vee_new

As the Leaves Fall: October Reading

vee_new
8 months ago

I've just finished Patchett's The Dutch House. A good read and although not too 'deep' there is plenty of food for thought.


Kathy I'm sure your book club will find many interesting points for discussion eg why was it written by a male? Why did the time-line wander about? etc . . . neither things that I couldn't handle.

I also enjoyed that it was written in what I call standard English!


Comments (82)

  • Carolyn Newlen
    8 months ago

    The mysteries are good, too! '

    In the Bas Bleu catalog I got today, there is a night shirt for sale showing the top of a girl's head with a book covering her face, in bed, covered up, propped up on pillows, and saying "Sorry, I can't. I'm practicing social distancing."

    vee_new thanked Carolyn Newlen
  • friedag
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months ago

    Probably many of you organized readers who alphabetize your books on your shelves by author and title -- using the Library of Congress or Dewey Decimal Classifications, not to mention color coding ;-) -- have never misplaced a book. Unfortunately, I never got in the habit of branding, corralling, and making my books behave, so they have a tendency to stray from shelf to shelf, room to room, box to box, suitcase to suitcase, house to house . . .


    My most recent 'lost book' is The Dutch House, which I set aside several months ago because I didn't engage with the characters or story at the first attempt (likely because I wasn't in the mood for that sort of thing). Now I think I'm ready to finish it, although I will probably have to start over. I found the dust jacket that I removed because it annoyed me, but the book itself is hiding, seemingly evading me purposefully!


    Someone, please, tell me I'm not the only reader who chases books gone wild.

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  • kathy_t
    8 months ago

    You're not the only one, Frieda. Usually the book I cannot find is the one I've just described to a visitor and I've offered to lend it to them. Then they stand there and watch me scanning my bookcases and saying, "I wonder if I lent it to someone else?" This has happened multiple times.

    I'm curious about why the dust cover of The Dutch House annoyed you, Frieda? I was a bit bothered by it at first because I thought the cover should have a picture of the house. I kept thinking, "That cover should be on a book titled The Dutch Girl, not The Dutch House." But now that I am 100 pages in, I realize that the book cover pictures a painting that hangs in the house and has a bit of a story behind it. I'm expecting the painting to take on greater importance as I move on to page 101.

  • annpanagain
    8 months ago

    I have a thing about dust jackets. I don't leave one on the book I am reading and if it is on a library book and attached, I wipe it, using a spray disinfectant if it feels sticky.

    I have just finished Catherine Aird's "Learning Curve". I missed that one when it was published for some reason. Delightful to find a book you never knew existed!

  • friedag
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months ago

    Kathy, like Annpan, I usually remove a dust jacket when it starts slipping and sliding. I have torn or creased too many of them when I try to keep the books and jackets together. Contradictory to my ingrained disorganization, I do have a box dedicated to removed jackets -- it doesn't have to make sense, I suppose. Periodically I have to match up the separated ones, which is a pain in my arthritic hands but to me is preferable to having the dust jackets in tatters.


    As for the jacket art: sometimes I just don't like to look at it because it distracts me from the story. I wind up trying to interpret the relevance between it and what's in the book. Often they have very little to do with one another. The Dutch House cover apparently does give indications, but I probably didn't get to the part that gives clues to why the girl has such watery eyes and appears to be in some sort of distress in spite of the pretty backdrop and vibrant colors. It all just seems to me to be too pretty (which, come to think of it, may be one of the points). I'll keep in my mind your realization of the significance of the girl's portrait, and I'll look for it. Thanks for pointing it out. Sometimes I am oblivious to something important.

  • vee_new
    Original Author
    8 months ago

    Annpan, re plastic covers on library books. I have an acquaintance who used to work on our 'mobile' library who's job it was so clean all the books with surgical spirit. I don't know what they use these days but as paperbacks don't last very long perhaps they just throw them out.

    I have recently heard that surgical spirit can be used instead of 'hand sanitizer' when dealing with Covid.

    Frieda, I could never cope with keeping books and their covers separate! For me the main disadvantage of a cover is that it always slides up or down the book and I spend too much time gently tapping it back into place to avoid dog-ears.


  • annpanagain
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months ago

    I find that loose dust jackets do slide if left on, which is why I remove them if possible before reading a book. I rarely look at the illustrations beforehand as some give the plot away. What were the illustrators thinking? Perhaps they don't even read the book!

