No reading, but I’m working my way through Penn and Teller’s Masterclass on Magic and it’s FINALLY solving my problem with Rose. I’ve got a Penn and Teller book somewhere in the living room, so that’s where I’m heading next.
What did you read this week?
ETA: Just saw that the audio book of Welcome to Temptation is on sale for $2.99.
115 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, February 9, 2023”
I was intrigued Jenny about this masterclass on Magic imagining you concocting some spells in your living room until I realised what kind of magic it was :).
As for me, this week I read a delightful little bonbon of a book which I think was recommended here a while back so I can’t credit whoever made the rec: Cici and the Curator. Not quite a romance but a fun mix of science fiction and magic with a tiny hint of romance thrown in.
I am now reading Tuyo by Rachel Neumeier, so far so good.
I loved Tuyo. Such a great group of people.
Cici and the Curator sounds great. Thanks for the suggestion.
I started reading the sample of Cici and the Curator on Amazon. It’s lovely. But since I’m reading three or four other books right now, I’m saving it for when I need a fun read.
So glad you liked Cici and the Curator! It may have been my recommendation 😁.
I liked Cici too.
I loved Cici. Such a charming escapade.
If you like Cici – try Sarah Wyndes ghost story romances. The first one is A Gift Of Ghosts & I love it. I love all of her ghost story romance series.
She comments here sometimes.
I thought Cici and the Curator was fun too.
Thanks for this book recommendation. I’m on the first chapter and loving it!
This is such funny and delightful timing. I’m avoiding the internet so wouldn’t have seen this comment, but Judy sent me an email telling me that Cici had been mentioned here. I’m currently working on the sequel, 25K words in, and had a moment yesterday where I was just ready to give up. Give up on the whole business. Find a job doing I don’t know what. I think I’d be a good nanny, maybe. And then I reminded myself that *I* like Cici and *I* want to know what happens to her next and that even if no one else ever reads her, I can keep writing. So your timing — although I’m sure not intended to encourage me to keep writing — was impeccable. Thank you so much! And much thanks to everyone who has recommended her and any of my books. It’s pretty clear to me by now that I just don’t write fast enough to be a “successful” indie author, but I can be a persistent one because of moments like this. You made my morning. Probably my day, week, and month, too!
I just bought the e-book based on all the buzz happening here.❤️
And I got the paperback. Write on!
Thank you both!
I finished Cici yesterday and went right away to look for a sequel. So glad to hear you are writing one. Writing’s hard! Good luck!
Writing would be so much easier if only one did not also need to have a plot! But I’m glad that you want to read the sequel, it’ll be good motivation to figure out what these sapient otters are actually *doing* in this story this morning. 🙂
My favourite word in the English langage is serendipity.
I am so happy to have provided you with a serendipitous moment.
I loved reading about Cici and I am so happy to know that you are writing a sequel!!!
Truly serendipitous! So glad you saw the comments. I’ve also read and enjoyed the Tassamara books, and also “Practicing Happiness.”
My tiny house is named Serendipity! One of my favorite words, too 🙂
Someone here recommended Cici and the Curator maybe a year and a half ago, and I said to myself that sounds right up my alley so I bought a copy. I then raved about it here myself and since then at least a dozen other people here have posted that they loved it too.
I then tried to track down other books you had written and discovered the Tassamara series, which I also raved about here, and since then a lot of people here have posted about how much they like those books as well.
I really want to read Cici and have wanted for years thanks to everyone loving it here. Unfortunately, it is not on Audible, so I can’t read it. 🙁
Hope it will end up there someday! I checked and saw that the Ghost-romances were there at least, so I might give them a shot while I wait. 🙂
I’ve re-read Understatement of the Year and again liked it very much this second time around. It’s grittier than the Finley/James hockey books which sometimes really feel like fantasy when it comes to queer players. Oh well, portraying how it could be = no big fuss, might be helpful.
Also, as follow up I read the “epilogue” to UotY in form of the novella Yesterday in Extra Credit, a compilation of three novellas of which I had already read two.
