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It's another June reading thread!

Lily Fairbairn

Jun 11, 2:43pm

Post #1 of 4 (349 views)
It's another June reading thread! Can't Post

Not that it seems like June---it's only in the high 60s this morning, very unusual. I have the awful feeling we'll pay for this in the fall, with heat all the way into November.

I’m close to finishing the audiobook of Kerry Greenwood's Murder by Mendelsohn, a Phryne Fisher mystery. I read a Miss Fisher in paper earlier this year and rolled my eyes at several aspects of it, but with this one, my eyes just about leapt out of the sockets. Admittedly I haven’t reached the denouement yet, but I suspect it will turn out that of the 9 CDs, only 5 actually concern the mystery, murder behind the scenes during rehearsals for a choral presentation of Mendelsohn’s “Elijah”. There’s a sub-plot, in which a villain threatens a pair of Phryne’s friends, but it’s a very perfunctory thread at best since Greenwood is much more interested in how Phryne facilitates the friends' romance. (Insert another eye roll here.)

We get page upon page of material relating to Phryne’s service in WWI, we get page after page depicting various sex scenes, we get page after page of excruciatingly detailed descriptions of the rehearsals. We have Phryne’s household enabling her hedonistic life and praising her every move. In fact, every character praises her every move and almost kisses the hem of her skirt. There’s no topic she doesn’t know, there’s no skill she doesn’t have, she’s never in an awkward position, she’s never wrong.

Just once I'd dearly love someone to throw a pie at her.

There’s a reason I greatly prefer Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman series. Corinna is a genuine human being, with flaws and moods, and the books are actual mysteries with well-constructed plots. Plus the Chapman books have a wry sense of humor that’s totally missing from the two Phryne books I’ve read. It's hard to believe the two series are written by the same author.

I like the Miss Fisher TV series, but the books? Nope. I'm done.

On paper, I'm still reading Donna Leon's Blood from a Stone, part of her Commissario Brunetti mystery series set in Venice. Now these are good mysteries, not least because Brunetti is a decent guy, a family man, a good cop---not one of these protagonists who’s more damaged than the antagonist. And there is, you know, a plot.

So what have you been reading?

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....

(This post was edited by Lily Fairbairn on Jun 11, 2:46pm)


Jun 11, 4:18pm

Post #2 of 4 (333 views)
Don't Panic! [In reply to] Can't Post

In cleaning a bookshelf at home I decided that it was time to re-read A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which coincidentally turns 40 this year. I wondered if I would still find it funny, and I still do. Doug Adams had a lot of fun playing with words and sentence construction, plus his timing is great.


Jun 11, 4:52pm

Post #3 of 4 (325 views)
I didn't give up on Mary Balogh after all [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been reading through her "Westcott" romances: Someone to Love, Someone to Wed, etc. They are very long on the characters' internal monologue and correspondingly short on actual plot; basically, they are all about two people who are right for each other dithering about whether to marry or not, and then when they do, dithering some more about whether to be honest with each other about [stuff from the past]. There's graphic sex, which doesn't do anything for me - I suppose because I'm a medical writer, clinical descriptions are a big yawn. Meanwhile, while she tells us that so-and-so is "fearfully handsome" or "beautiful," we usually don't get any more description than that. Oh, except how tall they are; that seems to be important to Balogh.

So why do I keep reading? I like the characters, who are fairly distinctive - like the woman who has a big birthmark on her face (as does a close friend of mine), or the hero who is a small man and suffered considerable abuse as a child. In one book the heroine is 10 years older than the hero. And she's a good writer apart from the issues mentioned above; I don't feel the need to get out my red pen and mark the pages as I do with so many current authors. But I wouldn't agree with the reviewer who says she is the new Georgette Heyer.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the words begin to move around … The words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young.

-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967
my blog: https://jodybower.com/myths-archetypes-in-film/

(This post was edited by Annael on Jun 11, 4:54pm)

Dame Ioreth
Tol Eressea

Jun 15, 4:06pm

Post #4 of 4 (296 views)
I just found Almost Harmless [In reply to] Can't Post

"the fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately-named trilogy"

Gosh, I love his books.

I found out recently that he was a major influence on Neil Gaiman who credits Adams for the push he needed to keep writing and ultimately write his novels.

What an inspiration!


Heed WBA when building blanket forts.
ITLs don't get enough FAS. :)

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


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