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rouan101

Fall into November, what are you reading?

rouan
3 years ago

It’s been a long time since I started one of these threads.


I picked up The Left-Handed Booksellers of London a week or so ago and put it down after a few pages until I was in the right frame of mind to read it. I picked it up earlier this evening with the intent of just reading a couple of chapters and a few hours later, I‘m done.


It was decent; I can see why so many people have recommended it. It certainly kept me on the edge of my seat a number of times, but that’s not surprising since it doesn’t take much to do that!

Comments (75)

  • vee_new
    3 years ago

    I've just had a wading through a molasses-moment while reading Coming Home by Fern Britton and too late remembered why I so rarely read 'romances'. Apparently this is part of a series set in an unbelievably beautiful Cornish seaside village and concerns a very bad 17 year old daughter who abandons her two toddlers to find their no-good father. Fast forward to grown up children living an 'arty' life and meeting this neglectful mother. Every chapter is full of hugging, kissing, patting, crying helped on by vast quantities of booze and many packets of aspirin to deal with the hangovers.

    I felt like shouting at them all "Pull yourselves together and show some stoic fortitude. Shoulders back, stiffen the upper-lips."

    As an antidote I'm now on to The American Lover by Rose Tremain. A collection of diverse short stories. Each one just the right length.

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  • roxanna7
    3 years ago

    I am very fortunate to have a personal library of thousands of books -- I just counted one ceiling-height bookcase = roughly 560 books, and that is only one bookcase. I have them in every room of this house (except the powder room), double-shelved, and in many genres -- fiction, classics, architecture, fantasy, scientific, children's, British, gardening, and who knows what else, collected and enjoyed over the past 70 years.

    Almost all of those lovely books will be read again during this time of COVID, as our library is closed, and I do not like using electronic books at all. Right now I am re-reading Terry Pratchett, whom I adore, and have on hand Dean Koontz' Elsewhere to look forward to after that. Then, for something completely different, I may revisit Gene Stratton-Porter. Or Louisa May Alcott (I grew up in the town she lived in, so she seemed to be a neighbor, lol). Or whatever strikes my mood of the day... Happy times!!

  • annpanagain
    3 years ago

    Roxanna, you have such a big collection! Sadly I have moved too often and have shed loved books in the process. As I am in a small place now, there is only room for two bookcases, both overcrowded! Thankfully, the public libraries are open again after a short lockdown period a while ago.

    Our State became a fortress for over seven months and we are only now opening the borders in a very controlled way.

    I have just finished Ann Cleeves "The Moth Catcher" and have a DVD of "Nicholas Nickleby" waiting to be collected from the local library. I hope to get it this afternoon but the weather has been terrible with unseasonable storms and its not a good time to leave the house!

  • kathy_t
    3 years ago

    Roxanna - Your house full (houseful?) of books sounds like a good setting for a novel!

  • msmeow
    3 years ago

    Camino Winds - dull, dull, dull.

  • yoyobon_gw
    3 years ago

    Donna, so...you're saying it didn't blow you away ?

  • msmeow
    3 years ago

    :) That’s right! Even a barrier island taking a direct hit from a cat 4 hurricane was dull.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    I am reading Metropolis by Phillip Kerr. It is No. 14 in his Bernie Gunther series but the last book he wrote. I found a site that gave me the Gunther books in order of Bernie's age rather than the order in which they were written. I find it odd that he wrote a series out of sequence. This one is the second of the sequence.

  • Rosefolly
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I had read Walter Tevis's novel The Queen's Gambit back in the early 1980's then it first came out and loved it then. Somehow no one else ever seemed to have heard of it. The story is based on a fictional first woman to become a chess grandmaster. Now I do not play chess at all, but even so I found the novel compelling. When I heard there was to be a film presentation I was more than a little leery. I've had beloved books ruined by bad film adaptations before, and I didn't want this one ruined for me. Fortunately I need not have been concerned. The film (told in seven one hour episodes) is a glorious thing to watch. The acting, the writing, the visual effects, even the silences are dead perfect. And no, you don't actually need to understand chess to have the games be absolutely gripping.

