What have you been reading lately?

terriksApril 28, 2012

I posted on flyleft's thread about my book club's latest pick that I could not put down. It's Before I Go to Sleep by first time author S.J. Watson. It was by no means a perfect book - I had to suspend my disbelief a bit, but it was a good mystery told in a very interesting fashion.

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Our bookclub is reading The Villa Triste by Lucretia Grindle which is ok. I have to admit I'm skimming it and if it was a book just for me I would have read the end of it and returned it to the library by now. It isn't grabbing my attention.

A book that I read recently is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and I couldn't put it down. The imagery that the author used to create his story was beautiful. I kept reading it because I wanted to know how he was going to describe the next scene or the next interaction between characters. I haven't read a book like that in a long time.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 5:59PM
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The last 5 books I've read:

Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy, Unbroken by Laura Hillebrand, and Daniel's Gift by Barbara Freethy

I tried to read the Hunger Games, and I think I'm the only person in the universe that just couldn't get into it.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 6:01PM
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Just finished the latest Aunt Dimity mystery. I love that series as there's usually not a lot of blood and gore. Looking forward to the first non-Robert B. Parker Spenser novel by Ace Atkins which will be out on Tuesday.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 6:07PM
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The last few books I've read: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Quick read, I liked it. I thoroughly enjoyed The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot - incredibly researched and interesting. Recently tried to get into Mudwoman by Joyce Carol Oates, couldn't but may try again later. Enjoyed Dreams of Joy by Lisa See (I have loved every book by her I have read). I have just started Rob Lowe's autobiography - Stories I Only Tell My Friends.

Love these book threads!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 6:12PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Dh and I are reading the Daniel Silva Gabriel Allon series and loving them. I'm almost finished with the books but I'm a very fast reader. The books are captivating and in each one I learn something new about our current world terrorist situation.

On audio, while I cook, etc. I started listening to the Hunger Games. Not captivated yet, but interested. The writing is far better than the Twilight books ( not hard!) but not nearly as good as Harry Potter.

As quick, pick up and read a funny part, lately it's been older Bill Bryson- before he got serious and dull.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 6:50PM
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I'm reading "Reaching the Animal Mind" by Karen Pryor. She introduced Americans to clicker training. There is a small section at the end showing you how to clicker train, but it's really about the psychology behind it and her experience training animals. Absolutely fascinating. It's costing me money though - I have to leave the house to read it because the dog I am currently training won't give me any peace. So I have taken to reading outside the home - usually in restaurants.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 6:56PM
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I hate to admit it, but I have turned into a total slacker when it comes to reading. I barely get through my one book club book each month, and if it doesn't grab me I don't even finish. Our book club also read the Henrietta Lacks book, which I found very interesting. One of our first ever club books was The Shadow of the Wind - it was unanimously liked.
I have all of the Game of Thrones books on my Kindle, but haven't started them yet. I watched the first episode of the series on HBO and was turned off by what seemed like a lot of soft core porn, but everyone I know who has read the books love them.
And Bumble - I remember laughing out loud while reading Bryson's In a Sunburned Country.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 6:59PM
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I like the Gabriel Allon books, too. Next one due out July 17th!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 7:01PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I know, Fun! I need to find another author I like as much as him.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 7:04PM
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I'm glad to know that there is someone else who couldn't get into The Hunger Games. I'm afraid to admit to others that I don't get it.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 7:13PM
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What is the usual genre that you all read? I tend to lean toward suspense/crime...the likes of John Sanford (Prey series), Jeffrey Deaver and Patricia Cornwell.

I tried a couple of Harla Coben novels, but I quickly picked up a 'theme' and got turned off, but maybe that was a fluke. Unfortunately I've noticed that with Tami Hoag also...read one, it's good enough that I'll try another and find it's got the same corny theme, just different characters.

Outside that genre, I've read and enjoyed books by Anita Shreve and Amy Tan...recommendations for books in that order? (I prefer fiction with little to no 'romance')

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 7:13PM
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I tend to read mostly mystery/suspense, but I find I don't have the stomach for the more psychologically twisted characters any longer so I've dropped a few authors that I used to read.

Bumblebeez, Have you tried John Sandford, Jonathan Kellerman, Lee Child, Stephen White or Michael Connelly?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 7:19PM
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Pesky1 and Bumblebeez - have you tried Mike Lawson, Vince Flynn, Jonathan Kellerman, Faye Kellerman, David Baldacci or Elizabeth George? And as noted Michael Connelly. If you want more authors I can check with my sister - she is a voracious reader of these types of books.

