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Source: (consider it) Thread: Lost in a Good Book: What are you reading in 2017?
la vie en rouge
Parisienne
# 10688

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The summer holidays approach apace. My amazon wish list is getting longer by the day [Big Grin]

I am planning to leave in the company of George Smiley, Simon Sebag Montefiore’s big chunky history of the Romanovs, The Ladies’ Book of Etiquette and a book about life in North Korea.

What’s coming to the beach with everyone else?

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Rent my holiday home in the South of France

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Eigon
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# 4917

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I've just finished The Clan Corporate, by Charlie Stross - about a group of linked families of "world walkers" who can move between parallel worlds. The heroine is one of the family who was brought up in our USA, and it's a bit of a shock to the system when she finds that the rest of her family live a medieval, semi-feudal lifestyle in their own world - and there's a third world she learns to access, which is roughly at the Victorian (and Steampunk) level of development. This is the third in the series, and the plot is thickening with a vengeance - the Family hobby seems to be blackmail, and there are several groups of plotters with different aims.
One of the things I like about the series is the explanation of economics - when I see what the characters are doing, economic theories just about make sense to me!

In the absence of book 4 at the moment, I've moved on to the third Shadow Police book by Paul Cornell, Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? His knowledge of Holmesian lore is impressive, and the plot involves a magical plot, and criminals who can walk through walls by outlining a door on them with a magical piece of chalk. Also, one of the characters is being blackmailed, and is trying to recover some important memories that have been wiped from her mind, and all the characters are suffering from one sort of trauma or another as a result of their previous cases (except Kevin, who is still bouncily optimistic and rather sweet). So it's a bit grim, but the Sherlock Holmes bits are interesting.

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Never cruel nor cowardly.
Never give up, never give in.
The Doctor's Promise

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Albertus
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# 13356

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I've just re-read The Handmaid's Tale- 'a delightful utopian fairy tale', according to a review by the Bishop of Maidstone (is that right? [Devil] )

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My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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"delightful," hehehe.
What did you make of the ending?

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Nicolemr
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# 28

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Been debating if I should admit to this, but what the heck. I finished reading the first of five collected volumes of the short stories of Seabury Quinn featuring his occult detective Jules de Grandin, called Horror on the Links. Classic "Weird Stories" pulp fiction. Racist? Of course. Sexist? Certainly. But a whole lot of eerie pulpy trashy fun. And, when they are released, four more volumes to go!

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!

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Huia
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# 3473

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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
I've just re-read The Handmaid's Tale- 'a delightful utopian fairy tale', according to a review by the Bishop of Maidstone (is that right? [Devil] )

Hmmm, an interesting point of view. [Roll Eyes]

I have just discovered Frederik Backman. I borrowed My Grandmother Sends her Regards & Apologises from the library and I loved it. I am now hunting out the other books. Usually it's easier to reserve them from the various branches, but as most copies are available from branches close to me, I think I'll visit. I like the different 'flavours' that the different branches offer, especially in the school holidays, when a kind of organised chaos reigns.

Huia

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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My sister-in-law runs a vintage/retail shop (not exalted enough to be an antique store) and has sent me Margaret Sangster (yes, the BC lady!)'s LIFE ON HIGH LEVELS (1897) and LIGHT ON DARK CORNERS: A Complete Sexual Science. A Guide to Purity and Physical Manhood. Advice to Maiden, Wife and Mother, Love Courtship and Marriage (1900).

I have immediately plunged into the latter volume, which is nearly unreadably formatted in numbered paragraphs so that you can refer back to the text, chapter and verse. The inconsistencies inherent in the work from page to page are dazzling. No, beauty in woman is meaningless! It is her inner soul that should be lovely! Here are some complexion tips and ideas on how to improve your hair! No, one should only marry for love, but here is a long numbered list of things to choose when you look to marry, including the height of the guy, his income, his teeth, and his hip width!

