While walking home one day, six-year-old Joanna Mason’s family is attacked and killed by a man wielding a butcher knife. Joanna escapes by fleeing into a cornfield and hiding. She’s eventually found and the killer is caught and sent to jail.Now before you get upset with me for revealing too much, let me just say that all of what I described above happens in the first twenty or so pages of Kate Atkinson’s latest novel “When Will There Be Good News?” The death of Joanna’s family is the catalyst for everything that happens for the rest of the story and the impact is felt on every single character we meet over the course of this story.
As usual, Atkinson’s novel is one that defies easy description. It’s one part a mystery, one part character study and one part suspense thriller. The story starts out on a deceptively slow note, allowing readers to get to know the various players in the events to come and slowly building to a train wreck (literally and figuratively) of a turning point that has a direct impact on each of the characters. Atkinson brings back Jackson Brodie, the private detective who featured in her previous novels “Case Histories” and “One Good Turn” as well as several other familiar faces.
As I read this story, comparions to Elizabeth George kept creeping up on me. (And that’s a good thing as George is one of my favorite authors). Atkinson has a storytelling style that highlights characters, but continues to build the story with each page. She’s subtle, working in details to the storyline naturally and rewarding readers when a payoff comes several pages later. Watching the story unfold, building up momentum until we finally see the bigger picture is fascinating. Several storylines cross over and we get to see events from several points of view.
The various elements will keep you guessing, keep you curious and keep the pages turning. I consumed this book eagerly, anxious to find out what happens next. It’s one of those where once the final page is turned, you’ll walk away satisfied but wishing there was more to savor
Today’s question: Series. Do you collect any series? Do you read series books? Fantasy? Mystery? Science fiction? Religious? Other genre? Do you use the series feature in LT to help you find new books or figure out what you might be missing from a series?
These days, it seems like a LOT of what I read are series. It seems like it’s almost impossible to get away from novels that are a series, not that this is necessarily a bad thing. I think a well-done series is worth reading, though I am persnickity and feel I have to start at the beginning of any series I read. Nothing frustrates me more than when the library will have the second, third and fourth book of a series but not the first. How can I know if I LIKE the series if I can’t read the first one? It’s a dilemma, I tell you. A terrible, terrible dilemma.
As for series I read: Lynley and Haver by Elizabeth George, the Ender series by Orson Scott Card, Seventh Son by Card, Star Trek: New Frontier by Peter David, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, Evan Delany by Meg Gardiner, the Ramona series (growing up) by Beverly Cleary. There are a myriad of others, I’m sure but I’m just not recalling them all right now.
Today’s question: Early Reviewers- do you participate? How many books (approximately) have you received through the program? Have you liked them generally? What’s your favorite ER book? Do you participate in the discussion group on LT?
Yes, I participate. Free books and early copies…how can you go wrong? I don’t sign up for something unless I want to read it, though. I’ve received two books, so far from the system and I liked one and haven’t got to reading the other. The first one, The Decieved was an OK book that I found interested, but not necessarily great. I am not a great participater in the on-line discussion, though I should probably look into it.
This week’s question: -LibraryThing’s Recently Added feature: do you look at it? Do you use it for ideas? Is there something listed there now that looks interesting to you? What have you added to your LT library recently?
Being a book addict, this can be dangerous for me. I seem to find a lot of new and interesting books in all facets of life and adding this….just adds to the problem. But that’s OK becuase I love finding that new gem or hearing that an old favorite author has a new book coming out. I haven’t added much to my LT lately. I need to update it. I tend to keep my GoodReads account more up to date than LT because I’ve found a bit more of a community over there….
For this week’s Tuesday Thingers, I’ve copied the list of the most-challenged books of the 1990s straight from the ALA website. I’ve highlighted the ones I’ve read. Highlight what you’ve read, and italicize what you have in your LT library.
1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain Continue reading
Today’s Question: Favorite Authors. Who do you have named in your LT account as favorite authors? Why did you choose them? How many people share your choices? Can you share a picture of one of them?
I’ve got a few favorites listed on my LT account–Elizabeth George, Stephen King, Robert Whitlow, Jim Butcher and Peter David (pictured here). I probably need to go in and expand the list a bit to include some other favorites authors like Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman and a few others. I do have a number of people I “share” favorite authors with, which isn’t really surprising as many of mine are “popular” writers.
