Wear the Lilac and Don’t Forget Your Towel for This Good Book Thursday 5-25-17

So it’s This Is a Really Good Book Thursday, but so much more because this is also the day we remember the glorious Terry Pratchett and the fabulous Douglas Adams.  If you haven’t read them, you must, if only so you know why you must carry your towel and wear the lilac.

Then tell us the title and author of something delightful to read, fiction or non-fiction.  The weekend is coming and we need good books!

51 thoughts on “Wear the Lilac and Don’t Forget Your Towel for This Good Book Thursday 5-25-17

  1. It’s an old one, but a good one. “Kindred” by Octavia Butler. It’s about an African-American woman who keeps being drawn back into the past to save a young white man’s life. He’s a slave holder before the Civil War. Gradually she realizes that he’s her ancestor and if she doesn’t rescue him, she’ll never be born.
    It’s really good and it explores a lot of the subtle problems of racism (beyond the obvious “slavery is bad”) while the ending isn’t happy happy, I didn’t find it super grim either.

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  2. I’m deeply into Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, and loving it. It’s an intense and beautiful fantasy novel, and I’m half in love with Lazlo Strange, the former librarian who has found himself out in the world chasing the stories of the strange city of Weep, and the even stranger girl, Sarai, who he meets in his dreams.

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    1. I loved it until about 3/4 in, at which point I felt like the dual points of view weren’t coming together anymore, and as a result I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. But that world and those characters! So I’m still looking forward to the next one.

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  3. As I Descended: modern, YA retelling of MacBeth with the MacBeth character and Lady MacBeth character as young, closeted women. The first scene creeped me out so much!

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  4. I’ve been thinking about Joan D. Vinge’s collection, Eyes of Amber, a lot lately. (This is probably because the song “Brandy” by Looking Glass is getting renewed traction thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy II) Read the last story, Tin Soldier, first, as it’s based on the song but turns it in interesting ways and has a great love story to it too. But other tales in this collection also have a lot to offer.

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    1. Joan D Vinge’s Psion and Catspaw were the first sci fi I ever read and I still dip into the copy on my bookshelf sometimes. I’ve never read any of her other work though, so thanks for the recommendation.

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      1. I almost never re-read anything. There’s far too much to get through in one lifetime without retreading ground I’ve gone over in the past. This is especially true for fiction, as I’ll sometimes scan non-fiction again if I need the information. I don’t have “comfort read” books, because all reading is a comfort to me most of the time. But I will re-read “Tin Soldier” and “View from a Height”, both from this collection, whenever I get a chance, and that’s rare for me. (The only other thing I’ll re-read is something by Eric Frank Russell, as I love his brand of science fiction) And “Tin Soldier” is something I think about reading every time I hear the song it was based on, even a mention of it. It’s got great world building, it’s female empowered without being feminist, and it’s a hard science fiction tale with a great romance a

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        1. (stupid Outlook interrupts things sometimes) and a great feel for the passage of time

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        2. I re-read all the time. Mostly because I am so bad at putting books down and going to sleep, or work, or other essential life things that books that I know well are safer territory for me.

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        3. Nicole, have you read The Space Willies by Eric Frank Russell? It’s a bit dated, of course, but it still makes me laugh when I read it.

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          1. Oh, yes, though I encounter it most often under it’s original name, Plus X. I’ve read it, and my Eustace has too. 🙂 But I don’t find it dated at all — it deals with a fundamental nature of humanity, and though it’s got a Cambellian curve to it (John W. Campbell always wanted the humans to win) I love how EFR plays it out and uses psychology to make the trick work. Great stuff. Allamagoosa is online in a couple of places, and I’m always tempted to name a dog Peaslake because of it. And of course “Into Your Tent I’ll Creep” is one of my favorites, to the point that we sometimes call my former guide beast the tent creeper. And when I want to get someone to understand the power of metaphor I point them at the story “Jay Score”, as it does such a good and subtle job of working the ones we use all the time. (It’s also the first use of the “slingshot” maneuver and the first time in SF that a person of color is treated as an equal)

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  5. I wore red and forgot the towel completely. Do I have to have my geek card rescinded?

    I got a new phone for my birthday. The old one stopped typing p,l and backspace. I didn’t transfer data so the towel day reminder didn’t pop up as it usually does. Sigh.

    I think that since our food thread is still going strong, I will recommend the most comprehensive cookbook I ever bought, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. I hardly use it but it is my go-to reference for comparing an internet recipe method to something he has.

    Sometimes people skip steps, I use Bittman’s book to fill in the gaps.

    It is a great resource for any cook because it starts with the basics of every kind. I take the Robert Rodriguez stance of “you have to cook because you have to eat”. He is a bit cruder but check out his Ten Minute cooking school on DVD extras for Once Upon A Time In Mexico.

