A Reading Resolution

Were it not for my fellow bloggers, I would not be the least tempted to break out of the reading rut in which I’ve been happily ensconced. I’m stuck in England, usually, reading Penelope Lively, Jane Gardam, Elizabeth Taylor, Muriel Spark, and a new (to me) discovery, Angela Thirkell. Add to the list Nancy Mitford, P. G. Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh and we see a pattern emerging. Literary Anglophilia.

But many of you are avid readers and have either posted about favorite books or left me comments urging that I read this or that. I decided to make 2015 the year of stepping out of my literary comfort zone, ditching my snooty attitude about certain authors (hello, Stephen King) and giving the books you’ve suggested the old college try.

My 2015 Reading List:

Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban


In response to my turtle post, Thom from the excellent music blog, Immortal Jukebox, passionately recommended this book. I know when an excellent writer such as Thom urges a book upon me, it’s best to pay attention. Besides, it’s described as “prickly, yet heartwarming.” Sounds like some of my favorite people.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

In my twenties, I read a lot of Mr. King but gave up after some perfectly dreadful books. “Tommyknockers” anyone? UGH. But in response to my “Dear Mrs. Kennedy” post, Phil at The Phil Factor recommended I give this a try. I’m fascinated with the idea of time travel and the ripple effect one alteration of the past – stopping the assassination, in this case – can have, so I am stepping off my literary high horse to give this one a go.

The Sneaker Tree by Phil Taylor


Speaking of Phil, (the blogger must likely to cause me spontaneous outbursts of cackling) it seems he’s a published author himself. I read three books in 2014 written by fellow bloggers and each was terrific. I know nothing of the premise of this book and don’t really care. If Phil wrote it, I’ll read it. Phil, I’m really stepping away from my world of middle-aged English writers now and adding your novel to my list. You’re not a middle-aged English writer, are you? Cleverly disguised?

Bad Debts by Peter Temple (first in a series)

I asked my great Aussie friend, Margaret Rose (author of “And Then Like My Dreams“) for a book which might expand my knowledge of Australia beyond “The Thorn Birds” and “A Town Like Alice.” Peter Temple is her choice of author who best captures the Land of Oz in modern lit.

 Anything at all by Terry Pratchett but maybe start with the Discworld Series

P. G. Wodehouse got us talking about the great humor authors out there which led to another dear Australian friend, Heather at Master of Something Yet, recommending any and all books by Terry Pratchett. She says he’s intelligent. And funny. And makes obscure references and has inside jokes and…..well, let’s just say Heather’s convinced me to take a giant step out of my comfort zone and read fantasy. This for a person who has yet to read Harry Potter is a leap of faith.


Botticelli’s Bastard by Stephen Maitland-Lewis

download (3)


Kate at Rough Seas in the Med reviewed this book in her lively and opinionated (we do require our reviewers to have firm opinions, do we not?) manner, and I added immediately to my list. She didn’t wax euphoric over it, but any book combining art history, Nazis, Paris, and a painting which speaks to its restorer cries out to come home with me. Look at that face, so perfectly haughty, isn’t he?



The Amelia Peabody Series by Elizabeth Peters


Recommended by reader Kate in Australia, this series combines Egyptology, sleuthing, World War I, and more. Kate loves Nancy Mitford and that’s enough for me to know our reading tastes are simpatico.


House of Prayer Number 2 by Mark Richard

Not a book I ever would have chosen on my own, but sometimes an excerpt is all it takes for a book to grab me violently by the collar crying “Read ME!” That’s exactly what happened when We Have An Old House gave a hint of the exceptional writing in store for readers of this book.



Great Dixter books by Christopher Lloyd 

download (4)

If Helen at The Venomous Bead urged me to read the phone book, I probably would. Thankfully she did not and pointed me instead to the great English garden writer Christopher Lloyd. Described as “opinionated, argumentative and gloriously eccentric, he changed the face of English gardening through his passions for meadow gardening, dazzling colours and thorough husbandry.” How could I possibly resist? And, ahem, we’re back in England!!



Well, those are the books recommended to me. Now here’s three for you. I mentioned earlier in this post that I read three books by fellow bloggers in 2014. In order of reading, they were:

As the long-suffering members of my book group will attest, I’m the one most likely to hurl a book against the wall, so it’s no small thing to say I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any one of the three to you. There are some remarkably talented writers hanging around the WordPress blogosphere and these three deserve far better than such a brief mention in this post. All three books are available via Amazon, by the way.

