This is a Good Book Thursday, May 30, 2019

I’ve been reading D. E. Stevenson thanks to all the recommendations here.  She’s one of the gentlest writers I’ve ever come across.  She just puts these interesting people on the page and lets them sort of wander around until they find the end.  Normally, I’d be all “Get focused, woman” on her, but the books are just fine the way they are.  Like pudding.  Lovely.

What did you read this week?

74 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, May 30, 2019

  1. I’ve been re-reading False Colours and giggling all over again at Mama’s Nacky Notions. Also reading The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross and enjoying it very much so far.

    5+
  2. I read Good Omens after waiting for months to get to the top of the library’s waiting list. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Then I re-read Night Watch, in honour of Wear the Lilac Day and realised why I love it so much. It’s pure competence porn, the way Vimes deals flawlessly with everything. And it helps a lot to see how far Vimes has come, from stupid youth up through all the other Watch books.

    Anyone got any other recommendations for competence porn?

    8+
    1. If you have Netflix, you might enjoy El Ministerio del Tiempo, about a Spanish government department dedicated to ensuring Spanish history remains stable, so that (taking episode one as an example) the occupying French in 1811 don’t discover the secret of time travel, come forward in time, and then go back to pick off all the guerilla leaders they’ve read up on. The main characters are all recruited from different time periods because they are incredibly competent in their spheres, and their bosses are good, competent people who want to do their jobs, and their people to do their jobs.

      (Unless you are the well-known genius Velasquez, in which case, no, you cannot write letters complaining that people are restoring your paintings wrong, get back to work)

      4+
    2. In books, the Fixer novels by Jennifer Lynn Barnes are competence porn. (2 novels out so far)
      I also enjoyed How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller.

      And I think The Young Wizards series by Diane Duane would also apply.

      1+
  3. Glad to hear you’re enjoying DES, Jenny. For anyone who wants to find out more about her, I have a DES website, https.destevenson.org/

    13+
      1. And I’m enjoying the word “rootle” 🙂 Making a pledge to use that at some point today.

        4+
  4. I haven’t been reading it, but my new book is out, Lent, so if any Argh readers want a historical fantasy about Savonarola, there it is.

    9+
    1. Just started Lent and also listening to The Just City on audio. I’ve reached the part where Sokrates shows up. It’s a Walton month! Thank you for your books.

      3+
    2. Jo! I’ve been waiting to see your name pop up here! Thanks so much for reading Allegro Court and mentioning it in your column on Tor.com. I can’t say how much it means to have other authors enjoying my stories. 🙂 Thank you!

      5+
  5. I read, “That Kind of Guy” by Talia Hibbert. Book 3 of her Ravenswood series.

    Highly recommended. I LOVED IT TO PIECES!!!! So much so that I tweeted Talia a heartfelt message of appreciation.

    Fake-boyfriend trope done with such ridiculously excellent characters that I might use up my adjectives and exclamation marks.

    I really enjoyed the whole series, but this book just caught me in a way similar to Bet Me. I think that the characters being atypical of usual Romance novels really helped. Go read this series, though the books standalone very well.

    If you can’t read this series, go read this book.

    3+
  6. In the above photo is that where the inspiration for the bee hive hairdo of the sixties originated?

    This week I have been playing a little game with myself regarding books and e-books. I have the quota of KU books in my TBR pile, books to pick up from the library, paperbacks galore, other series (not read yet) that I’ve bought from Kindle but I’m focused on getting the fifth book in this series. I have it on order from the library, there is only one book in the entire system of 29 libraries for it and none in e-book. Next I tried Boston Public Library and they have it in e-book. The funny thing is that I started out 11th in line but because the system is geared to their patrons I’m now 19th. I understand it because books should go to patrons in your system first. So every day I check to see where I have jumped to. Again, not critical, I’ll get by with a little help from my (book) friends.

