This Is a Good Book Thursday, May 24, 2018

How I managed to get to my advanced age without reading Colin Watson’s Flaxborough mysteries is beyond me; I even did my first master’s thesis on mysteries (“‘A Spirit More Capable of Looking Up To Him’: Women’s Roles in Mystery Fiction from 1845 to 1920,” don’t look it up, it’s terrible).  Then the first one showed up as a Book Bub special and I was hooked.  Just finished the seventh one, lovely real old-fashioned British murder mystery, not at all stodgy, in fact pretty wry while still being comfortably cozy.   It’s been a drizzly week today, perfect for reading about quirky death in quirky small villages.  Then I went to download the seventh and found out it’s not in e-book form until the 31st, and the publication of the rest is being strung out even longer, into July.  You know, these are old books.  Why not put them all out at once?  Annoying, but Watson is worth the wait.

So what are you reading?

46 thoughts on “This Is a Good Book Thursday, May 24, 2018

  1. So the other night we watched The Great American Read on PBS with Meredith Vieira to pick, choose and vote on the best of 100 books that have been written. The voting will run all summer and the winner will be chosen in the fall. You can vote for as many as you want throughout the summer. Among my choices were Outlander, To Kill A Mockingbird, Jane Eyre and so on.

    On a side note I’ve woken up to the tune of Stand By Me in my head all week. It’s all good because it brings to mind lovely images of a sweet wedding. Yes it was grand but also sweet. And it made for a Trump-free weekend. Yay!

    Back to books I have on the wait list in e-book at the library The Secret Wife by Gill Paul and Gold Dust Woman a biography of Stevie Nicks by Stephen Davis. I’m willing to wait my turn because of so much ahead to read.

  2. I started reading Rick Riordan’s latest, and then it blindsided me with something (right on bedtime, too) and I think it’s going to be a while before I’m up to going back to it. So I’m reading Cold Comfort Farm again.

  3. I read The Lost Rainforest #1: Mez’s Magic by Eliot Schrefer. I enjoyed it and am waiting for the next one. It’s talking animals trying to save their home from the Ant Queen.

    My daughter had bookstore gift cards so she picked out a bunch of books, some of which I’m going to be reading. 🙂 I already warned her she’s going to need to share them with Grandma Ellen too. She’s moving onto Nancy Drew and Percy Jackson books.

    She and her best friends are writing a book about anthropomorphic moose. They’ve also written a Harry Potter themed newsletter.

  4. Well, they’re slightly more old -fashioned than Judy Blume’s Fudge books (we blew through those in a week or so), but youngest son is enjoying the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. I think because the author is so good at getting inside that head space of how little kids think. And that doesn’t change much, even though the world has changed a lot.

    Plus, I love that Ramona is such a spunky handful of a character. I think it’s good for boys to read stories about girls.

  5. Ive been reading the Phrynie Fischer books. But I check them out from the library and I’ve read all the ebooks available. I’ve got holds on all the rest. Give em back people!

    1. I’ve never read the any of the Phryne Fisher books – I should, as they’re set in my home town – but I have seen all the episodes of the TV series, and I’m looking forward to the movie!

      I love playing ‘spot the location’, and sometimes ‘spot the fabric’ (some of the costumes are made from fabric in the designer’s stash, some are vintage, but the rest are bought in Melbourne).

  6. They probably calculated the optimal length of time to draw out anticipation without losing interest. :p At least you’re only having to wait weeks, instead of months/years…? (I think I need to check out Colin Watson, I haven’t heard of him either before now.)

    I’ve been rereading some old favorites lately, both fanfic and original. Currently in the middle of Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles (which was extremely influential in my formative years — my first story “as a writer” was basically a mixture of Wrede’s and McCaffrey’s dragons and princesses.) I’m also making my way (finally) through Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty– it’s slow going, but only because I got it on Audible and I have a lot of trouble paying attention to audiobooks.

    1. By the way, would you say that the Flaxboroughs need to be read in order if at all possible, or are they standalone enough to read them as I find them?

    2. If you like the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, try and get your hands on Frogkisser by Garth Nix. It’s all kinds of fun, and I’ve always thought that Nix’s Princess Anya and Wrede’s Princess Cimorene would be great friends if they ever met up.

  7. I’ve been listening to the “Bowser and Birdie” series by Spenser Quinn. It is probably aimed at children, but I find it fun. The books are told from the point of view of the dog “Bowser” and he does think like what you imagine a dog would think like and helps Birdie solve mysteries. Birdie is an eleven year old living with her grandma in rural Louisiana since her mom works on an oil platform and her dad was a cop killed in the line of duty. I would like it more if people didn’t get murdered in the books.

