lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
(Because let's do this thing. :-D)

What I've Just Finished Reading

Nothing, actually. Since last time, I finished The Return of Sherlock Holmes, read two more Regency Romances made of pure fluff, and meanwhile carried on reading and taking notes from Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England (which I haven't yet finished but continues to be very good).


What I'm Reading Now

Currently, a book randomly picked up in a charity shop, Mrs Jeffries on the Trail by Emily Brightwell, which is basically crime fluff rather than Romance fluff - one of a long series* about a Victorian housekeeper who solves crimes for her Inspector employer. Well, actually the whole household solves the mysteries, and she just co-ordinates them and tactfully hints about their finds to the Inspector. I'm not sure when they get the housework done. So far, all I can say is that it's certainly easy reading, which is what I wanted.


What I'm Reading Next

Ah, the part of the meme where I'm supposed to predict the future. Well, meme, it'll either be something off my to-read pile, or something random that I picked up somewhere else, or a safe re-read, I can tell you that much. *nods*

And when I've finished the current NF read, I'll probably start on The Book of Barnstaple, which is a bit more specific than general, but of use to me.


* Going by the list of about 100 others in the front, anyway. Mrs Jeffries keeps busy.
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
(Gosh, bi-monthly. Look at me. :-D)

What I've Just Finished Reading

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz, which a friend gave me for Christmas. This was the book that looked liked the easiest going off my to read when spoons pile, and it was. It was a recent Sherlock Holmes 'missing adventure' type novel and ticked all the boxes and was fun.

I then happened upon three more actual Sherlock Holmes books in a charity shop soon after and got them, so I've been re-reading for the first time in years The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles, all of which were perfectly readable, yay. (I feel v proud of myself). Interestingly, with the actual books it is very easy to hear Douglas Wilmer and Nigel Stock, which helps, but not so much with the 'new' one. (Anthony Horowitz was imagining Jeremy Brett, he said. I wouldn't have supposed it would make much difference which classic Holmes model you used but maybe it does.)

I also read and took notes from Barnstaple's Vanished Lace Industry by Peter Christie & Deborah Gahan. Obviously, this was a very specific local history book for family history purposes, so not likely to be of general interest, but it was useful (and not as dull as the title sounds). It did, however, reinforce my feeling from reading the North Devon Journal entries that Barnstaple is very possibly not a real place, although I don't know what that says about me or my Granny's relatives. It could explain a lot...


What I'm Reading Now

The Return of Sherlock Holmes (I got to the bit where Holmes reappeared, as you do; priceless), and in NF note-taking the very light and readable Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adkins. I would recommend it to all Regency Romance authors as it included a short section on naming and how most people didn't have middle names. (I know I'm mean about names, but the "What's your middle name?" question is a particularly head!deskworthy point every time it occurs.)


What I'm Reading Next

I don't know, meme! I'm only on the first few pages of "The Empty House", honestly. It depends on my mood and my spoons and what I find next in a charity shop or library to distract me from the to be read pile. But I do feel reasonably sure that there will be a next book now, and that's a good feeling. (Tomorrow, the world, people! \o/)


ETA: I'm still taking questions/topics for the Talking Meme *looks around hopefully*
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
(I'm still not doing anything for [community profile] fandom_stocking. Luckily it should open soon and then I can relax and do something else! I forget, of course, that 'better' when you've been bad is a relative term.

Also I seem to have given the impression to everyone that Manhunt is rubbish and it really isn't; it was just a bit up and down and sexist to begin with & I get very little out of protracted 'action' sequences. It's now reached an impressively consistent high standard. Vincent, Nina, and Jimmy, though, remain the most rubbish. Strangely, everyone was a lot more interested in watching it despite this, much more so than anybody is when I tell them old TV is good. Reverse psychology??)

Anyway, look at me, this makes it twice in a year (not calendar year) at least this time. I probably won't read enough to make it every Wednesday, but hopefully more often. I am optimistic!

