Friday, March 2, 2012

What are you reading?

LUCY BURDETTE: I'm a little disgusted with myself this month because it feels like I'm reading at a snail's pace. Blame it on too much work or socializing or my very late discovery of Downton Abbey, but I've got a towering stack on my nightstand and I've barely made a dent. Right this minute, I'm devouring a book my friend Pat Kennedy loaned me called MY KOREAN DELI by Ben Ryder Howe. It's a story about his Korean wife and in-laws buying a deli in Brooklyn--he's a very, very funny and beautiful writer. And I'm also looking forward to Diana Abu-Jaber's newish novel, BIRDS OF PARADISE, along with Vanessa Diffenbaugh's THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS, our own Deborah Crombie's NO MARK UPON HER, and more books by Cleo Coyle, Miranda James, Avery Aames, and Diane Mott Davidson.

What are you reading and loving?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I'm so honored to a the moderator of the MWA symposium--so right now I'm reading all the nominees for Best First Novel! (That's a fun task, right?)
I must recommend DEFENDING JACOB, by William Landay. it's extraordinary. They're calling him the new Scott Turow, and I have to agree. And the amazing Carolyn Hart just sent me her new one, DEATH COMES SILENTLY. Whoo hoo.
Jonathan is reading Lisa Gardner's CATCH ME, and I can't even get his attention, he's so into it!

HALLIE EPHRON: I've been so flat out writing I've had no time to read. Once I turn it in, I shall luxuriate in other people's pages. I did read one book I loved -- same as Hank's, DEFENDING JACOB. And I loved the article in last week's New Yorker about training police dogs. (Roberta - did you read it??)

JAN BROGAN - I'm afraid my reading is all research-related. I am reading Captain Ahab Had a Wife by Lisa Norling and A Very Social Time (about antebellum New England) by Karen W. Hansen. They are both insightful and full of fascinating details, but not what you call page turners unless you are like me and totally fascinated with the era.

RHYS BOWEN: Like Hallie and Jan I'm in the throes of writing and find it impossible to read much when I'm working on a book. I've also had several books to blurb, which has taken up any reading time I have, but I've just picked up Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder and I'm really enjoying it. The writer has written a biography of Wilde and his wit sounds so genuine. AND it's in the right time period for the Molly book I'm writing.

ROSEMARY HARRIS: Having delivered my latest masterpiece at the end of January I took the month of February to catch up on some reading - LOVED Gone by Mo Hayder, Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, The Confession by Charles Todd and The Saddlemaker's Wife by Earlene Fowler. Currently reading Swann's Last Song by Charles Salzberg and Catherine by Robert Massie.

I think I should retire and just read and garden from now on...
(PS It didn't hurt that I logged about 50 hours worth of flying time in

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Ro, you'd better not retire from writing! But the idea of having nothing to do but read is very appealing, I must admit.

At the moment I'm devouring Craig Ferguson's memoir, American on Purpose, which is just brilliant. Laugh-out-loud funny, scathingly honest, and very touching. And I guess I can say it's kinda/sorta research since I do have a Scottish character in my WIP... Just read Cara Black's Murder at the Lanterne Rouge, and The Confession by Charles Todd, both of which I loved. Oh, and my first Lauren Willig, The Orchid Affair--ditto. Huge fun!

Next up, Imperial Scandal by Teresa Grant, and Rhys Bowen's new Molly Murphy, Hush Now, Don't You Cry. Can't wait!

LUCY BURDETTE: Wowie, zowie, that's a list that could last us ten years. But tell us, what are you all reading these days? And why do you love it?


  1. I have yet to discover Downton Abbey. I's all the rage so I must be missing something!

  2. Harvee,
    Lucky you! You can see all of Season two (and I think Season One) on until next week.

  3. Harvee, I held out as long as possible on Downton Abbey, but the minute I saw the first episode, I was dangerously hooked. We are streaming it on Netflix and going to draw it out as long as possible.

  4. Every time I have opened a magazine or newspaper recently, there was another review of Defending Jacob. As it happened, there are not one but two ARCs in the house, so I bowed to the pressure and read it last week. Well worth it! (Thanks goodness!)

    Downton Abbey is worth watching for the lovely costumes and, of course, the settings. The plot? A bit choppy (is the guy with amnesia going to come back?)

    I'm reading my way through contemporary Irish crime fiction (research for my coming series). Not a large group of writers, which makes that task manageable. I'm looking forward to reading one such recent acquisition, The Pig Did It, by Joseph Caldwell.

