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Revisiting Authors: a Clutch of Mini-Reviews

September 13, 2010

Since I have such a backlog, I’ve arranged my mini-review catch ups by theme! And today, I’ll talk about books I picked up by authors I’d read previously.

The Drowning Tree by Carol Goodman: Goodman’s a dependable author for me. She’s not the kind of writer that leaves me gushy and in awe, but she’s got a solid talent and a kind of ‘style’ that I enjoy. She mixes academia with hints of gothic-ness and female characters who don’t have life figured out, and her settings tend to be in upstate New York, where my mother is from. And she publishes regularly! I’ve now read half of her books (the first four), and they’ve all entertained me. My very favourite remains The Ghost Orchid, so it’s the one I’d recommend if you feel like giving her a go, but if you’ve enjoyed Goodman in the past The Drowning Tree will live up to expectations.

Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog by Boris Akunin: I’ve read a couple of Akunin’s Inspector Fandorin books, and while I enjoyed them, there wasn’t that spark of love. Partly, it’s Akunin’s writing style (I looked at the original Russian online, because I wasn’t sure if the English translator was simply making things more ornate, but it’s a faithful translation), and partly it’s that I can’t quite connect with Erast. Sister Pelagia, on the other hand, is quite a fun sleuth! A young, spunky redheaded nun in nineteenth century rural Russia? Sign me up. ;) It took me a couple chapters to get into the story, but then I was off and running and didn’t put it down until I’d turned the final page. If you enjoy international or historical mysteries, or ones with strong women sleuths, or ones with the classic approach (limited cast of suspects, clues dropped for reader to find, etc.) and don’t mind a bit of flowery prose, definitely pick this one up. There are two others in the series so far that I definitely intend to read! And if you read Russian, you can read it online for free!

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. One by Diana Wynne Jones: I remember ending my post on Fire and Hemlock by saying that I might end up adoring Diana Wynne Jones. Well, based on other reviews during DWJ week, I decided to give The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. One a go. And after desperately staying up to finish it all in one go, forgetting about food or drink or the entire outside world, I think it’s safe to say that I’m now a firm DWJ lover. Sometimes, when I read childrens’ books, I think ‘gee, I wish I had discovered this when I was a child, because I can’t fully appreciate it now.’ It’s to DWJ’s credit that I never once thought that during either A Charmed Life or The Nine Lives of Christopher Chant. I’m sure that children read and enjoy them every day. But they’re so complex and full of wonderful writing and ideas and characters that as an adult reader every page brought new magic for me. I had my mom read them too, and both of us are now impatiently awaiting the second volume (which I’ve put on hold at the library). I can’t recommend this one highly enough!

Yellow Moon by Jewell Parker Rhodes: I very much enjoyed Voodoo Season, a kind of urban fantasy (I guess) novel set in New Orleans last year, so I couldn’t wait to catch back up with the characters. Unfortunately, I can’t say I loved this one, although I definitely liked it. My main problem was the writing: it sometimes slipped from workmanlike to ‘where’s my red pen?’ levels. Still, it was nice to see what the characters were up to, and the plotline was definitely horror without being excessively gruesome, although I do think towards the end Rhodes got a bit too bloodthirsty (I had a similar issue with Voodoo Season). And while I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing overall, I must say that Rhodes has skills when it comes to the sexy scene area! Not to mention, the sense of place is marvelous; I felt like I was walking the streets of New Orleans. For me, with my taste for fiction set in NOLA, and my enjoyment of the occasional less-extreme horror story, the book’s strengths outweighed its weaknesses. But I think when my next New Orleans craving comes, I’ll return to the master, Anne Rice.