What I've Just Finished Reading

And So To Murder by Carter Dickson, which I finished up quite quickly after I posted the other day. It was good fun and I enjoyed it. I still don't know whether to praise the BBC for giving me lovely mental casting (the three characters who were the most fun were played by Suzanne Neve, William Russell, and Stephanie Bidmead) or curse them for burninating it, but it did add to the book, so I suppose I'd better at least be a tiny bit grateful.

As I said, Monica Stanton (aka Suzanne Neve) is a vicar's daughter who writes a steamy Romance novel in 1939; her aunt, distressed, wonders why she couldn't write a nice detective novel, like those by Bill Cartwright (Wm Russell):

Now Monica Stanton, to begin with, had no real grievance against that inoffensive form of entertainment known as the detective-story. She neither liked nor disliked it. She had read a few, which struck her as being rather far-fetched and slightly silly, although doubtless tolerable enough if you liked that sort of thing. But, by the time her aunt had finished, Monica was in such a state that she had come to curse the day Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born. It was a wordless, mindless passion of hatred. As for Mr William Cartwright... Monica felt that she would like to poison Mr Cartwright with curare, and dance on his grave.

Read more... )

Before Christmas, I can now say that I was for obvious reasons, re-reading a lot of Miss Marple as well as reading Dracula for the first time (my reactions are in my Yuletide reveals post).

I also finished Venetia by Georgette Heyer, a re-read, although it was one of the books I rashly gave away a while ago, so it had been a long time. Very enjoyable, of course, and I am very happy to have a copy again. It is very sad that after a year of reading Regency Romances, I still haven't found anyone even a tiny bit like Georgette Heyer. I wish there would be, somewhere, in some period or other.


What I'm Reading Now

I'm a bit between things, but I continue with the very excellent The Victorian City by Judith Flanders in NF. (I am even taking notes for family history, which is a very exciting development as of the last few weeks and months. It's taken a bit of patient building up, but I'm able to do it a little again.)


What I'm Reading Next

That is the question. I was looking at my TBR (when spoons) pile and seeing whether any of them clicked easily, but I haven't decided which one to try next or whether just to re-read something to build up a little more stress-free stamina first before I risk reading a new-to-me book that might get killed by CFS. (I'd rather wait and be fair in my first reading). We shall see!
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
I really should get on with these because a) they were lovely questions and b) it is really not summer now. It's not even 2015. *cough*

For [livejournal.com profile] persiflage_1: What's the best new-to-you book you've read so far this year?

Well, it has been a while since July 2015 when Pers asked me this, but I think it is fair to say that the answer is still undoubtedly The Count of Monte Cristo, which I managed to read last spring. I had avoided it when reading other Dumas novels as a teenager because it was large and I thought it was about someone being in prison for years and finally getting out and having revenge. While that is kind of true, it turns out, Edmond is in prison only for a small part of the book (I know, I feel v dumb that I ever even vaguely thought Dumas would write endless grim prison fiction, lol me) and it is surely the most entertaining revenge tale ever told.

I don't know how my brain works: I can read so little without getting a headache and then I pick up a 1000 page brick and go "ooh, now this I can manage!" and basically solely in terms of having something long and enjoyable (I so rarely enjoy books because they are just such an effort; it's one of the main things I hate about being ill), it was amazing. I should think it is also a pretty darn great old-fashioned ride of improbable long, complicated revenge scheme even when you're not ill.

If you hate it, btw, this is one of those times when I will love you a lot if you don't feel the need to share that fact with me. Thank you.

Anyway, it is all the things (poison and runaway lesbians and treasure and random drug-taking and pirates and bandits and long-lost relatives and cunning disguises! Other things I have since forgot!) and only slows in a few sections where there is too long an absence of the Count, and it is both awesome and ridiculous, regardless of any faults, and I could have taken another few hundred pages of it, easy.


Coming up some way behind it, I thought The Invention of Murder by Judith Flanders was pretty great, too (an NF book about the Victorians and their obsession with murder) but that was not a magical huge novel that only rarely gave me headaches. Which is not its fault. It's definitely a recommended read for people with an interest in such things and a brain. Victorians, newspapers and lurid murders and the growth of detection fiction is a wonderful subject for a history book & the author is pretty reliably good.


