December already! What are you reading?

sheri_z6

I just finished The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. In a similar world to ours, magical beings exist, and quiet, by-the-book Linus Baker is a caseworker for the Department In Charge Of Magical Youth. He is sent to investigate an orphanage holding some extremely magical and potentially dangerous children, and his life is upended. I really enjoyed this book, it was fresh and charming and the children were fabulously written.


What are you reading in December?

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Rosefolly

My latest is Zero Sum Game by S. L. Huan. It is a science fiction novel set in the present. An unusual young woman with off-the-chart math abilities works as an agent for hire to recover lost or missing things or people, not quite a vigilante, not quite a detective, but definitely working outside the law. It is full of action and suspense, not at all my usual fare, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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phyllis__mn

I am re-reading Stegner's Angle of Repose. I was sure I had read it before, as I recall posting about it years ago. Well, I found the posting and the response, which I recalled. Why I can't recall the book in more detail is beyond me. But I'm enjoying it again. Of course, now I know how it ends, which is OK, according to the 2008 posting!

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Carolyn Newlen

I have just finished Midwinter of the Spirit by Phil Rickman, the second of his Merrily Watkins series. Merrily is a vicar in the Church of England, widowed and with a 16--year-old daughter.

I have ready to start The Geneva Trap by Stella Remington who was herself an MI5 agent, as is her fictional character, Liz Carlyle.

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annpanagain

I have come across reprints of a series by Ann Cleeves about a bird-watching couple who solve mysteries. They are an unusual pair, seniors who have rather eccentric ways and I am learning a lot about birds!

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vee_new

The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes is a story based on the women who served the very rural areas of Kentucky with a 'mobile' ie horse/mule library service in the 30's. I think JJ has done her homework on the difficulties the women faced due to the distances travelled, the poverty and the often 'male' suspicion about the necessity of allowing women to waste their time reading novels when the Good Book was all anyone needed to study. I think an American reader might find some of her language and expressions too English . .. but I found it an enjoyable read.

Carolyn I have had Midwinter of the Spirit on order from the library for months. I read the first one years ago when it was recommended by Diana/Dido and thought I would try and see what happens next.

And Stella Rimington was the head of MI5, quite an achievement for a mere woman and later wrote her autobiography, but I suspect gave very little away!

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yoyobon_gw

Young Clementina by D.E. Stevenson ( still enjoying it )

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msmeow

I'm reading Wicked Autumn by GM Malliet. If I can get more than five minutes at a stretch to read I may be able to get into it. I've been working extra hours and when I get home I just want to eat dinner and go to sleep. :)

Donna

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titian1 10b Sydney

The Crystal Gull by Lucilla Andrews, having exhausted all available D.E Stevenson. An Accident Unit nurse at a large London hospital, is bird-watching on an uninhabited Shetland island when a small plane crashes almost on top of her.

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salonva

I have seen and heard of The Giver of Stars, and I am pretty sure it will be on one of my book club selections for 2021. I didn't know what it was about until your post. I recently read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek which was very good, and also about (among other things) the lending library via horseback through the less served regions in the depression. So interesting.

I read Angle of Repose and I must be the only person who didn't appreciate it. I know every other post I read or any comment I hear is total praise for it.

I am currently reading The Yellow House by Sarah Broom. I didn't realize it was non fiction, but so far (just at the beginning) it seems interesting. It's based in New Orleans. Here's the little synopsis "n 1961, Sarah M. Broom's mother Ivory Mae bought a shotgun house in the then-promising neighborhood of New Orleans East and built her world inside of it. It was the height of the Space Race and the neighborhood was home to a major NASA plant--the postwar optimism seemed assured. Widowed, Ivory Mae remarried Sarah's father Simon Broom; their combined family..."


editing to add, I added Young Clementina to my list because I sure enjoyed Miss Buncle's Book.

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kathy_t

Salonva - You are not alone in the "didn't appreciate Angle of Repose" arena. I'm right there with you. It mystifies me that my opinion is so completely at odds with what seems to be the large majority of the reading public.

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Carolyn Newlen

Salonva, I liked Troublesome Creek better than Giver of Stars. I read it first, which might have influenced me, but I just really liked the story in TC.

I'm still on The Geneva Trip. It's good, but Christmas-ing my house is cutting into my reading time.


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Rosefolly

Just the opposite here, Carolyn. Reading is getting in the way of my getting-ready-for-Christmas time.

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vee_new

Apologies to Joanna Trollope for not finishing Balancing Act. I found it too dreary, took ages to follow who-was-who and once I worked out the various family relationships I found I didn't care about any of them or their selfish problems. The 'setting' randomly jumped between London and Stoke-on-Trent adding to the confusion. To cap it all there were a couple of small grandchildren too unbelievably badly brought-up who's backsides needed a good slap.

