CDVicarage (Kerry) completes the decade

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CDVicarage (Kerry) completes the decade

Modificato: Dic 31, 2020, 8:01am

I started last year's introduction by saying that apart from being a year older nothing had changed, but no-one can say that this year. Although I haven't been strongly affected by the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns and other restrictions, life is still different. My son, Andrew suffered from Covid back in March, and is still suffering the results of Long Covid. My husband, Jon, runs two rural parishes here in Cheshire and has had to learn how to run services using online technology, although we are now back to short services in the churches but with the doors and windows open. The biggest difference - now and in the future - has been the arrival of our first grandchild. Toby was due on 31st December (today) but arrived early on 16th December. Of course he is lovely, and I shall probably be involved in childcare as time goes on. Kevin is still with us; he is now 14 and a half years old but still acts kittenish from time to time.

Modificato: Feb 15, 1:42pm


1. Why Mummy’s Sloshed: The Bigger the Kids, the Bigger the Drink, 3rd January
2. Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing, 4th January
3. A Man of Some Repute, read by Michael Page, 5th January
4. Smoke and Iron, 6th January
5. Sword and Pen, 8th January
6. Lady in Waiting, 10th January
7. Wine of Honour, 12th January
8. A Question of Inheritance, read by Michael Page, 14th January
9. Business as Usual, 14th January
10. Stranger at St Bride's, 14th January
11. Ladies Can’t Climb Ladders: The Pioneering Adventures of the First Professional Women, 18th January
12. The Governess, 21st January
13. A Matter of Loyalty, read by Michael Page, 23rd January
14. The Quantum Curators and the Enemy Within, 23rd January
15. The Ordeal of the Haunted Room, read by Zara Ramm, 24th January
16. Arsenic for Tea, 24th January
17. Oliver Twist, read by Martin Jarvis, 30th January
18. The Postscript Murders, 30th January
19. The Foolish Gentlewoman, 30th January ROOT

Modificato: Feb 28, 5:15pm


20. Miss Buncle's Book, read by Patricia Gallimore, 2nd February ROOT
21. Girl, Woman, Other, 6th February
22. Blood Feud, 7th February
23. Miss Buncle Married, read by Patricia Gallimore, 8th February ROOT
24. First Class Murder, 9th February
25. The Reluctant Widow, read by Cornelius Garrett, 10th February
26. The Laying On Of Hands, 11th February ROOT
27. Father! Father! Burning Bright, 11th February ROOT
28. The Girls' Book of Priesthood, 13th February ROOT
29. The Strawberry Thief, 14th February
30. Death In Profile, 15th February ROOT
31. The Two Mrs. Abbotts, 16th February ROOT
32. The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, 17th February
33. A Brief History of Britain 1485-1660, read by Roger Davis, 19th February
34. The Tightening String, 22nd February ROOT
35. The Quiet Gentleman, read by Cornelius Garrett, 25th February
36. The Flowering Thorn, 25th February
37. A History of Britain in 21 Women, read by Jenni Murray, February 27th
38. The Five-Minute Marriage, 28th February
39. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, read by the author, 28th February

Modificato: Mar 28, 8:39am


40. Rhododendron Pie, 3rd March
41. The Enchanted April, read by Nadia May, 5th March
42. The Sword Song of Bjarni Sigurdson, 5th March
43. The White Crucifixion, 6th March
44. Argos, 7th March
45. Long Live Grover Cleveland, 7th March
46. The Gustav Sonata, 7th March
47. The Folly Under the Lake, 10th March
48. The Corinthian, read by Georgina Sutton, 11th March
49. Outcast, 12th March
50. The Letters, 13th March
51. The Kite Flyer, 14th March
52. Jolly Foul Play, 15th March
53. Heat Haze, 15th March
54. Forcibly Bewitched, 18th March
55. The Glimpses, 18th March
56. Faro's Daughter, read by Laura Paton, 25th March

Modificato: Maggio 2, 8:57am


57. Shine, Pamela! Shine!, 4th April
58. The Foundling, 5th April
59. Slightly Foxed 68: 'Ring Out, Wild Bells' Winter 2020, 5th April
60. The Executor, 8th April
61. The House Opposite, 8th April
62. The Scribbler No. 17 March 2021: A retrospective literary review, 9th April
63. The Rector, 10th April
64. A Promise of Ankles, read by David Rintoul, 11th April
65. The Diary of a Bookseller, 14th April
66. Another Time, Another Place, 15th April
67. Confessions of a Bookseller, 16th April
68. Jews Don't Count, 16th April
69. Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops, 16th April
70. Mum and Dad, 18th April
71. Alice, 19th April
72. God's House, 20th April
73. A House in the Country, 22nd April
74. Queen Lucia, read by Georgina Sutton, 24th April
75. Harlequin House, 25th April
76. The English and Their History, read by Stephen Thorne, 25th April
77. Gone Away, 25th April
78. The Cruellest Month, 26th April
79. The Shortest Journey, 27th April
80. Mrs Malory and the Festival Murder, 29th April
81. Superfluous Death, 30th April
82. Death of a Dean, 30th April

Modificato: Maggio 31, 12:32pm


83. The Dictionary of Lost Words, 2nd May
84. Death in Practice, 4th May ROOT
85. Miss Mapp, read by Georgina Sutton, 6th May
86. The Silent Killer, 6th May ROOT
87. No Cure for Death, 7th May ROOT
88. A Death in the Family, 7th May ROOT
89. A Time to Die, 8th May ROOT
90. Any Man's Death, 9th May ROOT
91. A Necessary End, 9th May ROOT
92. Death is a Word, 10th May ROOT
93. The Doctor's Family, 12th May ROOT
94. Another Time, Another Place, read by Zara Ramm, 15th May
95. Slightly Foxed 69: 'The Pram in the Hall' Spring 2021, 16th May
96. What Angels Fear, 16th May
97. When Gods Die, 18th May
98. Lucia in London, read by Georgina Sutton, 20th May
99. Why Mermaids Sing, 20th May
100. Where Serpents Sleep, 21st May
101. A Girl Called Justice: The Smugglers' Secret, 21st May
102. The Eye of Love, 24th May
103. Martha in Paris, 25th May
104. Martha, Eric and George, 27th May
105. Tales from Lindford, 31st May

Modificato: Lug 4, 1:04pm


106. The Swiss Summer, 4th June
107. What Remains of Heaven, 5th June
108. Where Shadows Dance, 5th June
109. When Maidens Mourn, 6th June
110. The Night Hawks, 7th June
111. Mapp and Lucia, read by Georgina Sutton, 10th June
112. A Pink Front Door, 11th June
113. The Chalet School Returns to the Alps, 15th June
114. The Masqueraders, 15th June ROOT
115. Bassett, 20th June
116. The Camomile Lawn, 21st June
117. Lucia's Progress, read by Georgina Sutton, 24th June
118. A Thousand Ships, 26th June

Modificato: Lug 24, 1:44pm


119. The Scribbler No. 18 July 2021: A retrospective literary review, 2nd July
120. Let's Do It: The Authorised Biography of Victoria Wood, 5th July
121. Trouble for Lucia, read by Georgina Sutton, 6th July
122. Apricot Sky, 8th July
123. Small Pleasures, 10th July
124. Learning to Swim, 11th July
125. Susan Settles Down, 12th July
126. Pied Piper, 15th July
127. The Dead of Winter, read by Sandra Duncan, 18th July
128. Love in a Cold Climate, read by Patricia Hodge, 20th July
129. Ariadne, 22nd July
130. The Stone of Chastity, 24th July

Dic 31, 2020, 8:02am


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Dic 31, 2020, 8:03am


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Dic 31, 2020, 8:04am

Now I've set up my 2021 thread I shall go and read your threads - I've been resisting the new year for as long as possible but it's here now.

Happy New Year to you all!

Dic 31, 2020, 8:08am

Best wishes for a better 2021!

Dic 31, 2020, 8:16am

>15 DianaNL: Thanks, Diana, for the wishes and for 'opening' my thread - I have yours starred and will be reading it later!

Dic 31, 2020, 9:01am

Happy New Year, Kerry! I hope you get plenty of snuggles in with your grandson and have a year filled with good reads.

Dic 31, 2020, 9:02am

Lovely pictures of your grandson!

Dic 31, 2020, 9:17am

Welcome back, Kerry.

Dic 31, 2020, 9:31am

Congrats on the grandparent gig! And just look at that lovely wee thing! Adorable.

Dic 31, 2020, 11:00am

>17 MickyFine:, >18 SandDune:, >19 PaulCranswick:, >20 scaifea: Thank you all. I expect there might be a few more pictures through the year...

Dic 31, 2020, 3:05pm

Welcome back!

Dic 31, 2020, 6:47pm

Happy reading in 2021, Kerry!

Gen 1, 1:46am

And keep up with my friends here, Kerry. Have a great 2021.

Gen 1, 8:24am

Happy New Year, Kerry!

Gen 1, 1:12pm

Happy new year!

Gen 1, 6:59pm

Welcome back! Hope you have a great year in books!

Gen 2, 8:22am

Happy New Year! A new grandbaby! What a wonderful gift to receive at the end of a difficult year.

