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On 10/24/2020 at 8:10 AM, krankydoodle said:

I love horror or mystery books set in isolated locations or confined spaces. BookRiot recently had an article suggesting books like And Then There Were None. Of those they list, I thought The Guest List was decent (much better than Foley's earlier effort The Hunting Party anyway), Six Wakes was fun, and An Unwanted Guest was disappointing. Most of the reviews I've seen for They All Fall Down haven't been very positive, but I still want to read it and the others on the list.

I recently started reading In the Dark by Loreth Anne White (free to read if you have Amazon Prime) which also has an ATTWN-like set-up. I haven't been impressed by the writing so far, but I'm only about 20+ pages in.

Wow, this list looks great!  Thanks so much!  The "Agatha Christie in space" book sounds especially fun.

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I finished The Broken Girls by Simone St. James last night and enjoyed it even more than her most recent novel, The Sun Down Motel.  It isn't exactly horror, but it is a ghost story and incredibly creepy.  I kind of wish I had waited to finish in the morning...

I then read a new short story from Jennifer Weiner, who I love, called Dog People, and it was horrible.  Ugh!  It's rare that I wish I hadn't read something...

I'm starting Hazel Gaynor's new book When We Were Young and Brave today.  Apparently it is about Girl Guides during WWII and, being a Girl Scout troop leader, I'm looking forward to this one.

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43 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

I then read a new short story from Jennifer Weiner, who I love, called Dog People, and it was horrible.  Ugh!  It's rare that I wish I hadn't read something...

Sorry if it's bad form to ask, but would you mind sharing what happens at the end? I don't really have any interest in reading the book but checked Goodreads and Amazon out of curiosity and was surprised by how low the rating is, especially for a well-known author whose work is usually pretty popular, and so many of the reviews mention the ending that I'd love to know what happens that's so divisive. The plot summary already makes the story sound kind of odd.

Edited by krankydoodle

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1 hour ago, krankydoodle said:

Sorry if it's bad form to ask, but would you mind sharing what happens at the end? I don't really have any interest in reading the book but checked Goodreads and Amazon out of curiosity and was surprised by how low the rating is, especially for a well-known author whose work is usually pretty popular, and so many of the reviews mention the ending that I'd love to know what happens that's so divisive. The plot summary already makes the story sound kind of odd.

Spoiler

 

Well, it's a not terribly interesting story about a guy who becomes a dog person once he and his wife are empty nesters.  The wife dies and he takes up with another woman and he doesn't like how she treats the dog--she does not treat the dog badly in any way, she just doesn't interact with it the way his wife did.  And it drives him crazy.  And it seems clear that he's building up to kill the woman, but he kills the dog.  

The story was not that interesting, but it was such a badly executed bait and switch that I felt really pissed that I spent 30 minutes reading it.  AND THE DOG WAS KILLED!

 

 

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On 10/24/2020 at 3:34 PM, Everina said:

I've been re-reading the Ramona series, by Beverly Cleary.  It's the first time I've read these books since I was in grade school, but I'm surprised by how well they hold up.  There are some dated references in there, but the emotions are timeless.  B.C. really knew what it was like to be a kid, especially the youngest kid in the family, which is what I was.  Highly recommend, even if you don't have kids to read them to (I don't).

My daughter has read some of the Ramona books. I really do love reliving my book youth through my children. In addition to Ramona, I've recommended to them Harriet the Spy, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Matilda, The Witches. My son is starting on Watership Down. I reread them myself, too. These "children's" books are just as magical now that I'm, er, older as they were when I was 10, 11 years old.

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The sequel to Harriet the Spy, The Long Summer, is also really fun.

I loved From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I remember going to the Met not long after reading it and being SO disappointed that the angel statue wasn't real. (Spoiler!) The information person said they were asked that all the time, and it kind of bummed them out to crush so many kids, heh.

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11 minutes ago, dubbel zout said:

The sequel to Harriet the Spy, The Long Summer, is also really fun.

I loved From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I remember going to the Met not long after reading it and being SO disappointed that the angel statue wasn't real. (Spoiler!) The information person said they were asked that all the time, and it kind of bummed them out to crush so many kids, heh.

The obvious solution is to commission the statue for real. 

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On 10/24/2020 at 9:10 AM, krankydoodle said:

I love horror or mystery books set in isolated locations or confined spaces. BookRiot recently had an article suggesting books like And Then There Were None. Of those they list, I thought The Guest List was decent (much better than Foley's earlier effort The Hunting Party anyway), Six Wakes was fun, and An Unwanted Guest was disappointing. Most of the reviews I've seen for They All Fall Down haven't been very positive, but I still want to read it and the others on the list.

