This is a Good Book Thursday, November 15, 2018

So we’re halfway through November, (five days before the new Aaronovitch is supposed to land), and there’s a threat of snow outside, so I’m going to build a fire and lose myself in a good book, in this case, the one I’m writing.  It’s still going all over the place, but I like it.  That’s HUGE.

What are you reading that you like?

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60 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, November 15, 2018

  1. Really glad you’re having fun with it.

    I’m still rereading Nora Roberts, this time ‘Whiskey Beach’; not as good as ‘The Obsession’, but still a good escape. I’m also reading a booklet about the history of Lake Vyrnwy for my photography project, and about to go online to look at old Ordnance Survey maps and CADW archaeological surveys, so I can add more pencil annotations to the modern OS map I’m using to find promising locations.

    I love maps.

    1. La Nora’s books I selected on grocery store shelves were all major disappointments. But from a Nora Roberts display in a Walmart many years ago, I picked up eight movies based on her novels, and loved them all. I own some unread NR and even an audiobook I’ve been meaning to listen to, “one of these days.”

      1. She’s very variable, as well as prolific. Since I don’t like violence, most of her thrillers are non-starters, but occasionally there’s one where the characters, romance and setting are strong enough to pull me past the evil-villain stuff.

    2. I’m reading “The Obsession” too. I’m thinking it’ll be the last time for a while because my daughter is 10 and it’s starting to get a bit close to home.

      I reread “Tribute” recently too.

      I’m trying to find my copy of H. Beam Piper’s 3rd Fuzzy book. It’s not available online right now.

  2. I just read The Calculating Stars by MaryRobinette Kowal which I think I found out about here. Great read. Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. I just finished Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend, recommended by someone here. I enjoyed it tremendously, more than anything else I’ve read for a long time. I have the second one on order. It really did remind me of Diana Wynne Jones. So, thank you!

    Also, I have a question, for someone who has a better memory than I do. A few months ago, Jenny talked about a book she was going to read, about a young girl living with two unpleasant aunts in a resort hotel by the sea. There was a nasty villain, magic, a carnival/circus down the road. I enjoyed that one and the sequel but can remember neither author nor titles. Does anyone have an idea who the author is?

      1. I don’t remember those being mentioned. (Although admittedly, I don’t remember last Tuesday.) They sound very cool. Will have to check them out. Are they British?

          1. Have you run across Regarding the Fountain? It is a YA (possibly younger) epistolary novel about replacing a drinking fountain in the local school. The authors, Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise, have written a handful of related books in a similar style. They are fun, entertainingly written and illustrated.

  4. Suleikha Snyder re-read since I just downloaded Tikka Chance on Me and am saving it for the weekend.

    She writes such *full* short novellas whixh don’t feel short. I love them to pieces. They have wonderful, complex characters. She puts them through emotional trials without humiliating them to the reader. Full HEA that are incredibly satisfying.

    Channelling Edna Mode:
    Go! Buy! Win!

  5. Rereading the Clocktaur War duology by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon) in anticipation of Swordheart, another book in that fantasy world, which is coming out the week after the next Aaronovitch book, so I’ve got two weeks’ worth of reading all lined up!

  6. I seem to be stuck in Netflix, so I was watching Crossing Lines, a stylish European cross-borders police force. They are appallingly careless with their women team mates – three of them die in two seasons, one doesn’t even make it through the pilot. I can’t exactly recommend it, but I welcome company yelling at it?

    1. I don’t remember any yelling, but my viewing was punctuated by some fairly serious eyerolling and heavy sighs.

      Tonight I am off to see the broadcast of Bandstand the musical. I hope it is as good as the soundtrack, which i love, and i want to support the broadcasting of Broadway theater, since I i dont go to New York.

    2. I tried it and admit I gave up for that reason…. how many main characters that you like can a show lose and still retain its viewers? I think that was the real motivation for that show. 😉

      1. I think I gave that up for the same reason.
        Of course, that’s why I finally gave up on MI6, too, even though I thought it was excellent. I just couldn’t take the bleakness.

