Thursday, November 19, 2020

What We’re Reading as the Pandemic Rages On

LUCY BURDETTE: Jenn and I were delighted to be included in one of Hank’s backroom events this week (https://bksp.org/)--what could be more fun than talking with eighty readers about books and writing? I loved hearing about what folks are reading, and whether our current pandemic reality is affecting their reading.

For me, I’m still reading less than I like, and I’m still reading lighter and often women’s fiction featuring strong women wrestling with their lives rather than straight mystery. Bonus points for books that take place in other countries without our toxic politics. Two I’ve enjoyed lately are WELL-BEHAVED INDIAN WOMEN by Saumya Dave, and THE SECRET RECIPES OF SOPHIE VALROUX by Samantha Verant. I'm addicted to books set in India. The Dave book takes place mostly in New York, but it’s loaded with issues about a woman’s place in traditional India versus the US. Verant’s book (which came recommended by our book pal Jean Lewis) features a disgraced chef who runs away to her family’s chateau in southern France--so much wonderful food and scenery and a handsome Frenchman! And how come my family doesn’t have a secret chateau??


RHYS BOWEN:  oh gosh, I’ve hardly been reading at all for two reasons: deadline looming on not one but two books and such tension surrounding the election. So I’ve just read a biography of The prince of Wales and Mrs Simpson ( always good to have more input for my Royal Spyness books) and a couple of old Mary Stewart suspense novels. My TBR pile is growing rather large so I’m hoping for a time when I can sit on my patio in Arizona and binge read!


HALLIE EPHRON: Hank interviewed me, too, for her BOOK CLUB WITH STYLE group on Facebook. So much fun! If only all work were made that easy. Thanks, Hank!


I’m making my way through months of back issues of The New Yorker. There’s always some article I never would have thought I’d be interested in. More than a few of my novels were sprouted from something I read in The New Yorker. And the short stories!  


I just finished E. O. Wilson’s TALES FROM THE ANT WORLD. He’s a brilliant writer and inquiring mind, all about how he got fascinated by ants (myrmecology) and his worldwide travels to study them. 


JENN McKINLAY: After a mental hiatus from words or a small nervous breakdown, hard to say, I’ve finally gotten my reader groove back. Most recent books that I’ve loved were The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James, a creepy, suspenseful ghost story and fabulous mystery all in one.  The Flip Side, a British rom-com by James Bailey, which was a delight, especially from the male perspective. These were after I blew through all ten of the Chronicles of St. Mary’s by Jodi Taylor, a time traveling historian adventure series set in England. So fun! And I’ve also read some non-fiction, my fave being Keep Moving by Maggie Smith. It’s a book of affirmations written by the poet to motivate -- even when it all seems fairly futile. 


DEBORAH CROMBIE:  Lucy, the Verant book is going straight on my list! And Jenn's The Flip Side, and the Chronicles of St. Mary's. All of those sound like huge fun, and I want fun. Scarily, the only mystery I've managed to get all the way through in months other than Hank's, Lucy's, Jenn's, and Rhys's, was Elly Griffiths' The Stranger Diaries, which I loved, too. Otherwise I've been reading women's fiction (British chick lit, really!) with lots of Jules Wake/Jenny Caplin titles, and rereading favorite fantasy series. Since the pandemic I've reread all my Ben Aaronovitch, all the Harry Potters, and am now on the third Deborah Harkness All Souls book. What is up with this? Oh, I read the new Charles Todd story, which is really more of a novella, A Hanging at Dawn, and really enjoyed that. So basically, I want happy endings, not too much tension (unless I already know the ending), characters I really like, and no politics. I have a new biography of Dickens by A.N. Wilson, and am going to order the Obama memoir.


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I tore through Ruth Ware's ONE BY ONE, and now am immersed in Gilly Macmillan's truly disquieting TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH. I'm ready for JT Ellison's new book--yikes, what's the name of it? I'm distracted by my envy for her idea: What if Rebecca hadn't died? AHHHH. Brilliant. And then the new Anthony Horowitz! (Am I too stuck in my ways?) And then the new Charles Todd novella! And oh, Hallie. The ant book. I LOVED IT. (a long time ago, right?) And please find THE FIFTH RISK. It's not a fictional thriller, the way it sounds. It's a real life political horror story. Truly. Read it.


