This is a Good Book Thursday, June 20, 2019

I’ve been reading a lot of P. D. James’ later books, the ones I haven’t read because I’d stopped reading her years ago.  She’s an elegant writer and a good plotter, but she is strangely devoid of humor.  I’m not looking for comic mysteries, just for a writer with wit.  Ngaio Marsh comes to mind, as does Allingham and Gilbert and Hill.  The British are aces at dry wit that doesn’t ever become outright comedy (well, they’re good. at comedy, too; look at Wodehouse, Pratchett, and Monty Python), but somehow James just doesn’t have it.  This may also be why I could never connect with Moby Dick.  (Yes, I know Melville was American, but still not a laff riot unless you think Ahab got what he deserved, which I do.. . . where was I?). Anyway, I need wit in my writers, even the grim ones (like Stephen King, who is brilliant but who I cannot read more than once because nightmares.  So I went back to Allingham and The Fear Sign/Sweet Danger and there was Albert and Amanda snarking at each other as they defeated Evil and I thought, “Oh, there we go.”  Also James is terrible at romance, which isn’t a deal breaker since she writes mysteries, but her hero can’t bring himself to tell the woman he loves that he loves her (and since there is nothing on the page to tell you why except she’s extraordinarily beautiful you do wonder why) so he hands her a letter and then watches from a distance while she reads it.   And she’s thrilled, although as declarations of love go, it’s mostly about him.  I give up.  I mean Albert was ten thumbs with Amanda, too, but I know why they’re together and that they love each other.

What good book did you read this week?

87 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, June 20, 2019

  1. I am reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. The book took a big turn in the beginning (from the first in the series) and it is playing out well so far.

    1. LOVE LOVE LOVE that entire series, though the last was mostly discovery writing. Her Throne of Glass series is worth it if you can stay tuned through the first few. She really hits her stride by book 4. Rhys… be still my heart!

  2. Reading Fast Cook Italian by Gennaro Contaldo because I really want to try the risottos. It seems like the kind of comfort food I like.

  3. I’m ignoring the silly hats, glancing over the magazines (Crime) and focusing on the bobby sox, penny loafers and saddle shoes trying to date the photo. Late forties maybe early fifties.

    This week I’m in the midst of a time travel novel, For All Time by Parris Afton Bonds published around 1992 about a 40ish widow w/children sent back in time to 1872 during a reenactment gone wrong. She is rescued by a half Irish half Indian former scout and brought back to a fort with a John Ford-esque flavor about it only grittier. Stacey is trying anything and everything to go back to her children. She is also being pursued by two men a married officer and her gr. gr. grandfather. She wants the scout but knows she can’t have him.

    In the meantime I’ve also got a cookbook that I saw when watching the local Chronicle program when it was featured on the show last week. It’s titled Stuffed by Dan Whalen and on the cover is the most comfort food goodness that I’ve seen in eons. Picture a hamburger stuffed with mac and cheese topped with sliced tomatoes on a bun. Just have to make extra mac and cheese to try this bad boy out. I love when they do shows about food, travel on a tank away and guess what town this is and give clues.

    1. I really enjoyed the Paris Afton Bonds books when I read them years and years ago. Constance O’Day Flannery also told GREAT time travel stories.

  4. I’m reading and recommend “The Burning Issue of the Day “(Lady Hardcastle Mystery 5) by T. E. Kinsey. It contains plenty of wit 🙂

  5. I read What the Wind Knows, by Amy Harmon. It’s a time travel romance set in war torn Ireland around 1921. I enjoyed this author’s storytelling, the historical facts, the romance, and the unique way she handled the time travel aspects. Really recommend this one, and I found it at a good eBook price last week. I’m buying it in print for my mother.

  6. I read and loved Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. The writing is so lush and lyrical, full of amazing descriptions of place (the coastal marshes of North Carolina). That amount of description usually isn’t my cuppa, but Owens is masterful with it and it’s an integral part of the story, never extraneous.

    Also, over the past few months, due to recommendations here, I’ve read and subsequently gotten my daughter and son-in-law hooked on Jodi Taylor’s The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series, and a friend hooked on Martha Wells’s The Murderbot Diary series. It’s always exciting to share book love, so thanks for the great recs, Argh nation!

