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What are you reading? February 2023 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 January 2023

Comments (79)

  • faftris
    last year

    Any 90 year old that I've ever met is funny! She must have a guilty conscience because she lies about who she is and where she's from. But she doesn't do anything to atone. At least not yet!

  • chisue
    last year

    Bunny -- I'm sorry you didn't persist with Chemistry. I guess the author thinks younger readers might not know the extent of the accepted discrimination against women, and it figure into the next fantastical stages in the life of Elizabeth Zott (and family). I'm two-thirds into the book and enjoying the humor. I'm particularly fond of the dog.

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  • Bunny
    last year

    I just finished The Winners by Fredrick Backman. 4.5 stars. Almost as many boxes of Kleenex during the final chapters. Czarinalex, you weren't kidding.

    Benji. As someone who has known and loved a Benji, parts of this book filled me with deep longing.

    The book wasn't perfect: too long (almost 700 pages), too much unnecessary imho complicating storylines about small town politics and corruption. Comma splices! Sentences joined by commas that should have been complete sentences on their own, or at least separated with semicolons. I might write that way to my friends in dashed off texts or emails, but I don't know why the author used them constantly throughout the book. It really bugged me at first, but I made an effort to ignore it.

    Early on I almost bailed. I'm glad I stayed with it.


  • dimac83
    last year

    I liked the dog in Lessons in Chemistry too, Chisue. I was hoping they'd name Zott's show, Supper at Six Thirty instead of Supper at Six. lol I also liked Mad's name. ;)


  • Bluebell66
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I just finished listening to Know My Name by Chanel Miller. I'd give it a 5/5. She was the young woman raped by Brock Turner in 2015 while at a Stanford party. Pretty powerful to listen to her read it, especially her victim impact statement, which is how she closes the book. Chanel is a very gifted writer and you can't help but feel her anguish - and if you are female, likely identify with some of her experiences as a young woman. I'm still processing this one, as I not only hurt for her, but it also dredged up a lot of experiences I try not to think about much - handsy men at my summer jobs at the beach and yacht club bar, a man who slapped my butt in a professional office setting in my first job out of college, etc. (None of my experiences are rape, of course, but they still are examples of how many men treat women - and get away with it - which is one of the subjects of this book.)

    I've started listening to Lessons in Chemistry and having a hard time getting into it. But will keep listening to it as I putter and exercise.

  • faftris
    last year

    I stuck with All the Broken Places, and I was satisfied with how it ended. Just saying.

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Czarina, I think it was I who strongly recommended. This is Happiness. I understand linking it with Banshees as they are both about small town Ireland.

    However, I thought The Banshees of Inisherin movie was awful to the point of being unwatchable. DH and I saw it in the theatre. I know it is supposed to be dark, but yikes.

    This is Happiness book was relatively sweet and refreshingly uncynical.

  • stacey_mb
    last year

    I have just begun to read This is Happiness and am enjoying the poetry of the language.

    I completed The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey, 3.5 stars - deducting one star for a couple of events that seemed improbable. It is similar to A Man Called Ove and I enjoyed it.

    Also completed nonfiction Landlines by Raynor Winn, her third book. Several years ago, Winn and her husband, both about age 60, became homeless and decided to walk a very lengthy nature trail and tent along the way. She wrote about the experience in her first book, The Salt Path. In this latest book, she and her husband walk about a thousand miles through all sorts of weather and conditions, in part to try to alleviate his medical issues. 4 stars.

  • Bunny
    last year

    A couple of weeks ago I watched ”Elvis” and loved it. Decided I was on a Best Picture roll and queued up ”Banshees.” It took me about 10 minutes to decide I wanted to go no further and bailed.

  • faftris
    last year

    I haven't seen "Banshees", but it was written by Martin McDonagh, who is a wonderful playwright. He writes VERY disturbing and violent plays--not to everyone's taste. He has given up theater for film-writing., and I guess now he is writing VERY disturbing films.

    I am chuckling my way through John Boyne's The Echo Chamber. It's certainly not The Heart's Invisible Furies. Enjoyable and light.

