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kathy_tt

December: What are you reading this holiday season?

kathy_t
2 months ago

I'm still reading Fellowship Point Alice Elliott Dark, about half-way through. I'm liking it but not loving it. It won't be on my "Best Books of the Year" list when we get around to that.


Hope you are reading something you really like. Are you?

Comments (73)

  • vee_new
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    With apologies to Jane Harper I am sending Exiles back to the library unfinished, despite having 2 days to go before the time is up.

    I have reached page 185 and almost nothing has happened. The detective is visiting a small country town in S Australia for the christening of a friend's baby. Meanwhile a mother disappeared a year ago during the annual town festival. So far there has been lots of talk, no action among the too many characters and to add to the confusion the story moves between this year and last year. A pity as I enjoyed her previous book A Force of Nature.

  • annpanagain
    2 months ago

    Vee, I have only just started Exiles. It isn't the page turner of the previous books but as I have all the racket of the workmen to distract me, I have blamed them for not getting into it!

    Someone was cutting metal pipes in our roof space and I'll bet he was wearing ear protectors!

    I shall probably read the book and skip to the end if I get bored with it. I like to know how things work out in mysteries.

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  • vee_new
    2 months ago

    Ann, yes, apparently all is made clear in the last few pages. but I just couldn't summon up the enthusiasm!

  • annpanagain
    2 months ago

    Vee, do you want me to tell you the outcome?

  • vee_new
    2 months ago

    Yes please although I haven't managed to get the peripheral characters straight in my head.

    And Annpan, I just watched the final episode of the 'new' Shetland (without Jimmy Perez) and thought I must be going simple as I couldn't follow the plot, with characters/clues hithering and thithering, often never to surface again. Then I read a TV report in the Telegraph saying much the same and commenting on the extra padding that had been necessary to bring it up to 6 hours. I felt better for knowing it wasn't just me!

  • annpanagain
    2 months ago

    I dislike padded plots and false trails that never get explained! Some episodes of TV mystery shows are pathetic and annoying.

  • Kath
    2 months ago

    I have continued reading the Poldark novels and am enjoying them.

    I have paused at the moment to read City of Dreams by Don Winslow. I really enjoyed the first of this (to be) trilogy, but this one hasn't grabbed me as much.

    I am listening to In The Morning I'll Be Gone by Adrian McKinty, one of his Sean Duffy books. It started off slowly with not much of a mystery, but a cold case murder has just shown up and it is quite interesting.

    I also listened to several of William Kent Krueger's Cork O'Connor mysteries, and find them good fodder for when I am cooking or running. Because I like his stand-alone books I also listened to The River We Remember, his most recent, but it seemed to be more like a Cork O'Connor book set in the 1950s.

  • annpanagain
    2 months ago

    Vee, I have finished Exiles.

    It is complicated at the explanations stage so you should borrow it again and persevere!


    Briefly, Kim is supposed to have left her baby at the festival and vanished. She was never there. Her jealous gaslighting husband kills her before they arrive at the grounds and after arriving he leaves the baby in the pram area and fakes that his wife is there too.

    Aaron Falk clears up that mystery and also the hit and run driver one.

    He takes a year off from the AFP to live with Gemma and works for Charlie at the vineyard.

    All clear?

  • kathy_t
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Finally - I finished Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark. It took me most of a month, not a particularly good use of my time. It's about an eccentric older woman. She is a well-known author, who was born wealthy and much of the book is about her wanting to control what happens to a piece of seafront land in Maine after her death. The land in question, called Fellowship Point, contains five summer cottages (very large houses, not what I call cottages) belonging to a group of rich Philadelphians, and a lovely bit of undeveloped land that they call The Sank - short for sanctuary. As the end of her life approaches, Agnes Lee is desperate to keep developers from building condos on the land. (Never mind that it was somehow okay for the 5 cottages to be built there by her ancestors.) If you are curious enough to know what becomes of Fellowship Point, you might like to read this book.

  • vee_new
    2 months ago

    Thanks annpan, I wouldn't have worked that one out and can't even remember who the husband was!


  • donnamira
    2 months ago

    I finished The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley, and agree with my friend's recommendation. It is not a cheerful story, but very-well executed and quite memorable. It's written within the POV of an elderly man sliding into dementia and then his brief recovery following an experimental treatment, with his reasons for trading longer life for a brief spell of improved cognition.

