Current Reading: Penny, Connolly

12-lrg-a-great-reckoningA Great Reckoning by Louise Penny came Wednesday, but I didn’t start reading for a couple of days. First I finished the last few stories in the hard-boiled anthology for the special Friday Forgotten (or seldom read) Book posting on September 30. I enjoyed it a lot.

Then I lost a day to a migraine, so it was only on Friday that I began the new Penny. So far, so good. It’s interesting how the author continues the long story arch while finding new ways to involve the characters and the village of Three Pines in each book. I’m at the three-quarter point, and I’ll not say anything about the story as I’m not sure where it’s going or how things will wind up. Too early for opinions.

Barbara also has a copy, from the library, but before starting it she finished A Time of Torment by John Connolly, a Charley Parker thriller. She liked it a lot, but I gather from her comments that it’s not for the faint of heart.

So, as rarely happens, we’re both reading the same book at the same time.

How about you?
What are you reading?

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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29 Responses to Current Reading: Penny, Connolly

  1. steve oerkfitz says:

    Just finished The Forsaken by Ace Atkins. Currently reading A Wizards Apprentice by Matthew Hughes and Random Violence by Jassy MacKenzie. On the top of my TBR list is Monday Starts On Saturday by The Strugatsky brothers, authors of the excellent Roadside Picnic. Gollanz in the UK has just brought it back into print.
    Read the Connolly and enjoyed it. Up to his usual standards. Never read a Louise Penney. Started one (her first one) when I was in the hospital last fall but couldn’t get into it( couldn’t get into anything then actually-didn’t complete a book for 4 months).

    • “didn’t complete a book for 4 months”. Wow. I had trouble concentrating on reading after I got our of the hospital in April, but it only lasted a month or so, and I was able to still read some graphic novels and other super light stuff, like Doc Savage and The Shadow.

      You’re reading some interesting things, as usual, Steve, and you read more, but then I’m not a fast reader, as you can tell by it taking me 4 days to read the just under 400 page Penny book.

      • steve oerkfitz says:

        I spent almost 4 months in the hospital and just could not get interested in reading. I had emergency surgery for a ruptured esphagogus than developed pneumonia in both lungs than caught a merce infection. Had to relearn to walk again. Wasn’t able to go back to work so I have a lot of free time to read. Plus I live alone so not a lot of distractions. Not a particularly fast reader but I devote a lot of time to reading. I try to read about 150 to 200 pages a day.

        • My gosh, Steve, that’s a hell of a set of medical problems, one on top of the other! Seems that could have been life threading, and 4 months in the hospital…unimaginable. Living alone does allow a lot of time for reading, or whatever one chooses. I was a bachelor until I was 60, when I got married. My wife has had to put up with some of my long learned habits, but she’s good about the “me alone time” thing. Our house is big enough to give us both enough space. I read in the morning and some afternoons and in the evening. I’m not much of a movie or TV watcher, preferring books, but I still only get through 80-100 pages in a day. When I have to do yard work or lots of errands or go places etc. I read less. Then too, at my age, most afternoons I take a nap.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I think all Connolly books are like that – not for the faint of heart, that is.

    I’ve had a tough time reading this week. I’ve picked up book after book only to put them down for one reason or another. I did finish the Michael Swanwick collection, THE DOG WENT BOW-WOW, which I found uneven (to my taste), as some stories I liked a lot and others, so so. I’m still reading the Charles Beaumont, and read a Lawrence Block novella, KELLER’S FEDORA.

    I did read a short ebook in a new publishing venture by James Patterson, because it was [co-]written by a favorite, Brendan DuBois, called THE WITNESSES. It was short and fast but utterly unmemorable. And I read the next Hennessey & Yellich procedural by Peter Turnbull, THE RETURN.

    Mostly we’ve been watching music documentaries on Netflix – MUSCLE SHOALS, TAKE ME TO THE RIVER, YOUNG@HEART, and THE WINDING STREAM (about The Carter Family).

