This is a Good Book Thursday, January 20, 2022

I have a bunch of books on procrastination that I keep putting off reading (true, not a joke). I have a bunch books of getting rid of clutter that are cluttering up the place (also true, not a joke). I think my library is mocking me.

What did you read this week?

111 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, January 20, 2022

  1. OWID #40. 254 pounds. Up 4 from last week.

    I read the instruction manuals for my hydroponic gardens. I am a hydroponicist. That’s a very SF way to look at being an herb farmer.

    I just finished the 38th chapter of Variations on a Theme Book 3. It’s a WiP, and that’s all the chapters there are, so far. If you review a story on Stories Online, you’re expected to grade plot, technical ability, and user preference on scales of 0 to 10. Overall, I’m grading the plot somewhere close to 6, maybe 7. Technical, I tend closer to a 3 or 4. Where he makes up for it is Reader Preference. I rank him a 9. He tells an excellent story, he just tells it badly. It’s like following a Facebook page, Did Steve eat a meal? Take a shower? Kiss a girl? It’s all in there. All of it. 89 + 117 + 38 chapters. Three books: Freshman, sophomore, and junior years of high school. Why am I certain there’ll be a fourth book? At least!

    I’m nine chapters into Merry Little Mystic Murder, and loving it.

    That’s all for now.

  2. I read Hot Mess, thanks to Alexandra. Liked it. Was sweet and odd – combines BDSM, romance, plumbing and house renovations. And as a recovering army brat myself, I completely related to the wariness of the MC.

    Also continued to wander down the alien abduction comfort romance path with Lyn Gala’s Earth Fathers/Husbands. The covers always looked silly to me but they’re fun, not silly, smartly written and sweet. Also, with tentacles. Yes, Lupe, you were right.

    And I re-read KJ Charles’ Will Darling series which is still ever so excellent. Cat Sebastian’s latest is out so that’s next. And if I actually get to Aruba on Saturday, I can read by the pool to my heart’s delight.

        1. I will have to think about that and get back to you. I deleted my Goodreads profile a couple of years ago and now don’t remember all the authors I liked.

          I am slowly working my way through Aveda Vice’s work, which I like so far. It’s fairies and monsters, heavy in the angst and character development area. Also smut. Not exactly comforting, but interesting. She uses present tense, which I struggle with, but I think you said you didn’t mind it. I have been running across it more often, which I think is an odd trend in new authors.

          1. Present tense does seem to be on the rise, especially with self pub/smaller publications…

            I kind of hate it. It tends to align with use of smirk, feels like.

          2. And it’s kind of covid-ish. Very isolated. “Here I am, and I’m thinking this and I’m going there, exTREMEly carefully.”

          3. I’ll take a look at Aveda Vice. And yep, present tense not an issue. Once again I say: Margaret Atwood.

  3. I tried new books finally, which feels like a win. Dnfed Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade. It shows promise, well written, believable characters who I liked, but the premise was too sad for me at the moment.

    I am also most of the way through A Suitable Consort by R Cooper, thanks to Tammy, and it is just what I needed. Slow burn and super sweet with a shy librarian and two big burly warriors who are terrified that they don’t know how to court him while he staunchly refuses to realize that they want to. It’s really very dear on all counts.

  4. Big thank you to whoever recommended the Shinigami Detective series by Honor Raconteur here. I gobbled up the first book and am well into the second. It’s delightful.

    I’m still trying to finish Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson but it’s taking me a while. Like all his books, it’s chock full of interesting ideas but relatively flat characters. The subject of global warming and technological solutions is a fascinating one and although I doubt humans would cooperate on addressing it as well as he thinks it’s given me a lot to think about. Grad school courses started this week so reading for fun will slow down. I’ll keep compiling recommendations for this group though!

    1. I first recommended The Shinigami Detective here, and a bunch of others found just as delightful as I did. Honor Raconteur has just released the a new one this week, Death Over the Garden Wall.

      1. Oh, thank you for that, Gary. It’s just the best feeling to get recced a new-to-you author, love the rec, and then find out the series has multiple books available. Yay!

