This is a Good Book Thursday, December 19, 2019

This week the internet went out and I downloaded Kissing Ezra Holtz (and Other Things I Did for Science) to read on my phone. Really enjoyed it, great first person point of view.

What did you read?

49 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, December 19, 2019

  1. I’m currently reading A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas, which I’m mostly enjoying, and massively bingeing on a handful of fanfiction authors.

  2. In keeping with the season, I’m listening to Charlotte MacLeod’s “Rest You Merry”, a book I read years and years ago. It’s fun and snarky about the goings on of the faculty at a small college at Christmas. The narrator is okay, but as I read the book years ago, the main character, Peter Shandy, had a different voice in my head and that threw me for a bit. It’s a light mystery that has always been a favorite of mine.

    1. Yes! “Rest You Merry” is the first MacLeod I read, and in this very season a couple years ago. Enjoyable and, as you write, light. Satirical elements still work.

  3. I am loving Naomi Kritzer’s short story collection, (als0) titled “Cat Pictures Please.” I also finished Augusten Burrough’s “Running With Scissors.” I love his later books, I think this one is well written but also hard going given the extreme crazy. I doubt I would have read it as his first book having not read later ones where he’s happier.

  4. Oh my god, “This Is How You Lose the Time War” by E.L Mohtar and Max Gladstone was excellent. Highly recommend.

      1. I’m on the very long waiting list at the library. So long I’d actually forgotten I’d requested it until I looked it up just now.

      2. I’m reading another time travel book right now, and what strikes me is that with a lot of modern books, it feels like things take forever to get to the promise of the premise, whether because I’ve had my expectations set up incorrectly by the synopsis, or because the writing gets so bogged down in all of the setup.

        “This Is How You Lose the Time War” wastes zero time. The entire thing is fulfilling the promise of the premise, from the very first word to the last.

  5. I’m reading Bill Bryson’s The Body and enjoying it. It’s not Earth shattering but interesting enough to keep my interest.

    I also started The Talisman Ring after someone mentioned it last week. In my head I conflated it with The Reluctant Widow which it is not really all that similar to.

  6. When you said point of view, it reminded me of what I read last week. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. I was struck by two things: (1) I’d never read the novel but I saw the movie back when and I kept thinking HOW did they get that movie from this book? and (2) the point of view. I’m used to reading third person POV but it seems to me mostly that the writer is behind the drapes or looking in the window….close by somehow. This POV in Practical Magic is as though the writer is looking in from a satellite; it’s so very far away. It was striking to read but I kept getting distracted by it.

    This week I read Augusten Burrough’s Running with Scissors. I did love the writing but the content horrified me. Next up…something very fluffy.

    1. I adore Alice Hoffman’s way with words – it’s beautifully, sharply intense. My favourite of hers changes depending on my mood.

    2. I enjoyed the film but couldn’t read the book. It felt like everything was a flashback and we never got to the bit where things are actually happening now. “and then she did this…and then she did that…and then this happened…”. It drove me crazy.

  7. I read The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore and found myself laughing out loud. I had never read anything by him before so I was surprised when the Zombies arrived. I even felt the anxiety of the seven year old boy (Josh) as he rushed home after dark trying to come up with a plausible excuse for being late (playing video games). Wouldn’t it be funny if there was a thread of a connection between Christopher and Clement C. Moore (Twas the Night before Christmas)? I could see a movie out of this book.

  8. Liam recommended Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes a week or so ago. He was right, it was well worth it. A very twisty mystery. A girls grandmother, whom she has never met before because her mother got kicked out for getting pregnant at 17, shows up after she graduates from high school, and wants her to become a debutante. She accepts because she sees an opportunity to figure out which of her mothers old flames was the one who knocked her up. Things do not go as planned.

    I also read the sequel, Deadly Little Scandals. And the twists just keep on coming.

  9. I filled in the holes in my Kindle Crusie list, so I’ve been re-reading those, starting with Welcome to Temptation. Also looked up Bujold because she was an Ohio native, too, but I didn’t see her on that list. Started reading the third of the Sharing Knife 4-and-a-half-ology. Finished Return to Christmas.

    Other than that, I downloaded my 1099R from the military retirement account. The next check won’t be until after January 1, so they’ve paid me everything I’m going to get. I’ve no experience with 1099s from Social Security (but I just got my last SS check for 2019, so maybe.) The state always promises W-2s by the 20th of January. They are the hold-up.

  10. I’m about 2/3 the way through the latest Bryant & May book, The Lonely Hour. As usual, Christopher Fowler does not disappoint.

  11. I’ve been comfort-reading Eli Easton’s Christmas books to nurse me through plumbing, roofing, car and dental crises.

    The dentist turned out not to be painful at all, except financially (damn Mrs Thatcher for removing dentistry from the NHS, pretty much). He’s put a temporary cover on and plans a crown for the new year. In other good news, the plumber came first thing, turned a giant key thing until a bit of water dripped out the boiler, and I had hot water. So I did the washing up and washed the kitchen floor. Then, back from the dentist, I tried running a hot bath again, and after a minute or two the hot tap burped and ran freezing cold.

