Monday, 8 January 2018

I Need a Good Book

I really, really need a good book. Not just a good book, but a great one. A big bitey, juicy, descriptive, character-driven book. One that will captivate me in the first chapter, transport me to wherever it is set, and make me forget all about the world... kind of book. 

Not necessarily a serious book, but a seriously interesting one. A book like The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, or A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson, or The Children Act by Ian McEwen. A new Penelope Lively, maybe. Or the aptly named masterpiece, Euphoria, which Lily King wrote a few years ago. These books conjured up reader's euphoria, for me. The feeling you get after reading only a few pages when you know that you're going to be able to dive into the book, learn some really cool stuff, love and/or love to hate the characters, and feel as if you've been on a trip to a far away land. Yeah. That's what I need right now.


cover of Lily King's Euphoria cover of Kate Atkinson's A God in Ruins



Maybe a big fat, terribly well written mystery like Peter May's Lewis trilogy. Or the books Ruth Rendell and P.D. James used to write. 

I've been listening to some old Ruth Rendell novels on my i-pod lately while I pedal. Most recently Kissing the Gunner's Daughter read by Robin Bailey. Bailey's deep, smokey voice is wonderful; I mean with 12 hours of listening in store, one had better like the sound of his voice. He reads Chief Inspector Wexford's part perfectly... and Inspector Burton... well, he has Burton's cultured, sometimes sarcastic, often bored tones down pat. As a narrator, Bailey becomes the characters. Even though I read the novel myself years ago, I still love to hear it aloud. If an audiobook is well done you can disappear into the words and come up for air when the housework is done, or the 50 minute pedal is complete, and not even notice you've been doing something you patently hate to do. 

I've read a few pretty good books lately. I enjoyed My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. I didn't love it. Still, Strout is a really good writer. I was fascinated by the character and her developing writing career. I found the plot structure creative and interesting, and the hinted at, but not fully developed, elements from the past well handled. But I didn't adore the book. 

Similarly I liked, but didn't adore, Kate Grenville's The Secret River, recommended by a reader of this blog. I finished this book a few weeks ago and then passed it on to Hubby. We both were drawn in by Grenville's ability to capture time and place. I found myself catapulted back to nineteenth century east London, the docks, the river, the poverty, and the society that pretty much conspires to prevent the poor from bettering their lives. The second part of the book set in colonial Sydney, Australia is similarly evocative. The convict settlers and their families, how they manage to survive in a harsh landscape, the dreams of some for a better life, and the inevitable conflict which arises between the indigenous people and the newcomers. I'd recommend this book. Grenville is a really good writer. In fact, I wish I were still teaching, I'd ask my students to read it. But as I said... I didn't adore it. And right now... I'm searching for something that I can adore. 

I didn't find it, either, when I read Elly Griffiths' latest offering. Blood Card, the most recent book in the Magic Men series was okay. A bit thin, I thought. The backdrop of Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953 was interesting, but...meh... I'd not say this was close to Griffiths' best work. 

The other day I went browsing for a good book at the local Indigo book store. I have a couple of gift cards that I haven't yet used. I sipped coffee, and sidled along the rows, looking for something that peaked my interest. These were the contenders, below. Clearly the fifties are having a moment in fiction. Many of the books I picked up are set in the fifties. I like Kathleen Tessaro, so The Perfume Collector is a possible. And yes, I do admit I picked it up because of the cover. Same with The Dress in the Window by Sofia Grant. The idea of sisters in a small post-World War II town trying to make it in the fashion business interests me. My problem is that I need to know I'll really love the book, that it's a book I'll want to keep on my shelves, before I buy. 


six new books
The contenders. Maybe.
I'm picky about books I buy these days. I use the library so much. Even to download books for my i-pad. A few weeks ago, the local librarian introduced me to a new ap called "Cloud Library." I was 78th or something on the "holds" list for a book I needed for book club, but saw on the Ottawa Public Library website that the branch in Kanata, a 30 minute drive away, had it on their express shelves. I tore over there, but, someone had signed it out before I arrived. Crap. So the librarian helped me sign up for "Cloud Library" on my phone. "Cloud Library" allows you to access e-books from the express shelf of your local library. You just have to download the ap, choose the country and province or state where you live, and bingo. Here's the link. As long as your library is linked to this network and you have a valid library card, you're free to get free books really fast. I've read two or three books that way already. 