Do others have suggestions in this same category? Stephen White is a new one for me so I'll check him out. thanks Fun2BHere.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 7:25PM
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Fun, I can't either. No creepy books for me!

Work took up all my spare time but I quit this past month, so now I can read! I read The Help, and am now reading The Lightening Thief (I told DD she could pick something for me) and Harriet the Spy (book for 7 or 8 yr olds, but I want that nostalgic feeling), and the Works of O. Henry. I got Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies out for DD so I am working on re-reading those, too. Hmm, guess I need to pick 1 or 2 things and just finish!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 8:39PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Thanks you girls for the suggestions but it's not the genre, it's the magical combo of words that adds up to something I enjoy. Art restorer + Israeli mumbo jumbo + terrorism + well researched realism +thoughtful/rugged/man/agent...!!
I loved Alexander McCall Smith's Botswana books almost as much. (#1 Ladies Detective Series) and Mitford...

I don't know what the common thread is.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 9:12PM
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My book club read Half-Blood Blues and no one liked it. I am reading Lisa Scottoline's newest called Come Home and that is pretty bad too. I got the book as a gift or I wouldn't be bothered. It does make me fall asleep fast.

Our next book club book is The Art of Fielding. Haven't stared it yet but I am looking forward to it.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 9:55PM
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Love these "what have;you been reading" posts... Just read Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother. Quick, interesting read. Just read two books on the recommendation of Goodreads, which has generally served me well, but not so much this time: Turn Me into Zeus' Daughter and Rush Home Road. Besides the recommendations, they are both memoirs, which I am always drawn to. But I found both of these books somewhat poorly written. I am reading Carry The One now, also a GR recommendaton. Isn't really grabbing me yet, but I am not more than 60ish pages in yet, so we'll see. Also read a funny bok called something like. You're Not Doing it Right -VERY funny!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:01PM
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I'm still on the Outlander series, big surprise to me on how much I have enjoyed these books because it's time travel crossed with some historical fiction. Who would have thought? I guess there is a new book to the series that is meant to be out at the end of the year. My favorite books are historical fiction so as I will be done with this series soon I'm taking recommendations on good historical fiction books.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:21PM
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Other favorite mystery authors for me are J.A. Jance, Nevada Barr, Dana Stabenow, P.D. James, Earlene Fowler, Susan Wittig Albert, Laurie R. King, Kathy Reichs, Archer Mayor, Michael McGarrity, Jan Burke, Marcia Muller and Deborah Crombie. None of these are action/adventure, though.

It is interesting how one author's work will resonate with you while another who uses similar themes will not. There are even instances where an author has multiple series and I will like one series, but not another. I'm not talking about those authors that write "with" another author like James Patterson, either.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:30PM
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Bumblebeez : I think I know what you mean. I often look for books that have a strong female lead that doesn't wind up having to fall in love and yada, yada, yada, really hard to find. Have you tried Clive Cussler or Steve Berry books? Steve Berry books tend to have a little more story "meat" to them.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:42PM
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Bumblebeez: Sorry but I just thought of another author - the author is W.E.B. Griffin and he writes several different series of books. His most recent one is "The Presidential Agent" Series and is a series of 5 books. Start with the first one because it is a series and the characters and stories follow from one to the next. Although the author does spend some time in each book reviewing how the current story developed so they don't have to be read in order but it is easier. The whole series arc almost follows your outline request.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 10:52PM
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Books I've read recently:

The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy

A Dog's Purpose by Bruce Cameron

Defending Jacob by William Landay

Hunger games (only first one)

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

I'm currently reading Townie by Andre Dubus (memoir by the author of The House of Sand and Fog) .

I love to read and use Goodreads to keep track of books I've read and books I want to read. I usually only have time to read just before bed and by then, I'm usually exhausted. If a book is good but not gripping, it takes me a while to finish. I've also gotten to the point where if a book doesn't interest me after the first 50 pages, I put it aside. I used to always finish what I started but now, with little time to read, I decided there are too many books I want to read to waste time on books that are too hard to get into.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 11:35PM
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Almost 3 years ago when my husband was sick, a friend gave him a Daniel Silva book. Since my husband wasn't really able to focus on reading, I read the book and loved it. Since then we've both patiently waited for each new book to be released in July. I just couldn't get into the last one. I started it during the Sept 11th anniversary time and with all the news stories and specials about that, I didn't enjoy reading about a terrorist attack so I put it aside.