The one about Pepe – Studly Period – I’ve also re-read. Pepe is one of the side characters (Franco Canadian) of the Yvy Years series and he’s adorable.
Now I’m on a short hiatus regarding hockey books because on Tuesday the new Fearne Hill Rossingley book came out. So I’m again in the South of England. With a ginger and a grumpy one. Yay!
I continue to watch hockey on Youtube though.
And listen to See Jane Score as audiobook, but it feels a bit dated to me.
I might have to get used to mf books again…
When your hockey hiatus is over, you might want to try Taylor Fitzpatrick for gritty.
Didn’t you guys say that Fitzpatrick’s stories are rather devastating?
I’m rather a fluffy girl who likes her escapism a lot 😉
I’ve downloaded a sneak-peak anyway.
Try You Could Make a Life.
She has a series on AO3 called Impaired Judgment that is mostly fluffy and hilarious (at least to the point I’ve read so far).
And also on AO3 is Follow the North Star which is only fun!
Have to add, I like Jane the heroine in See Jane Score a lot.
Luc has yet to win me over. I’m positive the author is going to manage it, but the alpha male type with a liking for tall, busty woman wearing make-up with red lips (= unlike Jane, the “natural woman”) is not my favourite. Here he fits of course.
I re-read and re-listened to The Witness (Nora Roberts) – one of my favorites of hers.
I finally, finally started something new. It wasn’t good, I didn’t finish it and I am definitely not going to recommend it, but I am hopeful that my reading slump is coming to an end. And there is the new Katee Robert waiting for me on my Kindle. Maybe this weekend.
I listened to Lessons in Chemistry. I’m more ambivalent about it than some Arghers. I found it to be a compelling read (listen?), for sure, and yet it was also a bit too cartoon-like for my tastes, including Every Bad Thing That Keeps Happening to the heroine. For reading about women in STEM I actually prefer Ali Hazelwood, although she’s writing romance, which Lessons is not.
I read the final in the Beartown trilogy by Frederick Backman, Winners. I loved hanging with his characters again but he recycles a lot of themes and content. In hindsight I wish he’d just written Beartown and left it at that. It was quite perfect as a stand-alone.
I also read the second in the Princes’ Game series and now onto the third. This series is oddly addictive in a slowly ever more gripping kind of way.
And re-read Follow the North Star by Taylor Fitzpatrick – which is total fun. She’s either ruthless or fun; there’s no happy medium.
Princes’ Game? Tell me more.
Sci fi, different races, focussed on an ambassador visiting a dragon-like vicious race, and his relationship with the emperor. Much great dialogue (more than action), some very painful events, politics, and sex – more referred to than on page but still manages to be explicit. Full of thorny…stuff. LN and Lian got me onto the series.
I found The Princes Game completely addictive. And it becomes more so.
Was it one of y’all that recommended Finlay Donovan Is Killing It? If so, THANK YOU. Once I got past the initial setup (which, I admit, hit a little too close to home) it just took off for me and I’ve been really enjoying it.
Prior to that was James L. Cambias with The Goedel Operation (Book One of The Billion Worlds) which was fun in a very “science fiction with a bit of romance” sort of way. Also plenty of adventure and humor.
My favorite reading this week has been jigsaw puzzle titles. I follow a jigsaw creator on Jigsaw Planet whose posting name is Oceanna. For months, she’s mainly been doing complex patterned things under the “Other” category. Mostly, they had names like Purple Diamonds, or Beige Mandala, but the other day I noticed the name of one I’d just finished, which was “Try To Make a Scene While She Grabs The Candlesticks.” I kept reading titles, and they got even more fantastic. Things like: “She’s Alive? I Sent Flowers!” and “Looks Like We’re Dealing with Carrot People.” I don’t know who she is, but I’m enjoying the hell out of her puzzle names.
Meanwhile reading an odd book called “The Watchmaker of Filigree Street” by Natasha Pulley. When I first started it, I found it deadpan and hard to follow, and almost returned it to the library, but decided I’d been too exhausted to persist with it and tried again. It’s very smart, moves from one time period to another and then back again, and while I’m not used to the particular style of raillery in British Unis, I find the parts set in one kind of promising that this actually might have some romance in it somewhere. Can’t recommend it yet but sort of can’t put it down.
