This is a Good Book Thursday, December 12, 2019

. I read a new book this week, but when I was done, I found I was annoyed with it and all the people in it, so I’m not going to be splashing the title about. Also I can’t remember the title. I also read some old books this week, including End Game because you people kept reminding me of it. And I read a magnificent book on pies by that woman who has that amazing Instagram account, Elegant Pies by Karin Pfeiff-Boschek. I would write more but I must go make pie.

51 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, December 12, 2019

  1. I’m not sure whether I should write about my project on a Good Book Thursday, but here goes:

    My ‘favoritest favorite’ of all the novels I wrote up to now is the story about a tight-knit community in a house where the grandma likes to take common sayings and proverbs and put a new spin on them. So when my son told me about this new translation software that he thought was so much better than Google’s, I ran the manuscript through the program to see what it would do with it. Of course there were still a lot of flaws BUT now I had a complete English manuscript of 80,000 words that I could edit instead of having to translate it from scratch.

    So without having ever considered this before, that’s what I did. The result is this:

    I know it’s a work in progress because I keep finding things to correct but okay, it’s out in the world now. If you have a Kindle Unlimited membership and time on your hands to take a look, I’d be very grateful for some feedback.

  2. I love cookbooks like this. I love to read them to dream and ponder. Until I attempt the recipe. It comes out looking….bad. Though usually not as bad as the kitchen does or me.

  3. Oh, thank you, Jenny! A few days ago I was talking about beautiful food art with a friend, and trying desperately to remember the name of the author of the “Elegant Pie” book. I didn’t even know she’d written a book, I’d just seen photos.

    The best I could do was to say, “I saw her pies somewhere online.”

    Yes, I know, that’s SUPER specific, and I know my friend was really grateful for my input. But now I can actually direct her somewhere useful!

  4. Like Diane, “I saw her pies somewhere online.” But I had no urges to hunt her or them down – I’m not aposta eat pie. (I like that word – “aposta.” On the one hand, it sounds like my youngest granddotter’s “supposed to.” On the other it’s more like “opposed to,” and together they display the ambivalence.)

    I like apple pie, and that alone covers a wide assortment depending on apple type, crust type, et cetera. There are several meat pies and quiches I also enjoy, and as a chocoholic, chocolate creme pie goes without saying. Also goes with saying. Goes with or without anything, really, but doesn’t lend itself to artsy crusts.

    But her pies do look elegant! I’d buy the book to leave it out at work, except the favored reading material there runs to Guns and Ammo and Bass Pro Shop.

    I am still reading Krissie’s Book.

  5. I thought I’d tackle the shelf on the bookcase that houses my unread books. Started with Lee Child’s The Midnight Line. Tackled Make Me next, which is actually before Midnight. Then Past Tense, which kept me up almost all night because you cannot put it down. Now I’m on Night School, which is making actually working difficult because it’s sitting RIGHT THERE.
    Lee Child is a master at creating page turners.
    And I wish Jack Reacher was actually real. Not the Tom Cruise version, but the version living in my head.

    Also, my Christmas pies will be inspired this year. Thank you!

    1. My friend had a Jack Reacher phase too, she dated a couple marines (I kid you not) I got quite worried, but short of writing an angry letter to Lee Child … It’ s your fault for making Reacher so noble & honourable (that would be crazy) not a lot I could do. She got over it phew. Tom Cruise is such a miscast of the character.

  6. I have choices today between Debbie Macomber’s Window on the Bay and The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore.

    A couple of weeks ago I bought a cookbook for each of my granddaughters for Christmas. Maybe after they enjoy looking at the pictures they might try a recipe or two. One is a book on creating meals using shortcuts and the other is Christmas cookbook with recipes, ideas and crafts. They’re both from the Taste of Home series and I think I’m going to order them for myself. Absolutely yummy!

    1. The Stupidest Angel distracted me from the worst flight I’ve ever been on, and for that alone it remains one of my favorite books.

  7. There is no way any pie made by me will look even remotely like that picture. Of course, the one in the picture is unbaked and baking is where much of the mess happens, but even my unbaked pies will never look that good. I guess I’ll just have to aim for tasting good and be satisfied when I can achieve that.

    As for reading, I got a batch of Sherry Thomas romances from the library and the one I just finished is, coincidentally enough, Delicious.

    1. She talks about the difference between baked and unbaked crust and how to deal with it. Her baked pies are gorgeous, too.

      1. I may have to look more closely at the book then. My daughter (the 11 year old) went thru a Rosana Pansino stage that still comes and goes. It makes baking with my daughter interesting because she wants everything to be picture perfect, even though we’ve never used a star tip on anything… Pansino’s recipes are actually very yummy.

  8. Oh my dear doG, I think I gained five pounds looking at the pictures of her pies.

    But that definitely brought happiness and beauty into a week that featured my car refusing to start and having to be towed to the car doctor. Again. The tow truck driver looked at it, and me, and said, “Didn’t we tow you last week?” Why, yes, he did, thank you very much. And then the bank moved some money without authorization and I’m still waiting to hear if it’s lost or safe. And then I got a call for jury duty even though I have a permanent exemption (physical reason).