Heading to my book pile,



About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. And the odd thought or two.
This entry was posted in Books and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

135 Responses to A Reading Resolution

  1. I can not wait to hear what you think of “House of Prayer No.2”!!! And I’m adding these books to my book pile too. Thank you, Barbara.


  2. Is the Russell Hoban of “Turtle Diary” also the author of the brilliant “Bread and Jam for Frances”?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the mention. Botticelli was a quirky book, interesting, readable. Now, I didn’t realise you were an Anglo-litphile. Have you read Mary Wesley? Ian McKewan? Michael Frayn?

    Books/authors I would wax euphorically about though would be: anything by Somerset Maugham, and Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm. If you like Waugh you will like these. Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Grey.

    There’s a boring bloke called Pooter or something similar who goes to an office job every day. Can remember neither name nor author but I’m sure Helen will. Not my fave, but not a bad read.

    I’ve only read one Pratchett and it sounded like a take-off of the borrowers which I loathed (read it at school). Philip Pullman and his northern lights trilogy. I’ve only read one, but that was excellent. Think I reviewed it somewhere on my blog, so just search for Pullman on there (search is at bottom of posts).

    And you mentioned Aussie lit. I really like Peter Carey. Oscar and Lucinda is poss his most famous, but the Tax Inspector is good too, I’ve also got Jack Maggs which is an interesting play on Dickens.

    Depends what you want, one woman’s good read is another’s, well, whatever.

    As you say the good thing about the Internet is that it takes us out of our book comfort zone. Although I’ll be honest, I love nothing more than browsing the books in the library.

    Interesting post Barbara. I’ll look up the others too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes to McEwan, Kate, I’ve read “Saturday”, “Atonement”, and “Amsterdam.” Somehow I’ve not dipped into his more recent books. I’ve not read Wesley or Frayn.

      I actually have Oscar and Lucinda. Thanks for the nudge on that one. Maugham: The Painted Veil and The Razor’s Edge are favorites. I have not read Dorian Gray although adored the movie made in the forties starring Hurd Hatfield! What a name.
      I have a recommendation for you too. Just finished the most wonderful book “Happy All The Time” written by Laurie Colwin, the late food writer for Gourmet magazine and The New Yorker, I believe. Don’t judge by the title which would put me off a bit, it’s absolutely wonderful. What a writer.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So out of these, I have read the Sneaker Tree and Botticelli’s Bastard. I am tempted to offer my opinions here, but would be much more curious to know what you thought of the books. I will say that both of these are definitely worth while reads.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. menomama3 says:

    I have read none of these books and am in awe of your ambitious list!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Phil’s book is on my list, too.
    I loved The Tommyknockers!
    You simply cannot go wrong with Amelia Peabody — I strongly suspect you will love any of those books. They’re delightful!
    I’m currently doing some history reading about a freed slave who lived QUITE a life of adventure — Olaudah Equiano “The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings.” This book is for one of my husband’s classes, and it caught my eye Since it’s on loan, so I read it when he’s not here.


    • I’m always so sure I have a handle on what’s out there book-wise and am stunned there’s an entire series, immensely popular, which I’ve never heard of. I am really looking forward to the Amelia Peabody series.
      Did you detect the substantial lull between my writing of paragraphs here? There was one as I looked up Olaudah. I’m very much fascinated by slavery and this character sounds right up my alley. I now have to start compiling an organized system for 2016 books, it seems. I will just pretend I didn’t read that you loved “Tommyknockers.” Nobody’s perfect and you do have those nice plates…..LOL!


      • AHAHAHA! Well my comment is a mess of words because I was trying to keep the kitten OFF one of those nice plates!
        Yes, I cannot remember how I found Amelia Peabody, but it was sometime in college, and when I did find her, I read her all up, and my mother read her all up, and we loaned our books to friends and they read them all up! Anyone who likes a good mystery ala Christie, let alone a fan of the anglophiles in general will LOVE Amelia Peabody!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. cindy knoke says:

    Thank you for these wonderful leads!