I even got fed up with the endless mentions of people slurping their tea, gulping beer or sipping wine.

For what it is worth the 'story' is set in the Potteries, that part of Midlands England that was once home to Wedgwood, Dalton, Coalport etc. Trollope has obviously done her homework about pot-making with all the industrial processes etc but unfortunately not interesting enough to hold the story together.

I think the setting owes much to Emma Bridgewater her pottery factory and pretty designs; all very English.

Emma Bridgewater Pottery short video

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annpanagain

I am reading "The Department of Sensitive Crimes." by Alexander McCall Smith and notice that the voices of Detective Varg, Precious Ramotswe and Isabel Dalhousie seem to be similar. They all slowly solve puzzles in their separate series while breaking off to muse about other things.

I have finally decided to have an operation for a cataract removal, which I first talked of here in 2016, I think. You were very kind and supportive then but I wasn't ready. It is the right time now!

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msmeow

Ann, I think you will be very happy afterwards! My hubby’s sister (age 60) just had both eyes done. She doesn’t need corrective lenses any more!

And since it’s the reading thread, I’m reading The Order by Daniel DaSilva, The Pope has died of an apparent heart attack, but his close friend thinks it’s murder. The Order is a far-right network of Catholic clergy and laymen who want to purify the world by getting rid of Jews and Muslims.

Donna

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kathy_t

Annpan - Go for it. You will love the results. No pain, minor inconvenience for a few days, and big, big benefits.

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yoyobon_gw

Annpan....my husband had it done at the SAME time as Lasic and he had amazing results. In fact , from birth, he was unable to have any true vision in one eye and now after those procedures he is seeing more and more in it !!

The drops are the most annoying part......but that is very manageable.

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Carolyn Newlen

I finished Trumpet of Death, a Martha's Vineyard mystery by Cynthia Riggs. I'm nearing the end of this series and will be sorry to see the end. Ms. Riggs lives on MV in the home of eight generations of her family, as does her 90+ year-old heroine of the series who solves crimes mostly based on her knowledge of the local lore.

Now I've started Lying Dead. It is set in Scotland and written by Aline Templeton, quite a contrast to Martha's Vineyard.

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sheri_z6

I just finished the newest Nora Roberts, The Awakening, the first of a romantic fantasy trilogy. The story features a portal between our world and the world of the fey, and a heroine who has no idea what she is or what she's magically capable of doing. Of course there are worlds that need saving, a nasty bad guy, and a super-hunky Irish love interest. There's also a wonderful best friend and a delightful dog.

While I liked it well enough, I'm still worried it will veer into last year's (IMHO) terrible Chronicles of the One territory (she was trying to write her version of The Stand and it just didn't work at all). I am cautiously optimistic with this one, though, and will definitely read the next two books. NR will be putting out one book a year in this series, so it will be a while to get the whole trilogy. This timing has has set off quite the kerfluffle with an ardent fan called Debra on the website over how long it takes to publish a book -- the fuss has reached insane proportions, to the point that other authors are talking about it on their websites, and it's evidently "trending" on Twitter (I do not use Twitter so I have no idea what this actually means, but my children tell me it's a Significant Thing on social media). Nora herself waded into the fray. (https://fallintothestory.com/the-awakening-discussion-thread/).

Next up: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George for my IRL book group.


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yoyobon_gw

I think I might begin reading Winter's Tale by Mark Halprin.....or I might go back to Their Finest Hour And A Half and try to finish that one first.

Some titles on my TBR pile right now are :
Death Of An Avid Reader by Frances Brody

Two For The Dough by Janet Evanovich

It All Comes Back To You by Beth Duke

Goodnight From London by Jennifer Robson

Silent In The Grave by Deanna Raybourn

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annpanagain

Yoyobon, re Two for the Dough, are you starting the Plum series from the early books? She is up to Twenty-Seven now, I nearly bought it today but I have library books I must read first and really no more room on my overstuffed bookshelves.

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yoyobon_gw

Annapan, I decided to read this one because I just watched One For The Money on Amazon Prime and really enjoyed the actress who portrayed Stephanie Plum. I now have an image of her and her personality. Doubt I'll follow through with the series because I have so many other books I want to read.

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Rosefolly

Since several have enjoyed Wicked Autumn by GM Malliet I decided to read it too. Mysteries are not my usual fare, but I did enjoy it.

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Carolyn Newlen

I finished Lying Dead last night. It is the third of Aline Templeton's series, and I really like the books. Now, I'm ready to start Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz.

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titian1 10b Sydney

I've started We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper. Early days, but an interesting read so far.

