Holiday Reading

It’s been a long time since I took off so much time from the dayjob, and I have the luxury of an entire week and two bits from work. Huzzah! I am actually getting some writing done. But enough of that.

I usually like to talk about books I’ve read this year and I’ve read a lot with the acquisition of a kindle. I’ve read a lot of forgettable books, sadly, but I do want to tell you about the book. You know, the one that has revolutionized women’s literary and sex lives worldwide. I thought I had to read it so I could be properly insulting about it. So I borrowed it from the library. I think I am the last person to discover that you can borrow ebooks from the library.

So how was it for me? Reader, I cannot lie. I have read many worse self-pubbed and traditionally-pubbed books. Was it as bad as everyone said? Yes. But it also has this quality that many other successful and beloved writers have (no I am not naming names) of setting you aboard an express train that you do not want to get off. Even if you’re not enjoying the ride and there are occasional stops you feel compelled, against your reason, to keep reading. Does it fail epically as a dirty book? Absolutely. Is it witty where it’s supposed to be? No. Is it well written? No. Will I read the other two books in the series? No, I have done my duty.

(Check out Ron Charles of the Washington Post on the phenomenon that is 50… here)

Onto happier moments. Books I read and enjoyed this year:

Some mysteries–Julia Spencer-Fleming’s series that I first read years ago so I had some catching up and rereading to do. Also Deborah Crombie’s books which I’m reading way out of order and which are brilliant (so far) when she sticks to London settings but fall apart when set elsewhere.

In the Woods by Tana French, a wonderful Irish police procedural. This was a reread.

City of Women by David Gillham, set in Berlin in the last days of WWII.

Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris by Christopher Kent, a book that gave a new lease of life to a WIP.

The Great Stink by Clare Clark. Not for the tender-stomached, a novel about London’s old sewer system. EEEEW. But a great read.

My tentative on-off relationship with Georgette Heyer continued with A Civil Contract which I actually liked. In other romance reading, rather thin on the ground, I loved Miranda Neville’s books this year, I’m working my way through the brilliant Julie Ann Long’s Pennyroyal Series, and I am very much looking forward to a certain Vanity Fare by Megan Caldwell which appeared on my kindle yesterday. Go Megan!

What are you reading?

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4 Responses to Holiday Reading

  1. librarypat says:

    I read the first two of Julia Spencer-Fleming’s series a few years ago. The third one was checked out when I went to get it and I went on to other books. I really want to reread those two and read the whole series. She actually went to our high school and the stories take place in that area. The stories are a bit like going home, minus the murders of course.
    I’ve spent the year reading mostly category romances, Harlequins, etc. I have many longer books I really want to get to, but things have been crazy and anthologies and short books have been all I can squeeze in. I really hope next year is a bit quieter so I can read all these great books I already have.

  2. Just finished Courtney Milan’s The Duchess War and I absolutely loved it. Memorable characters, an incredible plot and a love story for the ages.

    My brother gave me the latest in the Douglas and Childs Pendergast series – TWO GRAVES – for Christmas. This is one of my very favorite series ever and I have been looking forward to reading this one! Of course more progress must be made to finish the current WIP before I can crack the cover on it. SIGH!

  3. Elena Greene says:

    Janet, I haven’t read that book either, though I sort of feel as if I should, because so many people are talking about it.

    I got the most recent Jean Auel for Christmas and just started it. I loved the first few books in the series but felt the later ones were dragged down by all the backstory repeated in each as they went along. Maybe it would have been better not to try to make them standalone. Still, it’s amazing world building.

  4. Susan/DC says:

    I loved Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus” but it seems to be an acquired taste, or something, because people definitely disagree on this one. Since I got a Nook from my sons, I’ve devoured Courtney Milan’s novellas and have her latest, as well as Miranda Neville’s in PB, to read. If you liked City of Women, I highly recommend Arianna Franklin’s City of Smoke (fiction) and Erik Larsen’s In the Garden of Beasts (nonfiction), both about Berlin in the buildup to WWII and both VG.

    As for the 50 books, I tried, I really did, but just couldn’t get into them. They seem to have every romance novel cliche, from the virginal heroine to the electric shock when they first touch to the mysterious billionaire who for some reason obsesses about a heroine who seems perfectly bland and ordinary. From your description, the author sounds a bit like Stephenie Meyer. I zipped through the first three Twilight books because she is such a propulsive storyteller; once on board I could not disengage until I’d finished. However, by the fourth book the flaws — flat (and at times annoying) characters, way too much ick factor, whatever — finally outweighted the story and I quit.

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