  8. nrhatch says:

    Go you! You not only added them to your reading list . . . you know where your reading list is located!

    Enjoy dipping your toes in less Anglican pools.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Almost Iowa says:

    I second the motion of reading anything by Terry Pratchett. I read “Mort” a few years ago and still catch myself snickering.

    I have been reading John Sanford’s crime novels. The guy won the pultizer-prize for his series on the farm crisis in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press – he is that good of a writer.

    His novels are fun for me to read because Sanford’s detectives are employed by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), a place where I worked for seventeen years.. It is fun to pick up on his references to the agency, the building and the neighborhood.


    • Greg, Heather sent me a link to Pratchett quotes – here are Mort’s.
      I can already tell I’m going to be cackling away over these.
      I don’t know John Sanford but your description reminds me of Dennis LeHane. Dennis sets his novels in Boston (Mystic River) and if you know the culture there, reading his books is like coming home. I totally understand how you feel reading Sanford especially if he gets it right. Is there one in particular you would recommend?


      • Almost Iowa says:

        I’m glad you mentioned Dennis Lehane. In my opinion, he is among the best writers in the land. Whenever I need inspiration, I pick up Lehane’s The Given Day and read the chapter where a group of pickup baseball players in the middle of nowhere outplay the world series champions… The writing will take your breath away.

        He also wrote for the HBO series, The Wire, which is considered one of the best written TV series. Having spent a lot of time around cops, I can say the show is about as accurate a crime series as I have ever seen.

        As for John Sanford, I would recommend his Virgil Flowers novels. They are the most fun. Deadline and Rough Country come to mind. In Deadline, Sanford does a fantastic job of capturing the rural culture of Southeast Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.


      • I’m scrambling to remember now, Greg, was The Given Day the one set back in the molasses flood/WWI/policemen’s strike? Dang, that was a good book. And the series he wrote with the two detectives whose names escape me was superb as well. Well, that just seals the deal then, I will have to add John Sanford to my list. Thanks for the titles!!!


      • I could just answer my own questions and google the title. Yes, it is exactly the book I was thinking of. I forgot the baseball storyline, black ballplayers, right? Doesn’t Babe Ruth make an appearance in the first chapter? It’s all coming back to me now…


      • Almost Iowa says:

        I forgot the baseball storyline, black ballplayers, right?

        You got it. Do you remember how the World Series Champions had to cheat to win in a pickup game? It’s a bit improbably but when Lehane wrote the scene, he was at the top of his craft.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re making me want to find the book and read at least that passage again, thank goodness for libraries.


  10. Love Penelope Lively! Enjoy your reads Barbara!


  11. What a great reading list! The only one I have read besides Wodehouse was our mutual friend Margaret Rose’s fine memoir. I have added these to my reading list.. I have spent much of the year re-reading old favorites, many of Willa Cather, all of which are good. My Antonia probably my favorite.


  12. Carrie Rubin says:

    I read 11/22/63. Good book though there were a few parts I found silly. But overall I really enjoyed it. Had trouble putting it down. Have fun in your literary branch-out!


  13. Oh, yes, yes to the Amelia Peabody series. (Although, her Vicky Bliss series is my favourite.)

    Anything by Terry Pratchett except Dark Side of the Sun and Strata. Weird, early foray into scifi writing that he thankfully left behind. I tend to pretend they don’t exist. Stick with the Discworld and you can’t go wrong. Sounds to me like Kate might have read Truckers from his Bromeliad Trilogy which is a series of books for children. He has a few of those, including one series based in the Discworld (the first one won the Carnegie Medal). And yes, I own (and have read) all of those too. 🙂 Or possibly it was the Carpet People, the first book he wrote (at 19) and actually, now I think of it, the first TP book I ever read. We bought it in a bookshop in England in 1979. 😀

    You have your reading cut out for you, Barbara, but they look like fabulous books. Reckon I’ll put a few of those on my bedside table too. (Whether I actually get around to reading them is another matter…)


  14. Eliza Waters says:

    So many books, so little time… they all look good!


  15. What a great list Barbara; Enough for an entire year of curling up around the covers.

    I stick to the Spanish translations, especially re-reading the magic realism of the S-American ones. Ah, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I have to be frugal with reading as the left eye is getting dodgy and I am the sole driver of our entourage, including Milo.

