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Ali
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:58 am

I'm reading a couple of history books;

Courtesans by Katie Hickman
Ladies of the Grand Tour by Brian Dolan
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:26 am

Courtesans is very good, isn't it?

I just finished Dewey (about the library cat in Iowa). Read it on the bus, coming back from NY.
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Lesleyann66
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:18 pm

I just finished American Lightning-about the bombing of the Los Angeles Times
building in 1910. I am working on Julia Reed's book The House on First Street-this one is on her home in New Orleans pre and post Katrina-it's very funny!
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:42 pm

Re-reading another Stephanie Plum, Sugarplum Dead.

I need some ridiculous right now.
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Miss Roulette
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:26 pm

I've just finished Singled Out by Virginia Nicholson. It is a history of the 'surplus' women of the 20s and 30s.

I don't know about the loss of the US armed forces in the First World War but in Britian the loss was so great that there was an estimated 2 million women who were 'surplus' in the fact that they had no chance of marrying or, indeed, finding a man as so many had died.

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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Sat Feb 21, 2009 2:25 pm

I recently finished Water for Elephants and it was fantastic. It ranks right up there with Carter Beats The Devil and Devil in the White City,
my two previous favorites. I think most of you would enjoy it if you
haven't read it yet. I was glad that I had watched HBO's Carnivale this summer before I read Water for Elephants,
because it really helped me picture just what was happening in a
Depression-era circus and I felt that I understood the distinctions
between performers and working men a bit better. Anyone have some
recommendations for other good books featuring Depression-era circuses,
freak shows, or carnivals?
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:43 pm

That was an excellent book. I picked it up last year, I think on our way back from Yosemite. Loved the ending.

I'm re-reading Tam Lin, by Pamela Dean. Set in a midwestern college in the early 70s. Great book for anyone interested in literature (especially English), if you enjoy well-written science fiction/fantasy.
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:50 pm

Look around and see if you can find a copy of I Love You Honey, But the Season's Over. It's a memoir. Haven't read it in years.

It's the 50s, though, not the 30s. There was a copy in my high school library.
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Ali
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:33 am

Miss Roulette wrote:
I've just finished Singled Out by Virginia Nicholson. It is a history of the 'surplus' women of the 20s and 30s.

I don't know about the loss of the US armed forces in the First World War but in Britian the loss was so great that there was an estimated 2 million women who were 'surplus' in the fact that they had no chance of marrying or, indeed, finding a man as so many had died.

Thanks for that! I'll keep an eye out. Sounds very interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:01 am

Just finished The Titanic Hotel Mystery, by John Hawks (1928).

Pretty entertaining, though it has a kind of weak ending...a "romantic coda" that they could have taken care of when the mysteries were solved. tongue

It was fun, though. I could see the nods to Christie and Allingham in the style and content.
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Wed Feb 25, 2009 2:24 am

lindydiva wrote:
Just finished The Titanic Hotel Mystery, by John Hawks (1928).

Does it have any relation to the ill-fated White Star Liner? I'm a sucker for novels, good or bad, about the Titanic.
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:48 am

No, oddly enough.

I guess the name was just popular (still), though considering the fairly recent history of the ocean liner, it was a bit eerie!
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:55 pm

I've been wallowing in Margery Allingham's Albert Campion.

At a recent library sale I picked up more than 20 titles. I'm having a very good time!
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Miss Roulette
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:05 am

Excellent! He is good to wallow with.

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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:34 pm

Yes. I had no idea she'd stuck with Campion for such a long time, or that she'd allowed the characters to age as she did. It's fascinating; I'm having a ball following them through their "lives".
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Wed May 20, 2009 7:29 am

Slaves of Solitude by Patrick Hamilton (yes, I will only read fiction if it's vintage). Nothing could beat Hangover Square but this comes close. Here's an Amazon review that just about sums it up:

Quote :
Bombed out of her London flat, Miss Roach, thirty-nine and alone, takes up residence at the Rosamund Tea Rooms at Thames Lockdon. Here we encounter an array of lost, rootless, lonely people, the flotsam and jetsam of the War - the slaves of solitude.

The story unfolds through the eyes of the shy, self-effacing Miss Roach, a woman whose natural decency stands in stark contrast to the casual cruelty of the people around her; her fragile sense of self-worth, constantly undermined by her back-stabbing friend, the odious Vicki Kugelmann, the drunken ineptitude of her American lover, Lieutenant Pike, but most of all, her humiliation at the hands of one of Hamilton's most grotesque fictional monsters, the repellent Mr Thwaites - bully, narcissist, and Fascist sympathiser.