Today’s question: Awards. Do you follow any particular book awards? Do you ever choose books based on awards? What award-winning books do you have? (Off the top of your head only- no need to look this up- it would take all day!) What’s your favorite award-winning book?
LibraryThing’s Common Knowledge feature tracks awards; you can find it here.
Each year, I try to read all of the novels shortlisted for the Hugo award. I like to do it because the Hugos are supposed to be the best sci-fi novels of the year and I always find it interesting to read the five novels and then determine which one I’d vote for. (I can then express my indignation if my choice doesn’t win or at least discuss the merits of why I thought my choice should have won over the choice that did). I will also look at novels up for awards in some of the mystery categories, though I’ve found there are tons of categories there. I think every book that comes out could be nominated for some award….
Today’s question: Favorite bookstores. What’s your favorite bookstore? Is it an online store or a bricks-and-mortar store? How often do you go book shopping? Is your favorite bookstore (or bookstores) listed as a favorite in LT? Do you attend events at local bookstores? Do you use LT to find events?
For me, bookstores are like Kryptonite. I could browse a bookstore for hours. I’d have to say my favorite is McKay’s Used Books in Knoxville, Tennessee. When I lived in Knoxville, I’d go in a few times a year with books, get trade and spend the next few weeks building up the collection again. I have a tendency with books to feel that right after I’ve read them, I should keep them forever. After a few weeks or months, I may find this has changed and then it’s off to McKay’s. We just got one in Nashville and it’s growing. A used bookstore takes some time to build up the stock and to find those little wonders and gems you can’t find anywhere else. I also like new bookstores, don’t get me wrong. But more often than not, it’s to browse and get ideas to check out of the library and to look for used.
As for how often I go book shopping, I’d say far too often. Probably a couple of times a month, if only to browse. A lot of times, I’ll go in looking for a specific title on a specific day or if I’m really feeling crazy or obsessed, I’ll look for it a few days before it’s supposed to hit the shelves. (Star Trek books are often found earlier than the street date, if you look for them). In some ways, it’s the thrill of the hunt, finding the elusive treasure and taking it home to add to the pile of books to be read. Which is ever growing, I might add.
I have attended events at local bookstores. I have been part of discussion groups that met at one, but I attend a sci-fi one now that meets at the local library. I have been to a couple of book signings for radio personalities Rick and Bubba, autographing their new book, in the past couple of year. I’ve not been to a Harry Potter night launch, but I’d be curious to go to something like that just to see the fans. I love anything that gets people excited about reading.
Today’s question is only marginally about LibraryThing but I thought it might be a fun question anyway. It’s more about blogging. Everyone who participates in Tuesday Thingers has a blog- some have a book blog, some have several, some have blogs that are more personal, etc.- and we’ve all chosen to participate in this particular way of networking to build traffic, get to know each other, etc. So my question is: what other weekly memes or round robins do you participate in? Is this the only one? Why Tuesday Thingers and not some other weekly Tuesday meme? Or do you do more than one?
I have two blogs. One is this blog for my thoughts on books and the other is my regular, personal blog at Big Orange Michael. I do like to do memes on both, though over here I’ve only found myself participating regularily in Tuesday Thingers. The reason I do is I find the questions interesting and I will admit I enjoy surfing to others blogs for their answers. Why? Because I often find suggestions of different books and being a book-a-holic, this is a good thing. I also like the community that participates, which is an important part of a meme.
Today’s question: Cataloging sources. What cataloging sources do you use most? Any particular reason? Any idiosyncratic choices, or foreign sources, or sources you like better than others? Are you able to find most things through LT’s almost 700 sources?
It only occurred to me last night as I was heading to bed that it was, in fact, Tuesday and I’d (once again) neglected to participate in the Tuesday Thingers. I thought of backdating, but then figured I’d let me slacker nature be out there for all the world to see instead…
As for this week’s question, I have to admit when it comes to cataloguing, more often than not I’m using Amazon. Maybe I’m not reading obscure enough books or maybe it’s just that I someday feel as though Amazon is going to partner with Google and assimilate us all, but it usually meets my needs.