Gen 2, 10:50am

Happy New Year, Kerry. Being a grandparent is wonderful! Enjoy. I hope your son feels better every day.

Gen 2, 12:24pm

>28 cbl_tn:, >29 BLBera: Thank you, I'm certainly enjoying it so far.

Its 2nd January and I haven't finished a book yet this year so I'll pad out my thread with a photo...

Toby and Grandad both having an after-lunch snooze.

Gen 2, 12:28pm

>30 CDVicarage: Aw, I love it! And I *love* the name Toby!

Gen 2, 3:45pm

Excellent photo, Kerry. Beautiful blanket on Toby.

Gen 10, 10:06am

Well, after a slow start I've now finished a few books:

Why Mummy’s Sloshed: The Bigger the Kids, the Bigger the Drink, finished 3rd January. The fourth, and final, part of this series. I've enjoyed them all but I think that's far enough. In each book I found there was a point when I found myself thinking that the joke had gone as far as it could but then Ms Sims would introduce a more serious viewpoint and carry the story on.

Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing, finished 4th January. A very interesting, and easy to read, collection of essays about how Robert Caro writes his biographies. I considered, but decided against, reading one of them. It was the size that put me off. This book is for my RL bookgroup, meeting next week.

A Man of Some Repute, read by Michael Page, finished 5th January. A re-read of this audiobook. I shall go on to the other two in the series.

Smoke and Iron and Sword and Pen, finished 6th and 8th January. The fourth and fifth books in The Great Library series, which I have enjoyed very much. It's not a genre that I often read, and I didn't realise, until several books through, that it is YA fiction. Not that that would have put me off but once I knew I could see that it was. Anyway I've finished two series this year already!

There'll be plenty more books finished this month, I hope, but I'll just add another photo of Toby...

Gen 10, 1:12pm

Love the snooze photo!

I'm sorry your son is contending with Long Covid, hope he starts mending soon.

Gen 11, 10:30am

happy 2021! and congratulations on your new grandchild. best wishes for your son's recovery from the aftereffects of Covid.

Gen 15, 6:07pm

Toby is a cutie!

Your reading is starting off well.

Gen 15, 8:05pm

Loving that Toby is the priority here at the moment, Kerry, although I am sure that your reading numbers will be stellar this year as always.

I looked at buying Working by Robert Caro too and I might just based on your positive review.

Have a lovely weekend.

Gen 17, 9:32am

One of the only books of Stephen King's I've wanted/meant to read is the one on writing (it's in my e-books so I have no excuses). If I was younger I would embark on the LBJ bios, but I can't see spending my reading time on them now.

When the libraries are open I tend to go look over the YA sections now and then-- the main thing about YA fantasy is less graphic sex (plenty of romance, of course) and a good deal less graphic violence as well. And, yes, perhaps simpler ethical dilemmas etcetera, but not always. As with all fantasy (especially) the writing varies from sublime to awful.

Gen 17, 9:39am

>38 sibylline: Quite early on in the series someone on LT commented that if you removed the sex scenes and the bad-language Chronicles of St Mary's would be good YA fiction. I think it's moved on a bit but I agree about the first few books.

Gen 17, 10:22am

Five more books finished this week:

Lady in waiting, finished 10th January. I started this back in November and stopped reading over Christmas. It was an extraordinary life and I veered between enjoying it and being horrified by it. It was the first book I've read that gave a sympathetic view of Princess Margaret.

Wine of Honour, finished 12th January. Another Furrowed Middlebrow book, and while I enjoyed it it is not one of my favourites. It is set immediately post WW2 and deals with the problems of returning to 'normal life' both for those who had been away from home and those who had stayed on the Home Front. It took me a while to feel any sympathy/empathy for the characters but was OK by the end.

A Question of Inheritance, read by Michael Page, finished 14th January. The second installment in my re-read.

Business as Usual, finished 14th January. Re-published recently by Handheld Press about a single woman working in a London department store - based on Selfridges - told in epistolary format - not a style I usually enjoy but this was well done and easy to read. Our heroine writes to her parents and fiancé back in Edinburgh and exchanges memos with work colleagues. The two writers completed many more books but no more like this, I think.

Stranger at St Bride's, finished 14th January. The second installment in this series but there are more to come. It's labelled 'A School Story for Grown-ups' and it is told from the angle of the staff rather than students but that's really the only thing that makes it for 'Grown-ups'. It's an easy, uncomplicated read which is just what I need at the moment.

Gen 17, 6:36pm

>38 sibylline: I found the body count, if not the detailed violence, overwhelmingly high in many YA. Also, sometimes in telling the story of an elite, the subjugation of those supporting the protagonists' class is entirely taken as given. Both of those strike me as nasty and violent.

Gen 18, 11:54am

Belated happy new year Kerry! I've found your thread!

I really want to read Business as usual. We seem to be a in a golden age for reprints of books by women.

And I have the first St Bride's book on my kindle. I shall move it up the TBR list.

Gen 18, 11:58am

>42 Sakerfalcon: Hello, Claire, how nice to see you. I have your thread starred, too.

I'd certainly recommend Business As Usual!

Gen 18, 6:24pm

>41 quondame: Good points all.

Gen 23, 12:36pm

Hi Kerry, found and starred your thread. I love the photo's of Toby (and granddad). I'm a grandmother myself and know how happy that makes you!

Going to follow you, Toby and your books.

Gen 23, 1:19pm

>45 connie53: Hello Connie, and welcome to my thread, and I hope you enjoy my reading comments!

Gen 23, 1:22pm

I'm all in and love to take some bookbullets!

Modificato: Gen 25, 4:06am

It's been another good week for finishing books:

Ladies Can’t Climb Ladders: The Pioneering Adventures of the First Professional Women, finished 18th January. While this was a good read it was a bit dry and 'listy' in places but it was a horrifying reminder about how bad things were for women so recently.

The Governess, finished 21st January. I thought this would be an interesting novel, and it partly was but I am still wary of novels about real people that are still alive, particularly people who value their privacy as much as the royal family. Not knowing what was factual and what was conjecture was also a problem.

A Matter of Loyalty, read by Michael Page, finished 23rd January. An enjoyable re-read.

The Quantum Curators and the Enemy Within, finished 23rd January. The second in a series set in an alternative earth (Alpha earth) but whose inhabitants can travel to 'our' earth (Beta earth) and back to their own. At the end of the first story a Beta was brought back to Alpha earth and this story covers the way he has to fit in to his new circumstances and, with his new friends, cope with the 'enemy within'. Until fairly recently I would have said that this was a genre that I didn't read but I love The Chronicles of St Mary's and I've just finished, and enjoyed, The Great Library series so perhaps my reading is branching out!

The Ordeal of the Haunted Room, read by Zara Ramm, finished 24th January. Audio version of the St Mary's Christmas short story, which I devoured in print on Boxing Day.

Arsenic for Tea, finished 24th January. This is the second in the Murder Most Unladylike series - seven more plus five short stories to go - and was a good and easy read. I felt that it was too good and not good enough: for a YA book it is very nuanced and the opposite of the usual simplistic/simplified view of life that is presented, but not quite good enough for an adult point of view so my mind was to-ing and fro-ing between the two outlooks. However it won't stop me from going on to the next one!

Touchstones aren't working so I will come back later to sort this post.

Modificato: Gen 31, 12:00pm

The Robert Caro book sounds quite interesting. Like many other of his readers, I m anxiously hoping he can finish the last volume of his epic biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was US President from 1963-68. I almost don't want to start the set until I know I won't be left hanging!

Toby is lovely — congrats on arranging for such a photogenic grandson. :-)

Gen 31, 8:56am

>49 rosalita: Thanks, Julia! Working made me quite interested in reading one of Caro's biographies but the length of them made me think again.

Modificato: Gen 31, 5:21pm

It's (almost) the end of the month so time to list the rest of January's books and post a round-up:

Oliver Twist, read by Martin Jarvis, finished 30th January. This has been my around the house audiobook for about two months now. I read this in print many years ago but thought I remembered the plot pretty well - I was wrong. I've seen several TV or film adaptations and the musical and they all tinkered with the plot and characters. Of course, the one I remember best is Oliver!, the musical and the book is so dark and bleak it is amazing to think that a jolly musical is based on it. For modern day readers the anti-Semitism is (I hope) a problem, and the idea that Oliver's character is formed because he is well-bred, even though he is brought up in a workhouse with no affection, kindness or education.

The Postscript Murders, finished 30th January. The second in Elly Griffiths's new series and it was a jolly good read. Even though it deals with murder it is quite light-hearted - certainly more so than the Ruth Galloway series.

The Foolish Gentlewoman, finished 30th January. Although I was three-quarters of the way through this I broke off to read The Postscript Murders, but I was easily able to pick it up again. Many of Margery Sharp's novels are being re-published in the Dean Street Press Furrowed Middlebrow range and I'm looking forward to reading many more.

Gen 31, 9:25am

After what felt like a slow start I finished nineteen books in January: no paper books, fourteen ebooks and five audiobooks. Fourteen were new to me (but no ROOT successes) and the other five (all the audiobooks) were re-reads.

I'm part-way through several long non-fiction books, and have been for some months, but I don't feel there's any hurry about them and dip in to them from time to time. I shall continue my way through the Wells & Wong: Murder Most Unladylike series and I must read (or abandon) and review my outstanding Early Review books; unfortunately none of them particularly appeals to me at the moment.

