Weekly Reading Round-Up

Apologies for the long weekly reading round-up hiatus! I was off in Scotland with limited internet access– and weekly reading round-up is particularly resistant to pre-programming since I never do know what I’m going to read until I read it.

This week, I’ve been reading through all my old Angela Thirkell novels. For those who haven’t encountered Thirkell, she writes novels of village life in the 1930s. I think of her as a female P.G. Wodehouse or a more optimistic Nancy Mitford. Everyone gets gently satirized, but everything turns out well in the end. There’s more than a bit of Cold Comfort Farm in her books.

My favorites have always been The Brandons (my very first Thirkell), August Folly, and Wild Strawberries. They all depict a gentle, leisured, rural world, so very different from our own, peopled with delightfully dotty characters.

This week, I’ve gone through Summer Half , August Folly, and Before Lunch. I also have Northbridge Rectory and Marling Hall waiting for me, neither of which I can remember having read before.

What have you been reading?


  1. Ashley on July 6, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I have finally read two books that I’ve been holding on to for ages – “The King Must Die” by Mary Renault and “The Rose Garden” by Susanna Kearsley. Both have been excellent! Now I’m dithering over which Susanna Kearsley book to read next.

  2. Lauren on July 6, 2012 at 9:52 am

    If you liked “The Rose Garden”, try “Mariana”! The two work well together….

  3. Christine on July 6, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I started “The Shoemaker’s Wife,” hated it and stopped. Loved “The House of the Hunted,” and thought “The Dressmaker” was ok. Plot was good but poor character development and it really bugged me.

  4. Pam on July 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I finally read A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and absolutely loved it. (The character of Matthew Clairmont is clearly the fantasy of an academic: as a super-old vampire he has first-hand knowledge of much of history, he has career-making/never-before-seen manuscripts in his house in France, which happens to be a freaking castle, and he loves wine.) I cannot wait until the sequel comes out next week!!

    Then I read Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Patillo, sent to me by a very kind person whose name begins with Lauren and ends with Willig. It was a perfect escape for a summer afternoon (though I was horrified that a serious Austen scholar would never have been to Chawton before). I took it outside with a big jug of iced tea, an excellent day. Thank you so much for sending/sharing it!

    Now, while I wait for Shadow of Night to come out and wrestle with an uncooperative dissertation chapter, I am reading The Provincial Lady in London by E.M. Delafield. It follows her first book Diary of a Provincial Lady, which I recommend heartily.

  5. Julie H on July 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    I’ve been reading my way through the books you suggested on the marriage of convenience “If you like…” post. My favorites have been the Susan Elizabeth Phillips ones. I’d never read her before, and now I’m trying to get my hands on everything of hers!

    I also enjoyed Joan Wolf’s The Pretenders. I’d never read a historical romance written in the first person before, so that was very different.

    Thanks so much for the suggestions – I’ve enjoyed them immensely!

  6. leslie on July 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Pam: Loved A Discovery of Witches! Extraordinary H/H.
    Reread Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Philcher.
    Started a few new release MMPB romances, but didn’t finish any of them.
    Have Churchill’s Secretary for the weekend.

    Check out the Library of Congress list of books that shaped America.

  7. leslie on July 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Pilcher not Philcher!!

  8. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on July 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    This week, due to heat (ick 100, ick) I spent all the time I could indoors and reading.

    Firstly, The Janus Affair by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris: Wonderful new Steampunk series, The Ministry of Peculiar Occurances, so fun. A little like Warehouse 13 in Victorian Times.

    Secondly, The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter: Love Terry, loved this book, plus it takes place in my hometown of Madison!

    Thirdly, The Wrong Camera by Catherine Ford: Short story set in the world of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurances, tons of fun.

    Fourthly, Everyone’s Reading Bastard by Nick Hornby: Short story that really has no beginning or end and was pretty dumb.

    Fifthly, A Midsummer Tights Dream by Louise Rennison: Loved her YA Angus Thongs series and have been trying to get into her new series but it just seems like a stall rehash. Also, for us history buffs, she messed up Richard the II/III! Shocker, I know!

  9. Carole Rae on July 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I just finished ‘Butterfly Swords’ by Jeannie Lin. I reaaaally liked it. Right now I’m reading ‘Another World’ by Pat Barker.

  10. Amy N. on July 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Oh Leslie, do comment on how you like Churchills Secretary! I’m halfway through “The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte” and it’s interesting. I really like the Sano Ichiro series from LJ Rowland so I thought I’d give this a try. Thinking about reading Jane Eyre but I haven’t added it to my pile yet. I feel a trip to used book store coming on…

  11. Céline on July 6, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Being short on time, I only read two books those last few weeks… The Rose Garden, on your recommandation, Lauren, which I absolutely loved! I’m going to dive into Susanna Kearsley’s books as soon as possible!
    Then I read a historical and fantastic fiction, The Moon and the Sun, by Vonda McIntyre, involving a sea monster and Louis XIV… quite original, but quite good also!

    And last, but not least, I manage to put my hands on the first series of Downton Abbey, and I’ve been watching it… I absolutely love it!!!! Only two episodes left, I must hurry and order the second series!

  12. Katie on July 7, 2012 at 12:56 am

    I finally got around to ready Rhys Bowen’s Naughty in Nice. Just love this series! Can’t wait for the next one.
    Also read Julia Quinn’s A Night Like This- it lived up to the great standard of all her other books. I’m going to have to go back and read one of her earlier books to keep my happy until the next book in this series is released.
    I also read Janet Evanovich’s Wicked Business and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is the second book in her Lizzy and Diesel series- the equivalent of Stephanie Plum with cupcakes! Such fun!
    I just started reading Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. I’m only about two chapters in but it is good so far!
    So glad to have the reading round-up back- it made my day!

  13. Mae on July 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    I just finished Beverly Swerling’s “City of Dreams” which was awesome! It follows a family in New York City from the 1600s-1700s. It’s actually part of a series (this being the first one)…but I read the series backwards…and I think this is the best one!

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