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msmeow

Rosefolly, I tried Wicked Autumn, too, and gave up on it right after the murder. :)

I finished The Order by Daniel DaSilva last night. While I agree with his note at the end that the current apparent increase in anti-Semitism and white supremacy is alarming, I found the novel to be bland and unoriginal.

Today I'm starting Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews. Quite a change of pace! LOL

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

OT : do readers suffer with cataracts/macular degeneration problems more than non-readers? if so, what a cruel twist.


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kathy_t

I have finally finished reading A Good American by Alex George, after interrupting it a couple of times for a couple of library holds that came my way. I really enjoyed reading about the immigrant experience of a young German couple who made their way to the center of the U.S to settle in a small Missouri River town. The birth of their first child interrupted their journey and determined the town they settled in. They came to own a restaurant that evolved from German to Mexican food as it was passed down through four generations of the family. Unfortunately, I lost interest during the third generation when the book turned into a coming of age story about the narrator. I truly did tire of reading about what interests teenaged boys. (Yeah, that.) The fourth generation was presented and skimmed over in the final few chapters of the book. Although a true-to-life evolution of an immigrant family as it adapts to life in the U.S., it was not, for me, a terribly satisfying read.

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msmeow

Bon, I don't know about MD, but I have heard that cataracts are caused in part by sun damage. So wear your sunglasses! :)


Donna

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yoyobon_gw

My eye doctor/surgeon said everyone develops cataracts starting around 50.....some are just more pronounced and troublesome. Sunglasses sure help. MD is another story. Is it hereditary? Dietary? No one seems to know.

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Rosefolly

I have also heard that cataracts are caused by sun damage, specifically UV light. Back in the old days before eye surgery, most extremely elderly people were blind.

I myself never wore sunglasses until about 20 years ago. I needed corrective lenses all the time before I had LASIK surgery, and in those days could not afford two pairs of prescription glasses. I'm sure I am not alone in this.

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annpanagain

I was told that my cataracts were an age thing. I have always worn sunglasses and a shady hat when living in Australia and keep indoors in Summer, out of the heat!

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Winter

YoYo...I have AMD [Adult related Macular Degeneration]. Mine was a genetic predisposition inherited from my father but it can be a side effect of diabetes...high blood pressure in some cases...sun damage...smoking...as well as just age related. There are two types. Wet AMD [the most threatening] and Dry AMD. I have the Wet in one eye and the Dry in the other. The Wet form is active bleeding [veins] at the back of the eye...the Macular...and must be successfully treated [stopped] or blindness follows rather quickly. Here is an article that may give you answers to all your questions.

https://health.usnews.com/conditions/eye-disease/macular-degeneration

I had several Eylea injections for the Wet AMD and have benefited greatly. No treatments for the Dry. As long as it remains Dry...it's a "wait and see" project. I strongly recommend the Eylea treatments. Thanks to them...I can still see well enough to read but my cataracts aren't helping much. I need ample light these days for almost everything but must wear dark glasses when I'm outside whether its sunny bright or just a regular pleasant day. Plus, spending lots of time with my computer is not the best pass time. Protective lens from the blue light of a computer screen are a must...or vision adjustments via your computer program.

Early diagnosis is a blessing. If you have it, YoYo, I urge you to follow up with the Eylea treatments. They are the very first successful treatments that will actually save your eyesight. Lazer treatments that were so highly touted years ago deadened the area of the eye that was being treated so that over time...as the AMD progressed, the eye became more and more blind from the lazer treatments themselves. Eylea stops the bleeding...sort of like cauterizing the bleeding area...without deadening the area. Despite the creepiness of the application process itself...which is painless for the most part...It's been a Godsend to those of us with treatable AMD.

I'm currently reading Tana French's books [mysteries]...most in paperback format in a font approximately size 6 that demands bright light...and patience. But she's such a talented writer that I forge forward from one to the next...thankful for my remaining eyesight.

I send you all my best wishes, Yoyo and hope you decide to investigate the Eylea treatments. I know there's a clinic about halfway between your NY location and my CT address. The shots are very expensive but are completely covered by Medicare.

Anne




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Carolyn Newlen

Seems to be hereditary in my family. My mother, her three sisters, and her brother all had it; and now my sister and one brother are experiencing symptoms. My ophthalmologist told me a number of years ago that I had the beginning of the disease, but so far it has not progressed much. Only one of my aunts had the wet kind. Everything my mother liked to do involved her eyes--reading, quilting, stamp collecting, watching TV. It was so sad for her. We got her lots of things to help; the best was the type of glasses that the man in the stamp store used that allowed her to continue reading for a long time. She lived to be 93 and 11 months, and for the last maybe five years she was unable to see except peripherally.