Truly an amazing book, but I cannot recommend it.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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lily pad
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# 11456

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quote:
Originally posted by Huia:
...My latest "must read the next one" series is by Becky Masterman, and feature Brigid Quinn, a retired FBI agent. There are only 3 so far, and unusually for me,I started with the first one,
Rage Against The Dying, and I was hooked. The Boston Globe reviewer sums up the hero as powerful, and flawed, needy and tough. Her relationship with her husband is interesting too and develops over the course of the books. I have just begun the third book, A Twist of the Knife and it promises to be as well written and exciting as the others. As it was published this year I will have to wait for the next one [Waterworks]

Huia

I've just finished reading all three of these - the third one didn't last 24 hours. I did find them quite intense and a little bit gruesome in parts but they were an enjoyable read. I really liked reading a book with a capable strong main character who is my age. [Smile]

Thanks, Huia, for the recommendation.

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Sloppiness is not caring. Fussiness is caring about the wrong things. With thanks to Adeodatus!

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Picked up DIARY OF A PROVINCIAL LADY, the first novel of R.F. Delafield. Charming!

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Doone
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# 18470

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Picked up DIARY OF A PROVINCIAL LADY, the first novel of R.F. Delafield. Charming!

Oh yes, a lovely book!
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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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It has completely diverted me from MY BROTHER MICHAEL, a very different kind of book. I have only read Delafield's later novels (TO SERVE THEM ALL MY DAYS) and this early work is great.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Doone
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# 18470

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I am reading The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth. It is his take on Hereward the Wake, an English rebel in the Fens fighting against William the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings. I'm really enjoying it, though it's hard work having been written in pseudo-medieval/Anglo Saxon language. Being a bit geeky, I really get a buzz from working out the more obscure words!

[ 27. July 2017, 18:22: Message edited by: Doone ]

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Jemima the 9th
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
I've just re-read The Handmaid's Tale- 'a delightful utopian fairy tale', according to a review by the Bishop of Maidstone (is that right? [Devil] )

[Snigger] Oh that made me chuckle. I've just re-read it too. I read it as a teenager, and was distinctly underwhelmed, in fact, I don't remember even finishing it! But I loved it this time - fascinating to read whilst also watching the series on telly.

I do rather like a happy ending to my stories, so I have chosen to believe that Offred / June got out, which is sort of implied by the Epilogue, but not clearly. I found the whole epilogue a bit odd, actually.

Now reading The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd. Wouldn't be my natural choice, but it was a birthday present from a friend, and I'm quite enjoying it. It's the story of 2 young women - one from a wealthy family in Charleston, and the girl who is given to her as her own slave on her 11th birthday.

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lily pad
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# 11456

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Just finished reading a new book by Anne Fortier, called, "The Lost Sisterhood". I'm not sure how you would classify it but I found I didn't want to put it down!

It's a story set in two times, the ancient days of Troy and present day. There are lots of literary references but it is a very light read. The theme is around amazons. It is an adventure or quest something like the Da Vinci Code or Indiana Jones.

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Sloppiness is not caring. Fussiness is caring about the wrong things. With thanks to Adeodatus!

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Eigon
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# 4917

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I've been spending some time in Arabian Nights territory, firstly with Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon. The characters in this one are fun - an old ghul-hunter, his dervish apprentice, a nomadic girl who can turn into a lion, and the ghul-hunter's alchemist neighbours, trying to stop the most powerful evil sorcerer they have ever encountered. And there's a swashbuckling bandit called the Falcon Prince bounding about the city like Douglas Fairbanks Sr, as well. It all leads up to an exciting climax in the throne room.

I followed that up with Alif the Unseen, by G Willow Wilson (who writes for Ms Marvel). Here we're in a modern day repressive Arabic regime, with a computer hacker who goes by the handle Alif, on the run from the authorities - which sends him sprawling headlong into the hidden world of the djinn who also live in and around the city. He has a sensible girlfriend who he drags along with him, and I liked the old sheik from the mosque, too. They're also trying to keep an ancient book out of the hands of the authorities - and the computer expert who is hunting them, who would use it to formulate magical computer code. Highly recommended.