Those puzzles sound very interesting. Do you put the puzzles together?
Yes – it’s an online puzzle site that lets you choose the shape of pieces, the number of pieces (between about 4 and 300) and then use your cursor to put the puzzles together. I doubt it would work on a phone connection — too many bits, not enough room to maneuver — but on a larger screen it’s fun and relaxing. The main site is at https://www.jigsawplanet.com/. Oceanna has a name symbol that’s a white high heel shoe with a blue anchor on the heel. She’s at https://www.jigsawplanet.com/Oceanna.
Hi Jan — Yes, it’s an online site. Comment with two links under moderation, so … it’s coming along …. 🙂
I really enjoyed The Watchmaker of Filigree Street!
Jinx, I loved The Watchmaker. Her later books are wonderful too.
I just finished Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase. It had a more compelling storyline than some things I’ve read recently, so I stayed up later several nights to finish it, which made it seem like the book sped up too. I was a little taken aback by the ending – still trying to figure out if it is true to the setting and the characters.
You know there are stories about each of his brothers? The next one (my favourite) is Mr Impossible.
Rupert is my favorite,too.
Mr. Impossible is one of my top romances ever. Rupert is a delight.
The whole series is a delight. Lord Perfect is also fabulous.
Yes. I have Mr. Impossible yet to read. I believe I’ve read the last one.
I came closer to dying of laughter than I ever have with Mr. Impossible. Laughing too hard to breathe. Definitely a favorite.
I love all the Carsington books, but Miss Wonderful is my favorite. I was born and raised in Derbyshire and I know the area around Matlock really well. Loretta Chase describes the setting brilliantly and the plot is absolutely true to the area and its industrial history.
I started comfort reading Anyone but You last night and resumed this morning. Got into the crock pot and cut hand scene and forgot I had to get ready for work! Yeesh. Good thing Alex was quick with the stitches- I still have time for a shower.
Nina locking her window to the fire escape. ‘The unkindest cut of all’. Et tu Nina?
I was ispired to reread Anyone But You. Forgot how good it was.
And Jenny thinks she can’t write sex scenes- uh hello yes you can – and do – really well.
I’m always listening and re-listening to various Jenny books, but this week was Agnes and the Hitman w/ Bob Meyer. I’ve also been watching a TV series with Michael Clarke Duncan, and suddenly, I have Carpenter in my head. that voice, that calm demeanor, just the size of the guy! I just love Carpenter, so it was fun to get a picture of him in my head.
I’ve also been binge-reading a bunch of Grace Burrowes’ books. Her books are not just connected, but interwoven. On her website, she has a mostly chronological list of her books. It’s an interesting way to read. It’s keeping me mostly out of trouble, anyway. 😁
I really like Grace Burrowes’ books. I enjoy finding out how they dealt with the complications of daily life without electricity, or computers, or tampons, or texting. Her writing is rich with detail, but not boring with it. The main characters are flawed, but mostly not upsettingly so.
I haven’t read her books lately—her early ones used to really bug me because I loved the writing and relationships but she totally ignored the customs and social standards of the time and her plotting was so weak. I should try her again and see if it’s improved.
(I am fine with historicals where the characters knowingly break the social rules and it’s part of their journey / the plot. But why bother writing historicals if you don’t even acknowledge things like the requirement for chaperones? And if I recall correctly one couple meets a few days before Christmas and is celebrating her pregnancy by New Years. Not even today do you know that fast …)
I gave up when I got to the marquis with the porch swing. As you say, a pity, because the characters were promising; but her world was wholly unconvincing.
Sae here, Jane.
I do not remember a book with that pregnancy in it. I’ve read all the Duke books, and the series with all the brothers with tree names. I am not an expert on historical life, but these two series seem authentic, to me.
With me, it’s hat and gloves, no lady would go out without them, also yes courting took a long time. Anyone getting married in a hurry was look at with suspicion, enough to ruin a young lady’s good name
Reread a few of her books (ereader archives) which I didn’t remember reading. Liked her characters. Still, I did read the end half way through. A couple I didn’t go back and read. Celebrating a pregnancy by New Years? Totally suspending reality.
