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What are you reading? June 2022 Edition

What are you reading?

As always, it helps to bold the titles, rate the books 1-5 stars, and let us know if you think it would be good for a book group.


Link to May 2022 Edition

Comments (108)

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    Teresoza, Have you read any of the Discworld books by Pratchett? I believe Guards, Guards (though there are plenty of other contenders) is a good starting place. The books are hilarious and insightful, for example we now have the Vimes Boots Theory to explain why being poor is expensive. This is actually cited by economists, especially these days as inflation is rising.



  • salonva
    13 days ago

    I finished Travels with Charley earlier today and just loved it. FIVE out of FIVE STARS.

    I am totally in awe of Steinbeck. I know, I know but I never really got it before. What a writer. This was I think one of his last works, a recounting of his cross country rv trip with his dog Charley . It was right after Hurricane Donna (1960) which I remember so it helped me with the times. Of course I think I was in 1st or 2nd grade at the time. Aside from being a stellar writer, he had such insights into the times and the nation and people and everything.

    Highly recommend. I will also add that it is a little over 200 pages so definitely give it a try.

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  • Bunny
    13 days ago
    last modified: 13 days ago

    Salonva, thanks for this. I’m still swooning over East of Eden.

  • Winter
    13 days ago

    I'm so old that I read Travels With Charley when it was first published [and the book is still part of my library]...but I want to second salonva's excellent review of the book. It's a keeper and well worth reading no matter how old one is. It will enrich your soul and you may look at the world a little differently after absorbing its contents.

  • Bunny
    12 days ago

    I'm about 1/3 through Louise Penny's The Long Way Home and I'm not feeling it at all. I plan to set it aside for now. Five or six years ago I was reading all her books in order until one day I'd had enough. I like her writing and hoped that the gap in time and maybe some other magic would rekindle something for me. But it's the same people, saying and doing the same things. I had hoped that Ruth had expired by now, but no luck.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    12 days ago

    Bunny, you expressed my own thoughts re the books by Louise Penny perfectly. I once thought I was her biggest fan and read most of her earlier books. In my view, she has lost whatever "magic" she once had as a compelling author. The last couple of her books were failures for me. I wondered if it had to do with the loss of her beloved husband. Anyway, she is repeating herself ad nauseum, in my view now. I, too, had hoped "Ruth" would have expired!

  • chisue
    12 days ago
    last modified: 12 days ago

    Augh! I'm having the same feelings about Anne Perry. Her newest Daniel Pitt novel, Three Debts Paid, is terrible. I think no one edited it. The reader is beaten over the head repeatedly with the same information. No detail is too small to warrant elaboration: A tea service included a silver pot and, not only porcelain cups, but *saucers* too! The hall floor is parquet. (Imagine that!) It's so smarmy that I found myself laughing, limaging a different kind of marriage when the inspector is "...on his way to someone's home to tell a devoted and unsuspecting wife that the man she loved would not be back." (I'm so contrary!)

    Bunny -- Glad you liked Empress. I may look for some of the author's previous books about historic women.

  • Bunny
    12 days ago

    Woodnymph, thank you. It's like a Thomas Kinkade painting with a mean, foul-mouthed octogenarian who's supposed to make us chuckle but I want to throttle her and her enablers.

  • salonva
    11 days ago

    I knew I had read something a while ago by CW Gortner but couldn't remember so I looked through my goodreads, and it was The Last Queen and I really liked it. ( not that I can remember too much of it but it was good and I was impressed with the author.) Defnitely looking forward to The Romanov Empress.


    After I finished Travels with Charley, I started Elena Knows. Tatris (sp) had recommended it in the April thread, and I reserved it on kindle. It just came in like 2 days ago and I have been reading it since . It's really drawn me in and is very different and interesting. It's translated from Spanish, but I wouldn't have known that otherwise. So far, very very good.



  • Lizzie Borden
    11 days ago

    Salonva, you make Travels With Charley sound like something i would enjoy reading. i just came from the library and saw this post. I picked up Hello Molly by Molly Shannon. i will put a hold on Travels With Charley

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    11 days ago

    I finished reading Dark in Death by JD Robb (Nora Roberts). 2 star. Disappointing. Fortunately I found it at a free library so the only thing I wasted was my time.

  • Alisande
    11 days ago

    I gave up on Sweetbitter, a novel about a young woman who arrives in NYC and goes to work in an upscale restaurant, because a) at first I was put off by the casual attitudes about sex and cocaine, and b) at some point after that I realized I didn't like any of the characters.