  7. I am still crawling along with my reading. I just feel this weird empathy deficit for fictional people lately. Almost all their problems seem little and annoying. I think I’ve overdosed on news and the internet. Hopefully a break will help it come back.

    I can’t say I loved it, but I finished “An Expert in Murder” by Nicola Upson. It’s only the 2nd book I’ve finished in a month. Josephine Tey (a real life mystery writer of the Golden Age) solves crime. I usually find “real historical person solves crime” a little too cutsey for my taste, but since Josephine Tey isn’t someone I have strong feelings about, it worked.

    1. “Empathy deficit” is the perfect phrase for what I’ve felt for a lot of what I’ve been reading. (Not Murderbot! No, never that.) I just find the characters and the plot moderately interesting, and keep wishing I’d get to the end. So why, when I find a series with this mildly boring pleasantness, do I keep chugging along? I dunno.

  8. I’ve read a couple of wonderful books this week. Firstly, ‘The Trouble with Goats and Sheep’ by Joanna Cannon. This was in the crime section at the library, but it’s not really a crime novel – more an observation of a small community seen mostly through the eyes of two ten-year-old girls who set out to find a neighbour who has disappeared. It’s wonderfully funny in parts, and beautifully observed, with dark undercurrents.

    Then I read ‘Stars Uncharted’ by SK Dunstall. I think someone here might have recommended it, for which I am deeply grateful. It’s science fiction, great characters and a splendidly unwinding plot.

      1. Okay, I am half way through Uncharted Stars already. For everyone who likes Murderbot, you will like this. I will let you know next week if it finishes as well as it is reading right now.

    1. I was just getting on to recommend Stars Uncharted! SK Dunstall. It was very enjoyable, although I didn’t immediately re-read it the way I did Linesman’s series. I think it hit a little close to home, having been in an abusive relationship myself. That being said, I really did enjoy it, and really cannot wait for the sequel to read more of their story.

  9. I have the new Aaronovitch, Lies Sleeping. It’s a slow starter, I skipped ahead to read the end before I got to page 60.

    1. I vastly prefer them in audio. Things that feel slow in the print version somehow don’t bother me as long as I’m listening to Kobna Holdbrook-Smith!

  10. Finished Lethal White, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Re-reading the Lockwood and Co series. Eyeing off Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik and Autumn Bones by Jacqueline Carey. They’re next on my reading pile.

  11. Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts). YA about a happily sexually active gay teen who starts writing an advice column and gets a stalker.

  12. This is going to sound self-serving, but I promise, it’s the truth. I spent the week rereading my first Baba Yaga novel, Wickedly Dangerous, because I’m about ready to start writing another one based on the same character (and mess up her world mightily), and I wrote it long enough ago that I needed to refresh my memory. The good news is that the book was surprisingly charming. I was freaking impressed with myself. The bad news is that for whatever reasons, I can’t seem to write that well anymore, which is damned depressing.

    But it was a fun experience to be captivated by my own book.

    1. One of the many reasons I try not to reread my stuff. It feels so light and carefree and everything I do now feels like it weighs a thousand pounds. I had some pretty good stuff back then; now it feels like everything I do is carved out of stone. I’m pretty sure it’s a perception problem because I remember sweating blood over those earlier books, too. but still, ARGH.

      1. Some of us were reading you when you did that “pretty good stuff” back then.

        Do you remember you didn’t think it was good, your career was over and we should have read your first books when everything was easy? Did anyone save all the Bet Me posts? Ooh, or Faking It?

        So, yes, it’s a perception problem.

        OTOH, it’s usually a good sign in your process when you decide everything was better back then and everything sucks now.

          1. NOooo. not a cycle.

            It’s Groundhog Day. Or maybe one of those Buffy episodes where Giles starts by saying “It’s the end of the world” and everyone groans “Again?”

            And it makes me happy because usually it means you’ve got more book rather than less – but since I do have some few strands of empathy left, I would like it if you stopped beating yourself up & remember 1. you know what you’re doing 2. you’re very, very good at it 3. we have been waiting patiently for awhile now… (okay so not as much as empathy as I was hoping) and 4. no, I’m not saying this just to be nice.

