This is a Good Book Thursday, December 29, 2021

I bought myself a book for Christmas. It was expensive and unnecessary (although I told myself it might work into the Haunting Alice book) but I ignored the practical and went for the beautiful. It’s titled Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, and it starts with pages and pages of gorgeous Alice collages and then goes into the history of how Alice came to be written, how the story has been translated to the stage and screen, how it’s inspired art and fashion, all of it copiously illustrated with photos and drawings. It’s a wonderland of a book about a wonderful book.

What did you read this week?

80 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, December 29, 2021

  1. I am reading A Year Full of Flowers by Sarah Raven, which was recommended here. I don’t usually go for nonfiction, but it’s written like a letter or diary, very personable. I’m not sure how much help it will be in my gardening endeavors as the climate zones are too different, but it is beautiful and cozy and inspiring.

    Otherwise, I am still hip deep in revisiting the Amaranthine saga. Finally working through them in order in quick succession helps me see a little t of little things that I missed or forgot between book releases and I am endlessly impressed with the amount of long term planning here…

    And still thinking about part of the discussion last week about how we can watch our heroine go through all sorts of hardship if we know that she will be ok… I realized that anymore, all I want is a main character who is unshakable on the moral ground they stand on. Doesn’t matter what they are doing, or have to overcome. It’s when a character is willing to set aside their ethics that I set the book down. I guess I just didn’t see it in those terms before.

    Other news, I got a trial of Disney plus. We are struggling to find things on Netflix or Amazon again. Just finished Never Have I Ever, which was fun. Any recommendations?

    1. I don’t know if you saw my recommendation a few weeks ago – I was late to your party – of Living With Yourself on Netflix – man who accidentally clones himself – I love me two Paul Rudd’s.

      1. We watched Hamilton on it. Don’t know if it’s still there (we canceled after watching Hamilton and Soul).

    2. On Disney plus (australia) I would recommend Hawkeye season 1 and Shang-Chi and the legends of the 10 rings movie both from Marvel. Also one I weirdly like is The mysterious Benedict society.

      1. Thanks! We borrowed Shang Chi from the library. Marvel movies aren’t my thing, but it was fun. Will give the others a try.

    3. The thing I take from Sarah Raven (which isn’t climate zone dependent) is how much she experiments. I had got rather stuck in that mindset that if I grew something successfully then I had to keep it FOREVER. Now I try out new seeds every year and happily discard anything that I don’t want to keep. This year I was obsessed with Snapdragons (Antirrhinums).

    4. Try A Castle for Christmas on Netflix. A nice romance with Brooke Shields and Cary Elwes (Westley if you are a Princess Bride fan). Not too taxing, just rather nice.

  2. Slightly late now, but I just started on The Reluctant Familiar’s Guide To Christmas Tree Defense, which is A) VERY short, B) recommended by one of my friends, and C) absolutely charming so far.

    Prior to that, I finished Xiran Jay Zhao’s Iron Widow, which is… I mean, there’s a lot going on in that book, the main character is rightly angry about all of it, and it goes in some very interesting directions. I’ll be curious to see a sequel comes along, because as satisfying as it was there’s a lot of room for What Happens Next to be really fascinating.

    Before that was She’s Fleeing A Byronic Hero, by Lilith Saintcrow writing as Lady Alana Smithee. Also short, also hilarious, and playing with a lot of gothic romance tropes. Thoroughly tongue-in-cheek, so don’t go in expecting anything serious.

    1. I read, “She’s Fleeing A Byronic Hero” and immediately thought of Lee Majors, the six million shilling man. Wasn’t Mary Shelley a contemporary of Byron? “I can rebuild him,” thought The Doctor. “I can make him better than he was, I have the technology.”

      1. You’re right, Gary. In the wet summer of 1816 near Geneva, Switzerland, Lord Byron, PB Shelley, Mary Shelley and others read odd tales together and wrote. Mary Shelley began Frankenstein; Percy Shelley wrote Hymn to Intellectual Beauty; and, Byron wrote the third canto of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.