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Winter

You're a prolific reader, Carolyn. and one of the things my ophthalmologist advised when he first started supervising my treatment was to continue to read...read...read. Apparently the exercise is beneficial. He didn't have to push because I'm never without a book. And there's not a room in my home that doesn't have at least one magnifying glass.

Like your mother, I was a stamp collector for many years...as well as a designer/seamstress. I sold my stamp collection a while ago because it was a topical that I no longer had the visual acuity to maintain. Otherwise, I've become very inventive when it comes to managing my home and daily life. There's always more than one way to tackle a project and I think I'm finding them all...as well as inventing a few more.

I also take daily doses of Lutein. My system won't tolerate large doses of Zinc so I can't take the latest OTC recommended AMD supplements. With your family history, you might ask your doctor if it would benefit you to take them now. The Lutein is, indeed, helping me prolong my remaining sight.

I'm not quite your mother's age...still working on my 80's...but I hope to see those numbers, too. Thanks to the Eylea...I may be able to do so with manageable vision.

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annpanagain

It is not often that I completely stop reading a book half-way through. I skip to the end of a mystery sometimes and won't bother with the middle! However Ann Cleese's Bird in the Hand bored me so much, I didn't even do that.

When I went to return it to the Public Library I found another of her books waiting for me in the Vera series, which I have enjoyed. I was planning to take books from the Retirement Village library only, after my eye operation on Monday, for convenience but trouble had been taken to get me this one from outside our system so I have borrowed it and hope to read it this weekend. I shall have a Support Worker coming on Wednesday to do shopping etc. and she could drop it back.

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Carolyn Newlen

Winter, I'm glad you are able to keep taking care of yourself. I have been taking Bausch & Lomb's Areds PreserVision for years. The doctor who first told me I had the beginning of MD advised that I start them immediately.

Where did you sell your stamp collection? We still have Mama's and haven't found anyone who wants them. She had several filled volumes of Liberty binders. I (living in the big city) bought the new pages for her as soon as they were available every year, and she said once that the best winter days were the days the new stamp pages came.

I'm moving along with Moonflower Murders. It has a fictional deceased author's book with the book, included because it supposedly contains a clue to an actual murder. How authors come up with all their ideas is a further mystery to me.

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Winter

You have a very wise doctor, Carolyn.

I sold my collection to a private party who collected a topical that my collection complimented. That's usually the best way to sell a collection...privately. My collection was complete to the day that I sold it so it was quite valuable. I, personally, would never have advertised my collection for sale.

Did your mother belong to any philatelist organizations or local clubs? That's an avenue that might prove helpful if you could contact any of the members that your mother knew or with whom she had stamp transactions.

Above and beyond finding a buyer...it's very important to have her collection appraised and a value price established for purposes of a possible sale. If you liked and trusted the man that sold stamps to your mother, that might be a good beginning point. He would certainly know the face value of her stamps...and if she had any old/rare stamps that might be more valuable to another collector.

Those in the busines are often the best sources for information. Other collectors "talk" with them and express their interests for other collections/collectibles. I had a lovely gentleman who found some rare stamps for me...from another collector client who had duplicates and wanted to sell. The collector had put the word out at the shop and the next time I was in I was appraised of the availability...on the QT.

If your mother had an extensive collection, Carolyn, it's important to keep it stored in an atmospherically controlled environment. It doesn't take much to destroy the value of a stamp. Especially if you live in a humid climate. During the life time of my collection, I moved from one coast to the other but my collection was always stored in my personal safe where I knew it was protected from the varying climates.

A thought. If you can't find a buyer and you don't have any interest in maintaining the collection you might give some thought to donating it to your local library or a school. One of my little local libraries just loves collections like these.

Good luck.

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Carolyn Newlen

Thanks very much, Winter. My mother didn't belong to any association, and the man who ran the stamp shop closed it, is long retired, and probably has passed on by now. The stamps are in my basement which is heated and cooled by season, and I hope they are all right. She did have a few old stamps; she said once she wanted at least one on each year's page, and we gave her a few as gifts.

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Rosefolly

Annpan, wishing you the best with your eye surgery on Monday, a successful procedure and a quick recovery.

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Rosefolly

Astrokath, this is a comment following up on your comment in the November thread. I'm putting it here because I thought that if I put it there, you'd never see it.

I too lost my original copy of The Queen's Gambit. We lost a number of books to water damage some years ago when a tree fell on the house during a heavy rainstorm. All has long since been repaired. I'm not sure I lost this particular book at that particular point, but I'm willing to let that tree take the blame.

In any case, my current copy is a replacement.