    This was the best thing I've seen in a very long time, and absolutely the best thing I've seen on a screen this year.

    I'm thinking of taking it off the shelf and reading it again now that Tom and I are done watching.

  • vee_new
    3 years ago

    Quite by chance I have been reading books by people who have moved to rural France and another was recommended Notes from the Cévennes by Adam Thorpe.

    Thorpe was born and grew up in Paris so he has the advantage over the foolish incomers lured by the idea of a bucolic retreat in an area where property is dirt cheap and the sun always shines. He is also a poet/writer and manages to drop many literary references/quotes into his prose. His description of his adopted village high above the ancient city of Nîmes and the old stone house he buys left me rather confused as there are no drawings, plans or even photos of the area he describes. So discussing ancient walls that have fallen in, flooding rivers, dusty treasures dug up in cellars or vegetable plots rather float about in the text. He does describe the terrible time the locals had at the hands of the SS during WWII,

    Unfortunately the last part of the book goes into rant mode while talking about the Green movement. He is all for it. Also Brexit which he was against despite his French passport . . . unwillingly granted to him via the city mayor . . . I often wonder how the real locals feel about these wealthy incomers and if they take them with the Gallic insouciance they deserve.

  • Kath
    3 years ago

    Rose, I also read The Queen's Gambit in the 80s and have just finished watching the show. I agree with you about the quality of the acting and the entire production. I went to my library to find the book, and sadly, it seems I gave it away at some time when I had to thin out my books to make more room.

  • annpanagain
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I found a Lawrence Sanders "The Fourth Deadly Sin" in a charity shop. I started reading him when my DH brought home a brand new Archie McNally he rescued from a skip bin. The radio station where he worked got copies of many new books and just threw them out!

    Sadly the virus has hit again in the next State. We carefully opened the border on Friday night and now have to partially close it again. Some returning and visiting travellers were in mid-flight and are having to go into quarantine or go straight back. I hope this won't end in another State lockdown. We were doing so well...

  • yoyobon_gw
    3 years ago

    Annapanagain........what is a " skip bin " ? I assume it is trash but why that term.

  • vee_new
    3 years ago

    yoyo, over here we refer to a 'skip' as one of those large metal containers used to dump large amounts of waste/trash. A 'bin' is what you call a trash-can . . . we used to call them dustbins, which I think goes back to the day when any waste/detritus was known as 'dust'. So I presume a 'skip bin' in Australia is taking both words to mean the larger container.

    These days UK household waste goes into a 'wheelie bin'.

  • annpanagain
    3 years ago

    A skip bin is a large container for all kinds of waste. When full, it is loaded onto a special truck for the contents to be disposed of correctly. They can be hired for a one-off job or there can be a regular service where the bin gets replaced. I don't know why it is called that.

    BTW, I am plain Ann. My parents joked that they were too poor to buy an added 'e' in the local newspaper's Birth Notice!

    For some reason my family nicknames were either "Annpan" or "PanPan"! Possibly because I kept piping up during conversations?

  • annpanagain
    3 years ago

    Vee, we also have wheelie bins for general household use. During our Australian lockdown there was a time when people dressed up to put them out for collection. Something to lift the spirits and lots of examples are shown on the net. I think the idea became world wide with some very creative outfits!

  • sheri_z6
    3 years ago

    I'm still binge-reading Deanna Raybourne's Lady Julia Grey mysteries. I've finished Silent on the Moor and Dark Road to Darjeeling and have just started The Dark Enquiry. After this I believe there are four novellas to finish the series, which become available as a boxed set on Kindle in December. After all that, I'll have to wait for the newest Veronica Speedwell book by the same author, due in March. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of these, and I'll be looking for her stand-alone books after this.

  • Kath
    3 years ago

    I think the Aussie skip is best translated as dumpster.