I recently started reading In the Dark by Loreth Anne White (free to read if you have Amazon Prime) which also has an ATTWN-like set-up. I haven't been impressed by the writing so far, but I'm only about 20+ pages in.

I'm currently reading One By One and I'm liking it better than Ruth Ware's last book. The Guest List was good. They All Fall Down was terrible, I hated the main character. I finished it but I couldn't tell you what happened in the end because I stopped caring. I wasn't too impressed with An Unwanted Guest (I also didn't care for The Couple Next Door) so I don't believe I'll read another Shari Lapena book.

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On 10/24/2020 at 4:10 PM, krankydoodle said:

I love horror or mystery books set in isolated locations or confined spaces. BookRiot recently had an article suggesting books like And Then There Were None. Of those they list, I thought The Guest List was decent (much better than Foley's earlier effort The Hunting Party anyway), Six Wakes was fun, and An Unwanted Guest was disappointing. Most of the reviews I've seen for They All Fall Down haven't been very positive, but I still want to read it and the others on the list.

I recently started reading In the Dark by Loreth Anne White (free to read if you have Amazon Prime) which also has an ATTWN-like set-up. I haven't been impressed by the writing so far, but I'm only about 20+ pages in.

Thanks for share. I'm really in a horror mood lately )

The last horror novel I've read is Brian Evenson: Last Days - Batshit crazy, weirdly funny

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I LOVE Ramona The Pest! It was the only "reading for pleasure" book I grabbed when I went to India for three months during the school year when I was in fifth grade! I read it back to back so many times, all the corners got dog-eared. I was devastated that I'd left it behind at my father's childhood home. Then I read all the Ramona books after that.

Also part of my childhood reading was The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew (weren't these a "goes without saying" for those of us who were kids in the 70s?), Encyclopedia Brown, and of course the over 100 different stories from Amar Chitra Katha that I brought home with me. All of which my mum gave away because I spent more time rereading them instead of my school work! Boo!

I was verrrry angry with my mum for a loooong time.

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On ‎10‎/‎23‎/‎2020 at 12:20 PM, peacheslatour said:

All I remember is the super cute outfits they wore.

Well, that and how fantastic Nicole Kidman's hair was back then.  And how hot Goran Visnjic was.  (Okay, I confess, I recently rewatched the movie - still love it, and he's still smoking hot.)

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Troubled Blood came in for me at the library and I picked it up today.  Hoo boy there's quite a difference between knowing a book is 944 pages and actually seeing a book of 944 pages.

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2 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

Troubled Blood came in for me at the library and I picked it up today.  Hoo boy there's quite a difference between knowing a book is 944 pages and actually seeing a book of 944 pages.

LOL, never mind seeing, carting it around is what got me. Even just holding it to read gets hard after a while.

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5 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

Troubled Blood came in for me at the library and I picked it up today.  Hoo boy there's quite a difference between knowing a book is 944 pages and actually seeing a book of 944 pages.

Not a fan of epic fantasy, huh?

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4 hours ago, Anduin said:

Not a fan of epic fantasy, huh?

Nope and it's times like these that make me grateful for that because I couldn't do it without straining something.

7 hours ago, GaT said:

LOL, never mind seeing, carting it around is what got me. Even just holding it to read gets hard after a while.

Yeah. I pushed off getting the ebook version (I put a hold on both) because I prefer print but I'm thinking I might regret that--not that I want to read a 1000 page book on my phone either. 

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I finished When We Were Young and Brave by Hazel Gaynor.  It features a troop of Girl Guides at a mission school in China who are moved to an internment camp during WWII and now I will quit complaining about having to run my daughter's Girl Scout Troop meetings over zoom....

It was pretty good, but could have been better.  The biggest frustration is that it is a book that is told through alternating viewpoints and there was no difference between the two narrating voices.  Sigh.

Today I'm starting The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor.  I don't know much about it except a number of my Goodreads friends read it and gave it 5 stars.  We'll see!

 

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The Neverending Story. I used to read this a lot when I was younger, but I don't think I'd touched it in 20 years before last week. It doesn't quite move me like it did, and I find there's kind of... less in there than I used to see. But it's still readable. The first half is a decent enough fantasy adventure, but the second half really goes off the rails. Our protagonist becomes rather unsympathetic, before being torn down and having to find himself again. A bold choice.

But what I find interesting is that Michael Ende seemed to be influenced by CS Lewis. YA portal fantasy, a kind of place between places, a magical lion, talking animals, and just plain assorted weirdness. Anyone know if he spoke about it, or am I seeing connections where they don't really exist?