  5. I read Bedwyn #2 – Slightly Scandalous – by Mary Balogh. I enjoyed it, but I did have to suspend disbelief at the initiating sexual encounter. I had a hard time believing that a young woman, raised by her clergyman father in that time period would have behaved that way. Balogh explains it, somewhat, but at that point I just said, okay I’m here for the characters and the HEA, so keep on going.

    I’ve decided to take a break from that family for a moment and pulled out Network Effect for a reread.

    1. I have been working my way through these also. My library has them all as ebooks so I can start the next as soon as I finish one. Thanks to whoever recommended them.

  6. I read the second book of Richard Osman’s “Thursday Murder Club” series – The Man Who Died Twice, somebody recommended it here – and it was even better than the first one (although there is one character developing almost James Bond-like qualities which seems a little unbelievable to me, but I can live with that).

    Next up was “The Appeal” by Janice Hallett, also a British murder mystery, a very successful debut. It consists only of emails, text messages and the like, and although I would’ve thought that I didn’t like that at all, I was fascinated right away because you really get to see how each character has his (or her) own agenda. The main idea is that a group of lay actors who enact a play every year in a country club finds out that their chairman’s grandchild has a brain tumor and needs very expensive medication. So they all try to raise money by various charity actions until things take an ugly turn. The murder doesn’t happen until halfway through the story, which is okay by me, but that’s when it gets a little overwhelming. No spoilers here, but I had the impression that the author bit off a lot more than an average reader wants to chew. Also, I thought that the solution to the case felt a little contrived whereas there were other surprises which I liked.

  7. I failed to click with several samples, so looked at the end of my Kindle library, to see what I’d read least recently, and discovered Courtney Milan’s first two books, ‘Proof by Seduction’ and ‘Trial by Desire’, which I’ve nearly finished. They’re overlong, and the plots strain credulity, but there’s also good stuff. And since I first read them in 2013, I’d almost completely forgotten them.

    1. Have decided after finishing the second one that I don’t want to reread them again, in fact. Too much melodrama, not enough fun.

  8. I’m reading Jen DeLuca’s Well Played and enjoying it. So far DeLuca’s books have been a good bet.

  9. I am about halfway through Thursday Murder Club and enjoying the characters. I’ve realized that novels for me are about the characters. I can manage an unbelievable plot, but if I don’t like/am not interested in the characters, I can’t finish. It’s one reason I keep re-reading Jenny Crusie novels. Also Julia Quinn’s, even though, like Balogh’s characters, hers don’t behave as upper class Regency folks would. I read the latest Balogh, Someone to Something, but grew irritated at the complex inter-family relationships and trying to keep track of who was who. It gets worse, of course, as each subsequent book comes out.

  10. The library figured out that asking everyone to come in and renew their library cards at the same time during the omicron surge was a bad idea, so they extended everyone. Of course, they neglected to announce it… so anyway, after a visit to the library yesterday afternoon my card is renewed and my holds redone.

    I have a couple of books sitting in my Kindle that I need to finish this weekend.

    My excessive television watching has continued… continuing to work my way through the Repair Shop and thank you to whoever mentioned Portrait Artist of the Year. Very much enjoyed the first season.

    But really I need to sit down with a good book. And find a few new audiobooks to encourage long walks. I like walking by itself, but I prefer it when I also have a good story to listen to.

    1. I know you want a book, but can I tempt with another good series? Have you watched Escape to the Chateau? A couple from England restore a dilapidated chateau in France. I just binged it and really enjoyed it.

      1. Well, there goes another chunk of my life. Just looking at the description, it sounds right up my alley. Thanks!

        1. It’s on Peacock, which you can download and watch for free (with commercials). The chateau is five floors with 40 some rooms. Electricity, plumbing, heating, walls, floors, etc., have to be repaired. The Strawbridges, who buy the place, have energy I can only dream about. I think they’re nuts. But very likeable.

          1. The harlequin wall grew on me but it is her vision and taste and her husband is very accommodating also hardworking and involved in every project as it should be. The show is on PBS in my area. Now they are doing a DIY themed program. I liked it better when they worked on the chateau itself.