  • msmeow
    3 years ago

    I finished Camino Winds (John Grisham) and it was dull and predictable to the end. Sorry, Mr. G.

  • iamkathy
    3 years ago

    Just finished The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman a few days ago. I liked it and found it interesting to compare our current pandemic to the cholera pandemic discussed in the book. I believe there was an article about this book in Reader's Paradise quite a few years back but did not save it (I wish I had). A few days back I picked up Supercapitalism by Robert Reich to get some history into why we are in the state we are in today. My husband has been asking me to read this ever since he finished it a few years back. Seemed like the right time to finally pick it up.

  • msmeow
    3 years ago

    If It Bleeds by Stephen King. Enjoying it very much.

  • donnamira
    3 years ago

    I finished the Maria Dahvana Headley version of Beowulf, and while I have mixed feelings about it, I understand the enthusiastic reviews. I don't like some of her choices ('daddy' instead of 'father,' 'lemme' instead of 'let me,' and most annoying of all: 'hashtag: blessed' to describe Hrothgar's queen), but she tells with story with energy and drive, using the structures, rhythms and alliteration of the original, and she's especially good with the kennings.


    I have about 20 books waiting on Mt TBR, so why do I keep getting books from the library? Sigh. I read an article in the Washington Post about classic historical fiction which mentioned Mary Renault's The King Must Die, which I read at least 40 years ago. I barely remember it, other than being surprised at how much I liked it, so the library copy is now sitting on top of the Mount, and I expect that is what I'll be reading next.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    I'm reading Murder by Suspicion by Veronica Heley, another Ellie Quicke book. They are light and "quicke." She has a terrible, bossy, whiny, entitled daughter that needs a spanking! And someone always gets killed, and the policeman who inevitably comes doesn't like her.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    Now I am reading The Wrong Side of Goodbye, the next Harry Bosch book on my list by Michael Connelly. This one is extra good. Harry is now retired and working without pay because he loves it so a couple of days a week in a smaller unit in the San Fernando Valley, CA, as well as his private detective business. He is having hard trouble (little niece's phrase) in both areas.

  • annpanagain
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I have just finished "Telling Tales" by Ann Cleeves, another in her Vera series.

    They aren't detective books in that you get clues to the murderer, Vera doesn't always let her team know what is going on. let alone the reader! However, I am enjoying them in spite of references to Vera's book persona, being fat, ugly and a heavy drinker! I am mentally substituting the TV actress's milder version as I read.

    I had stopped reading and collecting the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich after Hardcore 24 but I picked up Twisted 26 for 50c in the Seniorcentre book sale and am amused again. It probably doesn't hurt to have a break in a long series. I will try Look Alive 25 at a future time.

    My D has our full collection to 24 and we have decided that she should donate them and the Sue Grafton Alphabet series to make room in her overflowing bookcases.


  • yoyobon_gw
    3 years ago

    This would make a great bookmark !

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    Yes!

  • annpanagain
    3 years ago

    Please don't!

    I had a new telephone system installed and the bookshelf which I had made to conceal the phone and power points had to be moved away from the wall. The technician hasn't been able to put it back properly as it is crowded and heavy.

    I shall have to empty it of not only books but the clutter of oddments in front of them and a collection of candles in holders on the top. I quail at the task as I should use the opportunity to cull while I am doing this. As I have a stiff right shoulder which needs medical treatment, I have every excuse to put it off and live with this slightly angled piece of furniture!

  • vee_new
    3 years ago

    If I were to be judged by my bookshelves I would score very low points. We had shelves built either side of an early Victorian fire place. There are nine shelves each about a foot high almost up to ceiling height and recently in the spirit of decluttering I made a start on one side of the lower shelves.

    Who knew how many books can be accommodated within that space . . . and I have only started on the bottom shelf. The paperbacks, stored two deep and going yellow and frayed have been thrown out for the trash/binmen and the hardbacks are now piled on the floor making the room look twice as untidy as it did before.

