his travels. He is sending photoes and calls regularly to commiserate on our bad weather down South!

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    Ann, so that's where my extra weight came from! You know, if someone loses weight, it has to go somewhere.

    I meant to say above that I can't fly to Hawaii without a 14-day quarantine after arriving there. Right now, that ban is supposed to be lifted on September 1, but I still don't think I will want to be on a plane.

  • annpanagain
    3 years ago

    Carolyn, you don't have my lost weight, that has been claimed already by an i'net friend in Sydney!

    I agree with you about going on a plane. We can go to some off-shore islands in a "travel bubble" but I am sticking with a ten-mile radius! That takes in the shops and local library. One good thing for me from the Covid programs is that I now have the Support Worker who cleans for me once a fortnight taking me to the shops afterwards. This saves me having to use buses and lugging heavy shopping home. I was finding it a bit much but too short a trip for a taxi-driver.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    Ann, that's great that you can get taken for shopping.

    I have just barely started reading Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz. My daughter gave me a birthday gift of a three-month membership in Mr. Holmes where I will receive one letter a month directed to Sherlock Holmes asking for his help in solving a problem. I have received the first one, which is four handwritten pages about the background of a man's father who is aging and has begun to play the stock market upon the advice of a medium who tells the father that his deceased father is offering advice on investing. The request is that Mr. Holmes stop the medium. I have no idea what the clues are much less how to solve the problem. I'm supposed to get another letter telling me what should be done.

  • skibby (zone 4 Vermont)
    3 years ago

    How fun!

  • kathy_t
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Carolyn - Yes - fun! Please keep us apprised of your future correspondence regarding you and Sherlock.

  • friedag
    3 years ago

    I just finished the ninth installment in the Martin Beck police mystery series by writing 'partners' Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. It is called Cop Killer which is not a good title, in my opinion, because that crime is a late-developing one and is misleading. Instead a different crime occupies Martin Beck, chief of the National Homicide Squad of the Swedish police, through most of this story set in November 1973.


    First, I must acknowledge that the characters of this series about the Stockholm police have grown on me. I feel that I now know all of them very well, and for the most part like them, although they are ordinary, flawed human beings. The flaws, however, were intentionally created by Sjowall/Wahloo. Intentional too are the commentary and criticisms of Swedish society, interwoven by the authors into the ten parts of what could be called a magnum opus of about 3,000 pages with the embracing title "The Story of a Crime". Sjowall and Wahloo mapped out who and what they wanted to portray and depict in Sweden starting in 1964/1965 and ending ten years later. Sadly, Wahloo died in 1975 before the final book was completed, but Sjowall knew the story and her husband's style so intimately that she was able to bring the series to a conclusion in The Terrorists.


    I am procrastinating in starting the final book, because I have the feeling I will be bereft when it's over.


    I am glad, though, that I stuck with this series. I have discovered many more writers whose work, hopefully, I will find compelling. Each of the Martin Beck books has an introduction by a writer I have heard of but have never read. Some of them are Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbo, Colin Dexter, Jonathan Franzen, and Michael Connelly.


    Other well-known writers such as Val McDermid, Nicci French, and Michael Ondaatje wrote blurbs that have been cited. Nearly all of these writers say that Sjowall/Wahloo were major influences on their own storytelling style. I imagine Carolyn and Donna have read some (or all) of these authors, or at least know more about them than I do since I'm not much of a fiction series reader.


    One writer whose books sound very intriguing to me is Arnaldur Indridason whose series (I think more than one) are set mostly in Reykjavik. Maybe Netla can inform me about his books.

  • vee_new
    3 years ago

    Have just finished the last book ordered from the library Life Among the Savages: Raising Demons by Shirley Jackson who is better known for her 'horror' stories.

    The chapters first appeared as articles in US magazines back in the '50's so are rather repetitive and deal with her early married life moving from NYC to rural Vermont where her husband got a job at Bennington College. SJ is polite about the locals, regards her husband as the typical helpless-about-the-house male and gives the rest of the book over to her four children and their many foibles . . .some of which become rather tedious, so much so I felt they could all have done with a good slap and an early bedtime.