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astrokath

Rose, I have thought about buying a new copy too :)

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vee_new

I've just finished a couple of very light reads. The Peppermint Tea Chronicles by Alexander McCall Smith the latest in his Scotland Street series had at least six sub-stories running through it and, as I never read these in order, the characters have 'developed/moved-on' so I'm not always up-to-date as to the happenings of that somewhat refined area of Edinburgh. No matter it was an enjoyable read.

I picked up from the library D E Stevenson's Sarah Morris Remembers on the strength of RP'ers saying how much they enjoyed her work. Maybe as this was one of the last books she wrote she didn't do herself justice, but I felt the heroine was a very feeble and wet young woman, no doubt a product of her times and a very middle class upbringing. The story did improve once WWII was underway and she got a job in a London store although continuing to wait/slave on her 'menfolk'. One or two 'strange' passages of ghostly noises in the night that were never explained and the end of the story was very sudden . . . as though Ms Stevenson had run out of steam or just got bored with her characters.


About D E Stevenson

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annpanagain

Although we rightly deplore the sloppiness, or need, of editors these days, I have come across quite a few instances in books written years ago that needed some good editing too.

As with Vee, I have wondered about unexplained situations which wanted tying up. As the authors are gone now, it is no use writing to them and possibly the book was criticised when it was published by hand written letters of complaint from aggrieved readers.

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Carolyn Newlen

I finished Moonflower Murders last night. No time to read today, but I think I will re-read A Christmas Carol next. It's been a few years.

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donnamira

I just finished the selection for our January book club: Running with Sherman, about a rescue donkey who's brought back to health by training him for a big burro race that's held once a year in Colorado. Unfortunately the story of the donkey got lost in the stories of all the people who got involved (the author, the vet, the Amish neighbors, the depressed kid who helped train the donkey, the driving team who got them out to Colorado for the race, and so on and so on....). I'm not sure what to try next, but have pulled Charlie Jane Anders' The City in the Middle of the Night off Mt TBR for a start.

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Rosefolly

I'm looking forward to the delivery of a Connie Willis novella I ordered to arrive in the mail. Willis is a big lover of the Christmas holiday and has written a number of short stories and novellas/novelettes about the holidays, some very funny ("Newsletter" being an example). This one is new to me, Take a Look at the Five and Ten. Merry Christmas to me!


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Carolyn Newlen

I am re-reading A Christmas Carol. Funny how much of the book I've forgotten. It comes from seeing too many performances of it, I suppose.

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kathy_t

Currently reading Grandma Gatewood's Walk by Ben Montgomery and enjoying it. It's a nonfiction book about the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail on her own. At the time of her "walk," she was the mother of 11 and grandmother of 23. (I think I have that right.) The author refers to her as an old woman, but he's wrong because she was younger than me.

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Carolyn Newlen

Kathy, isn't it odd how old older women are getting? One of my aunts once remarked that she didn't have much peer pressure anymore.

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kathy_t

Oh that's funny, Carolyn! And yes, the definition of old sure is moving.

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msmeow

Carolyn, my nephew who once emphatically declared that everyone over 30 is a geezer just turned 45. Look who’s a geezer now!

Donna

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annpanagain

I wince when reading novels from the Thirties which allude to women around fifty as elderly! I think those authors changed their perspective as they grew older! I regard women in their nineties as being elderly but may change my tune in seven years.

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sheri_z6

I just finished Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb, an adorable Christmas coming of age story. Set in 1964, the main character, Felix Funicello (third cousin of Annette!), navigates Catholic school, the birds and the bees, the Great Pillsbury Bake-off, Russians, and a Christmas Pageant like no other. It was really cute and very sweet comfort read. Bonus points for being set in Connecticut where I grew up -- places in the book were quite familiar. I could definitely see myself re-reading this next holiday season.

I also started Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief, inspired by Rouan's thread on the book. So far, it's quite engaging.

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rouan

I have been doing some re-reading lately. I finished The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer and am about a third of the way through The Toll Gate, also by GH.

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annpanagain

I think The Unknown Ajax is one of the most clever of her Regency novels.

The scene where the Customs Officer has to be bamboozled is priceless!

Any more description would be a spoiler...Vee (not a Heyer fan) might read it one day...

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vee_new

Another light read for me was Songbird by Marcia Willett. Set in her favourite county of Devon where the sun always shines and people are forever polite. It is a tale of a group of relations living in cottages around a 'big house' and their interaction. Lots of long walks with dogs, endless cups of coffee in friendly cafés, meals in country pubs even weekend BBQ's when it never rains.

M C writes 'well' with no sloppy English but I do take issue with her when she describes, at great lengths, the feelings of her characters, Everyone is so aware of how a look, a glance, the smallest shrug can be interpreted . . .even among the male characters. I don't know about you and your 'menfolk' but from where I am sitting they are some of the least likely to notice anything 'emotional'; let alone deal with it.

