Book Recommendations and Reading

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  • That's the story of my life  :-)
  • Thanks for the recommendations!  I'm not generally picky as long as something is interesting, the writing isn't too terrible, and the content is not offensive.
  • Zoeg said:
    Lilithcat said:
    alloyjane said:
    Anybody have any recommendations for happy fiction?  I tend towards the dark and depressing so I'm looking to read something lighter.  
    Oh, honey.  P.G. Wodehouse and/or E. F. Benson's Lucia series.  Can't get happier (or funnier) than those!
    Wodehouse is so much fun!  I haven't heard of Benson's Lucia series but if you're listing it with Wodehouse then I have to check it out.  Thanks.
    I've recently finished reading the Lucia books - very enjoyable, very well written, but give me Nancy Mitford any day!
  • Zoeg said:
    Lilithcat said:
    alloyjane said:
    Anybody have any recommendations for happy fiction?  I tend towards the dark and depressing so I'm looking to read something lighter.  
    Oh, honey.  P.G. Wodehouse and/or E. F. Benson's Lucia series.  Can't get happier (or funnier) than those!
    Wodehouse is so much fun!  I haven't heard of Benson's Lucia series but if you're listing it with Wodehouse then I have to check it out.  Thanks.
    I've recently finished reading the Lucia books - very enjoyable, very well written, but give me Nancy Mitford any day!
    Thanks, I'll check her out too.
  • I am so excited for this thread!

    My favorite ever book is A Confederacy of Dunces.

    But my faves in the last year have been Life After Life, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, and The Bone Clocks.
  • lpkitty said:
    I just finished Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple which was funny and, as a Seattleite, pretty darn spot-on. Now I'm reading Volume 1 of Richard Matheson's Collected Stories and when that's done I'm going to read The Unpublished David Ogilvy to get me ready for when Mad Men returns.

    If someone wants a magic/fantasy recommendation: Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan. It's a multi-generational story blending magic and realism. It's Setiawan's one and only book, I'm looking forward to more from him.
    Yes! I loved Where'd You Go Bernadette?. I've been recommending it to everyone.
  • I love this thread!
    I recently finished Bernard Cornwell's The Empty Throne, the 8th book in the Saxon series. I am a big fan of his historical fiction. Always a rousing read. 

    Of my recent fiction reads I'd recommend Fannie Flagg's The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

    Non fiction Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken, and Michael Sokolove's Drama High: The incredible true story of a brilliant teacher, a struggling town, and the magic of theater.

    I'm currently about halfway through Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. So far, so good.


  • Just finished Elizabeth George's latest book.  It's definitely worth it.  All of our favorite players are back and in fine form.  
  • WhitneyB said:
    I am so excited for this thread!

    My favorite ever book is A Confederacy of Dunces.

    But my faves in the last year have been Life After Life, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, and The Bone Clocks.
    You might enjoy Managing Ignatius:  the Lunacy of Lucky Dogs and life in New Orleans, by Jerry E. Strahan.  Lucky Dogs is the company on which Paradise Vendors in Confederacy is based.
  • Just finished Elizabeth George's latest book.  It's definitely worth it.  All of our favorite players are back and in fine form.  
    Glad to hear it.  Now I'm looking forward to it.
  • I'm currently about three-quarters of the way through "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins. It's a page-turner and I'm really enjoying it. It would be a great beach read.
  • I love this thread!
    I recently finished Bernard Cornwell's The Empty Throne, the 8th book in the Saxon series. I am a big fan of his historical fiction. Always a rousing read. 


    Holy crap I didn't know this was out already.  I feel like The Pagan Lord just came out.  Didn't realize he would crank out the next one in a year.  Thanks!
  • Am now currently reading the new Tom Clancy novel written by his long term editor. "Support and Defend"  I think that it might be a better book than Mr. Clancy would have written himself (may lightening not strike me down)

    It's very "old" Tom Clancy with up to date references.  Me likey
  • I have finished the Dande Gilver series and am about to embark upon the Maisie Dobbs. Haven't been around in a while, but that's just cause the interminable winter got me down. Spring is here and things are looking up.
  • I'm always recommending for a light, happy, totally 'sugar' sort of book anything by Sarah Addison Allen. Her books are all roughly set in the same sort of South/Southeast sort of regions and do have a tendency to be more 'whimsical' realism than, like, full on fantasy (which is why I'd say it's fiction vs scifi/fantasy), but they revolve around really endearing, relateable women and families. 

    They're my go-to for whenever I'm feeling a little cynical and downtrodden, and because they're such light reads, they're easy to pick up and put down, but have enough depth that I'm always happy to reread. Garden Spells is probably my favorite.
  • Garden Spells is the only one of hers I've read but I totally agree - it's a very charming read.
  • @foodycatAlicia You should read the sequel, First Frost. I just finished it, it's the continuance of the Waverley's and what happens next. Though, technically, I think a few of the other books also mention stuff about them too. It was really good, though, and charming is a perfect adjective for her books. 
  • I'll add it to the list!
  • Just finished rereading An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer.  Kind of thinking about rereading Summertime by Raffaella Barker next, although I did start rereading Anne of Windy Poplars by L M Montgomery during my lunch break today.
  • @foodycatAlicia You should read the sequel, First Frost. I just finished it, it's the continuance of the Waverley's and what happens next. Though, technically, I think a few of the other books also mention stuff about them too. It was really good, though, and charming is a perfect adjective for her books. 
    These sound really interesting.  I'm going to add them to the list
  • Jackie4g said:

    I'm reading a mystery series by Catriona Mcperson, set in 1920s Scotland. The protagonist is Dandy Gilver, an upper class housewife who solves a problem for a friend, gets recommended to solve another and becomes a professional detective.