    As I have never read anything else by Jackson I looked her up and found in 'real life' her husband, who earned much less than she did, was controlling and had numerous affairs with his women students. This caused much distress to SJ who 'let herself go' compensating by over-eating, drinking, smoking and a reliance on prescription drugs possibly leading to her sudden death in her '40's.

    Is anyone here (Frieda/Skibby?) familiar with her other work?

  • merryworld
    3 years ago

    When I was in school we read The Lottery. It was brilliant, though now might seem cliche as her idea has been used many times for tv and movies. I'm not a horror fan so haven't read any of her other works.


  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    I remember seeing The Haunting of Hill House on TV and maybe read We Have Always Lived in the Castle, but I'm not a fan of horror either and don't remember the plots. Probably blocked them out!

    Frieda, I am in the process of reading Michael Connelly's books and like them a lot. I read a little Colin Dexter, Nicci French, and Val McDermid, liking some of their work but not all. I seem to remember that Dexter tried to be funny, which I dislike in mysteries, and I have become tired of Scandinavian angst. With your enthusiasm for Sjowall/Wahloo, though, I may try a couple of them.

    I have just received the new Ruth Galloway e-book, The Lantern Men, from the library and will start it later today.

  • friedag
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Vee, I remember the titles of the Shirley Jackson horror books Carolyn mentioned and the short story Merryworld read in school because it was a set text in my junior high school, too. I don't recall liking any of them.

    I remember Life Among the Savages: Raising Demons only somewhat better. There was one part that really stuck in my mind: it's about when Shirley was dealing with an estate agent and a potential buyer for the house she was selling. The customer was criticizing the sheer number of bookcases and books in the Jackson home, saying something like this:

    "The rooms would be spacious without all the books."

    Shirley thought: "Without the beds [or other furniture] the rooms would be spacious." (I thought, "Room for more books!")

    Of course I'm probably not delivering Jackson's words accurately. Did that part make an impression on your mind?

  • friedag
    3 years ago

    Carolyn, if you are tired of Scandinavian angst, I won't recommend the Martin Beck books for you. Sjowall/Wahloo are said to have originated the 'Nordic Noir' subgenre.

    I am surprised that I like their version of noir because I disliked Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and did not read the follow-ups. It was too much of a female revenge-on-men fantasy.

    IMO, the preoccupation with female sexuality in Scandinavian novels is (or was) authentic to a certain degree. (I remember that from my own experience of living in Europe in the seventies.) Swedish women, particularly, were said to be oversexed -- many were nymphomaniacs. I was always skeptical of that claim. I suspected it was the wishful thinking of some men instead. Some Swedish men, however, developed performance anxiety over the reputation of Swedish women. I think Sjowall/Wahloo brought it up too often.

    So, as you can tell, my enthusiasm is tempered. :-)

  • skibby (zone 4 Vermont)
    3 years ago

    No help here Vee. Never read any of Jackson's books. Not even The Haunting of Hill House (yet).

  • kathy_t
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    I'm currently doing a reread of A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles to prepare myself for September discussions and activities that are always part of our town's One Read program. Not sure how the program will differ this year, but I'm expecting a lot of events to be held on Zoom. I'm not a fan of Zoom, but it does provide a way for the people of 2020 to meet ... sigh.

    I'm enjoying Amor Towles's writing style again - perhaps paying better attention to it this time around. Here's a favorite sentence from page 98 that makes me want to try a bowl of Latvian stew from the Piazza Restaurant in the lobby of the Metropol Hotel in Moscow: The onions thoroughly caramelized, the pork slowly braised, the apricots briefly stewed, the three ingredients came together in a sweet and smoky medley that simultaneously suggested the comfort of a snowed-in tavern and the jangle of a Gypsy tambourine.

