Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by rfisher, May 14, 2013.
For those of you looking for a bit of fun smut, try Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series.
I did just finish Linda Castillo's latest Kate Burkhalder. It was OK. Those sneaky Amish are always showing their evil side. My biggest complaint is Castillo's repetitive angst. I'm pretty sick of Kate's mental hand wringing. Castillo uses this as page filler while she's trying to figure out what to do with her plot. I just skip over those pages now because I know the drill. There were some pretty big plot holes that she had to fill this time. I amuse myself trying to learn Pennsylvania Dutch.
And, sad note Vince Flynn died today. He was 47. Flynn wrote the Mitch Rapp thrillers which were always funny as well as being action packed. He had prostate cancer.
I have deliberately blanked out The Scarlet Letter, but I think what I hated so much about it were the long, convoluted sentences. One or two? Fine. An entire chapter? Not so much.
Nebraska is one of the few states that hasn't officially adopted Common Core; my school district just adopted the standards. So I can still pretty much teach what I want. .
I agree with Prancer (I know, right?) that To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming of age story. But I think if you read about what happened to Emmett Till, the racism part gets put more into perspective. I teach that and the Scottsboro Boys trials before the kids read it.
I was impressed with it when I first read it - ages ago - in college,
I don't know if I'd feel the same, now.
I'm ambivalent about Mailer because he's written some great books; and others that were decidedly not.
I had to read "An American Dream" for a "Death and Dying" course.
I told the professor that I thought it was the worst book I'd ever read, with too much OTT/gross violence.
It was a potboiler; not literary fiction.
The last couple of years have been more about watching films and tv series than reading books, but I want to get my reading habit back now that I have some awesome book stores only a short commuter train ride away. The other day I picked up Dancing Jax by Robin Jarvis, mostly because I liked the cover. I'm liking it so far. I'm not really feeling anything for any of the characters yet, but one of them owns a life-size Dalek and plans to build a TARDIS in the garden, and that's a major plus.
As for books all Americans should read at some point in their lives, my vote is on The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Which I need to re-read. And I have a couple of other books by Chabon that I bought years ago and still haven't read. Need to get my reading nodes in gear!
I have to catch up on all the book thread updates, so I don't know if anyone has mentioned this good book, but I really liked it------
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
It's a coming of age story about a 14 year old girl whose favorite uncle (an artist!) dies from AIDS during the pre-AZT 1980s. Her parents despise the uncle's partner & blame him for his death, but the sad & lonely girl befriends him & discovers there is still some magic in her future.
I had plenty of tissues on hand while reading this one & remembering all my dear friends who succumbed to AIDS during those traumatic years - wonderful artists just like the uncle.
I think I've read all the ones that are out. I believe there are more to come?
I like Hawthorne because I think his works are psychologically interesting and complex in way that most other writing of the period is not, but students generally find him extremely hard to read because of those sentences and will not be convinced that he might be worth it. I think that in general, the Romantics are harder to read than any other English lit up to postmoderns--all that pursuit of beauty and expression seems to translate into a particularly artificial, affected writing style, which is odd since they so rejected the idea of artifice. Dunno; that's my theory, anyway.
I am mostly reading cookbooks at the moment--I'm getting rid of the ones that have only a couple of recipes I like and going through them to make sure I don't miss anything. It's a really slow process. That may have something to do with the fact that I consider it something to do while watching TV.
I was forced to teach The Scarlet Letter to juniors one year. It was awful. We were all tortured by it.
I was, at the same school, forced to teach Cry, The Beloved Country to tenth graders, as well. I love the book, but it is not for tenth graders. That was not fun, either. Tenth grade was a horrible lit year at that school. They also had to endure Julius Caesar and Silas Marner. I also like Silas Marner. But it isn't for tenth graders.
I hardly remember any of the books I had to read when I went to high school in the US - the only one other than To Kill A Mockingbird that I'm sure I read was The Once and Future King. I ended up finishing high school in Israel, and we had a program in which the material we read in literature class pretty much had to match the period/events we were studying in history class; that did work better for me.