    All whining aside, I am (re)reading a lovely old dog lover’s mystery, Bride & Groom by Susan Connant, in which I learned that there are great similarities between writers and serial killers–socially isolated, given to daydreaming, delusions of grandeur, feelings of failure, difficulty in accepting criticism. I console myself with the fact that most serial killers are men. Also, writers’ delusions of grandeur are expressed by creating new worlds instead of personal grandeur. And we volunteer for criticism by sending our wonderful and perfect manuscripts to editors to be savaged, which I must now do.
    Susan Connant’s books are great reads, btw.

        1. Thank you, Maine Betty. All good wishes gratefully received!

          I’ve always wanted to go to Maine. Louise Dickenson Rich books make it sound utterly desirable.

  9. I read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Really, my argh-friends, I can’t decide whether to recommend it or not. It follows the lives of four friends (m) from graduate school as they build their different lives in New York.

    On one hand, it was excellent, really excellent. Compelling, wonderful writing, written sparely enough to balance the melodrama, and I want to say important but I’m not sure why it feels that way. And it stays with you, I finished it a week ago, and I’m still thinking about it. On the other hand, there’s lots in it that I don’t want to still be thinking about, trigger warnings abound re abuse and self-harm.

    Powerful, but not always enjoyable. Not my usual thing at all, but in the end, I don’t regret reading it. So yes, if you’re feeling brave or like you need something other than brain-candy, go for it.

    1. I couldn’t actually finish it. I agree that the writing was beautiful and the characterisation was stunning, but the level of abuse was so extreme and so relentless but in the end I just stopped reading. And have never taken it up again with that particular book.

  10. PS KJ Charles has two books on sale for 99p – one light and fluffy (Band Sinister – Heyer-but-gayer) and one a pulp style (Henchmen of Zenda). I share this mainly because she’s put them up to give people their choice of election-time escapism, and her tagline for the note she put about it on twitter is the best thing I’ve read this week “Affections, erections, absolutely no elections’. lol lol lol.

  11. I have had the Elegant Pie book on my Christmas wish list since I first saw an announcement about it. I am hoping it arrives in my stocking.

    I am reading an old Larry Niven book but I haven’t finished it yet so I don’t know if I reccomend it or not.

  12. I’ve been binging on Sheri Cobb South’s Regency-era mysteries. Great stress reliever. Also a few of the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen. Last night I started reading Gin Jones’ Christmas story, A (Gingerbread) Diorama of Death. More excellent stress relief. 🙂

    1. I had so much fun writing that story. I hope you enjoy it. (And if it’s not too much BSP, this novella is going to be retired as a solo release after this month, only available as part of a larger anthology, so now’s the time to get it if you want just the one story for under a buck.)

  13. I just finished a British novel–The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas by Carole Matthews. There are a couple of previous installments involving the same “chocolate lovers’ club” bunch of women friends, but it has been years since I read the last one and it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book at all. Warning for chocolate triggers…you will spend the entire book wanting to eat All the Chocolate. Generally pleasant and light reading, with happy endings all around after lots of bumpy middle.

    Also set at Christmas, which I enjoy at this time of year.

  14. Just finished The Talisman Ring by Heyer. What a treat! At times, I laughed so hard, my eyes teared. It was a re-read, but I read it the first time long ago. I remembered that I liked it, but I didn’t remember any details.
    A new book for me this week was one of Kat Martin’s romances about a necklace. I wasn’t impressed.
    Now, I’m in the middle of Wild Country by Anne Bishop, the latest of her Others novels so far. Also a re-read, and my least favorite of that series, but it is still a strong urban fantasy with interesting characters.
    I’m thinking about that Pie book Jenny mentioned. I like pie. Its decorations are not as important for me as the recipes for crust and fillings, so I might check it out.

    1. The Talisman Ring is a top 5 Heyer for me. That, The Grand Sophy (obvs), Cotillion (because Freddy), Frederica, and the fifth spot usually held by the one I’ve read most recently.

        1. I love that one, too, although the heroine really plays second fiddle to the hero. But the hero is so enormously likable (and enormous, period) and the cast is so terrific that I almost don’t mind. I think one of the keys to Heyer’s wonderfulness is her supporting characters. They’re always so much fun, like Sarah’s brother in The Talisman Ring, or the whole family in The Grand Sophy, who showcase so much of the main characters. I knew Charles was going to be a great hero when his little brother put a baseball through a neighbor’s window, and then Charles’ awful fiance tried to get rid of the kids’ monkey by saying, “I believe the bite of a monkey is poisonous” and Charles said, “Then I hope he bites Theodore” and Theodore grinned. Then the awful fiancĂ© says something about how Theodore should be repenting or something, and Charles said, “Yes, but it was a capital hit. I saw it.” And that was it for me, Charles is a hero, and we have to get rid of the Awful Fiance. Couldn’t have seen that without Theodore breaking that window.