And now I'm in the middle of The City of Silk and Steel, by Mike, Linda and Louise Carey, about a mythical city of women somewhere out in the desert, and how it was founded by the fleeing members of a Sultan's seraglio, as a new ruler took over their city in revolution. This one is even structured like the Arabian Nights, with stories within stories. There's also a librarian who can see the future, and cries tears of ink.

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Never cruel nor cowardly.
Never give up, never give in.
The Doctor's Promise

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Martin60
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# 368

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This.

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Love wins

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georgiaboy
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# 11294

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Just about to finish 'The Four Princes,' John Julius Norwich's latest, I believe. The four are Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V and Suleiman the Magnificent. All (roughly) contemporary, all ruling at the same time. The first three related by blood and by marriage(s). Wolsey, Cromwell, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn (and the other wives) have their turns upon the stage.
Some of the cutting from one court to the others, and some of the flashbacks are a bit confusing, but it spotlights one of the most critical eras in Western history. (Also perceptive insights into the medical implications, such as Catherine's false pregnancies.

Enjoying it greatly and learning a lot, though it is not, IMHO, Norwich's best work.

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You can't retire from a calling.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Just finished the most delightful novel, The Murdstone Trilogy by the late Mal Pete. Absolutely hysterical. I took it with me on a four-hour bus trip to New York City, and the other passengers were much taxed by my guffaws.
It's a straight Faustian tale, of a desperate literary writer who is coerced into undertaking to write an epic fantasy trilogy. This rapidly go to pieces. The author clearly knew all the grubbinesses of the publishing industry, and skewers them all. He's not all that kind to rural England, either.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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anoesis
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# 14189

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
It has completely diverted me from MY BROTHER MICHAEL, a very different kind of book. I have only read Delafield's later novels (TO SERVE THEM ALL MY DAYS) and this early work is great.

I love 'To Serve Them All My Days', but that is R. F. Delderfield.

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Only recently did I realize I have been confusing the two authors -all my life.-

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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LutheranChik
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# 9826

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Bruce Springsteen's autobiography " Born To Run"; " Black
Widow" by Dan Silva -- escapist spy fiction.

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Simul iustus et peccator
http://www.lutheranchiklworddiary.blogspot.com

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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I am reading The Hare with Amber Eyes, a historical memoir about a guy's family collection of netsuke.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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leo
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# 1458

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Just finished the latest Catherine Fox.

[ 23. August 2017, 18:14: Message edited by: leo ]

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
I am reading The Hare with Amber Eyes, a historical memoir about a guy's family collection of netsuke.

I love netsuke. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has a wonderful collection, but it wasn't on display from about 1983 until I moved away from New Hampshire in 1998. I asked a guard about it, and he said many other people missed them also. Howeve the PTB refused to return them to display.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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I actually have a few, modern imitations of the classic forms. This book is written by a guy who's crazy about them. Fascinating, to climb into a different mind-set.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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MaryLouise
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# 18697

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The Hare with Amber Eyes is a keeper. I know the ceramics collections of Edmund de Waal from his website and found out while reading the book that his mother is Esther de Waal who has written several books on Benedictine spirituality from an ecumenical perspective.

Edmund de Waal website

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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I would just love to see and touch his netsuke. (Gosh, that would be a very different sentence with some word changes...)

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Sipech
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# 16870

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As always, I have a few books on the go. Am still trudging through Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. On my commutes, though, I'm part way through Primo Levi's The Periodic Table and finding it wonderful. Not at all what I was expecting, but it's such rich writing.

Also made a start on Sara Maitland's Gossip From The Forest which is very promising. It's a look at the tangled interplay between forests and fairytales.

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I try to be self-deprecating; I'm just not very good at it.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheAlethiophile

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Eigon
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# 4917

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I picked up Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, on the grounds that I'd heard his name mentioned in connection with the Black Panther comics, and I wanted to know more about him. It's in the form of a letter to his fifteen year old son, and it's about the experience of being black in America. Powerful stuff, and highly recommended.