    My dentist comes from Colombia. I mentioned Garcia Marguez and he almost broke out in tears. The first patient to have mentioned his hero. After that he gave an appraisal of the state of my teeth with the reverence of an architect contemplating building an opera house on the banks of the Danube.

    Bogota has one of the world’s best dental teaching hospitals in the world. I was in good hands.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gerard. Gerard. How I adore your comments. I’ve missed you and then got a notice, to my delight, that Oosterman was (re)following my blog. I can only assume WP must have mysteriously somehow unfollowed me. Surely YOU would never have done that. Ahhh, I understand your dentist’s emotions. Some books are so deeply held in our hearts that it is nothing less than love we feel for them. Now what’s this about a dodgy eye? Good Grief! Can you use an opti-visor? It might help.


  16. Grace says:

    Ooh, I will have to try some of these books, Barbara! They are all new to me and each sounds interesting!


  17. KerryCan says:

    You have your (totally fun) work cut out for you! The one that looks most interesting to me is Botticelli’s Bastard–sounds fascinating! And, since I read mostly mysteries (I apparently need that closure and sense of justice prevailing at the end!), I think the Peters books are great fun. Some wonderful suggestions! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. fatericsmum says:

    But you don’t have the Outlander series on your list, Barbara! Having successfully addicted M-R to this series, I can’t allow you to escape! Truly, though, these are the most amazing books — I don’t know whether one would classify them as: historical novels, science fiction, adventure, romance or dramatic literature (and, as far as I can tell, nobody else has done better at classifying them), but they’re brilliantly written, completely addictive and – seriously – worth a look. Please don’t be put off by the fact that the recent TV series (which actually isn’t bad) has suddenly made this series wildly popular — these books are truly worth a look.

    Oh, and I’m an Elizabeth Peters fan, too — both the Vicki Bliss and the Amelia Peabody series 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aha! Never fear, Paula, Outlander is my book club’s selection for May!! There are several of us eager to really get into this tome and others who are looking at us a bit askance. Seriously? Men in kilts? Bodice-ripping? Oh yes!! And another Elizabeth Peters fan. Where have I been all this time, under a rock?


      • fatericsmum says:

        Trust me, Barbara, Outlander is NOT just another bodice-ripper! Quite apart from the fact that the author was an associate professor in the biological sciences (until she started earning so much from the books that she retired to concentrate on being an author full-time!), she is a brilliant writer! Her use of English is, well, exceptional (actually, that doesn’t do her justice) and her characters leap off the page and grab the reader by the throat. Once you start you won’t be able to stop …

        And both the Outlander and the Amelia Peabody books have wonderful talking-book versions, as well. Davina Porter, who reads the Outlander ‘big books’ (there are quite a few spin-off ‘normal’ sized novels relating to one of the characters, as well) has won many awards for her outstanding readings of these books. Just make sure you buy the ‘unabridged’ versions, as there were also some dreadful ‘abridged’ versions which cut about 60% of the content out 😦

        And Barbara Rosenblatt, who reads the Amelia Peabody books, also does an outstanding job of bringing Amelia to life!

        Liked by 2 people

  19. This is an eclectically fascinating reading list, beautiful Barbara ! – and if Aussies can be sufferers from anglophilia when reading, I don’t see why Yanks can’t too ! 😀
    And look at the response !! – you can see where our interests lie, eh ?
    When you get around to my writing hero, Peter Temple, put all that garbage about ‘tie-in’ out of your mind, OK ? If you could get a copy that said nothing about bloody tie-in, so much the better !
    [aged grumpiness raises its weary head]


  20. http://wp.me/p36cDn-2W6
    Pirkko’s latest ! – I let you in on it so that all your followers can see a wonderful image that is SO evocative of so many books …


  21. Kate says:

    LOL – I was saving mentioning Vicky Bliss until you’d devoured Amelia Peabody and were mourning that there were no more!! So glad to see so many Elizabeth Peters fans here – she’s the kind of author you almost hesitate to tell your friends about, because if they don’t like (or ‘get’) her, how can you still be friends?!?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, Kate, isn’t it wonderful! I soooo know what you mean about hesitating to recommend the books we truly love because what if the person just shrugs later and says “it was okay”, politely. The friendship will be permanently scarred. I’m glad we understand one another.