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vee_new

Our posts crossed Annpan!

I last enjoyed a Heyer novel when I was about 16. Recently I picked up a copy at a sale and remarked to a fellow customer "I used to enjoy these books. They were a sort of teenage answer to Jane Austen." She looked at me as though I had compared Dan Brown to Shakespeare.

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annpanagain

Vee, I would argue that both Heyer and Dan Brown are more readable! I struggled with both Austen and Shakespeare at school. I came across Heyer books in the school library and got hooked. My husband had read his mother's collection once and said he liked them.

When I was performing in Romeo and Juliet as a drama student to some "delinquent girls" at a penitential hostel, they cracked up with the Elizabethan jokes and at innuendos that we purer minds hadn't noticed!

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vee_new

Annpan, re Shakespeare (and never mind reading it to delinquents of whatever sex . . .for which you should get a medal) tonight on the TV we are being treated to a 'lockdown' version of Upstart Crow which should lighten the strange pre-Christmas air of general foreboding as this mutant strain of C19 rages around parts of England and has caused us to become the pariah of Europe with virtually all travel to 'foreign parts' put on hold.

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annpanagain

Vee, I do hope I can get to see that.

I was recalling the episode which parodied a scene in Love, Actually, which I watched for the umpteenth time last night! I know the movie by heart but can never resist watching it again! I can't read comfortably for too long but can watch/listen to the TV.

I am really sorry that things are so bad "back home" and assure you we are not taking our easier situation lightly. Our State has gone into a lockdown to all visitors from New South Wales, some were in mid-air coming here when they were told that they had to go into quarantine on arrival instead of spending Christmas with loved ones as planned. The situation with the borders changes hourly sometimes. Just a few cases spreading and the borders are closed.

I tried to get into a book about a coroner but the main character is a woman with too many personal problems to interest me. I like my chief character strong with a sense of humour. Perhaps this is how I like to see myself?

N/D, N/S, GSOH as the Friends ads say!

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vee_new

Below is the Christmas Special from 2018.

Nice cameo from Kenneth Branagh


Upstart Crow's Christmas Carol?

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kathy_t

Finished Grandma Gatewood's Walk. Though this book is not particularly well-written, I'm glad someone decided to document this woman's life and accomplishments. The interest she generated in the Appalachian Trail by walking its full-length three times in her later years (two thru-hikes and one section-by-section) generated a lot of improvements in the trail and the painted blazes that mark it.

Now test-driving a few books picked up at the library. Rejected 3 last night.

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friedag

Kathy, I would like to know which three books you test-drove and rejected, if you care to divulge them. Sometimes those books, and why you decided to not read them, can be just as interesting to me as the ones that are liked and highly praised.

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kathy_t

Freida - LOL, I know what you mean. I often give library books trial runs. I read 20 or 30 or sometimes even 50 pages to decide if I'm interested, and if I am, but not right this minute, I make a note of it on my "For Later Shelf" on the library website. The rejected ones get deleted from that virtual shelf. The three I rejected last night are:

Hippie by Paulo Coelho. I considered it partly because I've come across Coelho's name many times, but have never read anything by him. Somewhere on the web, I read something about this book being about a road trip on "the fabled hippie trail" (which I'd never heard of) across Europe to Nepal. It intrigued me. But before I could even get into the parts of it I might like, I was put off by Coelho's negative statements about the rich, non-hippie previous generation not understanding the enlightened hippies. This may sound odd, but I have become intolerant of intolerance - on both sides of the fence - and I certainly don't want to spend my entertainment hours reading about it.

My Life and Adventures by Castle Freeman, Jr. I liked the idea of this book, and perhaps should have given it more of a chance. It's about a man who was sort of down and out in Mexico when he unexpectedly inherited a small farm in Vermont and moved there. There were a couple of memorable scenes in the early pages of the book - like a description of unsuccessful turkey hunters who get up at an ungodly hour, then fall asleep in the woods while quietly waiting for the turkeys to start moving about. But when the scenes turned to his backstory of shady money deals and pimps and such, I lost interest. I admit, sometimes I give books more of a try, but I was not in that mood last night.

As Time Goes By by Mary Higgins Clark. Somehow, I happened to see that many readers on the goodreads website were praising this book highly. I decided to give it a try. And really, I have nothing negative to say about the sample I read. But the subject matter simply did not appeal to me - about adults seeking out their birth mothers. I'm acquainted with someone in the reverse situation (mother seeking adult child they gave up for adoption) that has become messy and unpleasant. I was not in the mood for the possibility of more of that.