Modificato: Gen 31, 5:45pm

>51 CDVicarage: At first seeing the title "Olive Twist" I thought this was one of those "homage/sendup" novels based on classic literature (like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) but reading your review it sounds like you read the Dickens original?

I am anxiously awaiting the US publication of the Elly Griffiths book. Not until March, I think.

Gen 31, 5:24pm

>53 rosalita: I've edited it now but it still picked up a touchstone! and, yes, it was the original version.

I'm now waiting for the next in the Ruth Galloway series.

Gen 31, 5:31pm

Looks like you had a productive reading month, Kerry!

Gen 31, 5:37pm

>55 ronincats: Thanks, Roni, yes I did in the end!

Gen 31, 5:37pm

>55 ronincats: Thanks, Roni, yes, I did in the end.

Gen 31, 5:45pm

>54 CDVicarage: Yes, the fact that it had a functioning touchstone was what really confused me!

Feb 3, 6:23am

>48 CDVicarage: I too am enjoying the Murder most unladylike series. It definitely becomes stronger as the series progresses - not that the early books are bad at all! I like the way the friendship between Daisy and Hazel develops.

Feb 6, 11:17pm

Wishing you a lovely weekend, Kerry.

How is your son coping with the continued after effects of COVID by the way?

Feb 6, 11:46pm

I'm late to the party, Kerry, but I congratulate you on the arrival of darling Toby. He's beautiful!

I'm off to see about the Caro *Working*. I think that his LBJs are the best biographies the best I've ever read. I'm waiting anxiously for the last one. I learned more about American politics from them than I ever expected to know. LBJ himself is a fascinating character, clearly a sociopath, but a sociopath with a determination to do something for poor folks. How he arrived at that place is an amazing story, and I can't recommend these books strongly enough.

I'm sorry that your son is a COVID long-hauler. I hope that he is finally beginning to feel better.

Feb 7, 10:21am

>60 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. Andrew is fairly well at the moment - he's had lots of tests and may get some physiotherapy soon - but he is not as he was before Covid and he finds it very frustrating that he can't go running or ride his bike as he used to.

>61 LizzieD: Thanks, Peggy, Toby is a joy! I am still interested in Caro's biographies but reluctant to commit myself to so much reading!

Feb 7, 10:41am

Three books finished this week:

Miss Buncle's Book, read by Patricia Gallimore, finished 2nd February. I have read this in print before and enjoyed this reading. As British LTers may know the reader plays Pat Archer, in the long running radio series, and that was all I could hear to start with but she is very good at different voices so I soon forgot that. In some places she sounded more like June Spencer, who plays her mother-in-law, Peggy Archer, so it was sometimes difficult to remember what I was listening to!

Girl, Woman, Other, finished 6th February. Although I had a copy and intended to read it sometime this was read now for my RL Book Group meeting next Wednesday. I was horrified at the lack of punctuation when I opened the book but it proved quite easy to read from that point of view. I'm not quite sure what I think of it yet. I think I will rate it three stars but that is a definite average as I felt parts of it deserved five stars and parts one star. I listened to a sample of the audio version and I couldn't tell from that that the punctuation was abnormal in any way but many of the reviews (on Audible) rated the performance as very poor - many mispronunciations. One of our group members always reads the audio version of our books so that may contribute to the discussion on Wednesday. I hope I'll have decided what I think by then!

Blood Feud, finished 7th February. I know what I think about this one - it was marvellous. I have never read a Rosemary Sutcliff book that I wasn't impressed by and I'm glad that I still have so many left to read.

Feb 8, 9:36am

Here's a Sutcliffe I haven't read! And, going to look at my library holdings here, I see I have never put in the ones I read long ago. But what fun it would be to listen to those, I think, I might go see whether they're at Audible!

I might try the Elly G's new series soon too -- I am, alas, closing in on St. Mary's . . .

Feb 10, 6:34am

>63 CDVicarage: I listened to Girl, Woman, Other on audio and hated the performance. The parts set in London were OK (but with several strange pronunciations as you say) but the parts set in the North-East were abysmal. It’s such a characteristic accent, and the reader just didn’t convey it at all, and also didn’t convey the huge differences in accent that there would have been based on class either.

Feb 10, 6:43am

>65 SandDune: The sample I heard was fine and the reader had a lovely voice but it was from the beginning section. I do like audiobooks but there are still certain books that I definitely prefer in print, and of course it has to be the right reader. I listened to a good reading of The Secret Garden last year; the reader was American but did a very good English accent, even the Yorkshire but she fell down on one word - de-TAILS instead of DE-tails - and it ruined the rest of the book for me!

Feb 10, 6:44am

>64 sibylline: The next one is due out in April...

Modificato: Feb 14, 11:47am

Six titles finished this week, although some were quite short:

Miss Buncle Married, read by Patricia Gallimore, finished 8th February. Another excellent reading of a good story but I think it would have been better in print. The voices used make the story verge on "twee". I shall read the next one in print.

First Class Murder, finished 9th February. Third in the Wells & Wong: Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries and it takes place on the Orient Express with plenty of references to Murder on the Orient Express which, according to the story, was recently published. Not a difficult mystery to solve but an interesting story.

The Reluctant Widow, read by Cornelius Garrett, finished 10th February. A many times re-read. I think this book is one of my top three Georgette Heyers.

The Laying on of Hands and Father! Father! Burning Bright, finished 11th February. Two novellas and I think it would have been better to have read them on separate occasions but anything by Alan Bennett is good.

The Girls' Book of Priesthood, finished 13th February. An interesting story covering a year in the life (with flashbacks) of a female deacon - not a common subject for a novel - which interested me since I am a vicar's wife and am therefore familiar with the set-up. It was well done (and well-written) although rather more dramatic than 'real life' is likely to be. Though that's the case for most, if not all novels!

Feb 16, 2:33pm

>68 CDVicarage: Some very interesting reads!

Feb 17, 7:57am

>69 thornton37814: Thanks, Lori, yes I feel I've got into a reading rhythm after a poor start to the year.

Modificato: Feb 21, 9:24am

Five titles finished (or abandoned) this week:

The Strawberry Thief, finished 14th February. Another enjoyable read in the Chocolat series; surely the final book?

Death in Profile, finished 15th February. This is the book that might really be regarded as abandoned. I got about a third of the way through and then couldn't be bothered anymore but I did scan through to see who and how dunnit. It was quite a disappointment as I have enjoyed other books by this author - he's written some good Mapp & Lucia sequels but this was very heavy and over-explained. Still at least it means it's another series that I don't have to continue!

The Two Mrs Abbotts, finished 16th February. The third in the Miss Buncle series and definitely better in print than in audio. There is a fourth book but it hardly concerns Miss Buncle (or Mrs Abbott as she now is) so I don't know if I will search it out at the moment.

The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, finished 17th February. An interesting story: there are two linked (but we don't quite know how) storylines - a contemporary one concerning two sisters and their mother, now developing dementia, and a historical one concerning a schoolteacher on the Isle of Arran, born 1911, who lives well into her 90s. The two sets of character don't meet and the story is told through Elizabeth's (non-chronological) memoir. I felt it went on for too long and the stories are wound up too conveniently, but the descriptions of the place are lovely.

A Brief History of Britain 1485-1660, read by Roger Davis, finished 19th February. Although this was an excellent reading I have reached the conclusion that non-fiction does not suit an audio format - for me. I would happily read this again in print as it told the history clearly and discussed the changes in historical viewpoints over recent years.

Feb 22, 3:02am

>71 CDVicarage: I've read the Harris book too and likes but not loved it.

Modificato: Feb 23, 8:37am

I'm somewhat late to the party but congratulations, grandma!

>30 CDVicarage: That brings back memories. I have one (or a few) of my dad with infant grandson securely snuggled on his ample tummy and both sound asleep. He would sometimes take over when I got tired of walking up and down trying to get the baby to sleep.

>38 sibylline: That's why I like YA.

>41 quondame: Unfortunately, also true.

>71 CDVicarage: With history-type books (not that I read many), I find I need to flip back and forth to check details like names, places, dates and so on. Plus, how do audio books show maps and genealogy charts?

I've only read listened to a couple of audio books; the narrator of the first one didn't work for me which has made me wary about trying more - though the second was okay. I did find myself wondering, occasionally, if I would have 'heard' it differently in my head if I had read it.

Feb 25, 6:19am

>73 humouress: Thanks, Nina, we are able to be in a bubble with Clare, Richard and Toby so we see quite a lot of them. Toby has started smiling now.

So far narration (if I like the reader) has always added to fiction books, (it certainly helped me get through Dickens!) but I have just found a few books that were better in print, even though the narrator was excellent. I listened to two of the Miss Buncle books but found the reading was too 'twee' so went back to print for the third. Expressive reading for non-fiction is a bit of a waste and I find I can't concentrate enough for the facts to go in.

Feb 28, 9:38am

The end of February - time for a final list and the round-up:

The Tightening String, finished 22nd February. I'm in two minds about this book: it's very dated and very 'classist' and probably was when it was first published (in 1958) but it covered a place and period of WW2 that is not very often mentioned, so very interesting from that point of view. The writing was rather odd - it felt as though I was reading non-fiction for parts of it - and I didn't warm to any of the characters or the plot until quite a good way through. But it was a decent enough book and worth reading.

