This is a Good Book Thursday, June 13, 2019

I’m a big Ben Aaronovitch fan, not the least because he does things I can’t do, like work with actual locations and incredible detail and deep history.  But mostly I like his characters, especially his protagonist, Peter Grant, who is almost a young Sam Vines without the alcohol problem.  He’s easy-going but dedicated, loyal and brave, with a dry wit and a worldview that’s fun to follow.  Another thing I like about Aaronovitch is that his books are actually better on rereading.  There’s so much stuff in there that I miss some of it searching for story–the first person narrator loves his info dump–but the story is there and it’s always fascinating (okay, he lost me with the unicorn and the train into faerieland, but everything else is excellent).  So when I saw he had something new out, The October Man, I bought it even though it wasn’t a Peter Grant, and instead of being London-based was set in Germany.  It’s not one I’ll re-read, although I applaud him extending his world outside the UK, and it was fun to see Grant’s German counterpart talk about him and his boss, Nightingale, as distant competitors.  The big problem is that the protagonist is bland.  I just now finished the book and I can’t remember his name, although his partner’s name is Vanessa and the river goddess in this book is Kelly.  I think the problem is that it feels like a shadow of the Peter Grant books: he’s Grant’s opposite number, the female cop he works with becomes a new apprentice at the end of the book, he has a contentious relationship with a river goddess that foreshadows a love affair, there’s even a baby river goddess as a counterpart to Nicky from the Grant books.  It feels like Grant Lite.  None of which means that I don’t already have the next Grant book on pre-order (out in November).  Grant’s been kicked out of the Force and he’s about to become a father, and his ex-partner, now a rogue magician is on the loose and dangerous, and I can’t wait to read what happens next.   

So what did you read that was good this week?

94 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, June 13, 2019

  1. This week I read The Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas and very much enjoyed it. It is the first in a series and I will definitely read the next book.

    I typically read only fiction, but in the last several months, I read two autobiographies – Educated by Tara Westover and Becoming by Michelle Obama. I would like to read more, so if you have an autobiographical referral, I would love to hear it.

    Also, I watched the Good Omens series on Amazon. I was scared, because I love the book, but I thought they did a great job.

    1. A friend of mine has Michelle Obama’s book on audio and Michelle is reading it herself.

      I think I’m going to do the same — I love reading but listening to her read her own words would be fabulous!

      1. I’m number 832 on the list at the library for that. Guess that means I’ll have to buckle down and read the physical copy I bought.

    2. For autobiography/biography, I loved The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. And The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf.

      1. Oh, love auto/biographies.

        Some of my favourites: Mother Goddam – Bette Davis, Kate Remembered – Katherine Hepburn, and Elizabeth & Catherine, Empresses of All the Russians. Read Elizabeth & Catherine years ago. It has stayed with me.

        Reading Notorious Royal Marriages, A juicy journey through nine centuries of dynasty, destiny and desire by Leslie Carroll. Pick it up and read about a couple, haven’t read it cover to cover.

        Have read a few Cary Grant biographies. First crush on a movie star as a teen-age girl.

        Started Michelle Obama’s book.

    3. I am not a big reader of the memoir but will happily recommend: Pam Houston’s Deep Creek, Kathleen Jamie’s Sightlines and Among Muslims, Thomas Page McBee’s Amateur and Tamara Shopsin’s Mumbai Scranton New York.

      I also like Diana Athill and Gerald Durrell but there’s a serious quantity of Athill and some debate about the extent to which Durrell romanticized his memories.

      1. I loved Gerald Durrell’s first book as a kid and thought it was fiction. I mean, it’s enjoyable whether it’s true or not and he’s not reporting on history or anything .

      1. One thing that annoyed me was that they kept implying that nobody else had ever done a mini-series – and I know there was Roots and Masada, just to name two.

