What are we reading in February 2020?

Annie Deighnaugh
last month
last modified: last month

I'm working my way through The Body Keeps the Score, written by a doctor about both the physical and psychological symptoms and results that come from trauma: child abuse, neglect, violence as an adult, war, etc. I'm finding it very interesting, and I'm learning a lot. This is for our book group. I think it will yield a lot of good discussion.

If anyone is interested, there is a podcast of him discussing the book:

As always, it's helpful if you bold titles if you can, rate the books 1-5 and say whether you think it'd be good for book group.

So what are you reading?

Comments (161)

  • localeater

    I keep my lists on my phone using Google Keep. have you tried that?

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked localeater
  • Bunny

    Annie, my library account has a list feature. I hear about a book (here or elsewhere), find it in the library database, and put it on my list "Want to Read." Whenever I'm ready, with a click I can transfer it into my hold/request list. I'm guessing most libraries have a similar feature.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Bunny
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  • Bestyears

    I use Goodreads to track both the books I want to read and the books I've read. I've got a list of about 400 books in each category.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked Bestyears
  • stacey_mb

    Bunny, that's such a genius idea! I just now put The Call of the Wild on my list as a test, even though it was a Junior edition since all adult copies are already borrowed. It's genius because I almost always have online access to our public library and, as you mention, can easily be moved to the hold list.

  • 4kids4us

    I use Goodreads to track books I’ve read as well as to find books I might want to read, based on books my friends have recommended, as well as “strangers“ that I follow after discovering based on their reviews, that we enjoy similar types of books. Goodreads allows many different ways for me to sort books while I’m at the library - I can sort alphabetically so I can just scroll through looking on the shelves to see if the books are available. I can also sort by ratings, how long it has been on my list, etc. It really comes in handy when I make an impromptu visit to the library, since I always have my phone on me and can quickly sort my “want to read” list while standing in the library.

    I also have an online account with my library system where I have a running list of books I want to read as well as books on hold. I keep popular ones on a “suspended hold” list but It takes a little managing to make sure I always have a book ready for me when I finish one.

    Annie Deighnaugh thanked 4kids4us
  • czarinalex

    Came back to say that I gave up on Quichotte by Salmon Rushdie. I think I've only not finished 2 or 3 books in my lifetime. I just didn't care what happened to the characters or the story. Life is too short.

  • 4kids4us

    Back on book reviews - I finished reading The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles. Though it gets good ratings on Goodreads, I did not really care for it. I appreciated the historical and cultural elements of the story (it is set in Brazil in the 1940s), but the plot started to bore me about halfway through. I ended up skimming the last 100 pages.

    Still selecting authors of color in honor of Black History Month, my most recent audiobook was Behold the Dreams by debut author Mbolo Imbue. It’s about a Cameroonian immigrant couple trying to make a life for themselves in NYC. Working for a wealthy family, they come to understand that wealth does not necessarily bring happiness. A series of circumstances forces them to question their dream of life in America. Full of flawed, realistic characters, the novel would make a good book club selection. There are several plot points that would make for an interesting discussion.

    in between books at the moment. Based on recent recommendations here, I’m picking up The Paragon Hotel from the library today.

  • Bunny

    A good friend of mine recently got her Master's in library science, after years of working for FICO. She got a job in our county's public library system and was telling me that yesterday she worked on the reference desk. How fun!!! I asked what kind of questions she got and after explaining one, I said, can't they just google it? Then she reminded me that a lot of people still don't have computers. It's another world out there.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    I think reference desk work would be great!

    I do use good reads, but it's not good for bringing to the library with me.

    What I do is sit at home and then look up books on lists like this one, look at what I've added to my to read list in good reads, the great american read list and so on. But then before I go to the library, I have to pick specific books and note the authors names or call number, which library it's at as I frequent 3-4 different libraries regularly, check for availability and if available where it's new fiction, large print, mystery or whatever. It's a list with all that I need to bring to the library with me.

    I haven't tried Google Keep yet...I'll check it out. Thx!

  • roy4me

    So far I have read the following:

    Sea Change by Karen White

    The Summer Kitchen by Lisa Wingate

    The Great Alone by Kristen


    Stable Genius by two reporters from the Washington Post.

    All were great reads.

