It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10-16-17 #IMWAYR #RIPXII

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Readers Imbibing Peril XII Challenge

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Slade House Readalong

Since my last update, I came to the end of Slade House by David Mitchell on audio. I hope the next book is already written, because Slade House must be the second of a planned trilogy or more (starting with The Bone Clocks). Discussion questions for the readalong were posted on Monday, so I hope eventually to do a discussion post!

audiobook cover imageBy the way, for anyone who’s worried about reading Slade House before The Bone Clocks, here’s a recommendation for reading them out of order.

On audio, I’m listening to two books that fit into the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge. On my iPod: The Likeness by Tana French, read by Grainne Gillis – the second book in her Dublin Murder Squad crime fiction novels. (This one is from the point of view of Cassie, instead of Rob, who was the narrator of In the Woods.) On CD, I just started listening to Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and son Owen King. I’m waiting for the downloadable version to come in from the library, but sometimes it’s more comforting to listen aloud to a scary story instead of having it go directly, privately, into your ear with no one else hearing what you’re hearing!

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This week I finally finished reading The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder. I almost didn’t, because I felt so sorry for the insecure characters – snarky as they mostly were – and their self-destructive behavior leading up to the wedding made me anxious.

If you liked The Nest by Cynthia d’Aprix Sweeney, Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford, or (going way back) Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney, you will probably like The People We Hate at the Wedding. I sympathized most with the weed-addicted, well-meaning mother, but her adult children,  half-siblings – one successful and getting married, two floundering, career-wise, and in unhealthy relationships – are the main characters.

Recommended for anyone who likes to read about dysfunctional families and is prepared for some truly loathsome and regrettable behavior by people who can’t seem to stop themselves. If you prefer main characters to be not completely self-absorbed and have redeeming qualities that are somewhat obvious, best to go for something else!

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This past week, I started and put aside –for the second time – George & Lizzie, by retired librarian and reader’s advisory guru Nancy Pearl. It’s the author’s first novel and it struck me as a lot of “telling” and not enough “showing”, which would be a common writing mistake for a first-time novelist, but Nancy Pearl is an experienced book reviewer and writer of nonfiction, so I thought it must be a stylistic choice, a way to bring out the quirky, off-beat nature of the characters – young Lizzie and George. The narrative style didn’t work for me, however, and I got bored being told everything all at once.

Has anyone read it and can tell me to keep going with it? I’m a big Nancy Pearl fan and expected to love George & Lizzie. Maybe I should try it on audio?

Currently Reading

Something from the Nightside by Simon Green is a genre-blend of dark urban fantasy and noir crime fiction, which makes it ideal for October reading and the RIPXII challenge; it’s the first in a series I’ve been meaning to try for a while. (The series is up to eleven books now, I believe. Damn!)

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Taylor is the name, John Taylor. My card says I’m a detective, but what I really am is an expert on finding lost things. It’s part of the gift I was born with as a child of the Nightside.

I left there a long time ago, with my skin and sanity barely intact. Now I make my living in the sunlit streets of London. But business has been slow lately, so when Joanna Barrett showed up at my door, reeking of wealth, asking me to find her runaway teenage daughter, I didn’t say no.

Then I found out exactly where the girl had gone.

The Nightside. That square mile of Hell in the middle of the city, where it’s always three A.M. Where you can walk beside myths and drink with monsters. Where nothing is what it seems and everything is possible.

I swore I’d never return. But there’s a kid in danger and a woman depending on me. So I have no choice—I’m going home.


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR) is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are, and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever-growing TBR pile!
This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at Book Date.

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Dishing Up Maine by Brooke Dojny: Curried Roasted Squash Soup #weekendcooking

For far too many years, I hated winter squash and wouldn’t eat it. Pureed squash was watery, bland, and mushy, with a weird grainy texture. Squash soup was the same, except it came in a bowl and you had to eat more of it.

