This is a Good Book Thursday, May 7, 2020

Sarah Wendell has a great essay in the Washington Post on why we’re all rereading right now: our normal way of living has disappeared so we’re constantly adjusting to change. “Everything is new, so everything is exhausting.” Enter old faves. I’ve definitely been plowing through Georgette Heyer again after spending last week with Christie and Stout. I was feeling slightly guilty about it, but evidently back lists are back in demand and fan fiction (more about favorite characters) is booming, so I’m in good company. I did read a couple of new romances, but it just wasn’t the same. I need something familiar wrapped around me right now.

Are you reading or re-reading? And what?

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122 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, May 7, 2020

  1. Both. I’m working through Penric (still grateful, Arghers, for the regular love for Lois McMaster Bujold that finally made me try).

    And I re-read Band Sinister by KJ Charles, which I’ve heard described as Heyer but gayer, and which I find very comforting indeed. And I really needed that because for some gods only known reason I read On Chesnil Beach, by Ian McEwan. He really is an excellent writer. Keenly observed, unsettling, but completely the opposite of comforting. I do recommend it, but only with a chaser of Heyer, KJ Charles, or your comfort read of choice.

    Crocheters, a question (but if you’re squeamish, look away now). My mum is an excellent knitter, but a year ago her wrist got in the way of a chainsaw (it was an accident) and it severed all the nerves and tendons (yes, horrific). She still does not have feeling in her left hand and only very limited movement (her hand is curled in a relaxed position, she has some grip but no independent control of her fingers, and no sensation in her finger). I’m wondering if it would be possible to crochet one handed? I’m thinking of a mother’s day present. Advice welcome.

    1. PS I also just had a moment reflecting on Argh.
      I came here because I love Jenny’s books, and I stumbled over an essay she wrote on genre romance, and fell into Arghink, and lurked a while. And now, on a blog ostensibly about books and writing, I’m asking Arghers about crochet. And that made me realise, now I’m just here because community. I love Argh.
      Thank you Jenny, for creating this, and hosting it, and for everything it is.

      1. The thing about Argh is that it isn’t me, it’s the people here, so thank you for being such a vocal part of the non-lurk community.

    2. Allanah, has your mother gone to any PT sessions? I say that because when my middle son was a youngster he fell on glass (of course he did) and damaged the tendons in his wrist. In winter he is affected by the cold weather but otherwise he is fine. He was able to join the Navy after high school. One of the treatments I remember is him squeezing a rubber ball for a time every day.

      1. She has, and she exercises it a lot – the tendons have healed, but the nerves could take up to two years and that has a big impact.

        1. Have you asked an occupational therapist? As I understand it, their whole stock in trade is creating work-arounds.

    3. For me, the crochet hook is in the right hand, but left hand holds the project in place, and it holds the incoming yarn for string tension.

      Not sure how feasible one handed is, but I know there different rings and things to hold string tension,
      So just a matter of figuring how to hold the project where you need.

      But a quick Google has videos for amputees still crocheting, so sounds promising!

      Lovely thought for her!!

    4. Thank you for being part of it.

      The fastest answer I can think of (I’ll think about it more) is to do something with a small handloom, like broomstick or one of those sock looms. You wind the yarn around the loom and then, as I remember, you hold the loom in one hand and work the yarn off it with a crochet hook in the other. If you can find a way to anchor the loom to a table or chair arm, she could use her good hand to first do any warping needed and then to do the crochet.

      As I said, that’s just off the top of my head, not sure it would work, but that’s the kind of approach you need. The good thing about crochet is that your hook hand does most of the work, so if there’s a way to stabilize the fabric you’re holding in your other hand, you should be able to work one-handed.

      My god, that is horrific.

      1. Hairpin lace loom:
        https://smile.amazon.com/Adjustable-Aluminum-Hairpin-Lace-Loom/dp/B004BP21H0/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=hairpin+lace+loom&qid=1588871443&sr=8-1

        Sock loom (I’ve never used mine, so I don’t know if it’s possible to use one handed. I can tell you they’re a bitch to step on in your bare feet):
        https://smile.amazon.com/Darice-30022872-Sock-Loom-Purple/dp/B06W54H1YT/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=sock+loom&qid=1588871576&sr=8-5

        The hairpin lace scarf I want to try. No idea if it’s possible to do one-handed, but there’s a video:

        https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/braided-hairpin-lace-infinity-scarf

        1. Oh this scarf looks great! I had a look at the video and I’m not sure it would be manageable, but I might just ask her – she has developed all kinds of workarounds for everyday activities.