        1. The 80’s in particular seemed to do miniseries. All the Jane Austen novels for one.

  2. I’m re-reading Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer. I always love that scene where Kate starts giggling at dinner because it occurs to her that she and Philip must look like two cats trying to outstare each other. And I’ve just finished The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir, which was an interesting take on Jane Seymour.

  3. I’m still reading Margery Allingham, who gets better and better. Finished ‘The Fashion in Shrouds’, read ‘Traitor’s Purse’, which I was very impressed by as a teenager and still think is excellent, and am now three-quarters through ‘Coroner’s Pidgin’, which is a fascinating portrait of London and Britain towards the end of the war.

    I diverted to read ‘Miss Buncle’s Book’, since my library request came through, but in this case didn’t enjoy it as much as I did when I was fourteen or so. Too contrived, I think.

    1. I’d think it would be hard to read Stevenson after Allingham. They’re almost antithetical. One is gentle plotted so that the characters kind of wander through and the other is sharply plotted that the characters struggle through. I was also bemused by Stevenson’s attitude toward sex: it evidently doesn’t exist. She has all these people getting married cheerfully without any heat or drive, it just seems like a jolly good idea so why not room together? Allingham doesn’t do sex scenes, but there’s an absolute acknowledgement that one of the reasons her people are in such trouble is their sex drive, although it takes Albert a hell of a long time to get from engagement to marriage. Allingham’s people just seem move passionate about everything; Stevenson’s seem to be sweetly confused. Different takes entirely.

      1. Jenny, that was a Master Class in succinct analysis that left me thinking, so THAT’S why I like Allingham and Stevenson, not so much.

      2. Stevenson’s omniscient view was especially jarring immediately after the intensely personal p.o.v. in ‘Traitor’s Purse’; since Campion doesn’t even know who he is, we explore the strange world he wakes into through his eyes.

        It was not a good segue.

        1. I loved that about Traitor’s Purse, that Campion for most of the book, can’t remember anything except the fate of the world hangs in balance. And he’s so happy that Amanda is his wife, and then he finds out they’ve been engaged for five years and she’s breaking it off. And he thinks, “What am I? An idiot?” Which is what most readers had been thinking. It’s such a deep third limited point of view as he desperately tries to keep his amnesia a secret. It has some weaknesses, but not in the characterizations.

          1. I am now completely persuaded (after dithering for a few months) that I must go back and reread the Allingham books. Haven’t read them for years.

          2. The early ones aren’t as good; I think she was satirizing the gentleman detective. Once she started to take Campion seriously, they’re excellent. Not sure where to start. The Fear Sign, maybe? I think the US published that as Sweet Danger. It’s one of my faves because it’s so over-the-top fun while still making Campion smart, and also because that’s where he meets Amanda, although she’s only seventeen so he thinks of her as a kid (which she is).

          3. I made a false start, Lian, by reading a really early one, and getting put off. I started this time with ‘Sweet Danger’, which is a good place because it introduces Amanda – but they then get better and better.

          4. It’s still a touch melodramatic, but the characters are so much fun, I didn’t care. And Amanda is amazing from the start.

  4. I enjoyed reading “Royals” by Rachel Hawkins, which is approximately what it’s like to be an American Pippa Middleton when your sister is going to marry a prince and you start hanging out with his “garbage fire” siblings around your age. Fun.

    Am now reading A Study in Honor by Claire O’Dell: Alternate universe Civil War story with black female versions of Holmes and Watson. Very well done.

    1. Oh, I think I read the Royals; was it a BookBub selection a while back? It was fun in a teen-movie kind of way; classic romance.

  5. I read October Man this week too. I didn’t make it until vacation at the end of the month.

    I really feel like it’s book 2 and I missed book 1. And complicated, magical worlds are not easy to just jump into.

