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What are you reading? June 2024 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 May 2024



Comments (52)

  • last month

    I am going to give Tommy Orange's Wandering Stars another try. It was a DNF the first time.

  • last month

    This is my first look at Graham Swift. I believe he concentrates on England between the wars. That's the setting for Mothering Sunday. The opening 'tale' is compelling, a 5-Star short story of its own. The remainder paled by comparison. The whole thing is only 177 pages.

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    Ann, strawberries and cream sounds good! Yoyo, I've read that throw-away hint before, and I always wonder where they get all that old worn-out underwear. Ginny, one special part of the NZ trip was the time we had in Paihia in the Bay of Islands. It was very pretty, and our hotel room ran from back to front of the building so we had an ocean view right from a small front balcony. There were major sand dunes, and part of the beach was a listed highway for driving. The bus driver took us about 50 miles down it driving 65 mph. It was great fun, sort of like being a teenager again. Really, everything was interesting--Maori stuff, different trees and vegetation, thermal pools, beautiful flowers, glaciers, lakes, movie settings, and sheep. Lots of sheep.
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  • last month

    I finished Beach Music this morning. It as my first Pat Conroy and yes now I understand why so he is so many people's favorite. I was engrossed in the story and given it's about 800 pages,there were a few parts, where I briefly did not enjoy.

    There is so much to it but it was so well developed. Each of the characters was so well done. Often when I'm reading I will confuse a few characters but they were each so distinct.

    I was expecting southern, which it was, but there was so much else(unexpected) integral to the book.

    My book club is doing it later in the year and I am undecided if I will re-read it. It's worth re-reading but I feel like the story was so memorable that I might not need to.

    Anyway it's a clear 5 star read for me.

  • last month

    I sporadically read a blog about reading, Everyday Reading. Today’s post was about the 10 books the world enjoyed but she didn‘t. The #1 book she didn’t like was 50 Shades of Gray. I’ve never read it and don’t intend to. Not because I’m a prude, but because everything I’ve read about the book sounds boring. The blogger linked Dave Barry’s essay about the book. I did read that. I love Dave Barry. Here is a link to Dave Barry’s essay. I thought it was hilarious!

  • last month

    Just finished Beautyland. It well written with kind of an odd premise. I thoroughly enjoyed it until I turned the last page nd thought, wait, that’s the end?

  • last month

    bbstx, do you have a link to that blog? I'd love to see the list, and I'll bet it would spark some good discussion here. (I also never read 50 Shades, for the same reasons as yours.)

  • last month

    Bookwoman, click on ”Today’s post” in my comment.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Ah, thanks. It didn't show up in another color for me for some reason, so I didn't realize it was a link.

    In any event, I've only read two on her list, Extremely Loud..., which I did like, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, which I didn't, but for reasons a bit different from hers. To me it was yet another in a series of "yes, it's the Holocaust, but look at this heartwarming thing that's going on" books (see also: The Tattooist of Auschwitz.) I found it a prime example of Holocaust kitsch.

  • last month

    oh interesting - of that link for books "everyone loved but I didn't", I've read the 2

    Extremely Loud, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Miss Peregrine and Night Circus. I did like all of the ones I read. I remember that Night Circus really impressed me as it is absolutely not my genre but I still though it was very well done. I wonder if it is someone's genre how they'd like it.


    In the last 3 days, I've gotten notices from the library that about 5 of my ebook holds are available. I though I'd take a break because after finishing Beach Music, I wasn't sure what would work well. Anyway, I looked at Confederates in the Attic, and was immediately drawn in. Thank you for the mentions in my southern lit request. It seems like it's a good one and a very easy read.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Anyone read Dorothy L. Sayers? I'm reading The Storyteller of Casablanca which was recommended here and which I am enjoying a lot. In it, they keep talking about reading her books. I never have and they sound like fun.

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    I enjoyed Ivan Doig's novel,The Whistling Season, so am sad to report that I'm halfway through The Bartender's Tale and thinking about Doig's MS in Journalism. This isn't a novel, it's reporting! Maybe it will pick up now that the central character is twelve? <yawn>

  • last month

    Many years ago I read all of Dorothy Sayers Peter Wimsey books and adored them. They're terrific British mysteries, The Nine Tailors perhaps the best known.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked laceyvail 6A, WV
  • last month

    Ixnay on Wandering Stars. I tried, really I did. Next up is Forgotten on Sunday, the new book by the Fresh Waters for Flowers author.