    Now I'm reading Mary Jane, by Jessica Anya Blau. From Amazon: Almost Famous meets Daisy Jones & The Six in this "delightful" (New York Times Book Review) novel about a fourteen-year-old girl’s coming of age in 1970s Baltimore, caught between her straight-laced family and the progressive family she nannies for—who happen to be secretly hiding a famous rock star and his movie star wife for the summer.

    I'm enjoying it, and this time I like all the characters. Well, most of them anyway. :-)

    Annie, was that your first read in the "In Death" series? I've read over 40 of them. Occasionally one disappoints me (maybe "Dark" was one of those), but mostly I'm hooked--which I guess is obvious.

  • faftris
    11 days ago

    Salonva, I am glad you are enjoying Elena Knows. I have been on my Barbara Pym journey, and while I have liked all 5 of the novels I've finished, it is probably time to move on to somebody else. The women in her books are "church ladies", but they are all university-educated and all have unrequited love issues, usually with men who are either unattainable or inappropriate. But Pym is fun. There are some character crossovers. In one book, the narrator meets persons who appeared in another book and comments how much they seem like characters in a novel. Haha.

    I am waiting for the 2022 Obama Summer Reading List. That man knows what I like!

  • 4kids4us
    10 days ago

    I struggled to finish The Violin Conspiracy, a new release by debut author Brendan Slocumb. I suppose I had high expectations as it was recommended to me by several people and on several recommended reading lists. Unfortunately for me, it fell way short.


    It engaged me rather quickly but the plot was too farfetched as I got further into the book, and the writing was amateurish. I wish instead, the author had focused more on the story of a young Black, talented violinist who became successful despite the racism and stereotyping he encountered, as well as the lack of support from his family. That would have been more interesting than the notion that this young man somehow inherited a Stradivarius, and the silly plot to find it after it is stolen. The best part of the novel were the descriptive passages about the training and lifestyle of what it takes to be professional violinist, and more importantly, what Black musicians face in a world dominated by people not of color.


    2 stars for plot and writing style, though it does address issues that would make for a good book club discussion.


    Today I started Mecca by Susan Straight, a new to me author who is a National Book Award finalist for another of her novels. The novel follows several native Californians whose lives are intertwined by the actions of one man, a CHP officer who is a descendant of Mexican immigrants and indigenous Californians. Set in Southern California in the dry canyons affected by the Santa Ana winds, the writing so far is superb.

  • sweet_betsy No AL Z7
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    I am about a quarter of the way through The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough that I picked up at a used book sale. Since none of my holds from the local library had arrived via my tablet, I decided to read it. The mini series of this story was a favorite and the book has not disappointed. There are issues in it that would make for good discussion in a book club. Great glimpses of life on an Australian sheep station in the early part of the 20th Century and of human nature too.

  • olychick
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    Oh, I remember LOVING reading The Thorn Birds. I just looked to see if I'd read any other books she'd written - I don't think so. Anyone read any others by her? The covers look a little "bodice rippery" to me, so I would have been unlikely to pick them up based on that. But Morgan's Run looks quite interesting.

  • Bookwoman
    10 days ago

    The First Man in Rome is highly recommended by my classics-major daughter.

  • faftris
    9 days ago

    Bookwoman--I knew I liked you. My DD was a classics major too, in Greek and Latin. I will look for that book and pass the title along to her. My best to your daughter. It is so nice to hear of someone who truly loves literature and history.

  • Bookwoman
    9 days ago

    :-) Mine did both languages as well. She's in academic publishing and is about to marry a philosophy professor. I consider myself fairly intelligent, but their conversations sometimes go right over my head!

  • chisue
    9 days ago

    Would you believe it? No library in our system has Travels With Charley. Foo!


    I'm about to start Await Your Reply, Dan Chaon. Got great reviews.

  • deegw
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    Has anyone read Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen?

    I'm about 40% through it and trying to decide if I should abandon it. I like the writing and the basic plot but every character is so self-destructive that it's depressing. If you have read it, do the characters eventually experience any personal growth, or is the book just one tragedy after the other?

  • jewelisfabulous
    9 days ago

    I'm currently reading Fake by Erica Katz. It's delicious so far. The Latecomer by Korelitz was very memorable with a satisfying twist at the end. Trust by Diaz left me wanting to punch the main male protagonist, but I'm glad I read it. Fair warning: the second part is written like someone was making an outline to fill in later. I was about to send the publisher an email to say that the editor slacked off, but then came to realize what was going on. :) Then, there's The Omega Factor by Steve Berry. I love his work, but this one took far too long to reveal the historical "goodie" at the heart of the skirmishes between the Vatican and the Maidens. I believe that's all I've read this month so far...

