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Friday, August 10, 2018

Book Blogger Hop: Happiness Is A Good Book

This week’s Book Blogger Hop theme asks if your favourite thing to do is sit down with a good book.

Well, yes, apart from sitting down to write a good book...

Sit down, curl up in bed, sit on public transport, in the park, on the beach - it’s no wonder I have books in every room of my house, including the smallest one. When I get in the shower, I wish someone would invent a chip that would allow me to read there too. For someone like me, the inventor of the e-reader, which allows me to carry hundreds of good books with me at all times deserves a major award, or even a statue. Or several. The teacher who taught me how all those squiggles fitted together to make words has a special place in my heart. Here’s to you, Ms Easter!

What do I read when I’m reading?

Science fiction - hard SF written by the likes of Stephen Baxter, who also creates characters you can care about. Simon Petrie, who can write hard SF that is also a police procedural! Set on Titan, yet. Space opera/military, eg Lois McMaster Bujold, Tanya Huff and Elizabeth Moon, and straight military SF, like Gordon R Dickson’s Childe series, with his lovely Dorsai mercenaries who do it because there really isn’t anything else they can do on their poor planet. Interestingly, when I was reading them years ago they had more female fans than male ones, probably because of the wonderful Dorsai brothers, Ian and Kensie.

Fantasy - preferred funny, like Terry Pratchett, who thankfully never decided to be the clown who wanted to play Hamlet, unlike some children’s/YA writers I will not name here, who have disappointed me over the years. He knew who his audience was, and he could get across a serious message while making you laugh out loud. I am not crazy about multi-volume epics in which a couple of Elves, a long lost prince, a grumpy Dwarf and a wizard go on a quest - or, rather, a Quest. If the cover compares it to Tolkien, I put it down immediately - there is nothing like Tolkien.

Actually, I’m not crazy about multi-volume epics in general.

I enjoy crime fiction - cosy rather than thriller, some police procedural, historical crime fiction, such as Barbara Hambly’s Benjamin January series, which are still wonderful after - what, twelve volumes? I love the earlier Phryne Fisher novels by Kerry Greenwood, but prefer the same author’s present-day Corinna Chapman series to the later Phryne Fisher stories.

Non fiction - true crime is great! Also historical non fiction - biographies, even of people I may not have heard of, if they sound interesting. I’m currently reading a bio of Lady Margaret Douglas, the daughter of Margaret Tudor, who re-married after the death of her husband, King James IV of Scotland. She must have regretted it, given the brawls she had with her second husband. She married again after getting permission for a divorce - or, rather, an annulment that allowed her daughter to be considered legitimate because she had married Hubby #2 in good faith. Pity Katherine of Aragon couldn’t do the same, but then she absolutely considered herself married to Henry. And by the way, Henry, who was himself trying to get rid of Katherine at the time, was shocked and kept writing letters urging his sister to stop being an embarrassment and go back to Mr Douglas. Pot, kettle, black. Lady Margaret also became the mother of  Lord Darnley, so the mother in law of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Also currently reading an intriguing book about the Nazi movement in the US before World War II. They had some ideas about Los Angeles in particular because of all the Jewish film makers. And the powers that be were mostly uninterested because they thought it was more important to focus on the Communist menace. Would you believe the awful HUAC started off as a way of investigating the Nazis? Not for long!

I also enjoy “history of” books. I have some fascinating histories of everything from chocolate to tourism. The tourism one is a hoot. And tourism has been happening since ancient times. I mostly get books like these at places like the Book Grocer, which sells discount volumes.

So, these are my good books to sit down with(or curl up with). What are yours?


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - I do love to read ... then everything else gets put on one side. I enjoy books with some meat in them ... not too frivolous - but it's great you're such an avid reader - enjoy whatever books come your way ... cheers Hilary

Sue Bursztynski said...

Thanks, Hilary! I admit I do enjoy frivolous now and then.

Maria Behar said...

For me, there's nothing that even comes close to the pleasure of sitting down with a good book! Well, except for blogging, but even then, reading definitely has a slight edge.

I need to read more SF! And I want to read Pratchett! Iv'e heard so many great things about him!

Ever since I found out, in school history lessons, what Henry VIII did to his wives, I have HATED him. Ironically, the Church of England, which, as we all know, he founded, has been ordaining women priests for decades now. Take THAT, Henry, you (unmentionable)!! Lol.

Thanks for the great post!! Hope you're having a nice week!! <3 :)

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Maria! Yes, Terry Pratchett’s work is amazing! I suggest you start with Mort, in which Death takes an apprentice and goes off on holiday, leaving the boy to mess up the job - hilariously! - with one error. The first book, Colour Of Magic, is the poorest book of the series, though it does introduce Rincewind, a character who appears in several later books. Even Terry Pratchett thought so - he said at a talk I heard in Melbourne that you were better to start with Mort - just after I’d said this to the lady sitting next to me!

It is interesting to think where England might have gone under King Arthur and Queen Katherine, with his younger brother, Henry, in the Church, which I think was the original intention. Maybe a subject for a novel or even a series by Harry Turtledove, eh? 😏 In this case, I was thinking of the hypocrisy of a man who was pestering his sister to go back to her husband while in the middle of trying to get rid of his wife!

Simon Petrie said...

Thanks very much for the mention, Sue!

Sue Bursztynski said...

Well deserved, Psi!