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What are you reading? October 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 Sept. 2022

Comments (116)

  • Elmer J Fudd
    last month

    runningnplace, i can’t of course remember specific comments I’ve made in the past. I’ll accept your recollection and say that the same suggestion applies to me as to anyone else. I hope such instances for me were not numerous.

  • 4kids4us
    last month

    "I don't want to know anything in advance about any book I'm thinking of reading."


    I'm curious about this statement. While I don't want a full scale synopsis or review, I do need to know something (setting, genre, subject matter, etc) about a book before reading it. How else would I determine whether it's even something I'd be interested in reading? Do you just pick up books blindly b/c its author is well-known, well-regarded, etc? Or do you just go for certain genres and then hope it's going to be of interest, well-written, etc?



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  • Bunny
    last month

    I do not want any spoilers but I need to know something about a book before I choose to read it. Abusive families? God no. People being stalked? Get it away from me. Snarky romantic romp? Kill me now. I need to know kinda what a book is about.

  • SeattleMCM
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Re: spoilers: if you think this thread has them, then you are free to not read it? (I didn't see any real spoilers here though.)

    Now on to the original topic...

    Just finished Where the Crawdads Sing and enjoyed it. It's a bit unbelievable and hokey, but engrossing anyway.

    Just started Come Fly The World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am. It's really good. It's not just about the women, but also a brief history of the airline industry around the mid century -- such as how Pan Am was the main airline to ferry soldiers on shore leave during Vietnam, and how exciting and dangerous that was. I'm really enjoying it!

    @salonva - if you liked Hitchhiker's Guide -- they did a four episode radio play in the 70s. I absolutely loved it. (not a book, but if you liked that story, there's more of it!)

  • Elmer J Fudd
    last month

    “do you just go for certain genres and then hope it's going to be of interest, well-written, etc?”

    This, genres and authors from prior experiences. And recommendations from friends.

  • barncatz
    last month

    @Kathleen Smith, I was so thrilled my library was ordering The Night Ship and just got a notice that I will get it shortly. I've been waiting for this one.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    "I do not want any spoilers but I need to know something about a book before I choose to read it." Me too, Bunny.

  • Olychick
    last month

    @barncatz That is a brilliant use of Goodreads. I long ago quit looking at that site for book recommendations because I'd see this glowing reviews for books I found appallingly awful. Plus, there is something about the culture there that seems to encourage long winded, self aggrandizing posters who use it like their personal blogs. Their sense of self important opinions really is off-putting to me. So, I'm going to try looking for some folks who disliked some of the books I did and some who loved the same ones I did and see if I can find some sources there for book ideas when I have a dry spell.

    I love these threads because I've found so many great books recommended here that I may have missed seeing elsewhere.

    I also look at independent bookstore's employee recommendations and for my local librarians' recommendations listed on the library website. Those are both sources I feel I can trust.

  • Bunny
    last month

    Honestly, this site--i.e., Annie's monthly threads--is one of the best ways I have found good books. Not always, but very often. You guys are good, even if I couldn't make Oly love Beartown). I don't typically go to GR for recommendations, but I do check out their scores as a way of deciding whether I should give a book a try. They tend to be slightly lower than A-on's. However, I have found myself at odds with highly recommended GR books. If I end up liking a book, I don't need to read anyone's glowing review to know that I loved it. However, if I hate a book or, more realistically, bail, I love reading scathing reviews.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    My GF uses GR after she's started reading a book and finds it dull...she uses their ratings to decide if it's worthwhile finishing or not.

  • salonva
    last month

    I use goodreads to keep track of what I want to read, and what I have read. I also rarely write a review but I do rate every book. I do use goodreads to see the number ratings ( I know if it's a 4 or above, it's very very very likelyl that I will like it. ) I also like to see how many pages. I don't like to know what a book is about before I read it.

    I use this thread and another similar one to see what books people suggest and if they liked them. I also don't like to summarize books but I will share how it made me feel or it was a "good" easy read. I have also as someone else mentioned, focused on a some people who have similar taste and see what books they are reading.

    I usually have no idea what a book will be about when I decide to read it.

    My method works fine for me.