          The word ‘loom’ also sparked other ideas, so I’m now going to investigate little table looms for weaving.

          Thanks everyone, I’m not a yarn crafter, so your advice was all very kind.

    5. My sister worked for a day care with a young lady born without fingers. One of the things that worked well for her was arm knitting or crochet. I don’t remember which, must google. Anyway, you use really chunky thick yarn and your limbs as the tool.

    6. Note: according to LJB, a new Penric will be released approximately tomorow — she said “about Friday.” Keep an eye out for THE PHYSICIANS OF VILNOC.

  2. I’m not much of a rereader, but I’m reading lots of light, bubbly YA romance for comfort. I’m also listening to Jane Austen audiobooks, so that’s rereading, in a way, I suppose.

    Not light or bubbly, but I really liked “The Splendid and the Vile”
    by Erik Larson. I like history, but I’m always worried that nonfiction history will be dry, but this definitely wasn’t. And even though it was about Winston Churchill, it wasn’t just about him. You got a real sense of the Blitz and the all the people around him.

    1. I also really enjoyed The Splendid and the Vile. I had to reread Connie Willis’s Blackout and All Clear afterwards. The main characters both do dumb things and worry constantly about dumb things but the sense of being in England during the war is palpable and there is a real feeling of finding joy and companionship during a terrible time. It was just what I needed.

      1. I love Willis but I’ve been so busy that Blackout and All Clear have been sitting UNREAD on my shelf… Time to get around to those, I think, now that I’ve been reminded they’re there! 😜 thank you!

        1. Blackout read like a whole lot of completely disparate stories, and then they all started to come together in All Clear. I love the atmosphere of wartime London and England that Willis built up.

        2. I just reread Blackout and All Clear. I first read them when they came out years ago, and didn’t like them much, so I’m glad I reread them, because this time round is much better. It’s crucial to remember that they are basically one book, and there’s absolutely no payoff or resolution at the end of Blackout. I think that’s what I struggled with first time around. This time I knew it was coming so wasn’t so frustrated. And the eventual payoff is worth the wait.

  3. I’m doing more new reading currently – plowing through most of Annette Marie’s back catalogue, as well as Melissa McShane and Judith Flanders – thanks to Good Book Thursday recommendations.

    I’m working from home, and work is pretty intense and is bleeding into home too much. I live alone and have been relying particularly on action books to get me away from work.

    I’ve had a couple of video conference meetings straight after lunch, where I had to confess that I was still in a book (in the middle of a battle between a magic guild and a daemon as an example) and it was going to take me a bit to come back to reality 🙂

  4. I have a “maybe” pile, of unknown books by known authors, unknown scifi with good covers, and unknown works by series authors I’ve liked. Finally started on the pile and discarded three of the first two categories because oh — the horror. Twenty-five characters mentioned briefly in the first four pages, strange worldbuilding without likeable characters, Regencies where the characters talked and behaved like Kardashians…. Have to figure out if I should put them in the paper recycling bin or drag them back to the library used book sale, but the third category book I tried was “Jenna Starborn” by Sharon Shinn, which is a scifi retelling of Jane Eyre. Strange but as usual, well written. I never liked Jane Eyre that much because domineering self-centered male protagonists have never really appealed, but I am going to read this one to the end, it’s that well written.

    Then go back to re-reading The Sharing Knife, which never palls.

  5. Just re-read Thud by Pratchett, and Heyer’s The Talisman Ring, and Why Ask Evans? by Christie. I have Alone in the Wild by Kelley Armstrong on order, and I’m counting down to the delivery.

  6. I have waded into the Vimes/Pratchett books on your recommendation. So far so good!

  7. Martha Well’s Network Effect was released on Tuesday. I’m in the middle of it, trying to make it last as long as possible!

    1. YASS!! I just reread all the Murderbot novellas and now I have Network Effect and I am just staring at it waiting to need it? or until next week. Next week is more likely.

    2. Mine came yesterday. It’s on the shelf (along with Scalzi’s latest) waiting for me to finish my reread of Thief of Time by Pratchett.

