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August Reading

vee_new
7 months ago

Back to the library only a quarter read went I Am Pilgrim a long-winder story about a super-spy who rights wrongs ferrets out spies/double agents etc from both the CIA and FBI . . . all way too relentless.

By way of a complete contrast I just re-read a very yellowing and slightly musty copy of In This House of Brede by Rumor Godden. Written in the early '70's it is the 'story' of a middle aged woman who gives up her high-flying Govt work to enter an enclosed Benedictine abbey. it isn't easy to follow all the different nuns, their titles and the various 'jobs' they undertake within the Enclosure or, unless possibly brought up as a strict Catholic to appreciate the amount of Latin scattered throughout and the daily rituals that govern the nuns every waking moment. As Godden wrote it at the time of 'Vatican 2' when the Church was opened up to the so-called new world, I imagine she thought this old-order would still carry on albeit with shorter skirts and prayers in the vernacular. It is not easy to foretell the future.

Comments (46)

  • msmeow
    7 months ago

    Vee, that sounds like a heavy read!

    I finally finished Mel Brooks’ autobiography, all 800 pages of it. He has certainly had a very long and successful life in show business, and is very talented. I didn’t know that in addition to writing, he has also composed many of the songs used in his movies.

    Donna

  • yoyobon_gw
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    Our Woman In Moscow by Beatriz Williams .

    It will be my next book after I finish The Vineyards of Champagne by Juliet Blackwell. This is a historical fiction relating the experiences of the people in Reims France during WW I. Many went into the caves under the vineyard estates to hide from the devastating bombing. Very interesting albeit disturbing.

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  • kathy_t
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    Reporting back that I finished When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky by Margaret Verble (this year's One Read book for my community). Well, it might have made a pretty good short story. Really, plot is mainly what it had going for it and seemed to me to be very unnecessarily drawn out.

    The story is about a young Native American woman who earns her living as a performer at a sort of early American theme park and zoo. She dives off a high platform into water while mounted on a horse. Everyone knows her by the name Two Feathers, although her actual name is Nancy. The story centers on the one time her act went disastrously wrong and the strange repercussions of that event. The author who is "an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma" (whatever that means) uses the story to remind the reader of the many terrible ways Native Americans were mistreated by the white European invaders of their land.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    6 months ago

    Vee, I like Rumer Godden. My favorite of the ones I've read is China Court, but I liked Brede as well and have read it a couple of times. I'm not Catholic, so I probably didn't take in all of it.

    I'm currently reading Dead Beat by Patricia Hall. 50's swinging London where the Beatles are just beginning to take off.







  • annpanagain
    6 months ago

    I was browsing in our Village library and noticed A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens filed under D in the Biography section! I had a task when working at our University finding missing books and used to try to guess where they could be. That would have been quite a puzzle to locate.

    Any amusing stories from RP'ers about lost books?

  • vee_new
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    Carolyn, I haven't read China Court but recently finished Kingfishers Catch Fire based on Godden's life in N India where her servants tried to poison her (ground glass) 'though I do feel she might have been a very difficult person to get on with . . .


    Annpan, glad to see you back! Re library books. One of my grouses with our library is that when I order a book they are meant to send an email to say it has come in. Very often this doesn't happen and sometimes, by chance I check the 'reserved books' shelf and find something waiting for me but more often I am quite unaware anything has arrived and after a week or so the book is returned from whence it came.

    Of course I should keep a list of books, plus dates, that I have ordered, so I could chase them up.

    Another difficulty i find is that we are issued with a plastic card containing a long number, which is for use in the 'self-checkout' machine. They also provided us with a separate card with a pin number, which I dutifully memorised. This has now be changed to the same numbers as those on our plastic card.

    I had had some difficulty ordering a book so asked the librarian to do it for me. Using her 'main' computer she typed in my card details and then, in a whisper, asked me to give her my pin number. I whispered back that as it was apparently the same as the number on my card she could just copy it . . . Oh! the stealth of these undertakings.

  • yoyobon_gw
    6 months ago

    Our local library has volunteers working the front desk and when you call to request a book they use a faulty phone that produces lots of static......thus they can't easily hear what you are saying. As you can imagine, this conversation does not go smoothly. If they are successful at finding the book in the four county system, they often forget to notify me when it comes in.

    During one such call, an elderly volunteer admitted that she didn't know how to search for books and put me 'on hold' so she might ask someone........and after 15 minutes the call disconnected !


    vee_new thanked yoyobon_gw
  • Carolyn Newlen
    6 months ago

    My library system just changed its online look and way to find books. I do wish they would just leave it alone!

