This is a Good Book Thursday, March 5, 2020

This week I read about cleaning house, Byzantine art, and murder in Boston. They’re all kind of running together in my mind now. There’s a bizarre train of thought in there.

What’s in your reading past and future?

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60 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, March 5, 2020

  1. Three idiots decided to leave all their debris from fishing with brand new equipment last night by the water when they were done, and I’m raging against them so hard right now. Clearly intentional, clearly didnt care, and it was awful. Not a freaking small amount either. >:(

  2. I read my first ever Heyer mystery, Footsteps in the Dark. After having read every one of her Regency novels in recent months, it took a chapter or two to get into this one. But now I’m hooked. Really enjoyed all the twists and turns and quirky characters.

    1. They get better, too – that’s her first, and not a keeper like the rest (except ‘Penhallow’, which is rather grim).

  3. I finished re-reading Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. Currently reading Knight and Moon by Janet Evanovich. It’s wonderfully wacky. Underrated though. I hope she continues the series.

  4. I read a bad Nora Roberts (a reissue of a couple of fantasy novellas from the library, which looked fun), so reread ‘Jewels of the Sun’ to recover, and am now reading Margery Allingham’s ‘The Tiger in the Smoke’, which is good so far, and a fascinating glimpse of post-war London.

    Also, for work, reading H. P. Lovecraft, and enjoying his old-fashioned yarns; so far too daft to be scary.

    1. With the Lovecraft, are the publishers toning down some of the racist language or are they keeping it as it was written?

      1. It’s for a new Penguin Classics SF series, so no major changes as far as I know, except UK spelling and punctuation – but I think they were changed before this edition. Haven’t come across any racism yet; there’ve only been New Englanders and shadowy aliens.

        Given Lovecraft was writing nearly a hundred years ago, it wouldn’t seem to me to be appropriate to edit him, anyway. Just don’t read him if you prefer to avoid historical voices, which would almost all have been racist and sexist and homophobic.

        1. That’s my thought as well but, as we all know, people are funny about stuff like that.

    2. I will always love Lovecraft for Cthulhu.
      If you need a break, somebody did Cthulhu in the style of Dr. Seuss. It’s wonderful. If you search for “Cthulhu Seuss” somewhere in there will be the full version, but I don’t want to put a link because I’m not sure if those pages are legal.

  5. Finally, finally, I finished something! E.K. Johnston’s A Thousand Nights. I wish she would write faster. I have liked everything of hers I have found, and they differ a lot.
    Now I need to finish some more things, because I have three reserves waiting for me at the library.

  6. I’ve been getting over a bad upper respiratory infection – just a bad cold! – and felt too bad to read. My hubby said he wasn’t worried I was very sick, until I said I don’t even want to read! But feeling much better now, and starting to poke around my library to see what catches my interest.

  7. I picked up Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. It’s slow going because it’s a doorstopper epic fantasy (over 800 pages), and there are 4 viewpoint characters, only 2 of which I care about right now. There are connections between all of said characters, but they’re all separate from each other in location, which is also a drag. I just wanna get to the fun interaction parts already (which only one storyline is currently giving me)!

    1. I have now started liberally skimming the storylines I don’t care about (and any scenes that are mostly description). This has helped my engagement. 200+ pages in out of 800+ total.

      This book is supposed to be a modern triumph of epic fantasy. What is the rest of the genre like, if only two of the four storylines were interesting from the start, one feels like it only just now started being relevant 200 pages in, and the remaining one is still feeling like filler by stubbornly clinging to the Refusal of the Call stage? All of the cutting back and forth between storylines is murder on the pacing, too. Every time it starts getting momentum, we reset to another storyline’s unhurried establishing shots. Boo!

  8. I actually finished the cheap-on-kindle book I had abandoned last week, so I am proud of myself.

    I was rewarded by also finding Kathleen Gilles Seidel’s “The Last Snowfall” which I had purchased in a busy moment and then…… somehow forgot I hadn’t read! S O-O-O glad to have new ones from Kathleen again!!!!!

  9. I read the first book in Lindsay Buroker’s new urban fantasy series, Sinister Magic. Val is a half-elven former soldier who is employed by the army as a contractor to hunt down eliminate things that no one believes in that have killed, and in many cases eaten, humans. But then her boss gets cancer and she’s being investigated for fraud and there’s an incredibly powerful dragon-shifter who also happens to be hunting some of the same creatures she is.

    I also read Ben Aaronovitch’s new Rivers of London book, False Value. I remember seeing that several Arghers had trouble with it, but I didn’t really have that problem. It was a pretty good typical Peter Grant story. There was a little jumping back and forth, such as a cold open in the middle of the story and then ‘Three months previously…’ sort of thing. Which I really don’t like, but it wasn’t as bad as a lot of other books.

    1. I’m not a fan of the flash-forward opening, either. I liked False Value, but then I’m invested in that world. It’s not something I’d advise people start with for that series.

