February 24 – Random Reader

What are you reading now?

Kingdom of Summer by Gillian Bradshaw – part of a trilogy about Sir Gawain of the Arthurian Legends (the first book is the Hawk of May and the last is In Winter’s Shadow). Bradshaw won awards for her first novel (Hawk of May), and I so loved it, I immediately found the second in the Library.  I had always believed Gawain (or Gwalchunai, his real name) to be Welsh, but come to find he was from the Orkneys, Scotland. He earns Arthur’s trust and friendship in the first novel and defends the kingdom while trying to unite Britain, with the usual characters: Arthur, Lancelot, Merlin, Morgawse etc. This is a brilliant retelling of the Arthur legend, that will appeal to all ages. She wrote this trilogy in the 1980s, but they are being reissued in trade paper. I have discovered a new author and can’t believe the diversity of her writing.

Books On the bedstand:

Semper Fidelis by Ruth Downie – I have been charmed by the Roman Medicus and read these as soon as they are published. This is another hilarious look at murder in Roman Britain, a bit further north of Londonium this time, but with an engaging cast of characters. You do need to read these in order, but what a treat.

How Literature saved my life by David Shields – perusing the library shelves this one just lept out at me!

Alys Clare – Out of the Dawn Light – she was touted as being the new Ellis Peters (Cadfael), which I return to and reread, as well as watch on PBS. I love this time period and the writing is fantastic: intricate plot, depth to all characters, well researched medieval history, skillfully written – in another series (Hawkenlye)!

The Book I am waiting for:

Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd. I adore both of their series – both Insp Ian Rutledge and Nurse Bess Crawford. I have not purchased this one because I am in the throes of moving and packing and can’t bear the thought of another book (weight and volume)

The Book I am talking about:

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – this was published last year but I can’t stop talking about this. I am writing a long review and ended up re-reading the entire book, enjoying it just as much the second time. This is a superb fantasy novel, not just for YA.  I  cannot wait for the sequel, for a series, for anything else she writes!

The previous book:

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Beekeeping for Beginners – Laurie R King. I introduced one of my bookclubs to the Mary Russell (Mrs Sherlock Holmes) series, and the writing of King. Yes, I have read almost every novel she has written. Full price on Kindle, hard copies when I can find them. This lead to several other books about Holmes and Doyle – surprised by how many writers belong to the Baker Street Irregulars!

Watching on the tele?
As I impatiently await the modern Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch (season 3), I have continued, in order, with re-watching the Big Bang Theory (and am also impatiently awaiting season 6 to be available on DVD). I love Sheldon. I can so relate to these guys.

Listening to?

Japandroids – Celebration Rock. Yeah, this surprised me too, almost as much as the Librarian who gave it to me. It was listed as one of the top five albums of 2012, so I had to try to listen to it. Of the five, only the Dylan will remain with me.

Random Readers – Barbara O.

Random Readers is a recurring segment here on the Friends of the Library Blog.  It’s our opportunity to get to know you, and to maybe get ideas on great reads that we hadn’t considered.  If you’re interested in participating in this segment, follow this link to complete a questionnaire.

Barbara O.

About Barbara: 
I have always enjoyed reading.  In 2007 I broke my back and had to retire on disability though I was not nearly ready for retirement. Books became my savior.  I travel frequently to visit my son in Northern Minnesota and I listen to audio books and I look forward to the drive. For Christmas of 2009 my son gave me a Kindle.  I never leave the house with out it.   I prefer reading to watching TV. I continue to spend time in the hospital due to my accident and I read the entire time.

What are you currently reading?
Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robinson

What was the last book you read?
King of Colored Town by Darryl Wimberley

What is the next book in your queue?
Jesse’s Girl by Gary Morgenstein

What is in the stack next to your bed?

Audio, e-book, hardcover or paperback?
e-books and audio books

Fiction or Non-fiction?

What book have you never read but think you probably should?
Pride and Prejudice

Who is your favorite author?
Nicholas Sparks and Harlan Coben

Which book/author do you always buy as soon as a new title is released?
Nicholas Sparks

Have you ever thrown a book across the room/at the wall because you didn’t like the ending?

Do you listen to music when you read? If so, what?
Sometimes classical/piano

Where is your favorite reading spot?
Comfy chair by the window

Do you have a favorite library?

Do you have any additional comments you’d like to make?
A Facebook friend belongs to the Rochester Public Library reading group, I often choose titles I have seen her recommend to others.

Random Readers – Helen

If you’ve spent much time surfing around on our blog, you might’ve noticed a tab for “Random Readers.”  This is our opportunity to reach out to our readers and discover what other people are reading.  Each week, we intend to run a few of the answers from our Random Readers Survey.  If you’d like to take our survey, follow this link.

About Helen:  Helen has a PhD in forest ecology from the University of Vermont and still guest lectures in Europe and the US. She is also an avid reader, master gardener (particularly peonies), world traveler, enthusiastic photographer and an active environmentalist.

What are you reading now? The Cold Commands by Richard K Morgan Scifi, and I confess I would have never read it except he is a Scottish author and I keep looking to  stay in touch, abreast of what is being written at home. This is incredible stuff.  Also reading On Conan Doyle by Michael Dirda and several books on Daphne DuMurier for a bookgroup study.

What was the last book you read?  Raw Spirits by Iain Banks (In search of the perfect dram – for a whisky tasting). Death comes to Pemberly by PD James and…Adam  Gobnik’s The Steps across the Water (YA).

What is the next book?  Two actually – Stef Penney’s The Invisibles, and Simon Beckett’s The Calling of the Grave.

Do you have a backlog?  I always have a stack of 30 books somewhere, 20 next to the bed, 20 on a shelf, 20 photos on the iPhone that I have seen in stores, 10 on the waiting list in the library, and of course the list of what is to be published this year that I can’t wait for! There is also 10 to 20 on the Kindle waiting for travel. and a book in each car so that I always have something to read while I am waiting.

Audio, eBook, hardback or paperback? All of the above.  I download a lot of eBooks (free, daily deals and authors I can’t wait to read when I need instant gratification) especially when I am traveling (twice a  month). I read whatever format the Library has, paperback, hardcover, audio and large print.  I tend to buy only hardback from stores, although lots of paperback from used bookstores (I used to only take paperbacks when I traveled, so the eBook has been a godsend for me, both in terms of space and price!) I love our Friends Bookstore and will often buy the hardback copy of a book/author that I loved reading (as an eBook or library copy).

What book have you never read but should? …..I still haven’t finished all the Pulitzers. Some absolute gems, but also some stories I wished I had never encountered.

Who is your favorite author? Can there ever be just one? Roberston Davies – for literature. Susan Hill (mysteries) and Terry Pratchett for science fantasy. Dorothy Sayers and PD James for mystery, Tolkein for Sci-fi, Edward Hoagland for nature writing,  Verlyn Klinkenborg essays,  Robert Frost poetry,  Kate DeCamillo for childrens,  Greg Maguire for childrens/YA,  Michael Dirda, Nancy Pearl for book commentary,  Atul Gawande (medical), Andrew Griegg – Scottish,  Clifford Hanley –Scottish,  David McCullough – historical.  And then there are Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Poe, Eliot, Austen,  Stevenson, Steinbeck, Wilder, Hume, Buchan, and how could I not mention…. (Geraldine Brooks, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, Vanora Bennet, John Connolly, Dave Duncan, Adam Gopnik, Neil Gaiman, Clive James, Robert Holdstock, Ian Rankin, Mary Doria and Russell, Charles.