  • annpanagain
    6 months ago

    Vee, thanks for noticing my absence!

    Have I mentioned that my laptop died on Sunday and I luckily found a local computer man who came to my place that evening. Short version, both my laptop and WiFi batteries had given out and the laptop was cracked so I have a new one.

    This move was long overdue and only because I am almost house bound. The air conditioner batteries died too! Luckily I had spares as it is very cold now. The worst Winter for years with bad storms.

    My library staff have been very helpful since I couldn't go there. They put aside audio material when I had a reading problem and fulfill online requests for the Support Workers to collect.

    vee_new thanked annpanagain
  • Carolyn Newlen
    6 months ago

    I'm reading The Bat, my first and the first Harry Hole book. So far, so good.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    6 months ago

    I have just finished Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse O. Sutanto, and it is an absolute delight. Set in San Francisco's Chinatown, an older Chinese woman runs a mostly defunct tea shop in which a dead body turns up. She sets out to find the killer because the police are not using proper CSI techniques.

  • yoyobon_gw
    6 months ago

    I'm reading the latest ( June 2023) by Beatriz Williams, The Beach At Summerly.

  • annpanagain
    6 months ago

    Carolyn, I was pleased to see that my library has this book and a couple of the Auntie mysteries too. I haven't borrowed from the public library for a while. It was more convenient to select a book from the Village library. The residents here donate books and the Social group buy some but rarely mysteries.

    I have requested your recommendation. The weather is getting better so I am not hesitant about asking my Support Worker to go to the library for books again. I didn't feel happy about making her go in the bad weather as there is an uncovered walk from the parking area to the library which is next to the shopping mall.

    I have plenty of my own books to reread anyway and a friend is posting some discarded Heyer paperbacks. She has gone through her duplicates since she downloaded audio copies and offered them to me. I really need another bookcase! I really need a bigger home!

  • vee_new
    Original Author
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    Carolyn, on your recommendation I have ordered a second-hand copy of China Court. I tried to borrow it from the library but they don't have a copy anywhere in the 'county system'. I have noticed recently several shelves of books For Sale at the library entrance. As I don't want to actually own any of them I occasionally 'borrow' one and then return it to the sale shelf!

  • ginny12
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    I have been out of commission here as I had major surgery in late June and wasn't up for reading much--or sitting in this uncomfortable computer chair. As light reading, I re-read seven of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple books. I've read them all several times and know 'who dunnit' but I do love Miss Marple. She always suspects the worst and is always right!

    I too like Rumer Godden. Earlier this year, I re-read An Episode of Sparrows for the first time since girlhood. What a wonderful book. I heartily recommend it. I will have to try In This House of Brede. I don't think it's at all necessary to enjoy that book, judging by reviews, but I am Catholic and I did have three years of Latin so we'll see.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    6 months ago

    I'm reading The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith. It is the first Isabel one that I've read. I did read The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency when it was new but didn't care for it. This one isn't very exciting either!


  • annpanagain
    6 months ago

    No, Carolyn, these are not exciting stories and the voices of Isabel and Precious are rather similar. They tend to muse a lot. I found the Bertie series more readable but I have not read this writer for a while.

    I am looking forward to the next Thursday Club mystery but the library waiting list is very long so I might buy a copy or wait to see if there is a donation to the Village library which is what happened last book. I was able to get it before I came up next on the local library list!

  • msmeow
    6 months ago

    Ginny, I am glad you are better!

    Carolyn, I didn’t like that book, either. I haven’t tried any other books of his.

    I am reading Dark Angel, a Letty Davenport novel by John Sandford. It’s ok. I haven’t read anything very exciting lately.

    Donna

  • Kath
    6 months ago

    We finished listening to Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris, which is about the hunt for some of the men who signed Charles I's death warrant. I have enjoyed most of Harris's books that I have read/listened to, and this was no exception, narrated by Tim McInerney of Blackadder fame.


    I also finished The Bookbinders of Jericho by Pip Williams, a local author for me. Although it was well received, I couldn't get into her first offering, The Dictionary of Lost Words. This one is about women who worked in the Oxford printing works during WWI, and has a lot of interesting themes on the emancipation of women, the war itself, and living with what would now be called autism.


    I have now started listening to A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, and am enjoying it very much. I think it may be one of the books I can happily listen to while I run on the treadmill or cook, but would find a bit slow to actually read myself.

  • ginny12
    6 months ago

    I am a big fan of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and read every one as soon as it is published. Mma Ramotswe's everyday wisdom and kindness are very meaningful to me and I enjoy all the other recurring characters as well, except possibly the nefarious Violet.. I have to say that none of my friends likes these books and I don't know why. I think a new one comes out this fall.