Who do you see playing Gabriel if/when they make a movie? My husband's friend suggested Andy Garcia.

Titles I can remember from my book club or personal reading:
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls (I didn't read it but those who did liked it)
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
The Maisie Dobb mysteries by Jacqueline Winspear
The Flavia DeLuce mysteries by Alan Bradley

Lately, I have been having a terrible time finding a book that captures my full attention. I don't know exactly what I'm looking for so sometimes that makes it hard to find. And other times it makes it easier since I'm open to most genres. I hope at least one of your suggestions above fills that need.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 9:26AM
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fourkids, thanks for reminding me -I've read everything by Ann Patchett in the last few months, and loved them all. Roxanne Robinson is another author I've sought out after reading one of hers, and have loved all of hers as well. Another memoir that I read and enjoyed recently was Rules of Inheritance.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 10:00AM
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I'm reading:

Extra Virginity -the sublime and scandalous world of olive oil by Tom Mueller. I promise you, you'll never think of EVOO in quite the same way again. I'm hoping that at the end, he'll offer few suggestions for decent, affordable, EVOO. It won't be anything available in my supermarket, I'm afraid.

Life Histories of Jay, Crows and Etc., by Arther C. Bent because I have a crows nest in our pole barn. Yesterday they hatched -three little (about 2.5" long) utterly naked, pink, mewing, crow-babies. I'm hoping the fourth egg hatched later in the day. It's so cold I don't want to climb up and check as the adult birds stay off the nest for 10-12 minutes afterward.

The Essential NYT Cookbook by Amanda Hesser. I'm really enjoying reading this one (I love reading cookbooks in general). It's a tasty walk in time.

Also for those who like myserteries, try Margaret Maron (anything in her southern series (Judge Knott) except the most recent which was a dud, IMO.) Try The Bootlegger's Daughter for a good example. I love Marcia Muller, Sue Grafton and Nevada Barr, so you can judge whether Maron might pique your interest as well. The books are somewhat less intense (a bit less overt violence) but a fine series-read. The action takes place largely in NC, so it has a semi-rural southern aspect, too.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 1:21PM
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Last week I finished "All too Human," by George Stephanopoulos. Fascinating read about his time at the White House. I've been reading other political books similar to it, and now I can't get enough!

Right now I'm reading "To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boylen." I've read all the "factual" historical accounts of the Tudor era, but this is fiction based on fact, told from the viewpoint of her best friend, Meg Wyatt, who was Thomas Wyatt's sister. So far so good.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 1:55PM
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Liriodendron, Margaret Maron is a perfect example of the comment I made in my earlier post about liking one series from an author, but not liking another. I loved the Sigrid Harald series, but never could get into the Deborah Knott books. I have no idea why.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 2:34PM
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I'm currently reading "Lives of Girls and Women" by Alice Munro. Love her work.
Before that I revisited Agatha Christie's "The Mysterious Affair at Styles". Still good.

The previous reads were " A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor. Wonderful. And "Night Train to Lisbon" by Pascal Mercier. Interesting but it felt like something was missing all through the read. Not sure what but something.

I too am a Bill Bryson fan. And a Goodreads fan! It's great for keeping track of "to reads".

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 6:07PM
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Reading the 2nd volume of Robert Caro's magnificent biography of LBJ. The 4th volume of this 30-year-old project has just come out, so I'd better get cracking & finish this series.

Waiting in the wings is a biography of Clarence Darrow that I'm dying to get at. Also wanting to read about Margaret Bourke-White, either her autobiography or someone else's take on her life.

Do any of you read different books at the same time? Sometimes I do, dipping into one, then the other, depending on whether I want a quick read or something totally engrossing. The Caro books are definitely the latter.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 6:38PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Thank you blfenton! I'll look into the ones you mention.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 6:54PM
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I just started Carole King's book, A Natural Woman: A Memoir. Too early to comment, tho. I am on the waiting list at the library for Anna Quindlen's new book, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. She's one of my favorite writers. Sitting on my nightstand right now is The Paris Wife. Haven't started it yet.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 8:42PM
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Oh I just adored The Paris Wife. After you read that you should read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.