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Never cruel nor cowardly.
Never give up, never give in.
The Doctor's Promise

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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He's also a contributor to the Atlantic magazine, and you can read many of his columns there.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Twilight

Puddleglum's sister
# 2832

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I'm in the middle of, "The Stars are Fire," by Anita Shreve, centered around the Maine fire of 1947 that almost burnt up the whole state. Shreve is a good writer who just gets better all the time. Her scenes that are set the night of the fire are truly gripping.

She wrote a mountain climbing scene in "A Change in Altitude," that was so real I almost got sick from it.

How do some writers manage to put you right inside a scene like that? I don't know, but I'm grateful to all good novelists for the pleasure and escape they've given me.

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Nicolemr
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# 28

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I've been rereading the Garth Nix Old Kingdom books, excellent fantasies in a really unusual world setting.

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!

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Jane R
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# 331

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Oh, I love those! Have you read any of his others? I bought 'Frogkisser!' on spec and it's really funny (it's for younger readers but I Do Not Care).
Posts: 3844 | From: Jorvik | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nicolemr
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# 28

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No, I haven't tried his other books, I've been meaning to though.

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On pilgrimage in the endless realms of Cyberia, currently traveling by ship. Now with live journal!

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leo
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# 1458

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The The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince – Ridley, Jane Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince – Ridley, Jane I may be anti-monarrchist but I find the foibles of royalty fascinating.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Eigon
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# 4917

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As NK Jemison won a Hugo this year, and I had the first book in her Fifth Season series on my waiting-to-be-read shelf, I've plunged into the world of the Stillness, and characters who can control earthquakes. So far I'm still at the stage of meeting the main characters - an older woman who's child has just been killed, an ambitious young woman at The Fulcrum, the place where the people who have the earthquake power are trained, and a young girl at the beginning of her training (which is brutal, and seriously messed up). Oh, and the world is ending....

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Never cruel nor cowardly.
Never give up, never give in.
The Doctor's Promise

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leo
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# 1458

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The Farm by Tom Rob Smith a 'Scandi' crime novel.
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RooK

1 of 6
# 1852

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The Punch Escrow a science fiction novel about a conditional deal with a surprising impact.
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RooK

1 of 6
# 1852

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quote:
Originally posted by RooK:
The Punch Escrow a science fiction novel about a conditional deal with a surprising impact.

Seriously, though, it's a hilariously-written romp that dances around the central difficulty of teleportation being solved with... marketing.
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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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I just wolfed down Ernest Cline's Ready Player One -- it's a super-fun page-turner. Spielberg is making it into a movie due out next March, and I can see why, as it reads like classic Spielberg. The not very distant future is a dystopia in which most people spend as much time as possible immersed in a worldwide online virtual reality. Inside the VR there is a grand quest, and geeks now in their mid 40s will love the references to games, comics, etc. Reading this book is as close to being inside a video game as I've ever felt.
Posts: 24353 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tukai
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# 12960

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
I am reading The Hare with Amber Eyes, a historical memoir about a guy's family collection of netsuke.

Personally I found the netsuke (little Japanese ornaments) much less interesting than the saga of how his family went from rich [Jewish] merchants and bankers in pre-WW1 Vienna to losing all their money in the hyperinflation after the war. Apparently the family patriarch was so keen to show the doubters that he was "a true Austrian" that he kept all his money in Austrian currency while the shrewdies around the city hedged into "safer" currencies. Then they lost even their palatial mansion when Austria went fascist before WW2. When the author returned to Vienna, as an interpreter for the Americans, no-one believed that the regimental headquarters had been his childhood home.

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A government that panders to the worst instincts of its people degrades the whole country for years to come.

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Tukai
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# 12960

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Meanwhile I myself have been reading "Star Fall", another one of the "Smiler" series of the London police procedurals by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. You would think that a name like that would be either a pseudonym or that of a writer like Barbara Cartland, but in fact she writes quite good detective stories, with good characterisation and some niceturns of phrase.

