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J-rap

Can you recommend a book to read and distract me this summer?

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I have so much going on!  A lot of it quite stressful.  I love reading, but find that the types of books I generally enjoy take too much concentration these days.  But I like the distraction of a good book.   So....  I'm looking for a great book that draws you in quickly, moves along at a good pace, and doesn't require too much brain energy.  Open to all genres except romance and horror.  

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What are a few past favorites that meet these requirements, J-rap?

Regards,

Kareni

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I love books that take place in a historical context, including biographies and memoirs.  (I've read lots of WW2 memoirs.)   I enjoy more complex fiction like Dickens.  And light mysteries with a poignant twist like No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.  🙂

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The Sevenwater Series, first book is called Daughter of the Forest, very engaging, not too deep.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter.  Detective style story, but the characters are the daughters of literature's mad scientists, light and funny.

 

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Have you read the Call the Midwife trilogy? Once you get going, many chapters almost stand alone (for when you can't read long or just want a little escape).

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How about dystopia w a hint of horror? I enjoyed Birdbox. 

Dd loves the Louise Penny books w Inspector Gamache.

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54 minutes ago, J-rap said:

I have so much going on!  A lot of it quite stressful.  I love reading, but find that the types of books I generally enjoy take too much concentration these days.  But I like the distraction of a good book.   So....  I'm looking for a great book that draws you in quickly, moves along at a good pace, and doesn't require too much brain energy.  Open to all genres except romance and horror.  

 

I am currently enjoying the St. Mary's series of time travel books by Jodi Taylor. There are occasional brief descriptions of WTM tea but they are, on the whoile, neither romance nor horror.

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Historical mystery: Sebastian St. Cyr series by C.S. Harris

Historical and present day gentle mysteries by Colleen Coble (Rock Harbor series and Aloha Reef series and several more are present day; Butterfly Palace & Lightkeeper's Daughter are historical)

Julia Spencer Fleming's mystery series featuring Claire Fergusson and Russ van Alstyne

Present day gentle mystery / crime series by Dani Pettrey (she has the Alaska series and another series set in the Chesapeake Bay area)

Purely hisyorical fiction / crime by Anne Perry. She wrote two main series, one is the Thomas Pitt series and the other the William Monk series set in Victorian times

Have you read Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody series? Very fun, mystery and light romance.

Edited by Liz CA
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24 minutes ago, J-rap said:

I love books that take place in a historical context, including biographies and memoirs.  (I've read lots of WW2 memoirs.)   I enjoy more complex fiction like Dickens.

My daughter would recommend The Historian: Elizabeth Kostova

In the memoir category, Classic Feynman: All the Adventures of a Curious Character which is a compilation of two of Richard Feynman's earlier books -- "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" and "What Do You Care What Other People Think?".  The edition I've linked above is wonderful because it includes a CD of Richard Feynman telling some great stories of his time at Los Alamos.

In a lighter vein, I'll give you my standard recommendation of the Don Camillo books by Giovanni Guareschi.  It is a series of some six books about an Italian priest and his nemesis the Communist mayor; the books are set in the 1950s in Italy. The priest sometimes talks to Christ on the cross who talks back to him.  The wikipedia entry will give you a good idea of the content of the series.  The first book is  The Little World of Don Camillo

For something completely different, you might read a sample of S. K. Dunstall's space opera trilogy which begins with Linesman (A Linesman Novel) and see if it works for you. It's a recent favorite that my adult daughter and husband like, too.I

Regards,

Kareni

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All books by Alexander McCall Smith are wonderful. The 44 Scotland Street series, Isabel Dalhousie series, and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series are my favorites 🙂

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Laurie R. King's series of Sherlock Holmes spin-offs starting with The Beekeeper's Apprentice is wonderful, if you aren't familiar with them already.

https://www.amazon.com/Beekeepers-Apprentice-Segregation-Russell-Mystery/dp/1250055709/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=the+beekeepers+apprentice+by+laurie+king&qid=1560355735&s=gateway&sprefix=the+beek&sr=8-1

I liked Iain Pears' series of art history mysteries set in Rome. This is the first: https://www.amazon.com/Raphael-Affair-Art-History-Mystery/dp/0425178927/ref=mp_s_a_1_5?keywords=iain+pears+books&qid=1560355873&s=gateway&sprefix=iain+pe&sr=8-5

If you don't know Patrick O'Brian, well, you have a treat waiting. He handles the context of the British navy during the Napoleonic wars as if he had been there. The language is an immersive experience. There's a lot of humor, too, and action. Start with Master and Commander. There are enough to last all summer. https://www.amazon.com/Master-Commander-Patrick-OBrian/dp/0393307050/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?keywords=master+and+commander&qid=1560356315&s=gateway&sprefix=master+and&sr=8-2

And, once those are done, have fun adding dragons to the Napoleonic mix. His Majesty's Dragon and sequels are a hoot. https://www.amazon.com/His-Majestys-Dragon-Novel-Temeraire-ebook/dp/B000GCFBQA/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?keywords=temeraire+series&qid=1560356470&s=gateway&sprefix=Temer&sr=8-4

Hope some of these appeal.