The Quiet Gentleman, read by Cornelius Garrett, finished 25th February. Not in my top rank Heyer favourites but this is a good reading, with an unusual heroine and a good plot, so worth the re-read.

The Flowering Thorn, finished 25th February. Although I've liked and enjoyed all the Margery Sharp novels I've read they have all started unpromisingly. This one took a while to get going but once it did I enjoyed it very much, and I am looking forward to reading all the new Furrowed Middlebrow titles just published.

A History of Britain in 21 Women, read by the author, finished 27th February. Having, earlier in this thread, declared that I don't like non-fiction audiobooks I'm amazed to find myself reading this one, especially as I don't like Jenni Murray's verbal/talking style to the extent of giving up listening to Woman's Hour some time ago. However I did read it, and mostly enjoyed it. Irritating as Jenni Murray's portentous emphases and gaps are, the reading was clear and easy to follow, the 21 women were (on the whole) interesting. There is a companion book about 21 women from the rest of the world and I don't rule that out reading that one too.

The Five-Minute Marriage, finished 28th February. An enjoyable Regency romance with a nicely convoluted plot. It was an easy, pleasant read but it wasn't Georgette Heyer, but it was probably better than my least favourite Heyers.

Feb 28, 9:47am

In February I finished (or DNF) nineteen titles: one paper book, twelve ebooks and six audiobooks. Eight ROOT successes of the sixteen new-to-me titles and only three re-reads. Kobo has been offering bonus loyalty points for books finished in February so that has guided my reading choices - eleven of my ebooks were recent (and not so recent) Kobo purchases - and it seemed as good a way of choosing what to read as any!

Mar 2, 6:54am

>75 CDVicarage: I've only recently started to read Margery Sharp but am really enjoying her books so far. Of the new reissues I've only read Rhododendron pie but can highly recommend it.

Mar 2, 7:16am

>77 Sakerfalcon: I'm reading that one now!

Mar 2, 7:41am

Questo utente è stato eliminato perché considerato spam.

Mar 3, 1:00am

>75 CDVicarage: Oh, Joan Aiken, as in Wolves of Willoughby Chase. I was thinking Jane Aiken Hodge, her sister, who wrote more romance of the two.

Modificato: Mar 18, 1:47pm

Although I've finished seven titles this week I haven't read seven books: several were skimmed only.

Why be happy when you could be normal?, read by the author, finished 28th February. This should really have gone in last week's list but I finished it in the evening after I'd done my posting so it's carried over to March's list. It was an excellent reading about a bizarre and dreadful childhood, but well written and 'explained'. It's the non-fiction version of Oranges are not the only fruit.

Rhododendron Pie, finished 3rd March. Another lovely Furrowed Middlebrow title, astonishingly this was Margery Sharp's first novel.

The Enchanted April, read by Nadia May, finished 5th March. This was a re-read/listen and I didn't enjoy it as much as before as I had forgotten how selfish and unpleasant some of the characters were to start with, although all is resolved in a happy ending.

The Sword Song of Bjarni Sigurdson, finished 5th March. I have a book group book to read by 10th March and I'm finding it hard work so I'm easily distracted by other books. This was found unfinished after Rosemary Sutcliff's death and was edited and finished by her godson and a friend, Jill Black. They did a good job but the whole is not quite as 'finished' as her stories usually are, but it is still worth reading.

The White Crucifixion, Argos, Long Live Grover Cleveland, finished (or DNF'd) 6th and 7th March. I cannot really claim to have read these three books, merely skimmed through after trying the first chapters. They are all Early Review copies (dating back several years). In all cases they were physically difficult to read beacause they were supplied as pdfs rather than formatted ebooks. The first was a fictional biography of Marc Chagall, whose work I don't know well enough to appreciate his life story. The second was a child/YA's story about Odysseus's dog, told from the dog's point of view. I thought that was a nice idea, but most of it was told in the present tense - a style I dislike - and the author seemed to bend reality when he wanted - a frivolous criticism of fantasy writing, I know, but a fantasy world should still be consistent. The third seemed more promising but so out of my experience - it's set in a New England college during the 70s and 80s - that I felt I was missing all the cultural references and jokes.

I'm getting on with my bookgroup book - The Gustav Sonata - perhaps helped by reading some books I enjoyed even less!

Mar 14, 10:44am

This week's finished titles:

The Gustav Sonata, finished 7th March. I found this very disappointing, I had expected and wanted to like it. I took two goes to read as the beginning chapters were so sad and miserable it was a struggle to continue.The story was too 'bitty' for me. Although I like books where you have to work things out for yourself rather than being told every little detail this went to far the other way and I found I didn't care what went in the gaps. Most of the rest of the group liked it though.

The Folly Under the Lake, finished 10th March. Another Early Review title. This was pretty dreadful - but I rather enjoyed it! The dialogue was clunky with many anachronistic (it's set in the 1930s) terms. The plotting was poor. The setting was over-described and more than unrealistic - the outdoor features were probably impossible. The characters were two-dimensional. There was too much 'telling' and not enough 'showing'. However, as I said, it was quite a fun read, and, as there are now more in the series, others must agree with me!

The Corinthian, read by Georgina Sutton, finished 11th March. A many times re-read.

Outcast, finished 12th March. I'm working my way through all the Rosemary Sutcliff books that I have and I've liked them all so far - including this one!

The Letters by Edith Wharton, finished 13th March. I bought a pack (20 or 25) of these Phoenix 60p small paperbacks many years ago and I haven't read many of them yet so I've decided to try and read one a day and then take them to a charity shop. This was a good read.

The Kite Flyer, finished 14th March. This little book contained three short stories: as well as the title story, there was 'The Shooting Season' and 'Words with Marigold'. All were good but very sad, even depressing, which is not what I want at the moment.

Mar 15, 9:26am

Looks like you've had some varied reads lately.

Mar 17, 1:23pm

>82 CDVicarage: nice job, Kerry. I wonder why you read another Rose Tremain book if the first book was so disappointing.

Mar 17, 3:28pm

>84 connie53: Yes, it does seem perverse! I'm trying to read my way through these little paperbacks (so that I can then send them to the charity shop) at the rate of one a day. I don't choose but just take the top one on the pile. I was quite hopeful for the Rose Tremain one as one of the points that came up in our book group discussion was that all of her books are quite different from each other. And they were, but still rather depressing...

Mar 17, 6:25pm

>82 CDVicarage: I’ve read several Rose Tremain books and I think The Gustav Sonata is the weakest. My favourite is Restoration which is quite an old one.

Mar 17, 6:52pm

>86 SandDune: Yes, I've read that one - a long time ago- and I enjoyed it.

Mar 18, 1:09pm

Four weeks today the next Chronicles of St Mary's title will be published - Another Time, Another Place - so I have started a swift re-read of the series so that I'm ready for it.

Mar 21, 11:07am

This week's reading:

Jolly Foul Play, finished 15th March. Fourth in the Wells & Wong series and very good. The author considers feelings as much as facts/actions more than I would expect in a YA story.

Heat Haze, Forcibly Bewitched & The Glimpses, finished 15th-18th March. More mini books with one or more short stories in each one. I only really enjoyed The Glimpses. I wonder why I am reading these books as I don't particularly like short stories, but having kept them in my bookshelves all this time - including three house moves - I can't bring myself to dispose of them without at least trying them!

As you can see, I haven't apparently read very much this week, but, as I mentioned above, I am re-reading The Chronicles of St Mary's ready for the new book next month. I am not adding them to my 'Books Read' listing as I am not reading them properly but just reading the bits I like and skimming through other bits - I just want to remind myself of the stories, characters etc. However, even though I have read them all before (some of them many, many times) I am still finding bits I had forgotten or hadn't noticed before.

Modificato: Mar 24, 9:27am

Lots of books to load onto the WL -- I was a huge fan of the Miss Bianca books back in the day and my mother had some of Sharp's grown up novels and I remember (reading one or two in my teens) liking them. The Aiken looks fun, I hope I can find it on Audible.

Good idea to revisit St. Mary's!

I might seek out the Grover Cleveland just to see.

Mar 28, 8:49am

I know it looks as though I haven't read much this week but I'm reading through Chronicles of St Mary's (including short stories) ready for the new book, which will be published on 14th April. As I've read them many times before I'm skimming over any bits that I don't like or don't need, so I'm not listing them as 'proper' reads.

Faro's Daughter, read by Laura Paton, finished 25th March. This was read/listened to merely for the completist in me. I have read it in print (in 2014) but it's not one of my favourite Heyers. This reading was well done - good diction and well-differentiated characters - but it wasn't the right voice for a Regency story, somehow.

I have some audiobooks on the go but my print reading is only St Mary's. I'm on to the later books - And the Rest Is History at the moment - so I'm slowing down as I haven't read these so often.

Modificato: Apr 14, 6:05pm

Time for the March round-up:

Although I 'finished' seventeen titles this month, it's not nearly as impressive as it sounds. Many of them were really only short stories and others were skimmed or DNF'd. However there are also some titles finished but not included in my list: I'm re-reading Chronicles of St Mary's ready for the new book on 15th April and since I'm whizzing through some of them, having read them many times before, to remind myself of the plot, I'm not counting them as proper reads.