    3. I am also really enjoying Network Effect, particularly Murderbot’s interactions with Amena ( teenage girl)

    4. Zipped thru a re-read of the 4 novellas and just finished Network Effect! Excellent!

      1. Network Effect is on the way. I, too, will hold it for a few days. Anticipation.

  8. I am definitely re-reading. I just finished re-reading (well, listening to; I have it on audio) The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. It is the first in what turned out to be a series, although it can be read as a stand-alone. I finished it late last night and gave a big sigh of contentment, knowing I have 4 more to read or listen to while waiting for the 6th (and final) book to come out in Oct.

    Jenny, you are tempting me to pick up some Georgette Heyer! She, Elizabeth Peters, Ellis Peters (Brother Cadfael, anyone?) and a few others are always good comfort reads when I feel stressed.

    1. These days I don’t find the time to do much reading, sigh (Home Office and looming deadlines do this to you). But I remember vividly when I read the first Megan Whalen Turner Books, so great! And: there’s a new one coming out sometime soon (well, soon-ish): Return of the Thief (Queen’s Thief, Band 6): Oktober 6th 2020 . It was announced to come out last year, so fingers crossed it doesn’t get postponed once again.

      Instead of reading, I’m hooked on “Bondi Vet” and its British spin-off “Vet on the Hill”. As are the kids. Now our son has decided he wants to become a vet, not an orthopaedic specialist anymore…

      1. There are orthopedic specialist vets, you know! We refer to them them all the time.

      2. I have my fingers crossed too that RoT isn’t postponed again. Megan did mention on her tumbler acct that she had gotten to a point where ( as she put it) if she got run over by a bus, she wouldn’t mind it being published!

  9. Before I forget, just read this blog post by K. J. Charles, where she’s offering The Magpie Lord ebook free on all platforms: http://kjcharleswriter.com/2020/05/07/twentieth-novel-bonanza/ Which I definitely recommend if you fancy m/m romance with a supernatural historical setting. It’s not only involving and fun, but the start of an equally good series.

    I’ve had a disappointing reading week: I finished T. Tembarom, which was good but overcooked. I’d downloaded Miss Million’s Maid by Berta Ruck, published in 1915 and set in June-July 1914. I came across her My Official Fiance, written a few years earlier, when I was in my twenties, and loved the social history of it as much as anything: the heroine was doing a secretarial job, like me, and even using the same bus routes – but in Edwardian London. I still think she has a wonderfully conversational style, but this story got more and more reactionary and ra-ra, so I ended up regretting reading it.

    I followed that with trying someone I rather enjoyed as a teenager: Angela Thirkell – Growing Up, published in 1943 and set a few months earlier. Great for social history, but depressingly reactionary and feudal. Also very meandering, with a cast of thousands.

    So I’m back to Heyer, although I might switch to K. J. Charles or Alexis Hall: I could do with new possibilities and rebel protagonists.

    1. Sorry: ‘His Official Fiance’ was the Berta Ruck I liked. (Which rather gives away her anti-feminist stance.)

    2. JaneB Are you excited for the new KJ Charles, Slippery Creatures? I cannot wait.

          1. Me too!!
            I have a client who has a booked an all day workshop on for Monday, I was like, um, really? Could we not make it Wednesday, there’s this book I want to read…

            I’ll be the same for Nita one day (not Lily, because Lily isn’t a book).

  10. I just finished listening to On Eden Street, which is the second in Peter Grainger’s follow-on series to the DC Smith mysteries. That’s one where I recommend starting at the beginning and reading through. And if you like audiobooks, the reader for those (Gildart Jackson) is terrific.

    Next on the list is the third in the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd, mostly because I enjoy the Ian Rutledge series.

    I’m definitely in the comfort-read zone. Heyer, Crusie, Pratchett (need to reread Thief of Time)… anything where I generally know that it’s all going to work out. Because I fear that in real life it isn’t going to.

    1. That just started my train of thought on something I always noticed about the Harry Potter books, and I don’t know if it was deliberate or happy accident. The books mostly wrapped up with the main thread dealing with bad and sad things happening, but there would be a sub-plot, like Hermione sorting out Rita Skeeter, or the twins chasing Umbridge out, where Justice was served. It always felt, to me, like an acknowledgement of the fact that sometimes the world isn’t fair or easy or just, but we still need to feel that sense of justness in our stories.

  11. Finished The Dalai Lama’s Cat. Nice novel about the goings on in Dharamshala from the POV of a karmically gifted cat. Highly recommended.