  8. I found Emma Latham on kindle so I am rereading them. Other than having to multiply the monetary amounts by 10 or more to make them equivalent of current costs and salaries, they don’t come across as dated. Of course, I was in my twenties when I first discovered them which was more contemporary with the novels so perhaps I am not the best judge of how well the books traveled. But I still find them witty and the mysteries believable.

    1. I think you must mean Emma Lathen, Jessie. There is an Emma Lathen, but she doesn’t seem to be writing mysteries. I couldn’t find the first in the series, so have given up. I don’t know why publishers don’t make the order of series clear – it’s really off-putting.

    2. I loved Emma Lathen, but I’ve avoided buying the e-books because of that guy who’s slapped his name on them. He’s evidently gotten the rights to reprint them, but it feels hinky.
      I still have some of them in paper, though. One of the few authors I kept in the move.

      1. Well, it sounds as if the book is by Emma Lathen and Deaver Brown and published by Simply Media, it is really questionable. He was convicted of fraud in relation to setting up Simply Media and bilking investors of 1.6 million dollars.

        You are right, Jenny. I don’t want to have anything to with this sleaze.

        1. I want to know how he got the rights. The two authors who were Lathen are long gone.

  9. I finished Anne Stuart’s Heartless and enjoyed it. Now I am playing with Hoopla, a new service that my library offers, and am listening to Meljean Brook’s Heartless on audiobook (yay) and reading Jilly Hopcross by Patricia Briggs (also yay). I am only able to take out 5 things per month from Hoopla, but there is no waiting, which is rather nice. Oh, and they have a lot of Georgette Heyers on audiobook 🙂

      1. I’ve got one of her Hurog books, and I’m just not getting into it. Am I missing something?

  10. I’m on a Discworld tour (Terry Pratchett) at the moment, and when I started I realized how much good it has done me to return there. Have read The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Mort, Wyrd Sisters and Guards! Guards! the last 1,5 week. Now I just want to know why Nigel Planer (narrator of most Discworld books before The Fifth Elephant) makes Sam Vimes sound like he’s suffering from a cronic blocked nose.

      1. No… No I wouldn’t say he does sound like that for other books or characters. But I’ll wait until I’ve picked up Men at Arms before I say anything more on the topic. Maybe he figured that starting out your story lying drunk in a gutter needed a blocked-up nose. Who knows. 😉 It was raining, after all.

  11. I am still thinking about Genuine Fraud, the YA cross between Memento and The Talented Mr. Ripley.

    My friend argued that it brought nothing to the table because it is too close to Ripley, but I am wondering if bringing something to a new audience is a talent in and of itself. Jane Eyre in Space (Burning Brightly) was still Jane Eyre…but also sci fi…is that enough? I think so. Is YA Ripley enough on its own to be excellent? I think so.

  12. I am re-reading Elizabeth Peters’ “The Ape Who Guards the Balance” for the 6th or 7th time (just bagged it on a Kindle sale). Went for more than a week without opening a book at all and it almost felt like I was forgetting how to read. LOL Four magazines, even substantive ones like Audubon, are not the same.

  13. I finished Never Mind by Edward St Aubyn and am now have started Book 2 of the Melrose books, Bad News. I wanted to read them before watching the TV adaptation which has had rave reviews.

  14. Finished City of Brass by SA Chakraborty. So damn good. Somewhat tied up and also untied ending to allow for next in series and I DIDN’T MIND. 😀 It’s that good. Good plot, good story, excellent characters, nice cover!

    I bought the hardcopy while going in for something study related. But of course, I read the fiction first.

    I picked it up not knowing what it was about, or if it was a series. I knew it was fantasy. I follow the author on Twitter and boy, is she an example of how to work Writing Social Media!!!

    She tweets these story threads based on folk tales and they are SO well done. I like the added snark. She uses it as social media, not sales media. Love, love, love. She’s so good that I didn’t even read the back cover (I still haven’t).

    Page 1 wasn’t in first person. I was good to go. BOUGHT! And that decision was a good one.

    1. I loved City of Brass!

      I’m really looking forward to Legendary by Stephanie Garber – Caraval was quirky, strange and really hard to put down. I think it falls into the ‘magical realism’ category. I’m interested to see if she can maintain my interest in the second book.

