Although you wouldn’t know it by the weather, it was in the 80s here yesterday. (Yes, I know it’s spring in other parts of Argh Land. I should stop doing weather reports.) This week I read Al Franken: Giant of the Senate. Good stuff. Finishing up Helen Mirren’s biography as research for Anemone in the Liz books: not as good so moving on to looking for other sources. Mostly reading my own book and wishing it were done. Argh.
So what did you read this week?
70 thoughts on “This Is A Good Book Thursday: Autumn is Coming”
I just can’t remember the book title. And now I’m not home to check. Sigh.
I’d put off reading Arabella, by Georgette Heyer, as I was waiting for the eBook price to come down. Finally gave up. What’s $10 anyway? I adored it and read through the night, at times laughing out loud. This was another of her Regency books, and well worth the price. I’ll definitely read this one again.
That was funny. Robert’s monologues to the dog Arabella pushed on him were absolutely great.
My very first Heyer, a zillion years ago. It is truly quintessential Heyer. A Regency gem.
A couple of days ago I finished reading the last of Georgette Heyer’s twelve mysteries, which I have been binging on all summer. This final book was PENHALLOW, which I gather a lot of people are dubious about. I think I can understand that because even though the story contains a murder, it’s not really a mystery. It’s more of a psychological study of what happens to a closeknit family when one of them is killed. It was definitely different in tone from her other books, much darker, no romance or witty repartee, but lots of tragic irony and an ambiguous ending. I thought it was very good, but it’s not at all what most readers expect from a book of hers.
I am rapidly running out of Heyer mysteries! Maybe I will just have to reread slowly to see what I missed.
I mentioned reading them to my grandma a few times and she was curious enough that my aunt looked to see if the book service for the blind where she gets her books had them and there are a couple, so we’ll see there is a new 99 year old fan!
M, if your grandma has the ability to use DAISY books, Open Library has a ton of Heyers on DAISY: https://openlibrary.org/search?q=georgette+heyer&mode=printdisabled&author_key=OL766555A&has_fulltext=true&subject_facet=Protected+DAISY
(And otherwise, Open Library’s e-book webreader has an audio option–so a little robot voice reads the book aloud–which is, you know, not ideal but may be of use in some cases.)
No, no, don’t relurk. Come out into the sunshine.
Cthulhu lurks in lurk.
I liked it better on the re-read but it’s definitely not “let’s go solve a murder while making cute quips at each other.”
When I don’t think of it as a GH book, I like it much better.
I’m listening to After On, by Rob Reid (a very-near-future technological cautionary tale in the vein of Person Of Interest, but geekier and on steroids.) I’m totally creeped out, and now I question myself every time I hit “like” or use an emoji on social media. I suppose that’s a good thing, but I can help but feel a little doomed. He has an equally alarming and insightful podcast. Enjoy!
Still readin the St Mary’s series but down to the last two books so made myself read some other stuff this week to stretch them out (and happily discovered there are short stories that go between each book). I read Pretty Face by Lucy Parker and Artistic License by Elle Pierson (Lucy’s alter ego), both good contemporary romances. And then Force Of Nature by Jane Harper which is her second Aaron Falk book after The Dry which was, like The Dry, very good too. She does great atmosphere and setting even though FoN takes place somewhere very different to the setting for The Dry. Next up is Autoboyography by Christina Lauren. Oh, and also, I’ll pimp No Limits by Ellie Marnie which is an Aussie NA standalone mystery-thriller-ish romance. Spin-off from her Every trilogy which is a YA take on Sherlock and Watson with a female Watson and which I loved and must re-read.
I finished the annotated Mansfield Park and loved getting all the extra bits. Harvard’s Belknap publishing arm has annotated versions of all of Austen’s novels so I’m going to hunt them down at the local libraries.
I’m in the middle-begining of two nonfiction books The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Steven Greenblatt, and My European Family: the First 34,000 Years, by Karin Bojs. So far they are both interesting.
Many thanks for the recommendation for Anne Cleeland’s Acton and Doyle series. They were wonderful – so much fun. I’m a bit concerned about the attraction I feel for such a scofflaw, but I can live with it.