    Dunno what’s next. Probably non- fiction.

    Re- reads are the Numina series from Ann Aguirre. Great world building, complex characters. Overarching plot like Buffy but standalone books. Worth it.

  12. I also love Christie and Stout and re-read them often but lately, I have read some great new books. I love the Maeve Kerrigan mysteries by Jane E. Casey and she had a great new one published in April. And in the romance category, I read The Happily Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez this week.

  13. The discussion last week inspired me to reread Cotillion. I particularly love how she describes Freddy’s father, discovering hints of heretofore unsuspected depths in Freddy.

    I also read the new Murderbot, Network Effect. It just keeps getting better.

    1. Oh, I love that arc. The way he comes to value Freddy for who he is, and how kind he is to Kitty, telling her he hopes she’ll stay. That’s a great minor character.

  14. Definitely re-reading, even though I have Three Men in a Boat, Knife Children, Murder, Magic, and What We Wore, and The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett. I’ve never read any of his books. Really need to read his books. I powered through Mhairi I McFarlane’s books.

    Finished Friday’s Child, reading as a farce. Not my favourite Heyer. Gil seemed to have brains and Hero never did anything twice, she is young, just out of the schoolroom. I liked the older gentleman, Mr Tarleton.

    Re-reading Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase, always a good read. Good character arcs, Peregrine and Olivia’s quest to find the dreadful Delucey’s treasure. Lots of laughs.

    On another note, Canadian news have been doing stories on seniors, their value in society, how valueless seniors have become, and how First Nations respect elders, how many seniors have helped to build the nation and shuffled off the scene. Something I’ve been thinking about for my third act.

  15. I was waiting for Murderbot #5, Network Effect, and wallowed in reading it for a couple of days. Now I’m re-reading the series from the start.

    Aside from that I’ve read a lot of Heyer lately because like I told a friend, it’s restful. It’s light and fun and clever and a nice break from the nonstop action style of plot.

    And I’m reading a lot of “how big does this tree get, how much sun does this plant need” to make sure my new plants are going in the right places.

  16. I couldn’t find my other Georgette Heyer books so listening to them instead of reading, I much prefer reading, some of the narrators don’t suit the story. Eve Matheson is good. Currently reading Going Postal, their dinner will always be my favourite

  17. I’m reading like the bride at her wedding. “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”

    The old is that after reading the recommendations here, I bought the Georgette Heyer books. I already had A Civil Contract and loved it, so… Also, I count as “old” all the re-reads, like the “Wearing the Cape” series, even though the two most recent stories date to 2019. Also the “Starwing” series by Goodlett and Huff, also 2019.

    I could count them as new as well, but new is Lois Bujold’s eighth Penric and Desdemona novella, coming out tomorrow (which is about an epidemic, but written before Covid-19). Also, I just downloaded the second trilogy of Penric novellas from Baen books. Technically, they’re not new. But I also downloaded The Shaman of Karres which is new. More about that later.

    Borrowed. Ummm… I suppose I can say I’m “borrowing” other people’s favorites? Heyer? Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    Blue. Sorry, not listing any of the blue titles. Too embarrassing. (VBG)

    Okay, Karres. KAK the Witch World. In 1966 James H. Schmitz wrote The Witches of Karres.

    The Witches of Karres is a space opera novel by James H. Schmitz. It deals with a young space ship captain who finds himself increasingly embroiled in wild adventures involving interdimensional alien invaders, space pirates, and magic power. The story is unrelated to the “Hub” series of stories by Schmitz. Wikipedia

    Eric Flint, one of Baen’s editors, got permission from the Schmitz estate and caused Baen to reissue the entirety of JHS’s backlist. Not content with that:

    The Wizard of Karres is a novel by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint, and Dave Freer that was published by Baen Books in 2004, as a sequel to The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz. The book uses the same characters as the original novel, and starts about where the original ended. Wikipedia

    For anyone completely unfamiliar with SF&F, those are three Big Names. Also, it was an excellent book. And it lead to 2010’s The Sorceress of Karres by Flint and Freer. Which brings us finally to today’s

    NEW ENTRY IN THE WITCHES OF KARRES SERIES BY NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR ERIC FLINT & DAVE FREER
    Captain Pausert just can’t catch a break! First, he became the mortal enemy of his fiancée, his home planet, the Empire—and even the Worm World, the darkest threat to mankind in all of space….