    2. You might enjoy Oh William by Elizabeth Strout. I read it in one sitting and found it terribly moving.

    3. If you are looking for relaxing TV, I highly recommend the YouTube channel for the Azerbaijan couple cooking. I hit pause on a video to make this post. They are drying herbs for tea. It’s beautiful it’s soothing and it’s very quiet. This particular video is 20 minutes long.

  11. Making my way through the China Bayles mystery series by Susan Wittig Albert. China is a criminal lawyer turned herbal shop owner. I wouldn’t describe these as cozy mysteries; they’re slightly more gritty than cozies. Interesting enough series for me to keep going and going.

    1. I am sure I read some of Susan Wittig Albert’s books a few years back. I think the Darling Dahlia ones but I am going to give the China Bayles ones a try. Thank you.

    2. I really enjoyed the first half dozen China Bayles mysteries. There’s a lot of them now, but I stopped reading them after 10 or so. I don’t really remember why, I just stopped looking forward to them after a while.

  12. Lol @Jenny “Last week’s meeting of the Apathy Society has been cancelled.”

    We started work. We’ve had to redo all our planning. We planned for a full return to pre-covid teaching but we’re told by government to stay under COVID conditions. So lots of work to undo and redo.

    I’m still doomscrolling Instagram. So I don’t read much fiction. And my non-fiction TBR is stuck at many books, hardly opened.


  13. Great two weeks of reading – I was on a streak during the snowy days – and brrrr.

    Finished Darcie Wilde’s A Suitable Woman regency-set mystery. Very much like that the manners and mores kept in time with the period and the mystery plot was interesting and plausible around Almack’s. A bit of burgeoning romance too.

    Finally read 84 Charing Cross Road, which I went into thinking this has to be overhyped but it was a delightful short epistolary back and forth that is charmingly british and american at the same time.

    Finished Monstress Volume 6…epic graphic novel series, terrific world building and politics in matriarchy-based setting. I did have to go wiki the first five volumes again to get the characters straight ’cause it is super complex. Witches, Warriors, Pirates, Animorphs, Shapeshifters, this has got it all.

    Started Susanna Kearsley’s A Desperate Fortune. I’ve liked her past and present dual storytelling in a few of her past books. This is present day and early 1700s Jacobites in exile. Just at the beginning but it’s hooked me.

    1. Sounds like fun! Kearsley is an autobuy for me. And I love Helene Hanff. I like Marjorie Liu’s other work but just haven’t been grabbed by the Monstress. Haven’t tried Wilde yet.

  14. The latest Case file of Henry Davenforth (Book 7) having landed on my kindle, I of course read it immediately and of course it made me want to reread the first book, the second and I am now deep in the third. I’ll very likely have reread them all by next Thursday.
    Henry and Jamie´s relationship develops very incrementally but also very sweetly throughout the books. He is such a lovely character and Jamie is a thoroughly competent woman, just the way we like them here on Argh!
    Cassandra, I am sure you will like them all but I must say book 2 is definitely one of my favourites so you are in for a treat.

  15. Mimi Matthews’s Gentleman Jim was a decent historical romance, very well written like most Matthews’s books. I’m not in raptures, but I enjoyed reading it.
    Also I was pleasantly surprised by Erin Sterling’s The Ex Hex. Any time someone announces a new rom-com, I’m usually disappointed, but not this time. Here, romance, sex, magic, and humor combined into a lovely and sweet novel.
    Now I’m reading Eva Ibbotson’s A Countess Below Stairs and enjoying it tremendously. The book has flaws, true, but it is so charming and so addictive, I read it all night. Couldn’t stop. It’s sort of a light historical with a hint of romance. I haven’t finished the book yet, but I’m sure I’ll read more by this writer.

    1. I also tried A Countess Below Stairs after hearing about it here on Argh and it was very enjoyable.

  16. In addition to Death Over the Garden Wall by Honor Raconteur, (The Case Files of Henri Davenforth 7), I also read The Thursday Murder Club, after many people here exclaimed over it. And it was very good, but a bit sad. I’m holding off on the sequel for now, though my wife has already read it and liked it. I’ve got several others in my virtual To Be Read pile, and I’m trying to decided which ones to read next.