One of the best books I've ever read is David McCullough's The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris. It is a huge book yet I zipped right through it. I had no idea how many Americans studied and lived in Paris and all that was happening in that amazing city in the 1800's and early 1900's. Everyone should read it.

Another totally wonderful book is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is a collection of letters. Don't be put off by the title, it's a well-written book on a fascinating topic.

Oh I love books!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 9:27PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

My reading has slowed down as of late but I thoroughly enjoyed The Bucolic Plague. It is a memoir. I loved the author's sense of humor and perspective.

I started Quo Vadis? I think I need a better translation as I found the book to move much too slowly for me at this time. I may have to give it another go. Sometime this week I hope to download Bel Ami as I generally love that type of social commentary book.

I did enjoy The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon. For those who enjoy the Outlander series, it is a worthwhile read. Not quite the same caliber as Outlander but still good and has background information for characters in Outlander.

Terriks, The Game of Thrones series does have somewhat of that element in the books but they are definitely a worthwhile read. It is not a story line I would enjoy watching, I think that I would find it too intense but the first 3 books are very well done. Books 4 and 5 I have had to read in spurts, it can get rather depressing, but I do enjoy the author's use of language.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 10:15PM
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I love these threads and have gotten some good reads from them
I just finished The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.
Also read One Thousand White Woman. I also read Wonderstruck in which 2 stories come together in the end. One is told in pictures the other in prose. It is by Brian Seznick who also wrote Hugo Cabret.

I am currently reading, The Shoemakers Wife by Adriana Trigiani. Love ,love love it. I actually love all her books.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 10:29PM
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I completely forgot about Wonderstruck. Great book!

And I, too, am a fan of Adriana Trigiani. I'm going to add my name to the waiting list at the library for her latest book.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 11:00PM
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I'm the exact opposite -I absolutely loathe the Sigrid Harald books and pounce happily on each new one in the Deborah Knott series. I find Harald and the stories repellant. Odd because I live in NY, too.

The last Knott was a crossover with them visiting in NY and sharing a case with SH. Luckily I saw that before I ordered it from the bookstore and sent for it from the library, instead. And sent it right back after only a few of dozen pages.

I wonder if it's a smart move for the author. Does it expose readers of one series to the other that they may not know about, or does it, as it did in my case, create a break in my fascination with the preferred series? Did you read the most recent Knott/Harald one? Did you stick with it, even if it had Knott-elements? I have no time for the banal emotional complexities of Harald.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 11:53PM
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Reading? I haven't had time lately. How sad for my life.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 1:26AM
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Don't feel badly golddust, I've not had the time either. I really want to read 50 Shades of Grey, but cannot obtain same, and understand that the only way to get it at this point in time is to download onto a wireless device. The gal who colors my hair downloaded same onto her tiny cell phone, lol. I don't have an e-reader and don't see myself purchasing one in the near future, and at my age, there is no way I could read a book on my cell phone!

Hopefully both you and I will have more time to read very soon!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 9:28AM
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Add me to the slacker/not had time list. I do enjoy reading, but there are so many other things I enjoy!! LOL Sometimes my priorities shift. I did read some on a recent camping trip, mostly magazines. I've read only 3 books since Christmas!! But, that's okay, lots of other stuff going on.

Work - you can download a nook or kindle app to a computer. . .


    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 10:10AM
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Liriodendron, I did read the crossover because I was interested to see what had happened with Sigrid. I don't mind Deborah; I just don't enjoy reading about her. I agree that crossovers are probably a way to get readers interested in other characters from an author. In fact, I've been reading In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero and one of the essays suggests that one reason an author's estate allows other writers to use an author's characters is to keep the author's books in print by stimulating demand.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 10:25AM
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I've read Molokai, mentioned here, very good. I saw Ann Patchett on TV and she sounded interesting so I started with "Truth and Beauty" and am now reading "The Patron Saint of Liars". But my very favorite author lately has been Stewart O'Nan. I can't get enough of him! Anyone else read him?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 12:41AM
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Well, thanks to this thread I now have about 8 books on hold at the library. Thanks to the "friends over 50" thread I have a couple of coffee dates planned with girlfriends I haven't seen in a while. I am going to be so busy. Thanks. :)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

If you haven't read it, you will enjoy The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Sutterfield. It's a wonderful mystery with everything you want...mysterious family legacy, burned mansion, Yorkshire countryside. Including an epilogue that wraps all the details up nicely so you're not left wondering.

