Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Artemis@BC, Sep 6, 2012.
Be prepared -- it only gets more and more tiring.
Just finished Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue. Not exactly a fun book but so well written and brilliantly tragic.
I'm about 1/4 of the way through A Tale for the Time Being, the latest by Ruth Ozeki. I loved her previous books (My Year of Meats and All Over Creation), but so far this one surpasses those. She's weaved together 2 characters' lives by the done-before but still effective device of a found diary -- but with the added twist of it floating in on the debris stream from the 2011 Japan tsunami that's washing ashore in British Columbia. Add to that her powerful imagery, engaging characters, and environmental themes, and you have a winner. Loving it so far!
I'm currently alternating One of Ours with the new Mae Murray bio. Murray has a rep for being the quintessential batshit crazy silent movie star with one great performance in her, The Merry Widow (MGM, 1925). I look forward to reading about her feud with director Erich von Stroheim (who plays Max in Sunset Boulevard). I'm particularly curious as to how she managed to survive the Depression after getting cleaned out financially by her husband and blackballed by MGM.
After meting it out bit by bit since it's been published, I finally finished Robert Caro's "The Passage of Power" about the run up to the 1960 Presidential campaign through Johnson's years as Vice President and then through beginning of the Johnson presidency after the assassination of JFK. I'd recommend it as well as the rest of Caro's series on Johnson. I don't know what I'm going to do after the fifth and final volume is published.
I just listened to the new book "Six Years" by Harlen Coben on audible and really loved it. It is full of suspense and very unpredictable - sort of a mystery/thriller with romance as the backdrop. I could have done with a little bit less description of his intense, unwavering feelings but in general I would recommend it. It would be a good summer read for lying at the beach.
On the off chance you guys are not tired of me mentioning WW2 books, I found another one that is worth reading. The book is called "Bringing Mulligan Home". It is new and written by journalist Dale Mulligan who's father was in Okinawa and was haunted by demons the rest of his life. The War in the pacific was totally different from the War in Europe and things there was not quite always clear. It was not until after his father died that Mulligan started to track down his father's former Marine buddies and piece together his Dad's wartime experiences. Haven't readily yet but plan to soon.
I deleted about 100 books off my Kindle last night. I read about 10 of them, the others were freebies that looked interesting at the time. There's easily 200+ left. There's also 2 shelves full of 'need to read' and another 6 next to my chair at home. I am now in the mindset that I must get through my piles of virutal and real books before I even think about buying another. This does not count my library holds though. I need those...
I tell myself that everyday. So far, it's not working.
acraven keeps giving me her books that she's ready to part with much faster than I can keep up with reading them. Not to mention those I buy myself.
I bought another one and downloaded 2 freebies today. But, one was a free Hunger Games cookbook (unofficial) - does food count?
PS - thanks Puglover, I'll reserve that book, I was on the fence about it.
Where was this?? //overexcitedgeek
So I read Maeve Binchy's last novel A Week in Winter from the library. I'm glad I didn't spend money on it. It wasn't as syrupy sweet as Minding Frankie, but it had all the trademarks of her last several books: random strangers together, magical place making everything better, "spinster" woman whose mere presence solves everyone's life problems, etc...There was one character who walked away the same as she came and had real potential to have a story but that was not developed at all.
I remember loving some of her older work, especially Firefly Summer and Circle of Friends (which has a much less cloying ending than the movie version). But I feel like as she got older, she just loved her characters too much to put them through real tragedy or conflict or make them find their own way out.
Amazon had it for the Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009I62O38/ref=cm_cd_asin_lnk Reviews actually liked it. Not sure if it's a US only deal though.
I finished 'Sarah's Key' tonight. I really wanted to love this book. Dealt superficially with the 1942 French roundup of Jewish men, women, and children. It jumped back and forth between 2002 and 1942, and was too disjointed for me. Our 'heroine', a writer just annoyed me from page 1. And Sarah was ignored, although her story was the one that really mattered. It could have been great. Instead, it's back to the library and I'm glad I didn't buy it.
PDilemma - I've got A Week in Winter coming eventually from the library. The librarian summed up Maeve nicely 'she takes forever to make a point'. But, I love Maeve. And Rosamund Pilcher.
I have a VPN! Purchased. Thank you!
ETA: I love the amount of thought put into this! And I also love that they have a recipe for lamb stew with dried plums, because every time she mentioned it in the book I wanted it!
Finished The Killing Floor (first Jack Reacher novel) and loved it. I know many of you have read the others - are they as good? Might just buy the next two and then go from there.
Although it's definitely violent - I could do without the torture/sicko stuff, but thankfully that happened off camera so to speak - I enjoyed the aspect of it. There were a few logical leaps that seemed unrealistic such as
his smart brother leaving phone numbers and clues lying around - there's no way he'd need to write down those clues - and Reacher deducing where Hubble was? That was plain luck and far too convenient for this story - the author could have easily built in some clue from the prison time instead.
