This is a Good Book Thursday, April 25, 2019

I ordered four actual paper books this week, which is rare for me, but it’s spring in NJ and reading by iPad in the sun is no fun. Also I wanted them on paper. I gotThe Nimble Cook, Gertie Sews Jiffy Dresses (spiral bound to lie flat with patterns in an envelope on the back cover!), and two graphic novels by Emily Carroll, When I Arrived At The Castle and Through the Woods. And then, of course, there’s the new book on my Kindle, A Natural History of Dragons, which Book Bub had for $1.99, so I had to get it. Also on Amazon for $1.99: The Goblin Emperor, which a lot of Argh people loved.

What’s new in your reading life? (Or old, we don’t judge.)

77 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, April 25, 2019

  1. Please, oh please, what is the story behind that picture? A writer taking a break? Doing a little research? Should we know her? I love it.

      1. The sort of friend you don’t have to actually talk to, because you’re both reading. Maybe just occasionally, ‘Pass the teapot. And the chocolate.’

    1. I like how there’s an older woman in the background by the cabin, also reading in a chair. But they like having some distance between them.

        1. Sound like you’re describing “The Silent Book Club”–it’s an actual book club that meets but reads individual books in a common setting like a café or park. They have branches everywhere. If you enjoy reading with a group of other readers, there may be a club near you or you can start a chapter:) I know one of the women who started it and she’s a total book person.

          1. Trying to reply to Jane but not nesting so placing here.

            Yup. It’s a fab club and it’s international with already several chapters in the UK (like Manchester, Sheffield, etc. I think). But they’re also super easy to start if one isn’t in your area. The main page in link I put above has the info about starting a branch as well as current branches already up & running. Part of the idea is to give yourself permission to schedule reading into your life and feel good about it, and also get to meet other book lovers. Simple concept that really resonates with lots of readers.

  2. After a long gap – I was resisting the untrustworthy narrator – I’m finishing my Mary Stewart reread with ‘The Ivy Tree’ and now ‘Touch Not the Cat’. I enjoyed ‘The Ivy Tree’ more than I expected to; and contrariwise am finding the protagonist of ‘Touch Not the Cat’ a little pi. But I love the settings in both of them – June in Northumberland and May near the Malverns.

    1. The twist in the Ivy Tree caught me off guard, which I enjoy, the first time I read it. I will have to reread 🙂

  3. Well, it’s not a book for grown-ups, I guess, but I used to read a wonderful book to my twins when they were three, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” I bought a board book copy as a welcome to the neighborhood gift for the family that is buying the house next door. They have a toddler. It’s such a funny charming story. It brought back memories of happy times, sitting on the big chair with an engrossed kid tucked on each side. Making funny voices for all the sounds.

    1. It’s a gorgeous book. I once saw a storyteller in India telling this story to a group of entranced children. She used the repetition in it so brilliantly, and threw her whole body into it. It was a performance rather than a reading, and every child was caught up in it. I had just received the news that my mother had died, and I was in a state of shock, and this was just what I needed.

  4. Am on The Goblin Emperor and The Austen Playbook right now, but not done yet so no verdicts. I read The Virgin’s Lover by Philippa Gregory and well, it’s well written, but I feel like she portrays the women in the book as lovesick ninnies. I guess Robert Dudley has some kinda glitterdick and that was probably accurate for Amy Robsart, but I don’t like that Elizabeth is so lovesick that she’s all “I can’t possibly tell Robert no for anything, YOU do it for me, Cecil.” She’s a wuss, not a queen. Sigh.

    1. Poor Amy. Imagine going down in history for centuries as the woman whose husband cheated on her with Queen Elizabeth. And then going down the stairs.

  5. My daughter has finished the Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan. She’s desperate for a trip to the book store for “Trials of Apollo” I’ve reminded her several times that it’s not available as a box set yet, as book 4 comes out in Nov.

    Her b-day is 10 days off. We found her a copy of ‘The Secret’ off Amazon. It’s a book with 12 pictures and poems done from a guy who hid a key for precious stone in each city the picture/poems describe. Josh Gates did a episode on it and was in our City to film. So she’s been asking for it. I ordered a copy of Fantastic Beasts from her brother’s Scholastic Books order for him to give her for her bday. So she just needs to make it through til then. Maybe I can start her on Tiffany Aching books in the meantime…

  6. I’m feeling like a slow reader compared to many of you. I’m really not, but I don’t spend a lot of time reading during the day. It is my go-to for winding down the day and falling asleep – hence I like to read from real paper. (No blue light to keep me from dozing off.)