I've been anxiously awaiting a 2nd book by her, but publishers keep promising, next year.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 8:20AM
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If you like the Outlander series you would probably also enjoy the Wilderness Saga by Sara Donati. There are 6 novels in the series--the first one being Into the Wilderness. It is a great historical fiction series about early life in America told from a female perspective and about female lives. Also has a great ending with the last novel telling what happened to everyone. I love when they tell the endings.

Another one I just finished was Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore. Great book about Southern women.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Thanks, everyone, for giving me some great suggestions to add to my "want to read" list! I am a huge fan of Greg Iles, and am waiting for the release of his next book, "Unwritten Laws", which is due out at the end of May. Does anyone else read him?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 11:53AM
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nanny2a - Thanks for mentioning the new Greg Iles book. Another one on hold at the library.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 12:45PM
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Annie, I just ordered The Thirteenth Tale. I grew up reading gothic English historical novels, thanks to Victoria Holt, while other's were reading Nancy Drew! lol

Exactly my genre'! Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 1:50PM
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Annie - you found us! Good. Another book added to my hold list at the library. Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 3:25PM
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I'm currently reading "Game of Thrones", and really enjoying it. Terriks, I know exactly what you mean about the "porn" in the first episode--we got the 1st season on DVD (no HBO at our house...) and I was sort of appalled. However I liked the overall story so we stuck with it. Interestingly the later episodes did not have nearly as much--perhaps they felt like they needed to reel in a certain kind of viewer at the beginning. Eew!

I also enjoy mysteries. Recently I enjoyed the "Lincoln Lawyer" series of books by Michael Connelly. There are five that follow that character.

Some of my favorite "special" books I've read from over the past year:

"City of Thieves" a great coming of age novel by David Benioff set during the siege of Leningrad.

"The Whistling Season" by Ivan Doig. I LOVED this book, but I have to confess some of my book club buds were just okay with it, since it it not super plot-driven. If you like books about interesting people you just want to spend time with, and beautifully crafted language, this is great. Funny and sweet and wistful, narrated by a man looking back at a special year in his childhood in rural Montana. Especially good to read if you are a teacher.

"Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrandt. Pretty harrowing non-fiction, but really fascinating, too.

"Any Bitter Thing" by Monica Wood. Our book club read this and every person loved it. I've also recommend it to several people, and they all loved it as well. It can be a little hard to find unless you order online, and none of us can figure why it didn't become a huge bestseller. It has some mystery elements to it, but it's more than that.

Happy reading to you all, and thanks for the suggstions

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

For those who are interested in electronically borrowing books, you can do that using OverDrive app or software. Like anything it has pluses and minuses. Biggest plus it's free without having to trek to the library.

Here is a link that might be useful: OverDrive for borrowing ebooks

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 10:21AM
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I just finished reading The Body in the Boudoir by Katherine Hall Page. I've been reading this series since the beginning and really enjoy the characters. This latest book was a surprise as it is a flashback to the meeting, courtship and marriage of the protagonist. There's a mystery element, too, but it was fun becoming acquainted with a bit of history of the main characters of the series. Because the heroine runs a catering business, there are always a few recipes included at the end of the book. I know there are other series that do the same and I'm always copying them off. I don't think I've ever made one, but someday...

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 11:07AM
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I just picked up 'Fifty Shades of Grey' this past weekend. As soon as I get the little house set up as a guest room and finish hosting 'Mother's Day' dinner for 29, get a few plants in the ground, I plan to read it. It might have to wait until Packer Lake week in mid June BUT I'm excited to have my hands on a copy.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 8:00PM
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Gold, just for you. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Fifty Shades of Grey

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Oakley - that was hilarious!! Loved all the items that you can buy at amazon, including the "microphone".

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 4:17PM
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"Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home" by Rhoda Janzen. Not what I expected it to be, but turned out to be so much better. A very funny book!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 7:05PM
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That is funny, Oakley. Thank you!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 11:52PM
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Bible study - latest is 1st Corinthians written by Paul and next is a great one, Revelations written by John the beloved Apostle. Inspired by God. Love it!!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 12:07AM
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News article that I heard the other day said that Fifty Shades of Grey will not be carried by a number of libraries and some bookstores will also not be carrying it. Too bad.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 6:09PM
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