But one thing I really was the ending. Too often in these books - I'm looking at you James Rollins -
the hero falls for a girl he's known five minutes, then proceeds to risk his life and everyone else's for her, and at they ride off into the sunset together, *barf* and also totally unrealistic. Next book, they have to explain why the hero had to shed the love of his life, so as to free him up for the next hot chick. In this book, I loved that the chapter started with "it didn't work out," and logically explained why. For that matter, I liked that Roscoe got bundled off for the climax of the story, so that it was about Reacher, not her. Wouldn't mind if she turned up in future, but happy he's not tied to her.
And there's no way I'm seeing the movie, ever. Tom Cruise in Top Gun, Mission Impossible, etc no problem. But Jack Reacher? No flippin' way.
I know there are some romance novel readers out there. I took some time off last week and needed some really light reading and stumbled upon Julia Quinn's Bridgerton Series (the lives and loves of eight brothers and sisters, Regency style). The "formula" was easy to spot, but the characters were fun and she writes snappy dialogue. Good, fun fluff.
Nan, you've likely already run across this author before, but just in case you might want to try Jennifer Crusie. She started as a romance writer and evolved into a kind of anti-chick lit writer. Recently injecting more of the supernatural in her stories, which not everyone likes, and ditto her collaborations with another writer. But there's a chunk of books in the middle - around Welcome to Temptation and Faking It - that are quite good. Fun characters well drawn, romance that's a bit more real, light reads.
Thanks, Jenny. I'll look her up. I seem to swing back and forth between murder mysteries, science fiction, romance and a host of other things. Is that a sign of a multiple personality??
Some of them are good, some of them are so-so, and some of them are to be avoided. All of them are violent, some more than others. I think The Killing Floor is the best of them, but that may be because it was the first one I read and it was such a surprise. After that, Jack Reacher was a known quality.
Both of the spoiler points you mentioned are pretty consistent. In some of the books, the logical leaps are downright insulting to your intelligence. rfisher is my canary in the mine; she always reads the new ones as soon as they come out and posts about them here.
A list for you: http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/15428.Best_Humorous_Historical_Romances?auto_login_attempted=true
And a website: http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/
I hope not.
Which ones have you read? My favorite Bridgerton books were Anthony's, Benedict's and Francesca's. Stay away from the last two, she was clearly phoning it in by then.
I like Cruisie, but in moderation - she has a very distinctive voice and sense of humor, and it gets repetitive after a while. Anyway, I don't see her as being at all similar to Quinn, starting with the fact that Crusie writes contemporary romance (WTT and Faking it are definitely in the genre), while Quinn writes Regency historicals. For someone who enjoyed Quinn, I'd suggest Loretta Chase, Julie Anne Long and maybe Miranda Neville.
As for romance websites, I'd add Dear Author, All About Romance, and the blogs Gossamer Obsessions and Mean Fat Old Bat. For anyone looking for less formulaic romance, Wonkomance highlights some of those.
I haven't read the last two. That's disappointing. Gregory was always rather meh as far as I was concerned, but I found Honoria quite entertaining in the other books.
Pennyroyal Green! I could not remember the name of the series, but that was the one trying to pop into my head when I saw the Bridgertons.
I think the books in that series are rather erratic; some of them I really liked, some were really meh.
Hyacinth's book was annoying (AnimeJune said it best) and Gregory's was boring. Naturally she won a Rita for that and not for her earlier, better books.
I don't even like Julie Anne Long, but I'm in the minority and it seems like a good choice for many people who do enjoy Quinn. I forgot to mention Tessa Dare, that might also work. Maybe Eloisa James, too?
Thanks. I've read quite a few of these authors over the years, but it's always good to find new ones.
The books about the three oldest children were my favorites. The last two, not so much. But by that time I was on a roll and felt I needed to finish the whole series. They didn't want to make me poke my eyes out, but I felt they weren't up to the same standards of the first three. Maybe Ms. Bridgerton should have had a few less children.
Hyacinth . I read too many Regencies.
I started losing interest in the Bridgertons right around Eloise, although I did read Francesca's.
I really liked the first one. The second one was okay; HATED the third, and have been meh about the rest.
Anthony's was my favorite just for the croquet game.
I thought the Pink Carnation series was fun, although that's another one I lost interest in after a while and I haven't read them all. I am PML that the author claims they are historically accurate. Um, no. You must completely suspend disbelief.
If you like Grace Burrowes, one of her books is the Free Friday selection.
The Mallet of Death! I am going to read the second epilogues book primarily for the rematch...
Quinn did have a book with a main character named Honoria, I think it was one of the more recent ones.
I didn't like The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.
The Smith-Smythes or Smythe-Smiths series, I think. The joke about the lack of music skills was taken a wee bit too far, I think.
I usually hate stupid heroines, but for some reason, I laughed all the way through the Pink Carnation.
Loved the Croquet game. Scenes like that were what kept me reading the series.
The Mae Murray bio was a bit of a let-down. Apparently the author spent only one year researching and writing it, and it showed. Still, I've read worse Tinseltown bios and the author did manage to interview people who actually knew her (including her son), no small feat considering the fact that she'd be 118 today. So back to Willa Cather it is to finish up One of Ours. I suspect that Our Hero will end up dead in a trench in Flanders or France at the end of it, but we'll see.