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So glad I found this topic!  I love to read!!

Just finished a pair of zombie novels on Kindle that were pretty good for self-published:  Walking with the Dead and Home with the Dead.  Also finished Once Gone by Blake Pierce that I didn't really care for, The Hive by Barry Lyga and Come Closer by Sara Gran, both of which were great.

I just started Afterland by Lauren Beukes.  Another dystopian/post-apocalyptic book, which are my favorites.

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The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz took time to get going for me but I was drawn in .  I will definitely keep going with this series.  Interestingly Eric Larson’s In  The Garden of Beasts was referenced.  I haven’t read it yet but it’s been in my queue for a few weeks.  I might move it ahead on my list but first I am in the mood for some romance.  I’m starting The Wallflower Wager today a historical romance where neighbors in conflict fall for each other.

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26 minutes ago, Luckylyn said:

The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz took time to get going for me but I was drawn in .  I will definitely keep going with this series.  Interestingly Eric Larson’s In  The Garden of Beasts was referenced.  I haven’t read it yet but it’s been in my queue for a few weeks.  I might move it ahead on my list but first I am in the mood for some romance.  I’m starting The Wallflower Wager today a historical romance where neighbors in conflict fall for each other.

Is there a dog in it?

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1 hour ago, peacheslatour said:

Is there a dog in it?

I can’t tell if you are kidding or not.  I have a friend who always asks before we see a movie with action or suspense if any pets are harmed because she won’t watch in that situation.  

A dog is mentioned in The Silent Corner a couple of times but isn’t part of the story. The lead in The Wallflower Wager takes in animals of all kinds which is why she’s in conflict with her neighbor.

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20 minutes ago, Luckylyn said:

I can’t tell if you are kidding or not.  I have a friend who always asks before we see a movie with action or suspense if any pets are harmed because she won’t watch in that situation.  

A dog is mentioned in The Silent Corner a couple of times but isn’t part of the story. The lead in The Wallflower Wager takes in animals of all kinds which is why she’s in conflict with her neighbor.

It's just that I went through a phase of reading Dan Koontz books in the nineties and dogs, especially golden retrievers, were prominent in the stories.

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4 minutes ago, peacheslatour said:

It's just that I went through a phase of reading Dan Koontz books in the nineties and dogs, especially golden retrievers, were prominent in the stories.

That’s interesting.The dog mentioned is a golden retriever but isn’t part of the story.  

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I just finished Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding, one of the Her Royal Spyness mysteries, and I have to say I'm growing very tired of Georgie not trusting Darcy whenever she sees him with an attractive woman. It was understandable when they were newly dating, but now? She either trusts him or she doesn't. They discussed this exact thing, and Georgie realized it would be exhausting to always wonder, so maybe that they're finally married, this will stop. Here's hoping.

Another thing that's starting to gnaw at me is the class stuff. It's baked into the entire series—Georgie is a (fictional) great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria—and it's not set in the present (we're now pre-WWII), but the constant references to "our sort/aristocrats/etc." gets to be a bit much.

Most of this griping is because I've read nearly all the books in the series (FFaMaW is number 12 of 14), and the tics become so obvious by this point. The series is very lightweight and enjoyable, and the mysteries are well thought out.

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Post wedding, Georgie still doesn’t develop into a grown-up. I do like the mysteries, but Georgie’s ‘little girl’ quirks get squicky as she becomes a full grown adult and gets married.

I wish authors knew how to develop their characters throughout a series. Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye was another series in which the lead became an insufferable brat instead of a more steady, confident person.

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I find that happens in other series by Rhys Bowen, like the Molly Murphy mysteries. The first several are fun and charming, but once the narrator pairs off, within a book or two, the series runs out of steam and just isn't fun anymore. I haven't read the latest Royal Spyness mystery yet, but the previous one in the series (Love Among the Cheetahs?? I think that's the title) was starting to get to that point. 

She is writing some good stand alone historical mysteries now, though, that I can recommend. I think there is one being published in the spring.

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7 minutes ago, Starleigh said:

She is writing some good stand alone historical mysteries now, though, that I can recommend. I think there is one being published in the spring.

I've read those and enjoyed them, but I found the plotting to be a bit predictable.

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Just finished Slaughterhouse Five.  I know it is supposed to be one of the top 50 novels of all time, but...well, not for me.

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3 minutes ago, grommit2 said:

Just finished Slaughterhouse Five.  I know it is supposed to be one of the top 50 novels of all time, but...well, not for me.

I loved it, but it’s not for everyone. 

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3 hours ago, dubbel zout said:

I've read those and enjoyed them, but I found the plotting to be a bit predictable.