LUCY: Our copy of Obama's memoir is on the way from RJ Julia in Madison CT. Can't wait for that! Reds, how is your reading, and what can you recommend?


102 comments:

  1. Recently I’ve read a few ARCs”: Germania: A Novel of Nazi Berlin,” a murder mystery by Harald Gilbers; “Franklin Rock,” a time travel tale by Mark E. Klein . . . both were really good. Then “Venus Remembered,” which is a story by Ray Bradbury and a sequel to that story by Jason J. Marchi . . . outstanding.

    “Devoted” by Dean Koontz is a great book with a dog as a central character . . . .

    On the nonfiction side, I’ve read a couple of science books, a space book, a couple of space shuttle books . . . .

    I keep reading, but my to-be-read pile isn't getting any smaller . . . .

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    1. that's the trouble in a nutshell Joan! So many good books keep piling up...

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  2. My TBR pile is not getting any smaller, it keeps growing. Some time during the summer I started to rereading the "In Death" series. I've read them at least twice but this has been the siren song that has been luring me this past months. I hope to get over it soon because I've met so many "new to me" authors through the online events. That is the only good thing about this pandemic - all the online author events that have introduced me to new authors and, of course, I want to read all their books.

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    1. We were so happy to see you the other night Deana!

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    2. Reading my way through the "In Death" series was my summer 2019 project, and I loved it. Now a friend tells me the woman who voices the audiobooks for that series is amazing, so I may have to dip into that pool, too. Glad to hear I'm not alone in that fandom, Deana.

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    3. Who writes the In Death series? It sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't recall the name.

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    4. Karen: They are written by JD Robb aka Nora Roberts

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  3. Why it is I always draw a blank when asked what I've recent read and enjoyed. Always.

    After consulting with my November reading list, here are somethings I've enjoyed this month.

    SPY SCHOOL REVOLUTION by Stuart Gibbs. His stuff is for middle graders, but all the cool people are reading him. Seriously, if you haven't picked up any of his books, you are in for a treat.

    I enjoyed a couple of historical mysteries - MURDER ON FIFTH AVENUE by Victoria Thompson and THE ENEMY WE DON'T KNOW by Liz Milliron.

    For sure fun, there's SWIFT EDGE by Laura DiSilverio.

    And I'm currently reading SIGN OF FOUL PLAY by Penny Warner. Originally released in 1998, this series features a deaf protagonist. Really well done.

    With Christmas coming, I have to give a plug to a wonderful Christmas cozy I read back in September. MRS. CLAUS AND THE SANTALAND SLAYINGS by Liz Ireland is extremely cute, cozy, and downright fun. It's perfect for December reading.

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    1. I feel my pile teetering Mark! thanks for all those different suggestions...

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    2. Thanks so much for the great review of THE ENEMY WE DON'T KNOW, Mark! Such a great way to start my Wednesday this week, seeing that.

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  4. To say I’ve struggled with my reading focus this year would be a bigger concern if I didn’t know so many readers who also have struggled. But, it is a disappointment that so much has gotten in the way of my passion of reading.

    I did just finish the 8th Zoe Chambers book, Fair Game, by Annette Dashofy. I’m so glad I have two more in the series (so far) to read. They have saved my sanity more than once. I’m now reading M.C. Beaton’s last Agatha Raisin, Hot to Trot, that was helped along by R.W. Green. I have an ARC of Sara Driscoll (Jen Danna and Ann Vanderlaan) next F.B.I. K-9 book that will be out the end of December. A few others I have lined up are Lucy Foley’s The Guest List, Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club, and Agatha Christie’s Midwinter Murder (short story collection). So many others waiting, too.

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    1. Hopefully with the election mostly behind us, all of our concentrations will improve. It's been such a hard year.

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    3. Oh I read The Guest List! And the Osman is on my pile. Eager to hear what you think!

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    4. The Thursday Murder Club is a delight!

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  5. My reading comes and goes. There have been times when I can read a book in 1-2 days and other times when it takes me a week. I just finished two E-ARCs, Ground for Coffee by Tara Lush, debuts December 8th and A A Wicked Yarn by Emmie Caldwell, debuts December 29th. Right now I'm reading Women of a Certain Rage by Eileen Rendahl and I'm enjoying it.