Aren't libraries magnificent? I have such fond memories of libraries growing up. The old brick town library in Marysville when I was a kid. The big wood tables inside. Scuttling home with an armful of books. The day when the "bookmobile" would visit the school. Sigh. But I'm digressing. And I'm no closer to finding a great big juicy book for this upcoming week. 


piles and books
Some of the contents of our big bookshelf relocated temporarily to the sun room.
You see, we're having work done on our house this week. The old wall-to-wall carpet will be ripped up all over the house, and hardwood floors installed. So with all the dust that will be swirling, the hammering, and the sawing that will be taking place in every room except the kitchen, and the bathroom, and the sun room which will be plugged with furniture from all those other rooms, I'm going to be hard pressed to find a place to put myself. I may have to decamp to a coffee shop nearby, maybe back to the bookstore, or to the library for a verrry long read. So... you see my problem.

But, I'm not despairing, my friends. I'll save my despair for when I shop for wide-legged pants later this season. Ha. 

I do have another Elizabeth Strout book waiting for pick-up at the library. Dottoressa (I believe) recommended Olive Kitteridge a few posts ago. So, her vote and the fact that it's set on the coast of Maine are signs I might love this book. If you know your North American geography, you'll know that Maine is as close as you can get to New Brunswick, where I'm from, without actually being in New Brunswick. In fact my brother Terry was born in Maine because the hospital in Fort Fairfield, Maine was closer than the nearest Canadian hospital. 

I generally hate to read reviews before I've  read the book myself. So I kind of skimmed this positive review of Olive Kitteridge with one eye, not wanting to see too much detail, even as I wanted to see if the reviewer thinks it's a good book. Like going to the bathroom in the middle of the night with one eye open and one shut so you don't wake up fully. Yeah, I know, that's weird.


cover of novel Olive Kitteridge smiling woman


I also have three new books on my bookshelf waiting to be read. Helen Humphreys' The Evening Chorus, about WWII fliers in a German POW camp. She talked about it at the reading I attended in December. Hugo Hamilton's memoir The Speckled People. I read about Hamilton when I was researching my fantasy tea party post. He was a great friend of Nuala O'Faolain whose books I love, and the more I read about him the more interested I became. The other book is a travel guide to Italy. Hubby and I are looking ahead to fall. And  maybe a few weeks in Italy. 

So I won't go book hungry this week. It's just that I really, really don't want to be disappointed. I hate it when a book is disappointing, don't you?

two cartoon cats

I know. I know. If book disappointment is the worst that befalls me this winter, I'll be a lucky woman. A very lucky woman. 

Still, if you have a recommendation for a book you think I'll adore, my wonderfully well-read, erudite, yet modest friends, please weigh in. Remember it doesn't have to be a serious book. Just a big, bitey, delicious, seriously interesting book. 


Okay. It's your turn, now. 



You can find even more really great Emma Correll stuff here

This week I'm joining Thursday Favourite Things Link Party and #Saturday Share Link-up 

97 comments:

  1. Have you read Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese? If you haven't I do think you'd enjoy it. I did love Olive Kitteridge. Much better than Lucy Barton - a more complex and multi layered book.

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    1. I've been checking old posts... and I see it was you who mentioned Olive Kitteridge. And the fact that it's better than Lucy Barton. So thanks for that. Everyone seems to concur it's a great book.
      P.S. I'll look for the other one too.

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    2. I really recommend Cutting For Stone. I thought it was as compelling as The Goldfinch, and I still think about the characters (which is very rare for me.)

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  2. Not guilty-It wasn't me who recommended Olive K.(I've read only My name is....)-but nevertheless,thank you for the compliments
    I'm looking forward to the comments and recommendations myself. It seems that we share the same book virus-I completely understand your feelings now!
    I'm so restless after this nasty cold and simply couldn't find the right book to read . Beside the Nikola Tesla's My Inventions (our genius ,Serb with Croatia,his homeland ,in his heart,who lived and worked in US)-in both croatian and english,I've started a couple of books,but -meh!
    And the best books I've read in 2017 were by a croatian author.
    So,waiting for something to take my breath away (or Godot...)
    Dottoressa

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    1. P.S. I forgot-I liked Frederik Backman's (The Man Called Ove) book : My Grandmother Asked me to Tell You She's Sorry. A peculiar and a special book
      D

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    2. Hopefully you'll find something that makes you breathless before long. Godot! Ha. Love that.

