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anniedeighnaugh

What are you reading in January 2020?

Annie Deighnaugh
January 1, 2020

I'm about to start The Lost Girls based on recommendations here.

Book group book is The Girl With 7 Names.


What's on your reading agenda?


(It's helpful for others if you can bold the book titles, rate them 1-5 with 5 being best and whether or not you think it's good for a book group.)

Comments (100)

  • nutsaboutplants

    I’m one of those those that viewAll the Light ... as a timeless classic. It’s a wondrous world lit with internal beauty and delicacy. I count myself privileged to belong to a post-All the Light world and to have read it.

  • nutsaboutplants

    Read Straight Manlast week. enjoyed it greatly. 3 to 3.5 stars. Russo captures academia in all its glory (or infamy, to be more precise).

    Also read The Friend . Enjoyed it also. 3 stars.

    Reading Before We Were Yours now. Not far enough to have an opinion yet.

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  • nickel_kg

    Thanks for the Goodreads info ... start of a new year is good time to jump in :-)

  • Elmer J Fudd

    It is useful to keep track of books read - also books started and not finished - but I find it easiest to do that on a spreadsheet. Alphabetical by author with just a few additional fields in columns to cover title, date(s) read, and comments if any. Yes, dates read, plural. I tend to reread books of favorite authors after five years or more and keeping track of which and when helps me. .

    It's good to have this info for my own use but it's not something I ever share or want Goodreads or anyone else to have access to. I don't share the list itself but sometimes friends will ask me for a recommendation of a particular type, author, or period of history and the list helps me be helpful.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    Just finished the lost girls and really liked it. I think it was recommended here. 4 stars and good for book group.


  • leela4

    Elmer, that's a really good idea to include rereads. I often reread favorite books (after having read them for the first time a year or more previously) but I've never kept track of that. Heck, some books I've read 2-3 times so of course I've lost count.

  • Rusty

    I started January with another Debbie Macomber book, "Window on the Bay", and enjoyed it. Followed it with John Grisham's "Fetching Raymond", and was very disappointed. I found it on our library's Overdrive list, and didn't read the description well enough, so didn't realize it is a 'story', not a 'real' book. So finished it in less than one day.

    Now I'm reading "Say You'll Stay", which is a free Ebook from either Bookbub or The Fussy Librarian, I forget which. It's okay, it fills the bill as something to read while I'm looking for something with more substance. Reading Ebooks is a fairly new experience for me, and I find our little library's selection disappointing. Guess I'll have to get a library card from a neighboring county, they have a much larger library system, so hopefully the Overdrive will be better stocked, too.

    I can't seem to choose a 'favorite' book for 2019. The library's list of my check-outs has 60 or 70 books listed for last year, plus there's another 15 or so that weren't from the library. Many of them I don't even remember! "Every Little Thing" stands out in my mind, but it was fairly recent. There quite probably were books earlier in the year that I would consider much better.

    Personally, I want to thank those of you who include the author, as well as a brief description of the books you've read. Or at least the genre. Those facts are very helpful!

    Rusty

  • chisue

    I hope Amor Towles will continue to write. I loved Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow. We need more examples of people with true moral fiber.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    Rusty, goodreads is good for finding out that info from just the book title... It's only an issue if there are more than one book with the same name... not often, but it happens.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    I've mentioned it before but not in awhile, so I'll mention it again..Tisha...about a woman in her 20s in the 1920s who goes to Alaska to become a teacher...quite an astonishing adventure and it's true!

  • justerrilynn

    Annie, I’m trying to look that up. Who is the author?

    Edited: found it, Robert Specht


    I loved The Thirteenth Tale. I read that along with the ones below back in 2015. I was on a roll of good reading that year with thirty four in all including the Poldarkseries.

    Fav’s of that year...

    The Thirteenth Tale

    The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (loved story but wanted better end)

    Cutting for Stone (thx Mtn)

    Middlesex

    The Shadow of the Wind

    You will also enjoy

    Once Upon a River: A Novel

    Looking through my list I read that almost exactly a year ago, ordered on Feb, 2, 2019. I didn’t like it as much as the above but close.

    I have shared these before but it’s worth mentioning again as I thought them excellent.

    Next up, I have a free book on Amazon Prime. Glendy Vanderah

    Where the Forest Meets the Stars.