    So I spent half an hour chasing plumbers, booked one for tomorrow afternoon, and then decided to finish filling the bath using my kettle. If they managed during the war with baths a few inches deep, I could too. I used the hot bath tap to fill the kettle, and by the fourth filling it started to run warm and then hot – so I had my much postponed bath, and feel a LOT better. I’m going to check I’ve still got hot water tomorrow morning before I risk cancelling the plumber, though.

  12. Finished Georgette Heyer’s Cotillion and enjoyed it tremendously.

    Then I read Susan Mallery’s Three Sisters. It was a really good book. By now, I’ve read 5 Mallery’s novels and noticed an interesting phenomena. Every time the book concentrates on women – two sisters, three neighbors, two friends – with a bit of romance thrown in, I like it. But when I try a traditional romance by her – you know, man + woman = love – I can’t even finish it; I become utterly bored. I can’t understand why it is happening. It is the same writer, and all five novels were written during the same decade.

    I also finished two Christmas books – Fern Michaels’ Holly and Ivy and Mary Balogh’s A Very Special Christmas. Both left me unmoved.

    And finally, for the fans of Ilona Andrews. She started posting her new novella in the Innkeeper Chronicles – Sweep with Me – on her site. The full book will be for sale in the new year, but for now, you can read it in installments for free:

    Don’t you love those guys? They always offer something free to their readers.

    1. I feel the same way about Mallery. I think she does a nice job with women’s relationships with women but most of her men at some point do something Jerklike out of fear of commitment. The few where that isn’t what happens I like a lot better.

  13. Been ill, finally managed to read The Girl who knew too much by Jayne Ann Krentz, entertaining , easy read, but I don’t know much about the era it is set in. Then while I was on a roll, read Toucan Keep a Secret and Lark! The Herald Angel Sing both by Donna Andrews. Both comforting cozies. This year it has just been hard to read new books.

  14. Most recently, Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee. YA SF/fantasy novel about a shapeshifting fox/teenage human girl who runs off to space to find out what’s happened to her older brother who has allegedly deserted his position as a space cadet and disappeared. Not totally sure how i feel about it, some interesting moments and some irritating moments. Overall, it was ok.

    But just before reading that, I read the new Lynn Kurland fantasy novel Prince of Souls. This is a Nine Kingdoms novel which completes the (2-3 book) arc about Acair, an evil wizard reluctantly turned semi-good and attempting to protect his beloved and escape the murderous attentions of another evil wizard. I enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend the entire Nine Kingdoms series which is more than 10 books by now, I believe.

  15. Eudora Welty’s short story A worn Path. So mystical and simultaneously grounded.
    This year archetypes of greek, roman, norse mythic figures and moments kept popping through the text, as when the hunter who meets the old woman in her path to town helps her up from a fall, tells her to go home, points his loaded gun at her as a joke, walks off to continue shooting songbirds. Felt like home already. What woman has not had those experiences and survived, then gone on to repopulate the world despite oxymoronic lethal gentlemen?
    Bright Solstice and Glad Yule! Longest night ends with rebirth of the light.

    1. Four total. The Peter Shandy series, starting with Rest You Merry. The Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn series, starting with The Family Vault. The Janet and Madoc Rhys series, starting with A Pint of Murder, (written as Alisa Craig). And the Grub-and-Stakers series (also written as Alisa Craig). I wasn’t that fond of the Grub-and-Stakers series, but I really liked the Madoc and Janet Rhys series. Sadly I believe it was also the shortest with only five books 🙁

  16. I finished Kristan Higgins’ Life and Other Inconveniences. Well written and many good qualities. But. Pretty much NO sympathetic characters. Actually, several quite irredeemable. Some, too perfect. And a tragedy or three most people couldn’t recover from one of. Sheesh. I adore KH but major downer. The book also had those book group discussion prompt questions. Honestly, I find these questions so pretentious. Am I being too harsh?

    1. The discussion questions were probably not her idea; we get pushed into those and she’s not a pretentious person.
      The book, I know nothing about.

  17. My favourite this week was Death Comes to Kurland Hall, the third book in the Kurland St Mary’s series by Catherine Lloyd. I’m sure I’ve said this before – I just love this series for its snarky main characters and their very fraught friendship which is gradually becoming something more.

  18. My cousin recommended THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE, by Cynthia Hand, as a holiday read, and I liked it pretty well. Also came across Carla Kelly’s books about Durable Smith, a polymath, light reading.

  19. I almost bought Kissing Ezra Holtz when I saw it on BookBub, you just pushed me over the edge. This week’s reading: The Magic of Thinking Big (good stuff for planning a new year and new goals) and How to Write a Lot which is aimed at academic writers but works for anybody and is hilarious as well as helpful.

  20. I can’t remember who recommended this, but it’s wonderful: The Late Great Wizard by Sara Hanover. And the second book is due out next month. The writing is marvellous: yes it’s a first person tale but unlike many we don’t know every little thought in her head, just the surface ones, so there’s things we don’t know about her. The story involves a wizard and a phoenix and a single mum and … I can’t say more without spoiling something but I recommend it highly. (It ends well, but you want more. No cliffhangers!)

  21. Whoever recommended Swordheart thank you! It was funny and poignant and I now need to read her backlist.

  22. Finished “Death has Deep Roots” and loved it. I have been traveling for work so had to put it down and pick it up later, but never lost the thread of the plot or characters.

    Just got an email this morning and “Smallbone Deceased” is a Kindle Daily Deal, so I’m off to my next read😊

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