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Just finished two books: "Everything Happens for a Reason (and Other Lies I've Loved)" by Kate Bowler and "The Bright Hour" by Nina Riggs. Both books are by young women facing death from terminal cancer. If nothing else--though I think there is plenty to be found in both books, they remind us of how we need to speak with (e.g. what NOT to say) and offer help in this situation.

Currently reading books of essays: "No Time to Spare" by Ursula Le Guin and "What are We Doing Here?" by Marilynne Robinson. Good books for when you have limited time and want to read an essay to make you think.

Not yet started but on the bedside table: "Manhattan Beach" by Jennifer Egan.


Just finished The Beginning of Spring by Penelope Fitzgerald and Never In a Hurry, a book of short essays by the American poet Naomi Shibab Nye. Next up: Peresphone’s Bricks and Mortar by Helen Ashton, although I want to reread The Beginning of Spring and pick up threads I missed the first time through


I just finished Kent Haruf's Plainsong and I'm about to start the next in this series of three, Eventide. I've had a rough reading year thanks to the illness of a family member and these books really hit the spot.

Cosy Books

Just finished Virginia Woolf's 'The Voyage Out' and absolutely loved it. Then to completely switch gears I'm now reading Stella Gibbons's 'The Yellow Houses' far, so good. One of the characters has just rented an attic room with a gas-ring....what is it about the mention of a gas-ring that feels so warm and fuzzy?


You won't feel warm and fuzzy when you're waiting for the kettle to boil, Darlene!


I'm half-way through The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock which I've enjoyed but now I'm flagging and thinking it doesn't deserve to be 480pp long.


An excellent collection, by the sound of it.
I read something the other day (the source escapes me) to the effect that Marilynne Robinson's "Gilead" was the closest thing to a perfect novel the writer had come across. I've read only her "Housekeeping" so far but I'm keen to explore further so I'll make a note of the essays you mention.


You've reminded me that I have Penelope Fitzgerald's "A House of Air" waiting to be read - thank you, Readerlane.
I read "Bricks and Mortar" some years ago and remember enjoying it, but beyond that I don't recall anything!


Wishing good health to you and yours, Joanne, and I'm glad you've found something to sustain you.


Did they make cocoa, Darlene? Sounds very Barbara Pym!


Will you finish, I wonder, Mary!


Just finished Cressida Connolly's 'My Former Heart' - mature and beautifully written, so pretty much perfect. Followed it with Harriet Lane's 'Alys, Always' which I somehow missed reading when it came out a few years ago but absolutely loved despite it being billed as a thriller (so not my usual fare). It totally surprised me as a novel with much to say about what really matters but written with supreme skill and a highly entertaining (to me) black humour. Now on to Elizabeth Strout's 'Anything is Possible' having drawn real comfort from 'Olive Kitteridge'. Do hope things are settling down with you and very best wishes.


Thank you so much, Caroline.
"Alys, Always" is so good! For anyone who hasn't come across it yet there's a post here:
I enjoyed "Olive Kitteredge" very much too
( )

Elizabeth G in South Australia

Just started The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. So far so good, the preface is terrific, setting the scene beautifully, full of darkness, foreboding and terror.

Jane from Dorset

Just finished rereading Barbara Pym ‘No Fond Return if Love’ Not a good choice when one has stitches because I had to keep laughing.
Now reading ‘A Discovery of Witches’’ by Deborah Harkness simply because it was on the bookshelves and looked as if it would provide an easy read. Entertaining but heavy to hold!

My year-round-reading this year is ‘Borderland’ by Ronald Blythe and ‘Wonderland: A year of Britain’s Wildlife Day by Day’ by Moss and Westwood. I enjoy books which allow one to read along with the changing seasons.


I began that book a while ago and put it aside for some practical reason (I think I was travelling and didn't want to take a hardback), but I certainly intend to return to it.


'A Discovery of Witches' is a lot of fun! ( )
I like the sound of your year-round reading, Jane.

Try Elizabeth Fair's 6 books. They don't link together so no need to read in any particular sequence but they are all wonderful (so far) and I am about to start the last of the six. She's wonderful and I wish she had written during the last 40 or so years of her life but she didn't. The book titles are: BRAMPTON WICK, LANDSCAPE IN SUNLIGHT, THE NATIVE HEATH, SEAVIEW HOUSE, A WINTER AWAY, and THE MINGHAM AIR. I also just read Patricia Moyes MURDER FANTASTICAL, which would make a wonderful movie.


Many thanks for those recommendations.


As Darlene posted about The Voyage Out I thought that I might try again with Woolf but I have to admit that I am not enjoying it one bit.

I recently read A view of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor which I did enjoy.


It must be ten years since I read The Voyage Out - little has stayed with me.
On the whole, the Taylor would seem to be the safer bet.


Recently brought home some sci-fi from the library:
"Binti: Home" by Nnedi Okorafor. So far, so good, although I'm reading the series out of order due to what was on the shelves.

Also contemplating re-reading "In Nature's Name". It's a collection of writings (and illustrations) by women from 1780 thru 1930. I found the variety of experiences to be fascinating, since so many of the writers have faded back into the woodwork of time.

Elizabeth G in South Australia

I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on The Essex Serpent Karen, when you get back to it.


How interesting, rj.


Just reading Tara Westover's memoir 'Educated' about her life growing up as the home educated daughter of a Mormon fundamentalist in a fairly remote part of Idaho in the 90's. She is a very impressive writer and her descriptions of her childhood experiences have left me amazed that she survived it!
I'm not surprised that you found it hard to concentrate on your reading in the past few weeks but if you are in the mood for a gripping crime novel, I can recommend Jane Harper's Force of Nature, her follow up to The Dry and every bit as good.


I've heard a lot about Tara Westover's book - quite a story!
Many thanks for the recommendations.

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