Edited by Innisfree
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Humor: Wodehouse can't be beat and perfect for stressful times

Mystery: Raymond Chandler anything, the Little Sister is a good intro.

Sci/fi: Asimov's robots or foundation series or the first couple of Dune books by Frank Herbert (later ones are blah)

Short stories (easier to read on the run I find): Evelyn Waugh

Historical, American: Caroline Gordon & James Still (River of Earth is a great read for hard times)

Historical, world: The Leopard (starts off slow but really engaging once you get into it)

Honestly, when times are stressful and I have no brain cells I prefer to reread stuff I love rather than something new: Austen & Dickens fill a need that few others can.

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I recently finished The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom.  I loved them both so much! Historical fiction inspired by actual places and what might have happened.  

I'm currently reading Prairie Fires, which I am enjoying.  I'm really liking how the author is placing the events of Laura Ingalls Wilder's life into historical context.  

Edited by Lady Marmalade
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I'm enjoying Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies right now. (I admit, I watched the show first! 😳) It's a murder mystery but very light and entertaining.

I'm going to check out some of her others when I'm done. I like her style.

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http://a.co/e7lUZrc. Teacher, Teacher by Jack Sheffield not sure the link looks like it’s right.   I just started it recently so not sure , but think it might be good for your purposes 

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Let's see, some that I like that fit your criteria: 

Jenny Colgan - anything by her is good, but the Little Beach Street Bakery series is really enjoyable as well as The Cafe By the Sea series. One takes place in Cornwall and the other at the edge of Scotland and her writing is just lovely. They are a little romance-y but the stories are lovely.

Alyssa Maxwell writes fun mysteries from the turn of the 20th century. I started reading them because they take place in my hometown and it's really neat to read about the Gilded Age there. The first one is called Murder at the Breakers.

 

 

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For light, easy reading I love the four book by Effie Wilder starting with Over The Hill But Not Out To Pasture.   Written by an older lady about her time in a retirement home and her escapades there.  Just fun and light reading.

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19 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

The Sevenwater Series, first book is called Daughter of the Forest, very engaging, not too deep.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter.  Detective style story, but the characters are the daughters of literature's mad scientists, light and funny.

 

Both of these look very different and very interesting!  Thanks!

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19 hours ago, alisoncooks said:

Have you read the Call the Midwife trilogy? Once you get going, many chapters almost stand alone (for when you can't read long or just want a little escape).

I haven't read these...  They look great!  Is the TV show based off of these?  (I haven't watched those either, but have been wanting to.)

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19 hours ago, vonfirmath said:

 

I am currently enjoying the St. Mary's series of time travel books by Jodi Taylor. There are occasional brief descriptions of WTM tea but they are, on the whoile, neither romance nor horror.

These sound really fun -- thanks!

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19 hours ago, Liz CA said:

Historical mystery: Sebastian St. Cyr series by C.S. Harris

Historical and present day gentle mysteries by Colleen Coble (Rock Harbor series and Aloha Reef series and several more are present day; Butterfly Palace & Lightkeeper's Daughter are historical)

Julia Spencer Fleming's mystery series featuring Claire Fergusson and Russ van Alstyne

Present day gentle mystery / crime series by Dani Pettrey (she has the Alaska series and another series set in the Chesapeake Bay area)

Purely hisyorical fiction / crime by Anne Perry. She wrote two main series, one is the Thomas Pitt series and the other the William Monk series set in Victorian times

Have you read Elizabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody series? Very fun, mystery and light romance.

I haven't read any of these, although I've heard of the Amelia Peabody series.  My list is getting longer!  Thanks!

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19 hours ago, Kareni said:

My daughter would recommend The Historian: Elizabeth Kostova

In the memoir category, Classic Feynman: All the Adventures of a Curious Character which is a compilation of two of Richard Feynman's earlier books -- "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" and "What Do You Care What Other People Think?".  The edition I've linked above is wonderful because it includes a CD of Richard Feynman telling some great stories of his time at Los Alamos.

In a lighter vein, I'll give you my standard recommendation of the Don Camillo books by Giovanni Guareschi.  It is a series of some six books about an Italian priest and his nemesis the Communist mayor; the books are set in the 1950s in Italy. The priest sometimes talks to Christ on the cross who talks back to him.  The wikipedia entry will give you a good idea of the content of the series.  The first book is  The Little World of Don Camillo

For something completely different, you might read a sample of S. K. Dunstall's space opera trilogy which begins with Linesman (A Linesman Novel) and see if it works for you. It's a recent favorite that my adult daughter and husband like, too.I

Regards,

Kareni

These all look fascinating...  The Don Camillo books in particular.  Thank you.