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    1. Yes–Bittman’s book. I consult far fewer cookbooks now, in the internet age, but I look something up in his at least once a week. My other go-to book about cooking, The Flavor Bible. Lists and lists of what goes with what. I love lists.

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      1. I go to James Beard’s various cookbooks. The recipes always turn out, are interesting and usually are things I have around. And his American Cookery is full of the kind of things my grandmother made on the farm (My grandmother was born in 1884).

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  6. I need a lot of light and fluffy these days, to counter Everything Else, so I’m enjoying the books in Kristen Painter’s Nocture Falls series (light paranormal romance). I just finished The Dragon Finds Forever. They’re like eating cookies, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    I have lilacs growing all around my house, does that count?

    2+

  7. Another oldie but goodie, The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls. For those who haven’t read it, it’s a memoir, but reads like a novel. It’s sad, sweet, terrifying, beautiful and awful. I’m on my second read.

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  8. Enjoyed two novels this week: stumbled on Sophie Kinsella’s ‘Finding Audrey’ in the library. YA, and beautifully, hilariously written (I forgave her the flash forward at the beginning, tho’ would have been better without it). Specially loved the mother addicted to the ‘Daily Mail’ (popular right-wing tabloid).

    Then I reread K. J. Charles’ ‘An Unseen Attraction’, because the sequel’s due out in a week. Lovely m/m romance against a rather dark Victorian London.

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    1. I know Sophie Kinsella is famous for her Shopaholic books, but those are the only ones of her books that don’t appeal to me. I love all of her books, but my favorite is TWENTIES GIRL.

      FINDING AUDREY is on the top of my to-be-read pile. I picked it up at a used book sale, but my daughter said I read it a couple years ago and passed it on to her. It SUCKS that I have such a terrible memory for book titles – and I should really remember that one because both my daughter and my granddaughter have Audrey as a middle name! I’ll just have to read it again. *bangs head on desk*

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  9. I just finished Becky Chambers’ second sci-fi novel, “A Closed and Common Orbit”. Charming. Although her first one, “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet”, is even better. Both are very intimate, not space battles but people struggling with issues, even when they live on spaceships.

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    1. Yep, and I liked it a lot. There are a few books like that where I enjoyed the book and I’m waiting for follow-up works. “Carter and Lovecraft”, by Jonathan Howard, was like that for me, and Marie Phillips’s “Gods Behaving Badly” has that pratchett/Adams/Gaiman form of twisted humor that I wanted more of, even though it’s so overbearingly British. And Peter Cline’s “The Fold” was also in that category.

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    2. Yes, i liked it, too. But now I have to read it again, because I can’t remember enough of it.

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  10. So, it isn’t a book, but a Netflix original series that I’ve binged watched and am pining for more episodes. Tollhunters. It is animated, has 26 episodes so far with 13 more coming and another 13 intended. The first 13 episodes are one arc against a big bad and then the next 13 arc against another big bad.

    It is the story of Jim who gets called by a magical amulet to be the next troll hunter. He’s the first human to ever be called. The amulet provides him with armor and a sword. Blinky and AAARRRGGHH!!! (for his name alone, all of us here should watch it) are kind trolls who help him learn his new role. His best friend Toby is told right away and eventually, Claire, the love interest, joins the team, after her baby brother is stolen by the antagonist’s side and is replaced with a changling, not-Enrique.

    There’s community building, fighting, reading, fun, teenage love, strong friendships, and great graphics.

    Warning, it kind of ends on a cliff hanger.

    Massively bingeable! Each episode is ~20-23 minutes long.

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    1. Yes, I watched the first season, it was great, often very funny, and moving. I didn’t realize there was another season.

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      1. Well, technically, the first 26 episodes are listed as season 1. Season 2 is the next 13 episodes anticipated to be released in December 2017. One setback was that the voice actor playing Jim died in 2016.

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  11. I’m a big fan of Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. It may be time to reread it.

    My lilac bush is leafing out. We’ve had a slow, chilly spring in southcentral Alaska this year.

    And a coworker just mentioned: “I’ll bet Donald Trump doesn’t know where his towel is.”
    It became a one-upsman-style conversation ending in: “I’ll bet he doesn’t know WHAT a towel is.”

    That kind of sums up my week, actually.

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    1. I’m sure Donald Trump won’t carry his towel because only losers can’t afford someone to carry it for them

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    2. I loved Lamb so much I gave it as gifts to various people and I never give books as gifts unless it is one someone has specifically requested. This is because lots of people give me books and 90 percent of the time I never finish them, if I even start them in the first place – and I am a voracious reader. I have it decided it is like artwork: too personal to get it right. Any way, I can’t imagine anyone not liking Lamb, even if you were ultra-conservative in your religion.