  • sweet_betsy No AL Z7
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    Olychick, answering your question. I have read one other book by Colleen McCullough. I once had her An Indecent Obsession, started it once and didn't think it was going to be to my liking. However, I later decided to try again and finished it that time. It is a somewhat dark tale about several soldiers at the end of WWII who are suffering from shell shock (today's PTSD) and the nurse who is in charge of them. Getting into the story, I wanted to find out how it ended and it was a surprise.

  • Olychick
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    deegw, I haven't read Crossroads but swore off of Franzen after the debacle that was Freedom, so I don't think I will read it. Unless I hear so many good things that I can't stay away, lol.

    Sweet Betsy, thanks for you notes on An Indecent Obsession. Not sure if I'll try that one or not.

    Bookwoman, The First Man in Rome looks good, maybe I'll try that one sometime, if I think I can stick with a 1000+ page book. Yikes. Thanks.

  • faftris
    9 days ago

    I thought that The Latecomer was a little too cute, and it made it more of a NYT bestseller, rather than a literary work. The same kind of twist happened in The Plot, so I guess that's just her thing. I just loved Trust, and the structure of it gave it that extra" Je ne sais quoi". It was amazing how the story progressed and changed, based on who was doing the telling. The author, Hernan Diaz, did an interview about it at the NY Public Library. I watched it online, and you can probably access it through their website.

  • woodnymph2_gw
    9 days ago

    I'm enjoying "The Palace Papers" by Tina Brown. It is easy to read a chapter, put it down, and pick it up again. Brown writes very well, IMHO, and covers every member of the House of Windsor. So far, I've read of the backgrounds of the late Princess Di, of Camilla, of Prince Philip, and Diana's family. So now on to read of Prince Andrew's scandals and of Meghan and Harry's departure.

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    faftris, Thank you for releasing me from that book, The Latecomer. I don't usually read that kind of fiction, but the NYT review was so strong, and I needed something fluffy, but once the girl and the woman met up at the gallery, I was so done, then I persisted. Next the bookstore scene, puhlease! Loved the art bits, but no more ridiculous set ups.


  • chisue
    8 days ago

    I've tried Franzen. Perhaps I'm too shallow, but I do not 'get' his world. Now I'm wondering whether I want to contine with the highly recommended Await Your Reply. Enough with the tortured family of a schizophrenic. Enough with the runaway 'child bride' and her history teacher -- a Lolita from *her* viewpoint. Oh, maybe I'll give it a little more rope...

  • salonva
    8 days ago

    Elena Knows was definitely a great read, with lots to absorb even though it is a pretty small book. I think it would be a very good book club selection.


    For next week's book club, I am reading Have you Seen Luis Velez?. I am about halfway through. It is a pretty easy read, and a very good story. I am pretty sure it's been recommended here previously.

  • Bunny
    8 days ago

    I just finished Only Time Will Tell (Clifton Chronicles Book 1) by Jeffrey Archer. I liked it a LOT. 4 stars. I can't remember where I heard about this series. I thought it was here, but can't find any reference to it in the past couple of months. If it was someone here, thank you very much!

    I've had a string of books lately that I've bailed on (Louise Penny, I'm looking at you) and longed for something that kept me engaged. This was it. It is very plot-driven, from several different POVs overlapping. I thought it was well told. It takes place in England between the two wars, one in the past, the other looming, but more about families and kids in school.

    The ending is a cliff-hanger, so, if there wasn't a Book 2, I'd have been very upset. It's on order.

  • salonva
    7 days ago

    I am on a reading frenzy roll!!

    I finished Have You Seen Luis Velez? It was a very good , easy read. I thought it had some very interesting lessons in it but there were times when it was a little bit ( but just a little bit) predictable or preachy. Still I would give it 4 out of 5 stars and I think it will make for a good discussion at book club. It definitely resonated.


    Now, I don't know where I heard of this book, Leonard and Hungry Paul (I checked the last 2 or 3 months of these threads and don't see it). Just got it from the library on kindle and started it and I am hooked. I can tell it's a good one. Does anyone recognize it? No clue where I heard the name but I had it in my want to read on goodreads, added very recently. It gets good reviews and ratings.

    Leonard and Hungry Paul


  • Jasdip
    7 days ago
    last modified: 7 days ago

    I'm reading Alice Cooper's autobiography "Golf Monster." He turned to golf as a way to beat his addiction. Some of you may know he's a top-notch golfer.

  • Bunny
    7 days ago

    I read Luis Velez last year. I had great hopes for it, but I thought it missed out on the story of the old woman (can't remember names now). Then I found out it's considered YA and maybe that's why. The kid was asexual, right? I wanted to know more about that, but I guess I'm out of the loop.

