This is a Good Book Thursday, June 6, 2019

I read through most of the Reginald Hill books I could afford on Kindle, then when they got too dear ordered used paperbacks.  Eighteen bucks for an e-book?  No.  While I’m waiting for those, I started re-reading the Rivers of London books and the BookBub has a P. D. James for $2.99, and I know I read those back in the day but I can’t remember them, so I bought that one.  In short, I’m wallowing in British mystery.

What are you reading?

69 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, June 6, 2019

  1. I’ve been on holiday for the past two weeks. I read the first Veronica Speedwell book by Deanna Raybourne, and then quickly read the next two. They make great holiday reading. I balked a bit at the fourth because of the price (10£ for an ebook) but will probably go ahead and buy it. I also read the fifth Kate Shugak book, Play with Fire; there was less action in this one but more back story on some of the characters. I’m still enjoying these. I read Magic and the Shinigami Detective by Honor Raconteur because it was recommended by Ilona Andrews. I had a hard time getting into it and put it down for a few weeks but then was sleepless on a long airline ride and started up again. It picked up a bit for me by the end. I have also been listening to Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi, read by Wil Wheaton. This is a very funny book about a Hollywood agent who is tasked with helping an alien (who basically looks like jello) appear likeable to earthlings. Wil Wheaton is terrific.

    1. Will Wheaton is great–wonderful on Leverage as an asshat–and Wheaton’s Law is even better. I imagine he’s a terrific reader.

      1. I’ve never heard of Leverage. My TV knowledge is severely curtailed from 30 years of living abroad. Now, in the age of Netflix, I can probably fix that. And yes, Wil Wheaton is a fantastic narrator. There’s a lot of snark in this book and he nails it.

        1. You have a real treat in store! Leverage is brilliant! I miss having it on Hulu (I believe it went to Netflix, so you should be in luck there, but I don’t have Netflix), where I would watch a random episode whenever I was overwhelmed and needed the visual equivalent of a comfort read.

          1. I just found Leverage on Amazon and watched the first two episodes! Jenny steered me to Killjoys, so I figured this would be a good bet too.

        2. I’ve worked shift work since ’95 or so, a lot of the last ten years on the evening shift. Working from 4 pm to midnight does not encourage watching much TV, unless you have DVR or some such (which I never have.) I had a VHS and DVD library, but the VHS tapes and player went to Goodwill, and the DVDs have been thinned based on “does this give me joy? When was the last time I watched it?”

          I don’t know any of the water cooler shows. I’ve never seen Hunger Games or Game of Thrones nor most of the Marvel Movies. No Transformer movies.

          I bought eight Nora Roberts movies from a Nora Roberts display at Walmart. The dotter gifted me 5 seasons of Gilmore Girls and I picked up the rest. I. Am. Out. Of. It.

          If I hadn’t just googled Wil Wheaton, I’d still be scratching my head saying “Wesley “Shut Up” Crusher?”

          On the book side, I just finished Red Rabbit (4 stars) and I’m about to finish Power Surge (2.5 stars). There are unread Mia Archer stories in the queue.

        3. Oh, Leverage is wonderful. Great competence porn and often funny, too. One of the best pilot episodes I’ve ever seen.

  2. I’ve just read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which turned out to be the book I didn’t know I needed in the middle of a tough week. I borrowed it from the library, but I think I’m going to have to get my own copy, because it was just beautiful.

    I love Dear Enemy by Jean Webster (in spite of a few problematic world-view moments of its time) and Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian, and GL&PPPS hit those same buttons for me. And Juliet would run into a burning library to save the books! My kind of girl!

    1. My kind of reader, Emily. I’ve read the Guernsey Literary etc numerous times (so of course I needed my own copy) and I’m impressed with much of the social progress ideas in Dear Enemy (except where I’m not).

      The Guernsey etc movie however, not so much. Meh. But then, you could go watch Their Finest (Hour and a Half) over and over again. And read the book.

      1. Same here on Dear Enemy and the ideas in it (except when not). I confess to not being really into Daddy Long Legs, but Dear Enemy is one I go back to over and over again.