  5. Lucy, after having read your wonderful, "An Appetite for Murder" in February, I finished Avery Aames' "Clobbered by Camembert."

    Working through E.J. Copperman's "Old Haunts" and Ellery Adams "The Last Word" now.

    Kate Carlisle's "One Book in the Grave," Dana Stabenow's "Restless in the Grave," and a nonfiction piece by Michael Sturma titled "Surface and Destroy: The Submarine Gun War in the Pacific" are all queued up on my Kindle.

    John Kilgallon
    My Cozy Reader

  6. Debs,

    I LOVE Craig Ferguson, so I'm going to have to break down, exit the 19th century and read that book.

    Like Sheila alludes to Downton Abbey is a soap opera is opera clothing, BUT Harvee, it's a totally awesome escape and like Ro, I'm jealous you have it all before you.

    Interesting aside on reading. I spent all of Tuesday in the New Bedford Whaling Museum Library reading a woman's journal -- actually two of her journals - that was riviting.

    I came back that night with an incredibly sore neck -- in fact, It's still incredibly sore - so I was clearly NOT IN SHAPE for all day reading.

    So Watch out Ro?? (It's still killing me with all the physical fitness I do - I'm benched by READING!

  7. Jan, reading is dangerous:-)

    I finished the Craig Ferguson last night. Lovely man, lovely book. Not only is he funny, he's a very good writer. I saw him in Fort Worth a couple of years ago, and have never, ever laughed so hard--my stomach muscles hurt for a week. Thank God he got sober twenty years ago or I doubt he'd still be with us.

  8. I'm nearly half-way through The Postmistress by Sarah Blake and enjoying it immensely. Nonetheless, although the jacket blurb leads me to expect an outcome, I remain mystified as to how she going to get there!

  9. I am reading Kate Atkinson's Started Early, Took My Dog. Great series. Jackson Brody keeps reinventing himself.

  10. Have you ever seen Ferguson's movie Saving Grace? Very funny.

  11. Ro, I love Saving Grace, and he talks about it a good bit in the book. He's very proud of it--and rightly so.

  12. I just finished the first book in a teenage series called The Iron Fey, by Julie Kagawa. Amazing protagonist, I would want my teenage kids to read her and aspire to be like her. The others in the series will be good plane reads. I did get quite into the novel and fairy world and was interviewing a woman who had ears that kinda stuck out the side of her head. I kept waiting for them to go pointy or grow fur...

  13. Just finished No Mark Upon Her, and closed it sadly, knowing it will be some time before I get to visit Duncan and Gemma again. I'm now reading A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen because (sorry, ladies) there is no greater novelist than Jane. After that it will be Deborah Crombie's recommendation, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey. I was thrilled to find that Lady Almina was the Countess of Carnarvon -- what could be better than Downton Abbey meets King Tut??

  14. Just finished Faithful Place by Tana French on audio in the car. Rereading Peter Mayle's Provence from A to Z on the iPod at the gym. At home, devouring Lynn Sheene's The Last Time I Saw Paris, set in and around a Parisian flower shop during WWII.

    And about to read Don Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel in prep for his intensive workshop at the end of the month.

  15. Just finished P.D. James "Death Comes to Pemberley" (I enjoyed it!!); "Private #1 Suspect" (good suspense) by James Patterson, and another one by him "The Christmas Wedding" (too sugary) and now reading "Eyes Wide Open" (a tad weird for me) by Andrew Gross.

  16. Warning: This BLOG is dangerous. Virginia, have just ordered Lady Almina. And Leslie, the Lynn Sheene book sounded wonderful, so that, too. And it's not like I don't have ENOUGH TO READ ALREADY!

    (Virginia, so glad you liked NO MARK!)

  17. If you liked Craig Ferguson's autobio, look for his first work of fiction, Between the Bridge and the River. It's brilliant, irreverent, and funny as hell. Hard to believe he left school in the middle of his teens.

    This week I read Death Comes to Pemberley; Carolyn Hart's Laughed till he Died; the fourth Spellman Files book by Lisa Lutz; Diane Mott Davidson's Crunch Time; and Chris Grabenstein's Tilt-a-Whirl.

  18. John, thank you for the kind words! I take it you left Key West?

    And I've added Defending Jacob and Craig Ferguson to my teetering pile...sigh.

    Karen from Ohio--what a wonderful reading roll you're on!

