Happy reading Monday: All curled up with a good book (or three)

readingAs the big East Coast storm came through this weekend, some of us here in the U.S. were buttoned up tight with a whole lot of nowhere to go and big chunks of time on our hands. I’m not much of a TV watcher, so a whole lotta reading got done here, along with lots of tea drinking. Hope all of you in its path were OK and stayed safe and warm.

So my “lost” weekend found me working my way through a historical fantasy trilogy by Dave Duncan. I’ve finished “The Alchemist’s Apprentice” and “The Alchemist’s Code,” and am now starting “The Alchemist’s Pursuit.” I’ve never really explored the fantasy genre (at least that’s how this trio seems to be classified), but these caught my eye and I’ve been enjoying the dickens out of them so far. Duncan’s wry, witty dialogue had me laughing out loud and the mystery itself, as well as the peek into old-world Venice, kept me intrigued, reading until waaaay too late into the night. Don’t you just hate that? 😉

Late last year, I devoured the wonderful, bittersweet “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah, and the equally so “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr, tearjerkers both. It seems I often gravitate toward WW II-set books, and over the years have read more than my share of Ken Follett (especially love his “Jackdaws” – talk about some serious girl power!), Jack Higgins and Frederick Forsyth, among others.

Going farther back in time reading-wise, other historicals I’ve enjoyed reading are Brenda Rickman Vantrease’s “The Mercy Seller” and “The Heretic’s Wife,” Baroness Orczy’s “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” and of course, Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. I’ll even admit to tucking into some old-fashioned romance, such as Victoria Holt, and a few Regency romances to boot.

Taking a whole ‘nother literary direction, I have a copy of “The Martian” just in from the library, but suspect that I’ll need to be in the right frame of mind to tackle that. True, it’s fiction, but I’m not sure that being stranded on Mars qualifies as being my idea of enjoyable escapism — more like a nightmare, perhaps? But since I’ve been on a waiting list for it for what seems like ages, guess I really ought to get to it. If any of you have read it, or seen the movie, I’d love it if you would share your thoughts.

As you can tell, I’m not much for reading non-fiction. I chalk this up to to the fact that I’ve read every day as part of my job for the past 35 or so years (as a newspaper editor for most of them, and now as a proofreader), so when I’m at home I gravitate toward a bit of escapism. At any rate, I think I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of these old eyeballs over the years. 🙂

What about you? What are you reading now? Looking to read next? What are your all-time favorite books?

Image: Woman Reading on a Settee, William Worchester Churchill

  • carlsbad says:

    Just read Gloria Steinem’s My life on the road. She’s had an amazing life and done a lot of good.

  • March says:

    What a great list of books, yours and in comments! I’ve been in a bit of a rut recently… reading some random poetry. Maybe this will give me some inspiration.

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, dear! Oooh, I love me some poetry, too. Hope you all are pretty much back to normal now.

  • poodle says:

    I have so many books on my kindle that I need to get to. I just haven’t found the time. Lately in the evening I’ve been paging through my cookbooks looking for interesting recipes I haven’t tried yet or had forgotten about. It’s not quite the reading material you’re looking for but I do enjoy them. I really should start reading an actual story instead of watching the titles pile up on the kindle.

    • Ann says:

      Mmmm, Poodle, your choice of reading material sounds delicious! Found anything you adore? I know what you mean, though, those titles do start to stack up. Maybe get baking something wonderful and while it’s in the oven you can dive into one of the books? Stay warm, dear!

  • bellsanon says:

    I’ve been unfortunately busy with other projects lately, but I’m looking forward to reading the next two books of Ann Leckie’s “Imperial Radche” trilogy. Awesome space-opera-ish sci-fi, with a really well-done storytelling structure. It’s told almost entirely in first person–from the view point of a ship AI. I love it.

    Other than that, my “currently reading” list has been unusually sparse, though my “to reads” keep getting longer and longer… Mostly fantasy and sci-fi, though quite a few mystery and crime novels have been sneaking in. (As you can see, I’m a bit of a genre reader, haha.)

    And of course, everyone’s comments here have added yet more to that list!