  • last month

    Chisue- I really enjoyed Bartender's Tale along with the other 2 of Doig's that I read . I didn't feel like Bartender's Tale was tedious in the least. I was really engaged...........I hope it turned around for you. In any case. I guess that's why they have different flavors of ice cream. :)

  • last month

    Another Sayers fan here. My favorite is Gaudy Night, but you need to have read some of her earlier Peter Wimsey novels to appreciate it. They're all great fun.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Bookwoman
  • last month

    I just finished Storyteller of Casablanca and what a wonderful book. Thank you to whoever recommended it. 4 stars and would be great for book group.

  • last month

    salonva -- I did move on to Doig's final novel, Last Bus to Wisdom. It feels like a more refined version of the same boy-meets-world. This Montana kid is shipped East for the summer while his grandmother -- and only close relative -- undergoes surgery. I tried some pages before keeping this when returning the other. Doig evidently died the year this came out; a good note on which to leave. I doubt another author will take up the same themes of a passing era in the West.

  • last month

    I finished listening to The Bartender's Tale yesterday and am in the group that loved it. Thank you for the recommendation, Salvona. As I did when I commented on Ivan Doig's Last Bus to Wisdom in the May forum, I urge anyone who hasn't read either and is inclined to do so to listen to the book. The narrator for both books is David Aaron Baker. His voices for the various characters add so much to the enjoyment of the books. In the Bartender book, as events unfolded, I anticipated hearing Tom Harry drawl "Oh cripes".


    And thank you to Chisue. Your comment "This isn't a novel, it's reporting!" caused me to do some digging and opened my eyes to the fact that the disasters in the Bartender book weren't just figments of Doig's imagination but actual happenings around which he built his story, Maybe that fact was evident in the written book and lost in the audio version. Whatever the reason, thank you for your enlightening comment,


    Because I felt the narration contributed so much to the book, I searched for other books narrated by Mr. Baker and found many, one of which is my next listen,

  • last month

    I am reading something I am really enjoying, on a recommendation from DD1. It's called

    A Good Life, by Virginie Grimaldi. Two sisters spend time together at their grandmother's house after she dies. The story goes back and forth between the two, and back and forth in time. Translated from the French and very lovely.

  • last month

    Glad Juneroses enjoyed the Ivan Doig books. They just really touched me and I found them so sweet and compelling.


    Thanks also for the suggestion of Confederates in the Attic. I enjoyed it but... I thought it went on a bit too long..I was really drawn in for much of it but after a point it seemed repetitious and I have to say I tired of it . If it had been trimmed a bit I would have really raved about it.

    I gave it 3.5 stars but had it not dragged at the end, for me would have been 4 or 4.5 stars.

    I am re-reading The Mother In Law for book club. I read it a year or so ago and remember liking it but not much else. It is a good read.

  • last month

    Our book group loved All the Broken Places. The few that didn't love it was because of the darkness of the subject but enjoyed the book anyway. Led to good discussions.

  • last month
    last modified: 27 days ago

    Just read The Postcard by Anne Berest. It is a novel/memoir about the author and her family, immediate and past. The author's great grandparents, great aunt and uncle were transported from France, where they had finally settled via other places after the family had dispersed from Russia, and were murdered in Auschwitz (which Concentration Camp is not the book's focus) in 1942. The author's grandmother was never transported and survived. The author's grandfather was a scion of a French family, well known in the French arts.

    As the author's mother explains her research into her family's fate, the book transforms into a novel about them, and back and forth, weaving the author's thoughts on what it means to be Jewish, and French!, on ever present anti-semitism, and on family. It is difficult to explain but I found it to be both spellbinding and unsentimental. I think it would be a great choice for a thoughtfully inclined bookclub willing to take on longer and more complex books.

  • 29 days ago

    I recently read James by Percival Everret that I thoroughly enjoyed. It is a take on ’The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ from the runaway slave, James‘ perspective. It was a book club read and we had a great discussion. Most of us had not read the Advent. of Huck Finn since high school, so I’m currently listening to it to refresh my memory on it and for the sake of comparison. I would rate it a 4.5.

  • 29 days ago

    I've read all the short stories and am embarking on the novel in Amor Towles' latest, Table for Two. 5 Stars IMO.

    Fans might like to look up the obit on the author's father, Stokely Porter Towles. I think he sounds like the model for Towels charming Gentlemen. (Capital 'G'.)

  • 27 days ago

    I just started Gail Godwin’s new book. “Getting to Know Death,” and remember how much I used to enjoy her writing. Really enjoying it.