Biography: a Very Short Introduction by Hermione Lee: Oxford University Press does a series, Very Short Introductions (VIS), that are tiny little books about a variety of subjects. I first heard about it on Literary Transgressions, and when I checked to see which ones my library had, the Lee title jumped out at me. I adored her biography of Virginia Woolf, and since I don’t read a ton of biographies, I thought it’d be nice to get a more comprehensive view of things. I definitely liked this, although it’s very Anglo-American centric, and Lee brought up several thought-provoking issues, which is nice! For the sizeof the book, Lee packed in a lot of information; there were no extraneous words or ideas, and it was refreshing to read a nonfiction book that cuts straight to the chase. It only took me maybe an hour, hour and a half to read the whole thing, and when I was done I had lots of recommendations for biographies if I wanted to explore the field more. What more could I ask for? If nonfiction makes you nervous, definitely look into the VIS series, since it doesn’t require a lot of time commitment and has experts in the field. Reading Biography felt like attending a lecture Lee was giving, which I mean as a compliment! I couldn’t help wishing it’d been a bit longer, but lucky for me Lee has an essay collection all about biography (Virginia Woolf’s Nose) which I fully intend to pick up soon.

Samba by Alma Guillermoprieto: I read one of Guillermoprieto’s essay collections, The Heart that Bleeds, earlier this year, and it impressed me so much that I decided to try out more of her! This book is about when she was living in Rio as a journalist, and particularly about one of the poorer areas of the city with one of the best samba schools (really more of a club/organisation, not a school the way we think of it) and what she observed over one year leading up to Carnival. It’s about dancing, of course, but it’s also about povery and race relations in Brazil, and about the stories of individual Brazilians dealing with individual circumstances. I’m a huge fan of this mix of micro- and macro- focus, especially in international relations books. Guillermoprieto is definitely aware of her own privileges and biases, and she seems to have a good perspective on Brazil in general (of course, I’m nowhere near an expert in Latin American studies, so take that with a grain of salt): she doesn’t focus on just the negative or the positive, and she relates different societal mores to bigger picture stuff. At the same time, she’s a marvelous writer who knows how to tell a story! I very much enjoyed this, and I’d recommend it to anyone curious about Brazil, or who’s just looking for some well-written, smart nonfiction.

Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope: this is the fourth in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series and my fifth Trollope book. I’m rather sad that there are only two Barsetshire books left, but I comfort myself with the knowledge of the Palliser series! Anyway, this was such a treat, and while it has different central characters than the other stories, you’ll recognise lots of the secondary characters, which is great fun. About halfway through some of my favourites from Doctor Thorne showed up, and I literally squealed aloud. :D (My favourites from Barchester Towers mainly just put in a cameo or two, which wasn’t quite squeal-worthy.) If you haven’t ever tried Trollope, you’re in for a treat. I loathe comparisons to Austen, but in this case I find it really justified; Trollope is a bit like a Victorian Austen. His plots tend to revolve around marriage, or other domestic affairs, and he delights in the same kind of minute country life. And he has the same kind of wit, although I wouldn’t call it quite as sharp. Also, he spreads his net a bit wider (subplots, more characters, etc.), includes discussions of politics (mainly satirical ones), and in this instance the primary plot centers on an already married young man (I refuse to tell you more because I always go into Trollope’s novels ‘blind,’ and I enjoyed watching things unfold). So, with those caveats, if you’ve already read and reread Austen’s novels and are desperate for a fix of quiet, witty, historical English country life, do get your hands on Trollope.

Reading the Bible Again for the First Time by Marcus Borg: this is my third Borg book (after The Heart of Christianity and Jesus), and it confirms for me that he’s one of my new favourite authors. I’ve been really missing religion in my life, and since I believe that all organised religions have valid spiritual truths, it makes most sense for me to see if I can reconnect with the religion of my heritage, Christianity. (Did that sentence make sense? Basically, it makes sense to me that if all religions are different paths to the same goal, I might as well get to know the path closest to my door.) And whenever I read Borg, I see that, although my beliefs are radically different from the conservative evangelical movement I was surrounded by in high school, I can be a Christian too. I want to be one just like him, and so I fully intend to read all of his books! I think even those who aren’t seeking a spiritual path will get a lot out of him, since he brings such an intellectual approach to the table. So if you enjoy reading about religion from a more objective place (i.e.: you’re not looking for God, you’re just curious about various faiths), I’d still urge you to give Borg a try. And if you have a lot of skepticism/mistrust/etc. of Christianity as an organised religion (something I myself have), I think he will open your mind.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie: this was a reread for me! I adore Dame Agatha, although I still wish she’d spent a bit more time with Miss Marple and less with Poirot, and I think this is one of the books where she’s at the very top of her game. This was my first time rereading it, and it was just so fun to see all of the clues that are dropped (this is why I’m mystified when people say they won’t reread a mystery since they already know the murderer…I mean, don’t you want to watch the author set everything up?). The Dame and I go way back, and for many years whenever I was particularly stressed or it seemed like everything in my life was going horribly, I would pop into a bookstore and pick up one of her books and curl up with it and a pot of tea to wait until the world made sense again. PD James explains this aspect of the appeal of mysteries far better than I ever could in Talking About Detective Fiction: there’s something so lovely and comforting about a world in which murderers are caught and justice is seen to. If you’re new to Christie, this would be a great place to start, despite the lack of Miss Marple. Just make certain your next one is a Miss Marple…my favourite novel is probably A Murder is Announced but it starts with Murder at the Vicarage (and The Thirteen Problems is one of my favourite short story collections ever).