  • salonva
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I have just finished The School For Good Mothers. It was a very interesting and thought provoking book, but I am not sure about recommending it. It's fiction, and I guess it deals with the consequences of actions but on a whole other level.

    It's a very current book ( published Jan 2022) and I don't know how to explain it but I thought some of the (sort of upsetting? ) details were kind of over the top and maybe more dramatic than warranted.

    It's definitely good for a discussion but as I was reading it, some parts were so unsettling that I wasn't sure why I should continue. I did, and at this point am still mulling it over. I think I would rate it 3.5 stars.

  • Funkyart
    last month

    I use Good Reads .. and I also rate and sometimes post a short review. I get a lot of good recommendations there but I use the social aspect .. meaning I follow friends with similar reading tastes. At least once a week, I check my Good Reads feed to see who is reading what.. and how they've rated/reviewed their recent reads.

    I am currently on my third Walter Mosely book of the month and am quite enjoying them. I usually prefer mystery/spy/thrillers to crime fiction but I like his writing style. I am reading through his Leonid McGill series set in NYC but he's best known for the Easy Rawlins series set in LA. Not book club material but it pulled me out of a reading slump after reading a series of 3-star meh books (Killers of a Certain Age by Deana Raybourn, Book of Cold Cases by Simone St James, These Toxic Things by Rachel Hall Howzell, Alias Emma by Eva Glass)


  • faftris
    last month

    I am not much of a Goodreads user. I value this thread for giving me titles that sound interesting. I don't care for mysteries, fantasy and novels that deal with dystopian worlds. I get ideas from the Booker, National Book Award and Obama lists. This year, most of those books have been in the dystopian vein, so it's been a no-go. Also, I like to go back and read books that I never got to in college or that I enjoyed and want to revisit. My OCD is that once I find an author I like, I tend to read the whole canon.

  • Bookwoman
    last month

    faftris, I think you and I were separated at birth. :-)

  • Funkyart
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I also follow the book awards and NYT reviews and other sources/lists for potential titles ... but I often need lighter reading when work/life get hectic. Mysteries have always been my brain candy. They keep me reading when I struggle with focus.. or when I can only read a short bit at night. Winter is when I tend to delve into more literary fiction.

  • Bunny
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I made it about 30% through The Marriage Portrait and bailed. I loved Hamnet and historical fiction in general. This was just too, I don't know, inward and claustrophobic. I know the main character dies young...not a spoiler, it's history. It's not fun to see it coming and that's it.

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    last month

    I do use goodreads to see the number ratings ( I know if it's a 4 or above, it's very very very likelyl that I will like it. )


    That is in fact a qualification for any book we read in our bookclub. Minimum 4.0 on both GR and Amazin', with at least 500 or so reviews to back that up.


    I also dislike dystopian novels; they are always assigned in HS and that is where they should remain. Of course the last thing most HS'ers need is another dim view of the world, but I digress. I understand their value but just, no. If i want dystopia I can find it IRL for sure. I will throw in science fiction as another dislike, since its usually not cheery either.


    I also don't like magical realism and I don't like mysteries. I find mysteries stressful. It's part of being too competitive. It's like I feel like I need to "solve" things right away and if not I am stupid.

  • Bestyears
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I just finished Lucy by the Sea and enjoyed it so much. I'm a devoted Elizabeth Strout fan, but I always worry that I'll be disappointed with the newest book. So far, it hasn't happened. She dispenses the kinds of truths most of us eventually learn, all with an economy of words, and spare prose is my favorite writing style. I just started the latest Dani Shapiro book, Signal Fires. She's another favorite author. I've also downloaded samples of Savor: A Chef's Hunger for More, and Solving for Why: A Surgeon's Journey to Discover the Transformative Power of Purpose. I'm about to get on a long flight, so plenty of time to hunker down and read, yay!

