39 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday

  1. I’m having trouble putting down Dennis Lehane’s Since We Fell. Such a compelling
    story of a young woman’s search for her father.

    1. Whoa. Now she’s looking for her husband. It’s like I’m reading two books, but gosh it’s good.

  2. I just finished The Rise and Fall of DODO by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland a book about time travel and the tension between magic and science. It made me think of Connie Willis and also Charlie Jane Anders book All the Birds in the Sky. It is a long book but I read obsessively until I finished it. When I read in great gulps like that I find it harder to analyze why I liked a book, I just know it was compelling.

  3. HAPPY DIWALI!!! I’m reading the epic poem and scripture called The Ramayana by Goswami Tulsidas.

    I’m also re-reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

    I just finished reading the first two books from Maya Rosalie’s Writing Girls series – A Groom of One’s Own and A Tale of Two Lovers. Women with agency or trying to make their way in life on their own terms. My favourite type.

  4. my all time favorite of your books is: Welcome to Temptation
    I wondered why is was never made into a Hollywood movie ?
    are you getting any attention in that respect?

    1. Movies are pretty much getting struck by lightning. I’ve had books optioned, but that just means somebody thinks it might work as a movie and is willing to shell out some (very little) money to hold onto the right to make it for a year.
      The only person who was ever interested in WTT, according to my LA agent, was Courtney Love, but that was years ago. We came really close to a deal for Bet Me (the producers who had the rights were terrific) but the studio wanted Min to be thin, so they walked and good for them. Agnes and the Hitman got to the point where there was a script, but nothing came of it. Basically, it’s best to think of an option as free money and not get hung up on the idea that there’ll actually be a movie. Compared to the number of books published every year, there are very few movies made (in the low hundreds instead of the many thousands).

      1. OMGODDESS! Courtney would have made an epic Clea if she produced and acted in it.

        I loved Celebrity Skin, so much so that it is on my regular music memory stick for the car and possibly one of my first music downloads ever. I’m a radio listener so it’s seldom that I listen to CDs etc. Though I have a selection for the car.

        Sigh. It’s too late, but I’m glad to see that people are noticing her ballsiness in speaking out over Weinstein LONG before anyone else did. And suffering harshly for it. “Oh make me over, I’m all I’ll ever be. A walking study, in demonology.”

  5. I’m part-way into American Fire: Love, Life and Arson in a Vanishing Land, by Monica Hesse. It’s a fascinating true crime/twisted love story that sucks you in – I will report back when I finish to tell you whether it holds up. Full disclosure, Monica and I are FB (as opposed to IRL) friends.

  6. I’m working on Sharon Shinn’s Jeweled Fire. It’s early days yet, but I always enjoy her work. And I admire her ability to make difficult characters relatable. One of her protagonists is a young, angry, spoiled brat. I have some reservations about her, but I can understand her, which is fascinating to me.

  7. I’ve just stayed up past midnight to finish reading Nevermoor: the Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend. It’s very, very rare these days to find a new book that compels me to keep reading, but this one did it. It reminded me a little of Diana Wynne Jones.

  8. I just started listening to Maybe This Time for umpteenth time. I love that book. Wild Ride is next. There just aren’t that many good books. Got into the 2nd CD of one of my old favorite writers…her old stuff was great, not so much today. Couldn’t continue, so whipped out one of yours. North so does not have a clue, but I love him anyway. Thank you!

        1. Today I recommended Wild Ride to a guy from Brooklyn. I met him at a conference. After talking about what he likes to write, thought he might like it. He is off to buy it.

          I am reading Julia Cameron’s Walking in the World and Barbara Delinsky’s Blueprints. Reading some of her backlist.

  9. Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez was hilarious. Scratched that Pratchett itch, but with more emphasis on the romantic relationships that Terry shied away from.

    Currently working on All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai.

    I’ve been reading more hard scifi lately, which tends towards certain dense type of prose, so it’s been good with switch back to smooth writing that makes the pages breeze by.

  10. I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. So far so good – dark and weird with characters you love. Perfect for October.

    1. There are youtube videos of Neil reading the first few chapters of The Graveyard Book out loud. It’s amazing! Also, I now have a crush on Neil Gaiman.

      1. Yeah, I’d read Good Omens, but I hadn’t tried any of Gaiman’s solo stuff yet. Then a beautiful man at a party talked me into trying it, because I am shallow. So far it’s excellent.

  11. I really enjoyed Boomerang, by Michael Lewis. It’s the follow up to The Big Short, looking at the different ways the financial crisis played out in different countries, and it is simultaneously hugely entertaining and enormously disturbing. It’s not nearly as dense with financial detail as The Big Short was, so it’s also an easier read from that perspective – more anthropology than finance.

    I’m also partway through The Job, by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg. I think it’s the third in their Fox/ O’Hare series. It’s not deep, but it’s an awful lot of fun. I might have to go back to the start and re-read the first two now.

    1. I just couldn’t get into their first one (The Heist I think?)

      I should probably check and see if she’s got a new one in the Liz and Diesel series. They are also not deep.

      1. I couldn’t get into the Heist either, till I read it a couple of times (it was the library book nearest my bed, when I needed something to flick through)

        I liked the first 2 Liz and Diesel more, but I think the Nick & Kate series gets better

      2. Funnily enough, I found the Liz and Diesel books hard to get into. After the first one I just wasn’t interested in what happened next. Might be time for me to go back and retry them, too.

        1. Felt like that about her latest series Knight and Moon, first book Curious Minds, I borrowed Dangerous Minds to give the series another try.

          Her graphic novel was the surprise, I didn’t enjoy Metro girl, but I thought Troublemaker worked really well and wished she done the whole series as graphic novels.