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19 hours ago, Mainer said:

All books by Alexander McCall Smith are wonderful. The 44 Scotland Street series, Isabel Dalhousie series, and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series are my favorites 🙂

I love the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series....  I should try his other series -- thanks for the reminder!

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19 hours ago, Innisfree said:

Laurie R. King's series of Sherlock Holmes spin-offs starting with The Beekeeper's Apprentice is wonderful, if you aren't familiar with them already.

https://www.amazon.com/Beekeepers-Apprentice-Segregation-Russell-Mystery/dp/1250055709/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=the+beekeepers+apprentice+by+laurie+king&qid=1560355735&s=gateway&sprefix=the+beek&sr=8-1

I liked Iain Pears' series of art history mysteries set in Rome. This is the first: https://www.amazon.com/Raphael-Affair-Art-History-Mystery/dp/0425178927/ref=mp_s_a_1_5?keywords=iain+pears+books&qid=1560355873&s=gateway&sprefix=iain+pe&sr=8-5

If you don't know Patrick O'Brian, well, you have a treat waiting. He handles the context of the British navy during the Napoleonic wars as if he had been there. The language is an immersive experience. There's a lot of humor, too, and action. Start with Master and Commander. There are enough to last all summer. https://www.amazon.com/Master-Commander-Patrick-OBrian/dp/0393307050/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?keywords=master+and+commander&qid=1560356315&s=gateway&sprefix=master+and&sr=8-2

And, once those are done, have fun adding dragons to the Napoleonic mix. His Majesty's Dragon and sequels are a hoot. https://www.amazon.com/His-Majestys-Dragon-Novel-Temeraire-ebook/dp/B000GCFBQA/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?keywords=temeraire+series&qid=1560356470&s=gateway&sprefix=Temer&sr=8-4

Hope some of these appeal.

A number of years ago I read the Beekeeper's Apprentice book and really enjoyed it.   Great recs -- thanks!

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19 hours ago, happi duck said:

A couple of light series I have liked:

Elm Creek Quilts by Jennifer Chiaverini https://www.orderofbooks.com/authors/jennifer-chiaverini/

Aunt Dimity by Nancy Atherton https://www.orderofbooks.com/characters/aunt-dimity/

I was so stressed last summer that I read *zero* books.  I hope you find something that you like!

Thanks.  I'd like to be able to distract myself with a book, so hopefully I can get there!  These looks good -- thanks.  There are a lot of those Aunt Dimity books!

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18 hours ago, mms said:

Humor: Wodehouse can't be beat and perfect for stressful times

Mystery: Raymond Chandler anything, the Little Sister is a good intro.

Sci/fi: Asimov's robots or foundation series or the first couple of Dune books by Frank Herbert (later ones are blah)

Short stories (easier to read on the run I find): Evelyn Waugh

Historical, American: Caroline Gordon & James Still (River of Earth is a great read for hard times)

Historical, world: The Leopard (starts off slow but really engaging once you get into it)

Honestly, when times are stressful and I have no brain cells I prefer to reread stuff I love rather than something new: Austen & Dickens fill a need that few others can.

So many interesting books that I've never heard of!  And you're right.  I think Dickens books are in a category of their own, for sure.

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14 hours ago, MercyA said:

I wonder if you might enjoy Fieldwork. Anthropology, missionaries, mystery. Very well-written. 

This sounds very intriguing... thanks!

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44 minutes ago, J-rap said:

I haven't read these...  They look great!  Is the TV show based off of these?  (I haven't watched those either, but have been wanting to.)

Yes, the show is based off these. Some stories follow very closely, some not. Several seasons in, the show continues on where the books basically end. 

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20 hours ago, Innisfree said:

 

If you don't know Patrick O'Brian, well, you have a treat waiting. He handles the context of the British navy during the Napoleonic wars as if he had been there. The language is an immersive experience. There's a lot of humor, too, and action. Start with Master and Commander. There are enough to last all summer. https://www.amazon.com/Master-Commander-Patrick-OBrian/dp/0393307050/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?keywords=master+and+commander&qid=1560356315&s=gateway&sprefix=master+and&sr=8-2

 

Ooh, second Patrick O'Brian!  And add in C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower series for that same time period if Napoleonic wars are your thing 🙂

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Well, I just went on Amazon and ordered used copies of The Little World of Don Camillo and Fieldwork.   I'll start with those!   I love having a whole list to work through though.  Thanks again!

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