    3+
  7. Recently, I listened to the audiobook version of Nora Ephron’s Heartburn read by Meryl Streep.

    Read the book years ago, so it was fun to hear it, but since it’s Meryl reading it, also fun to compare to the movie because I like how film adaptations work so differently than books from the writing perspective. Value both mediums and this is a good story to see the concepts at play.

    Then I started listening to a new book by an author unknown to me and immediately thought she must love Nora Ephron because her cadence and sentence structure dips in & out of Nora’s style (and also her often columnist style of internal monologues). Then by coincidence, not too far into the book the author mentioned Heartburn and it made sense. Funny timing of my reads, though:)

    7+
  8. I just finished Nobody’s Baby But Mine and picked up Dream a Little Dream. I guess I just need Salvation.

    Also finished Patriot Games and picked up Red Rabbit. Oddly enough, I have never read Red Rabbit – it is, to me, a Brand New Tom Clancy Jack Ryan book. I thought I had read them all!

    Power Surge is still open on my Kindle – but I keep forgetting the Kindle at work – a whole long weekend and now last night.

    Oh, God! Jennifer just walked in with a vacuum cleaner and announced, “It’s time!”

    5+
  9. Every week I read this column with both my Kobo and Library accounts open, so I can search and one-click as I go along. Love the recommendations!

    I just finished Artificial Condition (#2 in Murderbot) series and am seriously enjoying the character development of Murderbot. My only complaint is I wish the stories were longer!

    Also bought the entire Peter Wimsey mysteries in ebook and started working my way through.

    And I would also like to recommend “The Undateable” by Sarah Title (great name for an author, BTW). Don’t let the smarmy cover – or the low review ratings on Good Reads – mislead you. This is a romance with a strong feminist character who is battling her need to be accepted for who she while experiencing the urge to change herself FOR herself. It’s more rom-com than straight contemporary, and has a slightly unrealistic plot, but I really enjoyed it.

    8+
  10. I love Miss Buncle’s Book! I’ve had it on my shelf for probably 50 years. It may be time to take it d0wn and reread.

    In a not-really-related note, I was in Yellow Springs yesterday, sponging lunch from my lovely sister-in-law, when she asked if I’d like to walk downtown. It seems Bob the UPS guy who’s delivered packages to the village for the last 31 years was retiring, so the village was turning out to say goodbye. Several hundred people lined the streets as the police cruiser led his big brown truck down the main drag with people clapping and cheering and crying a little. The mayor made him an honorary citizen and then a flashmob did a little dance. It was the one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.

    BTW–electricity (and therefore water from our well) came back on last night, much sooner than promised. We still don’t have internet, so I’m at the library downloading the most up-to-date version of my WIP from the cloud so I can get back to work.

    23+
    1. So glad you’ve got water again!

      And that’s a wonderful retirement celebration: must be great to have your work appreciated like that,

      4+
  11. Karen Lord’s The Best of All Possible Worlds is 1.99 on kindle today. I loved this book so much-it has a Star Trek/Vulcan vibe.

    Am getting ready to start The Priory of the Orange Tree.

    Rewatching Season one of Remington Steele. Am in a nostalgic mood.

    7+
  12. HI-YO

    Spring housecleaning is DONE! Vacuuming, Dusting, Plant Arranging, Swiffering, Trash Removal, Recycling, appliance scrubbing, rearranging, barge lifting, bail toting…

    “Dad! What is this? Does it give you joy? When did you use it last? Out With It!”

    There was stuff, stuff the out-throwing of I could never seem to bear. Jen could bear it quite easily – it’s gone now. She even attacked the crooked rug on the landing, trimmed it with my scissors, and now it fits. Shock and awe!

    So, where was I? Oh yes, Kindle at work – no WiFi at work. Need to bring it home to download my latest acquisitions, so I can read them.

    Sigh. I love my dotter.