    Some jackets are lovely and I mentioned before that I put them face forward on the bookshelf to enjoy as a picture.

    I wouldn't use too much hand sanitiser, it is very drying so I prefer to wash with a fatty soap where possible and only use the provided sanitiser at shop entrances and exits. I think we have upped our game in being hygienic in general and that is not a bad thing. This past Winter apparently has been low on flu numbers and we are just starting to get warm Spring weather.

    vee_new thanked annpanagain
  • yoyobon_gw
    8 months ago

    Soon to be read : The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

  • kathy_t
    8 months ago

    Ahhh... I see now, Frieda. I misinterpreted your annoyance at the dust cover. So it was not the artwork, but just the annoyance of dustcovers in general. Sounds like you have a good solution though. With our short spurts of electronic communication, it's so easy to misinterpret a person's meaning. I wishh we could all sit down and chat with one another in person.

  • donnamira
    8 months ago

    Yoyobon, I'll be interested in your opinion of the Schwab book. Based on the positive review in my newspaper (Washington Post Addie LaRue Review), I put it on hold at the library, where I'm #157 in line. :)

    I recently got 2 books off Mt TBR: Pip Granger's Trouble in Paradise, a prequel to her charming Not All Tarts Are Apple, a good read but not quite as enjoyable without Rosie's presence; and Philip Pullman's The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust #2), which annoyingly ended with a cliffhanger. I should have let it languish on the Mount until Book of Dust #3 comes out, which isn't expected until next year.

    Two of my library holds have finally come in: David McCullough's The Pioneers, and our book club selection, The Silent Patient, so I guess those are next up.


  • Carolyn Newlen
    8 months ago

    I see that I posted yesterday's reading on the Game thread rather than the Reading thread. After that reading spree, you will understand that I was a bit dozy. I did finish the Galbraith book, and I did like it. Now I'm ready for the next-up Vera Stanhope, which is The Moth Catcher.

    Freda, as you might suspect, I'm one of those alphabetical by author and by book people, which drives even me a little crazy as it means periodically shifting everything over to make room for new books. Fortunately, I no longer buy very many books. I also remove dust jackets before reading a new book. I stand them up on the shelf beside the row of TBRs. I learned the hard way to remove them from books I loaned a particular sister-in-law and had one cover for years before the book came home.

    Vee, I had to look up surgical spirit only to find it's what we call rubbing alcohol and, yes, it is the primary ingredient in our hand sanitizer. Some of the scents that are given to different brands of sanitizer are dreadful. I'd rather just smell the alcohol.

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  • vee_new
    Original Author
    8 months ago

    Carolyn, many years ago a friend and I, as part of a group, went on a 'walking holiday' in Ireland. Not being as fit and tough as we liked to imagine our boots began to rub so, on the mid-week day off when visiting Dublin we called into a pharmacy to buy band aids and surgical spirit/rubbing alcohol to treat our many blisters. The shop girl looked at us suspiciously and disappeared into the back of the shop and came back with the pharmacist who wanted to know why we wanted it. Although we showed him our feet I don't know if he was convinced and told us quite strictly NOT to drink it.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    8 months ago

    That's funny, Vee. You would have to be pretty desperate to drink that stuff. My visit to a London pharmacy for blisters got me moleskin. I asked the young man if he had a pair of scissors, and he laughed and showed me a seat so I could fix up my poor feet. I've kept a supply ever since, readily available here although I had never heard of it until that trip.

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  • kathy_t
    8 months ago

    My first experience with moleskin was in Paris. No one offered me anything drinkable.

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  • Rosefolly
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months ago

    Rubbing alcohol is not remotely drinkable. Apparently is it so very poisonous that breathing it too much (as in really a lot) is dangerous. I'm actually surprised that the pharmacist Vee met in Ireland even thought it necessary to warn her.

    BTW, I came across a fact about rubbing alcohol/surgical spirit as a hand sanitizer. Apparently it actually more effective at the 70% concentration than the 90% concentration. The higher concentration is less stable and can break down too quickly to kill viruses and bacteria. This was news to me. I thought more was better.