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    3. A friend of mine just lent me “The Lamb” by Christopher Moore! What a lovely coincidence. I may let myself put that on the top of my book pile (-:. (I love Christopher Moore.)

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        1. (-: It’s pouring rain here, and I just finished my Saturday blog post, so if I get the Salinger finished today, then I’ll dive right into Lamb! Maybe we can talk about it on the blog? I wonder how many other Eight Ladies enjoyed it? It does seem to be right up our collective alleys (-:. Funny, and I remember Christopher Moore as being a kind and empathetic writer.

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  12. Thank you all for Georgette Heyer. I don’t know why I never read any of her books, but I needed fun and easy last week and ended up with Frederica. Loved it, it was exactly what I wanted exactly when I needed it. And how often does that happen?!

    7+

  13. I’ve been watching Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow online, so this week I went back and re-read All The President’s Men, by Woodward and Bernstein. I’d forgotten how well it was all laid out in the book, so it was easier to follow the timeline.

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  14. The universe has been sending me YA, time travel and vampire sorts of things for some reason. I also have a pile of lawyer mysteries by different authors that I have not been in the mood for. One fantasy thing I did enjoy this week was the third book in the Inn series by Ilona Andrews. Read a novel that was a little heavier than I expected, so I balanced it out with a Kristin Higgins, and re-reading an Anne Stuart. I brought a pile of paper books on vacation, but am reading the kindle ones. Thank goodness for the kindle backlog when my paper pile just isn’t what I am in the mood for after all.

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  15. I forgot it was the Glorious 25th of May. It’s especially sad because Douglas Adams changed my life and I believe that Terry Pratchett is the greatest of all writers ever. EVER.

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  16. I remember the first time I read Douglas Adams – awesome! I’m sadly behind in reading Terry Pratchett’s books. I have quite a number in my waiting-to-be-read pile. I’m hoping to binge on his books this summer.

    I love so many books it’s hard to narrow down the list. I’d have to put anything by Sarah Addison Allen on the list, especially LOST LAKE. Her books are whimsical and magical – this one even reminds me a bit of Jenny’s books. *cough* DON’T LOOK DOWN *cough*

    I recently discovered Susannah Kearsley’s books, and I’ve already read THE ROSE GARDEN twice.

    I enjoy rereading books – especially Jenny’s books, Mary Stewart’s books and Agatha Christie’s books.

    My binge read last year was the Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood. I enjoy the TV series (LOVE the clothes) but I much prefer the books. They tackle some serious topics and we get a much clearer impression of Phryne’s feminist leanings and her social activism in the books.

    Looking back to old favorites, I’d have to include 84 CHARING CROSS ROAD by Helene Hanff, FAIR STOOD THE WIND FOR FRANCE by H.E. Bates, HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY by Richard Llewellyn, SPARKENBROKE by Charles Morgan and A TESTAMENT OF YOUTH by Vera Brittain.

    3+

    1. Forgot one – it’s non-fiction, but it’s wonderful! Highly recommended for plant lovers: MERRY HALL by Beverley Nichols. One of the rare books that made me laugh out loud. Others include Jenny’s books, THREE MEN IN A BOAT by Jerome K. Jerome, and THURBER CARNIVAL by James Thurber. More recently, HOT IN HELLCAT CANYON, a contemporary romance by Julie Anne Long, cracked me up.

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      1. Connected to “Three Men in a Boat” is Connie Willis’ “To Say Nothing of the Dog”, Time Travel, Romance, Social Comedy, Coventry Cathedral.

        3+

  17. I read Helen MacInnes’s “Assignment in Brittany” (1942) yesterday. I hadn’t read any of her novels before, but was really gripped by this one. It’s a spy thriller with lots of domestic details and a love interest. Would recommend. Then I started re-reading “Welcome to Temptation” and was unable to go to bed until I finished it.

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  18. I just finished the Unknown Ajax by GH, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it, also We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Doddie Smith (?) another golden oldie A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, it has been years since I read that but it is unforgettable. I am now trying some Cosy mysteries by new to me authors, I enjoyed the “Victorian Bookshop” mysteries by Kate Parker, I think someone here recommended them. I have also been reading older Amanda Quick books. I am obviously retired and enjoying all my old favorites.

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  19. I’m a big re-reader whenever it rains – lately that has meant re-reading nearly the whole psy-changeling series by Nalini Singh. Generally, I don’t like paranormal, but the world building in these is terrific and they stand alone pretty well. I particularly enjoyed Slave to Sensation, Caressed by Ice, Hostage to Pleasure and Heart of Obsidian. The characters are complicated and well rounded, the story arc compelling.

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