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text 2018-12-25 23:51
24 Festive Tasks: Door 22 - New Year's Eve, Tasks 1 and 3 (2019 Book Goals and Book Lottery)
Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Wie Spreu im Wind - Uli Wittmann,Maryse Condé
The Good Women of China - Xinran
The Summer Before the War - Helen Simonson
At The Existentialist Café - Sarah Bakewell
2019 Reading Plans:

I am planning a reprise of my Women Writers project for 2019; with a twist, however: On Goodreads, I used to be a member of the Around the World in 80 Books group (the name is pretty much self-explanatory) -- I'd like to combine that basic idea with my "women writers" selections, with the aim of diversifying my reading regionally / internationally.  While my 2018 Women Writers project was a rousing success in terms of the male / female author ratio (roughly 2:1), it's impossible to miss that I read a lot of books by English and North American authors; so in 2019, I'm going to aim for a wider spread next year, both in terms of authors and book settings.

 

(By the same token, I am also planning to continue my exploration of the world of Golden Age mysteries, so make of that what you will ... there's bound to be some juggling, I suspect.)

 

Book Lottery:

With the above diversification aim in mind, I picked my 5 candidates for the first book I am going to read in 2019:

 

... which were then folded and went into the drawing box, where they were thoroughly shaken up and mixed:

And the winner is:

... which is excellent news, since Xinran's Sky Burial (which I just read today) is truly outstanding; even if The Good Women of China, going by what I've heard, makes for truly heartrending reading at times.

 

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review 2018-12-04 03:19
Romantic suspense by Patricia Wentworth
Nothing Venture - Patricia Wentworth

Ten years earlier, when she was ten and he was 20, Nan Forsyth saved the life of Jervis Weare and was smitten with an overwhelming childhood crush. At the beginning of the book, she is 20 and working for Weare's lawyer when she overhears him storm in and tell the solicitor that he needs to come up with a bride in three days because his society fiancee, the beautiful Rosamund, has unceremoniously dumped him. Under the terms of his Uncle's will, if Jervis must be married in three months and one day after his uncle's death, or the entire fortune goes to Rosamund.

 

You can already see where this is going, right? Nan follows Jervis home and makes him a business proposition - she will marry him in return for 2000 pounds, which she promptly hands off to her sister so that the delicate Cynthia can marry her one true love and go to Australia.

 

This book is just delightful. I spent much of the book being reminded of a Heyer romance - although this is not set during the regency period, if Heyer had written contemporaries, they might have been similar to this one. There is the marriage of convenience, with Jervis coming to the realization that Nan is in love with him, and then later that he is also in love with her. There is a nice little bit of suspense because someone is trying to murder Jervis, and we're pretty sure we know who it is from the beginning. Nan is a fantastic character, with tons of agency, who saves Jervis time and again in a really convincing way. Jervis is a worthy hero, if a bit thick since he can't figure out that he's being targeted for death. The mystery is completely beside the point here - there's no reason to read it for the whodunnit. The real questions are: 1) will they survive and 2) will Jervis pull his head out of his hind end and realize that he is in love with Nan?

 

Wentworth takes a similar line with respect to the suspense climax that she did in Grey Mask, actually, but this time around it is just so much more successful. Grey Mask was published in 1928, and Nothing Venture in 1932, but that four years made quite a difference in terms of the quality of the writing, characterizations and plotting.

 

Anyway, for readers who like a lot of romance with their suspense, this is wonderful. It's not so sophisticated as Mary Stewart or Phyllis Whitney, but the romantic bits are much more fleshed out than the tiny romantic subplots in the average Agatha Christie mystery. I wouldn't be surprised if this one has some rereadability.

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text 2018-12-02 18:00
2019 Reading Plans

Does anyone have any projects planned for 2019? December is the month that I generally sit down and think about what I want my reading to look like in the next year, an picking the challenges that I want to participate in. This year I was not successful with most of my reading "plans," which is fine, but I'd like to be a bit more focused next year!

 

I am still working hard to pay off a few things (daughter's college education!), so my reading projects need to be largely accessible through the library or available used with my book credits.

 

Generally, I am planning to participate in the Back to the Classics 2019 challenge (if there is one - it hasn't been announced yet) as my main project, with the twist of fitting it into my All the Vintage Ladies project/blog. If there isn't a new one, I'll probably just take the categories from last year's challenge and create my own mini-challenge.

 

I also want to focus on a few authors/series next year.

 

I settled on the Mercedes Lackey Valdemar series as a long term fantasy series project - there are several sub-trilogies within the series, so I will just read them until I burn out. I'm doing the publication order, so I am starting with the Heralds of Valdemar series.  I read almost the entire first book yesterday, so I'll probably plan to read one of the sub-trilogies a month or so.

 

In terms of my Golden Age Mystery project, I am going to focus on Patricia Wentworth in 2019. I have become a huge fan of her books this year, and she has tons of books. I've already collected around half of her Miss Silver mysteries on my kindle, but I also want to dip into some of her stand alone books and her other shorter series. Hopefully Open Road will put her on sale during the year and I can snag some more, and I will just keep my eyes peeled every time I hit a UBS.

 

Terry Pratchett's Discworld Books - there is no way that I will finish this series this year, but I have enjoyed both of the Discworld books I've read (Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters) so I want to read some more. I am going to read Hogfather for 24 Tasks of the Festive Season, and then I will read Witches Abroad in early 2019 to finish out the first witches trilogy. I haven't decided on where to go next!

 

 

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text 2018-10-18 20:07
What to read next?
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine - Lindsey Fitzharris

I got my flu shot today and I´m a bit tired tonight because of it. I have finished my Halloween bingo reads, though, so I have to line up my next reads (I don´t want to fall into the reading slump trap). I´m not too tired for that. After perusing my shelves, I went for two books:

 

  1. I´m in the mood for a classic and I picked a short one with Alice in Wonderland.
  2. The Butchering Art is a new addition to my TBR and the subject matter is right up my alley. I cannot wait to read it. So off it goes onto my currently reading list.

 

And maybe Michael Connelly´s The Black Echo will arrive in the mail tomorrow, so this might be jumping on my reading list as well. I think that´s a pretty neat line up for the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2018-08-12 08:42
My Sunday reading plan
East of Eden - John Steinbeck
The Mitford Murders - Jessica Fellowes

I think I have to read another book alongside East of Eden. I´ve gotten the feeling that this might be a hard hitting read. Cathy freaks me out and I don´t even think I have seen the worst of her. And no, it doesn´t mean I don´t like the book. I really do. I just have to read something a bit more lighthearted every now and then.

 

I have choosen The Mitford Murders as the book that has to do the deed. I have never read a book by any of the Mitford Sisters and I don´t know much about the family either, so I don´t know much about the Mitfords themselves. Which might be a good thing in regards to this book. Let´s see how I will get along with it.

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