Thursday, September 12, 2019

What Are You Reading?

I can actually tell you I haven't read a thing this week. But, if you want to talk about Mark Twain or Harriet Beecher Stowe, I'm ready. I'm in Connecticut with my Mom and sisters. Starting our trip back home this afternoon. But, along with checking out cemeteries and stories of family, we also went to the homes of Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

The one above is Mark Twain's house in Hartford. Harriet Beecher Stowe's is on the adjoining property. Wonderful tours of both. Livy Clemens, Mark Twain's wife gave us a tour of his house, a living tour. Stowe's was a literary tour, discussing ideas as much as her house. The picture below was the beginning of our tour.

That's what I'm doing this week. Some of it is book-related. What are you reading? I probably won't catch up until the evening, but others want to know, too.


Jeff Meyerson said...

Cool. I've seen pictures of the Twain house before and always wanted to see it. We spent four days in Washington, went to the African American Heritage Museum and the Natural History Museum, among others, and had amazingly pleasant weather for a summer in D.C. - upper 70s to low 80s every day, with low humidity.

I didn't get much read other than short stories when I was there. Both books read were less than raves for me. I like Emma Viskic's writing, but her detective (Caleb Zelic) is one of those PIs who keeps putting himself in danger (worse than most, due to his deafness, so he isn't always aware of who is around him), plus he gets beat to a pulp and knocked out way too often. Even the NFL would have him on concussion protocol. The book was AND FIRE CAME DOWN. It took me too long to read because I just didn't enjoy it that much.

The short story collection sounded interesting, but it really isn't my taste either, Seth Fried's THE GREAT FRUSTRATION. There were no stories in it that I could say I really loved. I'd skip it.

Next is STONE COLD HEART by Caz Frear, which I expect to like better than these two. And I picked up four library books yesterday, plus the new Monkeewrench book just came in.

Kay said...

What an interesting trip, Lesa! Bet you and your family had a very nice time. I haven't been to CT at all, but literary sites, libraries, and bookstores always show up when I vacation. Ha!

I've been reading a fun mystery series written by Dawn Brookes. Each book is set on a cruise ship and our main character, Rachel, solves the crimes that occur. I'm not a person who would enjoy a cruise, so solving crimes on a cruise ship virtually is perfect for me. I'm reading book #4, DYING TO CRUISE, right now and in this one Rachel and friends are cruising near Australia and New Zealand. Rachel is a cop in real life and her best friend, Sarah, is a nurse for the cruise line. Sarah and her co-workers always play a big part.

I am also reading Shirley Jackson for our mystery group meeting in early October. I finished THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE on audio, my first time to read it. I never realized quite how much Jackson had influenced some of Stephen King's writing. I'll be on to WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE before long.

And I'll be curious what Jeff thinks of STONE COLD HEART. I have it, but haven't read it yet.

Sharon said...

Looks like a fun vacation Lesa.

This week I finished PENNE DREADFUL by Catherine Bruns. I really wanted to like this one. Italian family and descriptions of Italian food from my childhood. Tessa is a young widow who starts investigating the car crash that caused her husband's death. I was able to figure out some plot points concerning her husband fairly early on. And I found it to be a page turner once I got to the back half. But the ending!! Just ugh. I found it to be very unsatisfying.

Next I read THE LOST LETTERS OF WILLIAM WOOLF by Helen Cullen. I really got wrapped up in the story and the writing in this one. William works for London's Dead Letters Depot. He reunites lost letters and packages with the intended recipient. I found the letters reunited with the recipient quite touching. One day he finds a letter addressed to My Great Love signed Winter. He becomes obsessed with Winter and her subsequent letters. He goes on a journey to find her and also one of discovery about himself and his troubled marriage. I really liked this one and had a hard time putting it down. In the end it was a very good love story.

Now I am reading AND THEN THERE WERE CRUMBS by Eve Calder. It is about a pastry chef escaping heartache in the island town of Coral Cay, Florida. Not very far into it but so far it is good.

Happy Reading!

SandyG265 said...

It’s been a few years since I’ve been to CT. If you get up there again The Gillette Castle is an interesting stop.

I finished THE DIVA SWEETENS THE PIE by Krista Davis. It’s a cozy mystery set around a pie baking contest.