    I have liked what I’ve read of Joe Hill’s THE FIREMAN but I’m not sure I want to read 750 pages of it. I did finally find a book I’m really enjoying, though I know it won’t be to all tastes: Becky Chambers’ first sf book, THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL, ANGRY PLANET. Rosemary Harper takes a job as a clerk on a ship whose job is tunneling wormholes, with a small but fun crew of humans and aliens, partly to get away from an unnamed (so far) scandal back on Mars. I know some have criticized that is is episodic and more about the characters than the plot, but I have no problem with either. It does remind me a little (in some ways) of Nathan Lowell’s Ishmael Wang series. Your mileage may vary, but I am really enjoying it so far (100 pages of the 440).

    • steve oerkfitz says:

      I’ve seen a lot of good reviews of Small Angry Planet. I liked Joe Hills earlier novel NOS4A2 but found The middle section way drawn out. Would have been better as a 500 pg novel. Same problem I had with his fathers 11/22/63.

    • Like Steve, I read a couple of reviews (including on the Little Red Reviewer blog) of Small Angry Planet, and it sounded really good. I’m tempted to buy it in ebook or get it in that format tom the library, if they have it. Jeff, you know we both liked Nathan Lowell’s Ishmael Wang books, though I stopped sooner in the series than you did, as I burned out on it.

      What was YOUNG@HEART about?

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        Young@Heart was about a guy in Massachusetts who started and directs a singing group of seniors – in their 70s and 80s, with one great woman who was 92 – but rather than singing traditional songs you’d expect, he has them singing rock & roll – Talking Heads, The Clash,The Ramone (“I Wanna Be Sedated”), etc.

        They have health problems as you might expect, but they love to sing and are not ready to go gently. They’re wonderful. They perform in other countries as well as here

      • Jeff Meyerson says:

        The Little Red Reviewer was where I read about Angry Planet, but unlike two or three other books she’s recommended that I tried but couldn’t get into, this one really clicked for me.

  3. Like Steve, I had trouble reading after my total knee surgeries. The Lortabs turned my brain to mush. But, I learned that I could LISTEN to audio books. Art Scott graciously sent me a set of Bertie and Jeeves stories to listen to in Rehab. Great stuff! Right now, I’m reading THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY with a review coming to my blog soon.

    • Sounds good, George. Yes, audio books are a good way to go in that situation, or when having eye problems. I’ll probably have to have cataract surgery sometime in the future, and that will be the way to go then. Looking forward to your review of THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY.

  4. Jerry House says:

    Migraines are a bear, Richard. I’m glad yours is in the rear view mirror.

    I managed to read a bit more this week than last. THE FOG by James Herbert was my FFB, a horror novel with blood and grue and a dollop or two of sex. I came across a book I had picked up a while ago for its introduction, THREE GOTHIC HORROR NOVELS edited by Peter Fairclough, so I finally read the lengthy (and academic ) introduction; I had read all three novels — THE CASTLE OF OTRANTO, VATHEK, and FRANKENSTEIN — before so I fanally put that collection to bed. I also finished Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s HEX, a horror novel about a three hundred-year-old witch who haunts a small town in New York, an interesting morality tale on the destructive nature of prejudice. Far more to your liking, I’m sure, was the final book I read this week, Groff Conklin’s 1954 anthology 6 GREAT SHORT NOVELS OF SCIENCE FICTION (not to be confused with his 1962 book from the same publisher SIX GREAT SHORT SCIENCE FICTION NOVELS), with stories by Heinlein, Sturgeon, Blish, Leinster, Boucher, and (one whom you don’t usually assocaite with SF) Stuart Cloete.