  22. Please review these! I already have a tottering heap of books next to my bed (and more on order from the library), but I’m always on the lookout for something new.

    Also, something you MUST add to your list – really, it’s a wonderful book – is Reif Larsen’s “Selected Works of TS Spivet”. Yes, I know the title is unpromising, which is so unfortunate because that’s part of the joke!

    As for Terry Pratchett, as a long-time fan who has read all his books, definitely start with “The Colour of Magic” and “The Light Fantastic”, which are the first two in the Discworld series. They’re fairly lightweight but they are a good introduction to the rest of the series. You can read the other books in any order, but there’s benefit in reading in either chronological or published order … You get to know the characters (they are remarkably three-dimensional and consistent throughout the series!) and the in jokes much better. Also, be aware that although they start very much as light fantasy humor, as the series progressed they included more and more satire. Anyway, enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Another Terry Pratchett fan! I will take your sound advice and start at the beginning. It sounds so rather technical: Discworld and would never be something I’d take off the stacks without encouragement. That is what is so wonderful about the b-sphere and readers talking with one another. I could have gone my entire life without knowing about Angela Thirkell if a dear friend hadn’t pointed me her way. I have already added Reif Larsen to my new list, thanks to you. Thanks so much, Belladonna!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Phil Taylor says:

    Again Barbara, thank you for reading my book. I’m honoured. There’s only so much time in life to read books and I truly appreciate that you’re using some of your valuable time to read mine. By the way, I saw your mention of interest in time travel. My next book may be of interest to you. And yes, I’m middle aged and of English descent.


    • I can’t wait to read it, Phil. I haven’t read one thing about it, so right now it’s a total mystery. Sometimes I like to go into a book like that, sort of blind. No reviews, no previews, just surprise. And yes, time travel intrigues me.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. markbialczak says:

    I expect nothing less than this type of ambition from you, Barbara. Enjoy. And share your thoughts after for us less ambitious. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. leannerussnz says:

    Thank you Barbara. I have topped up my Kindle with some of your recommendations. A long weekend is looming for me and I am looking forward to some reading time. I recently enjoyed a novel called The light between Oceans by M.L Stedman.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Outlier Babe says:

    Trailing along… Random thoughts:

    You and most of your followers share so much in common regarding reading tastes! I find that really interesting.

    I own a coupla’ Pratchett books for kids and love ’em, so tried Discworld books and…didn’t. But I SHOULD! Why didn’t I?! I love wit, and satire, and snark. My kids read Robert Asprin’s M.Y.T.H. books (adorable pun-filled fantasy series)–I was a GOOD mom, I was. Curious to learn what you think. Guess I should try again (time #3).

    John Sandford was a passion for a good while–still own tons of his. And: Connelly, Lehane, DeMille, O’Connell, Coben, Child… “If you kill it, she will come.”

    Adding “Turtle Diary” to my list. Thanks for that : ) “Bread and Jam for Frances” is a classic!

    This was a smart idea for a post.


  27. “If you kill it, she will come.” See, this is how you make my day. Here’s what I think, Babe. The readers who responded share a similar taste in books. The others are on the sidelines shaking their heads thinking who would read that stuff? I’m excited about almost all of the books on the list; we’ll see which survive the actual reading. Good to hear a second vote for Sandford. What I love so much about Lehane is that his books rise above the genre and I’m hoping the same will hold true for Sandford….when I get to him….which will be next year. “Turtle Diary” sounds great, I agree.


  28. bkpyett says:

    What a list, Barbara! I shall look forward to some interesting reviews, and shall See if our library has some of them too. Happy reading!


  29. joannesisco says:

    I tend to read a very wide range of books – at one time all fantasy and scifi, now all over the place including the occasional foray into Gilles’ science related books.

    I’m a huge Stephen King fan (although I admit some books are better than others) and really enjoyed 11/22/63. I love historical fiction and recently finished Ken Follett’s The Century Trilogy which I loved.

    When you mentioned Terry Pratchett, I was shocked to realize I had not read a single one of his books!!! The shame!! I will have to correct that! It might be a welcome change from the current book on climate change I’m reading. Most nights I go to bed feeling like we are all pooched and the species doesn’t have a hope in hell of surviving. Pratchett might not save the world, but it will help me sleep better at night!