  6. I’m in the middle of Imaginary Fiends, which is very good so far (graphic novel). And still in the middle of PD James’ A Taste of Death which is elegantly written but a LOT of description and no humor whatsoever, not that I expect jokes, but there’s none of the understated wit and verve of Aaronovitch or Hill or Allingham or most of the other British mystery writers I’ve read. So I put it down a lot. Still working my way through Reginald Hill. I think I stopped reading him while he was still writing, so the last half dozen novels are all new to me, which is wonderful. The Pascoe marriage is sometimes hard to read but always believable, and what keeps it going, I think, is that they’re two very intelligent people who love each other, so even though there are moments when you think, “Welp, that’s it, divorced detective,” they always pull back from the edge. And they’re great with their kid, so that’s a lot, too. The main relationship is between Pascoe and his horrible/brilliant boss, another odd couple pairing that should end in divorce but keeps clicking right along, getting deeper with each book. It’s an interesting world.

    1. Jenny, do you remember which Hill novel begins with famous last words? I read it years ago, and it was such fun.

    2. I’ve not read any Hill, but guess this must be the source for the TV series ‘Dalziel and Pascoe’, which I enjoyed, at least for quite a while (I seem to remember it got depressing eventually, as they all do nowadays).

      1. Yep. I started the TV series, too, but after the second year, they stopped doing the books and did original scripts, I think. The books aren’t depressing beyond being about murders, but they’re not light, either. I prefer the books to the TV series which I don’t think I’m going back to.

        1. The tv series was a disappointment, imo. Partly because in the books Dalziel is a force of nature, but tv series demoted him to buffoon. Plus the original tv scripts had Pascoe divorced, and he became very gloomy and uninteresting.

          1. Pascoe seems really flat in the TV series, always the same fixed smile. Much more interesting in the books, I thought. And Dalziel is more interesting, too, for just the reason you said; in the books he’s a smart bastard. The one that really put me off the series was Ellie; she’s prickly and difficult but she’s not a bitch and she really loves Pascoe, so the cold, snotty way she’s written for TV didn’t do it for me.

          2. Yes, the whole Ellie/Pascoe relationship is so much better in the books, isn’t it. Agree about Pascoe’s smile. He wasn’t so bad in the first series, but came across as very cold later. Maybe he was playing heartbroken and withdrawn, but it didn’t work.

          3. Hill also wrote a much shorter series about a balding middle aged PI called Joe Sixsmith. It’s very different, but I loved those books when I read them. And his stand alone thrillers are pretty good too.

  7. I am re-reading the Paladin of Shadows series by John Ringo. I cannot accurately describe the series, but there is an essay in LiveJournal here called the OH JOHN RINGO, NO essay. Here is an excerpt of the essay:

    The PALADIN OF SHADOWS series is arguably the most horrifying series of books I have ever read. It has a hero I can’t stand, politics so strong they’re comical, and sex scenes that are downright horrifying. And I cannot stop reading it. I am going to buy every single one, and if Ringo ever comes out with a spin-off featuring Katya as Cottontail the Bionic Whore, I will buy that too. Because dammit, there’s bad, and then there’s so bad you have to memorialize it for future generations.

    That’s all Ah got to say about that.

    On the other hand (the one holding the Kindle), I’m enjoying What We Do For Love by Anne Pfeffer.

  8. I had the same basic reaction to October Man (and read a review on FanGirlNation that also had the same reaction), that it was competent, but the protagonist wasn’t compelling or even well-defined. I also kind of got lost in all the characters’ names and had to stop and figure out who was who.

    I do think I might re-read it, just to see if it does grow on me. I’ll have the audio version eventually, and that’s where I catch a lot of stuff I miss in the print reading. I listened to the sample audio version, and it’s quite good, but now that I think about it, I’m not sure the narrator adds much to the written word (but I could be wrong, based on such a small sample), and I think Kobna Holdbrook-Smith does add a lot. I have a theory that the popularity of the Rivers of London owes a good bit to Kobna’s voice performance. Like, it would have maybe 50-75% of its fans from just the writing, but it adds a solid chunk because of the audio version.