    Now onto the Beatriz Williams book recommended here.


  • Carolyn Newlen
    2 months ago

    I'm reading Dead Man's Grip, in the Roy Grace detective series set in Brighton. His wife who disappeared ten years ago sees in the newspaper that he is having her declared dead and is furious with him, although he has searched for her all that time. Now he wants to remarry--guess she really will be mad when she finds that out.

  • ginny12
    2 months ago

    I’ve only seen these Roy Grace stories on TV—didn’t know they were based on books. He is an appealing character but the shows are too grisly for me. Are the books the same? The missing wife plot line has been intriguing.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    2 months ago

    Ginny, I've just finished this Grace book. It got quite tense, and bits were gruesome, but I really do like the story line.

  • ginny12
    2 months ago

    Thanks, Carolyn. Based on your post, I will give the first one a try after Christmas. Right now, I'm reading some Ruth Rendell books for the second time--long enough so that I've forgotten most of the plots.

  • rouan
    2 months ago

    I have been rereading some old favorites, including Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. currently I a, rereading Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    2 months ago

    I read Miss Julia Takes Over last night. It's the second of a zillion Miss Julia books, and at one point I laughed aloud and couldn't stop laughing. Miss Julia is a hoot.

  • yoyobon_gw
    2 months ago

    Carolyn, Miss Julia never disappoints ! Although I can't read them in a row, I do enjoy picking up one of her tales and settling in for a pleasant adventure.

    Bon

  • Carolyn Newlen
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Me, too, Bon.

    I have just devoured The Last Hours by Minette Walters and went to Goodreads to record it only to find that I read it in 2018. It is a really good book about the Black Death in rural England in the 1300s, and I have absolutely no recollection of having read it before. Well, it was in 2018, and I've read my way steadily through and beyond the pandemic. I do remember reading Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks more recently. At least I've discovered there is a sequel to the Walters book and have downloaded it. Retirement and age do take their toll.

  • annpanagain
    2 months ago

    Carolyn, tell me about that! I can truly forget I just did something. Especially regular tasks like making my bed. I am surprised to find I already did it!

    I am reading The Raging Storm by Ann Cleeves. I am still a bit startled when the hero refers to his male husband.

    That is situation where one would like to ask the question "Who decides?" on the TV program You Can't Ask That. A very interesting and informative show I watch.

    Although it is Summer here, we have strong winds blowing at present and that is quite in keeping with the book!

    People on the other side of Australia have floods and raging fires and the Village is soon to have the first fire drill in the 20 years I have been here. Answers to what we would take out with us in an emergency have varied from Fire Insurance policy paperwork to The Fire!

  • kathy_t
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Just finished reading The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides a few minutes ago. Man alive, did I ever get sucked into thinking exactly what the author wanted me to think. I was mystified about this non-speaking woman in a mental institution after she was tried and convicted of killing her husband. I just couldn't figure it out. Now I'm wondering whether or not it was figure-outable. Let me know if any of you read it and figure it out before the author finally breaks down and tells you.

  • Kath
    2 months ago

    Kathy, I read The Silent Patient quite a while ago. My notes say 'very clever twist but no likeable characters'. The rest of my notes tell the plot and give away the answer. I certainly didn't see it coming and don't think you could work it out from the reading, but it didn't anger me like some books with twists which I don't think are fair (I remember one where the main character turned out to have been astral travelling!!).

  • kathy_t
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Good to hear your opinion, Kath. Thanks for responding. I'm not sure what genre The Silent Patient would be considered, but it's not the type of book I normally read. I didn't know there was a mystery to solve when I selected it. I guess that's what surprised me. It's not exactly a mystery, is it? (I know you're a former bookseller, so I'm supposing you are familiar with this genre.)

  • donnamira
    2 months ago

    Kathy, I also read The Silent Patient a few years ago, and did not see the twist coming either. I didn't like the therapist at all, although I don't remember if I found all the characters unlikeable, as Kath did. My notes say "What a creepy book." :)

  • kathy_t
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thanks, Donnamira. I'm with you and Kath regarding the therapist. Not a good guy at all. And I did wonder why his wife (Kathy, the actress) married him in the first place.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    2 months ago

    I'm reading Broken Music by Majorie Eccles set in the Black Country before and after WWI. It's quite a good book where two girls die at the same place, one before and one after the War. I don't usually try to figure out who dunnit unless it's obvious but rather just read for the pleasure of being told a story. And I do like it to be a pleasure.