Plus, in Jan 2015, I managed to finally finish the last few chapters of The English Civil War by Diane Purkiss, which was also excellent (even if I had five years or so in between the first 3/4s and the last). It deals with the Civil War (duh) but from all sorts of different points of views and aspects & is thoroughly engaging and readable. The author clearly has a passion for the era she's keen to communicate. It also mentioned my home town, which gets it extra bonus points, obviously.


But basically Le Comte de Monte Cristo is a thing of endless delight & my brain is a mystery. I feel bad for teenaged me for missing it when I could have read it totally without any adult reservation or irony or headaches, but on the other hand, I seem to have needed it last year.
lost_spook: (dw - eleven reading knitting book)
[livejournal.com profile] liadtbunny asked: What would you recommend as a good, amiable fantasy or not very sci-fi sci-fi novel?

Now, I am so out of date on reading generally, let alone SF and Fantasy, that it would be laughable if I even tried to answer this question. However, I am pretty sure that you, my marvellous, book-loving flist will be able to, and with ease!

So, people... what do you reckon would be good? Prove to me that my confidence in you all is not mistaken and find Liadt some splendidly amiable genre reading matter!

Thank you! ♥


(And, Liadt, I know you said you'd heard of Terry Pratchett and that sounded as if you didn't want him recced, but seriously: Guards! Guards! - no silly fantasy names, a parody of all the detective/noir stories and with bonus dragons. I mean, it might as well have your name on it. Beyond that, I'm mostly highly out of date or stuck in the YA section as of five years ago.)
lost_spook: (b7 - deva)
Request: Favourite plot twists - [livejournal.com profile] jaxomsride (It turns out I'm not doing these in order. Also I see no reason to wait for December, either.)


It's hard to think about favourite plot twists, maybe because it's not the first thing I think of in what I like about something (though don't get me wrong, I love a really great plot twist), but also because I have a tendency to rewatch and re-read things I like a lot, so then it becomes hard to remember the time when the plot twist was surprising instead of inevitable and admired plot work.

Or, in short, I can't guarantee these are my actual favourite plot twists, but they were the ones I came up with this week. I shall try to talk about them without spoilers. If this involves sign language at any point, bear with me.


1. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. Her books are so well known, that I think I was spoiled for quite a few of them by the time I read them, or, being the sort of lazy reader who hardly ever tries to work out the murder, maybe I wasn't struck by the others. At any rate, once it became clear what the plot twist was in this one, I was delighted by it, and remain so. I've read at least one other book that used the same twist as The Murder of Roger Ackroyd but I don't think I've ever come across anything with the same solution as Orient Express. (It is something that should be hard to pull off without being ridiculous, which is perhaps why. Or because I haven't read the other books in question, of course.) It's not my favourite Christie, but it is by far my favourite solution to a murder mystery.


2. Listen (Doctor Who). I hesitate to mention this, because I don't want to get into DW discussions, but I thought this was shaped around such a wonderful twist, not just for an episode but because it subverted the expectations of the whole show, especially in terms of New Who and did so beautifully. I know some people are watching this other awful show at the moment, but for me, this was one of the most perfect episodes in a long, long while & largely because of the twist, so I have to include it here.


3. My Life's My Own (Public Eye). It's probably not so much a proper plot twist, in the same way as the two above (but then Public Eye doesn't really work like that), but over halfway through there's a reveal that I completely didn't see coming which not only impressed me in terms of the episode but revised my entire opinion of the series I was watching and what it was capable of. And it was already being a particularly good episode. In addition, there's a twist of viewer expectation in which it looks as though the story is winding down to its close in a particular way - and then it suddenly does so much more with its last five minutes.

Book Meme

10/02/2010 07:55 pm
lost_spook: (Default)
Caught from just about everyone on my flist, because it looks like harmless fun.

1. Take five books off your bookshelf
2. Book #1 -- first sentence
3. Book #2 -- last sentence on page fifty
4. Book #3 -- second sentence on page one hundred
5. Book #4 -- next to the last sentence on page one hundred fifty
6. Book #5 -- final sentence of the book

Meme )

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