I finished five (mini) paper books, nine ebooks and three audiobooks. Fifteen were new to me and only two (both audiobooks) were re-reads.

I have a book for my book group - The Foundling - to finish by next Wednesday but it's not too long so should be easy enough.

Apr 4, 10:34am

I haven't finished anything this last week (apart from the Chronicles of St Mary's) but I am currently reading The Foundling for my book group on Wednesday, and several audio books Hard Times, A Promise of Ankles and The English and Their History, so I hope to have something to report next week.

Apr 11, 11:46am

Eight titles finished this week, although three were short stories:

Shine, Pamela! Shine!, finished 4th April. A good (everything written by Kate Atkinson is good) short story.

The Foundling, finished 5th April. This was my book group book for this month. None of us liked it very much - even the person who chose it. I already had it in my TBR pile and so was pleased at the choice - until I read it. From the blurb I had expected that it would be more about the Foundling Hospital but that only featured in the first third (?) and the rest was a rushed and unlikely (too many coincidences) account of the life of the foundling in question and the dramatic change (cure) in the mental health of one of her mothers. The set-up was good, particularly the descriptions of the dreadful poverty suffered by several of the characters.

Slightly Foxed 68: 'Ring Out, Wild Bells' Winter 2020, finished 5th April. Not such a good issue (for me) but still good.

The Executor, finished 8th April. The first part of Mrs Oliphant's Chronicles of Carlingford, which is the current set of books in the Virago chronological read-through, organised by Lyzard. This was a very short story, which plunges straight in with no introduction and leaves us with very little idea of what will happen in the future! I found one review which described it as "not a short story but a plot summary".

The House Opposite, finished 8th April. An excellent story, set during the blitz of 1940, about two families who live opposite each other in a London suburb. Part of the Dean Street press Furrowed Middlebrow range.

The Scribbler No. 17 March 2021: A retrospective literary review, finished 9th April. Reviews of novels featuring ballet, tennis and hotels; a literary trail around Aldeburgh and a short story by E. M. Delafield.

The Rector, finished 10th April. The second in the Chronicles of Carlingford, another short story. The new Rector arrives and goes away again.

A Promise of Ankles, read by David Rintoul, finished 11th April. The fourteenth book in the 44 Scotland Street series and they are still good. I hope things look up for Stuart in the next one.

Modificato: Apr 11, 12:13pm

>94 CDVicarage: I'm not sure why but I can't see any of your pictures. Skimming up a little, I can see a few but the majority seem to be missing. Are you using secure (https) sources and not http? Are they jpegs?

Apr 11, 12:18pm

>95 humouress: I think it's a site problem. Pictures were very slow to appear while I was writing the post and I couldn't see some of my own!

Apr 11, 12:19pm

>96 CDVicarage: Oh, you're right. They've suddenly appeared now. :0)

Apr 17, 5:47am

Got to find the Kate Atkinson book. Not translated or published here yet, if that ever happens at all.

Apr 17, 7:31am

>98 connie53: It's part of a collection of stories: Out of Line, All published by Amazon with matching audio versions.

Apr 18, 10:35am

Six books finished this week:

The Diary of a Bookseller, finished 14th April. An enjoyable, amusing and easy read. I expect a lot of us here on LT have fantasised about running a bookshop. This book - even allowing for exaggeration for comic effect - will show you why you wouldn't really like it.

Another Time, Another Place, finished 15th April. I speed-read this on publication day to find out what happened and I shall listen to the audio version at my leisure. First reaction: while I don't think it will be one of my favourites, it's good.

Confessions of a Bookseller, finished 16th April. More of the same from the Wigtown bookshop.

Jews Don't Count, finished 16th April. While I agreed with what Mr Baddiel said in this book, I also found myself thinking that he was making a mountain out of a molehill, which was his point.

Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops, finished 16th April. Possibly barrel-scraping now but it was still a quick and easy read.

Mum and Dad, finished 18th April. I have read most of Joanna Trollope's novels and a couple I would include in my Favourite Novels list but as time goes on I am less impressed by them. I don't know if it because I have changed (grown older) or if the books have. This was pleasant enough but not worth much effort.

Apr 24, 9:51am

I must get those "Bookseller" books, Kerry. I am one of those fantasising about their own bookshop indeed.

Have a great weekend.

Apr 24, 10:54am

Won't be able to resist reading the second Blythell!

Apr 25, 9:28am

>101 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. It does feel as though life is opening up a bit: it's been (fairly) warm and sunny and we're allowed to meet more people outside so life is brighter.

Modificato: Apr 25, 11:07am

Four titles finished this week:

Alice, finished 19th April. More Furrowed Middlebrow; an easy and, in places, amusing read but I didn't quite connect with it.

God's House, finished 20th April. a pair of short stories.

A House in the Country, finished 22nd April. More Furrowed Middlebrow, not a novel but an account of post WW2 life in a shared manor house in Kent. Enjoyable - some parts sound idyllic but there are plenty of problems and hardships.

Queen Lucia, read by Georgina Sutton, finished 24th April. A new audio edition of all E. F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia novels. They are issued in two collections but I have catalogued each one separately. I had versions of Queen Lucia and Miss Mapp and an abridged Mapp and Lucia so I am very pleased to have a full audio set, and read by one of my favourite narrators.

Harlequin House, finished 25th April. Yet more Furrowed Middlebrow and a lovely light read.

Apr 25, 11:08am

And that's my first (I hope) 75 this year and a lovely one to finish on!

Apr 25, 11:25am

>104 CDVicarage: Congratulations on reaching 75, Kerry!

Apr 25, 12:46pm

Congratulations on 75, Kerry! You and Anita are speeding through the books.

Apr 25, 2:24pm


Apr 26, 11:51am

Felicitations on reaching the magic number, Kerry!

Maggio 1, 5:19am

Adding my congratulations on passing 75, Kerry.

Maggio 1, 7:59am

>106 FAMeulstee:, >107 humouress:, >108 drneutron:, >109 MickyFine:, >110 PaulCranswick: Thank you all. Although I never have a problem passing the magic number, it's still an encouraging marker when I do

Maggio 1, 6:46pm

>105 CDVicarage: Congratulations!

Maggio 1, 7:01pm

>112 quondame: thanks, Susan!

Modificato: Maggio 2, 9:27am

Time to wind up the month:

The English and Their History, read by Stephen Thorne, stopped reading 25th April. I have been listening to this, on and off, for some time now and decided that I had heard enough. The audiobook is forty five and a half hours long. I managed fifteen hours! It seemed unbalanced: in those fifteen hours we went from about 600CE to William and Mary, which leaves thirty hours for the next 300 odd years. The reading is good but, as I have mentioned above, Non-fiction is better in print (for me). However I will have to listen to any I have already bought!

Mrs Malory Investigates, The Cruellest Month, The Shortest Journey, Mrs Malory and the Festival Murder, Superfluous Death and Death of a Dean, finished 25th to 30th April. I've got rather carried away with this series. I have some of the later entries but I had to start with the first one of course and enjoyed it so much I was happy to go on in order. Hazel Holt was the friend and literary executor of Barbara Pym, which was a point in her favour for me. She also wrote an epistolary novel - My Dear Charlotte - which I very much liked despite not liking that style in general, and this series is of better quality than many similar 'whodunnits'. Although there is a certain amount of character and situation development over time, I think that having established the recurring characters they could now be read in any order without many problems - not that I want to but I'm hesitating over buying more when I have some unread already in my library.

Maggio 2, 9:40am

April was a very productive reading month as far as numbers go. I finished (or didn't finish) twenty six titles: three paper books, twenty ebooks and three audiobooks. This is not as impressive as it first seems as four titles were novellas or short stories and, apart from The English and Their History, which is over 1,000 pages in print (and I didn't read it all), the rest were normal sized books.

I am currently trying to finish my book group book - The Dictionary of Lost Words - for Wednesday evening, and I'm finding it quite hard going. I'm just over a third of the way through - it's 432 pages in print - and, unless something really dramatic/complicated happens soon I think it is too long. That's part of the reason I'm reading so well through the Mrs Malory books - any distraction!

Maggio 3, 8:07am

Congrats on reaching, 75, Kerry.

Maggio 7, 7:05am

>116 connie53: Thanks, Connie.

I did finish The Dictionary of Lost words in good time for the meeting. We were mostly in agreement about it - quite good but could have been better! Things did change after the one third mark and it became easier and more interesting to read, but it still felt too long to me. Our main criticism was that it was 'bitty'. I felt that it was obviously a first novel - the author had lots of ideas and had done plenty of research - and she used it all! I think a more experienced writer would have limited her main themes, and produced a shorter, more concentrated (on fewer points) novel.

This has been a very active week for me (so far) compared with the way life has been recently. Clare and Richard bought a new (to them) car and I went with them to Bolton to fetch it on Wednesday. Richard had to deliver a funeral order of service (he's a printer, specializing in church stationery) on the way and, as we were out over lunchtime, we bought Macdonalds burgers. This may be amazing but it is the first Macdonalds I have ever had!

