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What are you reading? April 2023 Edition

last year
last modified: last year

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 March 2023

Comments (79)

  • last year
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    Came back to report that I've finished A Living Remedy, by Nicole Chung. It's a book about grief, and though I found it healing, it also left me feeling really sad -not just because like Nicole, I lost my mother during the pandemic (coincidentally just a week after her mother died). But also because in the wake of that grief, I've struggled with some of the other themes in the book, like spending time with aging parents, etc. Really well done. Five stars.

  • last year

    Just finished The Aviator's Wife, by Melanie Benjamin. Since I remember much of the story, I found I had to google a lot of it to see if my memory was correct. (Yes, I'm that old!). There was a lot that I don't think was publicized at the time. I do remember my father cussing about Lindberg's political leanings!

  • Related Discussions

    April 2023...What are you reading ?

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    I finished Homecoming by well-regarded Australian author Kate Morton. I then went to check if I had read any others of hers, and found my assessment of The Forgotten Garden (aka The House at Riverton) which concluded 'I don't think I will bother with any more'!! It was an interesting story about a 40-ish Australian woman living in London who flies home to Sydney after her grandmother, who brought her up, had a fall. She is an investigative journalist who finds out about a tragedy in her family's past, but in doing research on the internet, finds there was a book written at the time about it, and gleans all her information from that. Of the main characters, the grandmother was a bully who considered everything had to be done her way, the mother was a cipher for most of the book, and the journalist character was OK. The mystery was done well. However, the author had done a lot of research, and the reader was made to pay. There was so much extraneous information, long descriptions of the birds, the trees, the weather and so on. But most annoying were the factual mistakes, many of which should have been avoided by the above-mentioned research. Since part of the book was set in the Adelaide Hills near where I live, I picked up on them, but I suppose the out-of-town reader wouldn't have noticed. I also finished listening to the wonderful House of Niccolo books by Dorothy Dunnett.
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    What are you reading? June 2023 Edition

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    I just read Dear Mrs. Bird, by AJ Pearce, a little bit of an older book for our book group. We'd done some heavy topics the last few months so wanted something a little lighter. It was quite charming and while not 'fluff' it did have a bit of humor along with some interesting info about what it was like to live in London during the WWII blitz by the Germans. It wasn't as light as we'd hoped but we all really enjoyed it. Now onto Exiles by Jane Harper. I've enjoyed her other books so hope this one is the same.
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    What are you reading? - July 2023 Edition

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    I just finished The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem. The characters were so much richer in the book than in the Netflix series. I do think it might lose something in translation from Hebrew but I learned so much about Palestine, the Turks, the British Occupation and the Israeli fight for freedom. I recommend.
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    What are you reading? August 2023 Edition

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    I've listened to two Nevil Shute books this month and thoroughly enjoyed both: Beyond the Black Stump and Pastoral. Pastoral had me on the edge of my chair; my throat got tight and tears were ready to spill. Many months ago I enjoyed Trustee of the Toolroom and A Town Like Alice. Shute's topics are so varied. I've yet to read Pied Piper but know it's been recommended here. I've recently been spending quite a bit of time on jigsaw puzzles but find that when I have a Shute book available, the puzzle takes a backseat.
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  • last year

    I'm in the middle of East of Eden and am blown away. Trask's twins have been born, and their father has to be shaken out of his despair to give them names. Steinbeck reveals his connection to the Hamilton family. What a saga!

  • last year

    I have been reading Amy Harmon books. I have read 4 so far, if I like an author I will read several of their books in succession. I have just finished Where the Lost Wander: A Novel. I would rate it 4 stars, there are other books of hers I have liked more. I would rate What the Wind Knows as a 5 star.

  • last year

    Chisue, E of E is a stunning work. 5+

  • last year

    4kids4us, Sarah responded to my question regarding which book reminded her of the emotional arcs in John Boyne's The Heart's Invisible Furies, and said the book is Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano. I'll report back after I sample it.

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    Just perusing back.