  17. I started the latest book by Jane Ann krentz Lightning In the Mirror. So far so good but I haven’t gotten very far in yet. She always works for me though. Got a call that I got accepted into a class about writing memoir which was exciting. I have an idea in my head. Now I just need to plot it out a little before I go to the first class next Wednesday. Other than house hunting there’s not much else happening for me right now.
    BTW Palatka is a no but Gainesville is a definite possibility.

    1. BTW Gainesville is also a no. My daughter and I decided to stay closer to home. St. Petersburg it is. It feels good to have the decision made.

  18. I’m reading and enjoying Shane and the Hitwoman, and I’m delighted to see there is another in the series due in November. It’s wonderful to engage with the characters again in new circumstances.

    I’m also just finishing my first Lord Peter Wimsey and loving it.

    I finished The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser and enjoyed for the most part. First person narrative can wear on me and that was indeed my experience in sections of this novel. The grumpy hero with a rather bizarre romantic past was interesting and unexpected.

    1. Oh my goodness, I remember the joy of discovering Lord Peter! I don’t know which one you started with, but be aware that in the earliest books he is something of a caricature. Sayers fleshes him out considerably as the series progresses, beginning when he meets Harriet Vane.

      The four Harriet books (Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night and Busman’s Honeymoon) are the strongest, I think, but I’m also quite fond of The Nine Tailors (incredibly unique story, at least to me) and The Five Red Herrings (solution to the crime revolves around train timetables).

      Don’t get me wrong, all the Lord Peter books are pretty darn good! Enjoy!

  19. Finished Bujold’s next-to-last (for now) Penric, The Assassins of Thasalon and it was very good. I have enjoyed this entire series but I still get a lot of Miles Vorkosigan vibes off Penric.

    Other than that, I just haven’t been able to read anything new-to-me right now; too stressful (prepping for Mom’s memorial on Saturday, out-of-town guests coming to stay, etc.) So all comfort reads and that means lots of Nora Roberts. The Liar and Under Currents are both fairly recent and engrossing. But since each has a body count, I switched to older, more soothing NR, which for me means The MacGregors: The Winning Hand, The MacGregor Brides, The MacGregor Grooms, and The Perfect Neighbor. I do own the original four or five books in the MacGregor series, but not on my Kindle. And I’m just too tired to hold a real book right now!

    1. That’s interesting. I’m a big fan of both Miles and Penric, but I don’t really see any similarities, or get any similar vibes between the two.

      1. Probably a lot of it is my imagination, since I’m such a Miles fan. But though he and Penric are physically opposites, they each have an unusual ability to get out of tight situations relatively unscathed. And they do both manage to fall into dangerous situations far more frequently than the norm!

        Early stories for both start with them being young and very aware of their shortcomings, but they grow and learn to trust themselves and use the resources available to them. In their later books they have a similar calm self-confidence.

        And I’m sure this is a stretch, but sometimes I feel that Desdemona’s voice in Penric echoes Cordelia (neither wants to suffer fools gladly).

        I put off reading the Penric series because I loved Miles so much. But Bujold has created yet another wonderful character and I’m grateful for all the Argh people’s wonderful reviews that prompted me to start Penric.

    2. I love The Assassins. I love all Penric books except the latest one. I think I might like him even more than Miles. Miles is too ‘princely’ and privileged, brilliant but entitled, while Penric is a common guy with the unusual ability (hello, Desdemona!) to help people in trouble. And he always does.

      1. Miles as/versus Penric. That’s intriguing. Miles is definitely as limitless as outer space; his arc of learning responsibility is as extreme as it gets. I find Memory the most powerful book of the Vorkosigan series.

        I think of Penric as Bujold’s comfort character as she settles down in retirement: Penric is a carrier of drama (literally, at times) rather than a particularly interesting man. After all, he was very young when Desdemona entered him.

        That’s just my take on them.