Just finished re-reading The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I first read either in high school or early in college, and which has probably been rewritten to better effect many times since. Definitely does not hold up, alas. Have two of the sequels on my Kindle and I do intend to read them because I am sufficiently interested in the hero, but the heroine is a twit in book 1 and the writing style is So! Purple! LOL
I remember reading this as a teenager and liking it. But I, too, tried it again a few years ago–and I didn’t get past the first few chapters this time. Also found the writing too purple and felt thooke b really did not hold up.
What does ‘purple’ mean? I am not familiar with the term.
Extravagant, ornate, embellished writing.
I’d heard of works being written heavily with purple prose, but never described as just “purple”. A new one for me.
I got Ann Leckie’s Provenance yesterday morning as soon as the library opened–I was number two on the reserve list–and read most of my day off. Love at first page!
My attempt to think of anything coherent to say about it just keeps coming out “Wow!” Is it better than the Ancillary books? I just don’t know.
The Hate U Give
It was also active shooter training at work this week.
Then the police practiced SWAT exercises around my workplace without informing us.
I’m a bit on edge.
The company I worked for before retiring was the next street over from the courthouse and there were always police vehicles and TV trucks with high antennas and reporters lurking around. You do get used to it until the loudspeaker announces that we’re in lockdown because of a bank robbery and look outside to see detectives doing a grid search along the street.
Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. I loved her Graceling trilogy enough to pre-order this one in hardcover. It was very different from those books, but equally excellent. She takes you on quite an adventure — all is definitely not as it seems at the beginning.
I loved the Graceling books! Thanks for the reference as I’m ordering Jane, Unlimited now…
Just finished Nelson DeMille’s latest, “The Cuban Affair.” Meh. I happen to like humor with me adventure. (I am a sucker for a smart-ass which is why I married my husband). No humor predictable plot. I was excited to read about the “new” Cuba. SPoiler:, the CIA screws everyone over and the boy gets the girl.
I did have an issue with my kindle this week when it froze up on the book I was reading and I was going to let it go and go on to something else but realized I do not multitask very well and could not get into another book until I finished what I started. So I actually looked up the instructions to unfreeze and it worked. I also have Kindle Unlimited and when I’m stuck with trying to find something I’ll check out a magazine. I’m really attracted to magazines with food on the covers like pot roast or chicken & dumplings, desserts too but if it has more than a dozen ingredients and as many steps I can’t be bothered.
Read D.E. Stevenson’s Miss Buncle series: Miss Buncle’s Book, Miss Buncle Married, and The Two Mrs. Abbotts. Enjoyed them all, though the first was the best. Many thanks to those who recommended them.
My mother is a huge fan of the Mapp and Lucia stories, and the Buncle books reminded me a little bit of those. So now I have an idea of what to get for upcoming Mom’s birthday.
If you can find it, The Four Graces by D.E. Stevenson re-visits the country of Chevis Green, and I found it as equally enjoyable at the Buncle titles (which are my favorites).
I’ll second that. The Four Graces is a nice wind-up to the Miss Buncle series, though no character continues through all four books.
I really liked her MRS. TIM series. Only the first, MRS. TIM OF THE REGIMENT, is available in Kindle, but the others can be found in print editions: MRS TIM CARRIES ON (Battle of Britain), MRS TIM GETS A JOB (just post-war), and MRS. TIM FLIES HOME (later post-war).
Your mum might also like Sarah Morris Remembers and Sarah’s Cottage also by DES another one of my favs The Blue Saphire. I am sure she would enjoy them. At the moment I am reading Kiss Me While I Sleep by Linda Howard, I always enjoy her books. My library guy recommended a couple of steampunk books to me, so I will try them. Have a good weekend you all.
I always think of Miss Read’s books when I re-read the marvelous D.E. Stevenson Miss Buncle books. Miss Read (aka Dora Saint, I think) wrote and wrote and wrote (so many titles and series to choose from) and many are in the re-readable category. (One mentioned here not infrequently is “No Holly for Miss Quinn,” a standalone. Hurrah for introverts!)