  • vee_new
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    Two books recently finished:

    Someone Else's Shoes by Jojo Moyes. I do enjoy her light but well-written style. All her characters are believable and in this one a wealthy American woman accidentally misplaces her very expensive and dangerously high heels. Her attempts at getting them back are quite entertaining.

    Mothers' Boys by Margaret Forster is far more serious and deals with a growing relationship between two women of very different backgrounds. One who's son has been set upon and badly injured by the grandson of the other. Forster develops the difficulties these women have had with these young men plus the added problem faced by the older woman of having a cantankerous and b-minded very elderly father to worry about. Set in the English 'Lake District' the area where Forster came from.

  • vee_new
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    Kath, Act of Oblivion was recently a 'Book at Bedtime' reading on the BBC. I managed to stay awake for most of it!

  • Rosefolly
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    Not Catholic (though my mother was, so my first 8 or 9 years were), but I loved In This House of Brede. I thought it was an amazing book.

    Recently I have been reading several SF novels by John Scalzi . Anyone who enjoyed the early Robert Heinlein would probably like Scalzi a lot. In my opinion Heinlein got more than a bit strange in his later years, probably starting in the late 1960's. If he hadn't, and if he had kept up with the times, and if he were still alive today, he might write books somewhat similar to John Scalzi's. I am not saying that Scalzi is imitative because I actually don't think that at all. It is just that you can tell he admired and was inspired by Heinlein.

    I enjoy his books.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    6 months ago

    I've just read The Radcliffe Ladies' Reading Club by Julia Bryan Thomas. My daughter loaned it to me, not something she does often. It is set in 1955 (my era) and tells the story of four young women of various backgrounds who are freshmen suite mates at Radcliffe College. They join a newly opened bookstore's book club owned by a woman who has just declared her own sovereignty. The mid-50s, of course, were well before women's lib.

  • vee_new
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    Carolyn, were book clubs a 'thing' back in the '50's?

  • kathy_t
    6 months ago

    I recently finished Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand. This is the story of a privileged Boston family's summer at their grandmother's summer house on Nantucket, where they've spent every summer for many years. Each family member has their own first-world problems to deal with. I didn't love it, but it was pleasant reading. The cultural references to that particular year seemed a bit forced to me.

  • rouan
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    I’ve been a bit lax lately about posting what I have read. Mea Culpa. I recently read the newest book by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. it’s the first one of a (for now, at least, I heard rumors there may be more) three book series with a character named Liz Danger, that includes murder, romance, and snarky dialogue. The title is Lavender’s Blue; the next one Pretty in Pink comes out next week.

  • annpanagain
    6 months ago

    Rouan Thanks for the Crusie heads up. I like her amusing books even though she is a bit sloppy in her writing! I was annoyed that she changed the sex of the dog halfway through the story in Welcome to Temptation for instance. Someone should have picked that up!

    When I need a laugh I reread the opening scene in Fast Women where the heroine has a job interview and wrecks the boss's office. I can picture her good descriptive writing.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    6 months ago

    Vee, not in my little rural community/tiny town high school. I read everything that looked at all interesting in the fiction section of the HS library--not too extensive. We signed them out with our names on little cards. My sister who is five years younger than I said when she was in HS, many of the books still had cards with my name on them.

  • msmeow
    6 months ago

    This morning I finished Exiles by Jane Harper. The story, set in a small town in Australia, revolves around a man's death in an unsolved hit-and-run and a woman's disappearance several years later. I enjoyed it very much and will look for more books by her.

    Donna

  • kathy_t
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    This morning I finished my first Janet Evanovich book, One for the Money. (Talk about being late to the party!) Even though it contained more violence than I normally can tolerate, I really enjoyed it. I'll be reading more of these when I need a humor break.

    Addition: When I went to add this book to my reading journal, I found that I had already read it 24 years ago. Here's part of what I wrote at that time: This is the first of a series and I know a lot of people love these books, but I wasn’t that impressed. There are much better mysteries and crime novels out there. ... I can't explain this. I was astonished and also quite amused at myself.

  • ginny12
    6 months ago

    Kathy_t, That's a giggle about finding you have already read the book. I have been there myself. What really hurts is when you buy it twice. I did that just recently. Ouch.

    Carolyn, I loved those little cards in the back of library books and was sorry to see them go, quite a long time ago now. Decades. It was fun to see who had read the book before, sometimes a very long time ago.

  • msmeow
    6 months ago

    I looked up Jane Harper and found that I have read several of her books. Now to read more!

