This is a Good Book Thursday, March 12, 2020

Last night I wrote the first paragraph of a book I hadn’t started yet, Stealing Nadine. It was like the Lily book, all of sudden I saw it. So I think I’ll be rereading Faking It (Nadine’s debut) once Nita has gone to NYC.

In other news, I’m calling on all Arghers to self-isolate with books and chocolate. No, don’t argue with me, Mom knows best.

So what are you reading until the Apocalypse? (I ask because Tom Hanks has the virus. If God is turning on Hanks, we’re all toast.)

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77 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, March 12, 2020

  1. I really enjoyed “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. I don’t usually read a lot of “celebrity biographies” (yes, I know she’s not a regular celebrity, but still) b/c there’s often a lot of soft focus feel to them where you’re not going to get a real feel for what the person is like or what their life is like. And there was a little bit of that here, but I still felt enough of the “real Michelle” shone through that it was enjoyable to me.
    I really enjoyed and was especially moved by the parts about her growing up and her tight knit family life. This is going to sound like a really weird comparison (maybe?) but it reminded me a little bit of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
    The Robinson family home life is not nearly as dire as Francie Nolan’s is (and Mr. Robinson sounds like an absolute peach of a man compared to Francie’s), but there is this real sense of the family having to dig deep and work as a team to bring Michelle and her brother to better opportunities. And the way Michelle wrote about with such grace and appreciation, showing how it affected the whole sweep of her life, really touched me and reminded me of a Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of my favorite books.

    The political stuff didn’t interest me as much (partially b/c it’s more known and partially b/c it’s depressing to me reminded what a good president is like), but it was definitely cute to read about her relationship with Barack and her daughters too.

    1. I listened to it as an audio book ( for which she won a Grammy) and it was wonderful.

      Her first impression of Barack was great – he was late to meet her at work, and she’s thinking who does he think he is.

      1. Off Topic, a little bit. I never could get into A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, for whatever reason, but I LOVED LOVED LOVED Joy in the Morning. I must have checked it out of the library at least once a month when I was in jr/sr high–a thousand years ago. 🙂

        1. I thought that was just me. I finally t with the wikipedia verson, but I read Joy in the Morning many times.

  2. I finished ‘The Tiger in the Smoke’, which was good. Went on to ‘Illyrian Spring’ by Ann Bridge (1935), which I also enjoyed – old-fashioned, a bit slow, women’s journey, some humour, plus lots of local colour tailored to me: art, wild flowers and the coast of former Yugoslavia, which I visited several times in my teens and twenties – although not alas in spring, which sounds wonderful.

    Also enjoyed, for its absurdities, the Lovecraft novellas I had to read for the day job. Somehow the man-sized flying pink crabs didn’t convince, and I laughed aloud to learn we’re going to be vanquished by giant beetles. He obviously had fun, though; and seemed to find his inspiration in all his hang-ups. I’d be astonished to learn he was pro-immigration or saw women as fully human.

    1. Jane, I’ve just finished a couple of AJ Demas’s books, and loved them so much. I’m pretty sure you were the one who recommended them. Also KJ Charles. Anyone else you’d recommend who’s writing MM historical romance?

      1. I’ve just checked through my Kindle for you, Lian, but I’m afraid not. I’ve read a few each by Joanna Chambers and Cat Sebastian, but they’re not in the same league. Might be worth a go – I haven’t read their latest books; and of course you may click with them more than I did.

  3. Can’t self-isolate just yet, cause I work in a west coast theater company’s PR/marketing department, so I get to spend today helping communicate to people that only 250 people of the 500 people who bought tickets get to see a given performance. We’re offering exchanges into next season, but still. Today’s gonna be FUN.

    There’s also the risk that if it got to the point where all public gatherings are banned, most theater employees in the city would probably have to be temporarily laid off, since most of us don’t have big cushions or endowments.

    I’m meeting up with some performing arts friends on Saturday, and there is going to be A LOT of wine. And pizza. Also pizza.

    1. Yeah, I’m suspecting all public gatherings are going to get banned, including theater, for months, at this rate. I want to go to a show tomorrow but I think I’ll just walk in and buy a ticket at the last minute to see if it’s still going on.

      My work is still open to the public and I can’t work from home, so I’m here until the entire campus closes (I just heard a rumor that might be next week). Office management has been ridiculously bad about the whole thing, so… yeah.