    Interesting discussion about reviews and spoilers. Over the last year, I've been listening to book podcasts, and along with this thread (thank you Annie D.), I pick most of my books from those discussions. So I know a great deal about most of the books I'm choosing, and I guess I like that. Even back in the day, when trying to find a new book title meant perusing the aisles of a bookstore, I always read the inside flap, the outside flap, and the back cover. These days, I'm prone to sleuthing out a bit about the author too. So although I've never thought about it, I have to conclude that I typically like a lot of information before I start a new book. I'm prone to gathering way too much information for purchases, for travel, etc., so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

  • faftris
    last month

    Let me add science fiction to my DNF list. What I do love, though, is reading plays. I am a big theater-goer, and there are so many works that will never be revived. Printed copies are quite hard to come by in my library system. Hoopla has some, but not many.

  • Bunny
    last month

    Yes, no dystopia or sci-fi. Also nothing where physical or emotional cruelty is featured. No chick lit or whatever it's called when a circle of female friends go through things.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    I just finished reading a fabulous short story (in book form) called Address Unknown by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor. She wrote it in 1938 under the name Kressmann Taylor. We are fans of film noir and there was a movie made of the story with the same name. I often try to find out who the author was and track them down to see if there are other stories of interest. This was a big best seller in its day. Its theme of how one person adopting the ideology of an authoritarian madman can destroy a lifelong friendship is as relevant today as it was 80 years ago. I can see why it became such a success and why it was banned in Germany. 5 stars. Not for book group unless it's with something else, perhaps thematically around the same era as it is such a quick read.

  • Olychick
    last month

    I'm almost finished with The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz and am enjoying it immensely. When there was a discussion of The Plot upthread, I thought it was interesting that The Latecomer also has a bit of a storyline about someone stealing another's idea and using it in their writing (in this case a college paper). I just happened to notice last night from the book jacket that the author of The Plot is also the author of The Latecomer. That makes me so curious about the commonality. Has Korelitz stolen or had stolen a plot in the past? Why include it in two books? Anyone know?

  • chisue
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The library finally came up with The Bullet That Missed, so we'll be back into Richard Osman's witty world of senior sleuths, first introduced in The Thursday Murder Club. The second in the series is The Man Who Died Twice. The plots are clever, but almost peripheral to reading about the quirks and hidden talents of the retirees seeking to unravel a 'cold case' murder.

  • Bunny
    last month

    Annie, thanks for the recommendation of Address Unknown. I liked it, 4 stars.

    I had just bailed on The Marriage Portrait and needed a reset. This was it. My only complaint was it was over before I was ready for it to end. I love the tack Max took with Martin.

  • nicole___
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

    The premise is, a woman does nothing with her life, but had lots of options to be great. Then she gets the chance to live several of her potential lives, based on her previous ambitions.

    I really liked it. It was a quick read. Paced well. 5 stars...because it met ALL my expectations in a book.

  • Bookwoman
    last month
    last modified: last month

    If you liked the premise of The Midnight Library, try Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, which is wonderful.

  • nicole___
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I have a question. Is the majority of NEW Sci Fi ALL about the Multiverse?

    It seems to be a theme with movies lately.

    Bookwoman...thx. I put it on my to read list. The review sounds really good, much beefier than The Library.

    I'd like to join a book club that meets during the day.

  • eld6161
    last month

    Just finished The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo for my Nov bookclub. A quick and interesting read. I think it will spark good conversation.

  • salonva
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I tried The Color of Magic (Pratchett) which bookwoman recommended since I so enjoyed Hitchhiker's Guide. I don't know if it was too soon after reading Hitchhiker, as this is definitely not my usual genre, but I had to bail quickly. I might try it again at some point but it was a no go for me.

    Since I loved Hamnet, I read The Marriage Portrait. I see there were varying opinions on it and I was curious because I generally agree with Bunny! Anyway, I read it pretty quickly and I'm still mulling it over. I did like it ( hey I stuck with it and finished it!), and her writing is beautiful. However I totally agree with bookwoman that some editing or paring down on the word count would have been a good thing. There were many superfluous, excesive, gratuitous, expendable, unneeded ( get my drift) words used. There were sentences with perhaps 50, 100? words and many of them were descriptive.

    The chapters went back and forth timewise so that added a bit to my confusion.

    The story was fascinating and my knowledge of the characters was only to the extent that I am aware of a powerful family named Medici.

    I think I would rate it between 3 and 4 stars.