    10+
  13. I finished Helen Hoang’s The Bride Test. It was good. I think that I enjoyed the Kiss Quotient more, but that might be because I read it as apposed to listening to the second one.

    The big takeaway from this book for me was that the U.S. is still a dream and a land of opportunity for many. Esme, the protagonist works so hard to get here and get a green card so that she can bring her struggling family over from Vietnam. Working one summer as a waitress pays her well enough to fix her old home and attend school to get her GED. She explores every avenue open to her because it will change her life significantly and allow her to provide for her young daughter.

    I think I needed the reminder. It made me more grateful for what I have, pulled me back to reality a bit.

    8+
  14. I’ve been away from here for so long I won’t torture you with the entire list of what I’ve been reading… but it’s been both fiction (both new and re-read stuff) and non-fiction and some of it has been noteworthy, some not. Furthermore, I discovered an international ebook library for print-disabled people (i.e. blind/visually impared, dyslectic or otherwise [You should definitely check it out if you know someone with a reading disability or have one yourself]) called Bookshare about a week ago and subscribed. I’d seen the name before but never really looked it up until I (also last week) bought an accessible ebook reader program that mentioned them again in their user manual. I’m definitely all for audiobooks UNLESS(!) it’s non-fiction. I get all impatient with narrated non-fiction, I want to read it with my computer voice or braille. Much like I do with cookbooks.

    Anyway, I actually hoped “Burnout” by Emily Nagoski (which many of you have recommended here) would be available, but unfortunately for me, not for countries outside the U.S. So, instead I started reading her “Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life”, and although I’ve only read about 26 % so far, I really enjoy it. It’s interesting, enlightening and engaging about women’s sexuality, how normal we all are and how or bodies and brains work. I can definitely recommend it. (And now I want to read Burnout more than ever, but I fear that if I buy it online it’ll be locked down for me with a DRM that will make me unable to read it with my stuff. ARGH!)

    I also finally read “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” by Héctor García. Also very interesting. The interview with the old Japanese inhabitants of Okinawa made me all teary-eyed and both hopeful and dejected and it was an emotional rollercoaster. I hope I can find my Ikigai someday.

    I also finished a book by a Norwegian author that I put aside about 3.5 years ago because it gave me (worse than ormal) nightmares. I suddenly felt like picking it up again, and deciding to read it with my computer rather than the library narrator was a brilliant idea, I think, for it de-dramatized my nightmarish connection with her voice. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have been translated into English (at least I can’t find any English editions o Goodeads). I’m happy I decided to finish it, for even though it’s quite bloody in places, very dark and full of intrigue, it’s also very good. I might read the remaining two books of the trilogy…when I feel I can handle all the nasty bits.

    Speaking about picking up books, I finally read Divergent by Veronica Roth. I can imagine why it was a hit when it was released. I didn’t connect with the protagonist 100 %, but there were some really interesting or/and good bits in there so I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Will definitely read the next book to see where things go.

    Is any of you going to give the Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge a go? I’ve downloaded the list and I’m trying to figure out how to fill both the Beginner’s- and the Expert’s list with good reads. Looking forward to the discoveries I’ll make!

    Oh, and, if you want to see if Bookshare is something for you, for a friend or a loved one, the web address is: http://bookshare.org

    6+
      1. <3 Thank you! <3 <3 <3
        I'm OK. Some day sbetter, some days… less, but at least head's up and feet are down so that's something. Went to Sweden for a while to see the family and to get a break from everything. It wasn't really a break-break cause it was crazy times and not always good ones, but mum helped me with the food and I feel a bit better about that now. (Also, they surprise-celebrated my birthday [belated] and I got presents and hugs and love and cake, which I hadn't expected and found unexpectedly wonderful. I usually find birthdays too much fuss to enjoy, but this was fantastic.) It's also more peaceful here at home, so all in all things have improved a lot. That break, although not as relaxing as I had hoped, surely helped. I still have things I need to resolve – mostly for myself- but on the other hand, who doesn't?