    I’ve been reading about Karres for over 50 years!

    1. AKA, not KAK. (Can’t even blame autocorrupt for this one.)
      Also, I borrowed The Witches of Karres from the library in 1966, so that counts. Also in 1967 and 1968.

    2. James Schmitz was excellent. I have several of his and every one was excellent. Thanks for reminding me. They will be great to re-read next.
      I have the first two of the Witches of Karres, but I didn’t know about the third. And did you say there is a fourth coming out now? What’s the title?

      1. I love Schmitz. He wrote female characters with agency at a time when that was rare. Not perfect, but so much better than other SF/F female characters written by other writers (if the even had any). I even made a special trip many years ago to the Reading Room of the New York Public Library (the one guarded by lions) to read one of his OOP books I couldn’t find (or possibly couldn’t afford) elsewhere. That reading room is fabulous! But I digress.

        So how’s the new Karres book? Should I shell out my hard earned dollars?

  18. I’ve been mostly re-reading, but last week I finally got Red, White, and Royal Blue. It was delightful! Thank you, Jenny, and everyone else who recommended it. I feel it would have been better in past tense, but the story, the characters, the development of the relationship were all first rate. It’s definitely a keeper.

    1. I just read it this week as well, based on recommendations here and elsewhere. Really enjoyed it. Thanks, guys. Can’t say that the tense bothered me. Was more bothered to be reminded that we STILL don’t have a female president and still won’t for at least 4 more years. Sigh.

  19. I have bought several new books, all from series I want to read, most of them mentioned here already, and I just can’t read them. All I can read is stuff online. Either for distraction or for panic. I can’t get my brain into another world. I wish I could.

  20. I’m with you on the rereads. Or in my case, re-listens (re-listening?).

    Mostly of my own books that I’ve recently started making into audio versions that are read by a wonderful actress, so the stories feel completely new even though I wrote them, lol. Actually, I have a few review Audible copies via promo code to give away to US and UK reviewers/readers for the first book in the series, and if anyone’s interested just pop me a note:)

    But when I’m not working on my books, I’m totally reaching back for comfort. Far back. By listening to Nancy Drew. The older ones read by Laura Linney who does a great job. I inherited many books from family and had quite a collection growing up, so listening to these definitely brings me back to childhood comforts.

  21. Thank you to the person who recommended Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn. I loved it. Entertaining and fun light romance.

    1. It might have been me. If so, you’re very welcome! Glad you loved it like I did. 🙂

  22. Lots of delightful re-reading this week. Silvester by Heyer was good. Sprig Muslin was excellent – a riot of laughter. Amanda was a treasure. Also have been re-reading Murderbot. I’m on #3 at the moment and stretching the pleasure. I have the Network Effect on hold at the library, but the library is still closed. Alas. Maybe I will buy it after all.
    One new book I tried – a sci-fi author many enjoy – didn’t work for me. I gave it up about 50% in.

    1. In Sprig Muslin I like the way Gareth figures out that he doesn’t want to marry a girl — whether it was the one in the past who got herself killed or Amanda. He likes being an uncle and would be a great dad, but he needs the right woman to love as a wife: Hester.

  23. Opposite for me. I was rereading and rewatching a bunch, but lockdown actually kicked me over to consuming new stuff a lot more.

    I finished “Tell Me How You Really Feel” by Aminah Mae Safi, which is quite appropriate, since I also devoured the film “The Half of It” by Alice Wu this past weekend. Alice wrote about how the way to achieve universally human themes is to dive deep into specificity, making those themes fresh again by telling the stories of those whose stories haven’t been told. For Alice, that was about the plight of a teenage queer Asian American in rural Washington state. Aminah Mae Safi did something similar with her book. The cultural heritages are so present and overtly shape how and why the protagonists act the way they do, and that specificity only amplifies how relatable they are to anyone who underwent the uncertainty of adolescence (and realized that that uncertainty doesn’t necessarily go away with maturity).

  24. Well, I finished Mayor Pete’s autobiography and he is everything you thought he was.

    Now, I am determined to finish A Very Stable Genius, I’m not sure why but it is historical.

    1. It’s good to know Pete lives up to expectations.

      I’m guessing the latter book is historical because someday people will read it and be as incredulous as many of us are that such a foolish and thoughtless individual was elected president? 😬

      1. Yes, Mayor Pete’s book was wonderful, everything you would want in a thoughtful, very smart, empathic human being.

        I’m not sure why I keep plugging away on A Very Stable Genius – morbid curiosity I suppose.