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A government that panders to the worst instincts of its people degrades the whole country for years to come.

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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quote:
Originally posted by Tukai:
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
I am reading The Hare with Amber Eyes, a historical memoir about a guy's family collection of netsuke.

Personally I found the netsuke (little Japanese ornaments) much less interesting than the saga of how his family went from rich [Jewish] merchants and bankers in pre-WW1 Vienna to losing all their money in the hyperinflation after the war. Apparently the family patriarch was so keen to show the doubters that he was "a true Austrian" that he kept all his money in Austrian currency while the shrewdies around the city hedged into "safer" currencies. Then they lost even their palatial mansion when Austria went fascist before WW2. When the author returned to Vienna, as an interpreter for the Americans, no-one believed that the regimental headquarters had been his childhood home.
Yes, the hairpin left turn from opulent Viennese society to the Gestapo kicking down the door was shocking -- exactly as it must have been for the family. I also note that there is probably only one son left to carry on the family name; every other sprig on the extensive family tree at the front of the book was daughters.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Paul.
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# 37

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Just finished Odds On by John Lange (aka Michael Crichton). It's a cheesey 60s heist caper set in a hotel in Spain. I can imagine it as a movie with David Niven or someone like that. Rather more sex, which was quite explicit, than I was expecting from a book of that era but it was escapist fun.

I've got another John Lange book, Easy Go, from the library which I plan to read after The Essex Serpent for the book club.

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Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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Now reading Bangladeshi author Tahmima Anam's The Bones of Grace. Wow. Just wow.

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shameless self promotion - because I think it's worth it
and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

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leo
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# 1458

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Falconer by John Cheever Being in prison, self-knowledge and redemption. The author based it on his experiences when he taught creative wrting in Sing Sing gaol.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Ethne Alba
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# 5804

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Our Lady of the Potatoes by Duncan Sprott was a swift read but enjoyable enough for me to want to locate his other three novels.

Turning to Prayer (1978) by Richard Harries is intriguing but i'm finding that the biography of R Harries by John S Peart-Binns might need to be read alongside....

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Jack the Lass

Ship's airhead
# 3415

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Amongst other books, I am currently reading an early reviewer copy, that I got via LibraryThing, of an anthology edited by Mindy Klasky, "Nevertheless, She Persisted". Featuring, amongst others, a short story by one Brenda Clough (whoever she is [Biased] ) (I've not read Brenda's story yet). I'm not a big fan of the short story in general, but it's holding my interest so far.

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"My body is a temple - it's big and doesn't move." (Jo Brand)
wiblog blipfoto blog

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Eigon
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# 4917

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I'm rather enjoying Ammonite by Nicola Griffith at the moment. It's SF, set on a planet where all the men of the colony were killed by a virus. An anthropologist is sent to test a vaccine for the virus, study the cultures which have developed while the colony was cut off - and find out how the women there manage to reproduce. Ursula le Guin likes it, and it is somewhat reminiscent of her work.

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Never cruel nor cowardly.
Never give up, never give in.
The Doctor's Promise

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Trudy Scrumptious

BBE Shieldmaiden
# 5647

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I'm really struggling with The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy. Not that I'm not enjoying it, but it is a hard read for me. The combination of it being set in a culture I'm not familiar with, which not only adds a whole lot of new detail but means that names are harder to keep track of, with the fact that it's fairly postmodern in style and structure (definitely not a single, linear storyline with a clear main character, by any means), has me reading it in very small doses and wondering if I'll get it finished before the library due date.

One big disadvantage to borrowing e-books as opposed to paper books from the library: you can choose to keep the paper book a few days longer and pay the fine, but the e-book gets magically sucked back into the ether and disappears off your device if you go past the due date. So it's a race against time with this book. I don't want to give up on it because it is both interesting and well-written.

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Books and things.

I lied. There are no things. Just books.

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