        And I have missed all of you! <3 While talking with my mother, I kept referring to "Jenny's girls" or "all the great people at Argh" and quoted many of you endlessly, so I bet she now regrets that her English isn't better so she could get to know you all. 😉

        8+
  15. I read Witches Abroad for the first time and loved it completely! I will be following up with Granny Weatherwax.
    I have actual physical copies of Eric, and Moving Pictures, on my bookshelf right now though, so will continue to meander through Discworld with them first.

    6+
    1. Oooh, Witches Abroad is one of my favourites! (Although I can’t imagine bananananana daiquiris are that good, but Pratchett apparently liked them just as much as Nanny Ogg, so who knows…perhaps I should give ’em a go.)

      2+
  16. I’m continuing with my D.E. Stevenson odyssey. Just finished Celia’s House. The book is nice and reads well, despite it being one of my least favorite types – a family saga. It covers almost 40 years: from 1905 to 1942, and follows the lives of people living in Dunnian House. In a way, it is the story of the house itself.
    It was a quiet and pleasant read. Our library doesn’t carry all her back list; and of the ones they do have, only two of her books I haven’t read yet. After that, I’m going to have to buy her novels.
    I have a question, Argh people. My favorite genre is fantasy, but I don’t like epic fantasy. I like quiet personal stories in a fantastic setting, with no wars and minimum political intrigues. Such books seem to be rare.
    Sharon Shinn, Patricia Briggs, Wen Spencer – I read and re-read them many times. Some Ilona Andrews works for me as well, and an occasional Mercedes Lackey. Terry Pratchett, of course, but he is a thing of his own.
    Any more suggestions? What authors would you recommend?

    7+
    1. I have read most of D E Stevenson’s books; I say that because it’s possible I may have missed one or two along the way. I can re-read her books pretty much any time as they are easy to pick up and get involved in.

      2+
    2. Fantasy but not epic fantasy. Recommendations. Hmmm.

      Okay, the Dragonriders of Pern series is one of those cross-pollinated types. Is it SF? Is it fantasy? I’ve never been sure. There’s no magic, there’s a little technology, but there are dragons and fire lizards!

      Ages ago, James Schmitz wrote another of those cross-pollination specials, called The Witches of Karres. Yes, it has spaceships and distant planets, but it has Witches! Witches who perform Magic! Then Flint, and Lackey and Freer wrote sequels – the Wizard of Karres and the Sorceress of Karres. Great fun!

      Then there is the Hamster Lady, Esther Friesner. (“Cry ‘CHEEBLE’ and let slip the hamsters of war.”) On her own, she wrote Nobody’s Princess and Nobody’s Prize, which are about Helen of Troy before she got married off or met Paris. As an editor, she’s at least partially responsible for many anthologies: Chicks in Chainmail, Did You Say Chicks?, Turn The Other Chick, Witch Way to the Mall, and a bunchaton of others, novels and anthologies.

      Robert Heinlen, “the dean of American Scince Fiction,” wrote Magic, Inc.

      Poul Anderson, one of the kings of the Society for Creative Anachronism, wrote Operation Chaos and Operation Luna, Three Hearts and Three Lions, among others.

      Lois McMaster Bujold wrote four novels and a novella in the Sharing Knife series, three novels and six novellas in the Five Gods series, and a stand-alone named The Spirit Ring.

      Patricia C. Wrede has the three Frontier Magic books, four …Dragons books (Talking With, Dealing With, Looking for, etc.), The Cecelia and Kate novels, the Marelon novels, and others.

      Ryk Spoor wrote Princess Holy Aura.

      Elizabeth Moon has the Sheepfarmer’s Daughter series.

      That should keep you busy for a little while. 🙂

      4+
        1. The Stevermer and Wrede you are likely to enjoy especially are the Cecelia and Kate books:

          Sorcery & Cecelia
          The Grand Tour
          The Mislaid Magician

          2+
        2. I also like the books Stevemer wrote on her own— a college of Magic’s, a scholar of magic, when the king comes home.
          Many Diana Wynn Jones books.