  7. Taking a cue from saving $$$ here, I have been reading reissues of old Regency novels by Marion Chesney (funny but heroines TDTL) and Mary Balogh. I gobbled up three in the Westcott series but now my teeth hurt and I’m done with those for awhile. I also read Mrs Everything by Jennifer Weiner. She’s doing a saga sort of thing this time, nothing like her lighter funnier cultural snapshot novels.

  8. Read a book that was…interesting, but not exactly enjoyable to read, by design? “The Ghost Network” by Katie Disabato. There was so much historical context involved that there was no way to tell the story in a traditional way, so instead the whole thing was put in a framing device of the book pretending to be nonfiction, which would then allow for those big exposition dumps. Unfortunately, it also meant a certain distance from the characters, but that was also by design, since another theme of the book was about the unreliability of narrators when trying to find the truth of a situation.
    But yeah, I can definitely file “fiction pretending to be nonfiction” under a genre I’m not that interested in.

    Meanwhile, the book I complained about weeks ago about being 1st person and 2nd person simultaneously still won me over on the strength of its story, characters, and world-building, so I read the second book, too. (Two of a trilogy, third book not out yet) While it still had some “Character A recounting events to Character B” framing device sections, since A and B were separated it was only 1st person and not also 2nd person at the same time, which helped. Even better, there was also stuff happening in the present day in 3rd person, though it just makes the non-3rd person parts more annoying because now the readers knows the author can do 3rd person just fine.
    In the end, they were both fun reads. “The Tiger’s Daughter” and “The Phoenix Empress” by K. Arsenault Rivera. Awesome ladies in an Asia-based medieval fantasyland, trying to battle demons, but also facing the political corruption of their own nation.

  9. I finally read Spinning Silver and loooooved it. I was meant to read it in little bites so my friend could keep up (I read like a speed demon), but I couldn’t do it.

    Me: I’ll read slower than usual.
    Her: So you’ll be done Wednesday?
    Me: Ha, ha.

    Me, on Wednesday: I’m sorry.

  10. I just finished the second Ngaio Marsh, which I liked, but not as much as the first. CI Allen gets all soppy about an actress and it just annoys me. Otherwise, it’s fine. No, better than fine, I enjoyed it.

    Now I’m reading The Hundred-year-old Man who climbed out a window and disappeared. So far it’s quite entertaining. I like quirky characters and situations that border on the absurd so it’s right up my alley.

  11. I’m still really enjoying Margery Allingham – ‘Coroner’s Pidgin’ and ‘More Work for the Undertaker’. Switched back to Ngaio Marsh because my two library requests came in – ‘Death at the Bar’, which got better, but was a bit too much of an intellectual puzzle for me. And I do prefer Allingham’s p.o.v. – much more involving. Have just begun ‘A Surfeit of Lampreys’, which is much more fun because I’m enjoying the p.o.v. (so far) and the characters.

    I’m a bit surprised that Troy’s completely vanished. At least Campion was getting letters from Amanda when she wasn’t around!

    1. Oh, the Lampreys are fun.
      But yes, I’m rereading Campion now and the understated snark is lovely, plus she does a nice off-the-wall mystery (I’m on the Fashion in Shrouds, which is full of Amanda).

      1. I love Fashion in Shrouds. In addition to the greatness of the Albert and Amanda plot and cool steady snark, I really enjoy Val, and there are so many characters but none of them feel superfluous and somehow the plot isn’t tricksy or cluttered.

        I still have it in a little green penguin, you know the half green half white ones? There are so few books I bother to have on paper any more and mostly they’re older ones that I got by chasing around for them when the titles were out of print. Oh dear. Tangent.

          1. I know. I do know. And some of her short stories are so much of their time and place it’s unsettling, like a lot of the language around race and religion.

            It’s very interesting to talk about, especially with the >97 year old lady who got me started on Allingham, and all of her accomplished daughters and granddaughters and great granddaughters, and how those discussions and perspectives have changed over the years.