  25. Mary Balogh was recently highlighted on SBTB and one of the books mentioned was Someone to Care. Went right to my library’s e-book network and borrowed it. Forty year old couple, I’m in.

  26. And I thought it was just me. I’ve gone way back with a very beat up copy of a Kathleen Woodiwiss.

  27. I have a new to me Phryne Fisher – a mother’s day gift from my oldest along with a daily yoga video subscription. I had a very bad experience with yoga and refused to do it again, but this is easy and gentle and no one is asking me to stand on my head. So maybe it will stick.

    I know it’s not mother’s day yet, but she gave them to me and I’m not waiting! there’s no one around to tell on me.

    1. Yoga with Adriane is really nice. I skip the stuff I can’t do. Lol. And I always feel better after yoga…

  28. I’ve gone right back to my teens and I’m reading Anne McCaffrey. I’ve started with the Crystal Singer and I’m debating whether I slip into Pern next or move on to someone else. Perhaps Jasper Fforde for the splendid ridiculousness of his alternate reality, oohh, Carl Hiaasen! He’s bonkers enough to keep me laughing.
    The children are planning on heading back to their University town apartment, which will mean I can resume listening to books while I crochet or build more jigsaw puzzles. I’ve never really been one for audiobooks, but it seems more efficient when I’ve got so much I want to do in a day.

  29. I read the first two in the Corinna Chapman series by Kerry Greenwood. Great reads.

    Also read all six in the Rockliffe series of romances by Stella Riley. Also excellent.

    Also reread an old mystery from eons ago — Coffin, Scarcely Used by Colin Watson. It was old-fashioned, quite slow going, but an interesting mystery. I like to have at least one paperback going and usually I choose something that’s so old I don’t remember the plot.

  30. I had two false starts before buying the last Forthright book to clean the bad taste out of my literary mouth. It’s not a reread, but it’s definitely safe space. I trust the author and she always writes tons of comfort porn.

    But I did listen to Charlie All Night. It was lovely.

  31. Re-reading, definitely! I buy books on my Nook on a whim, (I’ve got over 700 piled up), then I start one and discard it after 50 pages. Sigh. At least I’m winnowing my TBR pile down.

    So I started the Cruisie books, re-read them all, yay!! Comfort and fun!

    Now I’m working my way through the Ilona Andrews books – love her snarky tone of voice, not sure why I haven’t seen her name in here before. Books are slightly paranormal, based kind of on Earth, but with a twist; in her Kate Daniels series, magic has come onto Earth and swings through in waves, so most technology has broken down permanently. Great worldbuilding, lots of fun.

    Another favorite re-read is The Black Jewels trilogy, by Anne Bishop. I love her writing, but it can be kind of dark, so warning! Her Others series is great, though, and not as dark as the Black Jewels. Just love her worldbuilding.

    And then there is always Jodi Taylor and her Time series for her mad-cap situations and British humor!

    1. Good heavens, Ilona Andrews name shows up here all the time. I can’t imagine how you could have missed it.

      1. Well, sometimes I just skim all the comments. I’m reading more closely now because, well, lockdown!

        Good to hear that Ilona Andrews is known here”!

  32. Yes to re-reading, but also to comfort reads. I had Rosamunde Pilcher’s “Winter Solstice” on my shelves, but had never read it. Contemporary London and Scotland for settings, and characters with names like Oscar and Elfrida. Loved it, was soothed by it and sorry to see it end. So re-read “Charlie All Night,” for the laughs.

  33. I have bought a lot of books lately and I need to get some reading done. 🙂 This week it is Sherry Thomas’ ‘The Hollow of Fear.’ Stayed up a little too late last night reading it and will finish this evening, because it’s too hot to do anything but read.

  34. At the recommendation of a friend, I recently finished the Jessica Simpson biography. To my surprise, I enjoyed it. She’s very honest about her life and the challenges she’s overcome.

  35. I reread Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters and have now backtracked to Equal Rites.

    Next week Murderbot and then probably back to Pratchett.

  36. Funny you should ask. Today I started re-reading “Getting Rid of Bradley”, which was my introduction to the World of Crusie. Next up: “The Cinderella Deal.”