          2+
      1. I love the anthologies that Esther Friesner edited. I ended up buying most of them when I moved away from the library system that had them. Some librarian must have liked humorous, offbeat fantasy, since they carried John Moore ‘s wacko fairy tales too.

        3+
        1. I loved them, too. Stories like Elizabeth Moon’s tales of the Ladies’ Aid & Armor Society, for instance. I looked forward to those. By way of full disclosure, a writing group I once belonged to used to post challenges, one of which was called “The Virago Blue Challenge.” (Virago Blue was the pen name, or “nym” for pseudonym, of one of our members who announced her intention to retire.) I responded to the challenge, which was to write a story in the style of “Chicks in Chainmail.” First I had to acquire the book. Then I wrote three entries.

          2+
    3. You might try Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones, which posits a great universe of parallel worlds, one of which is our own. Instead of knights and orcs and battles, she writes about intelligent, unusual, and often solitary people in a world where a kind of scientific magic can allow travel among the worlds and certain people take on the task of keeping dreadfully bad things from happening to good communities. Although if you hate the idea of events set in a fantasy convention a little like Comic cons, you might not like it. I love everything by Diana Wynne Jones — her children’s titles, YA ones, (like this one) and the rare adult fantasy books. And she writes great essays about the process of writing fantasy.

      7+
      1. Deep Secret, that’s the one with a portrait of Neil Gaiman as a teenager. I love all Diana Wynne Jones’s books.

        1+
      1. Diana Wynne Jones is great, just don’t start with Fire and Hemlock

        I love Tamora Pierce

        3+
          1. Also, if you find you like Diana Wynne Jones then try Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend.

            2+
    4. Sharon Lee and Steve Miller have been writing a lot of books for decades for their Liaden Universe, which they described as space opera originally. They were not published in order. I would recommend reading Local Custom and Scout’s Progress first, followed by Conflict of Honors. I think Sharon Lee said she was aiming for Georgette Heyer goes to space in one of her early interviews. I reread some of the series every year with Local Custom being the most read.

      The next one is also a series but some of the later books become really repetitious but not all do so it is hit or miss: P. C. Hodgell’s God Stalk is the first one in the series and I love it and reread it annually at least.

      3+
    5. Have you tried Juliet Marillier? I love them and I think they’re just what you describe. In particular, the series which includes Daughter of the Forest and Son of the Shadows (my absolute favourite). Super highly recommended.

      2+
    6. Olga, I love your question. I haven’t read your favorite authors, but here are some titles that I would auggest. They might or might not fit the description: “quiet personal stories in a fantastic setting.” They have action but don’t have the violence of epics. These are the friendly books I fall back on because they make me feel good without any effort.

      Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia McKillip shows two girls in a medieval fantasy setting who, not knowing each other until the end, explore all sorts writing and clues as they come of age.

      Mirabile, a comedy by Janet Kagan, takes place on a planet whose seeds from Earth (from which these settlers a permanently separated) generate weird results, like daffodills that seeded cockroaches. My favorite character is the Loch Moose Monster. I also like the characters — especially the teenagers who act just like teenagers in any world or time.

      Lord Dunsany’s The King of Elfland’s Daughter is glorious very late Victorian fantasy (first published in 1924).

      The Perilous Gard, a Tam Lin retelling by Elizabeth Marie Pope, is one of my favorite books. Set in the last year before Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen of England, some very strange things happen to Kate Sutton, who has been banished to a castle in Derbyshire. Kate is wonderfully determined.

      Finally, Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart is probably too epic for this list, but it’s hilarious and easy to read. Billed as “a novel of an ancient China that never was,” it follows the adventures of boy who is sent on a mission. When I later read Terry Pratchett, I felt Bridge of Birds had been one of Pratchett’s sources. Actually, Bridge of Birds came out the year after Colour of Magic.