  • salonva

    Twice now, in the past 10 minutes, I have written a pretty lengthy post and twice it has vanished....just seconds before I hit submit. Let's see if this stays. Then I will give it one more try

  • salonva

    I finished There there yesterday, which I read based on recommendations on this forum. It was definitely a very different, very engrossing book. However, while I loved the stories and the writing, I have to admit that I found it pretty confusing as it went each chapter from a different (though often intertwined) character and time. Each snippet was great but maybe I was too unfocused when I read it as I kept getting confused about the relationships. This might be a good book for a book club and I think this will be one of the very few (if any) books I re-read. I think I missed quite a bit though still thought it was noteworthy.

    I just started a book for one of my book clubs, The Edith Eger. As I do with all books, I just reserve at the library and then read them without really knowing what they are about. (it works for me lol). I think had I know more about this book I might have decided to pass on it. I am glad I didn't investigate because it is amazing. The actual title is The Choice- Embrace the Possible so yes it's a sort of self help but it's incredible. I am only at about 15% through it. The author, Edith Eger, is a psychologist with one of the most amazing stories. I don't want to say too much because others will probably roll their eyes like I would have....but trust me it's a book to read.

  • Funkyart

    I am reading Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann. I don't remember if it was a recommendation or if it was discounted on BookBub .. I am thinking the latter. I just started but am loving the writing. It will likely be a slow progression for me between work and home stresses but I am glad to have an escape that is so beautifully written and easy to reach for.

    I don't normally like to share reviews but since I am not so far, I will share this short teaser about this story set in 1974 Manhattan:

    "A sweeping and radical social novel, Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence. Hailed as a “fiercely original talent” (San Francisco Chronicle), award-winning novelist McCann has delivered a triumphantly American masterpiece that awakens in us a sense of what the novel can achieve, confront, and even heal."

  • salonva

    ooh I read that book (Let the Great World Spin) quite a while ago- I just remember I liked it and yes it was a lot of bizarre-ness. I just looked it up on my goodreads and I guess I read it before I was recording my books there. Just the first few sentences of the description brought it back to me. It's a good one Funky!

  • Bookwoman

    Funkyart, that's one of my favorite books. McCann is a brilliant writer, and Let the Great World Spin is his masterpiece.

  • Jasdip

    I'm almost finished reading Jeffrey Archer's Sons of Fortune. (fiction). It's about 2 babies that were deliberately separated at birth. They both grew to be highly educated with very successful jobs, and fate I'm sure will bring them together.

    I was finding that there were so many characters (each son had their own cast of friends and family) I was getting confused who was who. I had planned to write them down, but never did.

  • Kswl 2

    I’m embarrassed to say I’m just now reading Michele Obama’s book. Or listening rather, as I wanted to hear it in her own voice.

    Also reading You should Probably Talk to Someone (about therapy) and Tiny Habits (about change).

    Next up is Yellow House about

    a home in New Orleans Before and after Katrina (non fiction).

    I actively disliked The Dutch House, a book recommended to me by lots of people I like and whose taste in books I trust. Like all Ann Patchett’s novels it was wildly contrived but this one was in the manner of a latter day fairy tale complete with near orphaned children, wicked stepmother, etc. The only thing missing was pluck, as in “plucky orphans.”

  • Olychick

    I also loved Let the Great World Spin. I read it many years ago and it's on my bookshelf n the "for the nursing home box" shelf, so if I ever end up needing that kind of care, I can take all my favorite books with me to re-read (hopefully).

    After being so enthralled with Paragon Hotel, I was worried I'd have a difficult time finding another book that would measure up. But I finished Where the Crawdads Sing this morning and it was up to the task. Wonderful!

  • jim_1 (Zone 9A)

    A few weeks ago, a neighbor gave the missus a book to read. I got it the other day. I could not read it continuously, I had to put it down and let the stories work into my mind.

    One of Reese's Book Club selections: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton. Two stories intertwined; Havana, 1958 and Miami, 2017, where the same family has decisions to make about their lives. It is very much a book about Cuba and its history.

    I highly recommend this book.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    Just finished Woman in the Window for our book group. Highly's like Rear Window, Suspicion and Gaslight rolled into one. I see they made a movie of it to be released in May.

  • ravencajun Zone 8b TX

    Death Factory by Greg Isles

    Love his work.

  • Kathsgrdn

    I was in Walmart last night when I decided to check out the book isle. I noticed a Michael Crichton book. A new book...he's been dead since 2008. Apparently it was written by someone else but his name is being used on the front cover. This should be illegal.