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annpanagain

Vee, last night on TV we got the Upstart Crow repeat of the Eighth Night episode which has the parody I mentioned. We get Ghosts so I hope we get their Xmas special. I always enjoyed the Xmas programming and the parodies etc. and of course going to the pantomimes...

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vee_new

Annpan, the Christmas panto was the highlight of the holidays for us and almost the only event of the year we did as a 'family'. We would drive up to Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre for the matinee of Aladdin, Dick Whittington, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk. Puss in Boots or what ever was showing that year and laugh at the corny jokes, boo the villain, sing along with the dame in her big bloomers, try and catch the sweets thrown to the audience by Buttons or Wishy Washy. Shout out "He's behind you!" or "Oh! yes you did" "Oh! no you didn't"

Pantos are still 'performed' every year by amateur groups up and down the country and in rural areas, such as ours, possibly the only time children get to see a 'live' performance.

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Carolyn Newlen

I have finished reading Road to Redemption by Ann Gabhart, a fictional story set in Springfield, KY, in 1833 based on an actual cholera epidemic and the saving and/or burials done by an actual slave that saved the town. The town eventually went together and bought his freedom and the blacksmith shop for him. It was a tearjerker.

Also read The Endless Knot, another Joanne Kilbourn book by Gail Bowen, and am now beginning Takes One to Know One by Susan Isaacs. I have some of her older books but haven't read anything by her for years. This one has begun well.

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Rosefolly

Kathie T, I've only read one of Paul Coelho's books, and that under duress. I found it to be predictable, irritating, and derivative, and I hope never to read another.

Life is really not too short to read bad books, provided that they are entertaining bad books. But it is far too short to read boring books.

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vee_new

We are all familiar with the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas carol and this book is just a clever take on the original by John Julius Norwich illustrated by Quentin Blake.


The Twelve Days of Christmas

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woodnymph2_gw

I am re-reading parts of "Phenomenal" by Leigh Henion, which I mentioned on another thread. I am particularly fascinated by the description of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) which I have never seen. The author goes to the Arctic Circle in Sweden and stays in an "Ice Lodge", for adventure. She describes the bizarre sounds made by the Northern Lights, as well as the unearthly colors.

From my neighborhood "Little Free Library" I picked up Barbara Tuchman's "A Distant Mirror". I am dipping into it piecemeal, as it is long and detailed. I am interested that some of her descriptions of the Plague" parallel our own Pandemic.

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sheri_z6

Vee, that was delightful! Thank you for the link.

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Carolyn Newlen

I finished The Seagull, a Vera Stanhope book by Ann Cleeves, this afternoon and am ready to start The Art of Violence by S. J. Rozan. Ms. Rozan has written a number of books for which she has been nominated and/or won prizes. I haven't read any besides the Lydia Chan/Bill Smith detective series except Absent Friends which I thought was wonderful.

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msmeow

I’ve managed to pick up a string of so-so and completely forgettable books. I was waiting for an electronic copy of The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett, and it became available today, so hopefully my luck has turned. :)

Donna

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yoyobon_gw

The Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland is a compelling, irresistible, and heart-rending novel, perfect for all book lovers.

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you.

Into her hiding place - the bookstore where she works - come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries.

Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets?

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

Sounds like fun!

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Carolyn Newlen

I finished The Art of Violence. I really love this author.

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rouan

One of my sisters told me she had found Georgette Heyer audiobooks to listen to on you tube so I checked it out. so far I have listened to The Nonesuch, The Reluctant Widow, and The Grand Sophy. I am going to listen to one more before taking a break from them. I think it will be The Quiet Gentleman as it has been a number of years since I read it and I don’t remember a lot of it.

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kathy_t

I just finished reading Little Faith by Nickolas Butler. It's a lovely novel full of tough subjects. The main character is a late-middle-aged man who lives a typical small-town Midwestern life. He lost his faith in God when he and his wife lost their son who was still a baby. But he continued attending church, as many people do, out of habit and tradition and family considerations. When his now-adult adopted daughter returns home a single mom, he becomes very involved in his five-year-old grandson's life, only to have contact with the boy cut off by his mother. This is because the grandfather does not share her faith in the teachings of a shyster preacher who claims the young grandson has the gift of healing by the laying on of hands. He pays dearly for this lack of faith. I liked this book very much, even though the end leaves you hanging - not knowing who ends up suffering the toughest consequence for their faith or lack thereof.

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yoyobon_gw

Are we all ready for 2021 ?


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annpanagain

Until my new eye lens settles, I am not reading very much but I have a load of chocolate for consolation! My family make up personal hampers for me as their Christmas gifts and always include boxes of chocolates, Walkers Biscuits and bottles of Baileys. #and a Lion's Christ-i-mas cake!#

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Carolyn Newlen

I am reading Lost River by David Fulmer. This is the third of these books I've read. They are set in New Orleans at the beginning of the jazz age when N.O. was a rip-roaring city. They are good books, but I need some space between them.