Despite the apparent tragedy of Miss Roach's situation, the pathos is relieved by Hamilton's unique black humour and his ability to write perfect, utterly convincing dialogue, infused with waspish comedy. Ever-present is the War itself, robbing the characters of their little comforts, dictating their everyday lives. An underrated, enjoyable, entertaining read
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Wed May 20, 2009 9:35 am

The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes. It's weird and wonderful.
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Thu May 21, 2009 4:29 pm

A collection of short stories by Margery Allingham (some are Campion, others not).

And I am listening to a reading of Thorne Smith's Topper. Good stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:11 pm

I've just finished reading Sarah Waters' newest novel, The Little Stranger. It's set just after WW2 in rural Warwickshire and concerns the friendship of a local doctor and the inhabitants of the "big house".

It's very well done and the class tensions well-observed as well as it being a kind of ghost story too. I was completely absorbed by it and found every excuse possible to extend each reading session that I had with it.

And if you like that kind of thing, the book jacket has been done to look like a vintage book.

Having read Nightwatch before, about women rescue workers in the London blitz, it was nice to spot that Waters had done her research and had read novels by the likes of Elizabeth Bowen (the Heat of the Day being a very evocative novel about the people who stayed in London during the blitz, as Bowen herself did), rather than just looking purely at the history.

She even uses turns of phrase and language that you encounter in novels from that period, so it's all very well done. Highly recommended.
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:59 pm

Sarah Waters is very good and does a lot of research, not only in the history but in reading the popular novels of the day (not just the ones that have "literary merit") and really does get the atmosphere of a period novel.

I've not read either Nightwatch or The Little Stranger but I have read her other three Victorian novels.

At the moment I am reading Croppers Cabin by Jim Thompson. It is surprising for a Jim Thompson novel in that the protagonist isn't that unlikable, just a young lad who has been pushed into his situation.

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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:40 am

I'm always impressed by authors who do research! There's an interesting article on her website about how she prepared for Nightwatch. In oral history, old people who'd been around during the war were telling her that women didn't go to pubs or wear trousers, but when she looked at diaries written during the war, there were women talking about wearing trousers and how they felt annoyed by people's reactions when they went into pubs!!! Just goes to show how the saccharine view of the past doesn't tell the full story.

Haven't heard of Cropper's Cabin. Or Jim Thompson either! Oh dear... shame on me.

I've started re-reading Barbara Wilson's Gaudi Afternoon. I read it years ago on a women writer's course at uni and it was very hard to get so I doubt anyone else has heard of it. But seeing as I'm going to Barcelona, I've been following the characters around on my Frommer's map of the city! It's a mystery story with lots of gender issues like transsexualism and suchlike. It's quite fun (it's not vintage unless you take into account the descriptions of the art nouveau Gaudi...).
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:15 am

I've got a collection of Campion I picked up at a thrift store recently...just started the first one, and have no idea the title but it's good so far...about art.
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:57 am

Helen Highwater wrote:


Haven't heard of Cropper's Cabin. Or Jim Thompson either! Oh dear... shame on me.

He was the king of pulp.
Start off with his most famous, The Killer Inside Me, and you'll know if you like him or not.
Wikipedia have a fairly decent page on him.
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:20 pm

Mimi wrote:
I've got a collection of Campion I picked up at a thrift store recently...just started the first one, and have no idea the title but it's good so far...about art.

You're going to love most, if not all of them. I really enjoy the character and Allingham's writing.


I've still got more research to do for my book (though I'm writing as well)--can anyone recommend a good book on antique gold coins?--but I'm also re-reading some Phryne Fisher books and Dorothy L. Sayers's Gaudy Night for the nth time.
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PostSubject: Re: What's everybody reading?   Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:02 am

I'm not sure that I've read any pulp. I mean, I've done Raymond Chandler, but that's not exactly pulp, I suppose. I've read several trashy 60s spy novels like The Dolly Dolly Spy and Let Sleeping Girls Lie. Gawd... I even wrote a trashy spy novel! (which no one liked but is in the British Library).

I finally saw the tv version of Gaudy Night the other week - all three hours of it! Rather enjoyed it.... We read it on the same course as Gaudi Afternoon, which got a bit confusing, frankly.
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