    Annie, I read Good Lord Bird about a year ago or so for book club. I really liked it. I also happened to read it after a visit to Harper's Ferry on a road trip. I wished I had read it before because it was really something to see the sights. Then again, reading the book I was able to visulaize the nooks and crannies that were a part of the story. As an aside, Harper's Ferry is really a very unique and beautiful place worth visiting ( but very very hilly ).

    I finished The Soul of an Octopus and did enjoy it. It was a more readable science non fiction book. I don't recall if there was a bit from the author of RBC referring to this book, which was published in 2015 but it had to have been read or at least referred to as so much was relating to that book. I give it 3.5 stars.

    I just started Last Summer at the Golden Hotel. I'm not sure where I saw this mentioned but it 's a very good read so far, about summers in the hotels in the Catskills from the 60's on. I don't know yet if it would transcend and appeal to the masses, but it's enjoyable to me . (only at about 10%)

  • last year

    A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier. Perfect book club choice that I enjoyed more than I expected. It’s an easy pleasant read and nicely written.

  • last year

    Mystery writer Anne Perry has died. I had not known that she and a girlfriend were convicted of murdering the friend's mother when they were young teens, nor the reason: They didn't want to be separated.

    Somehow I've missed knowing about such passionate attachments between teenage girls.


  • last year

    Was she the one the movie Heavenly Creatures was about?

  • last year

    Somehow I've missed knowing about such passionate attachments between teenage girls.

    They were common at my all-girls' school. See the movie 'The World of Henry Orient' for an example, although minus the murder!

  • last year

    Bookwoman -- Thanks for the information. The backstory on Anne Perry broke as we were streaming final episodes of "Chloe", where another pair of 'Besties' is the backbone of the story.

  • last year

    The Burning Room by Michael Connelly. Reading the Bosch books in order. Of course it is good, it's Connelly.

    Have recently read the first four books in his Lincoln Lawyer series--also quite good.

  • last year

    I just finished another novel that I really enjoyed - The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao, by Martha Batalha. It focuses primarily on two women and how they navigate life in 1940s Rio de Janeiro. 4 stars.

  • last year

    I just finished The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. A quick light read about a widower who discovers a hidden charm bracelet and travels about finding each one’s meaning.

  • last year

    I'm reading A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III by Janice Hadlow.

    Good read but the "Georges" during that period were a bit....interesting to say the least.


  • last year

    @eld6161 I read The Curious Charms (6 years ago) and thought the concept had potential but was disappointed with the story. IIRC, he knew nothing about his wife, and didn’t the charms reveal at least one big surprise about her? I think it was too unrealistic, for him to know so little about her after years of marriage. Am I remembering it correctly?

  • last year

    I read Curious Charms a while back ( I just checked goodreads and it wa 2018) and don't remember much other than that I enjoyed it, and would think of it as sweet.

    Hhireno you have a much better memory than I do. I can only remember the names of the books, and my general degree of liking'-loving- feh- disliking. :)

  • last year

    I‘m mostly like you, @salonva, I had to check GR to confirm when I read it. I have vague memories of most books, but sometimes I see title in GR and think ”I read that?!” I guess the ones that disappoint (Curious Charms) or delight (Gentleman in Moscow) get a little more memory space. Naturally, there are plenty of life things I wish I could remember but book details must be taking up that space.

  • last year

    i am having a tough run of bailing on newly published books. The latest is The New Earth, by Jess Stone. I just could not get into it. Back to the classics! Cousin Bette by Balzac.

  • last year

    Faftris, please let us know if you enjoyed Cousin Bette. I just loved Balzac's Eugenie Grandet and I'm always looking for a new classic.

  • last year

    Ive read a number of books lately but gave up on Trust by Hernan Diaz. I made 3/4 of the way through and was thoroughly confused, si threw in the towel. Maybe you are better at following twisting stories than I am.

    I also read an old bookTheOld Neighborhood by Avery Corman, who wrote Kramervs Kramer. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Touches on family relationships, societal expectations and whether you can go back to your beginnings and get a fresh start. I recommend it.