  • Rusty

    Yes, Annie, thank you, that is exactly what I do. Usually I Google the title, then go to Goodread's listing. But when there is a little info included in the post here, it saves the time. Several times I've seen titles mentioned that really grabbed my interest, but when I checked it out on Goodreads I found it was something I wouldn't like at all. So disappointing! Just recently looked up a title & found more than one book, no idea which one the poster enjoyed because title was the only thing mentioned. Frustrating! And I'm already frustrated because so many of the books mentioned here are not available in our library, either as 'real' books or e-books. Grrrrr!

    Rusty

  • Olychick

    My library has the worst search engine imaginable. I never believe it when it says it doesn't have a book that I want. I'll then search by author and sometimes the book will come up that way. It's like if you leave a "the" off the title, it won't come up at all. Has to be practically exact.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    Rusty, I share your frustration on books. We have a system in our state though where you can borrow from any library with your local card. Many libraries in the state belong to the same catalog system, so you can search many libraries at once and it gives the status if it's available or checked out. Then you can choose to fetch the book yourself or the library will order it for you and let you know when it arrives. I've actually enjoyed driving to many different libraries...I always enjoy seeing them...so many have interesting architecture and features as well as art to see.

  • happy2b…gw

    The Island of Sea Women and The Huntress are stand outs for me too. I just finished The Bookseller which I enjoyed, held my interest and pleasant reading. All the books I want to read are wait listed in my public library and I will not be going to the library to check the shelves until next week, so I selected 2 books from my book shelves, Little Woman and Tomorrow Is Forever. I recall loving Tomorrow Is Forever and have read it twice. I am curious to see if I like it as much this time around.


    Accept my apologies I do not know how to bold or italicize on my phone.

  • Delilah66

    WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR is tied with another non-fiction book for favorite book read in 2019. It was probably mentioned here. The author, Paul Kalanithi, was a man whose mind stretched from the practical to the metaphysical, which to me is incredible.

    The other non-fiction 2019 favorite was JESUS: A PILGRIMAGE by Fr. James Martin. Fr. Martin describes his first visit to the Holy Land after claiming for years he had no desire to go. He’s witty and relevant in this book.

    Annie, THE GIRL WITH SEVEN NAMES is an incredible story of the human will not just to survive, but to live free. I hope you ”enjoy” it.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Delilah66
  • joann_fl

    I like a light read. I'm reading

    Christmas at Harrington's

    by Melody Carlson

  • dee_can1

    Finally got around to starting The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.


  • dedtired

    I’m reading Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s very good. It takes place in Vineland NJ which is not far from Philadelphia. It’s the story of two families who each owned the same falling down Victorian house, one in the 1800s and one in contemporary times. I recommend it. I can hardly believe my book club has had three winners in a row.

  • Olychick

    Last night I finished An America Marriage, by Tayari Jones. What a great book!! I thought I'd heard conflicting reports about it, some loved it, some didn't, but decided to try it. I thought the story was very well conceived and while addressing some of the problems of our criminal justice system, it doesn't hit you over the head or lecture you. She explores love and loyalty and family in ways that are very thought provoking, which I liked.

    But what I loved about the book was her writing. It was stunning; her use of analogy and metaphor just stopped me in my tracks to reread what I'd just read. It was profound in some areas, too. I can't wait to read more from her.

    Highly recommend!

  • 4kids4us

    Olychick, I read An American Marriage two summers ago and had similar thoughts. I actually started out listening to the audiobook while driving to/from a week at the beach, but also had the hardcover book from my library so I ended up finishing it by reading it. Both versions were fantastic. The narrator was wonderful - his voices for the various characters really brought the book to life for me. I can't remember which character it was, but there was an older guy he met in jail I think. I just recall that the narrator had me chuckling with some of the things that character was saying. I'm not sure the "voice in my head" when reading on my own would have captured that particular character so well. I was surprised when I saw mixed reviews on goodreads as I too found it thought-provoking.

    I just finished The Splendid Things We Planned, a memoir by Blake Bailey. I'd never heard of him but he apparently is well known as an author of a few biographies. While described as a memoir, it's actually more a book about his brother's downward spiral due to drug/alcohol addiction and mental illness. While well written, I found Bailey's tone flippant and unsympathetic regarding his brother, even though he himself was no angel. I came away thinking the author was a bit of a jerk and self-involved. However, I suppose it would make for a good book club discussion!