Yes, I agree with you there. To me, they are kinda like historical cozy mysteries. Easy and fun, but fairly formulaic. But a step up from the typical cozy mystery, both because of her writing and the historical setting.

Interesting fact about Rhys Bowen is that she started her writing career as a ghostwriter for popular girls teen paperbacks in the 80s. I don't remember which ones, but along the line of Sweet Valley High, which would be the very definition of formulaic. So, hardly surprising her books follow the same sort of pattern.

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When I mentioned the Lewis influence, I forgot the older character who has gone through all this before. Very much the Professor Diggory of the Neverending Story. Furthermore, the fantasy creatures are all taken from myth and legend. Centaurs, gnomes, djinns, and such. Rather than the same old elves, dwarves, orcs. As much as I like a good orc, it's refreshing to see a centaur or two.

However, there's also a clear bit of Tolkien. There's a dragon named Smerg. Sure, that's similiar to Smaug, but similar doesn't quite cut it. But on the very same page in Chapter Q, there's mention of the land of Morgul. Maybe it's because Tolkien's creations are permanently driven into my brain, but I don't see it as coincidence. Minas Morgul is a city in Mordor in LOTR.

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I finished The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek over the weekend.  Interesting story about rural Depression era Kentucky (well, more than rural, remote mountain homesteads) and racial prejudice.  I nearly put it down because 

Spoiler

in the first 40 pages the protagonist gets raped once and nearly raped again soon after.

Fortunately that stopped and I finished the book.  It was lovely and heartbreaking: the abject poverty and hunger and death, the pride of the mountain people, the hope the book women gave them with glimpses of a better life through books and magazines.  And a little background on the blue people of KY.  Good read.

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2 hours ago, Haleth said:

I finished The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek over the weekend.  Interesting story about rural Depression era Kentucky (well, more than rural, remote mountain homesteads) and racial prejudice.  I nearly put it down because 

  Hide contents

in the first 40 pages the protagonist gets raped once and nearly raped again soon after.

Fortunately that stopped and I finished the book.  It was lovely and heartbreaking: the abject poverty and hunger and death, the pride of the mountain people, the hope the book women gave them with glimpses of a better life through books and magazines.  And a little background on the blue people of KY.  Good read.

Thanks for the headsup.  Is the spoiler actually necessary for the story or just bad writing?

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29 minutes ago, Ohiopirate02 said:

Thanks for the headsup.  Is the spoiler actually necessary for the story or just bad writing?

Well, sort of important to the story. 

Spoiler

Both rapists get their comeuppance in a way that leads to growth for the protagonist. 

 

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I finished One By One and I enjoyed it. It kept me interested.

Just started Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy. There were a few twists halfway through that I didn't expect and I'm very interested to see where it goes. I'm also reading Mill Point Road by JK Ellem. It was picked by my book club. So far not impressed. I've never read anything by this author but I have a feeling he doesn't know how to write female characters. 

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I just finished The Guest List by Lucy Foley and I enjoyed it.  I do agree with others upthread who commented that it is similar to her earlier work The Hunting Party.  I liked Guest List a lot, whereas I found myself increasingly annoyed with Hunting Party, particularly how things got increasingly predictably ridiculous.

I do wonder though, since Foley made the switch from historical romance to mystery/thriller, two books in a row now have the same general plot.  A group of friends/acquaintances in a remote location.  All of them have secrets.  Some of them have grudges.  One of them ends up dead.  Judging from the book jacket, Foley seems to be embracing her characterisation as a modern day Agatha Christie.  But Christie didn't write the same plot repeatedly, her stories are diverse and creative.

Since I read Hunting Party and recognised the style, it wasn't that hard for me to deduce what the "secret" of some of the characters was.  I hope she mixes things up with her next book.  

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I finished The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor.  It was  great mystery--a lot of well placed red herrings and I did not see the end coming, which is rare when I read mysteries.  

Today, I started The Royal Governess by Wendy Holden, a historical novel about QEII's and Princess Margaret's governess.  So far, it seems...fine.  It's a nice diversion, which is what I need right now--as well as a good palate cleaner before I pick up another mystery or thriller.

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Owing to the release of the Radium Girls film (w/Joey King and Abby Quinn) to some theaters and on demand, I decided to read the book that it was based on that was written by Kate Moore (good book so far; on page 104)...

radiumgirls1.jpg

radiumgirls2.jpg

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Today I’m starting Shadows in Death by JD Robb. I’m excited to delve more into Roarke’s past.  I really enjoy the books in the series when things are more personal.