Thursday was even more busy - I went out three times: once for my second vaccination jab (I'm team Pfizer), once to fetch my new glasses (ones for working at a screen) and once to vote. This morning I had my monthly round-up from Google, which told me that I went out eight times, to four different 'cities' in April, and I've nearly matched that in a week in May!

Maggio 8, 3:51am

It's nice to do more things 'out', Kerry. I'm on team Pfizer too. I had my first shot a week ago and will get my second one in the beginning of June. I hope to be more active too after that.

Good to hear your comment on the Williams book. And maybe your group is right about the 'could have been better when it was more concentrated' thing.

Maggio 8, 3:00pm

Another #teamPfizer here. I got my second shot on Wednesday and had absolutely no side effects, happily. Though now of course I'm wondering if that means it didn't work. (I know that's ridiculous, it's just how my mind works sometimes.)

Maggio 8, 5:28pm

>119 rosalita: I had a slightly sore arm - but nowhere near as much as from the first one - but that's all.

Maggio 10, 5:34am

I had Pfizer shots as well; oddly, my first one was fine but with my second, my arm was sore and so ITCHY for a week. Could have been also due to the expertise of the people giving it; the first one was quick and easy, the second one was slower and a bit painful.

Modificato: Maggio 10, 12:30pm

I didn't add my books read this week yesterday because I thought I was just about to finish one, but I didn't so here it is today:

The Dictionary of Lost Words, finished 2nd May. This was my Book Group book and I've put my comments above.

Miss Mapp, read by Georgina Sutton, finished 6th May. The next book in the Mapp & Lucia series. I've read this in print many times and I did have another audio version but I like this narrator very much so this is going to be my favourite version.

Death in Practice, The Silent Killer, No Cure for Death, A Death in the Family, A Time to Die, Any Man's Death, A Necessary End and Death is a Word, finished 4th to 10th May. This series really ran away with me. Although there are twenty two books in total, the middle seven are not available in ebook format. The first six that I read are American editions and the final eight are British editions. Perhap they will join up at some stage. Even though I don't like to do it, as long as you read the first two or three in order and establish the set-up and characters the rest can be read in any order. The main signifier of time-passing is the age of the granddaughter! I have liked the whole series, although the quality has evened out - the case with all long series, I think - there is usually some ethical dilemma and I like the background information about Sheila's and her friends' lives. It is set in an area I know slightly, having had some holidays there (I think Taviscombe is based on Minehead) which is also an attraction. I don't share Mrs Malory's political and cultural outlook but I think she is someone that I could get on with.

Maggio 16, 12:20pm

Only three titles finished this week, but I'm reading several more:

The Doctor's Family, finished 12th May. The first two stories in the Chronicles of Carlingford were just that - short stories - this one is termed a novella - just under 160 pages in my Virago edition - so a bit more to it. I don't feel quite part of Carlingford yet but the next books are all longer so that should change.

Another Time, Another Place, read by Zara Ramm, finished 15th May. I read this in print on publication day and have been listening more slowly to the audio version. There are some very sad events and it ends - quite suddenly - on a cliffhanger, but I have changed my opinion of some bits. I shall be reading the whole series again (and again) so things may become clearer.

Slightly Foxed 69: 'The Pram in the Hall' Spring 2021, finished 16th May. Another lovely collection of literary articles, including one about Hazel Holt whose Sheila Malory novels I have just read.

Maggio 16, 12:31pm

My Currently Reading collection contains twenty seven books but I'm not actually reading them all. My main ones are:

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words (1000 BCE – 1492), The Silk Roads: A New History of the World and The Story of Egypt in non-fiction. These are all large tomes and have been going for more than a year (or three in some cases).

The Venetian Affair, What Angels Fear and Hedy's War in print fiction

The End of the Affair, Hard Times, and Lucia in London on audio, although I've just re-started Timothy West's reading of The Warden as well.

It's probably time some books are finished or abandoned, and removed from the collection.

Maggio 16, 1:06pm

Kerry, I started dipping into lots of short story collections and listed them all as currently reading back in 2012. Some time in 2019, I think, I decided to actually take one at a time and read it. Between March and September last year I kept going days without doing any reading at all and was only finishing a book a month, but I've now read all but two of those collections properly, plus the 3 crime novels contained in a paperback crime omnibus. I've restarted all these books from the beginning and not tried to work out what I might or might not have read.

I also have loads of hefty history volumes which look like challenging but rewarding reading, some that I own, in print or Kindle editions and some that I have borrowed from the library. I have decided to tackle those one at a time - they're excellent, but I think I get more out of them by just dealing with x pages or a chapter at a time over however long it takes, and also reading some fiction and memoirs. If you do get to read The Silk Roads I'd be interested to hear what you think as I think it's another book in my huge non fiction TBR (luckily the virtual bit as it's a Kindle book!)

Maggio 17, 8:22am

>124 CDVicarage: I'm always drawn to the fiction books and neglect non-fiction which I enjoy very much and need to be reading if left to my own devices. I stumbled upon the chapter-a-day plan which works well for me with non-fiction when I began incorporating some religious devotional reading into my daily quiet time. With the religious material, I'm reading the Bible daily, a daily devotional book, and then a chapter a day in another book.

When it comes to history/social history, I do allow myself to go beyond that chapter-a-day if I want to do so, but I look at it as a minimum. I sometimes take a day or two break as I select the next read. My next one this time is being determined by an ARC I need to review for GoodReads. I pulled it out and am ready to begin tackling it this weekend. It has 12 chapters so I'll finish in less than two weeks even without combining chapters. I'll need to read the June one for our online book club, but I'll need to check out a library copy of it. It doesn't seem to be very popular because it's been on the shelf every time I've looked at it. Hoping it holds out for when I make it to the library this week. I'll need to figure out when I need to begin that one to complete it before our meeting so I may be reading two books at a time briefly if I don't combine chapters.

As far as fiction, I usually have one audiobook and one or two print ones of differing genres. My current audio book is this month's Donna Leon book for the group read. I just completed an Amish fiction book which was a quick read. I'm reading a mystery set it Italy now. I will probably read a Francis Breeding book for this month's "Golden Age" theme in the MysteryKit after that. Then I'll probably tackle a book of historical fiction although I may read that one at the same time as the mysteries, depending on how engaging the others are. At the moment, I'm loving the mystery. I might have stayed up longer reading it but I knew my cats were right in insisting I go to bed with them.

Maggio 17, 1:32pm

>125 elkiedee:, >126 thornton37814: I'm happy to read non-fiction in bits - a chapter or two at a time (depending on the length) and then left for a while - but if I can do that with fiction it usually means that I don't much care for it and it will eventually be skim-finished or abandoned.

Although my reading didn't fall off in terms of amount during lockdown, what I wanted to read did change. I couldn't really cope with anything 'challenging' but the Dean Street Press Furrowed Middlbrow series has been wonderful for me - light and often humourous but serious at the same time!

Maggio 17, 1:50pm

>127 CDVicarage: If fiction isn't working, I usually abandon it. I did make an exception with one book recently because it was an ARC and my reading was a bit off at the time. When I got back into the book, I decided it was the book not working rather than my reading. I did finish it for the review, but I gave it a low rating.

Maggio 18, 10:02am

Happy birthday, Kerry!

Maggio 18, 12:05pm

Ooh, happy birthday!

Maggio 18, 6:00pm

I hope you had a good birthday, Kerry!

Maggio 21, 2:31pm

Belated happy birthday!

Maggio 23, 9:51am

>129 PaulCranswick:, >130 elkiedee:, >131 rosalita:, >132 humouress: Thank you for your kind greetings! I never expect them on LT as our birthdays are not part of the information on our accounts, but, of course, some of you see me on other social media.

Modificato: Lug 18, 5:21am

A good reading week - I've finished six titles:

What Angels Fear, finished 16th May. I've had this ready to read, after much enthusiasm from other LTers, for over a year but finally started it. I'm glad I did and wish I hadn't waited so long.

Lucia in London, read by Georgina Sutton, finished 18th May. The third story in this new reading of the Mapp and Lucia novels.

When Gods Die, finished 18th May. I went straight on to the next in the Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries and I can see I shall work my way through the whole series.

Why Mermaids Sing, finished 20th May. Still going.

Where Serpents Sleep, finished 21st May. This is the last for a while I decided I must have a break, although, of course, it ended on quite a cliffhanger.

A Girl Called Justice: The Smugglers' Secret, finished 21st May. A little light relief - the second in the Justice Jones series. Much shorter as it is aimed at children.

Maggio 23, 10:29am

As well as my ongoing non-fiction and audiobooks, I've started The Eye of Love - the first in a trilogy - which is quite short and light, and then I shall go back to Sebastian St. Cyr.

Modificato: Lug 18, 5:22am

Just the three books in the Martha Trilogy finished this week:

The Eye of Love, Martha in Paris, and Martha, Eric, and George, finished 24th to 27th May. I've started and finished a series within in a week! I think with all the Margery Sharp stories I've read I've been unsure for the first few chapters and then it seems to suddenly 'click' and these were no exception. Although they were published as three separate books they are all quite short so can really be regarded as one book. I've got three more unread books in my library (although there are many more), and I am looking forward to them all.