            And this sort of thing comes up in conversation regularly, which I find fascinating, this large family scattered all over the globe, maintaining a common culture through reading and music and discussion. It’s a conscious choice for the whole family and it’s work and I am impressed. I have watched three generations of this family argue about Harriet Vane resisting Peter Wimsey over breakfast.

          2. I agree! I was really annoyed at how her love interest treated her at the end.

            …….Possible spoiler alert…….

            I really wanted her to either make him grovel or to tell him she deserved better than him and walk away with her head held high.

          3. It really reads as a character violation, although she does set up how lonely Val is.

          4. Yeah, that makes me wince. That proposal he makes; the man needs slapped, but she’s so in love. Meanwhile, Albert makes an even less romantic proposal. Allingham was not great at romance, just at wonderful characters you want to be together. She had to give Albert amnesia before he got passionate.

        1. I thought Georgia was interesting, too. So self-centered and such a force. The relationships in that book were all interesting. And the plot was great. One of my faves.

          1. I felt sorry for her son; the child no one wanted or cared about. It seemed like his stepfather was the only one who payed him any attention at all.

          2. He was getting a new stepfather at the end, the kind he wanted who’d help him fit in the kind of schools he was being sent to. The last scene is him happy.

  12. Earlier this year I read Christianna Brand’s *Death in High Heels*. The first chapter was LOL funny with sparks of that same humor throughout. It’s Brand’s first book and contains a character, taken from her life, whom she wanted to kill.

    This week I finished another madcap mystery by Ann Ross in her Miss Julia series. I’m so conditioned to think mysteries need murder that Ross is a gale force wind without a death (except the one that started the entire series).

  13. I looked up “Screen Album” magazine covers on Google images, and it looks like the magazine the girl in the back is reading shows Cornel Wilde, who was on the cover in August/September 1946. Which makes sense in terms of the lack of makeup and pony tails in that row of girls. Summer of ’46 gets my vote.

  14. I’ve started reading Allingham based on all the comments here. I decided to go back to the first Campion (Black Dudley) and go forward in spite of other recommendations. I’m blessed (cursed?) with the ability to read VERY fast, so I figure it won’t take me long to get to the books where she really hits her stride with Campion (and company). I’ll be picking up Police At The Funeral at my library after work this afternoon, and will no doubt devour several more books this weekend.

  15. I’ve been reading some Kristan Higgins, and I really like her newer ones, although they all seem to start slow and the really pick up by mid-book. I found myself re-reading the Ainsley POV in On Second Thought again and again, I found it so fun and touching. I was especially enamored of the odd but lovable hero.

    I also tried a David Ignatius thriller (too dry for my taste) but I am enjoying my first Lee Child book (Past Tense). I’m only a few chapters in but I’m hooked.

    Mostly I’m killing time until the library patrons who are apparently savoring the last book in the Murderbot series finally return it. I’ve been #2 on the wait list for a month. The book is like 100 pages, people!

    1. Murderbot, though – it can be a terrible wait. I gave one of the helpers murderbot for Christmas, the whole series, because she wanted it and was frustrated with the library waitlist and – it is the only non-academic reading she has done since December. She reads fast and she just reads them over and over and over. It seems unlikely she actually needs to read them any more really. I have tremendous sympathy for this because Murderbot, but I’m glad it’s warming up, by now her brain surely needs a break from physics, vertebrates and murderbot.

      1. Yes, I waited months for each. Devoured the last one a fortnight ago. I’m comforting myself that there’s a novel coming soon but I’ll have to buy it. I wouldn’t be able to stand the waiting list time.

  16. I had a Grave Disappointment. I put Lucky Charm on hold by Helen Hunting and was looking forward to it. It came. I started it, enjoying the voice… and then it went downhill fast. It has all of the trope things that I would like to think that we grow out of. I lost all respect for both characters within the first 3rd of the story and had to put it down. Then I revisited Nora Robert’s first book in the Inn Boonsburo trilogy. It didn’t hold up for me.

