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Respected Contributor
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What are you Reading? April 2019

Happy April and welcome!

 

What are you reading today? Please share your favorite books, your worst books, or anything about reading in general. We'd love to hear from you!

 

 

I believe we all have it in us to beat the odds and achieve the impossible."
~~~Joan Rivers―

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Re: What are you Reading? April 2019

Almost done with “Cannibalism” by Bill Schutt.  Facilitating for the first half but then drags on about the Donner party.  

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Registered: ‎11-02-2015

Re: What are you Reading? April 2019

Becoming Michelle Obama.

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Registered: ‎07-17-2011

Re: What are you Reading? April 2019

[ Edited ]

I have long been in awe of the abilities (and intelligence and education) of Scotland's Dorothy Dunnett (now deceased).  She wrote a six book series known collectively as The Lymond Chronicles, set in the era when Mary, Queen of Scots, was a child (it begins in 1547).  Francis Crawford of Lymond is the most intriguing fictional character I've ever met.  Dunnett also wrote a standalone book, The King Hereafter, set in the Orkneys in the time when the Viking era was giving way to Christianity.  In between her historical novels, she wrote a lighthearted suspense series about a portrait painter named Johnson Johnson who traveled about on his yacht Dolly.  The British editions all had "Dolly" in the title:  "Dolly and the Singing Bird," "Dolly and the Nanny Bird," etc.  The American editions changed the titles to the likes of "Murder in the Round" and "The Rum Affair." 

 

Unobtainable for a long time, there are now new paperback and e-book editions available in the US.

 

Dunnett (who was also a noted portrait painter herself) then started a new series known as "The House of Niccolo" which includes a total of eight books.  It is set in the fifteenth century and begins in Bruges in a trading company and dyeworks.  I collected each as it was released in hardback, but kept putting off starting the new series for fear of how the main character would compare to Lymond.  My most recent "Reading Resolution" was (1) to reread the Lymond books in order, and (2) to finally dive into the world of Niccolo and read that series in order as well.  I am now reading the fourth Niccolo book, "Scales of Gold" -- I am not disappointed.

 

I highly recommend these books, along with the caveat that they aren't for everybody.  You have to like richly detailed and in-depth history which reflects the interplay of politics and religion on life at the time of the story.  Dunnett's descriptions of setting and scene are like watching a movie spectacle but with scent included.  She manages a huge cast of characters, probably 90 percent actual people from the pages of history.  She never puts a foot wrong.  She cuts her readers very little slack -- like the people surrounding Niccolo and Lymond, you never know what is really going on inside the minds of her main characters.

 

Except for the Johnson Johnson books, you can't just pick up one of Dunnett's creations for a casual read.  They require a certain amount of commitment from the reader commensurate with the craft and dedication that went into building them.  You may find that "it's all just too much for me."  If not, you'll be rewarded by a constant series of "WHAT????" along with a continuing feeling of "WOW, what a ride!!!!"

 

I don't know of another author who writes anything that remotely resembles what Dorothy Dunnett could do -- I wish I did.

 

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Re: What are you Reading? April 2019

Once Upon a Montana Summer, by Lisa T. Bergren

Courting Mr. Emerson, by Melody Carlson                                      

The Huntress, by Kate Quinn

"Live frugally, but love extravagantly."
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Re: What are you Reading? April 2019

I just finished The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin.  I had high hopes for this book but was disappointed.  While parts of the book were riveting, others fell far short.  It was my first book by this author, and I probably won't read another.  It was good enough to finish, but that's about it.

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Registered: ‎03-23-2010

Re: What are you Reading? April 2019

The Trust  by Ronald Balson. Disappointed....not nearly as great as his other books. 

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Re: What are you Reading? April 2019

@Tgbtg 

I heard some negatives about the book you read also.  Tara Conklin did write House Girl. I read that recently and liked it.  Some authors are very "uneven," some good books, others not so much.  I do recommend House Girl.

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Registered: ‎01-15-2017

Re: What are you Reading? April 2019

Just finished The Suspect by Fiona Barton. I really liked it. Her other two books are The Widow and The Child. All three of them are good. She keeps the story moving along and there is a twist at the end of each. Give her a try if you like suspense.

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Re: What are you Reading? April 2019

[ Edited ]

@maximillian wrote:

@Tgbtg 

I heard some negatives about the book you read also.  Tara Conklin did write House Girl. I read that recently and liked it.  Some authors are very "uneven," some good books, others not so much.  I do recommend House Girl.


I enjoyed both books, especially  The Last Romantics. 

"Live frugally, but love extravagantly."