Still in a reading funk, I guess.
The book is Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish. I took another look at it and it’s a prime example of why her books drive me nuts. I really like the hero and how he relates to the baby in the story, but it’s full of impossibilities. A wealthy duke’s family leaves their daughter alone in the London house for a few weeks to join them later for Christmas. And alone doesn’t just mean no chaperone. It means no one else in the house at all—no cook, no lady’s maid, no servants to keep fires going and carry wood and water, or escort her if she leaves the house . She acquires a baby and somehow in a house with no resident young children there is an endless supply of diapers and baby clothes. She, her three brothers, and the hero take a multi day road trip on horseback with the baby, in the snow and cold, and no carriage following with their clothes or baby supplies. Heaven only knows what they are doing with the dirty diapers. Two weeks after she met the hero and apparently a week after they first have sex, she knows she’s pregnant.
Her first book was published only 12 years ago and since then she’s published over 90 books and novellas as well as four books on writing romance. I know she had 20 books written before she got any published, but even so she is writing 6 or 7 books a year. That probably explains a lot of what I can only call sloppiness. I stopped reading her after maybe 30, because it was just too frustrating. So many books that with more time and a good editor could be good….
I’ve read a lot of Grace Burrowes but not as much lately as I haven’t found her work as satisfying as early on.
I think perhaps her prolific writing is due to daytime profession of being a lawyer since they are trained to read and write such huge volumes of words.
And kudos to her for her specialty of representing children who are abused/neglected.
Yes absolutely kudos to her for that. And for all I know her new books don’t have the same problems . I should probably try one. It was just so frustrating because there were things I liked so much and then these practical issues would pull me out of the story.
Isn’t funny what individual readers notice. I generally like Burrowes’ work and although “Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish” frustrated me I didn’t notice all those practical things. What I didn’t like was that the heroine turned down an offer of marriage that would allow her to stay with the child she’d grown to love.
Usually I’m able to suspend disbelief with Ms Burrowes but other authors will drive me batty. But sometimes I need historical inaccuracies – any inclusion of tobacco for instance will turn me right off the book (other than snuff, to which Georgette Heyer accustomed me long before I realized what it was). What I really like is an author’s afterword (or web extra) where she tells me where she broke history in order to make the narrative work, and what things have historical bases that a reader might think are anachronistic.
I finally read His Last Christmas in London, by Con Riley, and mostly enjoyed it. There is too much explicit sex for my taste, but the romance is very sweet, and yet still leaves the reader wondering if the older Guy is genuinely serious about Ian. I love the ditzy, but supportive roommates.
Then I re-read Mrs. Pollifax on Safari, by Dorothy Gilman. I think that is my favorite, since it’s the one where she meets her “big phungu”, who is a down-to-earth, yet wryly humorous man. The child she befriends, and the other characters, are entertaining, and I love that she gets to see her partner from the first adventure again.
The more I learn from others, and the more options I consider, make this choice of lens implants for the cataract surgery very complicated. The ones they are steering me toward would be close to $6,000 for both eyes, in the space of 2 weeks. That is a big hunk of change for something I’m not sure I would like. It would take about 2 years to repair that hole in my savings. They are progressive, and would also correct astigmatism. I had progressive trifocals for a little while and hated them. These implants sound very similar. Argh!
There is a very sweet follow up with the characters from HLCIL in another, full length book. They just make a cameo, but do get their HEA. I won’t spoil it worse than that, in case you want to read it.
And the thing is, they can’t change the lens they put in – or not without great difficulty. Honestly, I’d stick to a simple distance correction, and wear reading glasses when you need them. I was told that they can’t predict how/in exactly what way you may be astigmatic after the surgery – so I’m suspicious of them selling you a correction for that.
Jane, I’ve about reached that same conclusion. I’m sure they get some kind of a kickback from these specialty lenses, and that does not make me completely trust their advice. I read on one site that astigmatism comes with myopia. So, it follows, that correcting the myopia might help with the astigmatism. Mine is borderline for a need for correction.