        1. Memory is probbly my favourite Miles book. One of the things I like so much about the Vorkosigan saga is that characters don’t stay static. They change, they evolve. In Memory, Miles finally grows up. It’s a painful process for him but it is good for him.
          Penric doesn’t do so much of that, at least on the page.

        2. I guess that’s why I like so much – he’s reliable, kind, very intelligent, capable.
          Also the subtly woven in info that he was too empathetic to continue as a physician and even tried to ultimately escape this carreer once and for all I found strangely endearing.
          Comfort character is a great phrase for him.

          I love Miles but life with him would be far too stressful (and dangerous) 🙂
          And yes, Memory is such a good book!!

  20. Over the past three weeks or so I’ve caught up with all four seasons of Yellowstone by either demand or dvds from the library. So, I’ll be all set for season five. I hope they keep the new character Carter, a teenage orphan and watch him grow hopefully to a good person, he is the only reason I picked the show back up again, but you never know with that program. Also saw the final season of Jack Irish crammed together in four episodes with just a couple of hiccups.

    For books I read The Girl in the Mist by Kristen Ashley. I felt like I fell into a Nora Roberts novel and not too sure of the main characters, Delly, an actress turned author who keeps reminding us that she is rich and can afford many houses in different states and continents. And then there is Cade a former military/FBI/profiler retired with three children. And of course macho. What I did like was that they were an older in their early fifties couple. What didn’t happen was the drama induced breakup and getting back together. I suppose that only happens in the young set. There is a prequel to this titled After the Climb which has been in my TBR list in kindle. Actually there are two versions Amazon must have upgraded the one I have with an extended edition.

    For good news I got my license renewed and after gathering up all the necessary documents I was only asked for my birth certificate. But it is done for the next five years.

  21. I had one of last year’s award-winning romantic comedies on hold at the library and my turn finally came up. I dumped it after half the first chapter. And I skimmed a few pages in the middle to see if it improved. Nope. The premise wasn’t something I like (people hanging onto grudges and humiliating each other) and the writing dragggged.

    So I went back to K.J. Charles and re-read a couple of hers instead. And then discovered the latest of Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock series sitting in my kindle unread. So I’m happy again.

  22. I read Katee Robert’s Electric Idol and then promptly went back and got Neon Gods (you can read them out of order like that although probably reading Neon Gods 1st is better) and they are both SO good and also the first romance novels I’ve wanted to immediately go back and re-read in a long, long, long, long time.

    1. I loved Neon Gods and just got Electric Idol from the library (yay for no waiting on Hoopla!). But I am almost afraid to read it because I feel so attached to Persephone and Hades.

      But I have to admit that Neon Gods was the book that made me feel old. The smut was well-written and plot-forwarding and sexy, but I almost wished for less of it and more world building and politics and cuddling with puppies….

  23. I tried a couple of new to me cozies and DNF. But enjoyed Catie Murphy’s series (The Dublin Driver series) set in Ireland (she used to write as C.E. Murphy, and transitioned well to cozies). So far there are only three and I read them back to back. Hoping there will be more.

    Currently on the second in Victoria Gilbert’s Blue Ridge Library cozy series, Shelved Under Murder. I liked the first one enough (despite some editing flaws that might not bother someone other than another author) to read the second. Will probably get the third.

    Anyone have some other recommendations for good cozy series? Most of them leave me unimpressed, alas.

    1. Deborah .. not sure if this would be considered a cozy or not.. but I really liked the Blackbird Sisters series by nancy martin.. a little murder ( not very graphic), some humor and a little romance..

    2. Have you tried the Mitten State Mysteries series by M. V. Byrne? The first was Meet Isabel Puddles and the second Isabel Puddles Investigates. They’re strong on mid west character depiction and dialogue with mystery thrown it. I’ve just started the second book. The first book is on sale on Amazon now or free with Kindle unlimited.

    3. Have you tried Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman series? I’m not sure how well known they are outside Australia, but they’re about a baker in Melbourne. Very soothing, lots of food and a lovely community.

      1. I have read & reread all thr Corina Chapman books & will reread again for sure.
        I love her Phryne Fisher series, too, but Corina is my favorite.