  • faftris
    last month

    I am reading Queen of Hearts by Wilkie Collins. It's not at the same level as his well-known novels, but enjoyable nonetheless. I am almost afraid to say what it's about, but the elderly narrator is trying to prolong the visit of a woman to his house by telling her ten stories, one a night, almost like Scheherazade did. The stories are mysteries, and few do this better than Collins.

  • chisue
    last month

    4 Stars for all three of Richard Osman's cozy Murder Club mysteries. I'm nearing the end of the third, The Bullet That Missed, reading slowly, but encouraged to see that there will be a fourth volume. I can't wait to see what the club gets up to next. If you have thought that *Literature* has to be *Serious*, you might change your mind. At the very least, you will laugh -- and be touched by Osman's wonderful characters, Seniors and their 'juniors'.

  • stacey_mb
    last month

    I read Kristin Lavransdatter based on recommendations here. I just loved the book and consider it a momentous feat of the writer to make the book as interesting as it was, right to the end of its 1,124 pages. By its description - a girl growing up in 14th century Norway - it sounds as though it would be very boring but it wasn't boring at all. 5 out of 5 stars. Now to find another good read. I am partway through Agatha Christie's Nemesis, although I find it a little too uneventful so will likely abandon it. Also partway through The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune which is highly rated in Goodreads. It has echoes of Harry Potter so I feel it's a repeat of what I've read before, but will persist for now.

  • nicole___
    last month

    Note: My book club is reading "Their Eyes Were Watching God", by Zora Neale Hurston

    I don't know if I'm going to like it ....yet.

  • salonva
    last month

    oh interesting! That is I think a December or January pick -Their Eyes Were Watching God


    I started The Dictionary of Lost Words. I'm enjoying it Will be curious to see how I feel when finished. As I remember, it got very varied reactions here but in general it gets good reviews.



    ,

  • olychick
    last month

    I remember years ago a friend gave me Their Eyes… and said it was one of her all time favorite books. When I started reading it, I thought, ”No way!” But as I picked up the rhythm of the language, I also began to love it very much!

  • texanjana
    last month

    I am reading Molly Shannon’s memoir Hello Molly! I had no idea of the trauma she experienced at such a young age. I‘m enjoying it.

  • HU-929826674
    last month

    It is so heartening to see so many people reading books! I am a retired children's librarian, but also an avid reader, not retired. Keep reading, folks!

    Right now I am reading 100 Voices from Slavery, which is a compilation of interviews with ex-slaves, done by interviewers in the 1930's. It was likely a WPA project.

    Oral history is not reliable as history, but it does give a perspective to events and how people saw them.

  • olychick
    last month

    Welcome HU, but pick a user name to replace your numbers so we can know you!

  • 4kids4us
    last month

    Looks like I'm one of the few who actually really liked The Marriage Portrait. I like descriptive writing, especially if it helps me imagine a setting in which I have no personal experience. I did listen to the audiobook version that had a good narrator, so perhaps that is one reason why I didn't find it to be overdone.


    I recently finished reading The Island of Missing Trees, by Elif Shafak, which begins with a teenage girl learning the backstory of her parents, who meet as teens, one a Turkish Cypriot and the other a Greek Cypriot. With the ongoing conflict between the two groups, their relationship is kept secret from their families. Though Shafak is a beautiful writer, it was a bit slow paced for me. I did appreciate the historical context and learning more about the Cyprus dispute. 3 stars.


    Earlier this week I blew through Taylor Jenkins Reid's latest novel, Carrie Soto is Back. I listen to a lot of audiobooks b/c I walk 4-5 miles a day with my dogs. I knew nothing about this novel, but it happened to be available when I needed a new book. The ensemble narration is fantastic! It really brought this book to life. Plenty to talk about if reading for a book club. 4 stars.


    25% of the way through The Arsonist's City by Hala Alyan, about a Lebanese family, mostly living in the U.S., who return to Beirut when the father announces plans to sell their ancestral home. I should make some headway this weekend as we have a five hour drive tomorrow but so far, the complicated family dynamic is interesting.