  • 27 days ago

    Am just finishing up Patrick Bringley's All the Beauty in the World, his memoir of being a museum guard at the Met. Beautifully written, and a must if you love art and museums.

  • 27 days ago

    Bookwoman, I loved All the Beauty in the World! It’s a wonderful book. I was at the Met last December and was so glad I’d read it.

  • 27 days ago

    Bookwoman, I’m coming back to say I completely agree about “Holocaust kitsch”; it is truly offensive.
    I’m currently reading The Talented Mr. Ripley, after enjoying the new series Ripley, and then rewatching the excellent movie for about the fifth time.

  • 27 days ago

    I re-read The Mother in Law and really think it's going to be a great book club discussion. I looked at goodreads to see I previously gave it 5 stars ... I'd probably give it the same now. It was a very easy, suspenseful story with lots of layers to it.


    I also just started Table for Two and am really enjoying it. Amor Towles sure can write!

  • 27 days ago
    last modified: 25 days ago

    I just finished Stacey Hall's newest, Household. It is set in 1840s London, based on a house for homeless and unfortunate women supported by Charles Dickens and other wealthy Londoners.

    I'd give it 3.5 - 4, because I love Hall's writing, and tales of Victorian England, and there might be a basis for a good book club discussion about women's rights and lack thereof, then and now. Although I enjoyed it, I felt it could have used tighter editing as to one character and suffered from letting that character take attention from a few others whom I found far more compelling. It seemed to me that there was a far more interesting book glanced at inside this one, and I would have liked to have spent more time with those characters and their stories. Having said all that, it was wonderfully atmospheric for a rainy evening: suet pudding!

  • 24 days ago

    I've finished "The Guest" by Emma Cline and started re-reading right away)) It's very engaging...but very..I'm not a fan of the word "triggering" it yet I can't think of another one right now.

    As soon as I finish I'll start her "The Girls".


    Before that I was re-reading and reading different books, I'm still to finish a book by Clarise Lispector (which I lost. but recently found again) and "the Hare with Amber Eyes" (I somehow start crying very soon into the book, and can't get past first chapter. His language is exquisite, but then many writers' language is, so I don't understand what's my deal)

    and I got a book "Traumatization and its Aftermath" which I wanted to read for some time-but I'm afraid the script is too small, (I do read in glasses), so we'll see. It's is a very detailed book so it seems, very informative. I liked following the author(Antoinetta Contreras) so I decided to buy the book she wrote, on the topic.


  • 24 days ago

    April, I really enjoyed The Guest; I couldn’t put it down! And you reminded me that “The Hare with Amber Eyes” has been on my ‘I should read that” mental list for years. I’m going to see if I can get the ebook right now!

  • 24 days ago
    last modified: 24 days ago

    oh my- I read The Hare with Amber eyes within the last year or two and was just amazed by it.

    I thought the story was amazing but even more so that somehow I had never heard of this family.

    I don't remember too much so maybe I need to re-read it! I see on goodreads though I did give it 5 stars.

  • 24 days ago
    last modified: 22 days ago

    I loved all the short stories in Towles' Table for Two and was mildly interested in the novela.

    I'm nearing the end of Linda Fairstein's first mystery (1996). Final Jeopardy began her string of seventeen books -- which ended after her reputation was ruined for her prosecution of the 'Central Park Five'. Her publisher dropped her after that, but I'll be looking for more of her fast-moving mysteries.

    Next up is the translation of A Good Life from French author Virginie Grimaldi -- cribbed from a recommendation here.

  • 24 days ago
    last modified: 23 days ago

    Updated to downgrade from 3.5 to 3 stars.

    I just now finished The Storyteller of Casablanca. 3 stars.

    However, until the last few chapters, I was going to give it less than 3.5. Although it's incredibly readable, there were some details that bugged me a lot. I don't want to give any spoilers, so I'll just have to leave it at that. But it turns out, it was part of the story. I was surprised, and feel the book redeemed itself. I'm glad I stayed with it.

    What still bugs me (not really a spoiler) is that Zoe didn't read Josie's journal all the way through after she found it. That just wasn't plausible to me.

    Before that I read The Empress of the Nile by Lynne Olson, the nonfiction story of Christiane Desroches Noblecourt, a French Egyptologist who was instrumental in saving many ancient Egyptian treasures from destruction, e.g., Abu Simbel. I found much of it extremely fascinating, but it was long and some details just got tedious, e.g., backroom bureaucratic wranglings. But the relocation of Abu Simbel, the way the rising sun hit the innermost reaches of the temple and the gigantic statues of Ramses II were amazing 20th century feats that the builders of the pyramids would have dug. 3.5 stars.