    I just downloaded and started listening to Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, an Irish author whose latest book Normal People just came out last year. I enjoyed that book well enough, so figured I'd give this one a try. Not far enough into it to give a description or whether it's a worthy read. I use my library for audiobooks and sometimes the selection is a little slim, so I tend to find books I might not have necessarily chosen otherwise so we will see how this one goes. The Irish accented narration is lovely. ;)

  • stacey_mb

    I recently finished reading The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. It's a great book, IMHO, and definitely deserved the Booker Prize co-win. 5 out of 5 stars. It was also voted as best fiction for 2019 in Goodreads Choice Awards.

    I read and listened to many many wonderful books during 2019 but haven't kept a list. Some that I recall being my favorites are A Gentleman in Moscow, The Island of Sea Women and Educated.

    A couple of audiobooks similar in topic really kept me glued to my iPod - Just Mercy : a Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (now a movie) and Mighty Justice : My Life in Civil Rights by Dovey Johnson Roundtree. Roundtree's life is particularly amazing considering she was born into a very poor African American family in 1914 and yet became an attorney, a minister and civil rights activist.

    My current audiobook is The Liberation of Paris : How Eisenhower, De Gaulle and von Choltitz Saved the City of Light by Jean Edward Smith. Von Choltitz was a commander in the Nazi occupying force in Paris as it became obvious that the Germans would lose the war. He was directly ordered by Hitler to destroy the city rather than leaving it intact for the freed French and the Allies, but he refused. I plan to read the print version as well to get a better idea of some details that I missed.

  • salonva

    What a great variety of books being mentioned and recommended here.

    I was one who did not love American Marriage. I thought it was fine but couldn't understand the acclaim it received. Most people in my book club did not agree with me and loved it.

    The Huntress is a book club pick for a few months down the road.

    I just finished and highly recommend, The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell

    It was just a beautiful story, so well done and so engrossing. Typically not my type of story line, but so well done. Book club will discuss at end of the month. I think it's a great book and a great book club pick

  • Kathsgrdn

    I'm in the middle of 3 books: A.G. Riddle's Pandemic. Really like it so brought it from home to read at work. Stopped reading Joe Hill's Full Throttle so I can finish Pandemic. Picked up at the library yesterday to listen to in the car, my first John Grisham book in years: The Reckoning. So far it's really good.

  • nutsaboutplants

    Finished Before We Were Yours a couple of days ago. I can’t give the entire book a single assessment because the Rill/Mae parts were out of this world and the Avery portions were just so flat, glib, pat. 5 for Mae and 1.5 for Avery.

    Reading The Known World now. i haven’t gotten very far but it is so good already.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    Just finished Girl with 7 Names. It was recommended here, and as usual, you guys were right. It's for book group and I look forward to the discussion. I give it 4+ stars. (I tend to reserve 5 stars for the best of the best.)

    Next up for me is My Sister the Serial Killer also based on recommendations here. Next up for book group is The Body Keeps the Score.


  • Amazing Aunt Audrey

    I received 3 books for Christmas. Twisted Twenty Six by Janet Evanovich, Angel Eyes and The Bittersweet Pill by Robert Parker. I haven't started any of them yet, but will soon.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    I've always enjoyed the Stephanie Plum novels...DH and I enjoy listening to them when we're traveling by car...keep us intrigued and laughing on long trips.

  • ci_lantro

    I finished The Huntress by Kate Quinn night before last. I had never even heard of the Night Witches so it was interesting to read about that. Overall, I rate it 3.75 stars. Downrating it because Quinn's prose is uninspired & it was predictable.


    Picked up a book that has been laying around the house for the next read. The Man with No Time (Simeon Greist) by Timothy Hallinan. Liking it so far, about 50 pages in. Suspect that I will hunting down more books by this author. Snappy dialogue. ++

  • Funkyart

    I finished and loved The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, the novel that launched John le Carre as a bestselling spy novelist (I believe it was his 3rd novel).


    Now reading The Night Fire, the third Ballard + Bosch novel by Michael Connelly. I am enjoying it for what it is. I am very busy with work obligations and its an easy book to pick up and read when I have time/focus... though I admit, I always want to read "just a little more" so it may not be best for my sleep ;) I enjoy the characters and I don't really have an issue with Ballard's lifestyle as others have reported. It's unusual don't find it particularly unbelievable-- not for a gritty, single detective focused more on her work than her personal life (or sleep, for that matter).

  • runninginplace

    Cilantro, that series (The Man with No Time) is intriguing! I've read another Hallinan series about Junior Bender that also featured a lot of snappy dialogue and humor, I'll have to meet Simeon Grist too :).

