This is a Good Book Thursday, November 21, 2019

This week I read . . . a lot of news articles. Hey, my country is going through an interesting phase, I want to keep up. Mostly my brain is skittering around like water drops on a hot pan. Maybe I need to try audio books. Or meditation. Or just a new good book.

Got any recommendations?

57 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, November 21, 2019

  1. I’ve read some romance by Layla Reyne, which was very readable and I needed the soothing, but probably not going to stop skitteriness.

    On the other hand, I’ve also started Boy Swallows Universe and so far, it’s excellent and probably different enough to be absorbing in an anti-skitter way, I’m very much looking forward to continuing (as soon as I get this pesky work out of the way).

    Or Spectred Isle, by KJ Charles. I liked it on first read, and loved it on second read. It’s a little reminiscent of Rivers of London I think. But I’m not sure why I think that. It’s a romance too, with a dose of mystery.

    4+
    1. Huh. It _is_ somehow like Rivers of London, so probably whatever is putting me off of both of them is the same undefinable thing. I’ve read them wondering why I didn’t like them more.

      7+
  2. I’m rereading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, prior to binge-watching the new series. It amazes me that he thought those were YA books, damn, there’s so much there. I’m to the “cough up body parts” stage of this bronchitis/asthma thing, so I’ve been up all night and I’m getting pretty punchy.

    Also note to self: Really not a good idea to have a crying jag over a teddy bear and the aunt who gave it to you when you’re coughing up body parts. And tears on tablets are salty, wipe them off before they dry.

    14+
  3. I’m really enjoying Mary Balogh’s Simply series on audiobook. I love Rosalyn Landor’s voice. Very soothing.

    7+
  4. I broke my book-buying moratorium with “Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians BUT Were Afraid to Ask” by Anton Treuer. I totally highly recommend it.

    Someone suggested it over Twitter in a convo and I am pleased to say that it is wonderfully readable and incredibly informative. Get it.

    Then I bought Crossroads Corner by Brenda Margriet. An enjoyable and fitting end to the trilogy. Do buy it asap.

    8+
  5. I’m staying up too late reading the 4th Torin Kerr Space Marine novel of Tanya Huff. I read it long ago, but can’t remember much of it. Should not be reading late!

    8+
  6. The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley remained depressing in a good way. But for that kind of reason, I’ve been refusing to read or listen to the news all week. It’s all irrelevant to me until they come to a decision, and I suspect that decision is going to be a big fat goose egg anyways, because the Senate is less than useless, it’s stacked to be malicious.

    I finished Kushiel’s Scion, though I skimmed through some action bits. Starting on Kushiel’s Justice today.

    8+
    1. This is me. I listen to a very quick version of the headlines and try not to read anymore than that. I realized about a year ago that too much news is very bad for me, emotionally and mentally. I try to focus energy on what I can do locally in my community and leave it at that.

      10+
  7. I’m reading art books for book club. Enjoying How Do We Look by Mary Beard, a Cambridge U professor who can write accessible prose! And I’ve been reading kid lit on Hanukkah, which is fun.

    6+
  8. Just finished Little White Lies (which I think I found on BookBub), a very funny story of southern belles burning it all down, and now reading Terminal Alliance, which has me cackling over the alien-human communications: “we come in harmony to defenestrate your dingo” is just one stellar (har har) example. Yes, I went for the humor this week!

    4+
      1. Jennifer Lynn Barnes, it’s apparently Debutantes Book 1. Terminal Alliance by Jim Hines is also book 1 of a series, and honestly the funniest space opera I’ve read since Murderbot.

        6+
        1. I just checked out “Little White Lies” and am half way through. I love it. While I am not particularly wild about the arrangement because the chapters bounce back and forth between “now” and the action as it is occurring, although not in a totally obnoxious manner. But the character development and portrayal is excellent.

          Early in the week I was reading Andrea Host’s Touchstone series and while it was good, I kept feeling the 18 year old heroine was slightly off in her reactions. She was a very young 18 year old. If her age had not been stated, I would have thought she was 13 or 14. Sawyer in “Little White Lies” is also 18 and comes across as an 18 year old (also she is great).

          Usually I don’t read series but I plan on reading more of Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

          Thank you for the recommendation, Charlene.

          1+
  9. I’ve been looking for comfort reads, or at least not too stressful ones. I wasn’t entirely successful. I really enjoyed Delivering the Truth, the first in Edith Maxwell’s Quaker Midwife series — the history, plus learning about Quakers was great, but there were also some very sad bits (realistic, though). I’ll read more of the series, but probably not immediately. I have to get over the sad parts before moving to the next.

    I also read a couple more in the Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood. Very entertaining and easy to read. She’s a bit too promiscuous for my taste, but in a lovely easygoing way, and everything else about her is fabulous.