    2. I LOVE The Talisman Ring. It’s right up there with The Grand Sophy and Cotillion for Favorite Heyer of all time. I especially love the hero switch, much like Cotillion. You think it’s going to be one of those opposites-learn-to-attract arranged marriage books, and then you see them at breakfast and think, “Dear god, this is never going to work,” and shortly after that one of them realizes that it’s never going to work and it’s a whole new ballgame. Plus I adore Sarah; she laughs through the whole thing, enjoying the absurdity of it all even while she thinks fast. And the hero is absolutely deserving of her. Just a wonderful book.

      1. Black Sheep, These Old Shades, Tollgate

        Spoilers !!! Faro’s Daughter…you have to laugh at Faro’s Daughter, when the hero refuses to be rescued by her brother, because he refuses to be obliged to someone with so little backbone

      1. My favorite Heyer couples are in Talisman Ring, Faro’s Daughter, Reluctant Widow, Quiet Gentleman, Sprig Muslin, and, always and especially, Devil’s Cub. Each couple is equally matched. Of course, Phoebe and Sylvester are well-matched in Sylvester, or the Wicked Uncle.

        But I just spent ten minutes thinking about the marvelous back up characters. There are too many to select the best.

  15. I am reading the second book in Sarah Wyndes ‘Sia Mara’ series: A Precarious Magic. So far I am enjoying it.

    The series is an underwater fantasy. The first book was A Lonely Magic.

    Sarah is a Crusie fan who comments here sometimes.

    Also – I am a member of Pinellas Writers Club and we just put out an anthology titled Pinawor 2020 available on Amazon. I have a flash fiction piece in the anthology written under the pen name Annie Biggers.

  16. Very excited that the next book in Mary Balogh’s “Someone to…” series was at my local library yesterday. I am about to begin it, having just finished a Georgette Heyer I’ve re-read and re-read. It’s been a rough week, so going somewhere else on the frigate like a book, as Emily D. wrote, is a blessing.

    1. You make me want to re-read “Up the Down Staircase,” which I read in my early teens. I now recognize the FULL humor behind a newbie teacher sharing with her high school students a quote including “frigate.”

      1. My frigate experience came after not saying the word “fuck” in front my students for fifteen years. I was teaching Robin Hood and went to say “Friar Tuck” and got tangled up in a spoonerism. It was my last week of teaching public school. SO CLOSE. (My seniors were on the floor on that one.)

  17. By happenstance, I ordered THE ELEGANT PIE for a baking cousin and looked at ALL the pictures last night — I’m afraid Suzanne will get it covered with eyeball prints. The author shows how to achieve the effects, and carefully tells you when to lay things out on a sheet, and to be sure to re-chill the dough when needed, or even to freeze the dough occasionally, and one or two of the pies call for two different kinds of crust — crumb on the bottom and short pastry in an elaborate arrangement on the top. Recommended.

  18. I read some really good books this week. My favourite was probably Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Somebody here recommended this, And I second the recommendation. It starts out pretty light and funny and gradually goes deeper, but the humour is still there.

    Also An Accomplished Woman by Jude Morgan, a Regency romance about a young-ish woman who doesn’t particularly want to get married.

    And finally Rising Out of Hatred, the story of how Derek Black went from being the poster boy of the extreme right to someone who publicly recanted all his previous views and now seems like quite a reasonable person. It’s well written and researched, and once again proves that you don’t get people to change their mind by shouting at them.

  19. I burned through “That Inevitable Victorian Thing” by E.K. Johnston, excellent little romance. I wish I could get to see the aftermath!
    Currently reading “This is How You Lose the Time War,” by E.L Mohtar and Max Gladstone. Also one I’ll probably burn through.

  20. Susanna Kearsley’s “Bellewether.” Dual timeline, a slow-burn story with attention to historical detail, a touch of ghosts. Brenda Margriet had recommended this author awhile back as being like Mary Stewart, and I agree.

  21. Nothing to recommend this week. I’m wrapping up a full-series re-listen of the Rivers of London series, and am about to do the annual re-listen of Hogfather.

  22. I re-read T. Kingfisher’s Swordheart, a romantic fantasy about an extremely practical middle-aged housekeeper who falls in love with a guy trapped in an enchanted sword, while trying to free herself from her horrible relatives. (Or, as I think of it, the one where the heroine decides fixing a paladin’s injured arm can’t be that much different than a goat, and is pleased when he doesn’t thrash around as much.) I really love her humor, and it was a good week for unexpected kindnesses among hard things.

    PS Jenny, would you consider putting some of your thoughts about pattern structure back up when you have time? I’m a mentor for a few writers, and you’ve always discussed it much more coherently than I’ve been able to. I’d love for them to be able to read what you have to say, but I can’t find it here any more.

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