My mother also loved the Mapp and Lucia stories – and Miss Read. For a “back in the US” book that wouldn’t be out of place among those, try “Bachelor Brothers” Bed & Breakfast.” There’s a sequel too. I haven’t read them for a while, but Mom loved those, too. (I miss her so! She also put me on to Ellis Peters, the Father Cadfael mysteries 🙂
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley. All the books in his Flavia de Luce series are fabulous, but this one was particularly fun for me because it takes place in Toronto (the others all happen in England) in an area with which I’m somewhat familiar. Fun books! Flavia is such a hoot.
Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell. I was looking for Regency-era realism and certainly got it, as well as a suspenseful story with vivid characters. He’s such a great writer–I can’t gush enough. I read and loved a couple of his Angl0-Saxon stories a while ago and will certainly read more.
I must look for GALLOWS THIEF.
The first chapter is graphic about a hanging, and it’s pretty horrifying. I read it a few months ago and decided I wasn’t quite ready to read any more just then. I picked it up again this week and rushed through it–awesome.
My husband is a huge Bernard Cornwell fan, I don’t think he’s read Gallows Thief. Thank you for the recommendation. Did you know that there are 2 dvds on his The last Kingdom series? Both well done.
Finished THE PALE HORSE by Agatha Christie, which I enjoyed–despite the many coincidences on which the plot leaned very heavily (the protagonist happens to meet one of the victims by chance, and also happens to meet a woman by chance who happens to drop informed comments about the murder plot and have a relevant contact, and he also happens to bump into a shady character who claims to have seen the murderer, and he also happens to be related to one of the possible victims, and he happens to be old friends with the inspector who gets assigned to the case, and it’s by chance that he goes to The Pale Horse Inn which later winds up being central to the murder plot, etc., etc.). Despite all that, I found the protagonist likeable and I enjoyed the atmosphere of this odd little isolated English village where three creepy women at a creepy inn claim to be witches who can curse people with death.
Then I read INSANE CLOWN PRESIDENT by journalist Matt Taibbi which I highly recommend. It’s a collection of his writings from the 2016 campaign trail, with some additional hindsight commentary. In months of reading books and articles explaining why people voted for Trump, this is the first (and still only) explanation I’ve read that I think makes some sense of the thing.
AndI’m about halfway through Hillary Clinton’s WHAT HAPPENED. It’s interesting and worth reading. She makes a lot of goo, valid, compelling arguments here. (And I, for one, don’t see why HRC is supposed to be the only person in American who shouldn’t be allowed to reflect on the effect that James Comey, the media, the Russians, Anthony Weiner, Bernie Sanders, etc., etc. had on the 2016 election and her candidacy. I don’t think this is”Hillary blames everyone but herself for her loss,” I think this is HRC, the person at the very center of the HRC presidential campaign, shares her view on the long and complocated experience–and given that she was also the first woman to come so close to the presidency, I think her reflections are historically important.For generations, OTHERS will continue reflecting on HRC’s experiences in 2016, so it’s a good thing that -her- reflections on it are on record.) All that said, I was a Sanders supporter and would make the same choice again, and I think some of the book also reveals what Hillary didn’t get–and still doesn’t– about Sanders and his supporters.
I always felt that the avalanche of coincidence in Pale Horse was supposed to add to the creepy atmosphere. (Must read again.)
I really enjoyed The Pale Horse, but I haven’t read it in years. It would be nice to go back to it, but there are actually some Christie novels I still haven’t read at all, so it’s probably best to read those first. I once tried to watch the TV version of Pale Horse, but they inserted Miss Marple into it (probably because they were running out of her actual books to adapt), and it made the whole thing feel off.
I don’t think I’ve read The Pale Horse. I’m slowly working my way though Agatha Christie. I think I need to find out how to check out books on my Kindle from the local library because it’s getting expensive buying them…
Kindle library books are a wonderful thing. Most of them are also available through something like Overdrive, so they can be read in the web browser even if you don’t want to use the Kindle for some reason. They just expire on their due date, so you don’t have to worry about actively returning them, which is convenient.
I’m re-reading Murder on the Orient Express, because… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq4m3yAoW8E
I am so excited.
Spent the weekend in a room piled high with Georgette Heyers. Ended up rereading ‘Cousin Kate’, but still feel lukewarm about it. Still, I enjoyed the first half. Even more because it was the original hardback edition I read it in when it first came out.