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  3. I don’t think I can help you . My new Christmas books include The Riviera Set by Mary Lovell , (her Mitford Girls was very good) plus Queen Bees by Sian Evans , Diary of a Wartime Affair by Doreen Bates & London Belongs To Me by Norman Collins . All non fiction & all highly praised but I haven’t read them yet as I’m working my way through Hill’s Dalziel & Pascoe series , which you recommended . I watched the TV series years ago which meant I didn’t read the books . Now I’ve forgotten all the plots so am enjoying the books .
    Coincidentally I found Olive Kitteridge in a charity shop yesterday , clean tidy & cheap , so I brought her home . I don’t use the library as I don’t like the pressure of having to immediately read books - silly I know & it’s why I don’t join book clubs . I use charity shops , kindle or else buy them second hand via the net . Do you have charity book shops near you ? our Oxfam ones are especially good .
    Your book posts are always appreciated & I’ll be keeping a note of all recommendations but you know me , not too deep :)
    Wendy in York

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    1. I read Lovell's Mitford book years ago. I may just give this one a try. It's on order at our library, so I'll have to be patient. Glad you're enjoying Reginald Hill. I just love his books. Our used book stores are dying out here. There are still a couple left in Ottawa but with a huge and kind of sad selection. I still visit Gus when I'm home at Mum's though. If only for the brisk conversation about books, wherein I try to catch him out on something he doesn't know and always fail:)

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  4. Awhile back, one of your commenters mentioned Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and it is one of the most charming and engrossing books I have read recently. Funny to the point of tears, and poignant to the point of tears. It doesn't really fit your current criterion of fat and juicy, but I'd recommend its addition to your list if you haven't already read it.

    My sincere sympathy for the upheaval you'll face for the next little while during your flooring renovations. We did the same thing last year -- the flooring and carpeting in the entire house was changed -- and it was a non-stop process of shuffling all of our earthly belongings around to accommodate the process. I think it would have been easier to move!

    Denise L.

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    1. Thanks, Denise. Stu and I laughed about the "moving" comment. I've put myself on the list at the library for Eleanor Oliphant.

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  5. Hello
    I don’t have any book recommendations, currently reading The Goldfinch - great.
    I also use the library to download books into my Kobo and did not realize that when signing up on the wait list there was another “express option”. I am going to our local library to ask about the "Cloud Library” so thank you for that!
    I did bump into this while browsing the net this morning and thought you …...
    Philobiblian n. a book lover
    Thanks for posting, Suz from Vancouver

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  6. I have really enjoyed Stefan Ahnhem's two books - Victim without a Face followed by The Ninth Grave. He has a third in the series Eighteen Below which I haven't read yet as I have a hold for it at my public library. Paula

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  7. I recently finished "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanigihara; at 700 plus pages, it certainly qualifies as a big,juicy read--parts are very dark, as we learn of the suffering of the main character,but it's beautiful, too--and I find myself still thinking about it.

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    1. Thanks, Mary. I will check that one out too.

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    2. I second the 'A Little Life' recommendation, but it is a difficult (emotional) read. Also, have you read Donna Tartt's other books 'The Little Friend' and 'The Secret History'? Both are excellent. Not sure if you are aware but David Bowie's son is doing a Twitter book club on Peter Ackroyd's 'Hawksmoor'. Looks interesting.

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  8. Did you ever read Wally Lamb's "She's Come Undone?" It's been around for 15 (20?) years, but it's pretty nifty! The Human Stain by Phillip Roth is fascinating. (Another one that' been around for some time.) These days, I mostly read essays, non-fiction, and short stories (a matter of my schedule). I have a few interesting books sitting and waiting for me -- but first I have to read one on Buddhism and meditation that I promised my son I would read... (Sigh).

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    1. Funnily enough, I don't think I'd have the patience to read a book on meditaton.

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  9. Lately I've been working my way though Louise Penny's mystery series; now I want to move to Three Pines and befriend all of the wonderful (and complicated!) characters who live there. Highly recommend!

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    1. Thanks, Susan. She does have a lovely bunch of characters in her books doesn't she?

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  10. Hello Susan,

    P.D. James and Ruth Rendell. Sigh. Those were the days. I´m just really sorry I already read all of the Dalgliesh and the Wexford novels. If I hadn´t, I still could.