    Pre Covid I could have dropped many of them off at charity shops or even tried to persuade the library to take the 'quality' hardbacks, but now everywhere is shut.

    And how many non-book items lurk on the shelves . . . CD's, pens, pencils, bookmarks, lengths of cable for various long-gone appliances (I blame DH for these) If only I could be like those folk who keep their books colour-coded or lined up by height! I suppose the place would look tidy but it wouldn't be mine/me.


  • annpanagain
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Vee, good to know I am not the only person who uses their bookshelves for things other than books!

    At present, I have several almost empty toiletry tubes that I mean to finish, a collection of small stuffed animals and magazines that would outrival a doctor's reception room for age! DVDs I shall probably never watch but once thought I might are piled on top of the shorter books.

    Do you wonder why I don't want to go there?

    I once started to put the books in alpha order and stopped at "B". As my old Librarian used to say about culling "When I pull them out I start to read them again"!

  • yoyobon_gw
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    LOL.....I took the image to mean that you will be judged by your choice of books which you keep .

    Your responses reminded me of the time I challenged a group of friends to list all the items that were in their purse. Then I compiled one e-mail showing what each woman reported and shared the results with everyone. It was a fun assignment and an eye-opener !.


  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    Vee, your only solution is to put everything back and forget about it, while mourning the loss of the paperbacks you threw out.

    My books are in alphabetical order, but I dislike the ones that are by color or height. How would you ever find anything? And that's not to mention the pictures I see in decorating magazines that have all the spines to the back. What's up with that?

  • yoyobon_gw
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Spines to the back, how ugly.

    It's very Alice In Wonderland-ish. A library full of backward books. You are assigned an aisle and shelf and told to take the tenth book from the right and READ it !!

  • kathy_t
    3 years ago

    Annpan - You've got me laughing about you stopping at B when you started to alphabetize your books!

  • msmeow
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Is the spine to the back thing supposed to look more uniform? Because paper isn’t all the same color or texture. Decorators must use the technique in houses where no one reads.

    I finished If It Bleeds by Stephen King and enjoyed it very much! It was three short stories and the title story, which to me was long enough to count as a novel. The stories were kind of paranormal creepy stuff, not horror.

    Donna

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    msmeow, a friend and I used to go to a local annual designer show house. Inevitably, there would be some old literate-looking books around, and my friend would stick her nose in the air and mutter "designer books." I think of her with a smile when I see strange book arrangements.

    I have begun The Haunted Season by G. M. Malliet. It is another Max Tudor book. Max is a former MI-5 agent turned local vicar. He is very handsome and sighed over by all the females of his village. Now happily married and with a baby son, they are still sighing and gossiping in the best village fashion. Someone always gets murdered, and I think I already know who it will be in this case.

    I had to stop reading and go make my cranberry salad to take to my daughter's tomorrow. I will make a pie in the morning, and that's my Thanksgiving duties done. Aging out isn't all bad.

  • Kath
    3 years ago

    I am rather fussy about my bookshelves. The books are alphabetical by author and chronological within author. I do keep hardcovers separate, but there aren't a lot of them. For non-fiction, I sort them by subject matter, and often in height thereafter.

    I have finished reading White Fragility by Robin diAngelo, which was a very interesting read.

    I realised that Robert Galbraith has a new one out, and I hadn't read the previous one, so I have just started Lethal White.

    I also listen to a lot of audio books and have finished three of Elizabeth Chadwick's historical fiction books, while DH and I have listening to The Hope by Herman Wouk, and its followup, The Glory.

  • annpanagain
    3 years ago

    I have just finished McCall Smith's "How to Raise an Elephant" which isn't really a mystery, rather a gentle story with more about the Detective Agency personnel than much else! It is like dropping in on old friends.

  • vee_new
    3 years ago

    Annpan, I'm also reading one of Alexander McColl Smith's 'Scotland Street' series The Peppermint Tea Chronicles. I think I have mostly listened to these via the BBC and can clearly hear the voice of poor little Bertie Pollock and his dreadful overbearing mother (temporarily sent to Aberdeen to study something very high-brow) plus the many other characters from this refined Edinburgh neighbourhood

    How does A MCC S manage to turn out SO many books? I counted six new titles that are out in print this year alone.