        That year is known as the year without summer which resulted from the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in the area today known as Indonesia. Crops failed like crazy.

  3. Following a recommendation of last week, I checked out “Charles” by Con Riley. Found the cover totally charming and very well chosen as the main protagonist now absolutely looks like this. It’s a sweet read and very informative about dyslexia. The h/h right from the start are attracted not by their looks but their personality and ability to actually talk to each other and be understood. The main obstacle around the 80 % point is nothing spectacular but very relatadable and addressing it is what gets them to their HEA which is very satisfying.
    There are cross overs to other books by the same author, but it’s not done heavy handedly.
    Charles is the first book in a trilogy based in a fictional boarding school and I’ve already downloaded book 2 about the art teacher there 😉
    The boo also made me want to visit Cornwall (not a difficult thing to do, but still) and I’m pretty sure this will be intensified by book 2 and 3 (about the headmaster of the boarding school, to be out in February)…

    Another interesting cover picture (pencil drawing) made me read “Breathe” by Sophia Soames, Both protagonists also dealt with their problems by talking to each other (the story is told in alternating first person perspective), but here the book got too “chatty” (for lack of a better word) for my taste. Also the two voices became too similar to distinguish the individual voice. So I skipped a large bit of the story and didn’t feel like I missed a lot.

    And yes, I’ve extended my Kindle Unlimited abo which is why skipping chunks of a book doesn’t feel too bad. It’s great as still a large number of books I’d like to read are available on KU.

  4. I had saved up some brand new to me books for the break, and for the most part I am enjoying them.

    New JAK book in the Fogg Lake series, which wasn’t one of the best, but was perfectly acceptable.

    The newest Lord and Lady Hetheridge, which ditto. It did make me realize that something that happened in the previous book which I thought was a big editing error was actually me mistaking one minor character for another, so that was a good thing. Then went back and read the first two (my favorites) again.

    Read The Goblin Emperor, which I have owned for two years, and finally was in the mood for. Kept putting it off because I am not big on politics, but quite enjoyed it, and see why so many people here love it.

    Next up is the second Thursday Murder Club, (which I bought immediately after reading the first one, but valiantly saved for the break), and the new St Cyr, which I actually bought in hardcover, because I have at least three other people also reading this series. Then there is a YA that my sister loves that I will give a try, so it’s a good week. And I have cookies and chocolates to go with my readying, so it’s a VERY good week.

  5. I read Dial a for Aunties by Jesse Sutanto and while it made me laugh out loud I found it hard to suspend my disbelief over all the coincidences even for an over the top farce. Also the dead body is never treated as a person but more a prop and that has left a bad taste in my mouth. I enjoyed while reading but now I’m not sure. Having said that, the main character and her aunties are fun together.

    1. I read it too. It was a bit of a slow start, in that I wanted to smack her for being so spineless, plus the flashback chapters annoyed me. But then it got going, and I haven’t laughed so much over a book for ages. So I ended up thoroughly enjoying it.

      But afterwards I had the same reservations as you, Sara. The fact that she actually killed someone is never really addressed – he was a creep, and that seemed to satisfy people. There were couple of other things that bothered me too, in retrospect.

      However – it’s a great romp.

  6. I read Him and Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. These are regularly listed in the top M/M hockey romances. I don’t get it. They wouldn’t even make my top 20. There are far more interesting MC’s and far better writing out there. Are Sarina’s standalone F/M romances much better than these? Someone: help.

    1. I read them and enjoyed them, but I enjoy her work and don’t really remember… Her other M/M series stands out in my mind as very good. I don’t know if she partnered with someone for them or not. Escaping Paradise or something like that? Two boys flee a very conservative religious cult and have to learn to enter society and be gay… It’s a lot, but very good and very sweet. Maybe the hockey ones borrow on that popularity?