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I just finished In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren.  It is a Christmas themed romance/chik lit.  Great premise! The main heroine's parents are BFFs with another couple and a few other people that met while in college and for all their lives the parents/friends and their kids have always spent Christmas week together in this big family cabin.  This year the heroine has a Groundhog Day experience where she relives the same week over and over trying to get something right(something kinda momentous happens in the initial real week).

I liked it because a) I love time-loop stories and b) it was really LOL funny in places and c) the authors really made the families/friends/kids feel really like a long-time lived in group.  So all their interactions felt really natural and you got a great sense of their shared history and their traditions over the years.

Edited by DearEvette
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The Woman in Cabin 10
Half way through. 
Difficult to tolerate the lead character's really annoying behavior (alcohol repetition, sleep deprivation).
Trying to justify this behavior based on her home invasion.
But, we shall see, eh?
 

Edited by grommit2 · Reason: positioning statement
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3 hours ago, grommit2 said:

The Woman in Cabin 10
Half way through. 
Difficult to tolerate the lead character's really annoying behavior (alcohol repetition, sleep deprivation).
Trying to justify this behavior based on her home invasion.
But, we shall see, eh?
 

Yes!  I can honestly say that I despised the main character to the point where I kept hoping she would die.  I remember thinking that I was only halfway through and annoyed that the book wasn't over yet.  I was relieved when I finally finished it.  This was the first book that I read by Ruth Ware and it definitely put me off reading anything else by her.  I'm going to give her another chance and read "One by One" when I can get it from the library.

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Read through The Harpy by Megan Hunter and it was interesting but left confused.

So she actually turns into a harpy at the end or what? Also I like a good revenge story as much as the next person but I was kind of turned off by what she did, framing her husband for sexting pictures of his mistress and then almost killing him. I mean, the deal was that she could hurt him three times, but 

yikes let the punishment fit the crime.

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Just finished The Guest List. I enjoyed it, but found it predictable.

Spoiler

I knew at once the groom was a bad guy simply because he was described as being perfect. That’s always a signal of a closet asshole. I also knew that the caterer would be the killer once she walked into the cave conversation.

The only think I didn’t predict was that the best man would be charged with the crime.

Predictable can be enjoyable. I am tired of books with shocks for the sake of being shocking.

Looking for something new now...something calm and happy to match my mood. Maybe I’ll reread a Bridgerton. 

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I just finished a biography of a favourite writer of mine, Betty MacDonald (mostly known as the author of The Egg and I).  It was good but I wish I hadn't read it now.  MacDonald basically had a tough life for 42 years then had 8  years of fame - and still had some tough times - and then died of cancer at 50.  I knew there was "more to the story" than her light hearted memoirs but dammit I didn't need depressing this week!

Betty: The Story of Betty MacDonald

Edited by WinnieWinkle
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On 8/17/2020 at 1:47 PM, isalicat said:

I just finished the second in Jane Casey's Maeve Kerrigan series of crime novels and I'm hooked! (already ordered books number 3 and 4 from eBay as my library is *still* closed). Thank you so much to whomever upthread recommended this author! Wonderful characterizations, very twisty mysteries and not too gory.

I  made that recommendation.  I hope you are continuing to enjoy the series.  

I've not been on this thread for a while.  I was having serious concentration issues (thanks 2020 & the pandemic) so was not reading as much as I usually do, which is most unlike me. But I've been getting back into reading lately.  I just finished Eleanor by David Michaelis.  I was reluctant at first, wondering if I really need to read another biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, but it wasn't bad.  I read Troubled Blood by Galbraith a/k/a JK Rowling and agree that the book needed a lot of editing.  I'm about halfway through 999:  The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz which is gut-wrenching.  After that I've got Val McDermid's latest, Still Life, next.  As you can tell, I read both non-fiction and fiction.  

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On 11/7/2020 at 7:07 PM, WinnieWinkle said:

I just finished a biography of a favourite writer of mine, Betty MacDonald (mostly known as the author of The Egg and I).  It was good but I wish I hadn't read it now.  MacDonald basically had a tough life for 42 years then had 8  years of fame - and still had some tough times - and then died of cancer at 50.  I knew there was "more to the story" than her light hearted memoirs but dammit I didn't need depressing this week!

Betty: The Story of Betty MacDonald

I read this, too, and had the same reaction.

I do this all the time, read the biography or published journals or whatever of one of my favorite authors and then regret the depressing read. For a double whammy, try both LM Montgomery's private journals as well the recent definitive biography written by one of the editors of her journals. Boy, was that heavy and hard to digest. Also, the biography of Shirley Jackson was a real downer. Not to say these weren't fascinating reads, because they were....

Edited by Starleigh
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