    Now I need to cleanse my pallet. Any recommendations for romance with some character growth and emotional meat to it? I enjoyed the Kiss Quotient and Nalini Singh’s contemporary series. Oh, and buckets of Sarina Bowen for comfort reads. Thanks!

    1. Lupe – Julie Ann Walker’s new trilogy In Moonlight and Memories comes out in a couple weeks (7/2), lots of character growth, but the third book will rip your heart out. I also really enjoyed Jay Crownover’s upcoming Justified and Abby Jimenez’s The Friend Zone (also a large box of tissues).

      I was also disappointed in Lucky Charm…

    2. I’m like a broken record here, but KJ Charles? Try Band Sinister, it’s the most romantic of her books I think.

      Also, have you tried Talia Hibbert? Contemporary romance and great characters.

      1. I just got the new KJ Charles from the library! Have had it on hold for a while 🙂 Thanks!

        1. And I have Talia Hibbiert on hold because it was recommended here. Waiting is so hard…

    3. Kathleen Gilles Seidel is one of the all time best for romance and believable character growth. Very dated now (no cell phones etc) but still fabulous. Try “Don’t Forget To Smile” or “Again” because if those don’t do it for you, you pobably won’t like any of the earlier ones.

      1. None by her at my library, but I will keep an eye out. Thank you for the suggestion!

  17. I read The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard. A sci-fi Sherlock Holmes. It was a different read for me, and I’ll want to re-read it, and I want to read more in this world. For murderbot and Anne McCaffrey fans it has mindships.

    I’m babbling, but I’m keen for others to read it so we can talk about it.

    Here is the author’s blurb:
    In a galactic empire inspired by Vietnamese culture, a detective and a mindship must team up to solve a mystery. Very loosely inspired by A Study in Scarlet, if Holmes were an eccentric scholar, and Watson a grumpy discharged war mindship.

    1. Oh, Aliette de Bodard is *good*. Sometimes I need things to be gentler and tidier than she writes but she is indeed good. I have the Tea Master in my TBR. I will read it this week and I am a terrible discusser but I can certainly read!

      Have you read any Zen Cho? She is Malaysian but (I think) lives in England and the world building is just phenomenal.

  18. For humor in mystery I love Alice
    Tilton. One if her Leonidas Witherall mystery has hyun carrying a Lady Baltimore cake through the entire scenario.
    I am rereading Barbara Michaels Georgetown Books because someone here recalled them to me. I am at Stitches in Time.

  19. Which – speaking of snark, I have been (re)reading Thurber and Will Cuppy, and I’m still happily wandering around in Dorothy Dunnett’s Johnson/Dolly mysteries. It makes me very grateful for ebooks, all the authors that would be relegated to the far back of stacks and out of print and instead I can read Thurber to my 5 year old niece as it was read to me. It is a good thing.

    I used to read Tony Hillerman and after we missed Gathering this year, I decided to try and take the edge off my self-pity with a reread of the whole series because it’s continued with his daughter writing so there are a good few I haven’t read but the narrator’s voice changed just enough that I’m aware of it. The characters are true to themselves and – it’s just that difference that I can’t quite pin down that knocks me a little out of the story, so I’m trying to figure out whether to take a break or just keep going and hope the new voice wears it’s own path through my synapses quickly!

    Meanwhile, I’ve started The Furious Hours, which was suggested here and I am really enjoying it – (I never would’ve picked it up if y’all didn’t have such credibility so thank you for that) and then two Julie Schumacher books about a university English Dept, which I’ve started the first and it’s so far great and made me want to re-read Moo. (These were also Argh people recommended and more thanks and yay!).

    Totally unrelated, but it keeps getting cool and so the lettuce and cilantro haven’t bolted but it is all too plausible that the tomatoes will maybe ripen in September and who even knows about the peaches and rhubarb, while so great, is not peaches.

      1. I always preferred The Wonderful O. And let us not forget “Further Fables for Our Time”. The moral that sticks in my head is from “WhatHappened to Charles”-“Get it right or let it alone. The conclusion you jump to may be your own.”