    2. I actually worked with the author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer, in a bookstore back in the 90’s. Absolutely lovely lady and beloved local librarian, we (co-workers) had no idea she was writing a book. I believe her niece finished and edited the manuscript after her death. It’s a shame she didn’t have more time to write more wonderful books. She truly loved books.

  3. Just finished an ARC of The Grace Year in one setting. Trippy YA, Handmaid’s Tale-inspired. So good.

  4. I don’t have a book but a six-part dvd The Simple Heist, Swedish with English subtitles, about two somewhat mature women, one a doctor (Cecilia) having lost her retirement savings due to bad investments and her BFF (Jenny) a math teacher about to get a divorce after 30 years of marriage, whose husband found a prenup that they signed years ago which leaves her penniless. Not your everyday criminals. Cecilia gets a plan from a dying patient on how to rob a bank and enlists her friend as her accomplice and partner. The camaraderie between the women shows the friendship from over the years. Of course the robbery is not all that simple and they come up against blackmailers, bikers, bosses, cops nipping at their heals, with husbands and children who demand attention. Also what is just as interesting is the fact that the story takes place during the Christmas season and I couldn’t get over the Swedish decorations (pyramid style candles in the windows) and Cecilia’s apartment that looks like it has room after room with different and colorful seating arrangements. And the good news is there is a second season in the works.

    1. Oh, I watched that on Acorn, I think. Somewhere. Anyway, I just wanted to second the recommendation. Lots of fun. And I love that non-American shows have really amazing actors who aren’t Hollywood-pretty. They’re INTERESTING. And I can tell them apart (I have a little bit of facial blindness, so I can’t tell people apart easily).

      I seem to be seconding recommendations rather than offering new ones this week. Nothing’s really grabbed me. My mood, not the books I’ve tried and failed to get into.

      1. My kids totally agree with you and insist that Ocean’s Eleven has six, maybe seven guys in it, max…

  5. All the Ngaio Marsh. In chronological order. I’m up to the early war, before the evacuation. The external circumstances are echoing for me.

    So we have been having Family Book Club – everyone gets a chance to pick a book for everyone to read, and we talk about it over brunch. It is giving us a shared background of reading that helps shape our conversations, but it is also making us talk about structures and characterization in ways that has been illuminating. This month’s book(s) are Cordelia’s Honor, a Bujold 2fer of Shards of Honor and Barrayar, starring one of the best women and mothers in books. So that’s been fun too.

    1. Oh, I love Cordelia! I recently re-read these two after many years, and they haven’t dimmed with time, as many others have.

    2. Cordelia! Love her. Did you read the latest book about her: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. It is about Cordelia on Sergyar after Aral died. I loved that book too.

      1. I couldn’t read Cryoburn (for emotional reasons – it hit waay too close to home at the time) but both offspring have reassured me that Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen is basically about Cordelia, so I will pick it up on recommendation from all of you!

  6. I found and read “A Jazzy Little Murder” by Beth Byers last night.
    Also found and downloaded 3 D E Stevenson novels off of Kindle Unlimited.
    Also found, but did not download, Ocotober Man, which is Ben Aaronvitch’s Rivers of London world, but set in Europe. I don’t think Peter Grant is in it but I could be wrong. I think I’m saving that for vacation at the end of June.

    Also re-read Appointment with Death and Lord Edgware Dies this week.

    I’m now several books behind my daughter with Rick Riordan’s books. I’ll probably take those on vacation too. We’re going to be camping for 9 days in 3 different spots. I am so ready to be on vacation.

    The kids have 1 more week of school.

    1. October Man is set in Germany, doesn’t have Peter Grant (there are some loose references to Nightingale and the agreement), has a very different voice than the Rivers of London books and I liked it.

        1. Nope. There are some Rivers, but they are not at all of London.

          One of the best things (for me) about it is how the voice is different but not ostentatiously so, while the universe is very much the same, and the ways that’s made clear are very much shown in passing not infodumped.

          1. I bought it last night, haven’t read it yet. I really did not like the graphic novels and stopped in the middle of those–might have been the artist–but his novels are great.

    2. I also read A Jazzy Little Murder by Beth Byers, although I’ve also read all of her other Lady Violet Carlyle mysteries as well, and this one is pretty good, although fairly short. Which might work even better for some people.