    2. Glad to hear you enjoyed Buroker’s latest. I’ve been meaning to get it, and I read the first chapter preview at some point, but since it’s a new genre for her, I was a little hesitant, and I’ve been busy so I hadn’t gotten it yet.

      1. I just bought it since it was 99 cents on Kindle with an Aargh recommendation. Don’t you think we ought to promote the “brand”? It should count more I think!

  10. Gail Collins’ latest, No Stopping Us Now, a chronological account about older women in this country, is her usual brilliant work–chock-full of interesting facts and trivia and stories. I will be sorry to finish it. Haven’t looked at any fiction–this is better!

  11. I just finished a complete re-read of the Wearing the Cape series. I’ve promised myself not to re-read it (again) until a new book comes out – that usually triggers the impulse. Besides, I haven’t finished the Danger Cove mysteries, yet.

    I’m assuming that web-comics count for reading. In that vein, let me share the Great Romance Arc of Grrl Power, one of my top ten favorite comics onna web. 🙂

  12. I’m rereading Rivers of London before I jump into False Values.

    I’ve also gotten sucked into a number of ongoing stories on Archive Of Our Own. One is a fabulous Harry Potter/Avengers crossover called On Punching Gods and Absentee Dads. Loki was actually James Potter and therefore Harry’s dad. It’s 50 chapters and updates weekly. It starts with Harry finding out that Loki is his dad and he, Ron and Hermione figuring out how to get Harry to NYC to punch him, for abandoning him, Sirius, Remus, et al.

    1. When I read this, I was thinking the old TV series The Avengers with Steed and Mrs. Peel. I was trying to imagine Diana Rigg at Hogwarts.

      1. Giggles. If you write it, someone will read it.

        I’m constantly surprised at what’s on there. Mary Poppins as a substitute teacher at Hogwarts? It’s there.

      2. There’s at least one story on the Archive.

        By Another Name by MsSolo for Aaronlisa
        Fandoms: The Avengers

        General Audiences
        No Archive Warnings Apply
        Gen
        Complete Work

        21 Dec 2009
        Tags

        No Archive Warnings ApplyJohn Steed Emma PeelNew Avengers Avengers – Freeform Flirting

        Summary

        In “K is for Kill” Steed drops Emma a line (much to Purdey’s jealousy). But what did she mean when she said “I don’t go by that name any more”?

  13. I didn’t get in much pleasure reading this week. The only book I finished was Jill Shalvis’ Almost Just Friends. While sellers list it as part of a series, it’s a standalone book. The location seems to be what’s used to define this series. It was an entertaining read; it was more serious than her earlier books but there was still humor and some great one-liners in it. I picture these on a t-shirt and snicker.

  14. I’ve started the new Sarah J. Maas book, Crescent City. This is the first in a new series. I loved her Kingdom of Ash series and her various A Court Of… books. (She writes urban fantasy with tremendous worldbuilding.) Having a little difficulty getting into this, because she’s introduced at least 12 different characters in the first 25 pages. I keep referring back, muttering “now who is this, again?” But it’s an interesting story, snarky protagonist, and the darn thing is over 700 pages. I read quickly; I suspect I’ll read this thing twice, to savor it the second time. Right now, I just wanna know what happens next!

  15. I’m reading Natasha Pulley’s The Bedlam Stacks. Almost finished, actually. What a powerful book. It has nothing I admire in a novel, but the writing is so freaking good, I can’t put it down. It’s mesmerizing. I liked her previous book, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, too. She is a tremendously gifted writer, although I’m not sure what genre she is writing in. The closest I can come up with is magic realism.

    1. There’s a follow up to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street coming out soon. Can’t remember its name, but I’m really looking forward to it.

      1. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street looks like it’s right up my alley, so I just bought it. It’s 1.99 on a special Kindle deal today, for any who are interested.

        And it looks like the next in series, called The Lost Future of Pepperharrow, came out a couple of weeks ago.

      2. Lian Tanner, it’s out: The Lost Future of Pepperharrow. I’m a third of the way through and loving every sentence.

  16. “Supernova” by Marissa Meyer is the last book in a series, but it’s really well done.

  17. I absorbed Vivian Shaw’s Strange practice and Dreadful Company in a really short time. Like the writing a lot. Thanks to whoever it was that recommended her here!

    I am also invested in the Peter Grant universe. Now it’s waiting for the next one!

  18. I reread The Goblin Emperor, because I’ve been spending too much time on Twitter, and I needed the gentle goodness as an antidote.

    And then I reread Wanted, A Gentlemen by KJ Charles, which is not my favourite of hers, but has some recently excellent lines.

    “Still, the words did their magic, as words always did”

  19. To my great relief, Lois Bujold put out the first three of her Penric novellas in a paper book, with covers. And pages. In my library. It’s good, but it’s a little complicated and it had been a long time since I read one of her novels set in the same world so I re-read the first of those, Curse of Chalion, and was mesmerized. Had no idea it was anywhere near so riveting — I guess I’d struggled trying to get into the world. It helped to have read a reference on the book being loosely based on the events around Queen Isabella of Castile more or less running away to marry the crown prince of Aragon and thereby unifying the crown of Spain.