      1. Yeah, we ended up canceling performances for four weeks. Which was probably the right call, but it means a lot of employees are getting furloughed. Those of us in the money making departments have been spared.

  4. As for actual book recommendations: this week is The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer (I’m not particularly into her work, but the book is good) and Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, which is just as good as everyone says it is. Snarky and sexy and scandal-y.

  5. Darn…chocolate! I knew I forgot to buy something when I was shopping this morning. Probably need a trip to the liquor store too.

    Wait…what? Did you say Nadine’s story, Jenny? Oh yes!!

  6. FYI, Humble Bundle is offering a bundle of DRM free sci fi and fantasy ebooks for a short time this month. McKillip’s the Forgotten Beasts of Eld is included among other books. I think there may be a girls charity benefitting if that sweetens the offer.

  7. I have been reading Simon R. Green’s Ishmael Jones fantasy/mystery/horror series. Ishmael solves mysteries with supernatural elements in modern day Britain while also trying to figure out his own mysterious past which is hidden behind a veil of amnesia. The latest book in the series just came out a couple of weeks ago. I can’t wait to pick it up from the library. I enjoy the books but they may be a bit of an acquired taste for others.

    I also have been enjoying the Lady Adelaide mystery series set in 20s Britain. Whoever recommended it, thanks. There’s a new one coming out in the summer and I have it on my wish list.

    Does anyone else maintain huge book filled Amazon shopping carts waiting for my spare cash, or is it just me? Hee hee.

    1. Are the Ishmael Jones books all sort of country-house mysteries or do they widen out? I listened to the first 2 and really enjoyed them but there’s only so much people-stranded-with-a-killer I can take before my mind wanders. The fault lies with me and my brain, not those kinds of books because I do enjoy them.

      I totally use my Amazon cart as title storage, especially since I now borrow more books from the library than buy them.

      1. They’re not all country house mysteries. The latest one is set on a train. But, you’re absolutely right, they do tend to fall into people-stranded-with-a-killer mode. I do find the slow reveal of Ishmael’s past keeps it fresh enough for me. Plus, it probably helps if you don’t read/listen to all the books in close proximity.

        Glad I’m not alone in the ever expanding shopping cart department…

    2. I have a wish list so big it stopped sorting over a year ago, probably two at this point. Tried cleaning it out, which helped but did not fix the issue.

      I just started a new wishlist lol.

  8. Ok, I should have deleted “my” in the last sentence of my post. I definitely don’t have enough cash for my own shopping cart, never mind yours. 😄

  9. Finished the three books by Vivian Shaw. Enjoyed them muchly. My daughter’s college has closed and she’s already bored to death. I think I’ll send her to her father’s house! Although He lives in a bigger town, it’s a college town and she’d probably be just as isolated there as here.

  10. Someone here recommended the Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. I liked it quite a bit. In fact, as much as I am a “not a series” person I have to admit that I would have liked one to continue the saga. The author has a new book coming out in June (The Angel of the Crows) that I think I will probably get. I got the new Jule Mulhern Country Club book 10. It was OK. I am always a little disappointed that they are so short. I cannot get in to her other series about Poppy Fields.

    1. Addison is working on another tale in the Goblin Emperor world — following the cleric we see a lot of. I think it’s coming out next year?

      1. The working title is THE WITNESS FOR THE DEAD, and it’s said to be a sequel set later in Maia’s reign. All we hear about publication date is that the author writes Slowly.

  11. Reading and enjoying Betsy Woodman’s debut novel, Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes, which Elizabeth Berg (who is a friend of Woodman’s) praises on the jacket as being “charming, engaging, and utterly delightful.” I can’t remember if someone here recommended the novel or if Berg did on her FB feed, but it’s a good read. This is my last day at the community college for at least 2 weeks, but I do have my freelance work to keep me occupied.

  12. Finished The Priory of the Orange Tree. The storylines are pretty unbalanced, and it becomes more and more apparently how little the author cares about some of them as things go on, other than to explain plot and world-building happening outside of the view of the actual primary protagonists.

    All that said, the core story is strong enough for me to see why this book was so lauded last year. In the end, none of my criticisms of it are any stronger than criticisms lobbed at LotR. That’s right, The Priory of the Orange Tree is indeed a doorstopper of epic fantasy worthy of Tolkien, but with the added awesomeness of flipping LotR’s gender ratio.

