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moonlightreader

Moonlight Reader

Currently reading

Debt of Honor
Tom Clancy
Few Eggs and No Oranges: The Diaries of Vere Hodgson 1940-45
Vere Hodgson, Jenny Hartley

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 301 pages.

Towards Zero - Agatha Christie

Dang it! I must have loaned this one to my daughter, because it isn't on my Christie shelves & I did take her a few books earlier this week. I'm going to be bringing up the rear on this one because I don't want to spend $10.00 on a kindle version. I'll collect it at some point.

 

I will start listening to the audio, but it usually takes me forever to finish an audiobook!

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 301 pages.

Towards Zero - Agatha Christie

I am starting this one, along with laundry and coffee cake baking. At some point, I'll post a picture of my cover!

Friends and fellow travelers, I give you The Pandemic Diaries

It's pretty weird out there, isn't it?

 

I thought it might be nice to open a thread every day for people to just check in. I decided to use the Bookish Bingo group, since everyone that I care about on BL is already part of that group.

 

My plan is to open a new thread every morning. If it gets late in the day (since I'm on the West Coast of the US, and probably behind EVERYONE) and you have something to say, any member can start a new thread. Just put the date in the title so we know where to go.

 

Here is the link to today's thread: The Pandemic Diaries: 3/19/2020

 

Talk to you soon. 

 

 

The view from my office

 

I'm working from home three days a week at this point, and going into the office two. As many of you know, I'm a criminal prosecutor, so our work continues - and is considered essential - in spite of the pandemic. Our court system has implemented a number of containment measures that have pushed out cases for defendants who are out of custody. The most dangerous defendants are still public safety risks, even (and maybe especially) right now, and we still have statutory deadlines that must be met.

 

And crime goes on, even with a pandemic.

 

I'm not complaining, though, because working from home is terrific. My commute is 30 seconds, and I'm sitting at my craft table, which has been repurposed as my home office for now, with full connectivity. I can work in sweats and slippers, and I'm catching up on stuff that I haven't had time to do for weeks! It's going to get ugly when all of this is lifted and we try to get everything back on track, so I need to be caught up because it will be all hands on deck.

 

So far my family is healthy, and I'm getting lots of reading done in the evenings. 

 

How are you all doing?

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 480 pages.

The Mirror and the Light - Hilary Mantel

“Once the queen’s head is severed, he walks away."

 

 

What an opening line.

Fun article for my Golden Age mystery enthusiast friends!

THE POISON PEN LETTER: THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY'S STRANGEST CRIME WAVE

 

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 480 pages.

The Mirror and the Light - Hilary Mantel

Is anyone else reading?

 

I had this preordered, so it downloaded last night at around 9:00. I'm wondering if I should reread the entire trilogy in one go.

 

I also have questions...

 

According to GR, my kindle edition is 480 pages long, but the hardcovers are variously 904 pages, 883 pages, or, the minimum count of 784. Why the 400 page difference? If I'm really reading 883 pages, I want credit for them, dammit!

Reading progress update: I've read 15%.

Long Range - C.J. Box

I had a few things to finish off before I could drop back into "Joe Pickett" world for the 20th time. I had one of those fabulous weekends where I didn't have anything to do, so I puttered around, did enough cleaning that my house looks fabulous, and mostly read. Even losing an hour couldn't ruin it for me.

 

This one was published last week, and I'll stay with Joe until the bitter end, although the recent books have occasionally gone off the rails.

 

This one looks likely to do the same.

 

Joe and Marybeth are still together, and they are empty nesters now. I keep expecting Joe to run for Sheriff, but at 20 books in, that looks less and less likely. It's more likely that Joe will run afoul of the management at the Wyoming Department of Fish and Wildlife, rescue one of his daughters from mortal peril, argue with Marybeth about his schedule, his pay and how little time he spends at home, and then blow up his state issued vehicle for what must be the 15th tiime. 

 

In honor of Joe, I'm drinking my coffee out of my Wyoming mug.

 

 

Yipee-ki-yay for this Monday morning.

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 240 pages.

Down Among the Dead Men - Patricia Moyes

I just love Henry and Emmy. I feel like I'm visiting with some very dear friends.

Unhappy Returns by Elizabeth LeMarchand

Unhappy Returns - Elizabeth Lemarchand

I usually enjoy these, but the ending of this one is incomprehensible. I read it 5 times and I still don't know what the hell happened.

 

Moving on to Patricia Moyes.

Reading progress update: I've read 40%.

Unhappy Returns - Elizabeth Lemarchand

I'm completely baffled by the title of this book - I thought it would have something to do with a birthday, but not so far. Maybe it will make sense by the end.