    I found I got really into some series you might know already: Kate Shugak by Dana Stabenow, Deborah Knott by Margaret Maron, and Benjamin January by Barbara Hambly.
    Then the Mr Mercedes trilogy by Stephen King had me turning the pages, and I´m sure you know Armand Gamache by Louise Penny.
    Or what about Jane Whitefield by Thomas Perry?
    Those are all series so I don´t really remember if I got hooked right from the start or if it took a while.

    A great standalone I loved was Weirdo by Cathi Unsworth.

    I see what you mean about The Blood Card which I just finished as well. I like the characters, though, and Brighton. But then, I like Ruth Galloway even more so maybe my liking her spills over into the Magic Men series. If that makes sense.

    Let us know what you did read in the end.

    I love your posts on books. And I guess my bookseller does, too.

    Ines

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    1. I will have a look at those series, Ines. A couple I'm familiar with... but not the others. I love a continuing series that's well done.

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  11. You might like the Simon Serrailler mystery series by Susan Hill (I recommend reading in order.) And have you read All the Light We Cannot See? J

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    1. Really like Susan Hill's books. She must be due to publish a new Simon Serrailler soon... hopefully.

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    2. OH my goodness, I hope so! I mean. . . .what's happening to that beaten-almost-to-death man? will he recover? with his memory?

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  12. Oh...and one more idea: I think Tana French is a terrific writer. I have liked all of her books. They are considered mysteries, though the mystery isn't necessarily the most important aspect. Apologies if I'm recommending authors you've already written about; I just found your blog and I like it very much.

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    1. I love Tana French. Especially her last three of four Dublin murder squad books. I'ts always good to hear what others think of books we like.

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  13. My fall back recommendation is Seven Eves by Neil Stephenson.

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    1. That's a new one for me, thanks Anna.

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  14. Have you read State of Wonder by Ann Patchett? That is the novel I always recommend.

    Margaret

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  15. Have you read William Boyd? His books are amazing. Try Any Human Heart.

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    1. Yes Sue , great book . His Restless is very good too
      Wendy in York

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    2. Restless I loved. Read it a couple of years ago. Found it just browsing the shelves at the library. I will check out Any Human Heart.

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    3. OMG if you have not yet read Any Human Heart you must do so immediately! One of the greatest novels EVER! --Catbird Farm

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    4. I will. Three recommendations ... how can I not?

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  16. if you are a jane austen fan i can really recommend Longbourn by Jo Baker. it tells the story of pride and prejudice from the servants perspective. its not a fan fiction type novel and beautifully written.
    also if you like really good crime novels try elizabeth george.

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    1. I am Jane Austen fan and I loved, Longbourn, thanks. Jo Baker is a wonderful writer.

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  17. The Farseer Triology by Robin Hobb is my recommendation. The kind of storytelling that takes you there, the characters that become your travelling companions, friends and enemies. Story lines that keep you interested, something different.
    In the UK we have 'Borrowbox' the app linked to our library. Jenny

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    1. I'm not familiar with Robin Hobb. Thanks, Jenny.

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  18. I adored Ken Follett's Century Trilogy: Fall of Giants -Winter of the World-Edge of Eternity and was sorry when this story came to the end. It follows a few families from England, Wales, Germany and America thorough our very real world events. Their lives end up intertwining, and although its fiction, there is so much of history embedded it felt like these people were very real as well. I can't wait to get into his Column of Fire which by the synopsis appears to pick up the characters from Pillars of the Earth and World Without End -both historical fictions novels that I loved too.
    Debby

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    1. Hmmm. I haven't read any Ken Follett in years. Maybe time to give him another try? Thanks, Debby.

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  19. I have had quite a few disappointing reads recently but Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys was a book I enjoyed quite an easy read but a good book to curl up with on a cold day. Love your recommendations nice to share book views as well as fashion tips

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    1. I'm not familiar with Rachel Rhys... but a good book for a cold day sounds promising.Thanks.

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  20. Have you read Robert Galbraith ( really J K Rowling) Her three books under this name are excellent! Also, I love Louise Penny mysteries and C. J. Box. C. J. Box writes mysteries about a Montana Game Warden that are really excellent. Great character development. I am a bit of a bore, I only read mysteries.

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    1. Not a bore at all... I love mysteries.