    • Joanne, we each need to read a Terry Pratchett, preferably at the same time and then compare notes! Let me know when you’re ready, okay? While climate change sounds immensely stimulating (please note slightly sarcastic tone there), I think you need a break from such serious subjects and a little light reading will do us both good!.


  30. I need to venture into new places, too, with my book selections. Thanks for the nudge.

    How wonderful of you to promote all of these books and their authors. You are a dear.


  31. Oh my. Is it possible for the weight of a Kindle to increase? I see many of these being downloaded in the weeks to come. Thanks for the great reading ideas! If only there were more hours in the day…


    • Kristie, if you happen to read one of the books on this list, please let me know what you think, okay? I’d love to hear from you. Hoping the Pineapple Express has moved along and you can get outside for a hike. A pox on cabin fever!


  32. I bought “11/22/63” because of the theme of the Kennedy assassination as well as time travel. Time travel books really intrigue me (most of them, anyway). It’s quite a big read but didn’t take me any time at all. I highly recommend it, and not because I’m a big Stephen King fan, because I’m not! Once I was done I suggested to my husband that he’d enjoy it, as he’s interested in time travel also. He was leery (because it was King) but quickly read it and said it was “okay”, which for him is high praise! I’ll re-read it eventually, which I don’t do with a lot of books.

    If you like mysteries/procedurals you might try Jan Burke’s series of Irene Kelly Kelly books. My husband recommends Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” series if you like sci-fi/fantasy.

    All I can say is, ENJOY!


    • All I can say is “Thank You!” I so appreciate reading your review of 11/22/63, fellow time-traveler fan. “Outlander” is also a story of time travel, I know. I’ve been fascinated with the subject since a kid when the old TV series “Time Tunnel” used to come on. So funny about your husband’s “enthusiastic” reviiew. Glad it was OK!!


  33. reocochran says:

    My dear Barb, you have included some well respected books, ones I have heard of and seen on the library “Staff Recommends” list! I loved Russell Hoban’s children’s literature so I know the Turtle Diary will be marvelous. Just perfect for the woman who is a turtle ‘savior’ along with her special husband.
    I have a deal with this coworker friend of mine, she reads and passes on Stephen King books (I just finished “Revival” and although it was very interesting I would not recommend it), James Patterson books, just the Alex Cross detective ones, Lillian Jackson Braun books which have a male journalist and private detective named Qwilleran who has two Siamese cats who help him solve crimes. One had me learning about Danish Modern art and furniture! They are clever and have great new words and dialogue in them, so I learn while I play detective, and we read the silliest ones on the detective market, Janet Evanovich. We may be up to #22 in this series. I have read history, world class literature all of my life, so I indulge in lighter ‘fare’ for my mind. Great escapes for me into different lives. Smiles!


  34. I call those Janet Evanovich books “airplane books.” There’s nothing wrong with lighter fare; not everything has to be literary and deep. I had never heard of Russell Hoban before Turtle Diary and had no idea afterwards that he was also such a noted children’s author. Do you read any Alexander McCall Smith, I wonder?

    Liked by 1 person

    • reocochran says:

      I bet I need to try this… Need to look up Alexander McCall Smith! Thanks for this one, Barb!
      I have a pile of books which I will be writing a post when I finish my favorite one which has a story of a child being raised as a hand servant in the home of slave owners, (very young) interspersed with someone who is of our current time period. It is very good. Mom found it at WalMart or Walgreens. She gave it to me for an early Valentine’s Day gift.
      Thank you so much for the book lead and also ‘giving me a pass’ on my reading Janet’s books. I will be writing one of the “lighter fare’ kinds, if I ever get the mystery handwritten pages of the book I wrote 10 years ago into a computer! smiles!


  35. Behind the Story says:

    Barbara, thank you so much for recommending “Tiger Tail Soup.” I see that it is quite out of your usual reading zone.

    I just naturally float from one author to the next. I’ve been trying to read paperback book at least half the time so I can buy them from my local bookstore, but I keep being seduced by reviews I read for new books. Then, since I don’t want to spend the money to buy a hardcover book, I end up buying the Kindle version. My most recent purchase is “The Girl on the Train.” Before that, I bought two books by Liane Moriarty: “The Husband’s Secret” and “Big Little Lies.” I really enjoyed them, especially “Big Little Lies.”