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    1. If your reading has slowed down, we're all in trouble Dru! You're like our canary in the reading coal mine...

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  6. I've discovered Ellie Alexander's Sloan Krause mystery series recently and read the first three books. The fourth one WITHOUT A BREW just came out in hardcover.

    I'm starting Michael Connelly's THE LAW OF INNOCENCE and picked up THE CIPHER from Isabella Maldonado. Other books I've picked up recently are COLLISION OF LIES by Tom Threadgill, BADGE HEAVY by Colin Conway & Frank Zafiro. I read a couple of comic trade paperbacks too: THE CLOCK (about a different kind of pandemic) and STARSHIP DOWN (about the discovery of a spaceship that changes everything the world believes).

    I'm hoping to pick up that new anthology NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT that has stories from Hank, Rhys and Jon Land.

    Beyond that, I'm not sure what else I might read as I've just kind of been picking from the TBR pile(s) with no rhyme or reason.

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    1. I have the Ellie Alexander books and the new Connelly on my pile too Jay!

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    2. Oh yay! The Anthology has some fabulous stories!

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    3. Lucy/Roberta - I should have started the Michael Connelly a few days ago but after I finished my previous novel, I consciously took a break to read some other stuff to cut down on my magazine and comic book TBR piles as well. I've also taken on a number of CDs to review recently so I've got to work on them as well.

      I'll start THE LAW OF INNOCENCE either today or tomorrow and get back into the novel reading swing of things.

      Hank, come on now, you know I'm buying that book. Can't have the complete works of Hank, Jon and Rhys without it! And imagine when I can actually get it signed someday in the far flung future to come.

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    4. I've bought it, too, so am looking forward to that!

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  7. What a great list of books (I loved being at the Back Room, too)! Hallie, isn't the New Yorker amazing that way?

    I recently read my first Tana French, THE SEARCHER, and now I'm hooked. Just finished the delightful historical mystery MURDER AT THE MENU HOUSE by Erica Ruth Newbauer, and am now making my way through THE POISONER'S HANDBOOK, nonfiction about the birth of forensic medicine - fascinating stuff. I saw Catriona's rave about Eileen Rendahl's newest and that's on my list.

    There are more, but it's past seven, so I'm late for work!

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    1. I bought the new French for John for Christmas (wink, wink)

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    2. Mena House? I read that too. Loved it. I can't wait for the next in the series!

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  8. I am one of the herd that has drifted from climbing my TBR pile. I have 4 uncompleted reads right now, one of the is Jenn's ONE FOR THE BOOKS. This is demanding my attention, a wedding + a skillful puzzle and Christmas! So far it is a great read. Otherwise I am up to book 4 in Dashofy's Zoe Caldwell series. I enjoyed NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT, the short stories were a smorgasbord of delight. If I had my way, the wonderful Red's would create an Anthology of short stories.

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    1. we did talk about that this year Coralee. Everyone is so darn busy that it's hard to squeeze a short story out!

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    2. Aren’t Annette’s Zoe Chambers books great!

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  9. I usually have two going at a time. Right now, I'm working my way through Annette Dashofy's Zoe Chambers series (book 1 - book 10) and right now I'm just about to finish NO WAY HOME. I'm also reading Paula Munier's BLIND SEARCH.

    According to my list, recent reads include: BLACKTOP WASTELAND, AND NOW SHE'S GONE, FROM WILD MAN TO WISE MAN: REFLECTIONS ON MALE SPIRITUALITY, THE FIRST TO LIE, THE WISDOM ORDER: ORDER, DISORDER, REORDER, GHOSTS OF HARVARD, FRANCIS: THE JOURNEY AND THE DREAM, and THEY ALL FALL DOWN.

    That's going back to the end of September.

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    1. Sounds like you're reading more than a lot of us Liz! I have Paula's book right next to my bed...

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    2. Liz, I’m up to #9 in Annette’s Zoe Chambers series and loving it so.

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    3. How is it possible that you haven't read all of the Zoe Chambers books, Mary? Or are you rereading the whole series?

      Annette makes it all look easy!