    2. It varies. I thought The Year We Fell Down was really good. The Year We Hid Away (I think that’s the title) was good. I tried others and they’re hit and miss. There’s one about a women’s hockey team I liked.

      1. Sarina Bowen’s college series was THE BEST of her work. Unfortunately her adult works just don’t have as much conflict in them to keep me interested. The Vermont series in particular is pretty dull overall, I’m sorry to say.

        I haven’t read Him and Us, but Sarina did a gay romance in the college series (I think it was called The Understatement Of The Year) that was very good, and Him and Us just sounded like a rehash of that? So I didn’t bother.

        1. All very helpful, thank you. I also read Understatement a couple of months back and cannot remember it at all which is not a good sign.

        2. Bowen’s Accidentals is lovely. It’s about high school students and is more about a daughter building a relationship with a father who enters her life only when her mom dies. And I agree with Jenny about The Year We Fell Down and the Year We Hid Away. She’s really variable. For example I liked Bountiful which is a cross between her pro hockey and her Vermont books. But I am not a fan at all of some of her other books. Very hit or miss but when she hits wow.

          I also like a lot what I think are her first two books —Coming in from the cold and Falling from the sky. Rough, but well worth reading. The third in that series is ok but not as good. (It’s her gravity series….about pro skiers and snow boarders—but the sports don’t really play a role .)

  7. My son gave me Martha Wells’ The Cloud roads for Christmas. An enjoyable read but I don’t know if I necessarily want to continue.

    In the meantime, I have reread Katherine Center’s Things you save in a fire and started rereading How to walk away. I really like her writing.

    I don’t watch much television but over christmas, I do watch stuff with my mum and kids. We all very much enjoyed watching The Dean together.

    1. I’m also loving Katherine Center these days. I really liked those two books you mentioned and I just finished reading Happiness for Beginners and I also recommend its sequel, What You Wish For.

  8. A chunk of my week was consumed by retirement paperwork, and the proofreading, correction, and finally submission thereof, followed by clarifications and so forth. If it wasn’t for procrastination, I might be without any nation at all.

    Then there are the books purchased to read versus the books actually read. I bought and read Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley. At the same time, I bought Trisha Ashley 3 Book Bundle (contains Chocolate Wishes, Wedding Tiers, and Sowing Secrets) and The Chocolate Collection (contains Chocolate Wishes and Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues), and I am turning into a Trisha Ashley fan. Those are on my TBR list, and thanks for the recommendations, Arghers!

    I also bought Kay Kepler’s
    Skirting Destiny
    , (Chasing the CIA Book 3), which is open now on the Kindle App of the main computer. I am thoroughly enjoying it.

    Bujold’s The Hallowed Hunt is open in the littlest Kindle. I bought a new copy from Amazon because the old copy was direct from the publisher in Microsoft Reader format, converted to Mobi by Calibre, and anyway…

    Looking for those books revealed a newest JoAnna Carl Chocoholic Mystery Book (#18), The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole, also on my TBR list.

    There have also been forays into my eLibrary, but nothing completed, so best left anonymous.

      1. Thank you so much for recommending Trisha Ashley earlier in the year, Deborah. She has become my go-to for warm and cosy. Carried me through the holidays this year.

    1. It seems like I’ve been reading Skirting Destiny all year! I have, actually. It was open at midnight and I just finished. Laughed myself buttless. Good book, KayK!

      1. Thank you, Gary, for getting my year off to a great start! If you have no objections, I’d like to put your “laughed myself buttless” on my Amazon editorial reviews page.

  9. I watched a documentary on Sky Arts about the V&A exhibition that Alice book relates to. Alas, it was too long drawn-out; I bet the book’s better.