    1. I think that the Rivers of London series is so popular because Peter Grant is such a just darn likable character. The protagonist of The October Man is so bland no one can even remember his name.

      1. True, but I read the first book in the Rivers of London series and was kinda’ meh about it (mostly because I kept skipping the infodumps), and only got really hooked after I listened to the second book instead of reading it in print. I didn’t find Peter as compelling on the page as in the audio, and I’m not sure I’d have kept reading w/o the audio — in fact, I know I wouldn’t have, because I didn’t read the second book until two or three years after I read the first one. Now, that could be just me, but I’ve seen enough other people who are in love with Kobna’s narration that I don’t think it’s just me.

    2. I’m sure everyone here knows by now that I’m in love with Peter Grant as read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. I’m sure I would have liked him anyway – I did actually read the first couple of books – but I could listen to Kobna all day long.

  9. I also read October Man, with much the same reaction. I’m excited about the new one coming up, but I do want Peter back on the force. I listened to “The Grand Sophy” while gardening, and enjoyed it as always. I’m searching for new authors, my relationship with authors from my past has changed. not always to our benefit. But I’m deeply impatient and you’d better get me right away or I’m out in 8 pages. So it’s hard to find something to read.

    1. Oh, the Grand Sophy audio. That reminds me: I have a long drive coming up next week, and that would be the perfect companion.

  10. I just finished (swallowed in a few long gulps) Furious Hours, by Casey Cep. If I tried to explain what it was about, I’d mess up, but it involves a tale of two killers, a folksy defence lawyer, plus Harper Lee. So well written, so deep into all those lives and deaths, and yet so puzzling, too.

  11. I’m looking for recommendations of time slip novels. I love Susanna Kearsley, and am really looking for something along those lines. I’ve read Outlander, too, which is a whole ‘nother scale of time slip/travel. But I would love to read something that has a current day plot line intertwined with a past times plot line. Any suggestions, Arghers?

    1. I also loved “The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton (ironically enough, I’d forgotten the title and had to look it up). Really would like to read more like that.

    2. Not to often but every once in a while I too want to read a time travel novel (while patiently waiting for Diana Gabaldon’s next Outlander epic story telling book). Last week I came upon an author I haven’t read in a long time (years) Parris Afton Bond (what a lovely name) and the book is For All Time. I only just picked it up today between raindrops and the next monsoon from the library. So I haven’t read it yet. It is the story about a woman who is transported back to the 1870’s Texan and Indian raids during a reenactment gone wrong. And could meet her great great grandfather. She’s forty (widow w/children) turning up in the 1870’s as twenty something. Will I finish it, I don’t know but it does look interesting.

    3. There’s The Time Traveller’s Wife. Which I read when it was released, have not re-read, and so can’t recommend one way or the other. It obviously wasn’t super-memorable for me.

    4. Oh, have you read To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis? That one I definitely recommend.

    5. The Untied Kingdom by Kate Johnson. It’s not quite what you’re talking about – more a sideslip into alternative history, but I loved it.

  12. I have not been reading the Peter Grant books but clearly I need to check them out.

    I read The London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker and they were all terrific although my favorite was The Austen Playbook due to the English house party with mystery and romance shenanigans. Best week in reading in a long time.

    1. Thank for recommending Lucy Parker! Just finished the second of her Celebrities and adored it.

  13. Someone recommended Lindsay Buroker’s Warrior Mage and I enjoyed it until I got very annoyed that it was not a true standalone.

    I’m firmly believe that if a book ends on a cliffhanger or partial resolution, I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE I READ IT!!!

    I despise expecting an ending and not getting one. I’ve often gone nuclear DNF on series that did this. I feel manipulated into reading another book in the series instead of being enticed by a worthy story. So I withold my measly reader dollars.

    The series, as a whole, reads as one long novel. And it is actually a really good novel. Interesting characters with actual character development and growth within a well-thought universe. It’s part of her Emperor’s Edge universe.