It may be linked, but it’s not the same as myopia. My optician told me that it would be likely to change with the cataract surgery; it might disappear, but more likely I’d still have it but not in exactly the same form – which is what happened, in fact.
Of course, mine may have been more severe than yours – but I understood my optician (optometrist) to be talking generally.
My father got the cataract surgery two summers ago and got the expensive lenses i still sometimes see him put on his reading glasses for fine tuning his focus.
One side note, if and when I get this done, I am going to ask them to be gentle with my eyelids when they clamp them open for the surgery. One of my dad’s lower lids has sagged since it was done and that makes the lid dry out and is always red.
He was 81 and perhaps not very stretchy but I would be seriously pissed if that happened to me.
Lisa, if your dad’s lower lid is that bad, it can be corrected with a quick procedure under a local anesthetic. If its damaging to his eyes, health care should cover it.
I’m reading South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber, after loving the last one of hers I read.
I started on Elizabeth Peter’s “The Last Camel Died at Noon” last week, and I’m happily listening to the next books in the series. I think being married to Emerson, who is always angry about something, righteous anger or otherwise, would be quite wearing. But I like the relationship, how much they enjoy each other. Ramses and Nefret are teens, the Egyptian crew’s characters are filled in, and the later books are a much more dense read.
Went to see “A Man Called Otto.” The NYT disliked it for being sentimental and predictable, but I found it moving and entertaining. Tom Hanks and I are the same age, and somehow he’s playing the old guy. What the heck?
The Swedish original (En Man Som Heter Ove / A Man Called Ove)is one of my favourite movies, so I’m very curious to see this adaptation. Few movies have got me crying like that one*. Since I heard Otto is heavily inspired by the original movie, I can’t imagine it’s anything but a delight to watch.
*The same is true for the novel. Have reread it several times over the past 10 years and it still makes me cry and laugh again and again. It’s a beautiful read in many ways.
I’m reading Head Over Heels (A Lucky Harbor Novel) by Jill Shalvis.
I read Night Work by Nora Roberts. I struggled to get into the story initially and kept putting the book down for about three weeks. It wasn’t until about page 130, when the love interest appeared, that the story began for me and I couldn’t put it down then. It wasn’t as dark a novel as her last three books. I also read When She Was Good by Michael Robotham which was really good.
As a crafter, I can recommend “Unraveled” by Peggy Orenstein, in which she does “sheep to shawl” (except with a sweater) from scratch by herself during the pandemic. I also read “This Is Ear Hustle,” which I liked very much and fits with the podcast.
I am also going to give myself credit for finally writing a review and updating my fan website for “Be The Serpent,” a book that was amazing (note: #16 in a series, though) but I did not have the time to write it up when it came out.
I finished Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey last week and fall in the I Like It camp of the ongoing discussion. For those of you who were impatient with the heroine because she was indecisive and a late bloomer, think of it as a palate cleanser. I find the thought that someone who is so far outside of the currently accepted mold of a MC getting a HEA refreshing.
I’m deep in Mur Lafferty’s Station Eternity. It’s a lot of fun. Think Jessica Fletcher in space. 🙂
I’m halfway through Terry Pratchett’s biography by Rob Wilkins, his assistant for about 15 years. It’s a good read, as you’d expect, and has lots of Terry quotes from notes he made after he was diagnosed with dementia. Wilkins is also no slouch when it comes to writing.
Me too, Lian! Just started it and I’m already mourning his loss so much. What a guy! I listened to him speak at a Borders bookshop event years ago and he was just amazing in person, too. Although clearly an engaging introvert. He wasn’t trying to snow us in the audience, just say a few things with a twinkle in his eye and a half smile on his face. (I think this was for one of the Tiffany Aching books.)
I took my then 10 year old to hear Terry Pratchett talk once and it was a wonderful experience for adults and kids alike.
Jinx, I would have loved to have heard him talk. I’m finding the book so interesting – the responses to his first few novels, his initial resistance to writing a series. All the jobs he did while writing on the side, before the whole thing took off. It makes him very real, beyond the Terry Pratchett myth that is all I knew of him previously.