    Currently reading Iron Will of Genie Lo.

  13. I work at home and occasionally at the shop, could be considered semi-self isolation. Yesterday was a reading day, in which I re-read Crazy For You. Had not read it for many years. Reading Julia Cameron’s It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again, on and off. Now to do the morning pages again. Need to get back to writing. Too much work, not enough creativity. Morning pages gets the juice going.

    Today is a work day, no more reading. The sun is shining = natural light in my office.

    Will start a new to me author, Mick Herron’s The Marylebone Drop, part of my reading for the cruise that never was in February. Yeah, I get my new passport next week. No travel for a while. Will look into the Lady Adelaide mystery series.

  14. Just finished Jayne Ann Krentz’s latest novel, The Vanishing. Not bad, although I’ve read many better books but her. It is a paranormal thriller, set in Seattle area, but it reminded me of her Jayne Castle paranormal futuristic books.
    Also read Carola Dunn’s Smugglers’ Summer – a charming historical romance. Loved it.

  15. I’m over here in my bunker in WA with lots of books. Plague state reading includes Wanderers by Chuck Wendig, and Mira Grant’s zombie apocalypze Newsflesh trilogy which is on sale right now. I also have more Trisha Ashley (Winter’s Tale) and Mary Balough’s Someone to Trust was on Bookbub today so I nabbed it. Honestly I have enough books in my TBR pile to get through however long this thing takes.

  16. “Waiting for Tom Hanks” is a wonderful fun read by Kerry Winfrey, and seems appropriate. I’m also loving “The Bromance Book Club”.

  17. Someone last week mentioned a new Doyle & Acton mystery was out, and it turned out I had somehow missed the previous one as well. So I got to read Murder in the Blood and Murder in Deep Regret, by Anne Cleeland. Both were good. If you liked books 7, 8 and 9 in the series you’ll like these as well.

    I reread Good Omens, again. The first time since seeing the TV series, which was also excellent. My one less than stellar impression of the TV series was that the angel wasn’t quite how I remembered him from the book, which turned out to be me because as I was rereading the book and remembering the actor’s performance I kept going ‘Okay, he nailed that one. That one too. Okay, he was spot on the whole series.’

  18. My first volunteering effort since retirement was going to be the World Womens Curlung Championship my city was supposed to host starting this weekend. It just got cancelled. No one has tested positive to COVID-19 in my area and I guess they want to keep it that way. 🙂

    Just reread The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James. I love it but remember now I felt it wrapped up too easily.

  19. I read the Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. It was fun (great for being a debut), but I’m not sure I’m up for diving into the series. I didn’t realize there were 5 (?) more books when I’d originally requested it from the library. Instead I started a reread of Cotillion. It’s making me slow down to read, which is a good thing right now.

  20. I read Snowspell by Stephanie Burgess as well as the other three in the series. All are short – novella length – and lovely escapist reading. They are fantasy Regency romance set in an alternate universe where England is ruled by women. Made me snicker to read a book where men are considered too emotional to rule and women are considered practical. I enjoyed all of them and am hoping for more in the series.

    In self-isolation news, there are no confirmed cases in my state yet, but I am unable to find toilet paper, tissues, soap, isopropyl alcohol, or bleach in any stores in my city. Cold medicines are in short supply, and hand sanitizer, if you are lucky enough to find any, is rationed. It’s insane. At this point, the hoarders are a bigger problem than the virus.

      1. You’re right – it is Burgis. Does this blog have auto correct? Cause I could have sworn I typed Burgis. Maybe I have a gremlin.

    1. Our stores are still stocked, which is odd because there are a lot of cases just two counties over (we’re two counties away from NYC) and quite a few in our state. The guy in front of me did buy twenty packs of bottled water, which seemed excessive, but hey, water doesn’t go bad.

      I, of course, had three cases of Diet Coke. But that’s what I usually buy in a week, so not hoarding.

    2. Because I really don’t have time to shop but have been reading about the toilet paper issue, today I started counting squares as I go.

      1. My wife needed some wine so I got sent to the grocery store. As expected all the toilet paper and milk were gone, but not only was there only about 2% of the normal number boxes of cereal in the cereal aisle but the name brand bread section (Wonder bread, Pepperidge Farms, etc.) was totally empty.