Maggio 30, 9:33am

I'm currently reading Tales from Lindford, the fourth in a series. It is divided into monthly chapters, starting in January 2020 and I am quite shocked to realise how much I have forgotten of the early days of the Covid pandemic.

Maggio 31, 7:29am

>134 CDVicarage: Hi Kerry, I see you've started reading the Sebastian St Cyr series. I've read the first three books and am really enjoying it. Series work better for me if I space them out vs. reading back-to-back. I'm glad to see the fourth book is another solid entry.

Maggio 31, 12:24pm

>138 lauralkeet: I wish I could do that! but if I'm enjoying a series (and I have them in my library) I tend to read them one after another. I've managed to take a break with Sebastian St Cyr but I shall resume after I have read my next bookgroup book.

Modificato: Maggio 31, 12:32pm

It's the last day of the month and I've just finished a book, so I shall note the details and then do the May round-up:

Tales from Lindford, finished 31st May. This is the fourth (and last?) in the series and covers happenings in the diocese of Lindchester during 2020. It was good to hear about the characters that I had come to love but it was also good to remind myself what pandemic life was like. It was, I think, written in real time so there is a real sense of what it was like when we didn't know how things would end - not that we really do now, but at least we know that the vaccine is available and being taken up.

Maggio 31, 12:42pm

I finished twenty three books in May mainly from two series that I am rushing through: one paper book, nineteen ebooks and three audiobooks. Nine of the ebooks were ROOT successes. I have had the last seven books in the Sheila Malory series for at least two years (my definition of ROOT) but only recently searched out the first books. Only three books - all audiobooks - were re-reads, the other twenty were all new to me. Perhaps I'm coming out of my comfort reading phase! Although none of them were 'challenging' books.

Giu 1, 7:24am

>136 CDVicarage: I loved the Martha books when I read them last year. Martha is such a great character.

Giu 6, 9:41am

This week's reading:

The Swiss Summer, finished 4th June. This is my choice for my book group (meeting on Wednesday) and I'm disappointed in it. I have read, and enjoyed, many titles in the Furrowed Middlebrow range and several other by Stella Gibbons. The blurb made it sound like a lovely summer holiday story with plenty of witty and humorous interactions between the characters. However it was dull. The setting is England and Switzerland about 1950, when Brits were only able to take a maximum of £50 out of the country. At the time it was enough for our heroine to spend three months in the Oberland (with no accomodation costs). The characters are all rather unpleasant, although all have their good points, too, and really not much happens. A lack of plot is not necessarily a bad thing for me but there was no compensatory character interest and the descriptions of the landscape and scenery got rather boring after a while. I've so far managed to pick books that my fellow book group members have liked but I don't think they will be impressed by this one. What's more annoying is that any other Stella Gibbons book (and I have several) would probably have been better.

What Remains of Heaven, finished 5th June. Now my book group obligations are out of the way I've gone back to the Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries; this is number five (of sixteen so far) and I'm still enjoying them very much. They are very easy to read.

Where Shadows Dance, finished 5th June. Straight on to the next one. At the moment each book starts within a few days of the finish of the previous one so they almost blend into each other. I read them as ebooks and was sitting outside reading when I finished book five. Such are the marvels (?) of modern technology that I was able to buy and download book six, sitting in my garden, and start reading it within five minutes!

Giu 8, 5:45am

>143 CDVicarage: I'm sorry to hear that about The Swiss summer as it's on my TBR pile. Maybe now my expectations are lowered I will enjoy it a bit more than you did.

Giu 11, 12:59pm

>144 Sakerfalcon: Several members of the group liked it more than I did - I think my expectations were high!

Giu 13, 10:36am

Quite an eventful week for me: my husband will be retiring in March next year and, as we live in tied accomodation, we need to find somewhere to live. We started house hunting in earnest this month and put an offer in for a house in Holmes Chapel on Tuesday. It didn't come to anything as the sellers wanted more but we felt that so much work would be necessary that we couldn't afford more. Next we noticed that a fairly central location - a now defunct wallpaper factory - was being cleared. So on Friday morning, having looked at the site details online, we went into the on-site office to make inquiries, and came out thirty minutes later having committed to buy a three bedroom semi. It's a rather odd feeling as we haven't seen the house as it hasn't yet been built. No building work has started yet but we are assured that it should be ready by next February. We shall be able to choose floor coverings, kitchen and bathroom fittings later on. I go into Holmes Chapel at least once a week so I shall be keeping an eye on the progress!

Anyway, reading has taken second place and I only finished four titles this week:

When Maidens Mourn, finished 6th June. The next in the Sebastian St. Cyr Mysteries. I'm still enjoying them but beginning to get worried that they will become formulaic.

The Night Hawks, finished 7th June. The thirteenth in the Ruth Galloway series. Again I'm still enjoying them. Of course I'm not reading these one after the other as I have to wait for the next one to be published!

Mapp and Lucia, read by Georgina Sutton, finished 10th June. This is probably the best book in the series and this is a very good reading.

A Pink Front Door, finished 11th June. More Furrowed Middlebrow and another chance for Stella Gibbons. This is set in the late fifties in London, which is an interesting time for me as I feel it has been neglected in the books I have read up till now.The War still has a marked effect on life particularly with regard to housing shortages. There are a lot of characters in this story and some seem to have been introduced only to be ignored, but it was a good read and I am happy to go on to some more Stella Gibbons in the future.

Giu 13, 5:53pm

>146 CDVicarage: Congratulations on the soon to be build house, Kerry!

Giu 13, 8:15pm

>146 CDVicarage: That is big news! I hope it all comes together seamlessly and on time!

Giu 14, 12:47am

>146 CDVicarage: Congratulations on the house!

I hope it all goes through smoothly. Just a word of caution, although I don't want to put a spoke in the wheels, I hope your contract is flexible. My parents bought an off-the-plan apartment a few years ago but the housing market went down somewhat before the building was finished so it was very difficult to sell their existing place but the builders wouldn't reduce the agreed price. They eventually did move in but the finances took a bit of juggling. Of course, you don't have to sell your existing place first, so it's not so complex.

You're really steaming through the Sebastian St. Cyr series. I don't often read mysteries but I could give it a go. Recommended for a non-mystery reader?

Giu 14, 3:44am

>146 CDVicarage: Congratulations on prospective house purchase. We bought off plan and it worked fine for use - the house was ready exactly when they said it would be. Although I was somewhat surprised just how long it takes to build a house. I remember they started laying the foundations at the beginning of October and it looked complete from the outside by Christmas but it wasn’t finished inside until the end of March. We found that the builders were willing to adapt more that the obvious choosing of tiles and bathroom fittings. We had additional kitchen cupboards, moved some electrical points, moved a wall over by a few inches (a non load-bearing one obviously) and took out a fitted wardrobe

Giu 14, 7:19am

Congratulations on the new house, Kerry (as well as your husband's impending retirement). We've bought two houses in a similar way. The degree of customization varied, but it was fun to be able to choose what we wanted, and to have everything new and shiny when we moved in. Where we fell down was in forgetting that even new homes need maintenance from time to time! I hope the build proceeds apace and meets your timing requirements.

Giu 14, 1:17pm

Congrats on your new house, Kerry. That's really exciting.

Modificato: Giu 15, 10:01am

>146 CDVicarage: How exciting to be able to watch your new home take shape over the coming months! I hope it will be a great retirement home for you.

P.S. I just visited some photos of Holmes Chapel online. It looks like a really nice location.

Giu 20, 10:02am

Only three books finished this week:

The Chalet School Returns to the Alps, finished 15th June. The latest Chalet School fill-in. It covers the same term as The Chalet School and Barbara but concentrates on different aspects - how a new teacher settles in and the back story and the out of school happenings of a new girl. It all fits in nicely and the writing style matches EBD's well.

The Masqueraders, finished 15th June. I first started this in audio a long time ago but didn't get very far. It was an easy read in print but it's not one of my favourite Heyers.

Bassett, finished 20th June. More Stella Gibbons; while I enjoyed this I was annoyed that the blurb led me to expect something different. I was much more interested in the story of Miss Baker and Miss Padsoe, which was emphasised in the blurb, and less in the activities of the Shellings.

As part of downsizing I am disposing of some paper books and replacing them with ebooks, which has brought to my attention some books which I haven't read for a long time. I've just started The Camomile Lawn, which I last read in 2008 in print and 2012 as an audiobook.

Giu 20, 10:08am

>147 FAMeulstee:, >148 quondame:, >149 humouress:, >150 SandDune:, >151 lauralkeet:, >152 MickyFine: and >153 thornton37814:. Thank you all for your good wishes, and advice, about our (possible) new house. It seems to be going fairly smoothly - the foundations of the first houses are laid. The show houses are first but ours should be next. The finance is the problem at the moment and we are waiting to hear if our mortgage application is successful - we should know by the end of next week. Our broker is fairly confident but, of course, won't commit himself yet!

Giu 21, 11:48pm

>155 CDVicarage: Fingers crossed!

>154 CDVicarage: About 20 years ago I borrowed Chalet School books from the library to try and read the series from beginning to end although I probably only got halfway through, if that. About 10 years ago I thought I'd try again - only to find that they had purged them from the system.