  • 23 days ago

    I just finished The Storyteller of Casablanca. 3.5 stars

    "I had the same feelings as Bunny , that it redeemed itself at the end and was worth reading. Almost gave up on it several times.

  • 23 days ago

    The more I think about the devices used in The Storyteller of Casablanca, the more they annoy me. I mean, there's a purpose to them, but what's the point if they detract from enjoying the book? 3 stars, for readability and good intent.

  • 22 days ago

    I finished Lord Peter: The Complete Lord Peter Wimsey Stories. They were good if you like mysteries, but not for book group. They are a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. The short story format allowed for lots of quick plots, puzzles and solutions which was fun. Dorothy Sayers clearly had a phenomenal vocabulary in addition to being very imaginative. I didn't try to figure them out ahead of time but just enjoyed the ride as the solutions unfolded.

  • 22 days ago

    Am about halfway thru North Woods by Daniel Mason. He is a smart, multi-talented guy and think this is an excellent discussion book. Recently finished The Mountains Sing

    Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai and was so interested to read different viewponts of what we call the Viet Nam War.

  • 21 days ago

    Just finished two page-turners thaI I do not recommend. ( SEMI SPOILER of THE GUEST) The female protagonist in both are , for me, unlikable. The Guest’s obviously has a sad backstory that explains her present situation, but it’s not mentioned. Also, from almost the start its clear it will not end well for her.

    The Girl on the Train is simply an unsympathetic loser. Both were selectrd for fast plane reads. Maybe they are well written? I couldnt get beyond my dislike of the charecters and their situations., and was glad to say finis. Still, they did pass the time on two flights.

  • 21 days ago

    I loved The Guest; I think my favorite novels feature unsympathetic protagonists- IMO more complex and interesting. One of my favorite books, read years ago and never forgotten, is “All Grown Up” by Jami Attenberg- the protagonist is messed up and confused in the ways that real people often are, and something about it just strikes me as true and wonderful. Currently, I’m reading The Talented Mr. Ripley, inspired by the masterful new series “Ripley” and the wonderful 1999 film, which I recently rewatched for perhaps the eighth time. For whatever reason I find “feel good” fiction dull, but that’s me!

  • 20 days ago

    Today is the 50th anniversary of Phillipe Petit's high-wire walk between the Twin Towers. Did you all love Let The Great World Spin as much as I did? One of my all-time favs.

  • 20 days ago

    faftris, that book is also one of my favorites, and I've pressed it on all my friends. I've enjoyed McCann's other books as well, but that one is his masterpiece. And speaking of Petit, have you seen the documentary about his walk, Man on Wire?

  • 20 days ago

    I have not seen that film, but it is now on my list. McCann must be due for a new book soon, I hope.

  • 20 days ago

    Hmmm, I do remember Let The Great World Spin which goodreads tells me I read in 2020.

    I did like it a lot but I don't think it's one of my all time favorites. I guess that's what makes the world go round or SPIN lol.


    I am reading Table for Two and started out loving it. I think I've read 4 of the stories, and there was one I really didn't care for so now I'm taking a little break before I finish it off ( next is the long long one). I have so many books coming available that I'm not sure what I'll read when I finally finish Table for Two.

  • 20 days ago

    I didn't finish Table for Two. I was coming off a high from rereading (#3) A Gentleman in Moscow and my sights were high. I read about 3 or 4 stories and they were okay, but when another library book came in I bailed on T42.

  • 19 days ago

    I finally finished The Coming Wave: Technology, Power and the Twenty-first Century's Greatest Dilemma. It was easy enough to read, made some good points, gave me more of a background on the considerations around AI and biogenetics as well as the history of technological sea changes and what's different about AI. So it is what I was looking for, but it seems to me he missed a big point, which is, we'll have AI to help us deal with the changes that will be instituted by AI... It did fill the bill of what I was looking for though. I think it will lead to some interesting discussion.

  • 17 days ago

    Glad I'm not alone in not liking The Guest or The Girl on the Train. I didn't like the French novel, A Good Life, either. Life offers quite enough crazy women without these. At least the girl/woman in Good Life has an eventually revealed excuse.

    SPOILER: She's eventually diagnosed bipolar, and I believe that the abusive mother of these two sisters is, too. I've known some families with this difficult disorder. One bipolar woman's children born within her marriage were all bipolar, as was the son she'd surrendered for adoption as a teen.