      2. Oh, y’all, we are such *nerds* in my family. I am ashamed to say it never occurred to me to read her the children’s Thurber – I am reading to her from Thurber’s My Life and Hard Times, and last Saturday she beleaguered her younger sister, the dog, a friend who was helping with the raised beds and a bypassing neighbor into re-enacting some rumor of flooding tumult that took over Columbus Ohio during Thurber’s own childhood – so what, at least 100 years ago? She outfitted everyone in faux bowler hats and they ran in circles around the sprinkler screaming about the dam bursting. I was fortunately in charge of collapsing time (1 minute of running in my yard = 1 hour of running in bygone Columbus) and refreshments (lemonade always welcome). I am inspired to hope that the non-autobiographical Thurber will be more restful and I’m going to get it right now.

  20. The book that blew my mind this week is “The Case For Falling In Love,” by Mari Ruti. It is a very sensible take on the subject. Basically says it’s something you need for your development, caution doesn’t work too well, and we all have a Thing that we are perennially looking for and can’t find but love is as close as we get, and not everyone can set off our Thing-radar that makes a person special. I related.

  21. At some point I began a re-read of the Paladin of Shadows series by John Ringo. I’m on the next-to-last book, A Deeper Blue. I also have open A Hymn Before Battle, about the invasion of Earth by the Posleen.

  22. I’m reading a book by one of my favorite British contemporary romance/women’s fiction authors. The Bookshop on the Shore, by Jenny Colgan. I read one of hers, got hooked, and read everything else. This is her newest one, just out. I really love it–lots of quirky characters, some very sad situations but the protagonist toughs it out. I’m about halfway through and if I could, I’d take the day off and just read the rest. But I’m trying to make it last…

    My only complaint, and maybe this is something that is more acceptable over there, since I’ve found it in a lot of the British authors I love, is what I would consider egregious head-hopping. A chapter starts with a paragraph from one character’s point of view, and two sentences later, you’re switching to another. I have to go back and reread quite often to make sure I haven’t lost track of who was speaking. But the book is wonderful enough that even this doesn’t deter me.

    1. I’ve been looking for contemporary romances like Jenny Colgan’s books! I’m glad to have read your recommendation. The blurbs say they take place in Scotland! My friend and I visited for the first time ever this past March and completely fell in love with the Highlands and Isle of Skye. I can’t wait to read books that take place there 😱😁.

  23. I’m reading a Math textbook to get back into Mathematics and related areas – does that count? I’m actually quite enjoying re-learning some of the concepts and accessing that part of my brain.

    I’m also in the middle of a non-fic called Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It’s a beautifully written book by her – connecting her Native American background to her profession as a Botanist. To quote the back, “…[she] brings these [two] lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.” She inspired me to start growing – I have my first planted herb (English Thyme) shooting sprouts! I have the opposite of a green thumb, so this is quite a bit of an accomplishment for me.

    1. Of course. Everything you read counts. The whole “book” thing is just a title.

    2. Congratulations on the growing! Thyme is so much fun to grow and it smells so great. Braiding Sweetgrass is really encouraging, I thought.

      1. Thank you! I truly kinda muddled through the directions, guessed on a bunch of things as I was sowing the seeds, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I am so happy that it worked out – I’m excited to keep caring for it 😁

        Totally agreed with the book being encouraging! My next hope is to grow more herbs, and eventually tomatoes.

        1. Most herbs are tough and very forgiving. Anything in the mint family (you can tell because they have square stems) will grow like a weed and take over if you’re not careful. Happy growing!

          1. Thank you! Chives (the lady at the gardening store saif those were easy to grow), mint and cilantro are next on my list. Can’t wait 😁

          2. I agree with Deborah about the mint. It’s a good idea to grow it in a pot rather than the open garden, so you have a bit of control over it.

        2. Basil is really fun – it’s another mint, as are the sages, weirdly, and they all smell great and come in all sorts of size and color and shape variants. Even if you don’t wind using them for cooking, bees love them and (at least at my house) dogs will spontaneously groom themselves by rolling madly in a patch of herbs. It can startling to have a pineapple sage scented basenji, but so much nicer than the other perfumes he chose!