Giu 22, 7:36am

>154 CDVicarage: I've just finished The Chalet School returns to the Alps and thought it was very good. I always enjoy the staff POV and there was lots of that, but Sue's story was very well done too.

Modificato: Giu 26, 8:53am

Big changes in the offing -- I'm glad you found a place you like -- and that you get to participate so much in how it will look inside.

I've had to WL quite a few books -- dangerous over here! The Margery Sharps (can't believe I haven't stumbled over these before) and . . . I can't think!

I love short stories -- V.S. Pritchett is one best. I was blown away too by the Irish writer Mary Lavin. Another SS writer that people don't talk about who is amazing is H.E. Bates.

Modificato: Giu 27, 4:42pm

It's been a rough week and not much reading done. Midweek, I heard that a friend, met in RL but mostly online, had been murdered. Her son, who has mental health problems, has been arrested and her other son was injured. This was such a shock and the online group has shared our grief and concern for both her sons.

But I did finish a few books this week:

The Camomile Lawn, finished 21st June. As part of my downsizing I am replacing my paper books when cheap (or free) ebook copies are available, unless I am particularly attached to the paper ones, and this was 99p recently. It came to the top of my 'recent' books on my Kobo and I read it this week and enjoyed very much. It is my daughter's birthday tomorrow - she will be thirty-three - and I first read it about a year before she was born!

Lucia's Progress, read by Georgina Sutton, finished 24th June. This has been my bedtime book and my middle of the night book when I have been unable to sleep this week. It was an excellent reading and I find the story (and the whole series) very cheering and comforting.

A Thousand Ships, finished 26th June. As a child some of my favourite reading was myths and legends and I still enjoy them now. I have enjoyed the the books of Madeline Miller and I also have The Silence of the Girls to read. This one was a very good read. I particularly liked the exasperated tone of Penelope's letters.

Giu 28, 3:53am

>159 CDVicarage: Kerry, that’s awful. So sorry to hear that.

Giu 28, 5:03am

>159 CDVicarage: So sorry, Kerry, (((hugs)))

Giu 28, 6:38am

>159 CDVicarage: Shocking and sad news. Sorry to hear this.

Giu 28, 6:52am

>159 CDVicarage: On retellings of Greek myths, I seem to be accumulating quite a few to read. I read and liked A Thousand Ships and The Silence of the Girls very much, and am currently reading The Children of Jocasta. I have Pat Barker's new book The Women of Troy on my Netgalley TBR and Circe on my Kindle. I read The Song of Achilles a few years ago. I also have lots of Mary Renault books, mostly in fairly recent Virago Modern Classics editions (a few older green VMCs) but I think I'm more drawn to the more recent feminist retelllings. There is also Margaret Atwood's take on Penelope, The Penelopiad.

And then there are the transpositions, for example Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie draws on the story of Antigone.

And I'm in a library queue for Pandora's Jar, though at the moment I'm very happy for it to take a while because I'm overcommitted on library books.

Giu 28, 12:35pm

>163 elkiedee: I had forgotten Mary Renault and I have quite a few of her books in paper format, which I must get out.

Giu 28, 12:50pm

>159 CDVicarage: Happy birthday to your daughter!

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, Kerry.

Giu 28, 5:14pm

>159 CDVicarage: How completely disturbing! Finding comfort in books is a great resource.

Lug 4, 1:01pm

Thank you, everyone, for your kind wishes and sympathy.

This week has been busy: Clare (my daughter) and I have been preparing for a brief visit to Belfast. Toby came with us - I was included to mind him when Clare was busy - and luggage increases dramatically with all the equipment needed for a baby! I had a small suitcase (not full), Clare had a large one for her and Toby's clothes. Clare had to take three possible outfits for her 'appearance', and Toby needed plenty too as well as a car seat and a folding buggy. We flew out from Manchester on Friday afternoon and left our hotel in Belfast at 6.45 this morning and we were home by 11-ish, feeling as though we had put in a full day already. Much of Saturday was spent at the BBC studio and the result will be shown later this year.

However that means I've done very little reading and only finished one book this week:

The Scribbler No. 18 July 2021: A retrospective literary review, finished 2nd July. This issue included reviews of 20th century diaries, novels set in the circus, an article about Olivia Fitz Roy and a literary trail in the Yorkshire Dales - all very enjoyable.

Lug 4, 1:05pm

I noticed that I didn't do a round-up for June, so here it is:

I finished thirteen titles; one paper book, ten ebooks and two audiobooks. One ROOT success, three were re-reads and ten were new to me.

Modificato: Lug 4, 11:44pm

>167 CDVicarage: Well, I do tend to pack everything including the kitchen sink but when you’re packing for a baby, it feels like you’ve got half the rest of the kitchen as well. It always amazed me that the smallest member of the family took the most packing space.

I’m intrigued by Clare’s ‘appearance’; can you tell us more?

Lug 5, 3:39am

>169 humouress: Well, it will be shown on BBC later this year. Clare is answering questions while sat in a particular chair...

Lug 5, 10:48am

Hi Kerry, sorry to have missed your birthday. I read all the good wishes up above while scrolling to the last post. I've been away from LT for a while and hope to do better in the future.

Lug 5, 11:26am

>171 connie53: Thanks, Connie. I read your thread so I know how busy and distracted you must have been lately. I hope the health problems of your various family members are soon as resolved as they can be.

Lug 5, 12:14pm

>172 CDVicarage: Thanks Kerry. I doesn't end by Peet and Marie, Lonne is also suffering from a kind of stomach flu. But she is feeling better every day now. Marie has to stay in hospital for at least another night. Her oxygen levels are still to low.

Lug 6, 4:49am

>170 CDVicarage: Mmhmm, mmhmm. I'm getting some clues.

Modificato: Lug 11, 12:59pm

A better week as far as numbers go - four titles finished:

Let's Do It: The Authorised Biography of Victoria Wood, finished 5th July. I'm always wary of biographies of artists, writers etc that I like in case it makes me feel differently about their work. This one did, a bit, but I think I like her more rather than less.

Trouble for Lucia, read by Georgina Sutton, finished 6th July. The last of the Mapp & Lucia novels. I've been listening to them for nearly three months and I'm quite sorry that they are finished.

Apricot Sky, finished 8th July. Another lovely Furrowed Middlebrow title, set on the north west coast of Scotland.

Small Pleasures, finished 10th July. This is my book group title, ready for the meeting on Wednesday. It will be our first face-to-face meeting since March 2020 and I'm glad it's such a good book to discuss. I like to know details of a story before I read it so, having read some reviews, I was prepared for the ending. I liked the book so much that I've gone straight on to another by this author - Learning to Swim.

Lug 11, 1:08pm

>175 CDVicarage: I love the Lucia books, Kerry. I've never listened to them but I can imagine a good narrator would only enhance the experience.

Lug 18, 4:58am

>176 rosalita: Yes indeed, Julia. The reader is Georgina Sutton, who is one of my favourite narrators. She has done the complete The Diary of a Provincial Lady (my desert island book) and one of my favourite Georgette Heyers, The Corinthian. This set of Mapp and Lucia is economically combined into two audiobooks so I got six books for the price of two from Audible!

Lug 18, 11:21am

>177 CDVicarage: That's a great deal! I'll have to remember this narrator's name for future reference. The Corinthian is one of my favorite Heyer's as well.

Lug 18, 4:13pm

A good reading week - four titles finished:

Learning to Swim, finished 11th July. I liked Small Pleasures so much I went straight on to another book by Clare Chambers. It was also enjoyable but perhaps not quite up to the same standard.

Susan Settles Down, finished 12th July. A book from the latest batch of Furrowed Middlebrow books. Molly Clavering was a friend and neighbour of D. E. Stevenson and her books are of the same type. This one was set in the Borders and dealt with a lovely group of characters. Although there was sadness the right people paired up! There is a sequel, which I shall add to my TBR pile.

Pied Piper, finished 15th July. This was a lovely book: very understated and, despite mostly taking place in France, very British. It takes place during WW2. An Englishman goes on holiday to France and finds himself responsible for escorting two children back to England just as the German invasion takes place. He picks up more children on his way until he finally has five.

The Dead of Winter, read by Sandra Duncan, finished 18th July. The latest in the Josephine Tey Crime Series, which takes place on St Michael's Mount over Christmas 1938. It's been most unseasonal reading! The series is still strong and I hope there will be more.

Lug 18, 9:45pm

>179 CDVicarage: It was also enjoyable but perhaps not quite up to the same standard. That’s happened to me a few times; I think I’ve discovered an exciting new (to me) author but the next book I read by them doesn’t quite live up to the standard.

Modificato: Ieri, 6:53am

Three titles finished this week:

Love in a Cold Climate, read by Patricia Hodge, finished 20th July. This is a many times re-read. Possibly as a result of the recent TV adaptation of The Pursuit of Love, new audiobooks of the many Nancy Mitford novels are being produced but this version is the perfect reading of this title so I shan't be getting a new one.

Ariadne, finished 22nd July. I very much like 'original' and modern tellings of myths and legends but this one didn't really work for me. I can't put my finger on why - the heroines (Ariadne and Phaedra) seemed too self-aware? Not usually a bad thing but it didn't fit with the rest of the story/characters somehow.

The Stone of Chastity, finished 24th July. Another jolly romp from Margery Sharp.