      2+
      1. I second the Bridge of Birds. Wonderful hero, the old often drunken sage who tells nearly everyone he meets that there is a slight flaw in his character. And he and his Sancho Panza assistant end up searching for a peerless young woman who turns out to be not what anyone expected.

        3+
      2. I adore Perilous Gard! I picked it up by chance from the supermarket cheap fiction pile when I was a teenager, and it was one of those golden finds. Her other one, The Sherwood Ring, was also excellent.

        4+
    7. I like all the authors you like. Apart from Lois Mc Master Bujold which other people have recommended and whose science fiction and fantasy books are marvellous.I would recommend Grace Draven, especially her radiance and eidolon books.

      0
  17. I read a Regency romance from an author who I used to enjoy, and found myself going, ‘What? Why did they DO that?’ a lot. Overheard conversations that lead to misapprehensions that lead to misery – and not a single adult conversation to be found. Makes me appreciate books where people actually talk to each other so much more.

    I tried a book of Kelley Armstrong’s short stories – because I like the Rockton books so much – but they were too violent for my taste. But then I read Rosemary Kirstein’s Steerswoman, which I enjoyed a lot.

    3+
    1. Hooray for Steerswoman love – I’ve been following her blog hoping for news about the next installment.

      3+
  18. June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. It’s a phenomenal book, all 462 pages. It takes place in two time periods and blend so well together. I read it in two days

    3+
  19. I read two Elizabeth Essex books – A Scandal to Remember and Almost a Scandal. I never would have picked them up (guilty of judging a book by its cover, author, and blurb), but someone I trusted recommended them, and they were WAY better than cover, title, and blurb might suggest. Naval based historical romance.

    Perfect escapism, not at all realistic, but somehow still intelligent and interesting. I recommend them both.

    3+
  20. My oldest bestest friend lent me a nonfiction book I didn’t think I’d like, but I picked it up to browse through and couldn’t put it down. It’s called Never Home Alone, by an ecologist named Rob Dunn. It’s about the immensely varied and interesting world of animals and microorganisms that tend to live in or around human habitations.

    The thing I was trying to describe in a previous post that draws me to a writer is here in this book in spades. The author is funny, curious, and excited about the topic he’s writing about, and every page includes some self-deprecating anecdote about some mistake he’d made, or some assumption that he had to toss in the trash once he actually started to look into another phenomenon. The chapter about bakers, and their involvement with wild airborne yeasts and sourdough starters handed down in families for generations, is just a hoot. The author, like the author of Lotharingia, has just the most disarming, friendly, humorous smiling face you would ever want to see, and his writing is like that too. Just so funny and charming that you feel you’d be happy to let him come into your house and swab your shower head for interesting fungi, or check your basement for camel crickets.

    And he begins the book with a kind of biographical snapshot of Antony van Leeuwenhoek of Delft, and what he started to do when he unexpectedly looked through a lens at some water with ground black pepper in it (he was hoping to find whatever it was that made pepper taste “hot”) and saw things swimming around in it — very very tiny things that no one had ever seen before, or at least written about seeing. And now I’m so sad that I never had the chance to meet van Leeuwenhoek, because he sounds like one cool human being. Anyway, I loved this book. I have to give it back to my friend, but I think I have to buy a copy too.

    7+
      1. It just gets better and better, too! I’ve gotten to the part where he starts studying the patterns of diseases with unknown vectors and puzzling distributions, because it’s not the poor people living in semi-urban slums or poor rundown suburbs getting autoimmune or chronic inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s or IBS or even most allergies — it’s the well-to-do people living in clean environments, like pristine mansions or lovely highrise apartments with views but no dirt and so on.