        1. Corinna Chapmen is in the top five of my favorite rereads authors (Jenny is of course number one). I purchased copies of all the titles for myself so I can sit and grin over the events and revisit the cast of continuing characters. The Aussie-isms took me a little to decipher, but it is now part of the charm to my way of thinking.

  24. I figured out where I stopped in Genevieve Cogman’s Library series and got the next book from the library but kept resisting actually reading it, and then it expired (digital, so it disappeared from my phone), so apparently I’m just not ready to do reading (as opposed to re-reading) yet. Or at least not with that particular series (I like it but am not crazy wild about it). I hope I get my reading mojo back by April (next Rivers of London book) and June (next Mercy Thompson book). And I think there will be another Lady Sherlock (#7) in the fall sometime, although I haven’t seen a title or date.

  25. I am reading the Iron Widow, which I think someone here reccomended. It is really good so fat.

    I am watching a Norwegian police series called the Beforeigners about people are pulled from past into the present and they are trying to integrate all the different cultures. There is a murder and the officer in charge gets partnered with a Viking shield madien.

      1. Warning, there is a lot of nudity because some ancient groups of people apparently did not believe in clothing.

    1. I just saw the author of Iron Widow talking about how they piled up the copies of the books that they’d signed into a throne and posted a pic of them sitting on it. They got so many comments about the lucky people who got a copy that they’d sat on that they threw up their hands and decided to auction off the copy that they’d sat on to raise money for cervical cancer research. I’m not sure how much it came to in the end, if the bidding’s finished, but last I saw it was over $1000.

    2. Must search where I can find Beforeigners as I can’t get HBO Max. The trailers look great.
      Nudity is not such a big deal here 🙂

      1. Oh gosh, I missed it. The series was co-produced by our Main TV-channel and shown in 2021, i.e. available for free until August 2021.
        That’s one of the disadvantages when one hardly ever watches tv and especially never looks into the programme. Argh indeed.

  26. I read my first Evie Dunmore, “A Rogue of One’s Own.” It’s a historical romance (Victorian England) that is genuinely fun, and also has some meat on its bones. The heroine is an activist for women’s rights who basically has bad work/life balance because the world basically said “you can have a normal life, or you can have your work” and so she chose work, and convinced herself she didn’t really want a life anyway. The hero is a little more of a conventional character (spent his whole life pretending to be worse than he is because it pisses off his toxic masculinity dad, and because he was a kid who wanted the heroine’s attention however he could get it). But even though I’d read that type of character before, this hero stood out for being consistent, believable, and very human. Plus he grew for the heroine in meaningful ways, just as he grew for her. If you’re in the mood for a historical romance that takes place in Oxford and mostly steers clear of ballrooms, I’d recommend it.

    1. I loved A Rogue of One’s Own. Haven’t tracked down the rest of the series yet, but it’s on the list.

  27. I really enjoyed reading “Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr. Four interrelated stories from different periods in time, all connected by a fragments of scrolls of an ancient story. Best book I have read in a long time! The main characters are from settings in Constantinople just before its invasion, to a spaceship in the future.

    Also really enjoyed the non-fiction “Premonition: A Pandemic Story” by Michael Lewis. Gripping and thrilling, with unsung heroes from the public health policy arena … and of course multiple villains sharing the blame for the US’s dismal failure in managing the pandemic.

    1. I also loved Cloud Cuckoo Land. Bits of it keep popping up in my mind weeks after reading it.

  28. I have started An Elderly Lady is up to no Good by Helene Tursten. The premise sounded good but I am not invested in the lead character yet. It’s a short book with 4 or 5 short stories about an 89 year old woman who has no friends or family, and according to the blurb on the back cover, no qualms about a little murder. I’ll give it another try and see if I like it better by the second story.

  29. ASK A HISTORIAN, by Greg Jenner. The author is a historian for the BBC, and the book is a collection of questions he’s sent. Unsurprisingly, the most frequent questions are about Anne Boleyn: “For weary historians trying to fight bad history, it didn’t help when the enormously popular Harry Potter films showed a portrait of Anne mounted on the wall at Hogwarts. Honestly, if she’d been a graduate of such an illustrious educational facility, you’d think Anne might have been able to pull off a cheeky Expelliarmus spell on the executioner’s sword before legging it out of the Tower.”