  7. I have mush brain from working with my challenging student. So instead of reading, I’ve started to binge Imposters on Netflix. It’s entertaining me.

    1. Impostors! I adored the first season. Haven’t watched the second yet.

      These baby grifters finding a new family in each other, with a good amount of competence porn? Good stuff.

  8. Just finished the latest Patricia Briggs, Storm Cursed. Miniature zombie goats and a dragon. How can you miss? Plus fighting witches and zombies was good for working out some frustrations. Next up will be Anne Hillerman’s The Tale Teller. Her voice is nearly as good as her father’s.

    These are the first new books I’ve read for a while, though. I’ve been escaping into British mysteries, as well. It’s always fun to discover one that I don’t have memorized already, although I’m okay with those old friends. After I finish the Hillerman, I have an Allingham and a Marsh waiting for me. I recently finished Sayers’ Strong Poison. It was never a big favorite, so there were large chunks I didn’t remember and it felt almost like a read for the first time.

    I’ve always been a big fan of the British mysteries, having been introduced to them by my mother when I was just a kid. Loving books even then, I had quickly gone through all the age appropriate stuff, and mom decided that there was nothing in an Agatha Christie she wouldn’t want me reading. They remain my comfort reads.

  9. On May 25th I realized that I had never read ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. I am rectifying this.

  10. Re-reading a collection of Mauve Binchey’s articles etc. That woman could make you laugh and put a knife through your heart at the same time with her observation of humankind at their less-than-best.

    1. Binchey’s books are also fab re community and many are good long reads. Still grateful for the book of hers that helped get me through the big ice storm in the late 90s here that left us without power for weeks with often no phone either. Lucky for me I’d just gotten her book from the library before we became shut-ins, lol.

  11. Lord and Lady, my job makes me ache. So I haven’t read much in the way of new. Re-reading Talia Hibbert and Suleikha Snyder romances for the lols.

  12. I’ve been rereading, too. I started A Highly Unlikely Scenario ( recommended here), but had to put it down so I can start the my book club book. I am leading this month so it would be highly problematic if I don’t finish the book. I finished A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole. It was pleasantly diverting, but it didn’t have the staying power that the Loretta Chase and Jenny Crusie rereads had this week. When I am sleep deprived, Cranky Agnes really hits the spot.

  13. I’m currently reading Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews. Someone here recommended it and and I’m about halfway through and enjoying it so far.

    I discovered that the first book in a series by an author that I really like is now free on kindle. Warrior Mage by Lindsay Buroker is really good:

    It’s set in her Emperor’s Edge world, but a different part of it.

  14. I read two books that couldn’t be more different from one another and enjoyed both of them. Thank ya’ll for recommending Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson. It was wonderful. Sweet and yet not sweet at all. That drawing room meeting–I thought to myself that I’ve sat through SO many meetings like that; equal parts bombast and stupidity. Just delicious (to read about). The other was The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren. This was the first book of this author that I’ve read and it was excellent.

  15. I finished “Come as you are” by Emily Nagoski and absolutely loved it. Might be the best nonfiction I have ever read. I have been crying and laughing and crying again and I’ve learned a lot about myself and what’s going on in my head and body. Like I said last week: I think every woman should read this book. I warmly and heartily and excitedly recommend it. I kept thinking that if Jenny was a sex educator and wrote a book on the subject, this would be it.

    I bought “Burnout”, also by Nagoski, because I really really wanted to read it and dad helped me fix it so I CAN read it. Yay! Have only read the introduction and half the first chapter so far, but I think it’ll be just as important to me as “Come As You Are” has been.

    I found a great book at the library by a very wellknown author, but after having read the second book in the series I hesitate to mention title and author name because:
    1. a dog was brutally killed and
    2. I felt a bit betrayed by the author because they killed off a character I really liked. When I read Game of Thrones I was kind of expecting everyone to be killable, Martin just writes that way. No one is safe. Anyone, EVERYONE, can die. But this…. I don’t know. I know that not everyone can survive all the time and so on and so forth, but still………
    There are two more books in the series, but I can’t decide whether I want to read them or not. Pffff.