    I’m rereading ‘She Went All the Way’ by Meggin Cabot, which is great fun and the only book of hers I’ve read that’s a keeper: her YA stuff doesn’t do it for me. It’s in paperback, and I’m simultaneously reading Nicholas Crane’s ‘The Making of the British Landscape’ on my Kindle. I borrowed the hardback from the library as a Christmas treat, but it’s 580pp and heavy, so I checked for an ebook edition – none from the library, but it’s only £2.99 as a Kindle version. I’m enjoying it much more now it’s not straining my wrists! He’s good at imagining how generations of prehistoric people might have experienced the land – which is the kind of thing that fascinates me.

    1. Have you tried Meg Cabot’s Boy series? They are told through written communications–emails, texts, etc. I enjoyed them.

      I adore Meg Cabot’s very funny Princess Diaries series. They are told from the perspective of a teenage girl, which is where a lot of the humor springs from. She is bright but her perspective is naive. I kept a diary during my high school years, and I cringe at what I wrote, so I can relate. (A lot of teen fiction reads like the protagonist is a 40-year-old–teens haven’t been on earth so long that they can be so wise and have such mature attitudes about sex. And their brains aren’t even close to being fully developed.)

    2. When I went looking for that title, I found it by Francis Pryor, someone I love from TIME TEAM. Bought his book . . . .

  10. I have DNFd a lot of duds lately but after rereading all the Bedwyns I found some Mary Balogh that’s new to me—I seem to have missed most of the Survivors’ Club—and have enjoyed them.
    Now I’m rereading Brother Cadfael, The Rose Rent. I was sitting next to the mystery shelves and looked over and thought “That’s what I want to read!” and it is.

    1. Oh man, was I ever wrong about the Bedwyns. Thank you to all of you who mentioned loving the “Slightly” series, which delved into that family and its HEAs. Well plotted, interestingly constructed matches for each family member, and the framework of the Peninsular & Bonaparte wars for several volumes was nicely done without being didactic.

      At one point, where a character was announced to be “missing, presumed dead,” I found myself dropping that volume in the middle and dashing to start another one I hadn’t read yet to look into what happened. I never do that with series books, but I did. And it was one of many things about this series that undermined some of my prejudices. I don’t tend to like (or even try) Regencies written by people other than Heyer. I don’t like books about rakes. I’m against historicals with repeated premarital sex. I avoid dukes wherever possible. And so on, but here they were, and there I went, happily.

      My favorite was the last volume, of course. Loved both MCs, and the transformation of their firm disdain for one another into what felt like real appreciation. But I liked all six volumes of this series, and the progression of the changes within the family that Balogh had plotted so carefully, from the first scene on a battlefield to the final elaborate Regency wedding. S0 again, many thanks to those who recommended this series. So worth it! (And I was SO wrong!)

  11. I don’t mean to hijack Good Books Thursday, but I was wondering if commenters could list what their favorite book of 2021 was? (Not limited to books published this year, or even recently.) I read this column every week, and I thought this could be a way of finding the next great book to read.

    My favorite was Glitterland by Alexis Hall.

    1. Great idea! For me, it has to be Andrea Höst’s Touchstone series since I have been obsessively rereading those books since I first bought Stray in September.

    2. The Book of Firsts is the one that immediately comes to mind for me. Andrea Host writing as Karan Anders. I reread it several times.

      And CM Nascosta. These are the new to me authors who made the auto-buy/ reread list.

      But then I wasn’t very adventurous this year. Lots and lots of comfort rereading.

    3. I HATE this kind of question. I am not a sufficiently decisive enough person to eliminate and cast aside books that I loved in an effort to find the One True Book of Books.

      Were there two Penric and Desdemona offerings from Bujold in 2021? Are we limiting the field to “published in 2021” or just read this year? What about genre?