  • salonva
    last year

    I finished Anxious People by Fredrik Backman. I know it gets very high ratings, but I was puzzled by that. It was humorous enough for sure, and generally a decent read, but it really went around and about and was a confusing story ( at least for me). I read it for a book club and a few of those in the club have shared that they are really not caring for it and may not finish it.

    I had some of those thoughts but pushed through. Finally at a little more than halfway it got much better and even quite touching. So, I stuck with it and did finish but Ihave to say it was not my ideal book.

    I would rate it 3 stars.

    This is the goodreads link that does not agree with my opinion.:)

    I feel like I maybe missed something.

  • dimac83
    last year

    I just borrowed Summer Island by Kristin Hannah and I'm having a hard time getting into it. Which is surprising for me to say about any book by Kristin Hannah since I usually love them. I'll keep skimming, I mean, reading. lol

  • 4kids4us
    last year

    @salonva I did not care for Anxious People, except for the last 25 or so pages! The end of the book was very insightful, the writing by Backman that I enjoyed in some of his other novels. But the rest of the novel? irritating dialogue, annoying characters, confusing format. It took me a couple of weeks to slog through it b/c I could only take about 25 pages of the odd, irritating/quirky dialogue and behavior at a time (many readers found it humorous but to me it was just annoying).


    I haven't had much time for reading lately but last week finished Jane Harper's latest novel Exiles, featuring Aaron Falk from two of her previous novels. It was an easy, decent read, but not as good as The Dry and The Lost Man, my favorites by her.


    I just started my fourth book by Canadian author Mary Lawson, Road Ends. I really like her writing style.

  • dimac83
    last year

    Will have to check out books by Mary Lawson since I'm Canadian and I usually like Canadian writers. I don't think I've heard of her before.


  • salonva
    last year

    Oh yes @4kids4us we sure do have similar taste!

    I've only read 2 of Mary Lawson's books ( Crow Lake and The Other Side of the Bridge) and liked them both a lot. I liked Crow Lake more, but I can't remember much about it now.

  • dimac83
    last year

    @salonva you're like me, I can't remember a lot about books I've read in the past.


  • Bookwoman
    last year

    I'm reading Dan Kois' Vintage Contemporaries, bought last weekend from my favorite bookshop in the world, Three Lives & Co. in NYC. It's the story of two women named Emily, one an editor and one an avant-garde artist, and their lives in NY from the '90s to the 2000s. It's not a deep book, but it's well-written and enjoyable, with an excellent sense of place.

  • faftris
    last year

    Bookwoman, thank you! I am going there as soon as I can. It sounds like my kind of place, and close enough to grab a slice at Joe's on Carmine.

  • Bookwoman
    last year

    faftris, the space is quite small, but the books are extremely well curated. And I'm amused that after all these years (I've been going there since the early '80s) they still write down, in pen, each book they've sold in a small notebook. http://threelives.com/

  • salonva
    last year

    One of those books I know was suggested a long time ago, The Hare With Amber Eyes popped into my brain. I was able to get it on kindle so I have started it. The first maybe 40 pages were not grabbing me at all, but I rememebered that I'd heard of it over time, and the goodreads ratings were pretty good as well, so I stuck with it. I am now at about 50% and it's gotten my interest.

    It's the story of a a wealthy family that I had never heard of, the Ephrussis, who were on a par with Rothchilds and their family wealth and art collections. It' taking place in Paris and Vienna so far in the late 1800's. It's really fascinating. It is written by one of their descendents and I guess the focus throughout is the netsuke collection. The day to day life, the background of what is happening politically where they are, is just amazing to read.

    Goodreads link The Hare with Amber Eyes

  • hhireno
    last year

    @salonva @4kids4us I agree with your Anxious People reviews. It‘s my lowest ranked of the Backman books, but I don't regret reading it. I did like how he turned me from “what?” to “ahh, I see what you did there.” It seemed the character’s voices were all the same but by the end that was explained and made sense. That was my interpretation anyway. 😆

  • dimac83
    last year

    I just started reading A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute, which I'm liking; and just downloaded the other two books recommended above, Trustee and Pied Piper.