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    4. Karen, I devoured Annette's Zoe Chambers books. I can hardly wait for the next one!

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    5. I've just started Annette's Zoe #9. Looking forward to it.

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    6. Do know when the next one is coming out?

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    7. They are so good. Such an interesting point of view from an EMT.

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    8. Kathy, I love these books. Annette is my critique partner and I feel so fortunate.

      Karen, I have, but now I have the opportunity to read the whole series in a row.

      Lucy, it's the only way I can keep my sanity.

      Debs, yes!

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    9. Deana - The tenth one came out last February and that was the last in the contract. Since Henery Press is no longer publishing, nothing more will be coming from them. But Annette is hoping to continue the series. I'd check her Facebook author page for updates.

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  10. In the last 3 days I read Gay Yellen's Body Business and The Body Next Door. So much fun. Great protagonist and nice romance, too. I'd say they are cozies.

    On Saturday, I read a Homeschooling memoir written by Arlene McFarlane with parts written by her daughter. A real departure from Arlene's hilarious, zany Murder, Curlers, and... series, she describes her experiences, decisions and difficulties homeschooling her two young children.

    I finally read Catriona McPherson's After The Armistice Ball, and had to search the internet to find the second book, which is on its way from the left coast.

    I am still making my way through Rhys's Molly Murphy series. What a time travel that is! Book #14 just arrived.

    I do believe that Jeffrey Briggs was a guest here, otherwise, how would I have discovered his books? I read both Out of the Cold Dark Sea and Within A Shadowed Forest, and loved them. Irwin is reading the first one right now and also thinks it's really good.

    And how can I forget Mark Pryor? We began with The Bookseller. Then his books became a bit harder to find. So I'll probably buy the Kindle versions of the ones I can't get at the library. He may be my favorite of these "new to me" authors, but that really changes daily.

    Also, S. W. Perkins, Murder Once Removed is great fun.

    Lastly, I've probably read 40 of Jenn's books this year. Her humor is perfect for keeping my head away from the grim details of daily life during this time. I'm caught up with all of the series, I've read many of her romances, and now I know the difference between them and women's fiction! Many of you realize that I am passing lots of my books over to Irwin, because we can't go browse inside the library and he is not an internet browser. I've been trying to convince him to read one of the romances. If you haven't read them, well, you should!

    I'm mostly caught up with all of the Jungle Reds and with many of the authors who do appear here as guests and several who blog here often. I promise to get to your books soon.

    My TBR pile runneth over.

    BTW, while cooking and baking, I've been listening to favorite books mostly ones that I've already read. Since the pandemic began I've listened to the whole of Lord of the Rings, several Her Royal Spyness books, and many of Debs' Gemma and Duncan books, too. Great narrators make a huge difference.

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    1. I had some problems locating the early Catriona McPherson books, too, Judy. If you are struggling for #3, let me know. I may have it around here somewhere.

      How's the foot? Getting better, I hope!

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    2. Gigi, hi. Yes, it is getting better. If you find the 3rd. Dandy Gilver in your house, let me know. I bought #2 second hand and had it mailed snail mail. It was very inexpensive, unlike the Mark Pryor books which cost more to buy and mail than the Kindle versions. I have lots to read in the meantime, including your books which are in my Kindle and up next!

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    3. Judy, I have The Bookseller buried somewhere in the deep recesses of my books to be read corner. I'm hoping to get to it someday.

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    4. I wonder if I have the Dandy Gilver, or if maybe I gave it to you, Gigi? Hmm. Will have a look at the shelves.

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    5. Jay, his protagonist is so believable and that story is great. I've been reading many books with female main characters lately. This one was a terrific change of pace.

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    6. Debs, you gave me Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains. I can't remember if I gave it back. I'll have to dig to the bottom of that Half Price Books stack to see what I have on hand, but I'll let you know, Judy.

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  11. I am reading voraciously, and it is all because I bought a heated mattress pad. Yes, you read that right. It's a bit like floating in a warm bath only I don't get wet. Therefore, I forgo all post dinner TV and go straight to bed. My November reads include:

    SNOW, by Booker winner John Banville. This led to CHRISTINE FALLS and THE SILVER SWAN by Banville, writing under his pseudonym, Benjamin Black.