    Also BTW, it is the best thing for cleaning mold on kitchen and bathroom grout. Unlike chlorine bleach, it doesn't damage the grout itself or any vulnerable materials around it, such as sealants on granite counter tops. The person who re-did our grouting a few years ago taught me this.



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  • Rosefolly
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months ago

    Oh yes, this is supposed to be a thread on books. I just finished two. The first was for my book club Miracle Creek by Angie Creek. This is just the kind of book I do not enjoy. Take an assortment of characters, subject them to some form of misery (in this case a murder trial), and see what it does to them. Some break. some are destroyed, some get off relatively unharmed, and some emerge shiny as new pennies. Oh well, it's done, and I never have to read it again. I definitely won't.

    The other book I read was a different story (well, literally). Piranesi is by Susannah Clarke, the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. This was a glowing jewel of a book, under 300 pages, and I simply loved it. I think I'm going to select its for my book club for next year just to inject a little seasoning into our usual fare. The writing is lovely, contrasting the way modern people see the world around them with an earlier way of relating to reality. It's such an unusual book that I don't want to spoil it for any readers. I will warn you that the first couple of chapters are so very odd that it feels slow, but soon the reader catches the rhythm and is pulled in. It was one of those books that I genuinely regretted closing at the end. I find myself going back and imagining what the characters will do next. Heartily recommended!

    Every year I read one or two or in a very good year half a dozen books that stand out from everything else I read. Somehow I can never remember them when we do our year-end wrap-ups. So I'll speak up now and say that Piranesi is the best book I have read so far this year.

  • Rosefolly
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months ago

    I haven't posted much for a while so I hope to be forgiven for three posts in such rapid succession. I just came across Astrokath's and Kathy T's posts about William Kent Kreuger. I love his writing also. Another writer that I might suggest to people who like is work would be Leif Enger, author of Peace Like a River. In fact I sometimes confuse the two in my mind, because they seem to deal with the human spirit in a similar way.

    And now I'll stop.

  • vee_new
    Original Author
    8 months ago

    Rosefolly, surgical spirit, as you know, is alcohol mixed with methanol, which we know as 'meths' that has had blue dye added to it . . . I understand it is no longer available in the US. Certainly NOT advisable to drink it but in the Dublin of the '60's (and I'm sure in other cities with a degree of poverty) meths and surgical spirit would be swigged by down-and-outs to get 'high'. Of course it led to blindness and eventually a horrible death.

    My friend and I were more concerned that the people in the pharmacy thought we had the look of down-and-outs . . .

  • Rosefolly
    8 months ago

    Vee, I can well imagine that!


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  • Carolyn Newlen
    7 months ago

    Tonight's book I will be starting is Wicked Autumn by G. M. Malliet. It is the first of his Max Tudor series, of which I recently read the second by mistake. Max is a former MI-5 agent, now vicar at St. Ewold's in the idyllic village of Nether Monkslip, England. There are seven books in the series; I hope they are all as delightful as the one I read. He is super handsome, and all the girls are after him.

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  • kathy_t
    7 months ago

    Rosefolly - I hadn't thought of it before, but I can understand you comparing Kent Krueger to Leif Enger. Yes, both have a similar gift. I adored Leif Enger's Virgil Wander.

  • vee_new
    Original Author
    7 months ago

    Carolyn I recently picked up Wicked Autumn in a charity shop and was glad it was the first one in the series (I usually find I have bought the third or the seventeenth) Malliet, as an American writer does quite well with her characters and in setting an English scene although her portrayal of a typical village with any number of shops, a regular bus service and even a railway station is rather far off the mark; she obviously hasn't visited our rural areas for many years!

  • annpanagain
    7 months ago

    Sometimes when we read fiction we have to suspend belief! Catherine Aird's police duo, Sloan and Crosby, have been around for many years but never seem to grow older. The Eva Gates lighthouse is by her own admission unable to house a full library and living quarters but I still enjoy reading the books!

    Hooray, Miss Bunkle's Book finally arrived today. Yesterday would have been better as my Support Worker took me there in her car. However it is a mild day so I bussed and walked so I can read both books this weekend.

    I have finally decided to get the operation for cataracts done and will be seeing the consultant on Monday. I shouldn't delay it any longer.

    vee_new thanked annpanagain
  • sheri_z6
    7 months ago

    Rosefolly, thank you for the stellar review of Piranesi. I adored Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, so this new book has been on my wish list since I first heard it was coming. I'm hoping to get it for Christmas.