Once I discovered that roasting cubed winter squash in a hot oven with olive oil and herbs and adding savory apple and curry flavors to squash soup transforms this once-hated veggie into a must-have fall favorite, there was no going back to that slooshy scoop of tepid squash puree slowly seeping into everything else on the plate.

So, what could be better than combining the two preparation methods – roasting and currying – and making Curried Roasted Squash Soup? Finally, butternut squash lives up to its tasty-sounding name!butternut squash with Halloweenn potholders

There are recipes for similar autumnal soups all over the place, but this particular Curried Roasted Squash Soup recipe comes from the cookbook Dishing Up Maine by Brooke Dojny (Storey, 2006).

We’re still having tropical weather in New England in mid-October, but the author has written it up on the publisher’s Web site as Polar Vortex Soup, and you’ll find the full recipe there. I tasted it at our library cookbook club meeting last month, where Dishing Up Maine was an alternate selection with other Maine cookbooks. Delicious!

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The recipe does call for 1/4 cup of brown sugar, which I’m planning to cut in half when I make it. The apple and cinnamon make the soup seem sweet already, so I don’t think we’ll miss the extra brown sugar too much.

Happy Weekend Cooking!

Weekend Cooking badgeLinked to Weekend Cooking, a weekly feature on Beth Fish Reads. Click or tap image to read foodie posts from other bloggers.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10-9-17 #IMWAYR

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This weekly update has turned into more of a monthly update…

Recently Finished Books

The Widow of Wall Street
Meyers, Randy Susan
Simon & Schuster, 2017

The Widow of Wall Street is the best of several novels I’ve read recently that deal with the families and fallout from the financial crisis of 2008. The main character is Phoebe, the wife of a man whose dealings on Wall Street go beyond shady. The chapters that are written from Jake’s point of view are the weakest, but give readers an idea of how people justify criminal acts even to themselves. The novel’s slow build-up made me a little impatient as the readers know what’s going on from the beginning, long before clueless Phoebe, but the book’s long time span realistically conveys how a spouse can be oblivious or in denial about the other spouse’s activities, even over a lifetime.

Read The Widow of Wall Street if you like novels about marriages and families dealing with the fallout from a crisis or that delve deeply into one person’s life, mining it for meaning. It was not a favorite of mine, but is worth reading and would make a good book club choice.

Recently Finished Audiobooks

Gwendy’s Button Box
King, Stephen and Chizmar, Richard
Read by Maggie Siff
Simon & Schuster Audio, 2017

audiobook cover imageGwendy’s Button Box is an old-school horror novella that fit right in with the Reading in Peril challenge (#RIPXII) I started this month, so I’ll review it in a separate post. Recommended for anyone who wants to dip a toe into horror or has been afraid to try a full-length Stephen King book.

The Late Show
Connelly, Michael
Hachette Audio, 2017

audiobook cover imageThe Late Show introduces a new detective character,  a young woman, Renee Ballard, who works the overnight shift on the LAPD. (Don’t worry, there’s still a new Harry Bosch book coming out later this year, too.) Male author Michael Connelly has created a tough female detective, extremely capable of handling herself in a predominantly male world, but the book did disappoint me at one point by having Renee placed in a scene with a criminal that made her appear vulnerable in a way that a male detective character rarely, if ever, is.

A Fatal Winter
Malliet, G.M.
Dreamscape, 2012
audiobook cover imageMax Tudor, parish vicar and former MI5 agent, is invited to the local castle to solve a locked-room murder mystery puzzle.

Currently Reading

Slade House by David Mitchell (audiobook)

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The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder

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Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (for book club)

book cover imageFor book club this week, we’re also going to watch Practical Magic, and compare book to movie.

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Did you know Alice Hoffman has a prequel to Practical Magic coming out tomorrow from Simon & Schuster? It’s called The Rules of Magic.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR) is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are, and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever-growing TBR pile! This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at Book Date.

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