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle: speaking of British detective fiction, Allie convinced me it was about time for me to pick up some Doyle. I’ve read a few of the Holmes short stories ages ago, but I never really enjoyed them because of Watson. He drives me insane. Now, I’ve come to love Sherlock Holmes as seen through the eyes of Laurie King (and her Mary Russell series, which if you haven’t discovered yet, go out and get a copy of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice right now: I’ll wait), so I was curious to see what I’d make of the Doyle version later in life. I must say, Hound of the Baskervilles is great fun! I can’t say I fell in love with it, and I don’t think Doyle’s ever going to be one of my favourite writers, but especially as an audiobook it was solid entertainment.

By necessity, I’ve only discussed these books superficially. I haven’t delved into all of the things I learned, or the way an author challenged me, or why they’re successful (or not) at achieving their aims. I do love doing more in-depth posts on books, but the fact is I’m afraid if I don’t talk about these books briefly I might not talk about them at all. And that would be a shame, wouldn’t it? I’ve been thinking a lot about how I approach a book as a reader, and how I talk about books on my blog, but I shall save that for another post. I do hope that despite the personal/subjective approach I’ve taken with this post, it was useful to you! What do you find helpful in a review post?

And now I’m off to finish A Small Island before returning it to the library this morning!

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73 Comments leave one →
  1. September 13, 2010 3:46 am

    I keep meaning to buy the VIS books. I have a tonne of them in my virtual TBR pile! I really must get started on that project. Also, must you keep adding Marcus Borg titles to the above mentioned virtual TBR pile :P really maybe next year I should just read books you have recommended :D *goes off to add yet another title to the mount Everest of TBR piles*

    • September 14, 2010 9:52 am

      They’re pretty tiny in r/l (fit in the palm of your hand), so you’ll be able to fit them on your bookshelf! ;) lol @ your plan for next year’s readering!

  2. September 13, 2010 4:18 am

    Wow, what a great long list of wonderful sounding books. Samba, I think, sounds the best out of all of them, but all of them sound like great reads. I like that you talk about why you liked the books, though I am looking forward to more of your in depth reviews in the future :)

    • September 14, 2010 9:52 am

      I definitely think Samba is an Amy-style book! I hate it when I get behind on reviews, since then I don’t have the ‘time’ (i.e.: days of the week on which to post) to do more in-depth stuff.

  3. September 13, 2010 4:30 am

    Objectivity and brevity- not that it needs to be short, but it needs to cover everything the reviewer finds objectionable or wonderful, no more, no less. And objectivity, is obviously, key- why read a review if the reviewer is just going to gush over or frown on everything?

    I don’t understand people who think that about mysteries; you read it twice- once as the detective and once as the murderer. I think it’s why I have little patience with modern mysteries, as they don’t set up as well because of a twist.

    • September 14, 2010 9:55 am

      That’s an interesting idea of brevity! And objectivity…do you mean you don’t like it when bloggers seem to have uniform reactions to all books?

      Agreed re: rereading mysteries: great way to put it! I do love some modern mystery authors, but they’re usually more character than mystery driven. So I reread for different reasons. :)

  4. September 13, 2010 4:47 am

    I recently read one of the Very Short Introductions and also enjoyed the comprehensive-but-short approach! And I’m in the middle of the first Palliser novel. I am glad you enjoy Barchester, I’ll have to give that a try too. And I despised Sherlock years ago when I read it so maybe I’ll have to try it again in the future when I feel I can stomach it….