  12. I read two and a half of The Dressmakers series by Loretta Chase over the last week, thanks to last week’s Good Book Thursday post!

    I’m also about to pick up Macbeth, which I start teaching to the AP kiddos next week, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which I start teaching to the 10th graders a few weeks after that. I’m hoping Midsummer is better than I remember, because I’m not feeling particularly excited about it.

    Macbeth, featuring one of the great anitheroes of all time, is a perpetual favorite. (Maybe two of them, if you count Lady Macbeth as an antihero?) I’m scrambling to get it started before Halloween!

    1. There’s a 1999 movie of Midsummer which I liked. Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Evertt.

      As I said to someone else, I find a good production really changes my attitude toward the play.

      Do not watch the one with Jimmy Cagney.

    2. I love Macbeth; it may be my favorite Shakespeare.
      My fave Macbeth critical quote was that the tragedy of Macbeth is that he loses his moral imagination; the tragedy of Lady Macbeth is that she gains hers.

      1. The way I see it, Macbeth thinks that Lady Macbeth shares his moral imagination, so he’s impressed with her toughness. But she doesn’t. And they both stagger into separate hells.

        Anyway, I think the pervading Evil in the play hits home for me.

        And I enjoyed teaching Midsummer Night’s Dream because kids loved to act it out. In recent posts, you were talking about writers that provided the blocking for their scenes: Midsummer does that.

        1. I’ve always thought it was because they didn’t understand each other’s worlds.
          That is, Lady Macbeth sees him come home from work covered in blood every day, so she assumed killing the king is no big deal. She doesn’t realize that she’s pushing him to betray everything he fights for.
          And once she’s pushed him to be a murderer instead of a warrior, he kills Lady Macduff and her children, not understanding that that’s the line Lady Macbeth can’t cross (“The Thane of Fife, he had a wife, where she is now?).
          Essentially, because they don’t understand each other’s worlds, they drive each other insane, which leads to their deaths.
          And they were one of the few really good marriages in Shakespeare, too.

    3. I have a childhood attachment to A Midsummer Night’s Dream; we acted it out when I was seven. Barely understood what was going on, but it was fun. Then a family friend gave me the Kevin Kline movie, which I watched over and over. Haven’t read it since high school; maybe I should go back to it. On the other hand, I still haven’t made it all the way through Taming of the Shrew, so if I take up Shakespeare again, I should probably go with that one.

      1. Nooo! Go for the juice! If you love Midsummer with Kevin Kline, you should treat yourself. (LOL, sorry. You do what you need to do. I just rewatched When Harry Met Sally for about the fourth time, and it was just what I needed! Not the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou that I’ve been meaning to watch for about 18 months and haven’t gotten around to yet. Haven’t even started, to be honest.)

      2. It’s old but I love Zefferelli’s Taming of the Shrew with Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton. But my niece was showing me a version with Meryl Streep & Raul Julia which might be interesting.

        1. I saw the Taylor and Burton movie when I was in college. The Shakespeare Retold Taming of the Shrew is probably my favorite, although I still love 10 Things I Hate About You. Generally, I find I prefer the modernized adaptations of that, but I still want to read the source material. At some point. It’s been on my bookshelf since high school. I think I may have even started it once.

          1. Oh, I love Ten Things I Hate About You.
            It is interesting how good the modern retellings are given the source material (in which the language is stunning but the sexual politics are bad). It’s as if having to work within the constraints of that plot–furiously angry bitchy woman is courted by a money-grubbing con man–really pushed people to be creative. The depth of feeling that Henderson and Sewell brought to what is basically a farce was amazing. They’re both crazy and you bleed for both of them.

    4. If you use clips in class, Patrick Stewart’s “MacBeth” is his usual riveting minimalist performance, scary good. His diction is Shakespeare-made-current by his cadence and tone, but ever true to the text. The spectacle included WWII USA uniforms, as I remember, so may be enough GIJoe-looking to penetrate modern minds dulled by video game instant characterization images and language expectations reduced to IM sound, no, wordish vidbytes.

  13. I’d finished up re-reading Welcome to Temptation and Faking It earlier this week. That left me thinking about Monday Street/Paradise Park and reimagined/reinterpreted fairy tales I’d read. So pulled out Ella, Enchanted again. It was grittier than I remembered, and just as enjoyable. Next up, Robin McKinley’s Beauty, then back to Mercedes Lackey’s Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series.

  14. Reread and love the prescience in Bet Me (as well as the rest of it)…
    US guy “…a lumbering man with a shock of blond hair and heavy white eyebrows who should have been hearty and welcoming but instead had the vaguely paranoid look of a sheepdog whose sheep were plotting against him.”

    Canadian guy …I’ve been calling him charm boy since the election — lots of style but waiting to see what’s happening re substance…

    Also reread Stella Benson’s Living Alone,

    “Now there is hardly anything but magic abroad before seven o’clock in the morning. Only the disciples of magic like getting their feet wet, and being furiously happy on an empty stomach.”

    and intend to reread her A Far Away Bride as well as V. Wolfe’s essays … looking for the one in which she write “we are it; we are the thing itself”.

    Thanks to all for the titles … more to look forward to.

  15. I’m rereading Barbara Hambly’s Benjamin January series, 1830’s New Orleans mys/rom historicals. The prose, plot, characterization, insistence on reader involvement, all improve with repetition, and I feel comfortable enough to take in more of the richness, knowing that, tho constantly threatened, the good guys survive, even thrive. Not too shabby for a tall, dark, smart black man in that era & intersection of cultures, and his handful of culturally outré, socially eruptive friends. They inhabit my life, now, too, and challenge my assumptions.

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