        Based on his studies, he offers a prescription for all of us until scientists figure out the causes of these conditions — spend time outdoors, garden, dig in the dirt as much as you like, traipse in the ephemera of your environment and encourage as much biodiversity around you as you can. It’s not the wildflowers or forest animals he credits with health properties, it’s the microbiome they encourage both around and inside you, which appears to be really crucial to maintaining a robust (and peaceful) immune system. Gosh I love this book!

        5+
  21. Andrea K Host – I recommend the Touchstone series, the Eferum pair and what’s out so far of the Trifold age series. She’s self published and Australian so maybe only available through kindle.

    Ursula Vernon aka T Kingfisher – I am especially taken with Summer in Orcus and the Clocktaur duology but her fairy tale retellings are superb.

    KB Spangler, but I think only Stoneskin which is a prequel to a larger fantasy piece she’s working on. Her other stuff is not fantasy. Also self-published but has own store as well as kindle etc.

    MCA Hogarth, but I would stick with only the Dreamhealers series if avoiding war/politics – many of her books/series operate out of the same rather fraught universe. Dreamhealers are an excellent bubble in that place.

    Kelly Link – pretty much all short stories, which I cannot really tolerate, but so so good.

    Have you tried Tanya Huff? I think she’s best known for the space opera and the vampire detectives but! She has some great fantasy – Enchantment Emporium (which is the first in a trilogy) is one I regularly reread.

    Maybe Martha Wells Raksura – I am not sure if the conflict in those books would qualify as war or politics – but the story is so great and they are really well written.

    Some of Lilith Saintcrow might work – definitely fantasy, no war no politics – but also some of it is really violent. The violence is congruent with the stories and characters and not gratuitous but can really stick.

    Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas – different, very lightly linked stories from same meticulously crafted world. It’s got an alternate history – steampunk mashup going on that is really fun.

    Maybe Seanan McGuire’s Incryptid series, which is about the adventures/exploits of a family of zoologists specializing in preternatural creatures. The Toby Daye series is about a Fae Court in which there are some intense alliances and political relationships. All of her Mira Grant stuff is horror but none of it involves war or politics – it’s largely well-intentioned science gone massively awry.

    I echo both the Robin McKinley and Diana Wynne Jones suggestions.

    Also, if DES is working for you, have you tried Angela Thirkell? I cannot recommend any of it outside the Barsetshire series, and it is less gentle and wandery than DES but also enjoyable. Richmal Crompton well written but far less cheerful, generally not HEA at all.

    4+
    1. Ugh, I did something wrong – the above was supposed to be a reply to Olga Godim’s Request for fantasy recs. Drat and sorry.

      4+
    2. I love Angela Thirkell and actually have her physical books on a shelf. All of the ones I could ever get my hands on. So now I will have to try DES because – well, you know why.

      5+
      1. my Thirkell habit (I have all of the Barsetshire books, both in print and digitized) flung me into the non-mystery, non-Mitford universe of a certain time.

        Have you read any Margery Sharp? I feel like there’s kind of a spectrum and she’s about as far one side of Thirkell as DES is the other, if that makes sense.

        3+
  22. I read Pam Houston’s Deep Creek, which is memoir and very enjoyable and led me to re-read Cowboys Are My Weakness.

    3+
  23. Have been reading quite a lot. Recently reread Strong Poison – Dorothy L Sayers, Murder in the Vicarage – Agatha Christie, Shepard’s Crown – Terry Pratchett, Mrs. Pollifax and the Lion Killer – Dorothy Gilman, and the new Anne Hillerman and Patricia Briggs books should be waiting for me when I get home tonight. I’ve also got Pratchett’s Carpe Jugulum in audio version so I can still read while doing necessary but mindless chores this weekend.

    And I plucked two old mysteries – one Allingham and one Ngaio Marsh – off the shelves recently and they are stacked on the blanket chest in readiness. What can I say, I’ve felt a need for comfort reads lately, so a lot of rereading going on because old friends are the best.

    5+

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