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Bellsanon! Those Ann Leckie books sound intriguing, especially with a viewpoint like that! and look like a sure thing after I tackle “The Martian.” I really do need to explore more fantasy and sci-fi. Thanks!!

  • Sarah says:

    Oh boy Ann! Books I love even more than perfume! Every comment holds a bonanza of books to read along with yours. A list of delight to fulfill from the library.
    My favorite authors are Willa Cather and Kate Chopin. Add to that Edith Wharton, George Eliot, William Faulkner and Elizabeth Gaskell.
    I think I read Tolkien so many times in high school that I had to attend summer school for trig. & geometry regents exams.
    Having wonderful stories combined with exquisite writing is such a joy. As are scents that tell stories exquisitely on our skin (the chapters and verse of Mitsouko).
    Fantasy that have allowed me to live someplace else (besidesTolkien????) include trilogies by Philip Pullman and Deborah Harkness. Ann- some really good non fiction I’ve loved are Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin and Truman by David McCullough.
    Thank you for all the good recommendations Ann, from you and the folks that commented.

    • Ann says:

      Sarah, so glad you are enjoying our bookish Monday! Books, perfume, lipstick and tea and I am one happy camper! 🙂 Thrilled that you mentioned Edith Wharton; I should have named her front and center as I am especially partial to her work “The Buccaneers,” and the PBS miniseries of it is an old favorite. And Kate Chopin and “The Awakening” — oh, wow, a forgotten favorite. Philip Pullman I only know from his Sally Lockhart works, but will be going back to explore more. Thanks! The reading lists from you all on the Posse are going to have me haunting the library for a long, long time to come, that’s for sure.

  • rosarita313 says:

    I have been more interested in television lately after being a life long reader, which surprises me but there it is. My daughter is giving us a Roku and that is sure to make my TV addiction worse, not better! Anyway, my favorite books to read are old fiction and last month I reread Margaret Rawlings The Yearling; such lovely, descriptive writing of a time period in Florida that’s nearly impossible to imagine. It’s supposedly a children’s book which is hard to believe. And one of my all time favorite books is The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy, it’s a trip through Victorian England in the minds of different characters that is fascinating to me.
    My husband and I watched The Martian over the weekend and we both enjoyed it; it reminded me of the movie Cast Away, set on Mars, with Matt Damon instead of Tom Hanks 🙂 I want to read the book now.

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, dear, and SOLD! on “The Martian” with your comparison to “Cast Away.” 😉
      I, too, loved “The Yearling,” and even enjoyed the movie. In fact, there used to be (maybe still is?) a restaurant in Florida named for it, serving all manner of wild game: venison, turtle, alligator, etc. A boyfriend from my college days took me there one night for dinner and it was most interesting. And “The Forsyte Sage” sounds right up my street. Was it made into a movie or miniseries do you know?

      • rosarita313 says:

        Hi Ann! Checking back a couple days later. Yes, The Forsyte Saga is a Masterpiece Theater series that shows up occasionally on PBS, with Damien Lewis, Rubert Graves and many familiar British actors. It was on Netflix at one time, I highly recommend it.

      • carlsbad says:

        Watch out, that series is graphic on the subject of womens rights. One of my favorites too, tho. Named one of my kids after Jolyn.

  • Ingeborg says:

    I want to recommend When the Cypress Wispers by Yvette Manessis Corporon. It is a romantic, light read, but I found it very well written. Other than that I have started A Funny Girl by Nick Hornby and after a chapter or two it seems very promising. I read so many reports in my job, that I seldom feel like reading non-fiction, apart from the newspapers, in my spare time.

    • Ann says:

      Ingeborg, I’m right with you about not wanting to read certain things in your down time. I am liking the sound of “Cypress” as some days nothing hits the spot like a light, romantic read. Let us know how you end up liking “A Funny Girl.”

  • Danielle says:

    I too am a reader! I used to be into only Historical fiction, but I now read more non-fiction than anything. Presently reading several including When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, Waking Up by Ted Dekker, The Invitation by Tony Stoltzfus and a bit of historical fiction, Emma of Aurora, third in a series, by Jane Kirkpatrick. Very interesting, all of them. If you like historical fiction, I highly recommend Jane Kirkpatrick. The research she weaves her stories from is mind boggling and she is quite expert, never sappy in the least. I love the realism.

