Weekly Reading Round-Up

I’ve been immersing myself in the 1920s in anticipation of starting work on the next stand alone novel. This week it’s been D.J. Taylor’s Bright Young People, Mary Lovell’s The Mitford Girls, and Nancy Mitford’s Highland Fling. I’ve just started a re-read of Dorothy Sayers’s Gaudy Night, which is a bit too late for me, but does have several admirable descriptions of Oxford. (Not to mention being my favorite of the Lord Peter books.)

What have you been reading this week?


  1. Kristen Allen-Vogel on January 3, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    I’m still rereading, waiting for my copy of The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan to arrive. Right now it’s The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler. Before that it was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, and before that Lucy by Laurence Gonzales.

    • Sue G on January 7, 2014 at 10:04 am

      I hope that your copy arrives very soon.
      I received an ARC and loved Courtney’s book.
      In fact, I bought the other books and novellas in the series.
      I have been on a Courtney Milan book marathon!

  2. Yvette R on January 3, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I have been listening to Mary Roberts Rinehart again. First, “the Door” (written in 1930), and right now I am in the middle of “the Swimming Pool” (written in the early 1950s). They are amusing and very complex, and you get normal conversation that is sprinkled lightly with the kind of political incorrectness that was the norm at the time, especially in the one published in 1930. Highly interesting how far we have come!

  3. Céline on January 3, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I’m deep in a fantasy series that my boyfriend has recommanded me: The Legend of Eli Monpress, by Rachel Aaron. It’s fun, it’s a bit epic, the characters are as mysterious as they are funny… a perfect winter reading!!
    I also have Bet Me, by Jennifer Crusie, waiting in line! 🙂

  4. Elizabeth Lefebvre on January 4, 2014 at 12:17 am

    I’ve been reading “Long Walk to Freedom” the Nelson Mandela biography… which, yes, amazing life, but, he’s not a writer and he needed an editor, because, it’s dense and long.

    I have ‘Highland Fling’ on my TBR pile!

  5. jeffrey on January 4, 2014 at 6:28 am

    I had a tough time letting go of Christmas this so after finishing Debbie Macomber’s 2013 Christmas novel Starry Night, I read her very first annual Christmas novel The Gift of Christmas published back in 1985. Then I read In the Spirit of Christmas by Linda Goodnight, a Christian-oriented romance. My opinion? They were all wonderful and I can now more easily unplug myself from the season.

  6. Christine on January 4, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Astor Place Vintage – and it was fantastic. Made me miss New York.

  7. Sheila on January 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    A very old Jean Plaidy called It started in Vauxhall Gardens, very interesting. Dancing in the Wind by the always wonderful Marion Chesney, aka M C Beaton. This was a Georgian and a bit darker and sexier than her usual, but I loved it. Also read a modern day novel called Walk Me Home. It was quite an intense coming of age story, even tho in the author’s note she says it was about Native Americans… I didn’t completely get that, but it was good anyway.

  8. Rachel Beecroft on January 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Hello – it’s one of my New Year’s resolutions to join in on threads that I lurk on all the time, so here I am posting for the first time. I’m especially keen to join in on this because I discovered so many writers that I love from recommendations on this site. A look at the books I’ve read over the Xmas period will show how many of the authors are ones that people have been talking about here: Deanna Raybourn, A Spear of Summer Grass; Private Arrangements and His at Night by Sherry Thomas; Simply Irresistible, Jill Shalvis; A Rogue by any other Name, Sarah Maclean; Wicked Little Secrets, Susanna Ives; and Crooked Hearts, Patricia Gaffney. I also read a British Chick Lit author Mhairi McFarlane, Here’s Looking at You. Her books have a bit more emotional oomph than some other chick lit I’ve read and I’d really recommend them. Having said that, this is her second book, and I thought her first one, You Had Me at Hello, was better than this (I think this suffered from second book syndrome slightly and I’m completely sure that her third book will be brilliant).

    Finally – long first post – but in my spirit of trying to give back: Lauren, you mentioned that you’re researching the 1920s and I wondered if you had come across a social history book called The Long Weekend – A Social History of Great Britain 1918 – 1939 by Graves & Hodge. It’s particularly useful because it focuses on day-to-day details, rather than the big picture. Also, A History of Everyday Things 1851 to 1942 CBH & Marjorie Quennell is great for details. I’m sure you’ve already got both of those, but mentioning just in case because they’re really worth it.

    • Christine on January 4, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Hi Rachel! Welcome! (and I’m a fan of long posts)

    • Lauren on January 4, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      Yay!! I’m so happy you’ve found good books here. And thanks so much for coming out of lurk to share! I’m going to have to look for that Mhairi McFarlane book. Have you tried Harriet Evans? Also British chick lit with emotional oomph, particularly “Happily Ever After”.

    • Lauren on January 4, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      “The Long Week-End” is already on the pile, but I hadn’t heard about the Quennell book. Thank you for that! Ordering it now….

    • Lynne on January 5, 2014 at 12:57 am

      Rachel – You’re an impressive reader!! Some great ideas for my lists and nice to hear a new voice.