    As a result, I’m nearly done with book 6 of the Expanse. I’m also reading Burnout a little at a time. It’s been interesting to implement some of the strategies in the book to close the stress cycle.

  7. Ha, I snagged A Natural History of Dragons too. Read Fire Season by Stephen Blackmoore and that was as fun as I expected. If you haven’t read any of the Eric Carter series it does a fantastic series recap without bogging down in backstory so I think it would stand alone. Although then you’d want to go hoover up Dead Things and the rest immediately.

    1. I don’t do DRM. I buy a book, it’s my book. Research Calibre and Uncle Alf’s DRM removal tools.

    2. So it says in there that Amazon won’t sell without DRM. Am I crazy, or has anyone else seen books with something like “this book sold without DRM at publisher’s request” in the description on Amazon? Either way, Amazon can and does pull the same shenanigans. ….

      1. Many, if not all, of the Tor books have that disclaimer on amazon – what that means about the file I do not know, bc I haven’t tried to convert one. Hmmm.

        1. Tor is following the lead of Baen Books. From Baen’s FAQ:

          “What is Baen’s DRM policy on Ebooks?

          “Baen is committed to remaining free of Digital Rights Management (DRM).

          “All available Baen Ebooks are DRM-free and accessible worldwide. Once you purchase one of our Ebooks, you can download it as many times as you would like, in as many of the seven formats we provide, for as many eReaders as you’d like.”

          They’ve had that policy in place since way before Kindle. It’s why you can download an ebook in formats that nobody supports any more. Microsoft gave up on MS Reader – if you have a reader installed, you can still download “.LIT” files from Baen. Or Kindle/mobipocket. In fact, more from their FAQ:

          “Are your Ebooks compatible with my eReader?

          “You can download and enjoy our Ebooks in seven DRM-free formats:

          “HTML (.htm)– Read this online or download and enjoy on your computer
          “Ebookwise/Rocket (.rb)– Read this online or download and enjoy on your computer
          “Ebookwise/Rocket (.rb)– Read on your Rocket eReader
          “Mobi/Kindle (.mobi)– Read on your Kindle
          “EPUB/Nook/iBooks (.epub)– Read on your Apple, Nook, or Android devices
          “Microsoft Reader (.lit)
          “Sony Digital Reader (.lrf)
          “RTF (.rtf)– Compatible with popular word processing programs like Microsoft Word, WordPad, and TextEdit
          “At this time, the Schlock Mercenary Bundle and the individual titles that comprise it are the only Ebooks we provide in PDF format. We’ve extensively considered PDF format for Baen Ebooks. However, Baen Ebooks does not currently plan to offer it for collections other than the Schlock Mercenary comics.”

  8. I’m trying not to read any fiction. Got to get my head around the work situation. But I took a break to watch AntMan and the Wasp since it’s the only MCU that I haven’t watched. It’s my only missed destination on The Road to Endgame.

    1. I’m really behind. I haven’t seen Guardians 2, Black Panther, Infinity Stone, or Captain Marvel. I love the Marvel movies but somehow I got behind. Now all I have to do is avoid Endgame spoilers . . .

      1. Guardians 2, Black Panther, and Infinity Stone are on Netflix, as you probably know. I heard that Endgame is 3 hours long, so I’m planning what I’m not going to drink before I go in.

          1. I love the Ant Man movies. Paul Rudd is so damn good. And also evidently ageless. The man is fifty and looks thirty.

        1. I have Netflix, but I tend to buy the movies I go back to, so I already own most of them. There’s something great in all of them, even Iron Man 2 and the second Thor, so I fast forward through the boring stuff to get to the great character stuff. I’ve seen Winter Soldier at least a dozen times (no fast forwarding on that one), same with the first Avengers. When they get it right, the Marvel movies are fantastic storytelling. But even when they trip, they get at least half of it right, so well worth owning.

          1. Winter Soldier is my favorite of them all. I just re-watched Iron Man 2, it’s messy, but I found a lot to enjoy.

          2. If you fast forward through the “Really?” parts, it’s fun. I love the part where Natasha beats up Happy after he’s patronized her. Pepper’s reaction to that is priceless.


            Plus while they’re objectifying her, she’s undercover for Shield investigating Tony who has just signed over his entire company to Pepper, who’s his secretary, so while on the surface it’s two guys ogling hot women, what it actually is two guys getting their asses owned by smart women.

      2. I live that you said ‘Infinity Stone’ because I was explaining my Ourobouros pendant to someone. I meant to say infinity symbol, but it came out, “It’s an infinity stone.” Lol.

        Funnily enough, just unwinding at home with a movie is something I haven’t done at all in a long time. It’s helped to relax me a LOT!!