  • Winter

    That's done more often than we readers realize, Kath. Tom Clancy's heir allowed the use of his name, as well. I've never actually read the technicalities of the "deal" but I believe money changed hands. Those who picked up the option continued to write under his name with their own name discretely listed below his.. There were at least 3 that I know of who did so and if one was a Clancy became very confusing. Some co-authors were better than others and IMO Mark Greaney was the best. But I agree with you. It shouldn't be allowed without, at least, full disclosure and even then, I don't find it quite legit.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    Yes of course, money changed hands. That's normally what happens when it involves anyone doing work. People don't work for free.

    The estates or ultimate heirs of an author own all rights and copyrights to the creative works (including those in a character series) an author produced. It's a brand, not unlike any other.

    They own the brand and can enter into writing contracts for fixed amounts or royalty sharing (or with whatever conditions they can agree) for new books to be written. Tom Clancy's Hidden Mystery, by John Doe. It's always clearly shown who the actual author is. I've read a number of books in a similar but different situation too, where an estate has hired an author to finish a work that was in process when the author died. No problem for me either way, a book is a book. Judge it on the reading experience. If you like Clancy's characters, you can read new stories. Or not, your choice.

  • Kathsgrdn

    They have Michael Crichton as the author of the book, which is not true. He has been dead for 12 years. It's messed up as it isn't a brand, it's using his name as if he wrote the book, which he didn't do.

  • Bookwoman

    Is this the book you're referring to?

    If so, it clearly says the author's name below the title. Crichton's name is indeed a brand, and his heirs are cashing in on it.

    CrichtonSun LLC is a publishing, motion picture and television production company founded by Sherri Crichton. It is the home of the Michael Crichton Archives, with a legacy of novels, non-fiction work, speeches, film scripts and television series the visionary left behind. Michael re-defined science-fiction into science fact, explored history and things yet to come, transforming the vision of science capabilities, past, present and future. Sherri Crichton and her producing partner Laurent Bouzereau continue Michael’s legacy through a variety of exciting projects, across all platforms, bringing his voice into the 21st Century and beyond.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    I'm puzzled by some of the word choices - "money changed hands" earlier, and "his heirs are cashing in...." . As if there were something wrong or nefarious going on.

    Let's assume you're an only child. Your last surviving parent dies and you inherit their house. You have one of your own and so you decide to sell it. Are you "cashing in" on your parent's death? I'd say no, you're converting what's now YOUR asset into a more useful form for your own purposes.

    Intellectual property in the form of book copyrights or other intangibles are assets passed along just like stocks, bank accounts, or houses. People who inherit assets try to get value from them. Nothing's wrong with that. If from a creative arts standpoint you don't support continuing a book series franchise with substitute authors, then that's a choice but it shouldn't be because you for some reason find actions of heirs to realize value in the assets they own to be improper.

    Some authors follow this practice (of using other writers to continue a book series) before they die - James Patterson is perhaps the best example of that. His book factory releases what - a dozen or more books a year, all with his name (and a "co-writer") on them. For me, that crosses a line because it's too much. But people buy the books so my view isn't shared by all.

  • runninginplace

    Elmer, of course a copyright is intellectual property but an author's *work* is completely different. Whether or not it's legal doesn't make it right to put a dead person's name on a piece of writing that the dead author could not possibly have written. It's misleading at best and a cash grab in reality.

    That said there are many instances of people taking on the mantle of much loved, and much profit generating, writers after they are gone. Stieg Larsson's Lisbeth Sanders trilogy has become a six-book series after the original author's death and subsequent assignment of the rights to someone else. Robert Parker's Spenser series had 40 books written by him followed by 8 from another author after he died. Tony Hillerman's daughter has published several books in his Navajo series after his death.

    And so on. The books continue to be published but Stieg Larsson, Robert Parker and Tony Hillerman certainly had nothing to do with actually writing them, just with creating characters that legally 'belonged' to their heirs.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    Unlike Sue Grafton who was very clear that she was to be the only author of her books and her family has stuck with her wishes. So her last novel "Z is for Zero" was never written and won't be.

    "Sue always said that she would continue writing as long as she had the juice," she wrote in a post on Grafton's page. "Many of you also know that she was adamant that her books would never be turned into movies or TV shows, and in that same vein, she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name. Because of all of those things, and out of the deep abiding love and respect for our dear sweet Sue, as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y."