  • faftris
    last year

    Just need to vent. Don't you hate it when you are really into an e-book, and you glance down and find that your battery is down to single digits? Thank you for listening.

  • Bunny
    last year

    faftris, yes! But I have a couple of places in my house where I can charge and keep reading at the same time. Assume you're talking about being somewhere that isn't an option.

  • chisue
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Because it took so long to get this mystery from the library, I expected more from it. 2.5 stars for Suspect, Scott Turow. It's an engaging plot, but too much time is devoted to developing the narrator, a somewhat kinky female investigator for the county prosecutor. Maybe the wait was longer because more local people are interested in Turow's latest tale set in a thinly disguised Cook County, Illinois. I would cut a quarter of the 400+ pages.

    Next up is Jane Smiley's latest, A Dangerous Business. The flyleaf says "...a rollicking murder mystery set in Gold Rush California, as two young prostitutes follow a trail of missing girls." In their madam's opinion, hers is a dangerous business, but so is just being a woman.

  • faftris
    last year

    Whoever built my condo in 1986 did not think ahead to charging I-Pads or cellphones, for some unknown reason. I cannot imagine why! The placement of electric receptacles here is just bizarre and is probably connected to the original owner's furniture choices. I will have to have the electrician come and remedy the situation at some point.

  • sushipup2
    last year

    I just finished the last of Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole books, and there's a new one coming out this spring.

    But until then, last night I started re-reading Grapes of Wrath, last read sometime in the 1960's. It is wonderful. There's nothing like it. 5 star, complete recommendation.

  • dedtired
    last year

    We discussed Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow last night at book club. It was an introduction to a new world for us, a group of senior women. The book is about creating computer games. Well Well, really its about a great deal more than thta. Its about love and friendship and jealousy and creativity. Most of us enjoyed it very much, including me. I recommend it.

    In the meantime Im read Remarkably Bright Creatures. Its different. Only about one third through.

  • salonva
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I finished The Hare with Amber Eyes and found it really different. I must say the author has amazing vocabulary (pretty nice when reading on kindle to get the meanings instantly) and sometimes he was pretty longwinded. I get it though because he was relaying and describing very impressive items. What really struck me though was his writing about events I 've already read about countless times but somehow his stories seemed more vivid, more relatable, more impactful.

    The history part of the book is what really grabbed me. With some books ,it's hard for me to separate the actual story from the book itself. I felt that way with The Only Woman in the Room. I dont' know that the book was so great but that story was overwhelming. That's how I feel about this book. What fascinating lives.

    I would rate it 4.5 stars.

  • Bunny
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I just finished The Nazi Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch. 3 stars.

    I learned about this book when Brad Meltzer was a guest on a podcast I listen to. The story (nonfiction) sounded intriguing, a new tidbit from WWII. Parts of the story were compelling and it was interesting getting some behind the scenes takes on the relationships between the three Allied leaders. There was too much unnecessary detail.

    I have a complaint about editing. There were some German bicyclists in Iran that referred to themselves as the "Light Cavalry." The book twice calls them the "Light Calvary," not ironically. The index entry spells it "Calvary." That's such a dumb mistake. How does it get past the editors? I read this in the Kindle app and wonder if it's in the print version as well.

  • Bookwoman
    last year

    What really struck me though was his writing about events I 've already read about countless times but somehow his stories seemed more vivid, more relatable, more impactful.

    For a related book, The House of Fragile Things by James McAuley is very good. Stories about that period of history have much more impact when they're descriptions of actual events, rather than novelized versions. I find most 'Holocaust' novels don't do justice to the actual horrors of the history, and are often filled with implausible events. (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a perfect example of this.)

  • Bunny
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Demon Copperhead came in. I bailed after a couple of chapters. I just wasn't feeling it, plus after nearly 700 pages of The Winners, I didn't want another really long book right now.

  • nicole___
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I just finished Artemis by Andy Weir. It was a 3.5. It was ok. It was science fiction. A colony living on the moon, has a smuggler, daughter that disappoints her father becoming a criminal is the main character. I found I really didn't care about her. I never built a relationship with her. Next I'm reading Little Bee by Chris Cleave, for my book club.