 

This is my 9th of these Pollard and Toye mysteries that I can read for free through the Kindle Unlimited program. This one was originally published in 1978. They are marketed as appealing to traditional mystery fans. They aren't really cozies (which is a positive as far as I'm concerned, since I'm not a fan of cozies) but they are mostly set in smallish English villages. I pretty much always enjoy them, but they don't really knock my socks off.

 

That's OK, though. Precious few books knock my socks off - if that was my expectation, I'd be disappointed all the time!

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 240 pages.

Down Among the Dead Men - Patricia Moyes

I'm still deciding between this and Mrs. Palfrey for my next book after I finish the Pollard and Toye I'm in the middle of. Decisions, decisions!

Reading progress update: I've read 35 out of 352 pages.

The House of Mirth: (RED edition) - Edith Wharton

This is a reread of one of my favorite books of all time.

 

This is my cover - I bought it on Abebooks and I LOVE it so much. That's all I have to say right now, although I am sure that I will have more to say about this amazing book as I reread it.

Sleeping Beauty by Ross MacDonald

Sleeping Beauty - Ross Macdonald

I'm not the hugest fan of noir, but there is something about the mid-century hardboiled mysteries set in L.A. that is just so evocative. It's a place I've never been, but that I recognize from dozens (hundreds) of depictions in book and film, to which Harry Bosch is the rightful heir.

 

I was completely underwhelmed by The Thin Man, when we read it as a Halloween bingo group read. But, I've read some Chandler, and liked it pretty well, and Cornell Woolrich's The Bride Wore Black blew my miind - in a good way. So, maybe I am a bigger fan than I can really recognize.

 

Because I really enjoyed this book. Taking a real oil spill from 1969 as the jumping off point, this is a complicated tale of greed and murder, with complex roots in a different disaster years before. The characters are California archetypes - the aging patriarch (with a much younger companion), disappointed in his children, the adult children who have never quite managed the dizzying levels of success that their father achieved, and who are slowly but inexorably dissipating the family fortune, the little-girl-lost granddaughter who married beneath her, and whose sadness makes her only more beautiful. It's all sort of annoying, but also there's a reason that these are archetypes.

 

And isn't it fascinating that we've been having these same environmental conflicts for 50 years, and still, always, industry prevails. America is open for business (and for plunder). Privatize profits, socialize losses, and let no man get in the way of the wealthy extracting maximum wealth from the resources that should, by right, belong to us all.

 

OK, that took a turn. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

 

I couldn't get a fix on Archer, so I'm obviously going to have to read more.

Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Faithful: A Novel - Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman is an incredibly accomplished and versatile writer who has been solidly publishing for close to five decades. I've been reading her for thirty years - my first book by her was Turtle Moon, all the way back in the 1990's. I've read probably half dozen of her books.

 

Faithful is a contemporary story that is pretty light on her trademark magical realism. The basic plot revolves around Shelby, who is 17 when she is the driver in a horrific traffic accident that leaves her best friend, Helene, in a coma. Shelby's life is destroyed right along with Helene's - her guilt and self-hatred are so all consuming that she feels that she has no right to any level of happiness. 

 

There were parts of the book that worked for me, and parts that really didn't. There is a lot of trauma in this book, and it times it veers into trauma porn. The best part of the book, to me, was the relationship between Shelby and her mother, Sue.

 

The two elements of magical realism didn't really work. There is a minor subplot dealing with Helene that suggests that she has healing powers. This was completely peripheral to the story and made no sense. There was also a plot device where Shelby periodically received postcards that told her to "Say Something" when she wasn't able to speak due to trauma, or "Do Something" when she was thinking about moving away from her home to NYC. These ended up having a fairly pedestrian explanation that also didn't work for me at all.

 

The writing is excellent, because Alice Hoffman can definitely write. And I found Shelby's arc as she puts her life back together to be really touching. She made some terrible decisions along the way, but she made some good ones, too, most particularly in her choice of befriending a single mom named Maravelle with three kids. That relationship, along with her relationship with her mom, anchors Shelby.

 

This isn't a romance, but Shelby's relationships with a few men are explored. This was the least effective part of the book to me, although her nearly relentless tendency to self-sabotage made sense and was consistent with both her character and with what a person who considers herself worthless would do.

 

I'd say that this is a lesser Hoffman, but I still couldn't stop reading it and finished it in a couple of hours. It ends on a hopeful note - we leave Shelby with the sense that she will be okay, and that she has earned her redemption.

I don't know

if this is real. Or not. And I don't care. It made me ugly cry.

 

When I'm Gone