      2. I wrote some light/carefree stuff in my younger years and there was one book in particular I never finished. My marriage fell apart when it was half finished and my viewpoint changed so much I lost that person. It hurts to reread it because I can no longer capture the main character’s voice and I still want to know what happens to her. I have tried more than once. But I’m not that person anymore.

        I will say that I like your early books and your more recent ones. They are different flavors / moods and yes the later ones aren’t so light, but there is still something real and magical about the characters and when I read them I feel better.

    2. I can’t lose myself in my old books, and dread having to go back to them, because I want to edit them like crazy. Last night, I was listening to a narrator’s audition for one of my books, which was written in 2014, published in 2015, and was mildly mortified that it’s already dated (with a scene that uses some stuff from Occupy Wall Street events). How could a 4-year-old book be dated? Fortunately, it’s just that one scene, but still…. The world has changed a lot since 2014!

  13. I’m in the home stretch of the Cecilia and Kate trilogy by Wrede and Stevermer.
    I finished Sharing Knife: Beguilement (audio) by Bujold last night (a re-read, or at any rate, a re-listen.)
    I finished Perdition by M. Sands (finally!) but I can’t recommend it. I have four others from the Fussy Librarian in my to-be-read-soon stack.
    I’m fighting an urge to re-read Bet Me.

    1. I LOVED the Sharing Knife series!! My sister felt their romance was too quick, or perhaps contrived, but it just seemed to fit for me. Which usually we are flipped. I also first “read” on audio and loved the narrator. Lovely little series, I with there were more than four.

      1. I was happy with four. Over the years, I have come to appreciate series that have closure. Robert Jordan was not my favorite author.

        Have you read any of Bujold’s Chalion/Five Gods series? There were the three main novels, but since then she’s written six novellas, the Penric and Desdemona sub-series.

        And with Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, she may finally have closed out the Vorkosigan novels. (Until she added “Flowers of Vashnoi”, of course.)

        I’m currently in the middle of book 6 of the Wearing the Cape series by M. G. Harmon. (Another reread.) And I just finished “Storm Front”, book 1 of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. You know, it’s that series about a wizard named Harry.

  14. I am probably not the only one who spent the daytoday shoveling slush and scraping ice off the bird feeders and putting out seed and nuts instead of reading. It’s really a downer when weather replaces your happy quiet time.

    But last night I finished a re-read of one of my favorite kid’s books: The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban. I find that more and more I can identify with characters who are thrown away, then rescued from a trash can and repaired by a tramp. Plus I’d almost forgotten the Caws of Art Repertory company, which is an experimental theater group run by some crows. The book is priceless, really.

  15. I don’t know if I’d recommend this as a read or not, but I read “Her Lady’s Choosing,” which is a choose your own adventure Regency romance. It was certainly interesting/snarky/silly, but it’s not so much a “romance” so much as it’s lotsa insta-sex horny connections over and over again. It’s a fun novelty to read though.

  16. I read “Let it Shine” by Alyssa Cole this week. Compared to the 2 later titles I’ve read, it seemed awfully short and underdeveloped.

  17. Had to go to PT this afternoon. I’m in South Jersey so our winters are ridiculously mild. However it would have been nice If any of the roads I drove on had been touched by a plow. It took me forever to get home so I treated myself to finishing The Price of Happiness: A strong woman in the Middle Ages. The last one in the series wasn’t good but this one was. Now I’m going to start Becoming by Michelle Obama. Does anyone else remember when we had a real president? It seems as if this clown has been in for decades

  18. I read The Witch of Lime Street by David Jaher – nonfiction about Harry Houdini, a contest by Scientific American to find a true spiritualist and a flapper medium.

    I wish I could recommend it – the whole situation sounded wonderful but I saw a lot more sexism & prejudice in both the way the scientists handled her & the way the author treated her – I don’t even believe in mediums and yet I swear the woman could have made Christ appear and they would have all discounted her because she was a younger woman married to an older man.