  19. I'm on a classics kick for some reason and read The Sun Also Rises and Of Mice and Men last week. Before that I read Murakami's Kafka on the Shore--way outside my usual genre--and found it lovely and thought-provoking, also strange and puzzling. Picked up Great Expectations today and read Winspear's latest Maisie Dobbs while treating myself to lunch out. :-)

  20. Love all the variety -- so encouraging, and inspiring!

  21. Hi Lucy,

    I'm reading GODS IN ALABAMA by Joshilyn Jackson. This is a brilliant mystery/coming-of-age/southern-teen-angst/social-commentary/amazingly-written (did I mention mystery) book, ever. No we're not related. Never met except on blogs, and she mostly ignores me. So no, nothing's in it for me. The woman can write.

    Just received in the mail today: Season One of Downtown Abbey. Missed it the first time around, and the satellite connection was out, causing me to miss even more catch-up opportunities!

  22. A friend suggested I read LOLITA then READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN in that order. So I finished the Nabokov last week and am reading RLIT.

  23. Ignore this comment-- just trying to determine why I'm not receiving Jungle Reds email options, or not being given the choice on new browser... frustrating!

  24. I'm part way through Ernest Cline's READY PLAYER ONE. Everyone promised me it was a fun read, and, man, were they right!

  25. Where to begin?

    This is an incomplete list -
    I just finished Deb Crombie's latest book and am now very sad, like Virginia, that it will be so long before I am reunited with Duncan and Gemma. Deb, your descriptions make me feel as though I am right in the midst of the action. At times, it was frightening! (And you do realize this a compliment!)

    I have finished a couple of books by Miranda James,am reading one by Dana Cameron, have finally retrieved -from the "safe place" where I put it - Lucy's An Appetite for Murder,and am rereading Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief. (A young niece has turned me on to some YA novels.)

    I know I have left out some things. At different hours of the day or days of the week I pick up different books that are lying around my home and read a few pages or a few chapters. I never even mentioned any of the books on my Kindle! The majority of the books on my Kindle are books of essays-great Waiting Room reading. (I spend too much time in waiting rooms but reading helps me to get through it!) There are some novels on it too. I have read all of them and am trying to get caught up on "printed"books before I buy more for the Kindle.

    I'm not receiving the JRW emails,either,despite having signed up more than once in the past few weeks. Can one of you Lovely Reds assist us?

    Deb Romano

  26. Rein and Deb, are you talking about our new email sign-up--the little gray box in right hand sidebar? If so, we haven't sent any yet! We'll wait until we have real news:).

  27. The Claresby Collection- Twelve short mysteries by Daphne Coleridge, Nice little series I downloaded to my phone, can lay in bed and read and not disturb hubby, sharing a tiny bedroom for months makes reading late at night hard - Sunday his uncle heads back home so I will have the living back at night after DH and his Mom go to bed, then I can pick up a real book to read.

  28. Lucy,

    Is THAT what that is? I thought it was an option to receive JRW via email each day,along with the NY Times!

    Good Lord -I just had a terrible fright! I'm sitting in the living room reading this and suddenly heard a crackling noise coming from the kitchen. I rushed in there,expecting either to see the ceiling crashing in or to find something on fire,but it was just hail hitting the window really hard. Seems to have switched back to ordinary rain in just a few minutes. (Now if my heart would just start beating normally again...)

  29. I hate to admit this, but the question for me is "what have you been reading in addition to A Discovery of Witches?" I've been reading about alchemy - and really enjoyed Deb Harkness's nonfiction, The Jewel House. Though I have a stack of unread books, I can't decide how to attack it - I think Deb's No Mark Upon Her will be next!

  30. Lucy- no not the grey box. I used to get email updates when there were new comments posted. There was a choice below the comment box, in the "Choose an identity" section. About a week ago it stopped sending email regarding new comments, and couple of days ago, the option for email updates disappeared altogether.

  31. Losing the email updates option makes the Jungle Reds site more difficult to use.

  32. Once again I am late to the party!!

    I work in my kids' school library so I just finished "The Forest of Hands and Teeth" Series by Carrie Ryan. A Zombie Apocalypse novel...never thought I would like that stuff, but I did really enjoy it. We read some of the more popular series to see for which ages the books are most appropriate.

    Also re-reading the Clare Fergusson-Russ Van Alstyne series, because they were on sale on my Nook, and I loved them the first time, so why not?

    Looking forward to reading No Mark Upon her and Defending Jacob!

  33. I just finished Louise Penny's "A Rule Against Murder". I'm so glad I happened upon her books - I've been loving Inspector Gamache!