    • Katherine says:

      Thank you for the recommendations! I downloaded Waking Up!

      • Ann says:

        Yes, yes, to Jane Kirkpatrick, Danielle! I have heard absolute raves about her for a while now so am definitely going to remedy that. Thanks!

  • LaDona says:

    Wow…a.ladomna here…how cool! I devoured The Martian and loved every minute of it. It’s actually very funny…and scary…but funny. I started reading Gaiman with the Sandman graphic novels. Then I think it was American Gods…which I loved. And Stardust. I love the Elvis Cole novels from Robert Crais. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him twice on my radio show, and he is utterly charming. Jim Butcher is another favorite…I dearly love the Dresden Files. I read them all in a row a few years ago when my vanity overwhelmed my good sense, and I got my eyes “done.” That was fun. Other recommendations: Gillian Flynn, Denise Mina, Jo Nesbø, but they are dark-ish. The Number One Ladies Detective Agency books are incredibly sweet. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s recommendations!

    • Katherine says:

      I loved the Number One Ladies Detective Agency books. So sweet and fun.

      • Ann says:

        Thanks for weighing in, Ladona. The humor may be what gets me going on “The Martian.” Did you see the film? Great names by the way — I work with a lady named LaWanda and have an old friend from college whose name is LaResa, so I am loving the “La” names 🙂 !

        • LaDona says:

          I haven’t seen the movie yet…but I will. I just have to get over Matt Damon in that role. That’s just not what I pictured.

          • Ann says:

            I agree. When I saw his face on the movie poster, I just kind of went “Huh?” But it sounds like it’s pretty good, so we’ll see.

      • Ann says:

        Katherine, so glad you and Ladona mentioned the “Ladies.” I have been meaning to read them for ages so now I have no excuse; going to just do it — thanks!

  • LaDomna says:

    I work as a librarian so I’m surrounded by books all the time and reading is part of my job. But I definitely don’t mind, I love reading! It seems like I’m forever in the middle of 5-10 books at the same time. I read a lot of fantasy and historical fiction, some post-apocalypse and dystopias, and also some non-fiction, mostly history.

    The latest book I really adored was a historical horror, The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. The one I like most out of those I’m reading now is a post-apocalyptic novel, Into the Darkness by russian auhor Andrey Dyakov. I don’t think that one has been translated into english yet though. But it is set in the same universe as the Metro series by Dmitry Glukhovsky and I can really recommend that series to anyone who is into post-apocalypse. I also recently read The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell… great story and stunning illustrations! Another fairly recent read was Golden Son by Pierce Brown, great dystopia!

    Favorite books of all time? Ooohh… very difficult! Good Omens by Gaiman and Pratchett, Gaiman’s American Gods, The Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The Millennium Trilogy, The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, King Leopold’s Ghost, The Mummy Congress… and so on.

    • Katherine says:

      Thank you so much for the book reviews! I have very little time to read and it’s my favorite past time.

    • Ann says:

      So, so cool that you are a librarian, Ladomna! All your mentions sound great but I’m very intrigued by Gaiman’s “The Sleeper …,” and especially with lovely illustrations. Thanks!

  • HeidiC says:

    I’ve been meaning to read the Doerr — I need to get on that. I just finished Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, which was fantastic — she writes the most exquisite short stories, and these both cover familiar subjects (blue-collar rural Michigan life, female speakers) and move into interesting new areas (some flash fiction, different settings). I adore literary nonfiction — which tends to be more lyric and associative than the usual nonfiction — and I keep going back to Maggie Nelson’s Bluets (about an obsession with the color blue) and Lee Ann Roripaugh’s Dandarians (about betrayals of language, family, and culture). I also read and review a lot of poetry, so I’ve got a stack of books and chapbooks I need to get through! But I want to read Lidia Yukniavitch’s new novel The Small Backs of Children.

    • Ann says:

      Heidi, do get “Light” as soon as you can — you will love it, I’m sure! And thanks for the literary nonfiction suggestions, they do sound very interesting and might tempt me off my fiction jag. 🙂