    I did read Stephen King’s “11-22-63” and enjoyed it. It was especially interesting since I lived through that time.


    • Hi Nicki, well, I overstated my rut. I do branch out fairly regularly, to tell the truth. China and Japan are always sources of immense fascination to me and your tale fit the bill perfectly. I just saw a post somewhere about “The Girl on the Train” and it was a rave. I’ll be curious what you think. I am surprised how many of us have read 11/22/63!!
      I like the way you describe yourself as floating from one author to the next. Will you add to your list an older book? I’ve discovered a new author, Laurie Colwin, recommended to me by a dear friend who is a most avid and discerning reader. This book is “Happy All The time.” Just trust me on this one, Nicki, it is a wonderful book from one of those writers that you can just feel relax as you enter her world because you know you are in such skillful hands.


      • Behind the Story says:

        Thank you, Barbara, for the recommendation. I just put “Happy All the Time” on my Amazon “wish list.” I’ll let you know what I think about “The Girl on the Train.”


  36. Great post, Barbara! Those books look very intriguing! And Bravo for reading outside of your comfort zone. Let me give another vote of support for the Elizabeth Peters books. A wonderful escape, and one always learns so much from her meticulous research. Engaging characters, too 😉 Best wishes, WG


    • Let’s see, there’s a character named Amelia and an author named Elizabeth….how bad could this be, right? I’m excited to get out of my comfort zone. Those old British gals are patient and will wait for me to return although they may chide a bit.


      • British gals take their joy in chiding someone about something 😉 I read every book in the series a few years back- they are addictive. Now that you’ve had fair warning, begin at the beginning, and only if you’re willing to get hooked. They are serialized as the family grows up. Quite a nice way to learn more about 19th century archeology in Egypt. And please keep in mind that I got hooked despite the fact that I rarely read fiction…. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  37. Wow, kudos to you for going outside your comfort zone! 😀


  38. joannesisco says:

    ok Barbara – we’re on! I’m now the proud owner of The Colour of Magic and I’ve happily put aside the climate change doom-and-gloom book.

    Happy Reading!!


  39. I like your list, though I’m too much of a scaredy-cat to read Stephen King (However his book On Writing was excellent). I have a a great love for the writing of Mary Renault. One of her books, Fire from Heaven, was shortlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize.


    • Hello Hilary. You are the second person to recommend Mary Renault to me in just the past few days. I will add t”Fire from Heaven” to my list of books compiled since writing this post. I’ve heard similar reactions to Stephen King’s “On Writing” but had forgotten about it. Glad to have a reminder as I think I might benefit very much from it.


  40. What a great set of comments to your post Barbara. I think you should start up Barbara’s virtual book club …

    I’m trying to hold off book reviews at the mo, but I just signed up for another Italian one, a perfume maker based in Florence. Mmm. Smells good to me, so I’ll be reporting on that in April.

    I love to read book reviews on non-book-review blogs. If that makes sense.


    • It really does make sense, Kate. It sort of like getting the pulse for what the “civilians” out there, outside of the publishing/editing world, really feel. BTW, I’m starting out with a Terry Pratchett today. I’m so eager to explore this author a bit.


      • Book review blogs are often utterly boring, and because all they do is trot out reviews, you have no sense of the person behind the reviews. So, why would you read the book based on their (sometimes tatty) review? I’ve always done them on and off, before The Ankle, I reviewed library books, but since then, I’ve relied more on book tours (eg Botticelli) and people sending me their books to review. Book blogs per se rarely have much of a community/many comments either, thereby proving my point that people want to know the person behind the reviewing.

        I should really try another Pratchett. I suppose. But I’ve got some to review, some to edit, so pleasure is on the back-burner. Do hope the perfume maker one is good though. I like to try and publicise new authors, but some are not good … so it’s nice go find the ones that are.


      • And, Kate, would you do me a favor and just Google Laurie Colwin when you have time. Read up on her a bit and you might be enticed to give her a try. I thought “Happy All the Time” was just a delight.
        She was enthusiastically recommended to me though Carol, author of “Book Group of One” and also several published books including “Leaving Van Gogh” and “To Marry An English Lord.” We have similar reading tastes. Anyway, i was leafing through the Wall St. Journal when I came across an article on the late Laurie Colwin and how much her readers still grieve her death. I thought she sounded interesting so I asked Carol if she had read her. Read her?, she replied. She’s a goddess! Colwin was a noted food writer first which is why I think you might like her too.
        The perfume-maker book sounds interesting. I’m sure I’ll be reading about it on roughseas one of these days.