  • jmck_nc
    6 days ago

    Olychick, I read Morgan's Run years ago and really enjoyed it. I still remember quite a bit about the story (which for me, says something!).

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    6 days ago

    I just finished "Where the Forest Meets the Stars" and really enjoyed it as light summer reading...3+ stars. Not for book group. It's about a PhD student studying birds and a child shows up who claims to be an alien, but it's not sci fi. It's a touching tale that includes dysfunctional families, romance, murder, and other things. I think a GF gave it to me...she and her 2 daughters read it and one didn't like it, the other one did.


    Up next for book group is The Personal Librarian which I'm looking forward to reading.

  • faftris
    5 days ago

    The Personal Librarian was very good. If you are ever in NY, the Morgan Library is a real treasure.

  • DLM2000-GW
    5 days ago

    Just finished RIVER OF THE GODS (can't do bold on my phone so caps will have to do) by Candice Millard. In fact book club with the author is in 30 minutes. I struggled with it at first, could not engage with the people (non fiction) and didn't care what happened to them. But as I worked through it that changed. It's one of those books where other world events weave in and out and you see a part of history differently.

  • faftris
    5 days ago

    That picture says it all!

  • faftris
    3 days ago

    I recommend Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love. It's about an English family and takes place just before World War II. Mitford has a perfect blend of sympathy and sarcasm, and I understand that it is based on her own family. The main character is looking for love with all the wrong people. I plan to read more Mitford going forward.

  • just_terrilynn
    3 days ago

    I just started one of the recommendations above, Blood Sugar. I don't normally like books about murder but this has captured me already.

  • 4kids4us
    3 days ago

    I finished Mecca by Susan Straight yesterday. Wow, the writing was just fantastic. It was an interesting read about a side of Southern California that isn't glitzy, glamour Hollywood, beaches and nice weather but instead is set inland, in super hot canyons and deserts vividly described by Straight. There isn't really a plot, and is really a character driven novel that probably won't have broad appeal. There is a spiderweb of characters that are all somehow related, either by blood or friendship, to the main character, who works as a CHP, and whose ancestors have lived on the land well before white settlers arrived. For me, it was close to a 5 star read.


    Today I am starting The Fortnight in September by R.C. Sheriff. Did I hear about that novel here? I follow several reading/book threads in different forums but can't remember where I heard about it. It was originally published in 1931.

  • faftris
    3 days ago
    last modified: 3 days ago

    I loved Fortnight in September. It is about an English family vacationing at the shore, and how each of them is transformed by the experience. A "5" for sure. If you read plays, as I love to do, his Journey's End is breathtaking. I saw a production of it a few years go, and the whole audience was in tears at the end. (OMG I just looked it up and it was 11 years ago!)

  • lonestar123
    3 days ago

    Just read The Divorce Colony about how Sioux Falls SD was the place to go in the late 1800's. It followed 4 women who came to Sioux Falls to get divorces. While it was interesting it was more like a textbook.

  • salonva
    2 days ago

    I still have not figured out where I heard of Leonard and Hungry Paul but I finished it this morning and highly recommend it.

    I was almost not going to post this and save it for the July thread so that my recommendation would see more eyes. That's how good it was.

    It was so beautifully written, and was a great story. It would be excellent for a book cllub.

    I give it 5 stars .

  • Bunny
    2 days ago

    Thanks for the recommendation for Leonard and Hungry Paul. We often like the same books. :) The Kindle version was available so it's queued up as soon as I finish my current book.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    2 days ago

    Just finished The Personal Librarian. Really enjoyed 4 stars and good for book group.

  • chisue
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    I didn't care for this, but DH is liking it: Await Your Reply, Dan Chaon

    I'm halfway into The Alienist, Caleb Carr (1994), which I came across in a list of historical mystery novels. The search for a serial killer is set against a detailed look at Manhattan in the late 19th Century. The killer is only differently repellent from the 'powers that be' in this rough and tumble period of crime bosses and protection racket cops preying on impoverished immigrants. Police Commissioner Teddy Roosevelt struggles to allow a pioneer psychiatrist (the 'alienist') as he builds a motivational template to identify the killer of very young boys employed as prostitutes. 4+ Stars.

  • Winter
    yesterday

    Chisue...The Alienist is the first of a series of 4 books by Carr involving the Alienist. Having read most everything that he's written...I recommend his works and you may wish to read the next in the series...The Angel of Darkness. Unfortunately...he's seemingly retired from publishing fictional works but I keep checking.