    I’m just dazzled by this woman being equally adept at building sword-and-sorcery worlds, farmers & Indians in a slightly sorcerous wild west, not to mention military SciFi with romance subplots. With central characters who are smart, funny, and slightly broken through much of the books. Just my cup of tea. 🙂

    1. I reread The Hallowed Hunt this week. The descriptions are as riveting as the plot. I discover new bits every time I read it. (Like maybe 50 times by now.)

      Have you also read her YA novel The Spirit Ring? Another time and place.

  20. I tried a new-to-me cozy author whose book seemed like it had a fun premise. Made it about three pages with dozens of word repeats and ran away screaming. I mean, not even subtle word repeats. I have one word for this author: editor, editor.

    Continuing reading one of the cozy series I do like, by Krista Davis. Just finished The Diva Digs Up the Dirt, which was mostly okay, but the love interest for the first five books is abruptly out of the picture after this one, which I’m not thrilled by. (Although really, he was starting to annoy me, so maybe he was starting to annoy the author…)

    1. I have that on hold from my library. There were 336 people ahead of me when I started in line — now I’m at 145. And that’s with 71 copies in the system. :/

      1. I’m lucky in that the county library system (I’m in Montgomery County in PA) that if my local library owns the book they put you at the top of the line for the hold.

    1. I just finished the newly issued Murder in Regret by Anne Cleeland, volume 11 of the Doyle and Acton series. Not as good as some of the previous volumes with far too many proofing errors. Too many. The first three in the series were great, both in book and audible, read by the marvellous Marcella Riordan. The others were uneven, rather repetitive, although remarkable adhering to a master plan. I just hate the sloppiness of a poorly proofed novel, it takes away the pleasure from the reading.

      I am also re-listening to the Penric novels, which I so love. The idea of having a wise demon living inside my head… When is The Orphans of Raspay going to be recorded?

      Last week I listened to the new Peter Grant, and as someone else here mentioned (I think), Kobna Holdbrooke-Smith’s narration is splendid. I endure flash forwards and back stoically: I’d prefer not to have to but am willing if they’re not too intrusive. But then I have trouble with numerous POVs and unreliable POVs as well. This one was a worth-reading addition to the series imo.

      I’ve just started to read Donna Leon’s newest. Lots (too much?) of ruminating. Still, Venice. And delicious meals. And compassion.

      Jenny, thank you for “This is Good Book …” I so enjoy reading about what others are reading, especially by this eclectic group.

  21. Late. Rough day. Couldn’t sleep last night, flipped through the Libby app looking for something.
    Baldacci’s ‘Absolute Power’ popped onto the screen.
    Realized I hadn’t read the book, only seen the movie.
    Different but equally absorbing.

  22. Finished the audio book of Armageddon (Expeditionary Force #8) and started #9, Valkyrie. Yay space opera. Blah week in reading otherwise, lots of picking up and putting down books.

  23. Continued my Shirley Jackson binge with her laugh-out-loud family books, “Raising Demons” and “Life Among the Savages,” which I have long loved–understanding it’s fiction, not memoir.

    I also requested “The Haunting of Hill House” from the library. I don’t like to be scared. We’ll see how long I last.

    1. I loved her family books, but “The Haunting of Hill House” is one of the scariest damn books I have ever read. It’s brilliant, but it’s also the only book I’ve ever actually jumped from surprise while reading.

      My friend Krissie knows Jackson’s daughter, Sally. There’s a lot of story behind those stories.

  24. It took a deal of willpower not to like and share this FaceBook post on my wall there. I lack the willpower not to share it here:

    “Today I completed a chore that I have been putting off for six months. It took 15 minutes. I will learn nothing from this.” – Humor Train

    That’s so me.

  25. Very soon, I will be reading my first book by you! 🙂 A friend of mine has introduced me to you and I am ashamed to admit that I have not read any of your books. Especially because I happen to live in… wait for it… Beavercreek, OH! I had NO idea you are from the Dayton are, used to live and teach at BHS! That is so cool!! Anyway, I am looking forward to reading my first of many of your books! Also, I hope someday you write a Boston Byzantine art house cleaning murder novel cuz I’ll bet that would be something! 🙂

    1. Well, say hello to Beavercreek for me. Twenty years there. Good people. Oh, and welcome to Argh.

  26. I read an awesome short story : Everything My Mother Taught Me by Alice Hoffman. It’s about a 12 year old girl who stops speaking when her kind father dies and she’s left to navigate her way with her horrible mom in 1908.

  27. I just finished The Girl with Ghost Eyes, which is an urban fantasy novel set in San Francisco’s Chinatown at the end of the 19th century. Fascinating folk tales and religious rituals. Plus a young woman learning her power, despite all the men who want her to be “good”.

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