  21. I read ‘The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend’, which is a warm-hearted, funny look at life in a small town. Plus books! I enjoyed this so much, though I notice some people on Goodreads were angry because it contained spoilers for the ending of books they might want to read some day. Like Jane Eyre.

    Also The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie. Didn’t find it as engaging as her trilogy, but still a good read.

    And The Baron Next Door by Erin Knightly, which was light-hearted fun.

    1. I read Readers a couple of months ago and loved it. And thought about the spoiler issue, but A) it isn’t as thought those are new books and B) I thought it would be more likely to encourage people to actual get around to reading them.

        1. Reminds me of the people who thought the movie Titanic was spoiled when somebody mentioned that the ship sank.
          Who ARE these people?

          1. Possibly the same people who wonder if Jane Austen will ever write a sequel to Pride and Prejudice.

          2. Well, she has time. She’s just lying around in her grave.

            Which is where I’ll probably be finishing Nita. My grave, not hers.

  22. I read Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet and I really enjoyed it. When you find yourself holding your breath a little as you turn the page…yeah. Library had it categorized as both Romance & Sci-Fi. I would add Action/Adventure to that mix.

    1. I super super super love the Dempsey’s and Tilda and even that blonde from the filming in Welcome to Temptation, I’m bad with names, argh. So happy that there will be another book!😁

      1. The ultimate escapism! A stroll around the grounds of Blandings Castle would hit the spot right now, perhaps encountering an old pair of trousers draped over the pig sty fence that suddenly rears itself up, revealing the lord of the manor.

  23. I have finally figured out my library’s new e reader system, so I read a couple of cozy mysteries that were okay but I’m not sure I would reccomend them.
    I still have to go to work but it sounds like my trip to Tunisia to see the grandkids is getting cancelled. Boo!

  24. I’m nearly done with SHE SAID by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey, the NYT journalists who broke the Weinstein story. The book is about that, and about the larger issue their investigation uncovered–the widespread practice of sex predators using pay-offs and NDAs to silence victims, ensuring they can go on preying on women for years.

    The reporters didn’t start off knowing about the NDAs. That was a gradual discovery, and they grew to realize that Weinstein’s sexual predation (and that of other rich, powerful men, such as Bill O’Reilly) was far worse and more widespread and criminal, and had gone on far long than anyone ever suspected, because the NDAs ensured no one ever heard about it. And so they started tracking down women who had left Weinstein’s employ suddenly and then virtually disappeared.

    Anyhow, it’s a riveting read.

    1. I have this on my Kindle – I’d say I’d read it after A Very Stable Genius – but I think I need something lighter to mix it up

    2. Kantor and Twohey’s book is a excellent companion to Ronan Farrow’s book, Catch and Kill.

      Their book is clearly the work of more seasoned and scholarly journalists (better written, footnoted, and indexed (Farrow’s not indexed at all) than Farrow’s, but all 3 have done invaluable and courageous reporting (as did the Epstein reporters).

      Farrow’s personal journey (vis a vis his sister and their father) was fascinating and Kantor and Twohey’s full awareness of the problem all women share (including perhaps esp trans women) will resonate with all of us and open up lots of conversations. My most interesting, and depressing, ones are with young women who are still having to deal with these issues as much as we did, and our mothers and grandmothers …. Sigh.

  25. Bad News from Montgomery County PA. Our governor has closed all the schools and public building – gyms, theaters, libraries – for 2 weeks.

    Thankfully I have lots of books – am just starting ‘A Very Stable Genius’ and after watching his Oval Office speech last night I am looking forward to reading it.

    1. I know all the closures, cancellations, and shut-downs seem bad. But when you think about it, we are witnessing an amazing act of universal solidarity. People aren’t choosing to shut down or cancel out of self-interest. We are voluntarily disrupting our daily routines and sense of normalcy because we believe it is a way to help protect others, because we believe scientists, and because we want to give nurses & doctors a fighting chance. I see it as a giant, coast-to-coast statement about civil values, about taking care of each other, and about recognizing our total interconnectedness.