Tessa Dare writes pretty vanilla regency historical romances - she'd hardly be my first choice if I wanted to read something sexy (I don't like calling it smut).
I'm not a fan of hers anyway; I liked the first one I read (which was not in the Spindle cove series) but later lost interest. I think it's because she deliberately makes her books historically inaccurate in certain ways that I don't care for. But she's right that this is an authorial choice that can work for many.
Sounds awesome, definitely going to read this!
I'm currently reading Room by Emma Donoghue. Narrated by a 5 year old... took a while to get used to his way of speaking but is pretty good so far.
I decided to begin reading the first book of the Games of Thrones. I am loving it so far. I was worried it wouldn't hold my interest being that the television show is supposed to follow the books rather closely (unlike True Blood, for example, which were so incredibly different I never felt spoiled). However, they are giving enough new detail and other things to hold my interest very easily. I like how, at least in the beginning, each chapter is focusing on a character. There are SO MANY characters in this darn thing that I can't name many of them from the TV show after watching 3 seasons. I was worried I would never keep up with who's who in the book but this format is really really helping.
Oh, that's sad. I think I mentioned that I have his "Contract to Kill" going in my car right now. Rapp is a hoot, for a government assassin.
Sorry, I don't mean to offend using the word "smut." It's a bit of a joke between my daughters and me.
I read the Spindle Cove books at a time when I needed something very light and quick and they worked for that. Historically accurate....no.
I read Julius Caesar in ninth grade and Silas Marner in tenth, I think. Ninth grade was a dreary year, but tenth was the year I was introduced to Dorothy Parker and Jonathan Swift, which totally made up for Silas Marner.
Well, now, if we are talking about sexy books, we aren't exactly going for historical accuracy, anyway.
It's my pet peeve, not your fault I do better with somewhat darker light reading (e.g. Sherry Thomas, Miranda Neville).
Maybe that true for you, but I like my romance reading to be true to the period it's set in, thank you very much Some romance novelists do a lot of research and their books reflect it; others read a few Georgette Heyers and consider themselves good to go.
Although it's probably easier to push the envelope in terms of sexual content when writing contemporary rather than historical romance.
Well, let's see:
The prohibitions put upon the unmarried were many. Before an engagement, couples could not converse privately or be alone in a room, travel unchaperoned in a carriage, call one another by their Christian names, correspond with or give gifts to one another, dance more than two sets together on any evening or touch intimately - and that included handshakes. Greeting and leave taking were acknowledged with a slight bow of the head or curtsy.
Now I will be the first to say that I don't expect historical accuracy in such things, because I think Barbara Cartland is quite boring. But most of the historical romances I read involve quite a bit of our hero and heroine being alone together, calling one another by first names, touching intimately.....hard to be sexy without, really. Most of the books give all these rules a wink and a nod, and the rules can serve as excellent plot devices to get the hero and heroine married if that is the goal, but if you are looking for books that are true to the period, well, sexy isn't going to be on the list.
Not a problem.
I like dark, too. I prefer it most times (what does that say about me? ). I've not read any Sherry Thomas, thanks for the suggestion.
To what time period and place do these rules apply? Because certainly this was not universally true throughout history, for members of every socio-economic class, and in every part of the world (the term "Christian names" alone makes that clear). And obviously plenty of people broke these rules - I mean, even Jane Austen had her characters do so occasionally, and that's contemporary writing.
But even if we don't want to have characters break such rules, I can think of plenty of ways to work around the restrictions you've described: for instance, by writing historicals set in Tang dynasty China (Jeannie Lin) or Colonial America (Pamela Clare), or that take place during the Restoration (Judith James); focusing on members of the lower/merchant classes (some of Courtney Milan's), or featuring couples who are already married and sometimes separated before falling in love (Sherry Thomas), or widowed characters who had more freedom (lots of authors).
Nan - I hope you enjoy Thomas; I think she's fantastic. Some of Meredith Duran's books are very good, too, and if you haven't tried her yet that might be worth a shot as well.
Thank you for all the suggestions, Zemgirl. B&N already owns half of my soul, they may just as well have the rest!