      I loved The Book of Firsts (A Very Secret Garden 1) by Karan K Anders. I don’t know what genre to consign it to. Adult?
      I loved The Assassins of Thasalon (Penric & Desdemona) by Lois McMaster Bujold. Fantasy. Fabulous Fantasy.
      I loved Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb. A Whodunnit, and definitely not from 2021.
      I loved The Jennifer Crusie Collection: Tell Me Lies, Crazy For You, Welcome to Temptation, Fast Women, Faking It, Bet Me, Maybe This Time by
      Jennifer Crusie. Romance and so forth. I owned them all separately, now they’re a beloved bundle.
      I loved Network Effect: A Murderbot Novel (The Murderbot Diaries Book 5) by Martha Wells. Actually, I love the entire series, and most of it was before 2021. Science Fiction.
      I loved Fool Me Once: A Tarot Mystery (Tarot Mysteries Book 2) by Steve Hockensmith and Lisa Falco. Cozy Mystery? I liked the first book, too.
      I loved the three Miroslava Holmes books by Paula Goodlett and Gorg Huff, and the three Security novels by Bjorne Hasseler, all part of the Ring of Fire series. Alternate History. (Technically, alternate history can be considered a sub-genre of science fiction.)

      There were others. I love all my chil… these books just the same.

      1. Like Gary, I never have just one favorite. In addition to Network Effect, 2021 included Katherine Addison’s Witness for the Dead, several T. Kingfishers my library just now acquired (Swordspoint, Paladin’s Hope, etc.) Becky Chambers’ The Galaxy and the Ground within, and Psalm for the Wildbuilt, and Everina Maxwell’s Winter’s Orbit. I note with interest that all of the ones that popped for me as I scrolled through my list of 2021’s new reads are SFF, although several of them have romances within. This is not always the case, but this year it seems to be.

    4. Judging by my reading list this year there are basically two categories of book in the world. You’ve got to have a system. And the winners are…

      Loretta Chase’s dressmaker series, starting with Silk is for Seduction.
      Georgette Heyer – Black Sheep and Bath Tangle and Sylvester

      Joan Didion – The Year of Magical Thinking.

    5. Checked my book list for this year, the only new books I read were Donna Andrews up to Gift of the Magpie, just nice undemanding cozies, Still new year, time to tackle my library TBR

  12. Jenny, it sounds like that book was written just for you. Of course you had to get it.

    I finished Donna Andrews’ newest Christmas book (Twelve Jays of Christmas, or something like that) and loved it, as expected.

    Now I’m reading a new (to me, anyway, it was published in 2017) cozy mystery book, A Murder for the Books, by Victoria Gilbert. I’m not sure if it was recommended here or if I stumbled across it on Amazon. It’s set in a library, which I like, and I like the characters. I just wish the protagonist would stop clenching her fists. A LOT. And there are a few missing or mistaken words that a previous reader (it is a library book) has corrected in pencil, which is also a tad distracting. But I will definitely look to see if there is another book in the series when I finish this one, unless something egregious happens before the ending.

  13. I really liked TL Huchu’s The Library of the Dead once I realized that the book blurb had absolutely nothing to do with the book outside of being set in Scotland and having a Scottish/Zimbabwean female protagonist.

    And, of course, Murderbot which I listened to this time and loved with the passion of a thousand fiery suns.

    I can’t forget What Abigail Did That Summer. I have since read a few urban fantasy books which have scenes in Hampstead Heath and I always look for the talking foxes but no such luck.

    1. The Library of the Dead looks wonderful. I had a quick read of the first few pages, and she’s got such a strong voice. And a bit of humour, too. Which pretty much sells a book for me. Thanks for the rec.

  14. I’m listening to Donna Andrews’ Twelve Jays of Christmas, and somehow I’m listening the The Brothers Karamozov. I keep checking in, and it’s still as Russian as anything. I’ve read it before, but I can’t remember much about the plot, except talk talk talk. Had an interesting discussion with a friend, it’s her favorite book. I said my favorite book was Pride and Prejudice, which she doesn’t like at all. (She is still a fine person). To her, nothing happens in P&P, and to me, in BK these Russian guys just talk talk talk talk talk about everything. But I persist and I may even read a bit *about* it, to give me some perspective.