    Now gonna go read the 6th book of the Magic 2.0-series by Scott Meyer: “The Vexed Generation”. Because I’m sure I want to read that one, at least. Hoping for some laughs.

    Happy reading, everyone!

  16. Read Celine by Peter Heller for my book club last weekend. The title character is an amazing woman “of a certain age” and is a PI. With her husband, she has found over 100 lost family members, with a success rate of over 90%. Heller’s writing is almost lyrical as he spins out the story of Celine, moving back and forth from present to past, and weaving the investigation of a missing father in a recent post-9/11 world with the pieces of her life.

    Finished reading the last one of D.E. Stevenson’s Mrs. Tim books, and am now re-reading Robin McKinley’ Beauty. I revisit it at least once a year, it is my favorite re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.

  17. I’m reading Good Omens right now and planning to watch the show tomorrow!

  18. For comfort reading, I turned to the only 1980s Harlequins still on my shelf: Kathleen Gilles Seidel’s “Mirrors and Mistakes,” “A Risk Worth Taking,” and “When Love Isn’t Enough.”

    The stories hold up, although the technology references now crack me up (e.g., a music industry agent who likes a particular restaurant because the tables have phone jacks).

    1. I reread a lot of the In Death books recently and the technology there is like that. When se started writing PPCs and Links (personal small computers and phones) must have seemed far away and now we have them in one gadget with a lot more computing power apparently than in the books and a lot more things they can do too. But she can’t take another technological leap ahead because the whole series is supposed to happen in a couple of years.

    2. I wish I still had those books! She does have several new ones out, but I remembering loving Mirrors and Mistakes. Long gone, though.

  19. I finally started becoming Michelle Obama. She is an amazing writer. I’m really loving it. She’s drawn me in and made me part of her world. I love coming o here seeing what other people are reading.
    I also re-recommend. Confessions of a Prairies Bitch by Alison Arngrim – Nellie Olson on Little House on the Prairie. She also narrated the audiobook. This is one of the bios that stays with me c
    I got to be on Alison Arngrim’s podcast/radio show two days ago. Our talk ranged all over the place. We went from ageism to earthquakes and all points in between.

  20. I read K. J. Charles’ ‘Proper English’, which was fun though not my favourite of hers (I’ve yet to find a lesbian romance that really gets me going, though this was the best to date). It’s a prequel to ‘Think of England’, so I reread that, and enjoyed it more than I did the first time.

    I’m now back on Margery Allingham, who gets better with each book (I don’t think
    I read them in order as a teenager). Finished ‘Dancers in Mourning’ and am well into ‘The Fashion in Shrouds’.

  21. I finished the fourth Brigid Quinn mystery — We Were Killers Once by Becky Masterman. The first one is still my favorite. There’s no character I can think of in mystery quite like Brigid. She’s 65 years old, so strong, whip smart. She’s not lovable, nor does she wish to be, but I love her anyway.

  22. I’ve been reading LETTER PERFECT, by David Sacks. He points out that of all mankind’s inventions, the most important may actually be/have been the Alphabet (and that it looks as if, as of 1999, the earliest alphabetic writing is in Egypt — mixed in with hieroglyphs — rather than Phoenician, invented in the Levant. A lot of letters haven’t changed much in four thousand years, either. They date the Egyptian inscription in question to about 1800 BCE and the invention of the alphabet is now assigned to around 2000 BCE in Egypt — because the inscriptions have four specimens of a wavy, vertical line (“M” but written vertically). Normally Egyptians wrote that symbol horizontally; but around 2000 BCE there’s a brief phase where it’s written vertically, hence the date assignment. Other letter shapes fit into this assumption. I like the concept that alphabetic writing was invented / developed / spread for the common people who didn’t have the leisure to learn hieratic / hieroglyphic writing, which is mostly NOT alphabetic; it’s mostly syllabic or worse. The “little people” could just memorize about twenty-five symbols and associate them with single sounds — and mostly the symbol picture began with the sound. Think Able, Bravo, Charlie, Delta.

    The book isn’t particularly technical — think Barbara Mertz’ TOMBS, TEMPLES, AND HIEROGLYPHS or RED LAND, BLACK LAND.