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  21. I forgot another author I am reading just now. Nicci French is a couple that writes books together. It is a mystery series with titles of the days of the week. It is best to read these in order starting with Monday.

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    1. I must look for those, thanks. I haven't read Nicci French in a while.

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  22. I think you would like Beartown by Frederik Backman. It is a small book that is engaging and poignant and wonderful. A small Canadian connection is a bonus. Bobbe in Montreal

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    1. Saw that at Indigo when I was there... I'll take a second look. Thanks.

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  23. Susan,
    Thank you for all of your book and bookish posts. I have several well-schooled and well-read relatives and friends who share book recommendations so I will pass along a few not mentioned here by others. Have you read the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear? Loved them! Actually, I listened to them and adored the reader. A few I was given recently because a friend loved them are A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and Plainsong by Kent Haruf. I don’t know if he has written anything recently, but Martin Walker’s mysteries set in the Perigord region of France are good reads.

    Please continue to keep us posted on your next great read! Also on the re-flooring process as we are planning for that soon. Ugh!

    Cathy

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    1. I've read some of the Maisie Dobbs books and liked them. Funny how writers somehow fall off our radar. A Gentleman in Moscow I adored.

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  24. The Alice Network is a fictional account about female spies during WW1. I enjoyed it. Busy morning, but I'm coming back to make notes on all these recommendations.

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    1. Ha. Glad that it's not just me taking notes:)

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  25. Hi Sue,
    I recommend the multi-volume Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard. Also, Atonement, Ian McEwan's best, IMO: some of the writing there is extremely strong. On an entirely different note: Heinrich Boll's Group Portrait with Lady stands out over decades as one of the best books I've ever read. While totally readable the writing is highly stylized and it opened my social science-major eyes to a whole new world. His other masterpiece, Billiards at Half-Past Nine, is denser but still a beautifully and morally compelling work.

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    1. I've read Elizabeth Jane Howard and liked her work. Also Ian McEwan. I will see if I can find Heinrich Bell. Thanks for the suggestions. My list is growing... and growing:)

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    2. It's Boll with an O. Correcting only to facilitate a search, not to be punctilious.
      On a lighter note, I always recommend The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman as the ultimate beach read for the intelligent reader. It's lovely and well written.

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    3. Beach reads for intelligent readers... sounds great:)

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    4. Just ordered Boll's memoir about growing up "poor and anti-fascist in Nazi Germany" from our library. They didn't have the book you mention. But I'll bet I can get it for my Kindle. Thanks, Phoebe.

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  26. I absolutely loved Olive Kitteridge. Am now reading Anything is Possible and I think it's better than Lucy Barton. But I'm a fan of Elizabeth Strout and have been since Amy and Isabelle waaay back in the day. Maybe because I was raising a difficult teenage daughter. :-) OH, and if you have an interest, the HBO mini-series of OK starring Frances McDormand was really good, too. Also stars one of my favorites, Richard Jenkins.

    I feel your contractor pain. We have a guy showing up today to do some work and we had another guy last week. I hate the disruption, but it's got to be done. Ugh.

    Gemma Correll is a treasure. My DD lives in the UK and she is forever sending me cute cartoons and cards by her. Just really clever.
    --Laurel

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    1. I looked over my reading list for the past six months or so, and I enjoyed Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton. A lot of the other books were non-fiction, which kind of surprised me. Have you tried Celeste Ng? I liked Everything I Never Told You and also Little Fires Everywhere.

      Our library just switched to Cloud Library from Overdrive, so I'm going to have to download that app. I was disappointed, because Overdrive could be uploaded to my Kindle and Cloud Library has no agreement with Amazon, so it can't. We were told to contact Amazon, so I did. I got a form response that basically said, yeah we know. Sorry, not sorry. Ha!
      --Laurel

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    2. Just finished the first chapter on OK last night. Strout is a beautiful writer. Much in the vein of Alice Munro, I think.
      The Cloud Library format is not as easy to read as Kindle, you're right. But it was better than not getting the book at all.

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    3. I also recently read Anything is Possible and totally agree it's better than Lucy Barton. Am currently reading Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, my 2nd attempt to get into it, and though I love her writing in general, this one is a tougher read for me, because of some of the subject matter.