  • msmeow
    2 months ago

    I’m slogging through The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams. The chapters switch back and forth between Violet in 1914 and Vivian (Violet’s great niece) in 1964. Sometimes I don’t mind that structure but usually it annoys me, which it is. I don’t like Vivian or her wealthy, awful family, and I would skip the Vivian chapters except I think I would miss a lot of the Violet story. So, I’ll keep slogging to the end, but I think it will be my last Beatriz Williams book.

    I’ve also started The Last Devil to Die, the newest Thursday Murder Club book, and I’m enjoying it a lot.

    Donna

  • yoyobon_gw
    last month

    After reading The Lost Summers Of Newport by three different authors I have decided that I am not a fan of collaborative novels. I was somehow put off by the subtly different styles for each of the three main characters ( which I assumed were each written by a different author).

    The story moved along nicely, however I was imagining the three writers sitting around and creating the outline for this novel and assigning story parts to each one. The book began to have a soap opera feel to it ...' tune in tomorrow to find out what happens .."

    as each chapter ended.

    Has anyone read a collaborative novel ?

    What was your experience?


  • annpanagain
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I have read some books that had a silent assistant writer, I suspect. There are little mistakes and the wording has a slightly different style. I don't mind if it helped the main author complete the work but please check before submitting!

    I am reading Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto from the library.

    Just as well I also have some gifted books to read. My son has cancelled the Christmas Day family visit as he has Covid! He has had to cancel his gigs as well as he has lost his voice! Superbad timing!

    I think this is my first Home Alone Christmas Day since my D was a baby and my DH worked as a hotel waiter to supplement our income! I cannot think of a Plan B other than stuffing on chocolates and watching the TV! I actually sat through a Hallmark telemovie today which wasn't about antagonistic characters! Timetravel was involved and quite watchable.

  • rouan
    last month

    I warched two different versions of A Christmas Carol this week and have picked up a volume of Christmas short stories by Charles Dickens. My Christmas fix will be satisfied shortly!

  • yoyobon_gw
    last month

    annpanagain.......this book had three distinct authors who are each successful in their own right. All three are shown on the cover as the co-authors.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Ann, I don't consider stuffing oneself with chocolates to be a bad Plan B. What is strange to me is to be the oldest person present. I keep thinking where is everyone. (There were 23 present today.)

    We had our whole family of origin big Christmas breakfast this morning with exchange of Secret Stockings among those who wanted to play. I'm happy to say I received Ken Follett's newest book, The Armour of Light. It's another fat one, so I will save it until I have read the ones I have downloaded from the library; presently reading The Man in the Queue by Josephine Tey.

  • annpanagain
    last month

    Yoyo, The Detection Club collaborated in The Floating Admiral which I have read.

    I have read other books that were finished after the original author died.

    I wish that Sue Grafton had allowed a Z book to be written to round off her series.

    I am in favour of series continuation if well written.

  • vee_new
    last month

    Next to You by Gloria Hunniford is not my usual read and not an easy book to comment on. GH is a TV presenter mainly of 'day-time' shows. Her daughter Caren Keating, attractive and used to getting her own way, followed her into that profession and was part of a team that fronted the very popular children's programme 'Blue Peter' where she performed many stunts . . . bungy-jumping, mountain climbing, parachuting etc. It was then found she had breast cancer. After treatment she appeared OK but some time later it returned and this time she refused standard 'help' and searched for alternative methods. The book charts her family's trying to help her and some of her rather outrageous demands with gurus and quacks. Several times everyone was relocated to Byron Bay in Australia apparently the place to go for these sort of therapies, special diets, mantra-intoning etc. This went on for several years with side trips to Switzerland and her poor mother writes of the difficulty of putting on a brave face for the sake of her two grandchildren who were also dragged across the world.

    Keating survived for about six years but the toll on her poor family must have been immense.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    last month

    Ann, you are indeed!

  • msmeow
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I finished The Last Devil to Die, the newest Thursday Murder Club book, this afternoon. I enjoyed it, but many sentences ended with a question mark when there should have been a period, which kind of drove me crazy. Richard Osman says there will be more TMC books, but he’s going to do something else, first. A father in law-daughter in law detective duo.