  • vee_new
    3 years ago

    Another 'listen' via the BBC has been Colson Whitehead's "Nickle Boys" . An unrelenting grim tale of life from the '50's/60's of a black boy sent to Reform School. I never understand why the BBC chooses as it's 'Book at Bedtime' slot deep and heavy books so unconducive for a good nights sleep.

  • annpanagain
    3 years ago

    Vee, I have just requested that Peppermint Tea book. I think he writes for a newspaper and churns out episodes quickly.

    I was surprised how many authors manage to write hundreds of books. Barbara Cartland wrote over 700 and had a couple on the go at the same time by dictating to two secretaries!

  • yoyobon_gw
    3 years ago

    I'm reading Young Clementina by D.E.Stevenson. I really enjoy her books.

  • kathy_t
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I finished reading Fredrik Backman's Anxious People this morning. It's a keeper. It was very, very funny in a complicated-plot and unexpected-character-connections sort of way. As I was nearing the end, I started thinking that 300-plus pages of that type of humor wears you down a bit and loses some of its effectiveness, but by the time I read the final page, I had changed my mind. It's a delightful book.

    I'd like to share one of my favorite quotations from the book - one that is not in any way a spoiler:

    Do you know what the worst thing about being a parent is? That you're always judged by your worst moments. You can do a million things right, but if you do one single thing wrong you're forever that parent who was checking his phone in the park when your child was hit in the head by a swing. We don't take our eyes off them for days at a time, but then you read just one text message and it's as if all your best moments never happened. No one goes to see a psychologist to talk about all the times they weren't hit in the head by a swing as a child. Parent are defined by their mistakes.

  • yoyobon_gw
    3 years ago

    Isn't that the sad truth though. Perhaps it's because traumatic moments leave a stronger memory than the zillions of happy ones.

  • vee_new
    3 years ago

    Carolyn, your suggestion above that I should put all the books back on the shelves is probably the most practical, although the problem will have to be solved another day. Among the many books found was a 1936 Tide Tables from the San Francisco Port Pilot's Authority and an invitation from the Australian Imperial Forces to a dance held in Sept 1940 at the gymnasium in Bulford (part of the British Army barracks on Salisbury Plain) My Mother obviously enjoyed tripping the light fantastic to judge from the quick steps, fox trots, Paul Jones etc listed on the card plus the many signatures of the soldiers she spent the evening with. I believe all these men then went out to the Far East where most of them lost their lives. The Aussies were always considered 'good fun' and loved to cock a snook at authority.

    Within the dance programme is a yellow card from the 'Imperial Japanese Army' sent in July 1944 from Philippine Military Prison Camp No 1, by my Mother's brother. It is typed, although he has managed a shaky signature saying in 50 words or less that his health is 'excellent' and will his parents save all the back copies of 'Life' magazine. They received the card in January 1945.

    These things I will keep although I doubt they will be of much interest to future generations.

  • kathy_t
    3 years ago

    Vee - Those mementos are fascinating.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    3 years ago

    Oh, Vee, surely there is family who would treasure those wartime mementoes. They are priceless. My paternal aunts loved to dance, and one of them had a photo of her and one of her brothers in his 1942 Army uniform at a USO dance.

  • annpanagain
    3 years ago

    Vee, I was amused at your reference to Aussie soldiers in WW2 as I have heard many tales here. One was of a very senior British officer who stuck his head above a parapet while on a front-line inspection. An Aussie private shouted at him, using the General's nickname and adding a warning to "Pull your F***ing head down!" He was asked what he did about the impertinence "Well, I pulled my F***ing head down, of course."

  • salonva
    3 years ago

    Vee, your post was so amazing to me that I read it to my daughter today and later to my husband. Truly priceless.

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