Visited a garden owned by Lord and Lady Ashbrook today. I’m sure he figures in at least one Regency romance – though not a Heyer, since she did her research and wouldn’t have used a real title for a fictional character.
Cousin Kate is such a wonderful gothic tale. From the very first, the reader is very worried about this sweet, young girl who has lost her parents and has only a servant to protect her. You realize how the aunt is using her power to contain and control everyone in the house and you feel so sorry for Torquil. Then, every thing changes. A great book!
I just finished Wired by Julie Garwood. I really appreciated the quick action and romance in it because I had just finished The Immortal Irishman- The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero. After reading all those battle descriptions, I was more than ready for a change of pace!
I just picked Immortal Irishman up. How was it?
I’m working on The Kingpin of Camelot, which someone here recommended a couple of weeks ago. It is very good.
I also have Nalini Singh’s newest, Archangel’s Viper, waiting for me. I am just waiting until I am in a better frame of mind to start. One of my coworkers got let go with no notice today, after ten years. Just, bye- have your stuff moved out by five. I’m imagining ways to dramatically quit my job after I booby trap an office with five pounds of glitter…
Be sure to use PURPLE glitter …
Yes! the super fine kind… Mwahahaha
Yea! I’m glad you like it. I’m reading Cassandra Gannon’s Elemental Phase series now – I don’t like it as much, but the humor’s still snappy, and it’s on KU so I can binge.
Viper’s on for this weekend, too.
If your coworker had done anything wrong she or he would have frog marched right out the door, let’s hope that she/he was vested and was able to leave with company benefits intact.
I just finished Heart of Gold by Sharon Shinn, which was an old-school science fiction story on the one hand, a racial justice parable on another, and a bit of a romance thrown in like icing on the cake. Very enjoyable and a quick read. I also recently read Age of Myth, by Michael J. Sullivan, a fantasy author highly recommended by a co-worker. It was evidently a prequel to some other sword & sorcery series that I haven’t read, but that didn’t affect the read, and I found it an interesting example of how to weave three plots together gradually so that by the last page, they seemed part and parcel of the same plot. Likeable characters and good writing.
Spent most of my long weekend finishing the Edge series by Ilona Andrews. The complete-at-four-books thing made it less intimidating than starting the Kate Daniels series when I have so many other things in the TBR stacks. The world was really interesting. There’s the Weird, which is another dimension where there’s magic; the Broken, which is our world; and the Edge, which is a kind of half-magical place sandwiched between the other two. It’s really well-constructed, and since the characters recur throughout the series you get to see what protagonists from previous books are doing a couple of years after their stories. There are some children who go from 8 and 10 in the first book to being teenagers at the end, and I’m disappointed I won’t get to see more of them. Definitely recommend the series. Personally, I liked the three later books better than the first one. Bayou Moon and Fate’s Edge were probably my favorites.
I think that’s my favorite IA series, actually. I would’ve liked more of them.
George, Jack , Gaston and Sophie pop up again as adults in the IA Inn Keeper trilogy
Good to know. I’ll probably circle around to those eventually.
Read “The Grand Sophy” and “Devil’s Cub” back to back, and I really did LOL several times. Now I’ve started on a history of the Silk Roads. It just sounded so adventurous and romantic. It will probably be as dull as ditchwater and ruin all my fantasies, but OTOH it might be better for inducing sleep than Ambien.
Just finished reading a contemporary romance, Susan Mallery’s YOU SAY IT FIRST. She is one of my contemporary romance auto-buys. Reliable good writing, characters I like.
Now I’m reading one of my favorite mystery writers, Donna Andrews. She is so funny and clever. Her new one is GONE GULL. Loving it.
I really liked GONE GULL. And she’s got a Christmas book coming out in another month or so. Looking forward to that.
Am bouncing between two books: “My part-time Paris Life” by Lisa Anselmo (more memoir) & “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman (fiction). Both interesting so far.
And finished “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty (very good & explores interesting concepts about self) and “Making Life Easy: A Simple Guide to a Divinely Inspired Life” by Christiane Northrup.
