What We’re Reading

Today’s group blog asks the question “What are you reading now and in what format?”

Kaitlyn: Since my husband gave me an iPad for my birthday, I’ve found myself reading more books on that device than in print format. I seem to read faster on the iPad, too. I’m not sure yet if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. In any case, Since last Sunday, I’ve read two mysteries (Dana Stabenow’s Fire and Ice as a free iBook and Kate Kingsbury’s Herald of Death as a epub download from Barnes and Noble, so it also shows up on my husband’s Nook), as well as Alison Weir’s new biography of Mary Boleyn (Queen Anne’s more interesting sister), which is half business/half pleasure since she’s a minor character in the historical novel I’m currently writing as Kate Emerson. I’ve also ordered this one in hardcover for my research library. Although I can search the ebook version, and liked the instant gratification of being able to start reading it seconds after I bought it, I quickly discovered that I missed the ability to flip through pages in a physical book, flag pages with post-its, and use a highligher on passages I would want to find again.

Side note in the personal thrill department: My online “A Who’s Who of Tudor Women” is listed in the bibliography of Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings. Cool!

In print format, I’ve just started reading our own Barbara Ross’s The Death of An Ambitious Woman.

I also listen to audiocassettes in the car. Yes, I said cassettes. I haven’t advanced to either books on CD or downloads. I have a pretty good library of books on cassette and don’t mind hearing old favorites more than once, especially since I only listen to about twenty minutes at a pop and it takes awhile to get through a book. My current “book” is Elizabeth Peters’s Deeds of the Disturber. I started with Crocodile on the Sandbank a few months ago and am working my way through the series for probably the third or fourth time.

Oddly, the more involved I am in a WIP, the more I read when I stop work for the day. I suspect that’s an attempt to escape from Kate’s world or Kaitlyn’s world into a world someone else has created. I guess I long for a complete change of pace.

 Lea: I’m still a book addict.  We own a Kindle, but my husband has taken it over for such essentials

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

as reading the daily New York Times. I like it for travel and emergencies, like when my editor wants to know if I’ve read a certain author and I can get back in an hour or two and act intelligent. But on a day to day basis … I read books.  Right now I’m catching up with Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series.  I’d read the first few and loved them, but then skipped a couple.  My husband has been devouring them instead, and just finished a marathon reading of all 7.  I’m currently reading Bury Your Dead, published in 2010, which I especially love because a lot of it is set in Quebec City, one of my favorite places in the world.

Last week I was also delighted to read Victoria Trumbull’s Martha’s Vineyard, a wonderful book by Cynthia Riggs. It’s a gorgeously photographed and written idiosyncratic history and tour of Martha’s Vineyard, from the “point of view” of Cynthia’s aged sleuth, Victoria Trumbull, but you really don’t have to have read her mysteries to love the book. (Although I do recommend the mysteries, too!) Only one danger: you’ll definitely want to schedule a visit to the Vineyard if you buy a copy. I keep thinking what a great Christmas gift this book would make …

Vicki: On my nightstand are Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery, by James R. Benn and Goldfinger, by Ian Fleming. I received the Billy Boyle in my little bag of giveaway books at Malice Domestic last year, and I’m enjoying it. My husband and I are nearly through with watching the Foyle’s War series, so I guess I’m on a Second World War kick. Goldfinger has been a fun read, too. I picked it up because I was dressing as Jill Masterson for last weekend’s Crime Bake ball, and I thought I’d study up for the part. I enjoy the brooding, introspective Bond of the books. He’s so different from the Bond of the movies, although Daniel Craig comes closer than anyone else ever did.

Vicki as Jill Masterson with a dashing 007

Like Kaitlyn, I’m looking forward to an upcoming “listen” of a book — Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. We’re headed to North Carolina for Thanksgiving, and since we were riveted by the first book (we listened to it last April driving to South Carolina) my daughter suggested we get it. The Hunger Games was horribly enthralling — I can’t wait to hear this next one!

Kate: I find I’m doing a lot more of my “reading” in the car, especially as this seems to be the running around season, with far too many errands. I just finish Lisa Gardner’s Live to Tell, and once again I’m so impressed with the way she weaves a multi-viewpoint story and keeps tossing in surprises.