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yoyobon_gw

Anna, when did you have your eye done and how was it ?? !

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annpanagain

I had a cataract removed from my right eye on the 14th December. I went to a private hospital because I needed to get it done quickly as my sight was suddenly deteriorating and the public hospital had a long waiting list. Everything went very well but I have to wait for a few more weeks before I can be tested for a new right lens for my spectacles.

The fees were not too bad and I have had stimulus money from the State and Federal Governments which just about covered the whole bills. Depending on what the operating doctor says, I might go private again. My children are encouraging me to spend their "inheritance" on this!

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Rosefolly

Ann, you have nice kids. I wish you a quick recovery.

Everyone I know who has had this surgery is very pleased with the results. I wish you the same.

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annpanagain

Rosefolly, thank you.

My kids are very supportive and have always told us to spend our money on ourselves as "you have worked hard for it!"

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vee_new

Have just finished The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald. Set in and around a fictional Cambridge college where Fred, a very junior Fellow is specialising in early atomic research having studied under Rutherford. The other 'strand' of the story concerns Daisy, a London girl of humble origins, who trains as a nurse and later finds herself in Cambridge where her life and that of the Fred come together.

Fitzgerald manages to paint a word-picture of life in the Edwardian era . . . from the austere all-male world of academia to that lived by Daisy with wonderful descriptions of all the unguents, salves, nostrums, creams etc she was meant to study and understand as a nurse.

Nothing has been added to give a 'modern take' on the setting; something that annoys me mightily!

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vee_new

Annpan, glad that you are at least halfway there with your eyes and hope you are able to have the other op soon.

Here all/most of the private hospitals are working with the NHS as beds are filling up with COVID and many non-urgent ops are being cancelled and treatments put on hold.

Millions of people have been put into the highest tier of 'lockdown' partly due to this new fast-moving strain of the virus and, even us in the relative 'backwoods', are now in the same highest category mostly because we only have two 'main' hospitals in Gloucestershire from where the TV news shows queues of ambulances waiting up to 6 hours to off-load patients.

The next 'batch' of the sick (those who 'mixed' at Christmas) will be on their way in very soon . . .to say nothing of those who insist on celebrating New Year's Eve with forbidden get-togethers and making whoppee.

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yoyobon_gw

Anna, did you have laser surgery ? The reason I ask , of course, is because I will probably have this done in the near future. A surgeon locally has developed a robotic laser procedure for cataracts . My husband had both eyes done 1.5 years ago and his sight is amazing.

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lemonhead101

Just had a fun read of “The Ladies Paradise” by Emile Zola (1883). We’d enjoyed watching the episodic series on PBS so I was curious about the original source material. Not too different really. Now - what next? A big change from nineteenth century French classics: a book of essays about interesting human behavior: “Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries” by guess who — Jon Ronson.

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donnamira

I've been flitting between books for a couple weeks now: reading a few pages of one, then setting it down and picking up another. I did manage to finish a couple, one of which was a delightful supposed-diary of a 18th century girl on the Grand Tour: The Diary of a Young Lady of Fashion in the Year 1764-1765 by Cleone Knox, by Magdalen King-Hall. I picked it up (you can find an e-book facsimile version on Amazon for just a couple dollars) based on Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda's comment: “Any devotee of the great Georgette Heyer is bound to enjoy “The Diary of a Young Lady of Fashion in the Year 1764-1765” by Cleone Knox. Once regarded as the genuine 18th-century journal of a sassy upper-class Irish miss, it’s actually a jeu d’esprit written in 1924 by the 20-year-old Magdalen King-Hall."


Since finishing the Cleone Knox 'diary,' I've been flipping between a book by Gordon Childe on European prehistory, John Garth's "The Worlds of J.R.R.Tolkien: the places that inspired Middle-Earth" (recommended by the Post's garden columnist), and my Christmas present, David Sibley's What It's Like to Be a Bird.



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annpanagain

Yoyobon, no laser was involved. I had the cataract "sucked" by a machine that made singing noises which alerted the surgeon to what was going on, she said. I really left it rather late and the cataract was dense and hard to remove.

The left eye cataract is not as bad. I shall still need spectacles for close work as the right eye is now long-sighted and so clear that the left eye looks like it has a golden filter on it in comparison!

Vee, our hospitals were put on standby "just in case" around March and my D's ankle op was cancelled. She has recently had it done but its Summer when she didn't want to be stuck indoors in a wheelchair! Some friends are very kind and take her out but she can't wait to be able to use the ankle and drive again.

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