    In summary Chains of Honour:
    – fantasy series,
    – cliffhangers abound,
    – third-person narration.

    It’s worth a read and yes, a buy if you’re so inclined.

    In other news, I still hate my job, I’m going to create a real plan to get out (please send vibes), am messaging the therapist for an appointment next week, I baked a cake mix cake yesterday but didn’t post on WorkingWednesday because it was the same as last time (there’s a photo up from before) and my favourite tool is a multi-tool of any kind like Swiss army, Leatherman, No-name cheapy. I keep one in my handbag, one in the car, a multi-screwdriver in the car, and one in my youth group bag. They really are useful.

    1. That was me. I’d forgotten about the cliff-hanger ending. Sorry about that. I just saw that it was free and thought that the people here on Argh would really like this book. I love the characters in it.

      1. Huh! I thought the rec came to me via Twitter. 🤷🏻‍♀️ It’s easy to forget the ending because of how well the series works. It’s a good series.

        The characters are great. I agree Argh people would like it. 👍🏻

    2. I don’t think I read that one, but that’s sort of becoming a pattern in Buroker’s series, I think. The first is released free or cheap, and it resolves one bit of the plot, but mostly serves as a jumping-off point for the subsequent books. The same structure can be seen in her latest series which isn’t grabbing me as much as most do, for some reason (unrelated to the cliffhanger thing; I’m just not connecting with the protagonist).

      I think she plays at least semi-fair, in that the each book resolves a major plot element, dealing with a crisis, if not with the Big Bad of the series.

      1. The books do have a partial resolution. It seems that I can accept it in TV series like Buffy, just harder in books!

        1. Buffy always ended the season with a resolution, the Big Bad defeated, stability restored even if it was a darker stability (like the one where Buffy died, argh).

  14. This week I also read The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker, the fourth in her London Celebrities series, which are all good and seem to be getting better. And The Frangipani Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu, which takes place in Singapore in 1936. The nanny for the Acting Royal Governor of Singapore dies and Su Lin, educated at the Mission House and not wanting to be married off to one of her Uncle’s business associates volunteers to be the temporary nanny until they can import a new white girl. A good mystery but a bit uneven in plot and character development.

  15. Finally read the first Murderbot which I bought on Argh’s many recommendations. It was fabulous. Also savoring the Hitchhiker books.

  16. I am reading The Anglo Files by Sarah Lyall as a preparation for my vacation. It is hysterical. I will never feel the same about Englishmen as heroes again, it is like expecting Laurence Olivier and getting a drunk Monty Python.

  17. I read this poem, via Facebook. I’m not sure on the legality of pasting the whole thing here, but it’s freely available to hit Share on in Facebook, so I’m assuming sharing here with the link is about the same thing //

    Also, I really liked it.

    Hollie Poetry
    7 June at 23:40

    Just getting this off my chest this morning. I am always up for advice on my writing, but this one niggles me a bit!

    advice on swearing

    you called me vulgar
    after the gig
    said it softly like a mother
    as if it were advice

    your head weighted to the side
    sympathising with
    something missing in my life
    which i was obviously
    filling with these obscenities

    you gazed at me
    the way my grandma did
    softly tucking my hair
    behind me ears
    to let keep it off my face
    saying things like
    i wish you’d make something of yourself, Hollie
    don’t you want to be pretty like your cousins
    you look nicer with mascara on

    you didn’t ask me
    for my reasons
    just advised
    the lack of need
    to swear inside a poem
    as if a poem were a
    a planet crust
    unsuited to volcanoes

    you suggested I channel a
    ‘little more Virginia Woolf’