  • Elmer J Fudd

    "Cash grab"

    More silly scowling. What about when a visual artist sells series of numbered lithographs - are those the work of the artist? Is that offensive? How about cast reproductions of sculptures? What about when a musical performer records a song they didn't write without clearly saying it wasn't their composition - is that misleading or dishonest? Should a composer allow that? (Of course they will, it's money to them too).

    Those who stylistically or creatively don't approve of the substitute authorship practice, always clearly labeled as such, shouldn't buy such books. To condemn them senselessly on almost moral grounds for one of many commercial practices common in this creative industry is wrong.

  • rob333 (zone 7a)

    elmer, my dismay comes when someone tries to finish up or write in the same style as the author, and say it's written "by the original author". It's misleading.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    William Manchester, a popular non-fiction writer of the 20th century, had started the final book of a trilogy covering the life of Winston Churchill when he became ill and unable to write. His research was done but not the writing. Another author finished the last book, whose 1200+ pages were finally published 8 years after Manchester's death.

    It's a wonderful series, the last volume no less masterfully done than the first two. All three together are nearly 3000 pages so it takes determination to get through but they're all enjoyable and very well done. Should it have been left unfinished because of someone's notion that substituting someone else shouldn't be done?

    As I said, if you don't like the practice, avoid such books. If I were the heir of a successful author I would try to encourage further production of popular books. It would be foolish not to.

  • Jasdip

    I've seen his books of course but I don't think I've read any of them. I just read that Clive Cussler died. He lived in Scottsdale AZ and was 88.

  • Annie Deighnaugh

    elmer, I think the issue is one of fraud...if it's being improperly marketed as a work by the original author when it's not...such as the fact that Crichton's name is maybe 5 times the size of the actual author's name on the cover.

  • runninginplace

    And Elmer, because you disagree doesn't make someone else wrong, it just makes them someone who has a different opinion.

  • runninginplace

    Stretching the boundaries here but this long, LONG awaited book is coming out in the beginning of March, so I just requested the first two books to re-read in preparation. To loop back to our topic, hopefully I will be starting them this weekend if the library comes through for me :).

    Oakley, as a fellow Tudor history buff you best get to gettin on re-reading your copies too!

  • Elmer J Fudd

    " Whether or not it's legal doesn't make it right to put a dead person's name on a piece of writing that the dead author could not possibly have written. It's misleading at best and a cash grab in reality. "

    running in place, I wasn't going to address your comments directly but since you've said something to me, I'll be complete.

    Maybe you will answer my hypothetical question about selling a parent's house that you inherited. Is that a "cash grab"?

  • Elmer J Fudd

    " elmer, I think the issue is one of fraud.. "

    Fraud is defined in criminal law. It's a specific term, not a generic one. The practice is NOT fraud.

    You and anyone else are welcome to any opinion you see fit to have and that's fine with me. I mostly agree with you on this one.

    Try to have informed opinions. I'm pushing back on the scornful descriptions of the practice that are misinformed. This is an easy one - If you don't like an author or the circumstances of a book, don't buy it or read it. Done.

    Milton Hershey died a long time ago yet Hershey chocolate is still sold, they didn't take his name off. How about Walt Disney World in Florida? Walt Disney is long gone, he's not making decisions or running the business anymore. Too many examples to cite, you should get the idea.

  • artemis_ma

    I just finished reading The River of Doubt - the story of Teddy Roosevelt's exploratory trip down a major tributary of the Amazon back during the early portion of the last century. Fascinating.

  • Bunny

    Running, Wolf Hall is one of my all-time favorite books. It's like cilantro, people either love it or hate it. I loved it. I've also read Bring Up the Bodies which I liked a little less, but it was still good. I can't get enough of Tudor England, so I'm happy to hear about the new book.

  • Bookwoman

    For those of you who love Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, I hope you've seen the BBC series (shown on PBS in the US) with Mark Rylance as Cromwell. It's one of the best adaptations of a book that I've ever seen. They're making a sequel based on The Mirror and the Light; I'm eagerly awaiting both the book and the series.

  • runninginplace

    Selling an inherited house or continuing to use a dead company founder's name to hawk a product is utterly different than purporting to be an author who has created new artistic work when the author is *dead* and can no longer create any more books. The act of creation itself cannot be inherited.