    THE KINGDOM, by Jo Nesbo. This is a stand alone, and perhaps the best book he's written. Don't miss it.

    And three Reginald Hill books, Dalziel and Pascoe series. The names escape me at present, but they are all TGRs.

    We just moved from a yellow zone to an orange zone up here in Monroe County. Yet our numbers are still amongst the best in the country. We just have a governor who prefers to lock the barn door before the horse is lost.

    Peace out

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    1. so funny about the heated mattress pad Ann! So Julie must be doing the final doggie duty? You are so lucky with your governor. Ours doesn't believe in closing the barn door at all. And we are going to pay dearly...

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  12. I'm always inspired by these blogs--love hearing what everyone is reading and picking up new authors, new books from old favorites. Just finished SQUEEZE ME by Carl Hiaasen and the novella A Christmas Resolution by Anne Perry, but my reading mojo is seriously sporadic. I always get the latest Southern Living magazine specifically for Rick Bragg's essays. And Hallie, can't remember which issue, but he did a hoot of one about fire ants and E.O. Wilson (whose writing is indeed brilliant). I'm hoping to get my reading mojo back in the groove--have ordered A Fatal Lie by Charles Todd, Missing and Endangered by JA Jance, The Survivors by Jane Harper, Spoils of the Dead by Dana Stabenow (why are the archaeologists always found dead??), Stargazer by Anne Hillerman, and the latest in Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series.

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  13. I'm deep in writing and only managing a few pages here and there. We've started watching BORGEN, a Danish TV series about a woman prime minister. House of Cards, set in Copenhagen. Love it!

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    1. I adore the series Borgen!! We only have one episode left to watch and I can't think what to look forward to when my trips to Denmark are finished. We may rewatch the first season of the Crown...

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  14. My reading is pretty much back up to normal levels. In terms of comfort-reads, I will mention two older series that I have been reading and enjoying very much lately. One is Carola Dunn's Daisy Dalrymple series. The earlier books in the series are very, very light, and it was all the 1920's flapper slang and fashion references that mainly kept me in them. But Dunn did a good job of evolving the character over time. I'm 13 books in and Daisy is a lot more settled, well-rounded character now, and in the one I just read the actual mystery kept me wondering to the end. I have also thoroughly enjoyed Colin Cotterill's Dr. Siri Paiboun series. It is set in Laos just after the war in Vietnam, and Paiboun is the very jaded and cynical national coroner. But he's also a reluctant mystic, and thus the books are full of both satire about the communist regime and insight in to the cultural history.

    A stand-alone novel that knocked my socks off was When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald. The protagonist is a young adult born with fetal alcohol syndrome and she is one of the most likeable, memorable characters I have ever met in fiction. I recently finished The Huntress by Kate Quinn, and I would strongly recommend it, too.

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    1. Susan, I'm also a fan of both Carola Dunn and Colin Cotterill!

      The first time I read Cotterill was after seeing him on a panel at Bouchercon, also the first time I ever saw/met Catriona MacPherson. They were both so hilariously funny and brilliant that I sought out their books. Killed at the Whim of a Hat, Colin's first Jimm Juree mystery. Check that out, too.

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  15. My reading rate has almost gone back to normal, averaging 3-4 books/week.

    Recent fave reads include:
    THE CIPHER by Isabella Maldonado (ARC)
    BLIND VIGIL by Matt Coyle (ARC)
    THE MIST by Ragnar Jonasson
    and two light Christmas-themed mysteries to get into the spirit:
    DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND by Vicki Delany
    THE GIFT OF THE MAGPIE by Donna Andrews

    I am bummed that I missed last Sunday's THE BACK ROOM. I was signed up to attend but we had a wicked windstorm and I lost power and Internet that evening.

    HANK, I did watch your great interview with Matt Coyle this week.

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    1. Grace, we had the same weather here in Quebec and I feared I couldn't attend but luckily all went well.

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    2. Oh Grace, so glad to see that you and your reading mojo are back!

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    3. Grace, I enjoyed that new Vicki Delany book a lot.

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  16. I am reading a lot more these days. I think that is how I am escaping life, which is a rather depressing thought although I'm not depressed. One book recently I absolutely loved was This Is Happiness by Niall Williams. I also read Anxious People by Fredrik Backman and while I liked it, it wasn't as good for me as A man Called Ove. Squeeze Me didn't please me as much as I had hoped; I think I let all the hype get to me.