          Some other easy and forgiving things to grow are lemongrass, horsetail, phaleonopsis orchids and coleus. I am very fond of scented geranium but it is always more fussing with than anticipate. Growing things is very satisfying – after the squishing, one of the PTs told me that the greenhouse and garden workshops were the only ones no-one ever skipped and they were always booked out.

          1. I had a patch of cat mint that my cat ADORED. He was like a little drug addict when he was near it – very spacey and dribbly. And he loved rolling in it.

  24. I’m reading vintage Jayne Ann Krentz – her sci fi romances like Shield’s Lady and Sweet Starfire. Her world building is good and her battle of the sexes snarky quips still make me laugh. So then I moved onto her early romantic suspense. I loved The Private Eye – the hero is such a hoot. And The Pirate. Yup, I just got caught up in her backlist.

      1. I love JAK. Have you read her Jayne Castle books? The Sci-fi version of her name. Also, her Arcane series. There are also some paranormal in the Amanda Quick ones.

  25. I’ve been finishing up “Educated” this week and when I started feeling discouraged by parts of that, I switched off with “Glutton for Pleasure” by Alisha Rai. It wasn’t the total opposite of Tara Westover’s book, but it was close.

  26. Okay, so:
    I’m currently recommending a couple of nominally-YA titles (which I might have mentioned before, I can’t remember, it’s been a long couple of months).

    First up is Wicked Saints (, which has very Russian Folklore feel to it and would generally qualify as Dark Fantasy, with some definite elements of romance.

    I wound up following it up with Hafsah Faisal’s excellent We Hunt The Flame ( which has much more of middle-eastern feel to its mythology and world-building.

    Both were eminently enjoyable, and got me through some very tough weeks. (At times I found myself holding back on We Hunt The Flame because I has so much *else* going on that I wanted to wait until I could give it the attention it deserved.)

  27. I’ve been rereading Joan Aiken Hodge. Now there’s a woman who has to do romance from 30 feet away. But her stories are compelling and very true to the time period and well researched.

  28. Still trying and failing to choose/find/make the life I want. Current low place calls for only rereading favourites and even just books I have that I don’t remember well. I haven’t had a new book for months

    And then I impulse bought two off the deep discount table at one of few used/new bookstore left in my neighbourhoods. I cannot recommend.
    The Carbohydrate Addict’s Cookbook
    It’s mostly simple dishes with different seasonings, and lots of mayo and teriyaki sauce both of which I dislike. Might be useful for someone who’s never cooked, or who needs to have a recipe for everything.

    I bought it as a nudge for “must restart low carb, I felt so much better body and mind”. General internet recipe searchs can cause me to lose hours and I nearly always end up with more recipes that would be fun to do that won’t forward my health goal than ones that will so I thought I’d try paper.
    At $2 I don’t feel too bad taking it apart to use as reminders. I can already make lemon poached salmon but I never thought to plan to eat it for breakfast. Might even be worth it just for that suggestion. I am practically hardwired to eat TOAST and eggs, eggs without are naked, lonely eggs, no matter what else they have on them.

    Second book I bought I haven’t yet read. Classic impulse
    The Artist’s Studio Book by Richard Seddon. Not an artist, don’t have a studio — this is a book for a person I am not but might like to be. I wonder how common that is, buying for who you might like to be, and whether it ever helps get you there. like a non-cook buying a book about kitchen remodelling.

  29. I read the new Mercy Thompson book, Storm Cursed, by Patricia Briggs. I had the impression from looking at reviews that many people thought this one was just OK, but I really enjoyed it. I am now reading the next Kate Shugak book (number 6) and listening to Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh.

  30. I think PD James’ lack of humour is a really good explanation for how she managed to write her awful Pride and Prejudice spin-off. But you’re right – I would rather read the wry ones, the ones with a glint in their eye. I’ve got Margery Allingham from the library and am about to launch in.

    This week I read Abbi Waxman’s The Garden of Small Beginnings. I enjoyed right up to the end, when I realised that the amateur/learning gardeners had somehow managed to grow corn, tomatoes, beans and a whole stack of other stuff from seeds/seedlings to ripe veg in six weeks. I’m puzzling over how the author could make a mistake like that, when she had obviously researched a lot of stuff about growing vegetables. Did she just decide it didn’t matter? Or that people wouldn’t notice?