  • chisue

    Ugh! Here's a pick it up; put it down; terrible, awful, please-stop-writing this claptrap-dialogue. I suspect it's the same with of any of these detective novels by by Loren D. Estleman, but I had the misfortune of finding When Old Midnight Comes Along. Minus 5!

    Fortunately, I could turn to a more promising pick from the library: Famous In Cedarville, Erica Wright. Only 40 pages in, but the character development and small town setting are thoughtful and touching. What a relief!

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    Just finished My Sister the Serial Killer...a very quick read with an intriguing and unique story line. I give it 4 stars...good read, but not enough meat for book group.

    Next up is something lighter...Dave Barry is From Mars and Venus.

  • kadefol

    I am re-reading Rosamund Pilcher's Flowers in the Rain and The Blue Bedroom short stories. Kind of repetitive, but soothing night time reading.

  • Olychick

    I just finished Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg. It's a follow up story to Arthur Truluv, which I adored. Night of Miracles was delightful, too. Easy read, but interesting believable characters.

  • OutsidePlaying

    I am halfway through The Giver of Stars, by Jojo Moyes. I seem to recall some here have read it, and it was in my radar at one time and somehow dropped off. I saw it again, maybe on Goodreads, and decided to read it. I am really enjoying it and unless I become disappointed along the way, I am giving it a solid 4.5 stars, maybe even a 5. It is a story set around Horseback Librarians who rode into the Kentucky Hills in the late 30’s-early 40’s to deliver books to poor hill country people. The characters become friends, despite different backgrounds. The library was a project created by Eleanor Roosevelt.

    i haven’t read as much over the holidays but did manage to read David Baldacci’s Minute to Midnight (4 stars for good entertainment with a female protagonist for a change) and I started Educated but put it down to read another time. For some reason i couldnt get into it right before Christmas.

  • Bunny

    Outside, I really enjoyed The Giver of Stars.

    I’m currently reading Before We Were Yours, 2 Samuel, and The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr.

  • Compumom11

    I'm delighted to have stumbled across this thread. Some of you know me from the cooking forum, but I'm a reader too!. LOVED, LOVED LOVED The Girl with Seven Names. Inspiring and so interesting. Gentleman in Moscow was great too, but a slog for the first 60 pages.

    I love Lisa See's writing and am currently reading Sea Isle Women. For our book club I just finished The Dutch House. I agree with other posters, good, not great and the ending, meh. Her book Bel Canto was excellent. I liked Before We Were Yours and was dismayed to learn that this awful place had existed in Tennessee. If you haven't read "We Were the Lucky Ones" please do.

    I agree, I found the Weight of Ink difficult to read. "There There" by Charlie Orange is an excellent first effort by a Native American author.

    For Non Fiction, the Hare with Amber Eyes is an excellent read. If you haven't read Trevor Noah's memoir, "Born a Criminal" don't miss it. I enjoyed the book and it offered insight into apartheid in South Africa. ETA: Just remembered to add "INHERITANCE" a true story about finding out a family secret due to 23 & Me. A very good read!

  • Bunny

    Hi Compumom. I loved Bel Canto, even though the ending was tough.

  • Funkyart

    I also gave My Sister, The Serial Killer 4 stars but it was somewhat reluctantly. It was fun and quick but I agree, not very meaty. I guess 4 stars feels like it should be important in some way-- meaningful. I just didn't get that from it... but it was 4 stars of entertainment.

    I did gift this book-- but I admit, it was more a laugh on the title as I gave it to my two sisters the Christmas before last. It did get the anticipated reaction!

  • phyllis__mn

    I did not keep a record of books read this year, something I truly regret. Our newly formed Book has met three times, and I'm beginning to think I Prefer just reading on my own! First was Weird, then Life after Life, and now The Woman in Cabin 10. Discussions were very good on all, but don't think they were so great, I guess. For next month, we will be reading Nightingale and I'm looking forward to that. I think that my problem is that I expect all to grab me like Bel Canto, All the Light...., Cutting for Stone, etc!

  • Ladydi Zone 7A NW BC Canada

    Just popped in to say that I love a good book & often think how fortunate it is that we all have different tastes and interests. Would be sad if everyone like the same kind of reading material and of course upsetting for those of us who entertain the urge to write something different.