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  17. It was my second visit to the Back Room and I liked it very much .
    Recently I read Michael Connelly Dark Sacred Night but for a couple of months now I preferred comfort readings like books I had already liked or cozies.
    I began to read Catriona McPherson with the two first in the sery : A Last Ditch Mystery. I liked it . I don't always understand all the references to both UK and USA cultural differences but because of my different upbringing, I,learn a lot.
    Following the discussion here about travelling, I downloaded the Bruno, Chief of Police 1-4 by Martin Walker.
    And Susan is so enthusiastic for When We Were Vikings that I'll go and check it.

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    1. Aw, thanks for the vote of confidence. I hope it doesn't disappoint! (I recommended it to a neighbor and she loved it, so I don't think it's just quirkiness on my part!) The only word of warning I would give is it has a lot of coarse language -- but the language is really appropriate to the characters.

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    2. I would suggest you not read Bruno books when you are hungry. Bruno has some great meals and meal prep.

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    3. I'm going to check that out, Susan. And language never bothers me, when it is authentic for the characters.

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    4. I downloaded it and I'm not worried about the language , Susan.
      Maybe I'll get some ideas for my meals Deana.

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  18. I spent the first part rereading. Harry Potter, Gemma and Duncan, Clare and Russ, all of Margaret Maron (both series), and some old mysteries. E. O. Wilson is a treasure! Right now I am reading Chickens, Gin, and a Maine Friendship: The correspondence of E. B. White and Edmund Ware Smith. Great letters and you can put it down and go on to the next thing anytime. I bought but am saving This Time Next Year We'll Be Laughing, Jacqueline Winspear's memoir. I am using it as a reward once our weekend house in the NC mountains closes and is sold on Dec. 8. Right now it is all packing, all selling, all the time. Julia, my sympathies are with you.

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    1. Oh, the letters sound fabulous! Going to look those up. And I've been contemplating giving myself the Winspear for Christmas, too. Good look with your house packing!

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  19. I'm reading pretty continuously these days, probably to avoid reality. Going back a few months, I loved Simone St. James' THE SUN DOWN MOTEL, and Richard Osman's THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Owen Laukkanen's DECEPTION COVE. It was probably because of the dog. I've also read both of Barbara Ross' Jane Darrowby novels, and adored them. I recently finished Edith/Maddie Day's WHEN THE GRITS HIT THE FAN, and I've got #9 and #10 of Annette Dashofy's Zoe Chambers books on tap.

    Under the influence of Ms. Crombie, I bought a Kindle about a month ago, and have read a bunch of the Jules Wake/Jenny Caplan novels, which are great fun. I've also used the Kindle to enjoy the Charles Todd short story, A HANGING AT DAWN, and several of Lois McMaster Bujold's Penric and Desdemona novellas.

    I like to set myself reading themes sometimes, and the current theme is to read memoirs by interesting women. I thoroughly enjoyed Justice Sonia Sotomayor's MY BELOVED WORLD, and am currently getting a huge kick out of Anna Kendrick's SCRAPPY LITTLE NOBODY. Susan Rice's TOUGH LOVE is on deck. Not to forget the gentlemen, I pre-ordered Obama's book, and am treating myself to Matthew McConaughey's GREENLIGHTS for Christmas.

    TBR pile? I think I've streaked past "foothill" and gone straight to the mountain. And now look what you've done! Given me new books to add to my list.

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    1. Gigi, I had to laugh about Ms. Crombie's influence. My Kindle overfloweth, and Debs is the one who encouraged me to get it back in March!

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    2. Oh, golly, I do love my Kindle. And I'm addicted to Bookbub, so I have more books than I will ever manage to read. But I do discover some really unexpected gems that way.

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    3. Deb and I enable each other in all sorts of shopping adventures. After all, she is the person who went car shopping with me one day and uttered the immortal words, "Oh, go ahead and try the GT. What can it hurt?"