    i thought of stones in my pocket
    i though of Plath in my pocket
    i thought their beautiful poems
    i thought depression and solitude
    i thought how Aidan Moffat
    was on the fucking stage just
    after me swearing like a trooper
    and you didn’t soap his mouth
    i thought how few of my friends
    who have dicks and read poems
    have been advised against swearing
    i thought Chaucer and broomsticks
    i thought Robert Burn’s shagging
    i thought Dylan Thomas
    I thought Lord Byron
    i thought orgies and heckling
    in Shakespearean theatres
    i thought how swearing
    has been scientifically
    proven to release oxytocin
    so stop fucking advising
    me not to swear in my poems
    as if i know nothing about language
    and have not chosen those words
    deliberately because i find them
    expressive and beautiful
    and very fucking useful
    sometimes you arrogant

    i didn’t say that though
    i don’t like awkward

    so i breathed in
    for the
    thousandth time

    smiled like
    a good women

    smiled like a good girl

    smiled like a good
    female poet

    smiled like a child

    till you finished
    your lesson
    and nodded at me
    like an ant you had
    saved with a delicate leaf
    in a literary puddle
    then you went

    I stood for a second
    I said nothing
    out loud

    I said fuck you
    very loud
    in my head

    and immediately
    felt better able
    to breath again

  18. Read The Last Second by Catherine Coulter & J.T. Ellison. I was struck by how much it reminded me of a young adult novel someone handed me a few months ago. Lots of very short chapters that I think were set up to try and create tension and a sense of movement. Might work for the YA crowd but it did not work for me.

  19. Just finished Jayne Ann Krentz’s Sweet Starfire. It’s an old novel, 1986, a futuristic romance. I really loved it.
    It is bundled together with another of her older futuristic book, Crystal Flame. I’m reading it now, but I’m liking it much less. I’m contemplating abandoning it altogether. Don’t know why the publisher thought these two novels fit under the same cover. Everything in them is different: from the world to the characters to their attitudes towards the opposite sex.

  20. Part of what I liked about The October Man is the near-invisibility of the narrator. I have had some problems with Aaronovitch since the comics/graphic novels – I know he comes from writing for TV, and the books have begun to seem to me written for story boarding and Peter has gotten almost too charactery – he verges on and occasionally crosses over into being a collection of unique preciousness and special cleverness and cheerful mildly oblivious spider at the heart of the maze in ways that have disrupted my enjoyment of the series, which makes me mad. Not mad enough to quit, because entertaining anyway and I am truly grateful aaronovitch avoids the cliffhangers that have caused me to entirely renounce and avoid a number of other authors, but madder than I like to be at an author.

    I have been re-reading Dorothy Dunnett’s Johnson Johnson series, which are somehow dated and charming and I wish so much that there were many many more of them. They would not be at all pleasing to a reader looking for the history, intensity or lyricism of Lymond or Niccólo, but I read Johnson Johnson first and then Lymond and then Niccólo, so I am very happy.

    I also read MM Kaye’s Death In Kashmir, which was good and I did not expect to like because of how much I disliked Far Pavilions and because I have been on another mad binge of Dalrymple and then the Rory Stewart book about Afghanistan which is so well written that it is almost like reading some of Vikram Seth, where I keep going because of well it is written despite the keen sense of impending doom and sorrow. Oh dear. That doesn’t sound like a recommendation at all and yet Rory Stewart can write and is interesting and I do love a suitable boy so much. Oh well.

    1. I loved MM Kaye’s Death in series (except for Berlin) when I read them years ago. Might be time to dust them off and give them another read.

  21. I read KJ Charles’ ‘The Magpie Lord,’ which was satisfying both in conclusion to primary plotline and in setup to sequel. The relationship in this one I find a little troubling, too violent for my comfort. Am hoping that gets resolved in sequel because I want to read all three. The reasons are stated fairly plainly at beginning of sequel so maybe they’ll be worked out.

  22. I finished Never Home Alone (the nonfiction book about all the tiny creatures in and around our homes, which was wonderful and fascinating and funny and so full of sentences that made me scream with joy inside that I had to type them into a document that I could keep on my computer desktop and read when I wanted to be all happy and inspired. But I’m not going to bore the fictionophiles here with any of them.