  • vee_new
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Frieda I am unable to find the passage you refer to in SJ's book although I can quite believe the situation. I mentioned here (RP) a while ago that when discussing the need to 'downsize' to my S-in-L she took one look round and said "Well, all these books will need to go for a start."

    Although I felt Jackson over-played her hand with the constant referral to the cute/clever remarks made by her somewhat infuriating children I enjoyed the piece about her oldest son starting kindergarten and reporting back each day about the bad behaviour of a boy called Charles who used 'bad' words, became 'fresh' with the teacher, threw toys about the room and had his mouth washed out with soap* . . .it turned out there was no boy of that name in the class and all the evidence pointed to her own son Laurence.

    * A warning to modern-day teachers NOT to try this as a court case will undoubtedly be brought against you.

  • kathy_t
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Vee - I like that story about there being no boy called Charles.

    All - Looking back at the sentence I quoted from A Gentleman in Moscow, I decided to google a recipe for Latvian Stew. I found this delightful little article and the recipe that Amor Towles uses.

    Latvian Stew recipe from Amor Towles

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    Kathy, I have copied the recipe to try next winter. Thanks.

  • yoyobon_gw
    3 years ago

    A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn, the 4th of the Veronica Speedwell mysteries. Love this series.

  • vee_new
    3 years ago

    Kathy, the Latvian Stew looks interesting and 'different' in that it is first cooked uncovered for 45 mins . . . rather than in an oven with a lid on. I have always found cooking on top of a stove (we use gas) causes stuff to 'do' rather too quickly as simmering is difficult to control. The combination of pork, prunes etc must give a lovely flavour.

  • yoyobon_gw
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    It sounds a bit German.......fruit and pork. I would do it all in the oven covered because you'd gain nothing by cooking it on the stove first . The oven keeps it at an even temp, especially with cover.

  • kathy_t
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    That makes sense to me, Bon.

  • sheri_z6
    3 years ago

    I just finished all three Counterfeit Lady books by Victoria Thompson, City of Lies, City of Secrets, and City of Scoundrels. All very enjoyable, thank you Carolyn! The main character, Elizabeth, is a grifter, and is a grown-up version of what Maeve from The Gaslight Mystery series might have been had she not gone into private investigating. These books were set in 1917 and 1918 and the historical descriptions of the 1918 'flu were scary and fascinating. There's a fourth book coming out in October, and I've already reserved it at my library.

    I also started The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead for my book group meeting on Wednesday. It's an ugly story of American slavery, and the author has a way of tossing graphic violence into a paragraph like he's simply commenting on the weather, powerfully conveying how ordinary and expected absolute horrors were for enslaved people. I'm only a quarter of the way in and I'm hoping to finish it before our meeting. I still have very limited bandwidth for disturbing and upsetting reading, so we'll see how I do.

    My reward after this is the newest Ilona Andrews urban fantasy, Emerald Blaze, which should arrive on Thursday.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    I finished The Lantern Men and really liked it, as I have all the Ruth Galloway books.

    No reading today. I went to see my sister in the country, and she fed me all fresh garden food--corn on the cob, green beans and little new potatoes, beets, cucumbers and onions in vinegar water, sliced tomatoes, squash fried in butter and sugar, meatloaf, and coconut cream pie. Yum!

  • kathy_t
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Carolyn, I'd like to visit your sister!

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    It would be a good choice, Kathy. She's the best cook in our family.

    I am reading another Kelly Greenwood book, Trick or Treat, one of her Corinna Chapman's that makes you hungry reading about the goodies she sells in her bakery.

  • vee_new
    3 years ago

    I've just finished a very enjoyable read The Choir by Joanna Trollope. I don't know why it has taken me so long to find it as it came out in the '80's and it was made into a TV series by the BBC . . . . and shown in the USA. Perhaps some of you saw it?

    Joanne Trollope writes well about the English middle class, which for me is a change from the grim and gritty tales of woe, poverty, abuse so many books are filled with these days.