    I'll be grateful for any book series recommendations, as long as they are mysteries and do not contain graphic descriptions of torture or other horrible behavior. The murder description is OK, just not too much emphasis on gory details. I get bad dreams.

    Have you read the China Bayles series, by Susan Wittig Albert? The first book is Thyme of Death. They are set in current day, in the Texas Hill Country. It's been several years since I've read the series, but I don't recall them being gory, and they're definitely not graphic (I can't read graphic-and-gory anymore!).
  • glenda said:
    Jackie4g said:

    I'm reading a mystery series by Catriona Mcperson, set in 1920s Scotland. The protagonist is Dandy Gilver, an upper class housewife who solves a problem for a friend, gets recommended to solve another and becomes a professional detective.

    I'll be grateful for any book series recommendations, as long as they are mysteries and do not contain graphic descriptions of torture or other horrible behavior. The murder description is OK, just not too much emphasis on gory details. I get bad dreams.

    Have you read the China Bayles series, by Susan Wittig Albert? The first book is Thyme of Death. They are set in current day, in the Texas Hill Country. It's been several years since I've read the series, but I don't recall them being gory, and they're definitely not graphic (I can't read graphic-and-gory anymore!).
    Actually, I just looked up the first book because I want to reread the series and pick up where I left off 5 or 6 years ago, and the first book was written in 1992. So...not quite so modern day until you are later into the series ;-).
  • @Cosmo The Sparrow!! Came to mind as a sci fi book where the female character doesn't get maimed. Though, it's only sort of sci fi, in my mind. Good one.
    The scenes where a character is horribly violated, repeatedly, were incredibly brutal for me to read. I realize that's a YMMV kind of thing, but it sure impacted how I felt about the book :/.
  • Can someone recommend something light and fun to read? I've been reading so much angsty drama and I'm sick of it.  

    Think Beautiful Ruins or The Rosie Project or Where'd You Go Bernadette, etc.
    Have you read The Rosie Effect yet? I just downloaded it from the library tonight and am hoping I find it as entertaining as The Rosie Project.

    I invariably gravitate towards angsty drama, and recently I realized I needed a break from that. So I've picked back up on the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I find them light and fun and I never fail to cackle out loud while reading them.
  • My recent finishes that I gave two thumbs up:

    ~ Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell (I also loved Eleanor & Park, but didn't care for Landline or Fangirl overmuch)

    ~ The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion (I'll be starting the next book, The Rosie Effect, tonight or tomorrow)

    ~ I blazed through the Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny. There were several books in the series that I didn't like and it felt like I was slogging through those, but things seemed to come together better for me in the last several books. I actually thought the 10th book would function as a great series ender and it was my favorite of the series (thus far), but there's another book coming out this fall so I'll be curious to see what comes next.

    ~ I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga (I think this is, or will be, a series)

    ~ Throne of Glass series (read the novellas first!), by Sarah J Maas

    ~ Lock In, by John Scalzi

    ~ The Matchmaker, by Elin Hilderbrand (hankies-required!!)

    ~ The Queen of the Tearling, by Erika Johansen

    ~ Winger, by Andrew Smith

    ~ Under the Never Sky series, by Veronica Rossi (be sure to read the novellas, too)
  • edited April 2015
    Grad school (in English, nonetheless) kind of killed my reading abilities; I'm constantly picking books up and putting them down no matter how much I like them. 

    Right now, I'm working on these:
    • And the Band Played On (Randy Shilts)
    • Life After Life (Kate Atkinson)
    • Inside of a Dog (Alexandra Horowitz)
    • Guards! Guards! (Terry Prachett)

    All sorts of styles and genres, and I'm enjoying them all so far. (Terry Prachett's description of a library may be my very favorite.) Working on being able to actually finish one!
  • glenda said:
    The scenes where a character is horribly violated, repeatedly, were incredibly brutal for me to read. I realize that's a YMMV kind of thing, but it sure impacted how I felt about the book :/.
    Then never read Never Come Morning by Nelson Algren.  It's an absolutely brilliant book, Algren had a deep understanding of the people he wrote about, but there's a very difficult scene of a gang rape.  One of my book club members stopped reading it at that point, which was a shame as she missed some gorgeous writing later on.  But I could see why it would be tough.
  • I'm always recommending for a light, happy, totally 'sugar' sort of book anything by Sarah Addison Allen. Her books are all roughly set in the same sort of South/Southeast sort of regions and do have a tendency to be more 'whimsical' realism than, like, full on fantasy (which is why I'd say it's fiction vs scifi/fantasy), but they revolve around really endearing, relateable women and families. 

    They're my go-to for whenever I'm feeling a little cynical and downtrodden, and because they're such light reads, they're easy to pick up and put down, but have enough depth that I'm always happy to reread. Garden Spells is probably my favorite.
    What is whimsical realism?  Is it where there are coincidences that just wouldn't happen, or magic food cooking skills?  That's about the most I think I could take.
  • @DaveinHollywood both! Imagine an apple tree with personality.
  • edited April 2015
    oscarandjeeves  Love Life after Life.  I've been telling people to read it since it came out.  

    Just read Susan Wiggs The Beekeepers Ball.  It's the second in a series.  I'm going to go back and read the 1st novel.

    Has anyone (me included) mentioned Elizabeth George? Just finished her latest book and loved it.  I'm seeing a wrapping up of storylines so that the characters can move on.  
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