    It also dragged for awhile and the ending lacked oomph.

    But if you are interested in how mediums faked things there are some neat bits. Other recommendation is – and I have not read these – Houdini wrote a couple of books on defrocking mediums and they’re available on Gutenberg. At the moment I’m annoyed with Harry so I’m not rushing to pick them up but I might a little later.

  19. Thank you to all who recommended Alyssa Cole’s Princess In Theory. It was a lot of fun watching the rich guy get knocked down a few pegs, and I loved that the heroine’s field of scientific research was essential to the story, not just an afterthought.

    Last night I read Not Your Sidekick, by C.B. Lee. It’s fantastic. Queer teenage superheroes made a night of insomnia infinitely better. There’s a sequel, Not Your Villain, which I have seen at my library and will now have to get my hands on.

  20. I finished the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Vampires aren’t normally my thing (except the Taika Waititi type) but this was pretty good reading. I feel there were some inconsistencies/plot holes, but this may be because I read so fast that I missed bits. Cast of thousands, lots of them interesting.

    On the advice of this group, I also watched an episode of the Brokenwood Mysteries, which I liked a lot. Funny, real (well, except for the multiple small town murders) unpretentious. Thanks!

  21. I’ve been rereading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians-series by Rick Riordan. Read book 1-4 and have read about 40 % of the fifth.

    Bought “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman (the English translation) for a friend of my dad’s last weekend (she’s Russian, so can’t read the original), and after having read the first 3 chapters to check if the translation made the book justice, I was overcome by a sudden desire to watch the movie. Have it on DVD and had already seen it with dad when it was in the theatres some years ago, and I know the story so I knew I would have no problem following the storyline. Then I, much to my delight, discovered I could use the same audio description-app the cinemas use to also get audio description at home. So I watched. And cried. And cried and cried and laughed and smiled and cried some more. I thought it wouldn’t hit me so hard since I’d seen it before. I was wrong. I’m lucky the neighbours didn’t call me complaining about water dripping from their ceiling 😉 It’s one of the most heartbreaking, heartwarming, beautiful movies I know. The book too. Will probably reread it soon, whenever I feel like stepping onto an emotional rollercoaster again. <3

    1. Yes, but he died knowing that every minute of every day someone is quoting the Princess Bride – which is a great way to go.

      “I do not think that word means what you think it means”

      “Mostly dead”

      “You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – The most famous of which is ‘never get involved in a land war in Asia’.”

      “Life is pain. Anyone who says anything differently is selling something.”

      “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

      “Wuv – twue wuv…”

      And that’s not even thinking about all the lines people quote from Butch Cassidy. ; )

  22. Let’s see. I devoured Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews and now I’m really anticipating Catalina’s story. I’m also following their weekly serial of Maud’s story from the Innkeeper series.

    John Scalzi continues to write entertaining space opera with the second book in his trilogy, The Consuming Fire. It has one of the most satisfying climatic scenes I’ve read in a while.

    KJ Charles channels Georgette Heyer in an m/m Regency that was witty and sexy and all around wonderful. Band Sinister was my first of her books, but it won’t be the last!

    Another reader here who is anxiously awaiting Lies Sleeping. Pre-ordered both the ebook and the audio and I’m going to be torn about which to start first.

    Also bought in dead tree version, Jill Lepore’s These Truths, a new history of the United States. That one will have to wait for semester break but I’m looking forward to diving in.

    1. Thinking where best to go with K. J. Charles is you’ve started with ‘Band Sinister’. I reckon the Society of Gentlemen series is probably the best segue; it starts with the short ‘The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh’. It does get more serious (while still being fun) in the later books. She can be dark and violent; one or two books I’ve not pursued after the sample pages. But I love most of her stories – which is a long way of saying don’t be put off if you don’t like the first one you try.

      1. Thank you, Jane. I’ve bought a few of her books when they went on sale, but wasn’t sure where to start. I think I have a few of the Society of Gentlemen so will give those a chance.

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