    It’s also been a graphic novel week: THE INCREDIBLE HERCULES AGAINST THE WORLD, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VOLUME 2: ANGELA (bringing in a character created by Neil Gaiman), INFINITY GAUNTLET, and FEAR ITSELF: HULK. Plus, four sent to me by a very kind man: NIGHTWING: HUNTRESS, NIGHTWING: ON RAZOR’S EDGE, NIGHTWING: BIG GUNS, and MONKEYMAN AND O’BRIEN.

    Coming up: More GNs, a Spencer novel by Robert B. Parker, and whatever else suits my particular fancy through the week. Also, I have a hold on the new John Connolly at my local library; it should be coming through soon.

    Although Hurricane Hermine completely missed us on Friday (we had completely blue skies Firday and Saturday) a great downpour snuck up on us yesterday — pelting rain but no wind. The sun has just now come out and I can see patches of blue.

    Enjoy your week. And no more migraines!

    • I read, or tried to, THE CASTLE OF OTRANTO when I was in high school, and hated it. I don’t even remember why, just that reaction. Conklin edited a LOT of anthologies in his day, many of them very good. I’m still working my way through on big fat one I dip into occasionally.

      I’m glad the hurricane missed you!

      I haven’t read a Spencer novel in ages, but I’ll avoid the “new” ones and have too much else to read to go rereading the oldies. Believe me, I hate those migraines, I have about 1 every three or four months, though I have “regular” headaches two or three a week. I have had for 35 years or more, the docs have never figured out why.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I liked Herbert’s THE FOG a lot more than the John Carpenter movie of the same name (and basic theme).

  6. WHAT SHE KNEW, Gilly MacMillan and THE SYMPATHIZER for my book group. Phil liked HILLBILLY ELEGY.

  7. Deb says:

    I wonder if Louise Penny has planned out the entire series of books in advance. Like, when one mystery ended with a regular character being arrested for murder and in the next book Gamache revisited the investigation. All the pieces seemed to fit together but then Gamache was able to pick them apart.

    At last, Neil Gaiman’s THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS came in on my library list and I devoured it in a couple of days. I think I put Gaiman in the same category as Stephen King–a writer whose non-fiction I like much more than his fiction.

    Last week, I found Penelope Lively’s HOW IT ALL BEGAN for a buck at the Dollar Store (there was also a John Le Carre there, but I limited myself to the Lively). I liked Lively’s THE PHOTOGRAPH, so I’m looking forward to this book about the ramifications of an elderly woman’s mugging.

    • It certainly seems that Penny must have created an overall outline for her series, at least after the first couple of books, doesn’t it? That seems to continue in the new one. But then it makes a lot of sense to have that kind of set of plots than an all new crime and solve it with only the cop reoccurring, the Cabot’s Cove thing.

      The lively sounds interesting, but possibly depressing, which I try to avoid these days. Your menu today (on George’s blog) sounds wonderful. My wife is gone all day, so I’ll pick up a pizza for when she gets home. I don’t have the grilling chops your husband has.

    • Jerry House says:

      I devour most books instantly, Deb, but I’ve been stretching out THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SHEETS over the past few weeks, savoring each article. I think part of me just doesn’t want the book to end.

      • Gotta love books that make you feel that way.

        • Deb says:

          I had planned to just “dip into it”, but I started reading and just kept going. Before I knew it, I had about 30 pages left!

          Btw, our Labor Day meal was outstanding! The ribs just fell off the bone, the pork butt shredded with no trouble, and the chicken wings had marinated in tequila, lime, honey, and soy. Yum! I forgot to mention we grilled our corn on the cob, then rolled it in fresh-squeezed lime juice mixed with chili powder. Man, that was good. Will have watermelon later.

          • Jeff Meyerson says:

            Jackie thought the corn was the one thing missing from the menu, so glad it was there.

          • *mouth watering* Oh man, does that ever sound good. I’ve really got to try corn that way! I only have the oven to cook ribs in, and can’t seem to get them to come out that way.

  8. I have a couple of Connolly books on the TBR but have been a wuss about trying him actually, precisely because I heard they can be a bit heavy …

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