  • Olychick
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I finally finished The Latecomer, which I read about on one of these threads. Sorry don't know who to credit, but thanks for mentioning it. When I looked it up and saw it was about in vitro fertilization and the children born via that method (it's fiction), I was excited to read it. I'm very interested in the ethics of technology and especially the effects on people born, not only via in vitro, but with donor sperm and eggs, surrogacy, etc. I think our technology has gotten way ahead of our ability to think ethically and people's desires to have babies and privileged lives that can pay for things they want without necessarily considering the consequences to the humans they are creating. Since this sounded like it was from the perspective of the children conceived in such a manner, I was excited to see what was written. I love a good dysfunctional family story and wow did it ever deliver!

    The character development was really good and interesting. The story was very dense and kind of all over the place with lots of seemingly unrelated tangents. But I enjoyed them all. It took me forever to read because I kept having to return it to the library and wait for another copy to become available. I should have just purchased a copy, lol.

    I think our book group might read The Plot by the same author next month, which Annie reviewed earlier.

  • HU-929826674
    last month

    Olychick,

    Thank you for the welcome. I understand that the user name is difficult. I have no idea where it came from, and I've tried four times to change the user name. I give up. Just refer to me as HU and save some time.

    I do enjoy reading the posts here, and hope I can, from time to time. add a comment or perspective.


  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last month

    To all my reading friends, we've put together a list of potential books for our group to read for next year which we will vote on. If anyone would care to weigh in with "must reads" and "don't touch" selections, I'd appreciate it!

    Contemporary Fiction:

    The Violin Conspiracy

    Any Other Family

    Black Cake

    The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

    It Ends With Us

    Lucy by the Sea

    Our Missing Hearts

    Bewilderment

    Sorrow and Bliss

    Demon Copperhead


    Historical Fiction:

    Old Filth

    The Book Woman’s Daughter

    The Marriage Portrait

    On the Rooftop

    Lessons in Chemistry

    Jackie & Me

    The Girls in the Stilt House

    The Shadow of the Wind

    The Good Lord Bird

    This I Know

    The Passenger


    Mystery/Suspense:

    Elena Knows

    The Sanitorium

    Jackal

    The Neighbor’s Secret

    Haw Mountain


    Nonfiction:

    Never Simple

    Finding Me

    Normal Family: On Truth, Love, and How I Met My 35 Siblings

    Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation

  • Bookwoman
    last month

    Old Filth (along with just about everything Jane Gardam has written) is a must. 'Filth' stands for 'Failed in London, Try Hong Kong'. Wonderful characters, which are revisited in two subsequent books.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Bookwoman
  • salonva
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I can weigh in on The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo- it was a very good read, and enjoyable but if you've read any other books by the author, it's definitely her way. It' s a fun ride but I don't know that I would recommend for a book club. It's good fluff.

    The Marriage Portrait I just read and wrote about above- it does get varying reactions. I LOVED Hamnet, and I'm glad I read this one but I don't know how broad the appeal is. ( If you look through this month and last month's thread, opinions are all over the place on it).

    The Good Lord Bird- now this one I would recommend. It wasn't always the easiest read, but it was extrenely well done. Great historical references and a very good story told. It was a book club read and most people really liked it ; I think one said she couldn't finish. It was a good discussion.

    Elena Knows- someone recommended it here a few months ago. I really liked it. It's different for sure but I think it would be a very good pick. edited to add, it's also a pretty short book.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked salonva
  • faftris
    last month

    Annie---Shadow of the Wind--loved it. Same with Elena Knows, although I wouldn't call it mystery. I liked Bewilderment more than The Overstory.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked faftris
  • salonva
    29 days ago

    oh YES I thought Shadow of the Wind was familar and now the lightbulb just went off in my brain. It was a book club pick a year or so ago and it was a very worthwhile read. Definitely a good choice for a book club.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked salonva
  • localeater
    29 days ago

    Shadow of the Wind is lovely, great book club book. Havent read Bookwoman’s Daughter yet, I have a hold on it, I enjoyed The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked localeater
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    28 days ago

    I just finished The Lincoln Lawyer. Really good for its genre....lawyer/crime/courtroom drama/mystery thing. I believe they made a movie of it, but I have no idea how close the book and movie were. I'd give it 4 Stars, but not for book group.