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  27. I feel your pain about the floors. We had hardwood installed everywhere. Yes, a real mess...everything moved. It was summer, so some furniture was outside under tarps. It was so worth it though. We slept on a mattress in different spots in finished rooms.....sigh.
    Almost every book I was going to suggest has been. What would we all do without books.
    Ali

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    1. I often wonder what people do who don't read.

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  28. Short-term pain (yikes, never fun) for long-term gain. No more dust/dirt-collecting wall-to-wall!

    Books: The Helen Humphreys is a lovely read. Such a talented author. I am re-reading The English Patient after seeing the movie (again x ???? - one of my very favourites over Christmas). All the Light We Cannot See (although I'm sure you have read it); The Narrow Road to the Deep North (tough and very worthwhile); The Son by Philipp Meyer
    The acclaimed author of American Rust, returns with The Son: an epic, multigenerational saga of power, blood, and land that follows the rise of one unforgettable Texas family from the Comanche raids of the 1800s to the border raids of the early 1900s to the oil booms of the 20th century.

    Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching portrait of the ... so much better than the tv series - I really, really enjoyed reading this one.

    Sigh - so many good books; although that's not really a problem, is it?

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    1. Oh... The English Patient is a fabulous movie.Thanks for the other suggestions. I've never read Meyer.

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  29. Have your read the Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley? As a teacher you might be particularly interested. They are pure escapism. There's some meat to them - can't just read through them in a few hours. I enjoyed them.
    Sue

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    1. I love Flavia de Luce. I've read them all as they come out. Love that the bicycle is named... hey... same name as our Christmas tree this year, come to think of it:)

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  30. You want a big book.? Here is a big book, six volumes big. Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle. Woo hoo! There is something so engaging about depressed Norwegians. What can I say? I first came upon him in a New Yorker article describing a writing assignment to the US. The journey was so much more fascinating than the destination. I read the article and tracked down his book My Struggle, the first volume or two having just appeared in English in the US. It’s hard to explain why a six volume of an autobiography of an unknown writer would be sooo fascinating, but it is. Try it.

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    1. My friend was reading that on our trip to England last fall. I think she was struggling although she said she was liking it. I love minutae in a book if it's well done.

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  31. I am currently reading 4 3 2 1: A Novel, by Paul Auster. I can't recommend it highly enough. If it's a great big juicy read you're looking for, this is it. I'm not giving anything away by saying that it chronicles four different lives of the same person, from boyhood to death, with minor details changing from one life to another resulting in far-reaching changes as the young man ages. Unfortunately I am nearing the end, and so will review the other comments looking for something new.

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    1. I'm not familiar with Paul Auster... thanks.

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  32. Hello Sue,
    I would like to highly recommend the books of Amor Towles - The Rules of Civility (2011)and A Gentleman in Moscow (2016). Each was deservedly a best seller and chosen by various publications as among the best books of their year.
    Each winter, the library of our suburban town selects a book which the community is encouraged to read ("One Book, Everyone Reads") and around which subject lectures are given. In spring, the author is invited to give the final presentation at one of the community auditoriums, an event that is always highly anticipated by local readers. I am very happy that this year the chosen book is A Gentleman in Moscow.
    I very much recommend these books, and the idea of community reading, to you and your blog followers.

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    1. What a great idea, Jo. We have "Canada Reads" up here... where a panel of people on CBC radio defend their choice of books which they believe everyone should read. Each episode a book is voted off...like book "survivor." I usually end up reading several books from the initial list as well as the winner. Great publicity for Canadian writers.
      P.S. Loved both The Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow.

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    2. Checking, I found that I can access past episodes of "Canada Reads" on the CBC website. Maybe, listening to this will broaden my horizon and introduce me to some more Canadian writers, as I am familiar only with your most famous women authors.
      I will next recommend the work of Laurie Colwin - a beloved, award-winning author of several decades ago. Happy All the Time (1978) was her most famous book and one of my favorites. It is not a big, juicy read, but it is a character-driven book. If you've already read it, I recommend a reread - it's the kind of book that makes you feel good about your fellow man/woman.

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  33. Anything by James Michener. Haven't read him for years and think that perhaps it's time to re-visit. Also loved The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett, the Decker series by Faye Kellerman and the Inspector Brunelli series by Donn Leon - you are immediately transported to Venice, and that can't be bad can it?

    I hope you find something to satisfy your needs and look forward to hearing your views.

    Good luck with your workmen - nothing worse than having people in the house even though it's worthless it in the end.