My pleasure - and if you have any recommendations (other than Tessa Dare ), do share!
I'm alternating between two books right now. The first is Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace), which I decided I'd finally tackle this summer. I stumbled upon a reading group on Goodreads -- it's great to have others to "talk" with about the book, but the reading schedule is slower than I would like and I don't want to get ahead of the rest of group.
So I'm also reading The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. Part fable, part mystery, part romance, all set in the immigrant tenements of Manhattan in 1899 ... an extremely well conceived story with memorable characters. I'm about 2/3 of the way through and loving it so far.
I've probably mentioned her before, Grace Burrowes. I suggest reading them in order.
The Regency, which is, I believe, the period in which Miranda Neville and Sherry Thomas, among others, set their stories. No?
In a SEXY way?
Yes? There are certainly stories that do so. But there are many that do not. If accuracy is your goal, you are going to have a very small pool of books from which to choose.
Who's to say what's historically accurate anyway since recorded history is flawed and only represents a very small segment of any society. If the plot is reasonable, the characters interesting and the sex hot, who cares about the so-called historical accuracy.
No. Sherry Thomas does not write regency historicals and her books are usually set in the 1890s. Neville's work is closer to the Regency period, as her Burgundy Club series takes place between 1819 and the early 1820s while her current Wild Quartet is set around 1800. She has written several books with widowed and/or not well-born heroines, and the former at least were subject to fewer restrictions than the well-born regency miss (assuming said miss heeded those rules, which not all of them did).
Of course, these are not the only two romance novelists that I read. The authors I mentioned in the post you quoted for the most part do not write regency historicals, either. And even looking beyond them, it's not that hard to find well-researched historical romances, though obviously there are plenty of books that are more mistoricals than historicals. I try to pick the ones that I think will work best for me, and I don't think that being a romance reader means that I should not expect the books I read to be well-researched and true to the period in which they are set.
Of course Jane Austen did not write explicit sex scenes. My point was that even her characters did not always follow the rules that you listed.
Nan - thanks, I'll look into that.
told ya! You'll probably wind up screaming at the tv at points 'THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN!"
I saw the first season of Game of Thrones before I read the books, and there was one bit that made me want to scream at the tv retroactively [spoiler for the first book/season]:
how Khal Drogo treats Danaerys on their wedding night. In the book he's gentle and caring; perhaps not the most sensual person on the planet, but at least he doesn't treat Dany like a piece of meat or pawn in some big game, unlike the other men in her life. In the book you can actually understand why she falls in love with him, without it being the result of her scheming and/or Stockholm syndrome. And in the tv show they turned that into a gorramn rape. WHY?!?
Just finished Dancing Jax. I will now have to get the sequel, Freax and Rejex, 'cos it was pretty damn good, actually.
Well, I think that's all sort of missing my point, but okay; you are the only one who needs to be happy with the historical accuracy of your sexy books, not me. I, after all, become enraged when a character in a historical novel uses the word "gender," so it's not like I don't have certain expectations. But even the most well-researched historical novel is likely to deviate from the times. I looked up Sherry Thomas and I have read a couple of hers. Her dialogue is definitely not historically accurate. That's a good thing, IMO, but....depends on how accurate you want things to be. I've also read some Miranda Neville and in her case, I think it depends on the book. She's committed some real gaffes, too. Dialogue errors tend to really jump out at me.
To each her own.
I care. Otherwise, what would I have to bitch about on the Book Thread? On second thought, there is very little sex, let alone hot sex in the books I am currently reading. None in The Master Switch unless you consider Apple and Google screwing each other/the government and AT&T screwing everyone else. Somehow I don't expect much sexy time in the Bleak House either. And no, I will not read 50 Shades. Which brings me to this question:
What book contains a well-written sex scene(s) in your opinion?
That book totally drew me in. I finished it in one sitting because I could not put it down. Slammerkin, also by Emma Donoghue is another really engrossing read worth looking for.
I'm trying to read What Maisie Knew but I'm finding it hard to get into. Has anyone else read it? Is it worth plowing through?