    Home plans from SEARS HOUSE DESIGNS OF THE THIRTIES, Sears Roebuck and Co. Sears homes are an interesting part of the American domestic landscape and apparently there’s more of a range of them than I had any idea of! “In response to an invitation from President Doumergue, on behalf of the French government, the United States participated in an unique and fitting manner, in the French governmental Exposition Coloniale Internationale de Paris. The architectural plans for the American buildings carry as a feature a full size replica of Mount Vernon. Following the approval of the architectural plans by President Hoover, the State Department decided that all materials and equipment should come from the United States—and awarded the contract for this and for the actual erection of the other American Exhibit buildings in Paris to the Home Construction Division of Sears, Roebuck and Co.”

    Nonfiction positive thinking: HUMANKIND, by Rutger Bregman. On the eve of the Second World War, London was in grave danger. The city, according to Winston Churchill, formed ‘the greatest target in the world.’ If the British population broke, it would spell the end of the nation. Anyone wanting to read up on all the evils to be unleashed needed only one book: PSYCHOLOGIE DES FOULES – ‘THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE MASSES’ – by Gustave Le Bon. Hitler read the book cover to cover. So did Mussolini, Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. Le Bon’s book gives a play by play of how people respond to crisis. Almost instantaneously, he writes, ‘man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilization’. So how did the British react? If there’s one thing that all accounts of the Blitz have in common it’s their description of the strange serenity that settled over London in those months. The shop owners posted signs in front of their wrecked premises announcing: More Open Than Usual. Or the pub proprietor who in the midst of devastation advertised: Our Windows Are Gone, But Our Spirits Are Excellent. Come In And Try Them. Apparently people react differently to crises than you might think . . . .

    ICES AND ICE CREAMS, by Agnes Bertha Marshall, inventor of the Ice Cave and a lot of recipes for frozen desserts. Her 1888 cookery book included a recipe for ‘cornets with cream’, possibly the earliest publication of the edible ice cream cone. This book has recipes for cucumber ice cream and spinach ice cream; and the recipe testing revealed that both eggs and lemons today are significantly bigger than the ones Mrs. Marshall used. If her directions call for six lemons or six eggs, use four.

  30. This is my first time posting here, I went searching for anything/everything Jennifer Crusie and plopped down here. I’m a lifelong nonfiction-only kinda gal, but just recently discovered I might actually enjoy… some fiction? (gasp) This was news to me! My first Crusie was Bet Me and now I’m slowly working my way through her catalogue. Today I finished Welcome To Temptation and I just closed the book in awe. So good! Gah! When Sophie yelled at Brandon “I came all over that dock” I actually laughed until I cried and tried to fall asleep and then was giggling in the dark 15 minutes later. I love the characters, the dialogue, the story, and damnit now I want a Dove bar. Anyway, that’s what I finished and I will be cracking open Faking It tomorrow.

    I’m also reading Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson (poetic kinda romantic first novel – it’s pretty good but not 100% my style, I need some humor). I finished No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood this week (part poetry/part memoir, very Twitter/internet oriented, and the second half made me sob my eyes out)

    Anyway, thank you Jennifer Crusie for writing such beautiful books, I’m looking forward to reading the blog now too!

  31. I’m listening to Loretta Chase’s A Duke in Shining Armour but struggling with it a bit. Audiobook never come to life for me as books I read. I’d like to do a bit of sewing and have to do some chores, so I will reaquaint myself with h/h soon

    A book I’ve finishes is If this gets out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich. It’s about two boys in a boy band whose close friendship develops into much more. Mainly it’s about discovering oneself, what is important and how to be yourself and stand up for your who you are and your feelings. It’s also about friendship as the four of them in spite of all the tension in the band are really very good friends and when allowed to be themselves and not just types are good for each other.
    It’s YA and wonderfully lacking in smut.
    Nevertheless, the oppressive way the big evil management manages every detail of their lives and stiffle avery bit of authenticity got to me. The music side of things are almost lacking, so apart from the two protagonists discovering their love for each other there’s not much joy around as all 4 of them seem to have their life sucked out of them. One of them, Ruben, not only by the big evil Management, but by his mother manipulating his every move.
    Well, the boys come around and have their big moment of truth.
    I liked that they also then got almost crushed by the legal repercussions the Management tried to impose.
    It’s a nice nod towards the power of fandoms that ultimately the positive public reaction kind of provide the door to freedom.