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  20. I've just read two novels I'm blurbing (they're wonderful, and I can't wait to shout about them!), and Ware's The Woman in Cabin 10, which was riveting. I have One by One queued up for Thanksgiving week! And The Sun Down Motel is also on my TBR pile, so I'm glad to hear others loved. I have to admit, the book on Ants sounds fascinating, so I'll find that one too!

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    1. Yes, I'm tempted by the Wilson, too. He's such a wonderful writer.

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  21. Don't you wish you could read in your sleep? Too many good books awaiting our devotion!

    I'm currently reading Margaret Maron's last Deborah Knott book, Long Upon the Land, which I've been waiting to savor. And listening to The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek, another tale of the pack horse librarians of Kentucky, this one by Kim Michele Richardson. The narrator is very good.

    I already had shelves of books TBR, along with hundreds on the Nook and Kindle apps, and then I had to go open a Little Free Library. I've not read many of the donated books, so I'm going to have to live forever (or figure out how to read in my sleep) to get to even half of them.

    Hallie, I miss The New Yorker! We took it for years, but found we were getting further and further behind in our reading. Our neighbors (from NYC) take it, though, and they send over interesting articles.

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    1. I miss the Deborah Knott series.

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    2. I sometimes fall asleep to audio books! Where there'a a will..

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    3. I would too, Jenn, if I tried to listen at night! I like audiobooks when I'm working in the garden.

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  22. I can't believe I missed the live event Sunday night!

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    1. Karen, we need to attend one together. It's almost like meeting in person. So cool.

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    2. You should attend together! The groups looked like they were having a ball!

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    3. I love being there, but I'm no shrinking violet. I hope I don't get on anyone's nerves with all of my questions and suggestions.

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    4. Okay let's choose a live event! Friend me on Facebook. Use one of my comments on JRW on Facebook to find me. I usually comment 3 or more times a week.

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  23. My reaction to 2020 is that I'm less patient while reading a book. I get annoyed and impatient if I don't like something in it and want to fling it across the room!

    But VE Schwab's THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE is superb--my favorite of the year so far. When Addie's parents try to make her marry a widower in 1714 France, she prays to the gods and is, unfortunately, answered by one who turns out to be the devil. He grants her freedom and eternal life, but the catch is that she will be forgotten by all who meet her, every time they part (even when she leaves the room). Addie is visited periodically by the devil throughout the next 300 years to see if she's had enough to turn her soul over permanently, but then she meets the first person who has ever remembered from day to day. It is absolutely brilliant!

    I also loved Anthony Horowitz's new book-within-a-book mystery, MOONFLOWER MURDERS--a follow-on to Magpie Murders and just as clever. Also, if you're a Fannie Flagg fan, be sure to read THE WONDER BOY OF WHISTLE STOP. And for a pure comfort read, Jenny Colgan's CHRISTMAS AT THE ISLAND HOTEL. Finally, if you missed TJ Klune's THE HOUSE ON THE CERULEAN SEA, get it now!

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    1. Margie, I started THE INVISIBLE LIFE by got sidetracked with all the traveling back and forth to my Dad's. I'm glad you mentioned it, so i can make a note to pick it up again.

      And the Jenny Colgan novel sounds perfect! I love holiday reading, and if you through together Christmas + scenery p*rn + romance or mystery, I'm in heaven.

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  24. My three library books I just returned were ones I'd had on hold forever! Louise Penney's latest Armand Gamache, All the Devils Are Here, had a wonderfully convoluted plot. I and both the "boys" read the latest Jim Butcher Harry Dresden novel, Battle Ground. It was like reading the last Harry Potter book: who will live and who will die? Donna Andrews' The Gift of the Magpie is a total 180. What fun it would be to live in Caerphilly with all those wacky people! I read the Charles Todd story too; so nice to get some background on the enigmatic Simon Brandon. I've read some historical romances, some light-hearted, some dead serious. I've got some books on my TBR heap I've been saving because I enjoy those authors so much: Frances Brody's Death of a Brewery Queen and Sulari Gentill's A Testament of Character. The first is set in 1920's England and is mystery, not cozy. The protagonist is a war widow who originally looked for soldiers MIA for their families while she looked for her own husband. She found she is good at investigating and sets up an agency with help of an ex-policeman. And no romance there! He is happily married with kids. I met Sulari at Bouchercon where I relentlessly stalked her. I love her books. They are set in the 1930's, mostly in Australia but have also managed to get to England, Germany, and France. I totally enjoy her characters and have learned so many historical tidbits tossed in the plot. Not to mention the Australian politics of the time which mirrored a lot of what was also going on in Great Britain. And I have an ebook that just downloaded to devour. I read a series by Ashley Gardner which follows a Peninsula War veteran back in England after a serious wound. He finds mysteries to investigate involving rich and poor and the influential. The Custom House Murders is the latest. I expect to immerse myself in that shortly.