I’m currently reading Bailey Cates newest magical Bakeshop book, COKIES AND CLAIRVOYANCE. I’m enjoying it

Mark Baker said...

I am reading A KILLER CAROL by Laura Bradford, a series I started based on your reviews, Lesa. Just 20 pages in so far, but so far it's good and I'm looking forward to reading more today.

Margie Bunting said...

In Mary Kay Andrews' SUNSET BEACH, down-on-her-luck Drue reluctantly accepts a job from her long-estranged father, a personal injury attorney, when she loses her old job, and she simultaneously finds she has inherited a charming but ramshackle beach house. In the process, she becomes interested in two cases. One involves the murder of a hotel maid for whom Drue's father's company has secured only a low-dollar Workers' Comp settlement, not enough for the maid's mother to raise her young granddaughter. The other is a cold case from 20 years earlier, involving the disappearance of a young woman with an abusive husband. The woman may have ties to Drue's father and his private investigator, both former cops. I found the story entertaining, if overly long, but I never quite believed the character of Drue, whose past existence seemed to revolve only around kiteboarding until an injury stopped her in her tracks. How she suddenly took initiative to investigate these cases mostly on her own, and succeeded, seemed highly unlikely.

In Michael Robotham's GOOD GIRL, BAD GIRL, psychologist Cyrus is helping the police with the case of Jodie, a 15-year-old star ice skater who is found dead and who may have a secret life. At the same time, he is consulting on a teenager, Evie, who lives in a secure group home after being rescued as a child from a house where a man was tortured to death. He must help determine how to curb her erratic poor behavior and whether she is fit to be released. There's a lot more to it, but . . . no spoilers. Australian author Robotham is a favorite of mine, incorporating police procedurals and psychological suspense, and I found this book disturbing, fast-moving, and well worth reading.

I was immediately drawn to THE GRAMMARIANS by Cathleen Schine because I tend to be a member of the grammar police and appreciate good written language. However, it was not exactly what I expected. For identical twins Laurel and Daphne, the day their father brought home a huge dictionary on a stand was a highlight of their young lives. They loved nothing more than words--language, etymology, usage--and each other. Their love of all things word-related changed as they grew up, however, and ultimately they found themselves in very different professions and in ever-increasing situations where they disapproved of, or even resented, the path the the other had taken. There isn't a lot of plot here, and I found it somewhat disjointed. Some chapters seemed to be no more than one or the other pontificating about words. Interesting, perhaps, but I wanted more of a story.

I agree with Lesa's review (Sept. 8) of NOTHING VENTURED by Jeffrey Archer. I find Archer's style very accessible, and he knows how to deliver twists. I found myself becoming outraged at how some of the criminals were able to get away with their dastardly deeds. I loved the character of detective constable William Warwick and look forward to more in this series (fingers crossed). The only downside for me was William's romance with Beth--it seemed forced, and their dialogue was unconvincing. Hopefully Beth will evolve in future books.

Glen Davis said...

I read an old Where Are They Now? book, published in the early 70's. I'd never even heard of a lot of those people. It made me think of how many famous people have sort of faded away, and how sometimes, it's quite a relief. Really, aren't we all glad Kevin Federline has vanished?

Vanity Dies Hard by Ruth Rendell; Hard to believe Rendell lasted as long as she did, if this archaic book is anything to go by.

SPQR: A Point of Law by John Maddox Roberts; I'm sure there's people trying to link this series to Trump, but it was written before he ran for POTUS.

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan; A dark fantasy with a lot of Sturm und Drang.

donna from CT said...

Glad you enjoyed your trip to our state. Weather was very hot a humid yesterday and today scattered showers so not the best right now. I have been reading Harlan Coben - I know I am late to recognize him but a number of years ago I read one of his books and didn't like it. My husband wanted to read Run Away and liked it and told me I had to read it - I did and thought it was quite good. Just finished Home and liked that one too so now I have a large group to go through!

Mindy said...

Thanks for sharing your vacation pictures.I had, never seen a picture of Mark Twain's house. I'm reading Things you save in a fire by Katherine Center.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Kay, so far, so good on STONE COLD HEART. It just moves so much faster than the Aussie book, the characters are sharper and I like it better.

Gram said...

I just started The Spotted Dog by Kerry Greenwood, the latest in her Corrina Chapman series.

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