  15. I just finished Step-Ball-Change by Jeanne Ray (sadly, the last of hers I hadn’t read…I love them all). Lovely quirky story of older protagonist and family issue filled with humor and affection and an actual love story between a mature married couple. Highly recommended.

    1. Incidentally, Jeanne Ray was 60 when she published her first book. And it became a best seller. So you never know.

      I just discovered her recently and read all five of her published books, but the last one came out in 2012, and I haven’t been able to find anything out about her current status. Anyone know?

  16. Just finished Jojo Moyes’s latest novel, Still Me. I’m divided about this book. On one hand, it’s written beautifully, as everything by this writer. The story is engrossing, but the protagonist, Louisa, makes me upset. She is a rare breed these days, a person with a servant’s mentality. She needs to serve someone else to be whole. She is kind and compassionate and selfless, a wonderful human being, and I’d like her for a friend, but I think selflessness should be limited somehow, if one hopes to fulfill herself in any meaningful way. Instead, Louisa completely dissolves in another’s wishes, as if she hasn’t any desires of her own.
    Still, a good book.

  17. I finished partly reading three library books that I didn’t want to finish, and decided to re-read Sharon Shinn’s Mystic and Rider, which is the first in a sword ‘n’ sorcery series. I recalled it starting with a very interesting fight that introduces all the main characters and brings them together with a young teenage boy who needs rescuing and then provides the dry sponge to soak up all the lore and background of his rescuers that otherwise would have come across as infodump.

    Very satisfying book and series, but the only one I own is this first one, so it’s off to a library for me tomorrow to find the rest to continue my re-reading.

    1. Oh. I love that series. I never owned it. Always had to read and reread via library.

  18. Reading “Highest Bidder” by Janet Neal, who I usually love, but am finding this one rather heavy going, so interspersing other things. Reading a book about Anne Boleyn which I am finding fascinating. Finished a Kristen Higgins, two out of three of stories by Steven Burst (kind of Chicago mobsters with sorcerers and dragon people), and lightweight but perfectly fine Jill Mansall. Why yes, I am on vacation, how could you tell?

  19. I read Envious Casca and was ridiculously pleased with myself for figuring it out.
    I have All Systems Red and am looking forward to starting it when I’m not sick.

  20. Thanks for the recommendation for the Penderwick sisters. They are delightful. I can’t wait until the grandkids are old enough for them. (Most of the kids are less then 2)

    1. If you like the Penderwicks, you might also like Hilary McKay’s families – Saffy’s Angel and four that follow, or The Exiles, and some after that. I found them more chaotic, and more like people I want to know.

  21. I finished John Sandford’s Twisted Prey and Amanda Quick’s The Other Lady Vanishes. Both good, as expected. This isn’t important, but Lucas Davenport read Skinny Dip in the Prey book (Sandford likes Carl Hiaasen). It made me happy.

    I also read three Ilona Andrews novellas set in the Kate Daniels world; I assume the protagonists were supporting characters in the series based on references to Kate. I haven’t actually read the Daniels series yet because I want to read at least a few of them without breaking for other books, and there have been other things I need to get to first. The novellas were a nice way to get a feel for the world without that kind of time commitment. I especially enjoyed the two about Dali, Magic Dreams and Magic Steals.

  22. Not books, but I just finished Issues #7 and #8 of Heart’s Kiss, a magazine that is now featuring a lot of really good fantasy/romance (romance/fantasy?) short fiction. Really good stuff! Just the kind of thing I like, and I’m loving the shortness of the pieces. I can read a story or two during my lunch break, and not feel like I’m on the edge of my seat, waiting to finish the book. A lovely commenter on my blog recommended it, and it turns out that Jeanne (another Eight Lady) knows one of the editors! Small, small world. June’s issue (#9) should be out on Kindle very shortly . . . .

  23. I seem to be embarked on a binge of ALL the Alyssa Cole books I can find. I have one that feels … YA-ish? Or beginner adult as someone put it, but it is heartfelt and rocketing along, and I am enjoying the post-apocalyptic setting and the ideas she just tosses in there.

  24. I’ve never read those mysteries! Coffin, Slightly Used was .99 so I downloaded. Fun so far. Aside from that I started the Mr. Mercedes mystery trilogy. Most of my week got eaten by GDPR stuff so not much reading got done.

    1. There are some later in the series that are 99 cents, too. Not the next two or three. Maybe five and six?

  25. I have had a couple head-under-the-pillow days, so I’m reading children’s books. First, the final book into Tamora Pierce’s protector of the small quartet, Lady Knight. Then Withering-by-Sea, by Judith Rossell, which was absolutely delightful.

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