  • chisue
    last year

    A Dangerous Business by Jane Smiley is less mystery than novela. Only 207 pages, it captures the time (1851) and place (Monterey, California) and the frightening innocence of an unworldy young woman -- girl. Eliza has arrived in the rough new town from Kenosha, Wisconsin by wagon train. She's an unhappy newlywed and not sad to be widowed in a bar fight.. There is a mystery, but it's a sidebar to experiencing the raw beginnings of the time, the place, and the ways characters fail -- or in the case of Eliza, thrive! 3.5 Stars.

  • faftris
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Twenty years late to the party, but I read The Kite Runner and was happy I did. I volunteer at my local library, and today I picked up The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by the author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. It seems kind of silly and predictable, but it will rest my brain for the long weekend.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last year

    Our group discussed Old Filth last night and the reviews ranged from loved it to hated it. I was in the middle.

  • jewelisfabulous
    last year

    I finished Remarkably Bright Creatures. It's low key, but has a sweet ending. I about gave up on it 30-40 pages in but glad I didn't.


    Now, I'm reading Crawdon's But The Stars. First contact with an alien species that can insert illusions into human's minds. It's really intriguing.

  • chisue
    last year

    I don't remember where this was recommended. I started reading Looking For Leroy. The cover says that Melody Carlson has written 200 books. I was guessing she'd written the same story 200 times even before I saw that one of her novels had been made into a Hallmark movie. Bailing now that I have more promising choices:

    Fresh Water for Flowers, Valerie Perrin

    Our Missing Hearts, Celeste Ng


  • Bunny
    last year

    Sushi! Thanks to your post upthread I'm reading Grapes of Wrath. Holy moly!!! More later.

  • dedtired
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Finished Remarkably Bright Creatures. A nice uplifting read. You do have to suspend disbelief that an octopus could be quite that clever or think in english. Started French Braid by Anne Tyler for book club.


    What are the odds that i would read two books in a row with character named Marcellus.

  • jlsch
    last year

    I just started Remarkably Bright Creatures. I am glad to hear a few of you have enjoyed it. It’s my bookclub read for March.

  • nicole___
    last year

    Finished reading Little Bee for my bookclub, I give it a 1. Witness to a village being murdered for it's oil drilling prospect, all witnesses have to die...but if you cut off your finger..we'll let your friend go? What! They're still a witness! What a stupid, depressing, couldn't wait for it to be over....book!

  • chisue
    last year

    I'm halfway through Fresh Water for Flowers, Valerie Perrin. I can't say much about it without spoiling it, as it's unique -- right from Page 1. It reminds me of many French movies where not a lot seems to be happening, and in rather dull surroundings. I love it!

  • faftris
    last year

    Chisue, you are so right! I hated to get to the end. Her Three is good too, but not quite as moving.

    Crazy person that I am, I took Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now home from the library today. 792 pages--wish me luck! I LOVED The Eustace Diamonds, so I am giving this one a whirl.

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    Original Author
    last year

    Finished Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and found it quite interesting...lots to agree with, disagree with and think about....I'm sure it will lead to good discussion in our group.

  • chisue
    last year

    faftris -- Thanks for recommending Three.

    I loved the TV presentation of The Way We Live Now. Sometimes it's a good thing when a book is l-o-n-g, but only if you love it. Trollope was *some author*!

  • faftris
    last year

    Exactly, chisue! BTW, re Maame, by Jessica George. Learn from my mistake that life is too short to read awful books. So much for good NYT reviews!

  • salonva
    last year

    I read The Personal Librarian and really enjoyed it. What an amazing story and a good read. I do kind of wonder if Marie Benedict is such a good writer, or is it because the lives of those women she writes about are so fasinating- kind of the chicken or the egg. Either way I like reading her books. I gave it 4 stars.

    I also did read Foster, which I enjoyed but also felt was not quite complete and sure did end abruptly.

    My book club met yesterday to discuss Anxious People, and the vast majority maybe 12 ,loved it. There was one other like me who was kind of in the middle about it ( 3 stars ) and 2 women who said they couldn't finish it and gave up.