    Susan D

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    1. Thanks Susan. Haven't read Faye Kellerman, although I've read her husband's crime novels. The floor is coming along nicely. We'll be glad when it's finished!

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  34. new to your blog.....so i dont know really know your reading likes and dislikes...but i do have a couple of recommendations...
    ~Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Hough --this was her 1st novel. i've read everything she's written, but of the 3 that i have, i'd recommend them all. but this one was a great starting place.
    ~The Physician by Noah Gordon--this was one of those books that i'd never have found on my own. it was published in 1986 but someone in my mom's book group recommended it, then she passed it to me....engaging story and subject if you like history.

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    1. I'm not familiar with these writers. Thanks for the suggestions. And welcome to the blog... hope you'll be back:)

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  35. Shantoram by Gregory David Roberts (One of my top 5 favourites)
    The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons (first of a Trilogy if you like it)

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    1. Thanks, Eileen. Two more for my list that I had not heard of:)

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  36. Have you read any J. Courtney Sullivan - "Saints for All Occasions"? - thought of this late last night. I think you'd enjoy with your Irish roots. Very good writer.

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    1. Thanks, Kathy. I love books about Ireland.

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    2. Not really about Ireland, but immigrants who come here - beautifully written.

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  37. Whatever you do, heed my warning about falling down the rabbit hole of Victoriana--
    Now that Every Novel in the Public Domain is free online, I have done all 47 Trollope novels, every bit of Walter Scott, then on to Elizabeth Gaskell, George Gissing, Charles Reade, Margaret Oliphant, Susan Ferrier. Obscure stuff you would never find in a library, yet almost always gems. And the vocabulary! The brilliant turns of phrase! The breadth of classical knowledge! An English major's delight.

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    1. Ha. Been down a few of those in my time. Reading the classics as e-books is a great idea.

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  38. Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee, is an epic saga of four generations of Korean family beginning before WW2 and through a move to Japan. It's well told and (for me) a very different way to consider WW2, family culture and ties, prejudice and tradition. Beautifully written and engaging, nearly 500 pages.

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    1. Thanks, Amy. I'd not heard of this one either.

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  39. Have you ever read Steinbeck's "East of Eden"? It might be the biggest, juiciest book I've ever read -- I had no idea what to expect and I couldn't put it down. "Middlesex" is another that comes to mind.

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    1. I remember loving East of Eden when I read it years ago. I must read Middlesex. Several people have recommended it to me. Thanks for reminding me.

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  40. I too am looking for a good book to read. I was reading a bunch of books before I started blogging almost 3 months ago and then it just took a nose dive but I want to get back into reading because I really enjoy it. The last two books I read was The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo and The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. You might enjoy these or perhaps you read them already given your passion for reading? If I find anything interesting I'll keep you posted 😀

    Maureen | www.littlemisscasual.com

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    1. Thanks, Maureen. Blogging can definitely interrupt your reading time, can't it?

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  41. Hello Susan ,

    I last wrote to you about the origin of the Ozzie word 'snag' and rat coffins.
    Herewith some book recommendations , some thrillers , some family sagas , but I feel all good meaty reads , some have been around for awhile , some more recent.

    The Shardlake series by C J Sansom

    The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake

    The Herries Chronicle by Hugh Walpole

    Stones Fall by Iain Pears

    Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann

    Sinister Street by Compton MacKenzie

    A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

    Wolf Winter by Clare Francis
    A Dark Devotion "
    Red Crystal "
    Night Sky "


    In Pale Battalions by Robert Goddard
    Beyond Recall "
    Borrowed Time "
    Past Caring "
    FaultLine "
    Blood Count "
    Closed Circle "

    Happy reading and my heartfelt empathy with your renovations , we are 10 weeks into our downstairs loo being enlarged to fit in a shower and basin , nightmare !!

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    1. I totally remember your info about snags. Hubby and I had a few laughs about that. Thanks for the recommendations. I really like the Robert Goddard book.s Hubby and I both read them. And Jane Harper... I have heard of... but not sure I've read. The others I will definitely investigate.
      Ickkk. Keep thinking of rat coffins. Hubby particularly liked that one.

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  42. Sorry , I left 2 books of my above comment
    The Dry and Force of Nature both are thrillers by Australian author Jane Harper.

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All comments, ideas, commiserations, questions, complaints... are most welcome.