    • Céline on January 5, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Well, hello Rachel and welcome!!!
      You really convinced me with the Mhairi McFarlane books, so I’ve just bought the ebook of You had me at hello! 😀 Thanks for the recommandation!

    • Sue G on January 7, 2014 at 10:08 am

      I have discovered many new authors and books here as well.
      Love your book list!

  9. Alice on January 4, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Welcome Rachel! I just finished “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion.” Brilliant!! I laughed out loud so many times. Positively loved it!! Also real “The Wolfe” by Kathryn Le Veque. A first by this author. A medieval romance that was really enjoyable and entertaining. The author avoids drama for dramas sake and I appreciated that.

    • Céline on January 5, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      Alice, that’s a coincidence, a friend of mine recommanded The Rosie Project two weeks ago!!
      I’m in the waiting list, hoping to be able to borrow it from the library soon!

      • Alice on January 6, 2014 at 12:32 am

        Celine, I waited over a month to get it from the library and still don’t have it. If you have a Kindle, it is one of the monthly deals for January. Only $1.99. So I just bought it as I was tired of waiting. Totally worth it!

        • Céline on January 6, 2014 at 9:51 am

          Thanks for the tip, Alice! Sadly, I don’t have a Kindle, but a Sony, so it doesn’t work, and my Canadian ebook seller never has the same deals as Amazon… 🙁
          So, I’m gonna have to learn patience! 🙂

          • Céline on January 8, 2014 at 11:05 am

            It seems I am lucky, Alice, because The Rosie Project is already available for me at the library! Yeah!! 🙂

  10. Rachel Beecroft on January 5, 2014 at 5:59 am

    Already on Amazon looking for Harriet Evans and also the Rosie Project …. I think joining in is going to make my book pile even higher!

  11. Suzanne on January 5, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I have just finished reading Charles Finch’s “A Death In The Small Hours” which was really enjoyable. He writes a great mystery with loads of historical detail. I have started Tracy Grant’s “Sectrets Of A Lady” which is already keeping me up late totally enthalled.

    As everybody is talking about the 1920s at the moment I wanted to tell you about my favourite TV series’ set in the 20s. I have done a lot of ametuer theatre in the past and whenever i wanted to get into the speech rhythms of the 1920s I used to watch Agatha Christie’s “Partners In Crime” (I think it is called “Tommy And Tuppence” in the US)and the 1980 TV series of Nancy Mitford’s “Love In A Cold Climate.” There was a new series of it made more recently but it was rubbish. It has to be the old one with Judy Dench.

    I hope you all have a wonderful 2014.

  12. Verity W on January 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Hi Lauren,

    Really interested in your 1920s reading list – I read DJ Taylor’s Bright Young People (but mine had a slightly different subtitle to the one you quote – don’t know if that’s because mine was a UK edition) after watching a fabulous BBC documentary on the Bright Young people as part of their Glamour’s Golden Age series (this one – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nk9m5 ) because he was one of the talking heads in it – I also bought Lucy Moore’s Anything Goes after watching that (although that’s more 1920s America) and went on a massive Evelyn Waugh reading mission! Have you read Judith Mackrell’s Flappers? (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flappers-Dangerous-Generation-Judith-Mackrell/dp/0230752330/ref=pd_sim_b_1) it’s on my to read pile, but unless it pops up at the library, I’ll probably wait for the paper back. It’s out of period for your 1920s list (but I’m on a mission to get as many people to read this book as possible) have you read Gone With the Windsors by Laurie Graham – it starts in 1932 (as I say out of period for what you’re after) and is a fictional diary of a friend of Wallis Simpson. I laughed so hard the first time I read it my sides hurt. And I still read it at least once a year!

    Rachel – I’m a big old lurker here too and only post very occasionally – if you liked the Mhari McFarlane (I’ve only read the first not the second which is waiting on the kindle for me to get to it) have you read Jane Lovering’s Please Don’t Stop the Music which I liked and had a similar sort of emotional oompf. Harriet Evans is also great – and if you really like your chick lit with a strong vein of Serious Issues Dealt With With Humour, Marian Keyes is amazing too.

    This has got really long, so what I’ve read this week is the latest Phryne Fisher mystery (detective stories with a very feisty and liberated heroine in 1920s Melbourne), The Detection Club’s The Floating Admiral and I’m nearly finished the latest Thursday Next novel by Jasper Fforde. Next to read is Lucy Dillon’s latest – A Hundred Pieces of Me – which I’ve been eagerly waiting for for the last year and was lucky enough to win a ARC of via Good Reads – She’s well worth a look to anyone who likes Harriet Evans/Mhari McF/Katie Fforde etc.

  13. Christina on January 6, 2014 at 12:43 am

    I read The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom. Not my favorite of his work. I read and loved Daisy Fay & The Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg. A bit over the top and too coincidental in parts but I adored Daisy Fay and now want to read all of Fannie Flagg’s books. I also read Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel. This is first book in a trilogy set in the 1930s and involving fairies. It was an interesting read. I’ll probably read the next book. I also read What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris thanks to this weekly reading posts. I liked it very much and suspect I will read the entire series.

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