    I've been bouncing between books and magazines lately, having a hard time focusing on or finishing anything. Right now I'm (mostly) reading Emily St. John Mandel's The Lola Quartet. The main character is a failed newspaper reporter who returns to his hometown in Florida in 2009 as the economy is crumbling. His sister has shown him a photo of a child who looks exactly like him and may be his. As he investigates, he is drawn back into the lives of his high school friends who made up the "Lola" musical quartet. He's a bit clueless and as he investigates he stirs up some very dangerous things. So far it is holding my interest, but I don't find it riveting.

  • vee_new
    Original Author
    7 months ago

    Annpan, I hope you manage to get the cataract op (one at a time?) the waiting must be the worst part. Here anything medical/Dr related seems to have been put on the back burner since the virus took over. Most operations are being held up and private hospitals are 'lending' their facilities to the NHS.

    For US RP'ers who find our system 'strange' (or even socialist as some Americans claim) Everyone in the UK is covered by the NHS and it is free at 'point of use' (ie we don't get sent a bill after treatment; the money comes out of Govt funding from our taxes) but there are also private hospitals that generally provide care for folk covered by insurance . . . usually by their work-place schemes and/or because they don't want to be waiting in a queue for treatment. For the last few years the NHS has been working at full stretch and often 'buys in care' from the private sector which lessens the demand on very busy hospitals.

  • msmeow
    7 months ago

    I am about halfway through The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd, and I am enjoying it very much. It's the story of Ana, the wife of Jesus. The story is centered around women and Jesus is almost a peripheral character. It's quite a change from the long string of homicide-detective novels I've been reading!

    That said, my digital copy of Louise Penny's book became available the other day, so it's next up after this one.

    Donna

  • annpanagain
    7 months ago

    Vee, there is now a year to wait for the eye op due to the pandemic. We don't have many cases because of the strict border closure of our State but the hospitals were put on alert and stopped taking elective and non-essential cases for a while. I shall use my rainy day savings and opt for private treatment if that will be quicker.

    vee_new thanked annpanagain
  • vee_new
    Original Author
    7 months ago

    Annpan a year is a long time to wait for the op. Let's hope there is a special offer from the private place! Two for the price of one, maybe?

  • annpanagain
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    Vee, a nice idea but I don't think so! Although I may have to pay for private treatment without any Government assistance, I have also been given quite a good amount of stimulus money, free electricity and telephone use etc. because of the pandemic, it has about evened out to cover one operation.

    Three years ago I was advised to have the ops without a long wait for the public hospital but I wasn't ready then as I could still pass the "driving test" range of vision and I didn't want to go under the knife. Now my right eye is beginning to cloud over so it is obviously "Time's Up"!

    vee_new thanked annpanagain
  • astrokath
    7 months ago

    Ann, both my parents and my mother-in-law had their cataracts removed, the MIL with much grumbling, but they were all thrilled with the results. I hope it will be the same for you.

  • annpanagain
    7 months ago

    Kath, thanks. I have been told it should be all right. I just don't like invasive procedures!

  • msmeow
    7 months ago

    I finished The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd, and I loved it! I highly recommend it.

    I just started All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny. It’s like visiting old friends!

    Donna

  • yoyobon_gw
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    I just could not read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. After four chapters I felt a great dislike for the entire premise and was unable to see it going anywhere. Perhaps it's a good story, but I was not sold on it and there are just too many engaging books to be read to waste time on an iffy one .


    The Bookshop Of The Lost And Found.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    7 months ago

    I just finished Murder Is in the Air by Frances Brody. Set in 1920s Yorkshire where a young woman is competing for the crown as Queen of the area breweries and various nefarious dealings are going on but only one murder.

  • kathy_t
    7 months ago

    Yoyobon - I know just how you feel about needing to give up on your book. That's happened to me a lot lately. Are we getting too picky?

  • Carolyn Newlen
    7 months ago

    I'm reading away on The Morning and The Evening, new from Ken Follett. It only has 900+ pages and is quite good so far. I bought this one since I have almost all of his previous books.

  • rouan
    7 months ago

    I just got The Left-Handed Booksellers of London from the library. I have read several positive reviews about it so hope it will live up to them.