    I guess I just wasn’t in the mood for such a quantity of repression and stifling manipulation so I didn’t enjoy the novel too much. But I’m not the target audience and from what my teenage daughter (very invested in a particular boy band dissolved by now) tells me the real life examples corroborate very much the background of the story.

    On a more promising note I’ve read some excerpts that I liked quite a lot, so I hope to find the time to read some fantasy where constraints and repressiveness doesn’t hit home as much.

  32. While I was sick I comfort-re-read Kate Stradling’s Kingdom of Ruses series. They’re a very gentle sort of fantasy, almost cozy in parts, with an interesting premise and engaging characters.

    I haven’t been able to focus on anything new in weeks, probably because of working too much. Maybe time for some non-fiction I can just read a little bit of every day without having to hold on to a story.

  33. I spent the last week reading Ann Swinfen’s Oxford Medieval Mysteries which start withThe Bookseller’s Tale. I loved them. Very well written and with a good feel for the time of being middle class and not noble. They were very inexpensive in the Kindle store and may be free on prime I don’t belong to Prime since I maybe order 4 or 5 things a year and I usually get free shipping. It takes forever but I usually am not in a rush. So I am not familiar with Prime options.

        1. That, but reverse the fist one to <
          In between the smaller than and larger than (like triangular parentheses) is the order you want to give.
          The slash / means turn off, without the slash it means turn on, i for italics or b for bold.

  34. I read nine full-length things and six short things this week. Day job was only three days of it, is one reason, and two of those days were blessedly slow!

    Anyway, there were some re-reads and some older books and some meh books. The standout New Things for the week would have to be the short (novelette?) ‘Super Hot Wingman’ + the novel it leads into, ‘The Best Men’ by Sarina Bowen and Lauren Blakely. I found both MCs very engaging. Also this is the rare case of something intended to be funny that I actually found funny.

    Also enjoyed Annabeth Albert’s new military trope-fest ‘Sailor Proof.’

    Favorite book of the week, though, was a re-read of KJ Charles ‘Band Sinister.’ I just love it.

  35. Read a few pages of a new kindle book, male character walks in smirks, Not dealing with that today, I exit book and load up Discworld Going Postal and dive back into comfort reading. Ignoring my library books weeping on the floor. Ah procrastination, I have the membership card, t-shirt and merchandise to that club. I’ve have had Artist’s Way Workbook for longer then I care to admit …

    1. “Ah procrastination, I have the membership card, t-shirt and merchandise to that club.”

      I’ve been meaning to get those things, but…

  36. I just read the first three books (Fledgelings, Redbark, and Firebolt) of the Phoenix feather series by Sherwood Smith, and liked them a lot – I lost sleep over not wanting to put them down at bedtime.
    I was thinking I should recommend them to people here, even though they are pure adventure stories and there is barely a trace of romance in them

    Its Empire of a Thousand Islands worldbuilding is strongly influenced by the Far East; Sherwood said she was inspired by the braided tales in Japanese manga/anime and some Chinese histories.
    I had the sense that this series could keep on going for quite a few more books, with the different story-braids intertwining and taking separate paths for a while, then coming together, and maybe splitting off again for a bit.
    She did say she wanted to bring the story to a neat and satisfying end for all the parts of the braid, not leave some threads dangling too badly as is apparently common in these manga/anime stories that formed a part of her inspiration.
    Now I hear the final book is finished and will be out in February or March.
    I wonder how she’ll manage that in just one more book?

Comments are closed.