Thursday, August 31, 2023

All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Please join me every Friday for Book Beginnings! Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

SOCIAL MEDIA: If you are on Instagram, Twitter, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up. Find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
"Hell is empty, Armand," said Stephen Horowitz.
-- from All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny. This is the 16th book in Louise Penny's "Three Pines" series of mysteries featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gemache. 

Unlike most of the earlier books that are set in the tiny Quebec village of Three Pines, this one takes place in Paris. Gemache and his wife are in Paris for the birth of their granddaughter and become the center of a complicated murder mystery (as frequently happens to traveling police detectives). 

The Three Pines series is a big favorite of mine. Are you a fan? There are currently 18 books in the series, so I am almost finished with it. Thankfully, Penny is not and comes out with a new book about every year. 


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS 

Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the Linky box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings. 

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MY FRIDAY 56

From All the Devils are Here:
She was about, she knew, to pass what pilots call the point of no return. One more keystroke and she’d be totally committed to this course of action. 


Thursday, August 24, 2023

 

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Thank you for joining me here on Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings on Fridays. Share the opening sentence (or so) from the book you are reading this week, or just a book that caught your fancy. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

The real estate agent's message was curt.

-- From Unsettled by Patricia Reis, out October 10, 2023 by Sibylline Press.

Unsettled is Patricia Ries's debut novel. It is historical fiction with a braided narrative that takes the reader from present day to the 1870s world of German immigrants in Iowa. Our present day protagonist seeks to fulfill her father's dying wish by tracking their ancestor's history and discovering a family secret. Yes, please!


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the linky box below. Please use the hashtag #bookbeginnigns if you share on social media.

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THE FRIDAY 56

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Unsettled:
I had heard of mechanical milking machines but could not imagine a cow putting up with a new-fangled thing like that. I placed my cheek against the cow's flank and spoke softly to her in German while I milked.
There's nothing that says "Iowa farm in 1870" like hand milking a cow!

FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
In this lyrical historical fiction with alternating points of view, a repressed woman begins an ancestral quest through the prairies of Iowa, awakening family secrets and herself, while in the late 1800s, a repressed ancestor, Tante Kate, creates those secrets.
Sibylline Press was started in 2023 by four women in the publishing industry to celebrate women authors over 50. 


Thursday, August 17, 2023

The Messenger by Megan Davis -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

 

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Thank you for joining me here on Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings on Fridays! Please share the opening sentence or two from the book you are reading right now. You can also share from a book that caught your fancy, even if you it is not your current read.

MY BOOK BEGINNING

A shout from the darkness up ahead.
-- from the Prologue, “Christmas Eve[,] Montparnasse Cemetery,” in The Messenger by Megan Davis, out this month from Pegasus Books.
“Are you going to answer me?” my parole officer asks, her head on one side, brow heavy.
-- from chapter One, "Aubervilliers."

The Messenger is the debut novel by Megan Davis, a lawyer and screenwriter who lives in London. Set in Paris, it is the story of a 16 year old boy wrongly imprisoned for his father's murder. When he gets out of prison, he undertakes to find the real murderer. I love the premise and the Paris setting! This has all the hallmarks of a terrific thriller.

It is also going on my French Connections list!

YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add a link to your Book Beginnings post in the Linky box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings.

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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From The Messenger:
On the next page, there's a map of the world. Auspicious death of a journalist is depicted by a red bullet hole.
I just started but I know I am going to race through this one!

FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
A simple plan for a robbery takes a sinister turn when Alex's father is found dead. Despite protesting their innocence, Alex and Sami are imprisoned for murder. Seven years later, Alex is released from prison with a single purpose: discover who really killed his father.

As he searches for answers, Alex is tormented by his sense of guilt for his father (and for Sami) and, as he begins to uncover the truth about his father's killer, other shocking revelations with far-reaching consequences come to light. Will Alex be able to survive his own personal demons and, after all this time, bring the murderer to justice?


Thursday, August 10, 2023

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Please join me here on Rose City Reader every Friday for Book Beginnings! Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

SOCIAL MEDIA: If you are on Instagram, Twitter, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up. Find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
It is a little remarkable, that—though disinclined to talk overmuch of myself and my affairs at the fireside, and to my personal friends—an autobiographical impulse should twice in my life have taken possession of me, in addressing the public.

-- from the "Introductory" to The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I believe his "first" autobiographical impulse was his earlier book, Twice Told Tales

A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments, and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes.

-- from Chapter 1, "The Prison-Door."