  • sheri_z6
    7 months ago

    I'm deep into easy comfort reads right now. I just finished Elizabeth Hunter's newest paranormal book, Runaway Fate. She's been writing middle-aged heroines lately, and they're wonderful. I'm also re-reading Nora Roberts' McKade Brothers series, which is an old favorite.

    Rouan, The Left-Handed Booksellers of London looks really good! Please let us know what you think of it once you're done.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    7 months ago

    Still reading The Morning and the Evening, but Snow new by John Banville came in on my library email wait list, so I'm reading it, too. I seldom have two books going at once, especially two as good as these are.

  • vee_new
    Original Author
    7 months ago

    A few weeks ago while looking through the Persephone books list I thought I would 'try' something by Sylvia Townsend Warner so ordered from the library The Corner that Held Them. Written in the 1940's it is a strange and inconsequential fictional tale of a small convent of nuns in the Fen country of East Anglia (think wet soggy and cut-off) from its founding in the thirteen hundreds. It follows the lives of the women living there with the usual quarreling and arguing, the superstitions, plague, a little praying, the misappropriation of funds, their so-called 'priest' and the dealings between the various prioresses and bishops.

    If you enjoy a story full of colourful sex and violence with a fast-moving plot this will be a big disappointment. On the other hand in these peculiar times its gentle pace has a soothing effect . . . the sort of books you can just pick up and put down without forgetting where you were in a chapter as it makes very little difference.

    yoyo I totally agree with you about books produced then (30s - 40s) Those that have stood the test of time are so much better written than much of what is available today.

  • msmeow
    7 months ago

    Carolyn, is the Follett book part of a series? I read Pillars of the Earth (twice!) and its sequels, but I started the next series set in early 20th century US and didn't care for it. I've read a lot of his stand-alone books, too.

    Yesterday I finished All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny. OMG! I sure hope she's busy writing the next one! I really, really enjoyed it. I was nearing the end and reading really fast to find out what happened, then I went back a couple of chapters and read it again more slowly to catch all the details. LOL

    Now I've just started Fair Warning by Michael Connolly.

    Donna

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  • kathy_t
    7 months ago

    Last night, I finally finished The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I really enjoyed it.

  • donnamira
    7 months ago

    I just picked up the new translation of Beowulf from the library. Naturally I checked to see how it opens, and oh my gosh, how I wish Marco was still here to comment on it. As you remember, Heaney's began with "So." This one - are you ready? - begins with "Bro!" Oh dear.


  • Rosefolly
    7 months ago

    Oh dear indeed

  • annpanagain
    7 months ago

    I have just finished Ann Cleeves "The Darkest Evening" a good murder mystery in the Vera series. I was baffled and picked on the wrong perp. but there were quite a few suspects!

  • Carolyn Newlen
    7 months ago

    Msmeow, the new Follett book is billed as the prequel to Pillars of the Earth. It begins in 997 AD and the end papers say this is the end of the Dark Ages. So far, it's still pretty dark. I'm about a third of the way through it.

    I did finish Snow. It is set in 1947 Ireland and is a murder mystery with mention of Dr, Quirke, from Banville's Benjamin Black series, as being on his honeymoon and with more dealings with the Carricklea Orphanage.


  • annpanagain
    7 months ago

    I was able to get another Ann Cleeves Vera series "Hidden Depths" from the library this morning. I have seen this TV episode at some time but I am watching the series again as it has started from the beginning and I have forgotten most of the story lines!

    There isn't much that I want to watch on TV at present but we are getting some interesting programs about the US election. Ours are usually rather dull as we have to vote and most of the discussion while waiting is about the grilled sausage sandwiches that are for sale, provided at the polling booths to benefit local charities. "Would you prefer the fried onions below or above the sausage on the bread and do you want tomato ketchup or BBQ sauce on it?" Decisions...decisions!

  • msmeow
    7 months ago

    Thanks, Carolyn - I will probably read it,

    Bon, that’s too cute!

    Donna

  • merryworld
    7 months ago

    Donnamira, I just read a review and listened to a podcast about that Beowulf and it's supposed to be brilliant. It's intrigued me, but I want to reread the Heany translation before I pick it up. It would certainly appeal more to the high schoolers who have to read it than the old version I had to read. Andy Miller posted the last stanza on twitter.Beowulf last stanza