    Let's use a topical example. There will be no more books written by Clive Cussler. And that's simply a fact, no matter what Mr Cussler's heirs choose to do with a copyright they inherit for a character created by him. Of course they can hire someone to write in a similar style but it won't ever be a Clive Cussler work because he is no longer capable of creating anything.

    I suppose the comparison to your examples would be that an heir can sell a house but he can't hire a dead architect to build a new house and then try to sell that as an original Frank Lloyd Wright. The candy can still roll off the assembly line but Mr Hershey will never personally develop and market a new treat because he can't, he's dead.

  • salonva

    I can't get enough of Tudor England, though I have to confess that each time I read something it's like the first time I am seeing it lol. I get to enjoy it over and over. I keep saying one of these days I am going to try Wolf Hall as I have heard so much about it. (and I love cilantro!!).

  • Olychick

    Can the heirs of Picasso use his name on a new painting and claim it's a "Picasso"?

  • ci_lantro

    But what about Blondie, the comic strip? Chic Young died in 1973.

    Chic Young wrote and drew Blondie until his death in 1973, when creative control passed to his son Dean Young. A number of artists have assisted on drawing the strip over the years, including Alex Raymond, Jim Raymond, Mike Gersher, Stan Drake, Denis Lebrun, Jeff Parker, and (since 2005) John Marshall.[2

  • ci_lantro

    During February, I finished the first installment of Wm Manchester's Winston Churchill trilogy, The Last Lion. 4.5 stars (The second installment is on order from AbeBooks.)

    Also read Tisha as told to Robert Sprecht. Young adult book about a young schoolteacher on the Alaska frontier in the 1920's. Middling rating. Ended up being mostly an examination of racial prejudice. Which is OK, just that I wanted more 'frontier'.

    Since discovering Timothy Hallinan (The Man With No Time) when someone on the forum mentioned Hallinan's Junior Bender character, I ordered the first four in the Bender series and have completed the first two. Crashed and Little Elvises. I'm not normally into crime fiction but enjoyed both books. Gritty and funny.

  • Bunny

    Bookman, I loved the BBC series based on Wolf Hall. It was wonderful. One thing that made it feel so authentic was they didn't over-light a scene, only using comparable lighting to what would have been used at the time. Nighttime scenes were dark and shadowy and daytime interiors kinda murky.

    salonva, some people have a problem with the POV by which it's written. Cromwell is always present and, unless there are others in the scene that might make it confusing, "he" and "him" always refer to Cromwell.

  • Elmer J Fudd

    " Elmer, of course a copyright is intellectual property but an author's *work* is completely different. "

    Why? Because you want it to be or because it's not brown like chocolate? It happens that copyright ownership rights that haven't been been sold by the original owner are the same no matter what the work is. That even includes people or companies that develop software, by the way, as well as a lot of other things in and not in the world of creative arts. And rights can be sold in whole or in part, that leads to confusion for a lot of people whose knowledge is limited.

    The Hershey name may be a trademark, by the way, but the parallel still fits. The font appearance of the name could be copyrighted.

    "Mr Hershey will never personally develop and market a new treat because he can't, he's dead "

    No, but the company can call it "Hershey's Newest Treat, just like Mr Hershey might have created" and not mention who did instead.

    Copyright holders have the right to prepare or cause to prepare, or approve or deny approval for, what's called derivative works. That's what these are. Like them or not, they're legal and happen with all kinds of intellectual property. You can vote with your wallet.

    Intellectual property laws, and copyright laws in particular, are complicated and not easily susceptible to analysis using emotional understandings or insights gained at backyard BBQs or kaffeeklatsches. I was trained in it and worked with a lot. Most of you are just guessing. I'm done.

    Go read a book!

  • salonva

    I had commented above that I was reading The Choice: Embrace the Possible (Edith Eger) and was positively in awe of it. Well now that I finished it, I would say it's definitely more than worthwhile, but it didn't maintain the level of incredible for me. It is a book club read, and I am sure it will be a great discussion.

    I am just now starting A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner for my next book club read. I have actually read 2 of the author's other books, Secrets of a Charmed Life and As Bright As Heaven (about the Spanish Flu); both of which I enjoyed.

    I have so many books that I reserved at the library, now coming available that I am busy trying to manage/suspend all my holds~

  • salonva

    oops I managed to say "rabbit rabbit" knowing that it was a new month-----but then I still posted this in the Feb thread this morning. Going to paste it in the MARCH thread.

    (excuse me).

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