      3. We have tickets to see Endgame on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. I also have tissues in my purse. When Evans and Hemsworth say they each cried, I know I’m going to be a blubbering mess.

        I’m thinking Krissie won’t make it through.

  9. I had a lot of false starts this week, with quite a few ‘meh’ books. So I am back to comfort reading Sarina Bowen’s Ivy League series and Georgette Heyer. I picked up Death in the Stocks and am enjoying it so far.

  10. Currently I’m reading Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, Wouldn’t take Nothing For My Journey Now by Maya Angelou, both wonderful and on my Kindle and (’cause I just gotta have a paper book going too) The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg which is darned wonderful as well. Oh, and did I mention I have potato chips, as well? Yep, it’s a really great day in my neck of the woods.

  11. Has anyone else read Carol Berg’s fantasy books? I particularly enjoyed the Collegia Magica books, but the others are good too. I wonder sometimes why she’s not more popular (just judging by numbers of reviews and Amazon rankings, etc.). Possibly because she writes less than a book a year? Her last book release seems to have been in 2015, although I see now she’s got a new series coming out next month under a pen name, Cate Glass. Yay!

    Anyway, I recommend her books to anyone who likes Bujold’s Chalion series or Martha Wells’ fantasy books (as opposed to the sf of Murderbot), and I don’t recall her ever being mentioned here by anyone else. Am I alone here in being a fan?

    1. We shall see. The library has only a few of hers in ebooks, but I’ve just checked out Spirit Lens, where the blurb says the protag “fights off despair with scholarship.”
      I think I had looked at her books before but the ebooks were all out and wasn’t interested enough to place a hold.
      I just finished several books that were recommended here, or elsewhere, after spending a day and a half in bed, so I can’t really give much of a review. When tearing the wrapper off a granola bar seems like too much effort your aesthetic judgement is not to be trusted. (My spring allergies are having a last hurrah.)

      1. I hope you like it! And I’m totally with you on the spring allergies, although judging from past experience, I’ve got another six weeks before they calm down, so it’s more of a peak than a last hurrah.

  12. I’m listening to Good Omens, and I’m getting excited to see the Amazon version coming out in May.

  13. I’m teaching a workshop on Ghostwriting 101 tomorrow at a writers’ con in the Boston area, so I haven’t really been reading. Just trying to get ready. Stage fright sucks. I’ve got a powerpoint and notes and my friends say I’m ready, but… I just hope that I don’t freeze up. Or talk so fast that my presentation is done 30 minutes early.

    Argh. Why did I volunteer for this? Can someone just shoot me already?

    1. I have this thought every time I get ready to go on a stage. This is normal. You’ll be fine.

  14. Just finished Faith Hunter’s Blood of the Earth book. A bit too bloody for my taste, but very absorbing. A really strong urban fantasy in a fascinating world, the same one as Jane Yellowrock novels. I couldn’t stop reading until the end, and I already ordered the second book in the series from my library.
    Also finished Miss Buncle Married. I didn’t like it as much as the first book, Miss Buncle’s Book, but it was a nice light read. I want more of D.E. Stevenson. I enjoy her writing.

    1. Sometime in the seventies misguided publishers tried to market D.E. Stevenson as Romance. This did not work well. True, people in her books fall in love and get married, but they also grow up, grow old, deal with WWII, raise children, and pretty much everything else that people do in their lives. She seems unclassifiable to me. Certainly not LitFic.

      1. No, not LitFic. Maybe just light mainstream or what they now call women’s fiction. I only now discovered her, and my library doesn’t even carry all of her books, just the most recently re-issued, but I’m determined to read all she had written. I anticipate many charming hours reading her stories.

    2. Being a person who prefers actual books to audio or ebooks I have gathered through the years and held onto despite many moves all of my D. E. Stevenson books. They are my “comfort” books along with Jenny, Neville Shute and others. I wish you joy and happy reading.

      1. At least once a year I re-read Miss Buncle’s Book, then follow it up with Miss Buncle Married, The Two Mrs. Abbots, and The Four Graces. I was in a mood to read still more DES, and discovered my public library’s copies of the first three Mrs Tim books are no longer in the catalog, no doubt due to the books’ age and condition. I ended up ordering them from Amazon, since I can no longer depend on the library caretaking all the older books I love. This means I’ll be culling the shelves and piles of books in the house for volumes to trade in for credit at my local india bookstore. It has been too long since I took a hard look at what I still read, and what I’ve kept holding onto due to inertia.