  23. I’ve been rereading some classic Jayne Ann Krentz books – her futuristics that really employ some clever, feminist world building: Crystal Flame, Sweet Starfire, and Shield’s Lady. JAK is one of my top ten favorite writers.

    1. Me too, even though I haven’t felt the mystery to be challenging for quite a while. Her latest, Tightrope (Burning Cove 3) changed that. Good fun.

      1. I think, for my purposes, Tightrope is involving, well plotted, well written (finally!) Characters possess substance and a dollop of charm. This one stays on the rails.

  24. I’ve been bingeing (spell check tells me that’s not a word) on Lori Foster for the past month or two – reading them all for the first time. I think I’m most of the way through, and then I’ll wallow for a while.

  25. I’m reading Rosie’s Traveling Tea Shop, by Rebecca Raisen. It’s an enjoyable story of the freedom from responsibility, or running away, and finding new ways to deal with life’s problems. I love a good road trip, especially in England, and Raisen’s characters are well drawn. The book is listed as a romantic comedy, and that was what I was in the mood to read. I’m at 50% and have yet to crack a smile. I still like the story though and would recommend.

  26. I just bought The Austen Playbook which I haven’t read yet but is supposed to be the lighthearted romance I need to get over this week. If it isn’t I’m going to re-read Getting Rid of Bradley and cheer when Lucy swings her bat.

  27. I’m listening to John McWhorter’s “Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage,” after having listened to “The Story of Human Language,” “Words on the Move,” “Talking Back, Talking Black,” and “Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue.” (The first two are The Great Courses; the last three are McWhorter reading his own books.) He’s a linguist who has done many things, but he’s an enormously engaging narrator and if you’re a language-head like me, this is some meaty, juicy, crunchy, fascinating stuff.

    He gets into why English is such an oddball language — it’s not the bazillion words we have, it’s that, structurally, it’s the most eccentric of the cousins in the Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, which is saying something, because Germanic languages are a little weird too.

    For example, two constructions we just take for granted: what McWhorter calls the “meaningless ‘do'” and the “obsessive progressive.” The meaningless do is when we say, “Do you want this?” There are only two other languages of the 6,000 languages of the earth that have a ‘do’ that’s used like that. In other languages, it’s more or less, “Want you this?” The obsessive progressive is when we say things like, “I’m writing a comment,” or, “She’s reading a book.” In all but two other languages, it’s, “I write a book,” to indicate I am in the process of writing, and it’s “She reads a book,” to mean she’s sitting in the window seat with her Kindle on her lap, devouring Fast Women for the umpteenth time. The other two languages are Welsh and Cornish. So, Celtic grammar used all the time in English.

    Then there’s the absence of case endings and gender in our nouns. All the other Germanic languages have case endings and gender. What McWhorter says is that English basically got beat up when the Vikings invaded Britain and learned English as adults so they learned it imperfectly, and they passed that imperfect English on to their kids.

    He gets into the weeds of grammar, not in a “You shouldn’t do that,” kind of way, but in a, “Let’s see what it’s really doing.” I so completely love this stuff.

    Reading-actual-books-wise, my current bestie is Sea of Thunder: Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign 1941-1945 by Evan Thomas, which is excellent. I also read the four books of Faith Hunter’s Soulwood series, which is adjacent to her Jane Yellowrock series. Those were very enjoyable, and exactly what I needed.

  28. Haven’t really been reading much, eyes are bothering me. Away for the weekend, couldn’t sleep, not my bed – started to re-read Charlie All Night. Light and fun.

    Boy oh boy – eye bags and headache. Melatonin is now my friend.

  29. I just read the new Jo Goodman book, which was ok. I think she does a great job of capturing what it was like to live in the west a hundred and more years ago. But the relationship in this book didn’t resonate the way some of her other books do.

  30. Last week I read the first Jill Mansell book I’ve ever not liked. ‘Nuff said.

    Also read ‘Light Thickens’ by Ngaio Marsh, and then ‘Macbeth,’ by that Shakespeare guy. The Marsh is, I suppose, not all that strong as a mystery but if you are a theater geek like me it is GOLD.

  31. One of my favourite series is Christopher Fowler’s Bryant & May mysteries, funny, clever and full of unusual information about London.
    Actually, all of his books!

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