Weekly Reading Round-Up

The wonderful thing about unpacking books, aside from the benefit to the muscles of the upper arm, is rediscovering whole treasure troves of books you’ve forgotten. I’ve been grazing among the forgotten books of the back shelves this past week, including:

— Bill Bryson, I’m a Stranger Here Myself.

My friend Jenny gave this to me as a going away gift when I moved to England in 2002. It seemed appropriate. The short essays are Bryson’s musings on returning to America after twenty years in England. Ten years later, they still make me laugh out loud on the subway. (Yes, this happened on Monday. People moved away.) Some of the details are a little dated now, especially vis a vis electronics, but that has its own sort of time capsule fascination.

— Jill Winters, Blushing Pink.

This was another time capsule. I sat next to Jill Winters at my very first RWA book signing (New England Chapter!) back in 2005, right after The Secret History of the Pink Carnation came out in hardcover. We swapped books. Hers seemed right on point at the time– about a twenty-seven year old history grad student bogged down in her dissertation. (I’d already switched to law school at that point, but I still empathized.) I didn’t read much American chick lit, but I read Jill Winters.

— Molly O’Keefe, Can’t Buy Me Love.

I was lucky enough to be on a panel with Molly at RT this past April. Yes, that panel. The infamous History Fan Fictionary panel. Molly was our moderator, keeping us (sort of) honest. She also gave me an advance copy of her upcoming book, which disappeared into the pile of Books to be Packed before re-emerging from a counter-intuitive box (how did books get in with the pantry stuff?) last week. I’m so glad I found it. It reminds me, in some ways, of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Ain’t She Sweet?, about a bad girl who turns out not to be so bad after all, with a touch of Crusie-esque tone.

Back to the boxes to see what else I can find….

What have you been reading this week?


  1. Linda on May 25, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I have been devouring (and loving) Stephen King’s 11/22/63. As I approach the final 100 pages (out of over 800), I am literally holding my breath. This is the first Stephen King book I have read, always having considered him “for men only”. I *love* a writer who can still use complete sentences and proper grammar, along with telling an excellent time travel story.

  2. Julie H on May 25, 2012 at 11:45 am

    This week I read Judith McNaught’s Almost Heaven. It was the last of her historicals for me, so I’d been saving it. It was lovely, of course! I think that Elizabeth’s chaperone, Miss Throckmorton-Jones must have been somewhat of an inspiration for Miss Gwen, with her penchant for umbrellas and all.

    I also read my very first Eloisa James novel, When the Duke Returns. I’m not sure that she’s exactly my taste, but I did enjoy the book. I broke with convention and started in the middle of a series, which I knew better than to do, so I’m not sure I’m giving her a fair chance. I need to pick another of hers to read.

    And, I read Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters, which is not romance, but is still very moving and real. I think anyone with a sister will appreciate it.

  3. Jessica Mac on May 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    After reading India Black last week I moved on to the sequel, India Black and the Widow of Windsor. Loved it! Can’t wait for the next installments!
    Almost done with T.Alexander’s Dangerous to Know. So far I think this is my favorite in the series!

  4. Amanda on May 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Love love love Bill Bryson! I finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks this week.

  5. Sheila on May 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    The wonderful Overseas, by Beatriz Williams

  6. Céline on May 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Just like Sheila, I read and absolutely loved Overseas!! Such a great recommandation you gave us Lauren!! Thanks a lot!

  7. Lauren on May 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I thought you’d enjoy “Overseas”!

  8. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on May 25, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Darn, I really have to get on reading ‘Overseas’ due to the raves here! I read the new Sookie book, ‘Deadlocked’ which I quite liked, despite I know a lot of people who didn’t. Finished the second Aunt Dimity Book, ‘Aunt Dimity and the Duke’ which I liked far more than the first, who couldn’t love beautiful gardens and a house in Cornwall? Still, don’t get what was a mystery about it. Read some of Bill Willingham’s Fables Graphic Novels, which are a must read for Fairy Tale fans… now I’m reading some of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman and Shannon Hale’s ‘The Princess Academy’ because I was lucky enough to score an ARC of the next book.

    Can you tell school is over for the semester 😛

    Oh, also, non book related, but there’s a new Downton Sixby up today!

  9. leslie on May 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I read “Overseas”, however I didn’t like the heroine so it made it slow going for me since it was written in the first person. I did like the hero, the plot and Williams’ writing which is why I finished the book.

    I also read Susanna Kearsley’s “Winter Sea”. I can’t say enough about that wonderful book. Thank you Lauren for turning me on to SK.

    I swore I would never purchase books from Amazon but I broke down and bought Courtney Milan’s e-book novella “The Governess Affair”. 99 cents and the best deal ever!!! Milan is a smart and savvy writer. She takes on themes I usually don’t go for and then knocks it out of the park. CM is fabulous!

    I’ve got another time travel for the weekend by Elaine Coffman. “The Return of The Black Douglas”.

  10. Molly O'Keefe on May 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Hey! Thank you so much – the only time I’ll be on a list with Bill Bryson (whom I ADORE)

    That was a great RT conference and wonderful to me you! Thank you Lauren.

  11. Amy N. on May 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Mid-way through Madame Tussaud.

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