  37. I’ve just started reading Catherine Aird’s Sloan and Crosby series. Does anyone here know if I need to read them in order? Like, do they cover ongoing developments in Sloan and Crosby’s lives?

    I’m not sure I want to buy all the earlier ones, but my library’s only got the last half dozen as ebooks.

    1. No, you don’t really have to read them in order. Sloane has a long-running story arc with wife and family, but it doesn’t impinge much on the plots in the individual volumes.

  38. I’ve been re-reading Caroline Roe’s chronicles of Isaac of Girona, highly recommended:

    REMEDY FOR TREASON
    CURE FOR A CHARLATAN
    AN ANTIDOTE FOR AVARICE
    SOLACE FOR A SINNER
    A POTION FOR A WIDOW
    A DRAUGHT FOR A DEAD MAN
    A POULTICE FOR A HEALER
    CONSOLATION FOR AN EXILE

  39. First I reread A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase. It was a very enjoyable read but it left me with a bunch of questions. What happened between the 2 couples who had earlier unresolved romances. And the jilted fiance deserves a HEA of his own. I want a sequel or 2 or 3!!!!!!!!!!

    For my new read I’ve started Scot Under the Covers by Suzanne Enoch. It is very pleasant so far, and I do enjoy a kilted highlander, it isn’t as comforting as revisiting favorite parts of past hits.

    1. The second book (about the jilted fiance) in Loretta Chase’s Difficult Dukes trilogy is planned but long overdue. She talks about it on her website or Twitter.

      1. Yeah, I went there after I posted this. The latest ETA is the end of the year. I’m just glad she is that far along.

  40. I am mostly rereading with the rare new title thrown in. Rereading some Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Reread Getting Rid of Bradley. Amanda Quick aka Jayne Ann Krentz had a new book out this week; Close Up. It was good as always. Read Rosie Perez memoir. If you don’t know she went through hell to get where she is.
    Not sure where I’m going next.

  41. I’m reading Dorothy Sayers for the first time, thanks to recs on here. Started a few days ago with “Gaudy Night” and just finished “Busman’s Honeymoon.” Totally hooked, so thank you all. There’s definitely more Peter Wimsey in my future.

      1. I think Murder Must Advertise was the first one I read, and I was terribly confused by the lack of Wimsey to start with. The office mileu is really enjoyable. Which reminds me to re-read “Psmith, Journalist” [Wodehouse] because I seem to remember something similar in there but haven’t read it in 20 years so it could be about almost anything…

  42. Rereading The Belgariad and the new Jayne Anne Krentz. I bought The splendid and the Vile. Mainly I am just reading celebrity gossip sites, on line advice columns and your blog. I feel like an old Far Side comic, “May I be excused my brain is full?”.

  43. Definitely doing a lot of re-reading, but that’s not new for me. I’ve always turned to rereads during stressful times. That article got a lot of it right, but left out one important point – the characters in favorite books are a lot like old friends for me, so it’s completely logical that I’d turn to those books when I need some TLC.

    But I think it’s more than just returning to familiar plots with known endings. Books, like movies and music, go through various changes over time, with genres going in different directions. The best of those changes stand the test of time, but when the trend is for zombie apocalypse or gritty realism and suddenly the real world starts resembling those fictional genres, your brain needs a break, and your spirit needs either an HEA ending or at least a satisfying finale with a protagonist who delivers without angst. These things have not been the most recent trend, so its natural we should go looking for them in Stout or Christie or Pratchett. And right now, I can use the vicarious pleasure of a strong heroine who knows how to swing a mean frying pan, ’cause in real life I’d just end up in jail.

    1. I pretty much read my way through Heyer, the ones I like, and then started on Loretta Chase. Love Chase, but the thing about reading all these similar books in a series together is that you start to see the repetition and get annoyed. The books are still well-written, but they’ve got the same bone structure. I think I’ve heard people say the same thing about reading a lot of mine at once: you start see the same skeleton, the same motifs.

      1. Huh. Didn’t think of that when I read through all your published work recently. They just felt like fun old friends. I’ll have to think about this. Manana! (my new credo. At least, until this lockdown ends! Supposed to be 79 today in Seattle, and 80 tomorrow. Me and my mask may just head out for a walk.)

      2. Binge reading does that. The down side of something being a little too familiar is you can start to tire of it. This is why I try to avoid binging, and deliberately space out rereading favorite authors, because I don’t want to mess with the magic.