  15. I don’t usually pay attention to Amazon recommendations, but when it suggested that if I like Ben Aaronovitch’s novels, I will also like Jodi Taylor’s Chronicles of St. Mary’s, I succumbed. Wow. I loved the first one, Just One Damned Thing After Another. Started the second and put it down for now — too violent an opening — but I know I’ll go right back to it soon. It’s the kind of writing you can’t put down. Yes, I just contradicted myself. What I mean is, it gets overwhelming and I have to have a break, but I also have to keep on reading. :0)

    1. The other Jodi Taylor’s that I have read – The Nothing Girl, The Something Girl and she has a regency or two under a pseudonym I have really enjoyed also. The St Mary’s got a little too chaotic and violent for me for a while and I haven’t bravened up enough to go back so that she has others and the quality is consistent was very pleasing.

        1. Isabella Barclay is the pseudonym! One of the bad guys from St Mary’s!

          (Maybe it is not technically a regency?)

  16. I read Lisa Lutz’s The Curse of the Spellman’s, which is the second book in the series. Just as funny as the first. Also reread Written in Red, the first of Anne Bishop’s Others series.

    A couple of books by Grace Burrowes – Jack, which I really enjoyed, and The Duke’s Disaster, which is the first book of hers I’ve been lukewarm about. Mainly because the hero was such a prick when he discovered the heroine wasn’t a virgin. And because all her other books have couples who actually talk about things like grownups, so don’t end up with those adolescent misunderstandings that far too many authors use as problems to keep the lovers apart. The problems in Burrowes’ books are usually real, and external. I didn’t hate the book – just didn’t like it as much as the others.

  17. I missed Working Wednesday yesterday and I so wanted to share my latest knitting project with you, so I am going to cheat and mention it here. Pretend it’s a book and I just finished reading it. It is a very chic, knitted jacket with a bit of a vintage, couture vibe to it. I worked on it off and on for two years and am so pleased to have finally finished it. You can see it here:

    1. You can still post over on Working Wednesday. The comments don’t close for quite a while.

  18. I’m currently listening to Welcome Chaos by Kate Wilhelmina. It’s a little dated by today’s standards (no internet, no cell phones, still active and menacing USSR) but the story still draws me in and I am enjoying it (for the umpteenth time!)

    1. Grrr! Auto correct got me again…it’s supposed to be Kate Wilhelm, not Kate Wilhelmina.

  19. I am re-reading Charlie Stross’ Laundry Files. I started with the Atrocity Archives and I’m up to the Nightmare Stacks and I’m increasingly unsettled. I need to cram something floatier in before I read the next two. And sweeter. There’s something propulsive about his writing, especially in the laundry files that leaves me all wild-eyed and addled, which – definitely I enjoy his work, but lately life is making me need some leavening.

  20. I love Jodi Taylor’s books, so went looking for the ones written under her pseudonym, Isabella Barclay. (Thank you, Anne V.) Ms. Taylor lists her main influences as Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and Jennifer Crusie. Well, hell yeah!

  21. Almost through Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith. It’s a bit heavy going – had to read a few light ones along the way – but a wonderful book. As someone who has always loved biology, I was surprised at how much I learned about life and living things from this marvelously well-informed author.
    Consciousness is also one of my favorite subjects. This book gives us much to think about. Very well worth reading.

  22. After reading the post about Deborah Blake’s new book, I downloaded the sample of her first Baba Yaga book, Wickedly Dangerous, and based on the sample decided to buy it. I then went back to my previously in-progress book. Just as I was finishing it my wife tells me she’s half-way through Wickedly Dangerous and she’s enjoying it tremendously and are there any others. I went on to read Wickedly Dangerous myself and agreed it was very good. My wife has now read the second one, and the prequel short story, and is demanding I buy the third book. Yes, she knows how to download them herself, she just likes to make me do it for some reason.

    I also read R.J. Blain’s new book, Hypnos. Actually the start of a new series, although the tone is a lot like some of her more recent Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) books, but I liked the characters much better in this one. The main character is a water elementalist who works for the FBI, who ends up trying to track down an insane warlock who has somehow acquired a pet god, which he is using to kill people and then siphon the resulting power off of the god.

  23. I picked up one of my mother’s Agatha Raisin mysteries over the bank holiday weekend, and ending up reading two more because it dawned on me that I’ve just moved house into that very world. But they’re written in a very odd point of view – it’s kind of personal third person but it head hops randomly, so I’m not sure I’ll read much further.

  24. Am reading “the girl in the spider web” – put it off for ages as I wasn’t sure of a different author finishing someone else’s work. Am enjoying it though . Anyone else read this series ? Also- dark emu , about the truth of Aboriginal Australian farming practices thousands of years ago !! V interesting

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