That’s on my list so good to hear its well done. I’m in the middle of the Discworld series at the moment and just finished “Night Watch” and thoroughly enjoyed the Sam Vimesness of it all.
I reread Four Kings and loved it even more. I kept up with That Serial. I’m reading Lieske, Victorine E. A Clean Fake Marriage Romance Collection.
I’m reading insurance stuff. GEICO is totally totaling my dead car for way more than I owe, so I’ll have a down payment on a replacement. The dotter wants a Mazda 5 micro van. They look like station wagons to me. Since she’ll be the primary driver, I leave selection to her.
The farm prospers. I have two dozen lettuce plants of various types and at least one spinach plant of six planted. All still a month from harvest.
The NEW! IMPROVED! Diet of 23 continues. Some things must be endured.
I read only two new books last week. Jayne Ann Krentz’s latest, Sleep No More, was an OK book – a contemporary romantic thriller, fast paced and professional. Sadly, I didn’t fall in love with it. The characterization lacked, and the narrative was heavier than usual for this author.
Erica Ridley’s The Duke Heist was a ‘meh’ novel. Droll sometimes, but no more. It was supposed to be a regency romance, but its historical accuracy was non-existent. I suspect anything resembling history or facts wasn’t anywhere near the author’s mind when she wrote this story.
Besides, both the hero and the heroine wallowed in self-pity every few pages. In fact, the entire book felt like their self-pity feast. Not the best character trait I like to read about.
Olga – Agreed about the Jayne Ann Krentz book. I’m always gonna like anything she writes but that one was heavier than I wanted it to be.
A friend’s claim to fame (or at least his connection with celebrity) is that Teller was his high school Latin teacher, and the friend still has his report card from that year, and IIRC, it’s even autographed by Teller.
As to my own reading, I jumped back on Hoopla the first of the new month (I get 4 or 5 borrows every calendar month) to continue listening to Agatha Christie as narrated by Hugh Fraser. I was looking to see if he had a social media presence so I could tell him how great his performances are, but he doesn’t seem to have one. BUT in the course of looking for him, I found out he has extra bona fides for narrating the Hercule Poirot series — he played the sidekick (who has the first-peson POV in some of the books) in a number of the David-Suchet-as-Poirot tv (or movie? I’ve never seen them) adaptations.
Anyway, I highly recommend his narrations of the Hercule Poirot books. Very well done.
Hugh Fraser played Captain Hastings on the early Poirot tv programs. They are a fun watch, with excellent production values.
Over the last three weeks, I’ve been heavily into reading horse racing thrillers for research as I’m tossing up whether to change genres again. I’ve read Dick Francis, Charlie De Luca, Brian O’Connor, Glenis Wilson, but this morning it all became a bit too much. Sigh. So…I dusted off an old Jenny Crusie, ‘What the Lady Wants’, and sank back into my favourite genre with a smile.
I re-read three early Dick Francis novels this week. ‘Enquiry’ – the one where the jockey hero is framed for throwing a race; ‘Trial Run’ – the one where an upper-class amateur rider is recruited to investigate vague threats concerning an aristocrat who wants to ride in the Moscow Olympics; and ‘Blood Sport’ – the one where a suicidally-depressed civil service investigator is recruited to track down a missing stallion in the U.S. All very good books, the last one is not a light read by any stretch of the description.
Also re-read ‘Survivor in Death’ by J.D. Robb, a solid series entry; confirmed my tolerance for graphic violence has fled.
New: ‘The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle’ by Matt Cain, which is about a 65 yr old postman in the north of England facing mandatory retirement and realizing he’s done himself out of a real life for the past 50 years. He sets out to find the boy he fell in love with as a teenager. There is much angst in this book and the hopeful ending did not feel sufficiently rewarding – the focus is on Albert’s emotions all the way through, but there was no payoff. More like a post-dated check. Also we barely see or hear from the love interest, who is a VERY interesting character. Mixed feelings: a good book, but no happy book hangover. I know some hate epilogues, but this book needs one. I mostly recovered from ‘that’s IT?!’ due to the afterword containing interviews of real men with similar backgrounds to Albert’s. There’s a chance this book could introduce general fiction readers to the concept of gay romance as a genre and as a thing that happens in real life; hope so, anyway.