  • last year

    I am supposed to be reading Stella Maris (Cormac McCarthy’s most recent and pehaps final). I’ve read a sample and got a bit discouraged even though I like challenges for book club. Has anyone here completed either The Passenger or Stella Maris?

  • last year

    dedtired, I loved The Old Neighborhood. It was one of those Amazon Prime monthly freebies several years ago. Recently I reread it and enjoyed it all over again.

  • last year

    Bunny, i may suggest itfor my book club.

  • last year

    ded, it's a great little story, well-told.

  • last year

    I'm almost done with Between Us: How Cultures Create Emotions. It's an interesting book about emotions and comparisons across countries in terms of culture, language, values, etc. though I'm still not sold on the premise...


    And for a palette cleanser, I'm enjoying Twisted Twenty-Six...a Stephanie Plum book. They are always so much fun and an easy read. Definitely not for book group, but definitely for fun.

  • last year

    Well, I'm back to report on Hello, Beautiful. I loved this book, five stars. I picked it up after hearing Sarah of Sarah's Bookshelves, say that it reminded her of The Heart's Invisible Furies emotionality. And it did! I'm not sure why exactly -the setting, characters, etc. are all completely different. But both novels focus on familial relationships over a long timespan. Both novels offer up the love that ebbs and flows between family members sharing everyday life, and the angst that can accompany decisions that result in long consequences. I will definitely seek out some of the author's previous novels.

  • last year

    Thanks for your post, bestyears. I loved the Heart's Invisible Furies. I did read Dear Edward (by the author of Hello, Beautiful) and thought it was good but somehow kind of disappointing. It definitely sounds like Hello Beautiful is worth reading. I have added it so my want to read list.


    I finished Last Summer at the Golden Hotel and really did enjoy it. It was better than I thought it would be. As I said it was nostalgic for me, but very well done. It was about 2 families and the ending of the era of the hotels in the Catskills ( Borscht Belt .I give it 4.5 stars.


    A friend had shared that one of her favorite books is The Shell Seekers. I never heard of it, and when I looked at goodreads, it was very highly rated and quite popular. So I just started it, and am enjoying it quite a lot. I am thinking it's a nice big book and would probably be a good one for vacation (on kindle) but I'll stick with it for now.

    Link to the Shell Seekers on goodreads.

    I have so many books coming to me on kindle from the library that I am actually keeping a spreadsheet juggling them all and requesting for the future! ( I have access to 4 library systems so I'm hopping!)



  • last year

    I also enjoyed The Shell Seekers and loved Pilcher's Coming Home that I "read" as an audiobook. I love a nice fat entertaining book making for a long read in audio format, especially since I mostly purchase mine vs. from the public library.

  • last year
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    Salonva, I'll be curious about your review of The Shell Seekers -I read it on my honeymoon to England 35 years ago, and loved it. But i've always wondered if it would hold up for me.

  • last year

    I put down Cousin Bette because my copy of Pineapple Street came from the library. I will be enjoying Cousin Bette, once I get through all the names of the French military and political heroes of whom I have never heard. Pineapple Street was a disappointment--too much rich nepo baby first world problems. It's hard to empathize with the characters, but maybe it's just my bad attitude.

  • last year

    Spare, by Prince Harry. I give it a 5 out of 5. I like him!

  • last year

    I'm happy to see that someone else likes Prince Harry! I've got less than 100 pages to go in Spare and am thoroughly enjoying it.

    Rusty

  • last year

    I had to bail on The Homecoming by Kate Morton. It's 544 pages and it dragged for me the entire time, until at about the 2/3 mark I'd had enough. It was the dilemma of having put a lot of time into how far I'd gotten, but then, why throw good money (time) after bad? I've read other books of hers in the past that I liked, e.g., The Forgotten Garden, The Lake House. But this was just not good. And there was a book within a book. I'd forget if it was Morton's narrative or the writer of the internal book. I looked for spoilers online to get some answers, but nothing cohesive. Maybe that's the price I pay for bailing.