    Kudos to you all who keep reading journals. I tried it for a couple of years and found I didn’t keep up with it well, and rarely referred to it.

    Donna

  • Carolyn Newlen
    6 months ago

    I'm reading The Secrets of Pain, another Merrily Watkins book by Phil Rickman. I like this series, but I do wish the books were not so disjointed.

  • annpanagain
    6 months ago

    Carolyn, I tried the Auntie series by Sutanto while I waited for the library to get me her Vera Wong book which you recommended. I couldn't get into the first Auntie one as it jumped around and had too many characters.

    However there was a link in a discussion about the Auntie book which reminded me about the Finlay Donovan series. I remember enjoying the first book and have just obtained the next two.


    I am rereading the Georgette Heyer books sent by a friend, starting with Cotillion which was published when I worked at a subscription library. It was in great demand but I was disappointed that the hero wasn't the usual tall dark and handsome type! At aged around 16, I also missed some of the ironic humour which the Head Librarian was so amused by. Now 86, I am getting it!

  • Carolyn Newlen
    6 months ago

    Ann, I read the second Auntie book and didn't like it at all. I have no interest in the trying the first one.

    I'm now reading Busman's Holiday, of the Dorothy L. Sayers books about Lord Peter Wimsey. This one is about his wedding and honeymoon where--guess what--they encounter a dead body. He puts on a silly act in the books I've read so far, but this one has some very tender scenes.

  • annpanagain
    6 months ago

    Carolyn, I like Busman's Holiday the best of that series, judging how often I reread it!

  • ginny12
    6 months ago

    And here's a vote for The Nine Tailors as my favorite Dorothy Sayers mystery. I re-read it earlier this year--still terrifying as the waters rose and flooded the countryside-- and surely a horrible and unique way to die, revealed at the end.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    6 months ago

    I like both of those but agree with Ann. It was actually Busman's Honeymoon, not Holiday, and it was very good. "And what do all the great words come to in the end, but that?—I love you—I am at rest with you—I have come home."

    Has anyone read the new ones by Jill Paton Walsh? They are good, too. You all may have noticed, I seldom meet a book I don't like.


  • annpanagain
    6 months ago

    Yes, Honeymoon! I have read the Paton Walsh books and have A Presumption of Death.

    I probably got that from a charity shop. It is a long while since I read them but I must have enjoyed the efforts as I can't remember disliking them, unlike some re-creations!

  • yoyobon_gw
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    I am reading Our Woman In Moscow by Beatrix Williams.

  • vee_new
    Original Author
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    A couple of books to finish off the month.

    Oh to be a Farmer by Richard Barnett.

    A very light description of his work in Post War Wales where he and his brother lease a small farm half way up a mountainside using the only equipment they own . . . a wheelbarrow. They endure primitive living in a farm cottage with no electricity, running water and very little furniture; but they survive, helped by neighbours and working very long hours and gradually build up their herd of milkers, pigs etc and buy-in bits of ancient machinery.

    The Founding of the Museum of Garden History by Elizabeth Fleming was a booklet I picked up very cheap in the second hand pile in our super market! For anyone from the US it has some interesting comments about plant collecting in the New World (Virginia) as carried out by the famous gardeners John Tradescants father and son, who are buried in the churchyard. It also has connections were Captain John Smith and Pocahontas.

    The ancient church St Mary's-at-Lambeth had fallen on hard times due to wartime bombing and deconsecration in the 1970's, and was 'brought back to life' by a group of amateur conservationists and gardeners unhappy at the state of the near-derelict church and the heaps of trash in the graveyard. And to think this building is right next to Lambeth Palace the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury!

    The book is written in rather an amateur way and the writers often repeat themselves and we find out how much a cup of tea cost in 1982 or what they charged for a postcard, but all involved were dedicated in their endeavors and raised huge sums of money. Friends in the US helped, they even got the late Queen Mother and the then Prince of Wales interested and the church has now been repaired and contains the Museum of Gardening which with the old graveyard are both open to visitors.

    Garden Museum

  • rouan
    6 months ago

    Annpan, I just finished reading the next Jennifer Crusie/Bob Mayer collaboration, Rest in Pink. It’s the second one in the Liz Danger series. The third one will be out towards the end of September.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    6 months ago

    I'm reading the newest David Baldacci, Simply Lies, a standalone brought over to me by my daughter who buys every book he writes. They are all pretty interesting stories but not books I would pursue.

  • msmeow
    6 months ago

    Carolyn, I’ll have to check it out. I like David Baldacci.

    I just read the latest (and last, I think) Harry Bosch book by Michael Connelly. I’ve enjoyed them.

    Donna

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