Last book of the reading week, new-to-me ‘The Secret of Chimneys’ by Agatha Christie. A frolic of an English country house mystery, delightfully free of Poirot or Marple, mostly in the POV of an adventurous young man whose real identity is a big juicy spoiler. Some cringe-worthy racism and anti-Semitism prevent me from wholeheartedly recommending.
Chacha1 – If I could just have tea or a party or something occasionally to keep up with the characters in the In Death books, I’d be happy. I still reread the first 3 or 4 sometimes but after 40 books or so I’m done with the grizzly murders. Always gonna love Eve Dallas & Roarke, though.
I always have to hand wave when it comes to older authors’ racism and anti-semitism – like in Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophy. But I don’t love those parts, that’s for sure.
Part of me can tolerate, if not accept, the repugnant prejudices of older authors, because of the whole ‘age they grew up in’ thing; a bigger part thinks ‘there is a literary estate which could and possibly should clean this up* for modern readers.’ In this case, absolutely nothing in the plot would be damaged by removing a few insulting descriptors.
I will always love Ngaio Marsh, but she had her own repugnant prejudices, and they do keep me from wholeheartedly enjoying the books in which they surface.
*In one of my favorite Dick Francis novels, a character originally used the word ‘autistic’ in an insulting way. When I downloaded a later edition, that use had been removed, without in any way changing the meaning of the line of dialogue.
I guess I think if you really want younger readers to embrace your Golden Age fiction, don’t make them slam up against the fact that the Golden Age featured a Holocaust.
Perhaps then we don’t need to embrace Golden Age fiction?
I think there’s a risk in “cleaning up” older work in that we forget how widespread and insidious these attitudes are / were, and potentially laud authors who had repugnant attitudes. On the other hand if people read unaltered works without contextualization then maybe those attitudes are further spread.
I think at the least it needs to be transparent either way – if a line is edited out then there should be a note somewhere to the effect that has happened. And perhaps a historical note as well.
I agree. At some point, you just have to say,”It’s not from this time,” or skip the problematic stuff while you’re reading (I always skip the money lender parts in The Grand Sophy.) Most book contracts have a moral rights clause that says you can’t change an author’s words and still put their name on the cover.
Isn’t that sort of “cleaning up” called Bowdlerization? I’m all for sticking a forward or preface that explains and adds trigger warnings or whatever is necessary. I’m not in favor of altering an author’s actual words.
That said, the late Eric Flint, in his capacity as an editor at Baen Books, caused to be republished the works of James Schmitz – the Telzey Amberdon stories, the Trigger Argee stories, Tales of the Hub, and The Witches of Karres. And as the editor in the project, with the permission of the estate, changed a few of the author’s words. Many of them references to smoking tobacco and other anachronisms. Somewhere in those works is an essay by Eric explaining what and why things were changed.
It can be done, if it needs doing.
I agree with Gary.
I’m more extreme about it. I prefer to read the most original version of something that I can.
Furthermore, I really don’t like the restoration of old paintings.
Umm, I’ll stop now before I go nuts.
I read Go Hex Yourself because it was a Bookbub deal and it was cute and I wanted a light read. Then read Katee Roberts’ Radiant Sin (Dark Olympus), not light and cute (it says dark right in the series title). Next is probably We Took to the Woods for something completely different.
I left my phone aka kindle library in a restaurant at the start of last weekend and couldn’t get back to it till Monday. So instead of binging more fantasies, I read the first third of Simon Barnes’ The History of the World in 100 Plants. It was interesting and I enjoyed it, but isn’t really what the title says. It’s more “The history of interactions between humans and 100 different plants” – it makes no attempt to tell a coherent or sequential story about the world. Instead, the plants are in no particular order and it often philosophizes rather than telling the history. It has 3-4 pages on each plant with lovely illustrations, mainly of art. Some of the interactions were positive, some not. The chapter that he used to illustrate deforestation made me want to scream at humanity. Tobacco, ditto. But the first plant is a shade tree in Africa and talks about how important it was for early humans to spend the hottest part of the day in the shade of a tree, eating, resting and talking. That was cool, and not something I’d ever thought about.