  15. I reread Crazy About You, then Tell Me Lies. I feel very exposed now, a feeling I haven’t had when I’ve read them before. Crazy About You unleashes Bill — who scared me more than usual because Quinn really did enable him in letting him control her. Furthermore, Principal Bobby is the manipulator power-hungry type who threatens any sense of safety in a school setting. I’ve seen him in action.

    Tell Me Lies hit me even harder because I became convinced that I am a Maddie. I always lie in order to take the line of least resistance. And the betrayal versus support in the grandmother-mother-daughter-granddaughter line was simultaneously funny and heart-breaking. Women giving in to expectations or stretching their strengths — maybe they are what a society is all about. I don’t know. I can see why the book is dedicated to Jenny’s daughter Mollie because Em is the soul of the story.

  16. Someone recommended Kristen Ashley here last Thursday, so I tried one of her books – Wild Man. Sadly, it was a DNF. Too much swearing and too much smut. Definitely not for me.
    Terry Pratchett’s Moving Pictures was another DNF. I love the author’s Sam Vimes series, but the other books work only intermittently for me, some not at all. When I tried to analyze my feelings, I realized that I like the books where I know who the protagonists are. A book should start with them.
    In this book, I think one of the protagonists is a student wizard Victor, who first appears on page 40. And I’m not even sure he is really one of the leads. In comparison, in Guards, Guards, Sam Vimes, appears on the first page. Night Watch starts with the name Sam Vimes – the first two words of the novel. So yeah, I know why I love that series. In contrast, in Moving Pictures, there are no characters for me to sympathize with. Not my cup of tea at all.
    After that, I was feeling down. I didn’t feel well either – some sort of stomach disorder. I wanted something really engrossing to take my mind away. I settled on a re-read of Jayne Castle’s Deception Cove. Tried and true – yeah. The book didn’t disappoint. It sucked me in from the first sentence. As long as I was turning the pages, I forgot my real life’s troubles. And I must add, the name of the heroine – Alice – is also on the first page. That’s how Jayne Ann Krentz starts all her novels – with her protagonist. Is she a great literary figure? No. Is she a first-rate entertainer? You bet.

    1. I agree about Terry Pratchett books, Olga. There are the greats and there are the just fine and there are the ones I only reread when I’ve recently reread all the others and really itch for a Pratchett. I haven’t reread Moving Pictures.

  17. I have lots of books I want to read but can’t focus so I’m re-reading You Can Farm and I also got the Sibley Guide to Birds and A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching for Christmas so I’m switching to non-fiction.

  18. my favorites books this year were the Annie Szabo mystery series by Meredith Blevins. I liked them because they were well written, very interesting characters, different and quirky. Good sense of mystery and also humor. The first one is called the Hummingbird Wizard and I fell in love with the main character. The other 2 books are good but the first one is my favorite.

    1. My library does not have them so I read the sample on Amazon. Darn. It looks like I will have to buy them. Sigh.

  19. I practically quit reading when Jenny quit righting! Coincidence? I don’t know. I reread her books almost annually, as does my daughter (who turned me on to Crusie), and now my granddaughter has picked up one of the books yay! I don’t understand it. I never imagined my life without books and have been so lonely (heartbroken?) without them. Jenny I never bothered to let you know how much we LOVE your books, sorry. Looking forward to whatever comes. Thanks! 💚

    1. You have such good taste.
      I am doing my damnedest to get the stories I’ve been working on done. There are a lot of them. I’m still writing, I’m just not finishing.
      But for you and your daughter and your granddaughter (and me and the Argh people), I’m going to get something done. Happy New Year.

  20. My favorite book this year was Shane and the Hitwoman. And it makes me so happy that it is the start of a series titled The Organization. First book out will be about Phoebe who I really liked.
    My favorite books of all times are Jenny’s books. I love Maybe This Time so I get a little excited when I hear talk of Haunting Alice.
    I love all things Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jayne Ann Castle/Krentz / Amanda Quick.
    Seriously jonesing for something new from Sarah Addison Allen & Sarah-K.ate Lynch.
    I discovered Karen Hawkins this year. The Book Charmer & The Cup of Silver Linings were good. Can’t wait for the next in that series.