I just finished rereading The Scarlet Letter as part of a classics read along on Instagram. I read and loved it in high school, but that read was over 40 years ago. It was, eventually, as entertaining and melodramatic as I remembered from when I was a teen ager. And the vivid themes of love, passion, religious zealotry, redemption, parenting, and revenge struck me fresh. What an excellent book!

But I had forgotten that the fist 50 pages or so are Hawthorne's semi-autobiographical "Introductory" before he even starts the story of Hester Prynne and her scarlet letter. Yes, it frames the story, but most of it is just Hawthorne describing his work at the Customs House and some of the eccentric people he met there. 


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

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MY FRIDAY 56


From The Scarlet Letter:

The bright morning sun, therefore, shone on broad shoulders and well-developed busts, and on round and ruddy cheeks, that had ripened in the far-off island, and had hardly yet grown paler or thinner in the atmosphere of New England. There was, moreover, a boldness and rotundity of speech among these matrons, as most of them seemed to be, that would startle us at the present day, whether in respect to its purport or its volume of tone.

It took me a while to get used to the old-fashioned writing. But once I did, The Scarlet Letter raced right along. 

 



Thursday, August 3, 2023

He Laughed at Murder by Richard Keverne -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

I don't usually show my face on the blog, but I was having fun organizing my vintage Penguins and snapped this picture. 

During the 2020 lockdown, I did a little retail therapy in lieu of a vacation and bought a job lot of over 400 vintage green tribands. Early Penguin books were published in "triband" editions, with a color stripe, white stripe, color stripe. Different colors were used for different sorts of books. The Penguin orange tribands were general fiction and literature, for example. Green tribands were mystery and crime. 

Shortly after I got the set, I started a trial (by zoom because it was lockdown) that lasted for six weeks. I put the tribands in boxes to await new bookshelves. I got the bookshelves last year, but by that time had forgotten that I had not entered all the books into my master LibaryThing spreadsheet. I only recently remembered and started entering them. It takes a long time because the books don't have bar codes or ISBN numbers. Here's the stack I entered today. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

Ahead of him the Great East Road stretched away into a misty distance, a broad, black ribbon shining in the winter sun.

-- from He Laughed at Murder by Richard Keverne. 

I grabbed this one because it was o the top of the stack. Richard Keverne is unknown today -- there isn't even the shortest Wikipedia article about him -- and his books are out of print. But he must have been popular back in the 1930 - 1950 period when he wrote mysteries because my copies of his books are all reprints. 

Most of the green tribands in my collection are by authors still read today, like Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh. I love those, of course, but I am also fascinated by the random books by authors who have disappeared from popular culture.


 YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please leave the link to your Book Beginnings post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings.  

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This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From He Laughed at Murder:

Men were absurdly stupid when women flattered them so brazenly. And Michael was more stupid than she had expected.

From these snippets, I am curious about this book. Would you read it?


Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Books I read in July -- MONTHLY WRAP UP


MONTHLY WRAP UP
July 2023

I finished 13 books in July, including three from my TBR 23 in '23 stack. There wasn’t a clunker in the bunch.
 
See any of your own favorites here? 

PICTURED

French Ways and Their Meaning by Edith Wharton, a collection of WWI-era essays aimed at teaching American soldiers about France. One of my TBR 23 in '23 books. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham. This is an August buddy read, but I jumped the gun. As usual, I enjoyed the book much more than the movie, which I watched when it came out in 2006. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu, which I loved. Yu won the 2020 National Book Award for this funny, insightful satire of Hollywood. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

A Passionate Man by Joanne Trollope. I love a good Aga Saga and Trollope always delivers. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Italian Fever by Valerie Martin is the story of a woman who goes to Italy when the novelist she works for dies there and she needs to wrap up his affairs. The details were more than a bit odd, but it kept me interested. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2

The Sellout by Paul Beatty won the 2020 Booker Prize. It was a little scattered and magical for me, but I appreciate the talent it took to create it. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

S. by John Updike is a 1988 novel inspired by the Rajneeshees here in Oregon. It sagged for me some in the middle, but had a couple of twists that perked up the ending. All in all, a highlight of the month. It will stick with me. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Foxed Quarterly Vol. 77, the Spring 2023 issue. I keep track of when I finish these so I know which ones I’ve read. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Bobos in Paradise by David Brooks, because I always seem to be about 20 years behind with popular sociology books. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, a buddy read over on Instagram. So good! ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner by Elizabeth George, another in her Inspector Lynley series I’m marching through. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

A Better Man by Louise Penny. I enjoyed this one as much as always and now only have three left! ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

NOT PICTURED

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson, which I read with my ears. What a fantastic book! This shaggy novel set in 1920s London was the perfect companion to Vile Bodies, almost an homage. Another favorite. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

What were your standout reads in July?




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