    Last night I suddenly wondered what was the name of a short story that I had loved in high school, and I found it tucked away on a dusty shelf. It’s called Western Science is So Wonderful, by Cordwainer Smith, and it appears in a collection called The Instrumentality of Mankind. Smith (pseudonym, but that’s what he wrote under) was an anomaly in the 1950s — a smart, creative, independent thinker with a good grounding in science and a deft hand with fiction that was way before its time. But this story is a little gem, about a Martian who appears on earth and tries to start up a pleasant conversation with an earthling. He starts out as a small fir tree, enjoying the feeling of breezes through nondeciduous needles, then switches to a 15-foot tall whiskered Chinese demagogue and greets a man walking by, but the American he tries to talk with gets quite uneasy so the Martian looks into his mind and changes to a more reassuring image — this time as the American’s mother. It doesn’t work too well.

    I can recommend it wholeheartedly if you want to spend a cheery eight or nine minutes some day. 🙂

    1. I really like Cordwainer Smith but it is only due to your comment that I bothered to look him up and y’all he was fascinating. One of the highlights of my week, no kidding, is all the stuff I learn that gives me joy and my life more depth from this weekly good book post. I cannot say enough thank yous.

          1. You know, the people here made the community. I just provided the space. And the dog pictures.

  23. I really enjoy the infodumps in the Peter Grant books, but that may have to do with my affection for London.

    I’ve been reading the Kat Holloway books by Ashley Gardner about a cook in Victorian London. First the prequel novella, A Soupcon of Poison (which you can find in an anthology of three of her novellas, free at the moment–Past Crimes) and then the first full-length in the series, Death Below Stairs. The heroine is the kind of character one wants to encounter again, and the mysterious male character is crazily intriguing. Good stuff.

    Also, I just finished Acqua Alta by Donna Leon. Her mysteries that take place in Venice are great reads.

    1. If you like infodumps about London, have you read Christopher Fowler’s Bryant and Mays series? Arthur Bryant is a walking encyclopedia of London. I adore him. The first book is so so but they get better and really get into high gear around book 5.

  24. I was painting instead of reading this week. Although I know I was listening to something while I painted (a room, not art) and I’m clueless as to what it was. Nothing new. Of that I’m sure.

  25. I read Julie Schumacher’s, Dear Committee Members, or rather I “listened” to it.

    The book has a unique structure – it is a series of letters-of-recommendation written by the main character, Jason Fitger, a fictional beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University.

    I don’t remember how this book popped up on my reading list, but I really enjoyed it. I was very impressed at how the author was able to build a cohesive story out of a series of letters. The narrator for the book was very good as well – he seemed to perfectly capture the character.

  26. I’m in re-read mode. I just finished “Penric’s Demon” (Bujold), and then re-bought all the novellas because my Kindle app doesn’t remember how to fetch stuff bought on the American site.

    And I would have continued, except I just found out that I can keep a window open on my phone that has the full novel of *Pride and Prejudice* . . . I think I found it out on Sunday, when I was flying home from Tokyo. Anyway, I’ve been reading Austen on my phone instead of opening up new ebooks.

    I don’t want to jinx myself, but I might be over my reading block!

    1. @Micki: I’ve just finished listening to the first three of that series (Penric’s Demon, Penric and the Shaman, Penric’s Fox) narrated by Grover Gardner and about to start the fourth (Penric’s Mission). Loved reading them too, can’t decide which way of immersion I like more.

  27. I just finished watching Good Omens. I had not read the book so the plot was a surprise to me, but the biggest surprise was to realise that the village it was filmed in is right down the road from me! It was rather cool to recognise all the buildings in the town of “Tadfield”. (The town is actually Hambleden. This is also where Lord Cardigan was born; he is famous for leading the Charge of the Light Brigade, but to us knitters he is also the father of the cardigan sweater.) I loved the show, and thought both David Tennant and Michael Sheen were great. I guess I need to read the book.

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