    Now I’m back to Finlay Donovan is Killing It.

    Donna

  • kathy_t
    Original Author
    last month

    I've just started The Rose Code by Kate Quinn. I believe some of you mentioned liking it. However, I have a 2000-piece jigsaw puzzle to finish, so reading time will be scarce for a few days.

  • msmeow
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I’m engrossed in Resurrection Walk, the newest Lincoln Lawyer/ Harry Bosch book by Michael Connelly. Enjoying it very much!

    Donna

  • annpanagain
    last month

    Kathy, there is a big jigsaw laid out in the Club Room of my Retirement Village for anyone dropping by to help fill in. I don't do them now but I used to pick them up at charity shops for my Great-GCs and do them to make sure they were complete.

    One brand was a very expensive item to buy new but only a few dollars at op-shops.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    last month

    I have read the two books by Minette Walters about the Black Death this month, The Last Hours and The Turn of Midnight. Both were really good. I have most of her earlier books that were all of the tense and scary variety. These were much better. She has written another one, The Swift and the Harrier, that I have just downloaded. It is about the English Civil War. I'm glad I found her again.

  • kathy_t
    Original Author
    last month

    Annpan - Those communal jigsaw puzzles are one of the reasons I'm looking forward to moving to a retirement village. I'm a pretty social person, I love jigsaw puzzles and am willing to play just about any board game or card game, so I think I'm a pretty good candidate.

  • annpanagain
    last month

    Kathy, yes, you sound ideal. I am not a social person these days. I had to be when my husband took me to all the gatherings he had to attend and quite enjoyed them.

    My Village has a very active Social Club and there are many things for the residents to do. We get a monthly newsletter and flyers to remind us of events and outings that have been arranged.

  • Carolyn Newlen
    last month

    I'm reading Victoria Thompson's City of Betrayal about the U.S. suffragists' attempts to secure the vote for women. So far, it's not very good.

  • vee_new
    last month

    Tales of the Country - Brian Viner. BV is/was a journalist with 'The Independent' who moved from fashionable, arty North London to rural Herefordshire (the next county up from where I live) He wrote about his family's adventures in the paper and then turned them into this book. Some of it is funny, much over-written (obviously to fill his weekly column). It seems to have taken him a while to realise that not all people in rural communities are half-witted inbreds with extra toes and, in the pub, he becomes the butt of many jokes about his ignorance of day to day life away from the Great Wen.

  • annpanagain
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I have just finished The Lost Man by Jane Harper. Having read the three Aaron Falk mysteries in the series starting with The Dry I borrowed this only other Harper book in our Village library and got wrapped in it. I have never lived in the Outback but my D was in a rural town where the red dust also got into everything. She asked me to buy and send her some dark coloured bed sheets as the white ones she took looked so awful stained by the water and hanging out to dry!

    It has been hot today so I could get into the atmosphere very easily and needed to keep a glass of cordial and chilled water by me as I read.

  • annpanagain
    last month

    OT...Kathy, you mentioned looking forward to living in a retirement village but they are not suitable for everyone. Some of the residents here are not happy but cannot afford to move as the cost of buying a home again is too much. They are dismayed by the way the management fees have risen as the cost of maintenance gets higher and they pay for facilities that they don't use.


    It mostly suits me but I don't have much say as I am only renting a one bedroom self-contained place and the complex is run more for the owner/occupiers who paid a good amount to buy a lease for life villa and have a management board.

    kathy_t thanked annpanagain
  • Carolyn Newlen
    last month

    How to Find Love in a Bookshop, Veronica Henry. I'm really into reading bookshop novels and found this one especially good. I do realize all the sweet coziness and true love finds a way is of fairy tale genre, but then I've always liked fairy tales.

  • kathy_t
    Original Author
    last month

    Annpan - Of course there are pros and cons in all the choices one makes in life, but I feel like a lot of the happiness and unhappiness is largely due to attitude. I'm feeling rather positive about it all.

  • annpanagain
    last month

    Kathy, I hope your choice works out for you. I was just giving you a friendly mention that a retirement village is not for everyone.

    I really had no choice as it was the best option at the time when my husband died in the UK and I wanted to return to Australia and my family. I have always made the best of circumstances.

    As you said, pros and cons!