      I don’t mean it’s wrong to be scared. I am sitting right here in the fear with you! This is a bad time, and it is hanging a giant neon sign on all the ways our society has completely and utterly left people without any kind of safety net or reasonable guarantee of basic needs. But I am finding the civil mobilization kind of beautiful in a way. Not because I want everything to be shut down, but because when things are bad, I want people to protect each other as well as ourselves. And I think a lot of us are trying.

      Just a thought. Enjoy your Good Book Thursday (and Good Book Friday, Saturday, & so on!).

      1. It is scary, we seem to be the epicenter in PA, but without testing we don’t know the spread of the virus.

        I’m not concerned for myself so much, but the unknown is unsettling.

        I actually met a friend for dinner last night, so life does go on.

        And, I can use it as an introvert excuse to stay home and read.😊

  26. Our schools have all been closed through April 24. And our library is closing after tomorrow. Good thing I can check out ebooks. I think I’m good on toilet paper and even if I don’t have hand sanitizer, I have a lot of soap.

    1. My sister sent me a text picture of the toilet paper aisle at her local Target – completely empty. Luckily I always stock up at Costco.

  27. I’m rereading Judith McWilliams, which are usually funny, though not screwball. She does family very well, and I do like her sense of humor.

  28. I read the last name Addison and it triggered me to check on Sarah Addison Allen. She’s writing a new book!
    Bless her heart it appears her mother and her sister both died in her recent past. That’s hard.

      1. Yeah, she had breast cancer and then her mom got sick and was ill for a very long time and her sister died unexpectedly. It was enough to make anyone curl up in the fetal position for a while. I was thrilled when she started writing her Sunday stories on Facebook again earlier this year.

  29. Rah for Stealing Nadine! And (makes puppy eyes) Haunting Alice!

    I finished “Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts” – would not have stuck with it but for recommendations here. It was fun but frustratingly fragmented.

    Got Pedialyte and chocolate. Thinking about making a library run while I still can. Or, hey, we have the whole Harry Potter series…

  30. Loaned the first two of my current favorite book series (Sharing Knife – Bujold) to my oldest friend, who loves them. Shocked to realize, though, as we discussed them a little, that she kept forgetting the names of the two main characters. Seemed to be less a memory issue than a result of speed reading them to find out What Happens Next.

    Felt a tiny bit smug at the fact that, after reading them all about 4 times, I have no trouble at all remembering any name in them at all.

    Started re-reading the 5 Gods series by the same author, only to find that I’d forgotten nearly every detail of both novels. Downside: can’t be all that smug, right? Upside: they’re every bit as good as I’d (vaguely) remembered them. 🙂

  31. NADINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes please.

    I finished another couple of cozies–one by Kristi Davis in her Diva series and another British one by an author whose name I have forgotten and am too lazy to go look up for y’all. They were both good enough to move on to the next books in the series.

    Just started my first serious comfort read– Katie Fforde has a new book out called A Springtime Affair. She’s another Brit (if you enjoy Trisha Ashley, you’ll like Katie). Thank goodness for The Book Depository, which will ship worldwide for free, since it takes months for them to come out here.

  32. Reading – Book 17 of Danger Cove Box Sets. It’s been slow reading because I’ve Been Ill.

    Wednesday was break point for the respiratory distress. Either I got better or I was going to hospital. I got better. In fact, I’m at work. I’m no longer coughing, but the nose still runs, so that whole “Wash your hands and don’t touch your face” thing is right out. Sure, I use tissue, but the face is still getting touched, innit?

    I’m not stocking up on toilet paper. I have a couple of rolls, as backup for tissue (snot rags). I’m keeping Cottonelle flushable wipes in business, instead. Also, individual packets of “Dude Wipes” for when I’m away from the house.

    On the good side, I’ve lost at least 12 pounds in March.

  33. Reading Amy Sue Nathan’s The Last Bathing Beauty–good story. Well done, as all her books are. Takes place in one of my favorite places in the world, South Haven, MI. Have a lot of books in my Kindle queue, so I’m all set for reading. I have a couple of editing gigs to do because publishing stops for no virus. I need to get started on the new series for Tule. I’m also knitting a scarf for Grandboy and I have several skeins of baby yarn that need to be turned into blankets, plus the entire set of Gilmore Girls, Foyle’s War, and the PBS Anne of Green Gables DVDs. I think I’m in good shape. Stay well, everyone!

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