    The other two books were much better. Scrublands by Chris Hammer is part of a newish genre of crime novels set in small, very hot Australian towns. Very readable, hard to put down and night. Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song was good too. Better than average YA fantasy – fairly violent but I really like her writing and it was a good story.

  31. Late to the party because of visitors, but…

    I recently read “The Vexed Generation” by Scott Meyer. It was very good, I very much enjoyed it like all his other books in the Magic 2.0-series. It was a little less lol-hilarious, but I think it only did this book more justice. Only thing that annoyed me, and quite a bit at that, was that ALL his other books say the England-part takes place in 1100-something…and now in this one they suddenly hang around in 1457. Admittedly there’s time-travel involved, but that particular part was ALWAYS in 1100-something, and all the 1100-something-characters are still present, so it’s not that they have stayed in the same place but picked a different time. I just had to write this somewhere because it’s been bothering me since I read it. Perhaps I’m just to stuck on the details, but…still. 300 years difference. I don’t know. Well, it was a nice read anyway.

    I’ve also read “Playing with Fire” by Derek Landy, the second book in his Skulduggery Pleasant-series. The snark, ladies. The snark. Very enjoyable, if you like…YA fantasy? I don’t even know which catergory it falls into. It was a fun read.

    Oh, right, and I finished “Burnout” by Emily Nagoski and loved it. It hit me less hard than “Come as you are” did, but I learned a lot about myself…again. I think I will have to reread it again to be able to really soak up all the information, but it’s not much of a sacrifice. Such brilliant authors. Best kind of nonfiction, engaging and uplifting.

  32. Since last report I finished KJ Charles’ ‘Flight of Magpies’ and am now re-reading that series because I tore through it so fast I missed some stuff. TYVM KJC for happy ending.

    Also read ‘Othello,’ which may have reliably beautiful language but which pissed me off so thoroughly (OMG that plot) that No. Just No. Desdemona is a mere device, Iago is a vicious piece of shit, and Othello is an idiot.

    Then read ‘The Storm Over Paris’ by William Ian Grubman, who is a friend of a friend. The book is good! It’s about a Jewish art dealer in Paris in 1942 who’s being forced to value looted paintings for the Nazis. Line-editing could be better. Not enhanced by prologue & epilogue (skip those), but the central story is well-researched and very suspenseful. Would make a great movie.

  33. Granted I only read about 5 chapters a year at the moment, I am halfway through, and on year 8 of reading it, but I am surprised to find Moby Dick is thought of as super- serious. I find it audacious and fun and ‘anything goes’! The scene early on where Ishmael essentially asks himself “what would Jesus do?” and decides that as a good Christian, he should join Queequeg in idol worship is hilarious. And spending an entire chapter explaining why a whale IS a fish, it reminds me of Dickens’ Circumlocution Office chapters, only funnier. But being Canadian and not being exposed to the novel’s Importance my whole life, the only thing I knew about it going in was from a super interesting friend who told me there was a chapter called “The Whiteness of the Whale.” Maybe my blind reading adds an enjoyment that Americans who have it thrown at them in highschool and first year undergrad English Lit classes don’t get to experience.

    1. I find it really funny too — and I think Ishmael *must* be being *intentionally* dryly humorous. But this is not a universal take.

  34. If wit is wanted, try any of the four Judith Flanders mysteries set in London’s publishing world. By the time she reaches the fourth volume, Flanders can even bring off physical comedy bits.

    Thanks to this blog, I now realize the history writing fiend I work with lacks a sense of humor. Completely. A lovely person nonetheless.

    Cay Rademacher (in translation from the German), a French police procedural, Deadly Camargue. I found it involving and calming.


  35. Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff. The blurb was SUCH a hook for me. I was afraid the book wouldn’t hold up to the high expectations! But, for the most part, it did.

    1. I forgot! Exit Strategy Murderbot #4 came in at the library, read it in one evening of course, this is definitely a leaves you wanting more more more series…..

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