Reread the Jethri books by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller: “Balance of Trade” and “Trade Secret”. I very much enjoy Jethri and the culture clash aspects. Not romance however much my romance-reader brain tries to turn side characters into love interests.
Beth O’Leary’s “The FlatShare” was delightfully funny and reccommended by many Arghers so thank-you😊
And I’m still mulling over “The Evolution of Ethan Poe” by Robin Reardon. Nominally its a queer coming of age / hfn romance but the MC is also caught up in a school board fight over intelligent design and dealing with family mental illness. Trigger warnings for pet death, but handled well I think. I liked the MC and I appreciate the author’s ambition with this story.
It’s only been a few months since I reread the Jethri books and now I want to read them again. But I should really read something else from the Liaden universe that I haven’t read so recently.
I read/listened to Mhairi McFarlane’s Here’s Looking at You and thoroughly enjoyed it. I really liked the heroine and wanted to hang out with her. Smart, genuinely kind, strong. A very satisfying read.
I’m now reading the latest in Lynn Messina’s Beatrice Hyde-Clare Regency cozy series, An Extravagant Duplicity. I have enjoyed this series with its Austen-esque dry observational humor. Nice cast of characters after 11 installments.
Audible has an autobiography included with the membership by Alison Arngrim who played Nellie Olsen on Little House on the Prairie. Had it not been “free” I never would have started it, but what a good storyteller.
For the first time in years, maybe since the start of the pandemic, I’m reading nonfiction. I started with Judith Flanders book on the creation of modern homes and I highly recommend it. She starts it by describing a Russian family that fled into the wilderness and lived there for decades (to avoid religious persecution) with five people in a one room hut with only a table. She points that that’s how nearly all Europeans lived 500 years before. And then takes you chapter by chapter through changes in furniture, food, lighting, family structure… I really recommend it. Then I read her book on Victorians and the invention of murder (their fascination with it). Also excellent. (Her own four detective novels are also good.) Now
I’ve moved on to a book she recommended by Mary Hartman, Household and the Making of History: A Subversive View of the Western Past, which seems to make the case (I’m only two chapters in) that the Industrial Revolution was due to the Northern European pattern of delayed marriage where instead of teen girls being married to older men, women married in their 20s to men who were only a few years older. It’s a very feminist reading and I will report back when I’m done.
I’ve got several more Judith Flanders history books to read and I am still working my way through the books on the Dachau trials. And maybe I will try a recent Burrowes and see if she has gotten better on plotting / historical details.
I just read that Judith Flanders book too! The Making of Home. Sooo good. Full of interesting facts.
Read the first Time Police book and am looking forward to the next. Although I have to say I missed Max, the loose cannon, and the deep dives into history in the St. Mary’s Chronicles books.
I’m starting A. J. Lancaster’s second Stariel.
And, of course, following the blood sport of politics here in Luzerne county.
Do tell about the blood sports!
Too much to go into. Right now it involves hiring a director of the election bureau. Some of us are not happy with the hire and are asking some difficult questions regarding conflicts of interest and possible skirting of state law (person hired need to be out of government employment for a full year and wasn’t). I just keep hoping the progressives among us start commenting during public meetings.
Wow. Hang in there
Hi finished the books I was reading last week then had an idea for getting you going on the Rose book. Hire a big house in the country for a week and fill it with family and writing friends (Gaffney, Krissie and Bob spring to mind but I’m sure there are many others who would relish the opportunity).
Put them in situations and note how they react, also get them to move around the house acting out scenes.
What do you think? It should be tax deductible, surely?
You’d be amazed at what the IRS considered fishy about writer’s deductions.
But that is a good idea, although Bob just scoffed at me for making Rose to autobiographical, so maybe not.
Agatha Christie did it with Ariadne Oliver. I say go for it.
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