    Welcome back, I love to hear overall impressions in a “review.” and you did just that!

    • September 14, 2010 9:55 am

      Which VIS did you read? I have Can You Forgive Her? waiting for me on the shelves around here somewhere! My very first Trollope was Eustace Diamonds, which is in the middle of the Palliser series, but now I want to read them in order. :)

  5. September 13, 2010 5:01 am

    I love the subjective approach when it comes to book reviews! Especially when I’ve read the books you mention, and find that I can completely relate to how reading these books made you feel. And I think the obligatory pot of tea while reading a Christie says it all :) (incidentally I’m just watching MIss Marple, and have the tea pot nearby, talk about timing!)

    I’ll have to give Trollope a try, but I think I’ll wait for winter and then curl up with a pile of them :)

    • September 14, 2010 9:57 am

      One of the new Miss Marples? I love that actress, and the adaptations are so gorgeous re: set and costuming!

      Trollope will definitely be a winter treat for you. :)

  6. September 13, 2010 5:46 am

    I found the Very Short Introductions really helpful as an undergrad when I was just getting into Literary Theory. One of them saved my butt in a lit theory class!

    Looking forward to more mini reviews, Eva!

    • September 14, 2010 10:04 am

      I wish I’d thought to reference the VIS series when I was in undergrad! lol

  7. September 13, 2010 5:51 am

    I’ve been meaning to try Carol Goodman’s books for a long time. Perhaps I shall soon. Also, I have several of the Akunin books here for future reading. And, my love of Agatha Christie knows no bounds. THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD is a great one. I love Miss Marple best, but I definitely have my Poirot days. A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED is a lovely mystery.

    • September 14, 2010 10:05 am

      Yay for more Christie love: Miss Marple’s my favourite too. :)

  8. September 13, 2010 5:57 am

    This is the type of approach I most relate to!

    I can’t believe I’ve never heard of Carol Goodman before–but you’ve really got me wanting to give her a try!

    • September 14, 2010 10:07 am

      I read Ghost Orchid for RIP last year, and it was the perfect way to kick it off! I think you’d really enjoy that one!

  9. September 13, 2010 5:58 am

    Why have I never read any Diana Wynne Jones?? What a mistake that must be! I’ve added her to my wishlist. I also really need to continue with the Barsetshire chronicles. Thanks for all those reminders. :)

    I like subjective reviews and objective reviews; the ones I don’t like are where I can’t tell what a person actually felt about a book while reading it! I definitely would prefer you said something about a book than nothing at all, and I find myself resorting to mini reviews in those instances.

    • September 14, 2010 10:06 am

      I can’t believe I just started reading DWJ: on the plus side, that means I have so many books ahead of me! hehe Where are you in Barsetshire?

      Reviews without any feelings would be a bit…odd, lol. Perhaps that’s why I prefer book blogs to periodical reviews?

  10. September 13, 2010 6:06 am

    Mm, such complimentary words to Diana Wynne Jones make me want to go dancing around waving pom-poms. If I had any pom-poms. I’m so pleased you’re enjoying more of her books!

    I have to get around to reading Marcus Borg, also! I have a book that he and a conservative Christian coauthored, the idea being, I believe, that each of them presents his view on Jesus and Christianity; and I’m excited to read that one. But I want to try one of his Jesus books as well. My mother had to read a bunch of his stuff when she was getting her theology degree, and she loved him.

    • September 14, 2010 10:09 am

      Your mom has a theology degree? That rocks!

      I’ve heard of that book, and I definitely intend to read it, but only once I’ve found a progressive church so I don’t get all cranky at the conservative bits. lol

      Also, I’m totally in your debt for getting me started on DWJ!!!

  11. September 13, 2010 6:39 am

    I still found myself wishing that I’d discovered the Chrestomanci books when I was a girl, but not because I felt I wasn’t able to wholly appreciate them as an adult — they do cross that gap very well, I agree — but because I would have wanted to have known Cat and have followed his adventures for that many more reading years! I’m a big re-reader, so I wouldn’t have wanted to be re-reading them by now, not just making their acquaintance.