    Now I’m into Death Comes to London, the second in Catherine Lloyd’s Regency mystery series. Good writing, good mystery, can’t wait to be finished working and curl up on the couch.

    7+
  10. Rereading Pratchett’s ‘Unseen Academicals’ just because I feel like it.

    Just letting the hearings fade in and out. I watch some of the commentary but not alot.

    Since all politics are local I’ve been putting my time and energy into local groups and boards. It just seems too early to worry about the Democratic noninee and how health care will be tackled.

    5+
  11. I have both Bet Me and Faking it to reread again. Nothing better to comfort the soul on cold dark days and nights. Some joy is needed in this funny old world we live in.

    8+
  12. I just finished Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper. It is a memoir of growing up and then leaving the Westboro Baptist Church. They are the ones who picketed funerals of GIs and referred to almost all women as whores. The church was started by this woman’s grandfather and almost all of the members were relatives so leaving was an incredible act of courage. The book also paints an interesting picture of how the grandfather went from being the most active civil rights lawyer in Kansas to starting a cult that preached eternal damnation to anyone who wasn’t part of this extremely small, mostly related group.

    6+
    1. The most interesting part was when the patriarch began at the end of his life to recant some of his more extreme positions, his family renounced him and blocked anyone from visiting him. He died in a hospice, totally isolated.

      7+
        1. Yes, but it was also more complicated. A convert came in and started adding new rules that nobody had previously needed. Where before they had made non doctrinal decisions collectively, with women having equal voices, suddenly there was an all male Council of Elders and if any woman wanted to bring an issue before the council, they would have to request that their husband or father raise the issue. Adult unmarried women could only marry members of the Church but since most of the men were close relatives, there was no one to marry.
          Originally, the founder’s daughters were quite powerful and ran the family law firm, even argued before the Supreme Court. After the New Order took over, they were completely silenced.

          5+
    2. I watched her Ted Talk on how she and her sister left. And how people interacted with her to change her mind.

      5+
  13. I just broke down and ordered all The Others books by Anne Bishop from Amazon. By the time they arrive, I’d consider them my Christmas present to myself. I can’t wait to re-read them all.
    As for reading, last week I read two Carola Dunn’s romances – My Lord Winter and The Road to Gretna. Both charming. I never read her romances before, but I enjoyed Daisy Dalrymple murder mystery series. Now I want to read her romances too.
    Also re-read The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer. Not much of a romance there, but it was a nice story.
    Also just finished Endless Blue by Wen Spencer. I love this writer. This particular book is a sci-fi, set in a very unusual world. I don’t know what happened to her, but she simply stopped publishing after 2017. Two of her new books were on their way to release, both new installments in two different series, and then everything just stopped. Don’t know if she is unwell, or her publisher dropped her or what, but it makes me so sad. I want to read more of her, but nothing is available, and no communications with her are possible.
    Her website doesn’t offer any contact except Facebook and Patreon, and her last posts on both platforms are about two years old. 🙁

    7+
  14. I’m not an audiobook fan, except for Louise Penny’s books, read by Ralph Cosham. The stories plus his voice is the perfect combination. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened my way through books 1-10 in the past months.

    Of course that isn’t helping me make my way through my towering TBR pile, but listening to the books has made my daily work-commute much more enjoyable and relaxing, so that’s a win.

    7+
  15. I finished Brenda’s trilogy – loved it – and fell back on Stuff I’ve Already Read. In this case, Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance.

    Did I mention acquiring a new Kindle Fire? I did. Acquire it, I mean. It’s a version 9. I think the old one is a version 1 or 2. There are physical differences. The 9 is maybe 1/4″ slimmer – the screen size is the same, just less casing around it. All the controls on the 9 are on one end. On the old model, the sound jack and sound controls are on the end opposite the on/off switch and USB port. The 9 has front and back cameras and a microphone which the old one lacked. The 9 is a much better all around tablet and I can use it to Skype and stuff.

    On the device management screen at Amazon, the old Fire is “Gary’s Second Kindle” and I always called it “Joe” (as in, the rain is Tess, the Fire is Joe…). The new Fire is listed as “Jo.” (If my cousin JoAnne asks, I’ll say I named it after her.)

    It only cost me $50, US. As the older model has been dropped a time or twelve, has a permanent horizontal line on the screen, and the back wants to pop off, I’m calling this A Bargain. I’m going to load it with my liberry, Real Soon Now, after I sort the books I actually want with me Alla Time.

    1+
  16. I’ve been reading a kids’ chapter book series called The Magic Thief, which has four, or sometimes five books according to various sources. Evidently Book 5 is a novella, available only in Kindle, and is actually 4th in the series, if it is part of the a series…. Writers: please don’t do this to readers! So confusing!