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    1. Pat, I have the Harry Dresden on my nightstand. I read Peace Talks when it came out in the summer, but haven't gotten up the nerve to tackle Battleground.

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  25. Finally got Internet connection. Sorry I am late to the party. I have had spotty Internet connection for the last three days!

    Reading lots of memoirs recently. Speaking of fiction, I FINALLY finished a novel that had been on my Unread Books Shelves forever. I finished IN THE MIDST OF WINTER by Isabel Allende.

    Not reading as much this month, which meant I am not doing any book clubs this month like the Nancy Drew Book Crew or the Agatha Christie 2020. Trying to catch up on my NetGalley book reviews. And putting aside time for writing my novel in progress.

    Diana

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    1. Glad to have you here whenever you arrive Diana!

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    2. Diana, did you like Isabel Allende's book ? I received the French version yesterday from my public library.

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    3. Lucy, thanks!

      Danielle, I loved the book. I was just not in the mood to read that boon and I finally could focus on the story this week.

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  26. My reading has become SO erratic. Either I'm gobbling up loads of good books, or I can't find anything that holds my interest. I'm either reading 2 books a day or taking a week to read one.

    Barack Obama's book is on my Kindle just waiting for me, and I'm excited about spending time with the book, and with this lovely man.

    Some of the books I've read recently and enjoyed are:

    The newest Louise Penny; perfect! Gorgeous!

    The newest Mark Pryor; he just gets better and better.

    What You Never Knew by Jessica Hamilton (ARC)

    Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz; excellent!

    Never Far Away by Michael Koryta (ARC)

    The House by the Sea by Louise Douglas

    A Time for Mercy by John Grisham; Jake Brigance is back. Loved this.

    The Searcher by Tana French. 5 stars!

    Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin

    The Memory Collectors by Kim Neville (ARC)

    The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. 10 Gold Stars!!!

    Other non-fiction - the new Rock Bragg.
    Carrying Water to the Field, poems by Joyce Sutphen

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  27. I love these posts, but they are so hard on my book budget. Wait, who am I kidding? What book budget???

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  28. So many ideas for my TBR from posts like this, from the Reds and everybody else. Fortunately, I have been able to read and I was lucky enough to have several ARCs so have read a good variety. In addition, I really enjoyed Alex Trebek's book and have Michael J. Fox and Dolly Parton books next up for bios. The only thing I started and couldn't get into was Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen. He is terrific and I love him and when I put the book on hold I thought it would be a funny look at horrible people we are all now familiar with. However, by the time it arrived it was election time and we all know how that's going. So I'll read some of his other books and go back to this one.

    Jenn - isn't The Chronicles of St. Mary's wonderful? I read the first couple of them years ago and am now asking myself why didn't I finish the series?? Thanks for the reminder - binge time!

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    1. YES! I love Jodi Taylor's writing. She really got me through a brutal summer.

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  29. I am deep into Jenn's latest, because Paris is Always a Good Idea. In fact, it's so much fun that I wish I'd written it.

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  30. Sorry to be chiming in so late. I had to be out of the house early and been running hard since. It was comforting to read that the Reds and others are also having trouble staying focused. This is literally the first time since I learned to read in 2nd grade that I cannot seem to lose myself in a book. (OK, maybe when I had small babies too) Either its great but serious, solid and possibly heart breaking, not what I need at this time. OR so silly the (tiny) part of my brain that is working says, "Seriously? How can you?" And I can't. So I am going to read through all the comments and take notes! Plus the library says its my turn for Mutual Admiration Society by Mo Moulton, a nonfiction about DL Sayers and her circle.Sounds like just what I need - long ago and far away. PS I did read Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek and liked it a lot.

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