    Your style of responding to books works well for me; I think we all experience books through a subjective lens, so I appreciate the openly personal element of your response in combination with the more-nuts-and-bolts-ish information that sometimes accompanies it (e.g. where a book fits in a series or a cultural movement, other books that consider the same themes or examine the same events). I’m glad you’re back to reading!

    • September 14, 2010 10:20 am

      I’m a big re-reader too, and for that reason I definitely wish I’d read them first when I was young. :) But at least this leaves more magic for me to discover now!

      I’m glad my approach worked for you. :) I love reading bloggers who have a lit background and can put books into cultural context! My international relations & modern languages degree isn’t much help there, lol.

  12. September 13, 2010 7:52 am

    Trollope is definitely the next “Classics” author that I want to tackle next. The only thing holding me off is that his books always seem so long! But you’ve convinced me that I really must give him a shot!

    • September 14, 2010 10:21 am

      The Warden, which starts the Barsetshire series, is actually pretty short (like, 200 pages or something)! Although it’s not quite so magical as the other Trollope ones I’ve read. :) I was actually attracted to Trollope originally because of how long his books are, lol, so I can’t give much advice there! But he’s awesome and definitely worth it. :D

  13. September 13, 2010 8:08 am

    You have been reading like crazy. I’m disappointed to see that Yellow Moon wasn’t any better than it was.

    • September 14, 2010 10:22 am

      I might have just been in one of my cranky moods while I read it! It definitely entertained me, it just didn’t ‘wow’ me. Does that make sense?

  14. September 13, 2010 8:15 am

    Eva, I love how casual your style is and yet so sharply insightful. I like your short reviews and how you can be critical and enthusiastic at the same time. Not sure how many of us bloggers are as good as you at being balanced and true.

    • September 14, 2010 10:22 am

      Awww: thanks Care! You’re so sweet, and you always make me feel so grand about myself!

  15. September 13, 2010 10:19 am

    So good to see you back in the blogging world, Eva! I would say I enjoy your reviews BECAUSE OF, rather than despite, your frank admission of your personal/subjective outlook, as I’m a bit of a disbeliever in the “objective critic” myth. :-) The minute people start proclaiming five books “the best novels of the century” or pompously intoning that there are exactly three of an author’s books that are “worth reading” (no more, no less), I start to lose respect for them.

    You’ve really got me interested to read Trollope here; I occasionally do get a sharp craving for just the kind of English-country-life novel you’re describing here, and I have indeed exhausted Austen’s catalog. Thanks for the tip!

    • September 14, 2010 10:27 am

      Thanks Emily! I definitely think complete objectivity is a myth, but I also enjoy when bloggers talk about the ‘stuff’ in a book (i.e.: the characterisation, or themes, or something like that) as well as whether or not they enjoyed it. :)

      I think you’d definitely get along with Trollope!

  16. September 13, 2010 10:53 am

    The good thing about Trollope is that there is a lot of it. I have finished the Barsetshire series and have the Pallisers (a boxed set) on my TBR. Other fun, non-series Trollope: Dr. Wortle’s School and Three Clerks are both good.

    • September 14, 2010 10:29 am

      I love how extensive Trollope’s backlist is too! Thanks for the heads up on which stand-alone novels I should turn to first. :) And I’m jealous of your boxed set!

  17. September 13, 2010 10:55 am

    I love the way you talk about your reading quite personally. For one thing it helps to understand why you did or did not like something and then, knowing my own tastes, I can then translate that into a fair assessment of whether or not I would like it. Does that make sense? Anyway, both your mini and longer reviews are fun to read. Glad to see you back :)

    • September 14, 2010 10:29 am

      Thanks Terri! That does make sense, and I try to explain my own biases so y’all know where I’m coming from. :)

  18. September 13, 2010 11:40 am

    I haven’t read the book that you recommend by Borg but it sounds interesting. I am on the look out for books about Christianity so it might be a good place to start.

    • September 14, 2010 2:49 pm

      The first one I read of his was The Heart of Christianity, and I think it’s a great place to start with him! Also, My Life With the Saints is an awesome memoir by a Jesuit priest. :)

  19. September 13, 2010 11:48 am

    Oh my! There are lots of authors I have forgotten about on your list. Jewell Parker Rhodes and Carol Goodman man being the top two. I like the New Orleans themed books and want to read more of the Voodoo trilogy. I read the middle one and I want to go back and read the first one. Carol Goodman definitely is an author I need to look up.