    But as I was looking for another book by author Sarah Phineas, I discovered that Adam Rex has written and illustrated another book called Cold Cereal, which I’m reading and liking. There’s apparently a sequel, which makes me nervous, as I disliked the sequel to his masterpiece The True Meaning of Smekday, which is just amazingly wonderful. But enjoying his odd view of the world and his characters.

    4+
    1. I loved The True Meaning of Smekday but haven’t loved his other work. I wanted to, since Smekday is practically perfect.

      5+
  17. I slogged through a book a friend lent me. It had its moments, but I was relieved to be done with it, so I could move on to something I wanted to read more.

    So nothing to recommend this week. Hopefully next week.

    6+
  18. Listened (my eyes are getting so bad I have a hard time reading) to Helen Harper’s Slouch Witch, which I actually enjoyed very much. Lots of snark and feisty heroine. Then I made the mistake of going to the next in the series (I hate series and normally do not get involved with multiple books). It was so much…….less, than the first. Paged forward through part, and then was thoroughly irritated when this book ended with a page hanger – you need to buy the third in the series to get resolution. Sorry, that is not happening. At this point don’t really care what happened.

    7+
    1. I read the first one. Given there are some things that annoyed me even there thanks for warning me off the second!

      1+
  19. Anything by Brene Brown. The Gifts of Imperfection. Braving the Wilderness. Daring to Lead. Rising Strong. Most I read/listen 2 x through right out of the gate. Definitely a voice of sanity amidst this journey of being human.

    1+
  20. I read The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. Was it someone here who recommended that? It was good – all the daughters of men like Doctor Moreau, Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde get together to work out who’s committing the Whitechapel murders. Interestingly written.

    Also Barbara Hambly’s Drinking Gourd, which is number something in the Ben January series, and is as beautifully written and as blunt about slavery as her previous books in this series.

    Also Louise Penny’s A Better Man. I love this series, but for some reason her very mannered style started to grate on me a little. I’ll read the next one though.

    Also Susan Hill’s The Benefit of Hindsight, which is the latest in her Simon Serailler series. It’s nominally a crime series, but really the whole thing is an extended character study. Gorgeous books, very fallible hero.

    9+
  21. I’ve read a few historical novels, new to me authors, but nothing to recommend. Deleted from the library. Nothing is grabbing my attention at the moment. Will start on the TBR now. Fingers crossed.

    4+
  22. I was stressed by this week’s news, but retreated to a really old comfort read, THE HARVESTER by Gene Stratton Porter. Published in 1911; light romance, but has some of the details I find I really like: he builds her a house with every possible convenience in the kitchen (I am a sucker for great kitchens in romances) and has a different occupation; instead of conventionally farming his land, he maintains a very varied mix of medicinal flora — everything from trees to vines, water plants, marsh plants, and woodland growths. Whenever I reread it, I find some detail I missed before — this time was the mention of a “carving table” in the dining room. We always carved the roast at the dining table. I’ve never seen one or heard of one before, and Google and eBay don’t produce anything likely.

    8+
    1. Maybe more of a carving trolley? I’ve seen them do this in restaurants because the joint is too large to go on the table but they want to show it being carved at the table. It’s taller so you can do it standing up. Then you keep it warm under the giant lid until people want seconds.

      2+
  23. I started listening to Fated Mates and so I’m reading Kresley Cole. This is a very expensive and dangerous rabbit hole I’ve gotten myself into, hmmm?

    4+
  24. Because of the new job, I have two hours in the car a day. Eventually I’ll be working more from home, or more locally, but for now that’s the commute. I’m so happy about the job that I don’t mind it. I listen to a bunch of podcasts, especially the NPR Politics podcast, it sums things up for me. Right now i’m listening to Howl’s Moving Castle, which I think was recommended here in the last couple of weeks. It’s odd and fun.
    I’m thinking of just going ahead and getting the War and Peace 22 hour first half.
    I’ve read it before, I don’t think I would listen to it first before reading it. That should cover some miles!
    But I’ll probably intersperse it with good stuff that I read about here.

    5+
  25. Take 2.

    I posted yesterday, but the post was held for moderation, then disappeared. I’m guessing there was too much product placement.

    I read two books in particular. One was Crossroads Corner by Brenda Margriet. The other was a Bujold with an Alliance. The product was a digital reading device, a later version of the one I named Joe (because the rain was Tess). I may have raved a bit, ‘specially about price. This one’s name is Jo after my cousin. She’s younger than me.

    That is all. Carry on.

    3+
  26. I’m reading a compilation of Elizabeth von Arnim (The Enchanted April). I recommend Elizabeth in her German Garden, which describes her hanging out at her house in the country and trying to work on the garden, hampered by having to ask the servants to do everything for her and visitors disturbing her when she wants to read books in peace. She is not always a good person but she is very understandable, charming and a good writer.

    2+

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