Also, as a holdover from last weekend’s Crime Bake, I’m finishing up Douglas Starr’s The Killer of Little Shepherds, which is both a true crime that took place in the late 1800’s, and a fascinating description of the beginnings of today’s forensic science. A bit gruesome in parts, but an utterly riveting read. One of the fun parts of being on a panel with other mystery writers is getting to read all the panelists’ books, and so I’ve read about art theft in Anthony Amore’s Stealing Rembrandts, Michele McPhee’s ripped straight from the headlines account of Professor Amy Bishop’s killing spree at the University of Alabama, A Professor’s Rage, and my friend Jessica Speart’s fascinating account of one of the world’s biggest butterfly smugglers, Winged Obsession.

Barb:  Boy, you guys make me feel like a slacker. Right now, in paperback I’m reading the first in Cleo Coyle’s Coffee House Mystery Series, On What Grounds It’s tightly written, strong characters, great setting–a part of a look I’m doing at cozies and at series premieres. On my Kindle, I’m reading The Writing Warrior: Discovering the Courage to Free Your True Voice by Lorraine Herring. I have to admit this isn’t usually my kind of book, and I’ve barely started it, so nothing to report yet. But I do have a love as a reader and a writer for a sort of distanced narration, and as a writer, I’d like that to be my choice, not a necessity, so I’m working on that.

Thanks for the shout out, Kaitlyn and I hope you enjoy The Death of an Ambitious Woman.

Sarah: My ambition to be an organized reader has gone haywire as usual, because everything is so doggone tempting. I’m working my way through yet another angle on the financial fiasco of the past, well, several decades, really, this time with Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera’s ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE. (And boy, are they ever.) On the fiction side, Neal Stephenson’s REAMDE promises to occupy me for a while, but I’m cheating with THE PRAGUE CEMETERY. And the new J. Edgar Hoover bio is so alluring, I may just have to give in to it.

Julia: I’ve temporarily lost my Sony ereader.  I downloaded the Twilight novels because we didn’t have time to run to the bookstore (and my 11-year-old absolutely had to read them right then or else she was going to die…) and needless to say, she’s had the thing ever since. I have to give her credit, she’s been taking excellent care of the reader. It’s interesting to see the difference between her and my older two – the teens will not read anything that’s not in paper book form, but the youngest has announced she prefers the ereading experience. Of course, that may be because her recent favorite reads run to 700+ pages, and she’s just enjoying having the weight off her arms!

I just finished rereading Maine’s biggest author: I started Stephen King’s The Stand on Halloween and just finished it. I had never read the expanded ’90s edition before; I thought it mostly stood up well against the original, but there were still places that could have used a good editorial trimming. I honestly think King is going to be an author who is read and studied a century from now.

On my nightstand: Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, which I’m having a hard time getting into, and The English: A portrait of a people by Jeremy Paxson. I confess that the things I’m most excited about reading right now are the December issues of the shelter magazines, which are all showing fabulous interiors decorated for Christmas. At this point, I can still pretend that I’m actually going to make a table runner out of antique mirrors and tea lights, or swathe my mantle in a live cedar and magnolia garland. A month from now, it’ll be the same exact Christmas decor we’ve had in place for the last ten years, but for now…a girl can dream.

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3 Responses to What We’re Reading

  1. MCWriTers says:

    Julia…stick with Case Histories. It grows on you, and, in the end, is quite brilliant.

    I, too, long to decorate my house in grand style for the holidays. Usually, I get as far as clearing away the heaps of magazines and books (a year of unread New Yorkers?) from the flat surfaces. Last year, I didn’t even get around to a tree until I saw a potted Norfolk Island pine at Home Depot and dragged it home. In eleven months, I have not managed to kill it, despite benign, and sometimes malign, neglect.

  2. Sarah Graves says:

    Julia, I agree w/you x 10 about King, and Kate, thanks for the encouragement re CASE HISTORIES; I will try again. And Kaitlyn, big ups/congrats re that bibliography listing — v. cool indeed! Also, Lea, thank you for the Christmas gift suggestion — the Vineyard book will be perfect for someone special of mine.

  3. Thanks, Sarah. Julia and Kate: whatever you do in your homes by way of Christmas decorating it will be more than I do in the house here at Mystic Valley Farm. Of course, I do have a good excuse. From the day after Thanksgiving until right before Christmas we’re busy selling cut-your-own Christmas trees. The office/gift shop, now—THAT we decorate.

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