  • last year

    I finished Cousin Bette and liked it a lot. I was expecting a straightforward revenge tragedy, but it was written in a very philosophical and intelligent style. The only beef I have is that there was a lot of name dropping, of politicians and military heroes who were probably known to readers of the time, but who are forgotten now. I know that Balzac lived a long time and wrote dozens of novels. I will probably get to Pere Goriot and Eugenie Grandet down the road. I have 3 (yes three) books waiting for me at the library. Luckily, it's going to be a rainy weekend.

  • last year

    I picked up my cooy of Spare from the library yesterday. Ive only read a few paragraphs but i cannot remember a book with such a small type. Granted my eyes arent young but ive never had this problem before. I may return it and reserve a large print copy.

  • last year

    Bunny, I am a huge Kate Morton fan and I had a really hard time with Homecoming. I did finish it and enjoyed the last part much more than the rest of the book. I disliked the characters, thought it was insanely repititious. I kept putting it down and returning to it. I'd give it 3 stars because of the ending, rounded down to 2.5 because of the pain of getting there.

  • last year

    Well, I finished The Shell Seekers and really enjoyed it.

    As I mentioned, it's a BIG book but it was so well done and really even with all that writing, I didn't feel that anything was over -detailed. It was a very complete, well constructed story with pretty credible characters ( then again I do usually just mentally "go along for the ride").

    I'm so glad my friend kept mentioning it. Once I mentioned it on another books forum, literally over 100 people posted their very positive impressions of the book. Somehow it had escaped me. It was released in 1987 and it felt pretty modern and up to date. I've been noticing lately that so many books reflect the technology with cell phone twists and such. This did not have that aspect but it had computers and such.

    I think there is a ton to discuss and would probably be an excellent book club book, but I also think it's just a nice read on its own.

    I'll definitely look for more of the author's books. Several of them were recommended.

    I'd give it 4.5 stars.

  • last year

    Thanks for reporting back Salonva -I may just read it again!

  • last year

    Just finished our latest book club read, The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. My brain hurts and some of it was uncomfortable to read. It was written before the run-up to the 2016 election and all that has happened since so I wonder if he would hold now to some of the things he wrote. Tonight is our author meeting and he will get asked that for sure.

    I am no longer a fast reader, but I'm also reading things that require more of my deep attention and going back repeatedly to really understand. I want to read Tim Urban's What's Our Problem but doubt I'll get to it anytime soon.

    Gosh it's been decades(?) since I read The Shell Seekers and can't remember anything beyond being totally engrossed in the story.

  • last year

    Yes, Bestyears, I think it will hold up fine! Definitely not "dated" in my eyes. :)

  • last year

    I'm still plowing through some of the novels I'm sampling, but I often have an audiobook going as well. Right now I'm listening to When We Were Bright and Beautiful, by Jillian Medoff, and it's very compelling!

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    The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams. I liked it. It was interesting. Read it for my book club. I picked up Spare by Prince Harry....they had it in large print. I skimmed through it...ran out of time...but I do like Harry. He does have a story to tell.

  • last year

    Just finished Horse by Geraldine Brooks. I enjoyed it very much. i usually dont like stories that move forward and backward in time, but i was able to keep track of the story. I learned something new about several subjects. The ending was sad but not entirely.

    Getting back to Harry now and our book club book which i cant remember at the moment.

  • last year

    Book club book is On a Night of a Thousand Stars by Andrea Yaryura Clark.

  • last year

    Just finished Fortune and Glory: Tantalizing Twenty-seven another Stephanie Plum novel...had to read it as it ties up loose ends left hanging from #26. As always, fun and exciting and not to be taken seriously.


    Next up for book group is The Sanitorium by Sarah Pearse. Supposed to be a thriller and first in a series.

  • last year

    Bel Ami, by Guy De Maupassant. It's light, about a philanderer who worms his way into success by using women for his dastardly deeds. After striking out on the last 6 new books I requested from the library, I am taking a break from 2023.

  • last year

    We have The Boys in the Boat for book club this month, and I just cannot get into it, so I think I'll take a pass. I've ploughed through enough books that did not catch my interest. Come to think of it, I have a couple of others that are going to get the heave, reading-wise!