  41. terry hallsey-scott says:

    What a wondeful post! You know how I look forward to your literary recommendations 🙂 interesting list. I shall definitely have to check out Botticelli’s Bastard. 11/22/63 has been in my bedside stack for sometime now…. just have not made my way to it yet, sadly it keeps getting preempted. I was fascinated to see the Outlander series in your upcoming club selections. I made my way through a number of them several years back….and the “bodice-ripping” aside (or perhaps included!), I quite enjoyed them. The time travel perspective made it quite interesting and I adore historical fiction. They were all around good reads. I might suggested a current author that Josh has just acquainted me with, Tara French. She’s Irish, writes contemporary mystery/crime fiction pageturners. Her characters are wonderful and her writing is delightful. Best of all…reading one of her books is like immersing yourself in Ireland…. esp Dublin and its environs. IN THE WOODS was her first. I am currently working my way through the fourth of five she has written…and unless things take a drastic dip…I shall be sorry to see things come to an end. Happy reading!


  42. My friend, Carol, a reader who has turned me on to some excellent authors loves Tara French. You are in excellent company. And Outlander is sitting patiently on my Kindle waiting for its turn. I’ll let you know when I start 11/22/63 and maybe we can read it together?


    • terry hallsey-scott says:

      Now that sounds like a grand plan :). Give me a heads up when you are getting close, if you would please. As for Outlander…. I await your review impatiently 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Like you, Barbara, I’m hooked on books. I joined a book club with co-workers and read several authors that I was unfamiliar with. They were good reads. But, then, on Friday … I heard a story on NPR about books with romance as a theme. It turns out I was in the car and ready to park it outside a Barnes and Noble. I went inside and bought E. M. Forster’s “A Room with a View.” I can’t wait to carve out some time and enjoy this book. Thanks for all the recommendations. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved “A Room with a View.” I read it back in the days when I was less distracted by, well, everything, and would spend hours reading in the afternoon. That doesn’t happen nearly often enough anymore. I hope you enjoy a true classic. I really do think it’s a good thing to keep an open mind and not stuck in one certain genre. I remember two years ago reading “Clockers” about cocaine dealers in the inner city which ended up being a sort of modern-day retelling of Les Miserables. It was an amazing book. You just never know what wonders are out there for you in the pages of a good book.

      Liked by 1 person

  44. I have really got to get out of my own Reading Rut! I am currently reading The Sixth Extinction…not what i would call “light reading” 😉


    • Hi Melissa. Yikes! I’ve just looked this book and up and let’s just say it’s a smidge over my head! I do believe, however, I heard this author interviewed on NPR a while back and her talk was fascinating. Thanks for reading and commenting!


  45. Well that’s given me plenty to mull over when making the next book order!

    I second Pratchett….makes me laugh time after time, but Outlander hit the wall about a chapter in – the Royal Army indeed! If you want to do time travel then get your facts straight – including the length and purpose of kilts.over the centuries.

    Have you tried Reginald Hill? Anything by him – I think I have the lot – but his black private eye Joe Sixsmith and his police duo Dalziel and Pascoe are marvels of the literary form and I return to them time after time…

    I’ve just been reading Sybil Bedford’s ‘Jigsaw’ – life in the more genteel end of bohemian underworld between the wars….it might appeal too….


    • Another vote for Pratchett. Such a surprise to me that I have Never Heard of him and he is so popular amongst my blogging friends. Reginald HIll’s name has been mentioned to me time and again and I have not yet read him. I aim to change that.


  46. Very late entry here (how very moi!) but after finally coming back and reading so many lovely, interesting suggestions and comments…I am left with one thought. Barbara…you would be the perfect hostess for an online book club! You have the perfect venue right here and I’m sure you need yet another project…yes?


  47. PS…I hope you are not freezing your hiney off.


  48. Betsy says:

    So that’s the case? Quite a retavelion that is.


I welcome your comments:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s