      3. I don’t have that experience with your stories and characters even though I feel it with other authors whose books I’ve reread a million times. Maybe it’s because you choose the one experience that changes people’s lives forever. Agnes post- swinging frypans is a different woman. Andi sewing sequins on comforters for Alice is in the midst of a life-changing, death-defying extended moment.

        Also, your characters wouldn’t mix from book to book even if Gabe or Simon had a walkon. Oh, they might be polite to each other, but each belongs to her or his community. The settings aren’t interchangeable — I just pictured switching the Tavern in Welcome to Temptation with The Long Shot in Bet Me. I love the world of a story, and you have populated Ohio alone with more worlds than most sci-fi writers.

        Finally, your stories vary in tone depending on who’s on deck and what’s going on. Angry beginnings, sure, but the real deal might be cosy or mysterious or funny. I don’t get the same thing every time I pick up one of your books.

        1. Thank you.
          That’s actually been tough on my career. People like the same book again but different, not a completely different book. Makes it harder to build a following.

  44. Doubling down: I re-read The Grand Sophy, then turned to page 1 and re-re-read. Same with The Talisman Ring. Really makes me appreciate Heyer’s storytelling.

    I’m also poking at Creative Block, by Danielle Krysa – interviews with 50 artists on their self-perception, process, approaches–and suggestions for dealing with blocks. It’s a great book to read a few pages at a time.

    And in the spirit of Surprise Lily Sticky Time, here’s a quote from collage artist Hollie Chastain on when she felt like an artist: “I started to feel it in high school. That’s when it moved from being my favorite obsessive hobby to something that I truly knew I could do for a lifetime. The start of the study of art history made me feel like a part of a special, ancient group. It was very exciting.”

    1. That’s interesting.

      I never felt like an artist, I always felt like a pretender. Part of that was because I was in art education, so not a serious artist. I had the same trouble later in grad school, when my mentor told me I should try writing fiction. I thought she was insane, I clearly wasn’t creative enough to write fiction.

      I miss art. Maybe that’s why it’s showing up here.

      1. Or maybe we shouldn’t get so hung up on labels. Do you feel like a Writer or a Novelist? Is it the career designation that is the uncomfortable part or is it being expected to act like a Grown-Up?

        I haven’t cooked professionally for over 20 years and I still have friends who call me a baker. And I don’t even bake as a hobby anymore. But they see it as part of my identity and, to them, that is all that matters.

        Seeing yourself as worthy is the important part. Are you a good person? Do you contribute something (paid or unpaid) to society? That is the important part and the rest are all subheadings. You can spend several lifetimes arguing about it, but there really is no universal scale by which these things are measured.

        1. I’ll always be a singer, even when the voice is gone. Even without making much money on it, fame, etc., etc. It’s my basic self. I have a few others, of course, but that’s the oldest one.

  45. Lots of re-reading. Mostly historical romance-Mary Balogh. Heyer too and then I read a Heyer biography by Jennifer Kloester because she got permission to use Heyer’s recently discovered letters to her editor. Liberally quoted throughout. She’s a hoot, dry and witty And talks with such enthusiasm about her characters. The last bio had a few things wrong—or I misremembered. Heyer loved her Regencies. It was the detective novels she dreaded. There’s a good reason why! Just read Jennifer Weiner’s Big Summer today. It’s SO good.

  46. I reread and read new all the time; I always have. Life circumstances do not affect this.

  47. I’ve downloaded a Charlotte Macleod, the second of the the Sarah Kelling series. It’s so calm and domestic. I need to make cheese puffs tonight.

  48. I just cannot manage to stop re-reading Wen Spencer’s “Tinker” series. I stopped counting after 12 reads. I don’t know what there is that keeps drawing me back – writing style, plot, the unique world she has built with elves and humans cohabiting Pittsburgh, or just the strength and courage of her female characters. It is definitely my go-to world away from home. Mercedes Lackey’s “Bedlam’s Bard” series and related books is both similar and not at all the same, but makes me feel the same.

    I have also really enjoyed Pippa Grant’s “Thrusters” series for when I need to laugh out loud (or as quietly as I can late at night when the mister is sleeping). I think Pippa ranks right up there with Jenny, whose books are also dog-eared by now (all of them!).

    As readerholics, I suspect that we are used to and feel comfortable with escaping to other worlds where good people always triumph over whatever adversity is thrown at them, and bad people are always held to account for their behavior.

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