    • September 14, 2010 2:50 pm

      I started w/ Voodoo Season too, since I think Voodoo Dreams is about an earlier character, right? I’ll probably try it out eventually! I hope you enjoy Goodman. :)

  20. Vishy permalink
    September 13, 2010 1:20 pm

    Wonderful reviews, Eva! I haven’t read any of Boris Akunin’s books, but have seen the Russian movie version of ‘The State Counsellor’ and I liked it. Sister Pelagia sounds like a wonderful sleuth and I hope to read one of her books.

    Glad to know that you enjoyed the Very Short Introduction series by Oxford University Press. This is one of my favourite series and I have a big collection of them at home. There is one on science and religion (if you are interested).

    Agatha Christie books are always wonderful. ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ is my favourite :) I also love ‘And Then There Were None’.

    I love Sherlock Holmes books too and ‘The Hound of Baskervilles’ is wonderful. Glad to know that you enjoyed it. Sorry to know that you don’t like Watson that much. Which is your favourite Holmes short story?

    • September 14, 2010 2:52 pm

      Hi Vishy! Just to let you know, your name isn’t linking to your blog. I didn’t realise they’d done film adaptations of any of Akunin; The State Counsellor is the one about Chechnya, right? Now I want to see the movie! My current library doesn’t have very many of the VIS books, but I hope I can get my hands on some of the religion ones. :) Isn’t Murder of Roger Akcroyd great?! :D

      I haven’t read any Holmes stories since high school, so I can’t say that I have a favourite. My mom has the collected works, though, so maybe I’ll give a few a go! What’s your favourite? (I can start there.)

      • September 18, 2010 1:33 pm

        Yes, sometimes that happens – when I am logged in to WordPress, and I comment on a blog, the linking doesn’t happen. But when I am not logged on and I comment, then it does. I don’t know why. It looks strange to me.

        ‘The State Counsellor’ is set during the 19th century. In the story some revolutionaries try to kill the governor of Moscow and the main character Fandorin is trying to catch them. There is also a political game going on between Fandorin and a senior official who handles security in the city. I liked the political intrigue between these two and also the relationship between two of the revolutionaries, one of whom is a young lady from a noble family, who becomes a revolutionary.

        I have many favourite Holmes short stories :) One of them is ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’. Another is ‘The Five Orange Pips’ (I remember it being a bit scary when I first read it). Another one of my favourites is ‘The Greek Interpreter’ because it features Mycroft, Sherlock Holmes’ brother, who sits inside in his armchair and makes all the deductions that Holmes has to put a lot of effort on :)

        Hope you are able to enjoy the stories, reading your mom’s collection.

  21. September 13, 2010 1:27 pm

    Looks like you got your reading and writing mojo back Eva!

  22. September 13, 2010 3:39 pm

    You always have such an eclectic mix of books! And I enjoy your collection of mini reviews. Trollope is one author that I’ve never attempted partly because I have the impression that his stories seem dry/boring. However, I’ve seen so many enthusiastic reviews on the blog by some of my favourite reviewers that I’m beginning to feel that I’m missing out. So it’s going on my wishlist. Finally. I’ve also read a number of Akunin’s Fandorin mysteries which I enjoyed for a while. I didn’t enjoy Sister Pelagia as much but it’s probably because my mind wasn’t engaged. But I think I’ll give her another try.

    • September 14, 2010 2:54 pm

      He’s definitely not dry/boring (this coming from someone who’s bored stiff by Dickens)! That’s what I thought before I started reading him, so I totally get that though. :)

      It took me a good three or four chapters to really get into the Sister Pelagia, and I don’t think Akunin will ever be a complete favourite of mine, but I love that time period so much I’m willing to overlook the flaws.

  23. September 13, 2010 4:11 pm

    I’m so glad that you loved Pelagia! I have the third one sitting on my shelves but I’m loath to read it because then I have no more ahead of me.

    • September 14, 2010 2:54 pm

      I wonder if he plans on publishing more!