    Although the story is fictitious she got most of her settings from our 'local' cathedral and choir school of Gloucester

    Gloucester Cathedral

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    What a beautiful cathedral, Vee. Thanks for posting it.


  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    I finished the third Max Maxted adventure, The Ends of the Earth, and it was another wild ride. Max's other name is Superman. He has solved his father's murder, meant to look like suicide, at the Paris Peace Conference following WWI, found that he was his father's son but not who he always thought was his mother's, rescued his real mother from the barred room in a Japanese castle in which she has lived for 28 years at the whim of a really bad husband, and flown off with her into the wild blue yonder in an old seaplane.

    Now I'm reading Ghost Ups Her Game by Carolyn Hart which is about what I needed after the last one.

  • vee_new
    3 years ago

    Just borrowed from a friend, Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light so I may well be away from RP for about a month. It will also help to build my upper-arm strength.

  • Kath
    3 years ago

    We have just finished listening to Conclave by Robert Harris, detailing the election of a new pope. I enjoyed it very much, with an interesting twist at the end.

    My own listen is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, which is a retelling of the Arthurian legend through the eyes of the women. I read it not long after it came out in 1982, and liked it. Now, however, it seems very very loooonnng. I'm pretty sure I could take out about a third without affecting the story in any way.

    I am currently reading Apeirogon by Cormac McCarthy, which has been long-listed for the Booker. It's the story of an Israeli and a Palestinian, drawn together in a peace movement after the deaths of their daughters, by a suicide bomber and a border guard respectively. It's very interesting, but written in a strange way. The paragraphs are numbered, and some of them are just facts about the area, or stories from the past, so I'm not really convinced it meets the criterion of 'novel'.

  • annpanagain
    3 years ago

    Vee, I still have not read the whole book. It didn't grip me like the first two.

    I just read the final chapters to see how Mantel dealt with the ending.

    I am also having a problem with finishing my current cosy "Careless Whiskers" by Miranda James. My D agreed that the series is getting repetitive.

  • merryworld
    3 years ago

    Astrokath, I have never read a Cormac McCarthy book that I've enjoyed. That one sounds a bit different than his usual fare but, I bet it doesn't have a happy ending.

    I was about to pick up where I left off in my Hungarian bank robber book when the library informed me that another ebook I had reserved months ago was available, The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. It's an entertaining fantasy novel.

    My book club has chosen Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts for next month's discussion.

  • vee_new
    3 years ago

    I forgot to mention above that I have been listening to via the BBC a dramatisation of The Alice B Toklas Cook Book I suppose I should know more than I do about Gertrude Stein and Alice B T. Perhaps there is a readable biography of them somewhere out there?

    The recipes are so complicated; everything seems to be drowning in cream and butter. I wonder that both ladies and their famous literary guests didn't die of heart attacks . . .or maybe they did?

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    I have started reading the new James Lee Burke book, A Private Cathedral. As always, the writing is superb, but the criminality is very bad.

  • Kath
    3 years ago

    I need to apologise, and especially to Merry - the book I am reading is by Colum McCann, not Cormac McCarthy. But you can see how I made that mistake :)

  • merryworld
    3 years ago

    Ah, no wonder it's not a bleak, apocalyptic, everyone and everything is awful book. I thought maybe since we seem to be heading into an apocalypse Cormac had decided to go down another road, so to speak.


  • msmeow
    3 years ago

    I'm reading The Law of Similars by Chris Bohjalian. It's about the consequences of people in a small town in Vermont using the services of the local homeopath. I'm about 1/4 of the way through, and I have to say it's too heavy on foreshadowing and too light on actually telling the story. But I have liked his other books so I'll keep with it. I was past halfway before The Light in the Ruins really interested me. :)

    Donna

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    I'm glad to report that Dave Robichaux and Clete have survived another saga of murder and mayhem, all couched in lyrical writing.

  • yoyobon_gw
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn ( 5th of Veronica Speedwell series)


  • annpanagain
    3 years ago

    Cute! Chocolate and just a million would be fine. I keep buying the lottery tickets and hoping!