Squeezed in a few others too in a bit of a binge, with my new book out I have small window before it’s back to writing again:)
My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith What do you do when your girlfriend runs off with her personal trainer and your book is due to the publisher weeks ago? Of course you fly to Italy, get arrested for stealing a non-existent car and then rent a bulldozer to travel to the town of Montalcino. There you will make new friends, fall in love and get into even more messes. A fun book.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Reid Why does a famous movie star marry seven times and why does she decide to tell her life story to a young magazine writer. The glamour and the price of fame is written here.
To whomever recommended No Wind of Blame by Georgette Heyer- I really liked this book for the characters. Mary, who must try to deal with all the drama created by those around her, Vicki, who has a costume and persona for every situation but especially Ermyntrude the actress who never leaves the stage and knows how to use everything to her advantage. A wonderful book!
Ermyntrude is the best! So flawed and so kind; one of Heyer’s best characters.
Am completely maxed out mentally thanks to too many big projects to do in too little time, so I read Jill Mansell’s The One You Really Want last week-end.
I think of her books as the reading equivalent of comfort food and it completely hit the spot – its like high quality mashed potatoes with organic this and full-fat that, and sooooo much better than the dehydrated stuff from a box.
During the week I’ve been attempting to re-read A Wrinkle in Time (a huge favorite of childhood) and it’s not holding my interest. Don’t know if it’s a fair representation of my adult opinion or just indicative of my temporary mental overload, so will be putting aside for later so as not to shatter my childhood illusions unfairly.
I’m on vacation in Ohio, so this week I read a couple of favorites from my favorite Ohio writer: Charlie All Night and Anyone But You. Today I just started the new PJ Tracy. It’s good so far…
Oh, say hello to Ohio for me. It took me over sixty years to get out of there, but some of the places I lived there are still warm in my memory.
I just found this interview of John McPhee who has written some of my all time favorite books including a solid and very dense geological history of the USA plus human interest. That book is called Annals of the Former World, the most surprising one is Assembling California, and the McPhee interview is here:
I have a terrible cold so I’m listening to Claire De Witt and the Bohemian Highway, the second in the series. I am fascinated by the universe the author has created, and this character. It’s creative spin on the noir detective novel.
I listened to the first book, Claire de Witt and the City of the Dead, on a car trip while the hurricanes were hitting Texas and then Florida. City of the Dead takes place in New Orleans, after Katrina, and is the best things I’ve read that artfully illustrates the PTSD of an entire city.
I’m only part way through The Bohemian Highway. I love the character, but the PLACE (San Fran) is less visceral than in the first book.
Kingpin of Camelot and Beast in Shining Amour by Cassandra Gannon – oh wow, loved these two bits of easy escapism!
Just got back from a trip to Europe. I’d loaded Connie Willis’s short story collection “The Winds of Marble Arch” onto my ipad as a chance sort of thing. Turns out, the title story was perfect for my situation. It deals with themes of travel in the sense of returning to places when both they and you have changed. So it’s about all different levels of time, character, and place, and that you expect to know who you are and what love is, but you don’t quite. I’m finding that returning to past places is becoming more and more edgy these days.
Jodi Taylor (she of the Chronicles of St Mary’s series) started a new series.
The book, White Silence, has a slightly impenetrable premise (Elizabeth sees auras and knows a panoply of things just by looking at people – she must hide her skill because The Authorities suspect what she can do and want to control her. But they’re weirdly both menacing and ineffectual. Also watch out for ghosts? And there’s some time travel.)
Given the references to the state of the world in the St. Mary’s series, it’s kind of intriguing to get hints of what the authorities are up to, seen through the machinations of the sinister Dr. Sorenson and the affable Michael Jones. So far, though, Elizabeth Cage is just a little too incurious or complacent for this to be fleshed out much. Yet.
I like the main character, but the wending of the plot through a big showdown/climax of nasty events, then cutting away to a sort of partial reboot… it was confusing. Did those events happen or not? St. Mary’s did something akin to this at one point and I never quite sussed stuff out to my satisfaction.
The book ends on a fraught note, so I want to read the next one, but as with the St. Mary’s books, sometimes I don’t know if I have the readers fortitude to wade through the Bad Things Happening To Good People (I could never read George R. R. Martin).
Also re-reading the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Much love for the Mercyverse. I’m on to Frost Burned. My two favorites (Night Broken and Fire Touched) are up next. ::happy sigh::
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