  24. September 13, 2010 4:56 pm

    I recently found Carol Goodman and like her quite a bit. Haven’t read the two that you mentioned but I did get them recently from BM. Exciting!

  25. September 13, 2010 6:32 pm

    I really enjoyed the Carol Goodman book I read, The Lake of Dead Languages, and I’d love to read more of her stuff. Thanks for the reminder!

    I NEED to read some Borg. It’s funny, when I first started going to church with my husband about 4 years ago, after being anti-organized religion for years, I had the same thought that you did, the “I can be a Christian too” moment that made me realize that my beliefs and Jesus’ teachings are so similar, I don’t have to be conservative evangelical to believe in Christianity. So, yes, I definitely need to pick up some of his work, and soon.

    • September 14, 2010 3:00 pm

      Of the four I’ve read, Ghost Orchid is my fave and Lake of Dead Languages my second fave. So I say go for Ghost Orchid next. :)

      That’s funny that we had the same kind of reaction! Have you found a good church in Florida? I’m really hoping I can find one in Texas…I finally gave up on the search here in the Springs.

  26. September 13, 2010 6:51 pm

    I feel the same way about Diana Wynne Jones. I did read one of her books when I was little, and another when I was in university, but it wasn’t until after Jenny’s DWJ Week that I really dove in. I’m having a wonderful time with her, even from my lofty, adult height. :)

  27. September 13, 2010 7:24 pm

    Glad you liked Borg’s book. I need to put that particular one on my TBR. If you haven’t done so already, a few other authors to check out are Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels. Karen Armstrong’s book The Bible: A Biography is good too. Barrie Wilson’s book How Jesus Became Christian despite its faults isn’t bad, either.

    • September 14, 2010 3:11 pm

      Thanks for the recs! I’ve only heard of Karen Armstrong previously, so I’m excited to have some more authors to check out. :)

  28. September 13, 2010 7:46 pm

    Carol Goodman is generally a dependable author for me too, although I wasn’t as enamoured of the last book I read from her. From memory I liked the one you reviewed here.

    • September 14, 2010 3:11 pm

      It’s nice to have those dependable authors, isn’t it?

  29. Barbara permalink
    September 13, 2010 8:43 pm

    Glad you’re back!

  30. September 13, 2010 9:08 pm

    Great set of books here! I too love Carol Goodman – a dependably enjoyable writer. Funnily enough, I prefer Erast to Sister Pelagia — but perhaps I should give her another try. Could have just been the mood I read her first book in.

    • September 14, 2010 3:12 pm

      That is funny! I’ve only read 2 Erast books, though, so maybe I’ll get more into him eventually.

  31. September 14, 2010 12:01 am

    Such a long list of books that seem absolutely wonderful! I just finished my first DWJ a week ago and loved it. I can’t wait to read more of her work. All the others are added to my wishlist.

    • September 14, 2010 3:21 pm

      I swear, the DWJ fangirl club is such a fun place to be!

  32. September 14, 2010 9:13 am

    I’m glad you liked Chrestomanci! I didn’t start reading her work until I was in high school, and I don’t believe I read the Chrestomanci stories until I was in college. I really wish I would have discovered them when I was younger.

    The Hound of the Baskervilles is by far the best of the novels. There are a handful of stories that I really love, but I did enjoy almost all of them (the few I was not a fan off just didn’t wow me). Now that I am done with the Holmes stories, I have to give Doyle another shot with The Lost World.

    • September 14, 2010 3:21 pm

      *whispers* I thought Jules Verne wrote The Lost World. LOL

  33. September 15, 2010 6:01 am

    Carol Goodman sounds like an author I’d like – I’ve added The Ghost Orchid to my Amazon basket already! Thanks! ;-)

Trackbacks

  1. Sunday Caught My Interest « Reflections from the Hinterland
  2. Favourites Reads of 2010 « A Striped Armchair
  3. Days of Death, Days of Life by Kristin Norget (thoughts) « A Striped Armchair
  4. Assembling My Atheneum: Agatha Christie « A Striped Armchair
  5. The Palace of the Snow Queen by Barbara Sjoholm (thoughts) « A Striped Armchair
  6. Travel Book Suggestions? | A Striped Armchair
  7. Peel My Love Like an Onion by Ana Castillo (thoughts) | A Striped Armchair

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