  21. Loretta Chase – Dukes Prefer Blondes, annual reread or parts of.
    Bob’s – Shane and the Hitwoman, looking forward to the series
    Allison Montclair – A Rogue’s Company, A Royal Affair, The Right Sort of Man
    Barbara Delinsky – While My Sister Sleeps and reread Coast Road or parts
    And other books. I have Murderbot, have not read, why not, probably do not want to be disappointed. Everyone loves it and I still haven’t read it.

    Such good recommendations which I have purchased but…

    Reading Welcome to Temptation for the second time, right now, listened to Fast Woman while I painted. Always reread Agnes and the Hit man.

    I have lots of books but…

  22. I am coming to this late because I figured I might as well turn Good Book Thursday into Good Book Year and wrap it the f**k up. 🙂 I read over 500 books this year, which is ridiculous. Haven’t even begun going through the journal to pull out my favorites.

    In the past week … I re-read The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal and Spectred Isle by K.J. Charles, because it’s been a minute since I re-read those. Eight other full-length books including one of mine, and including one I skim-read (a new M/F Regency by a long-favored author featuring an inheritance on a far-north-Scottish island). Plus two shorts.

    The standouts were Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell, which definitely will be on the best list, and Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta Chase, likewise.

    Happy New Year, y’all!

  23. Every time I look at my book list and note a Serious Favorite title, it turns out to be something that came along in 2020 or earlier, so I don’t have much of a list.

    My holiday rereads were, as always, THE HARVESTER, by Gene Stratton Porter, which I know I’ve mentioned before, and Rosemary Sutcliff’s THE ARMOURER’S HOUSE, a children’s book I’ve always been partial to.

    Other book, winner of Deception of the Year, is TOP 50 MOST DELICIOUS CHRISTMAS RECIPES. It has a picture of a delectable Beef Wellington on the cover in glorious color. No recipe for any kind of Beef Wellington actually in the book!

    Reading desultorily in ANNA, DUCHESS OF CLEVES: The King’s ‘Beloved Sister’, by Heather Darsie. First fact you didn’t know about Anne of Cleves; her name was actually Anna von Mark. Second fact; Henry VIII is unlikely to have called her a “great Flanders mare,” because he knew she wasn’t Flemish. Third fact; their first meeting went quite happily.

    A very happy New Year, everyone!

    1. Yay, another Harvester fan! I tend to reread it in the summer, because of all those plants making me want warm weather.

      1. It was given to me as a Christmas gift by an elderly neighbor when I was about eleven. It isn’t her best-known book, and some of them haven’t aged well at all as we wince at the race-related stuff and so on, but there isn’t much of that in THE HARVESTER, if any, so it has lasted pretty well (with the possible exception of the modern kitchen with an indoor water pump and every other convenience possible in the country). And the dining room has a ‘carving table,’ which, while we can deduce what it was used for, is not a piece of furniture I’ve ever seen or heard of anywhere else.

  24. I had a hard time this year reading anything new. I did love Winter’s Orbit. I finally fell for the Caedfel books and other Ellis Peters. I liked Code Girls.

    But mostly I reread—- lot of mysteries —Michael Gilbert, Allingham, Marsh, Francis, Janet Neel, Judith Flanders) and lots of favorite romances.

    I have tons of samples of books loaded on my Nook app that I will go back to at some point and try but just cannot summon the focus to read right now.

  25. One thing I started in 2020 around the time of the implosion of RWA was deliberately reading more authors of color. That kinda stopped in the pandemic just because I wasn’t reading anything new but I want to get back to it in 2022. I figure that writers of color face even more barriers to being widely read than other authors so there is a good chance there are some good books out there I would like if I just go looking for them.

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