  • IdaClaire

    I just finished reading The Good Liar for book club. I really expected to like it, so was a bit disappointed. It took some twists and turns, but in the end it just seemed to wrap up everything too conveniently. I also read some passages, and had to go back and re-read, not understanding which character it was pertaining to. I'd still like to see the Mirren-McKellen movie, just to be able to judge how closely it followed the book, but overall it's a book that I probably would not recommend to others. (SPOILER: The book also contained a passage that was quite graphic regarding the assault of a 10-year old girl. That bothered me.)

  • salonva

    I have added quite a few books to my "Want to Read" list at goodreads , thanks to this thread.

    I am in the middle of the Victoria The Queen by Julia Baird, recommended above. I am not loving it and finding that I have to skim large parts of it, but there are other bits that I find totally fascinating and enlightening so overall I like it; just don't give me a test on it. I find that a lot of the information about the times, the context of what is happening, is really very helpful. The details provided about the child labor and how prevalent giving narcotics to infants was, has been eye opening to say the least.

    I think I am going to start My Sister the Serial Killer because it sounds like a good read (and it's kind of short lol) ; a good balance to Victoria.

    For the record, I read Bel Canto years ago for book club, and while I remember it being a good read, I was underwhelmed. Certainly seems like I am in the minority there.

  • nutsaboutplants

    Yesterday, I finished Edward P. Jones’s The Known World ... I am speechless, awe-struck, mesmerized, just plain blown out of my mind by the beauty, intricacy, steeliness, depth and breadth of this work.

    5 stars. I’m stingy and even harsh with my assessment and the only other work I’d venture to say comes close to this is All the Light We Cannot See. I wanted to wait for a day before posting, just so I’m not in the grips of a powerful yet subjective experience of having finished a great work. I still give it 5 stars after a day of waking up and dealing with the mundane has cooled off the hold the experience had on me when I put it down yesterday.

    The Known World is true art, literature and history. I can’t get over the kind of gifted writing it takes to take on a weighty subject matter and handle it with such deftness and mastery. To enliven its universe of characters, events and setting with a beauty lit from the inside, like a vast mural, sculpture or tapestry. (It revolves around slavery in the Southern states around the time 1830 - 1880, particularly slavery under Black slave-owning masters. Though reasonably well-researched and historically accurate, it’s primarily a novel, a work of fiction, more than history.)

    I can’t explain how I hadn't read this book that was published in 2003 for all these years, but I’m glad I read it now. I’m sure others here have read it. Please share your thoughts.

  • nutsaboutplants

    Yesterday, I finished Edward P. Jones’s The Known World ... I am speechless, awe-struck, mesmerized, just plain blown out of my mind by the beauty, intricacy, steeliness, depth and breadth of this work.

    5 stars. I’m stingy and even harsh with my assessment and the only other work I’d venture to say comes close to this is All the Light We Cannot See. I wanted to wait for a day before posting, just so I’m not in the grips of a powerful yet subjective experience of having finished a great work. I still give it 5 stars after a day of waking up and dealing with the mundane has cooled off the hold the experience had on me when I put it down yesterday.

    The Known World is true art, literature and history. I can’t get over the kind of gifted writing it takes to take on a weighty subject matter and handle it with such deftness and mastery. To enliven its universe of characters, events and setting with a beauty lit from the inside, like a vast mural, sculpture or tapestry. (It revolves around slavery in the Southern states around the time 1830 - 1880, particularly slavery under Black slave-owning masters. Though reasonably well-researched and historically accurate, it’s primarily a novel, a work of fiction, more than history.)

    I can’t explain how I hadn't read this book that was published in 2003 for all these years, but I’m glad I read it now. I’m sure others here have read it. Please share your thoughts.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    My book group thanks all of you who recommended the Girl with 7 Names. Everyone liked it and it led to a lot of good discussion. So thanks!

  • runninginplace

    I'm engrossed in Such a Fun Age and agreeing with this Goodreads assessment below. About 3/4 finished and it's definitely held my attention!

    On the surface this excellent debut novel from Kiley Reid is a fun account of a young woman finding her feet and standing up for herself but it cleverly goes much deeper than that to highlight issues around racism, feminism and privilege.



  • nickel_kg

    I'm enjoying "Bertie, the Complete Prince of Wales Mysteries", a collection of 3 books by Peter Lovesey that feature the Prince of Wales acting as a detective. Carefully researched Victorian times make the stories seem correct if not entirely plausible (I doubt Bertie was actually involved in murder mysteries but suspend disbelief for a good story). The dialog is breezy, the future king of England comes off as privileged and full of himself, of course, but self-aware enough to not be a total jerk. A decent plot moves the story along. I'll look for more by this author.

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