Laurie R. King Virtual Book Club discussion

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Book Discussion Nominations!

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message 1: by Erin (new)

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
Starting a new thread as a place for our Members to post their nominations for future VBC discussion picks. Moderators will, of course, make final decisions on picks, but we'd like to hear about any books that you think cry out for discussion. Let us know what you want the group to read!


message 2: by Lenore (new)

Lenore | 1081 comments I'm just now listening to a mystery I'm finding very interesting, The Keeper of Lost Causes. The protagonist is your typical grumpy, disaffected homicide detective with issues, but his assistant is a Syrian refugee with unusual skills and a different attitude. The detective and his assistant are the entire Department Q, a branch of the Danish police that investigates cold cases. The unusual crime is both melodramatic and sadistic, but the investigation process and the changing attitudes of the victim are both captivating.


message 3: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 128 comments Ada's Algorithm by James Essinger, 2014, biography of Lord Byron's genius daughter. I gave it 5 stars in my personal list.
I am now reading Essinger's Jaquard's Web, 2004, biography of the inventor of the Jaquard loom which used elaborate punched cards. This doesn't have quite the sparkle of Ada's Algorthm but is still interesting and informative.


message 4: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 128 comments On second thought ,this site discusses mysteries so skip my suggestion as a discussion book. Though I still recommend it as an intriguing book for this intelligent group.


message 5: by Lenore (new)

Lenore | 1081 comments Margaret wrote: "On second thought ,this site discusses mysteries so skip my suggestion as a discussion book. Though I still recommend it as an intriguing book for this intelligent group."

Actually, if you look at the club's "Bookshelf," you'll see that we have read books that were not mysteries, and even books that were non-fiction, although the latter usually relate to something else we've read (e.g., books about the time period between the wars). You're probably right that neither of the Essinger books is quite what we're looking for, but the book about Ada Lovelace DOES sound fascinating. Thanks for recommending!


message 6: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 26 comments I can't find the Bookshelf to see past books. I joined around Dreaming Spies reread. I'd like to make some suggestions but I don't know what you read before I joined. Thanks


message 7: by MaryL (new)

MaryL (maryl1) | 234 comments In my Goodreads Screen, the "Bookshelf" is up at the top right under the heading of The Laurie R King Virtual Book Club, right below "Discussions"


message 8: by MaryL (new)

MaryL (maryl1) | 234 comments I can tentatively suggest Dead Man's Land by Robert Ryan, a book written from Dr. Watson's perspective about his experiences in the Great War. Watson didn't feel comfortable not doing something so he re-joined the Medical Corps.


message 9: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 26 comments I'm using the mobile app and I don't see the bookshelf. I tried switching to desktop which worked on home page but it switched to the mobile view when I went to the book club. I'm guessing I can't see it unless it's on the desktop version. Oh well


message 10: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 26 comments I'll try to recommend some books without being able to check the bookshelf.
I love the Maise Dobbs series by Jaqueline Winspear and it takes place mostly post WWI
Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series is a favorite and I've learned a lot about the French and English in Quebec history
Julia Spencer-Fleming's series is really good. A female ex-military Episcopal priest
I love a good series. And all of these are best started from the beginning. They each have wonderful character development throughout the series.


message 11: by Erin (last edited Oct 10, 2016 09:09AM) (new)

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
Sheri wrote: "I'm using the mobile app and I don't see the bookshelf. I tried switching to desktop which worked on home page but it switched to the mobile view when I went to the book club. I'm guessing I can't ..."

Try this: https://www.goodreads.com/group/books...

ETA: We've read all three of those recs, Sheri, LOL. But keep thinking and sharing! Hopefully looking through our bookshelf will be helpful.


message 12: by Diane (new)

Diane (dideo74) | 47 comments I nominate The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbach. It is set in California and San Francisco, in particular. It concerns the foster care system and one child. The bonus is learning about the language of flowers


message 13: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 26 comments LOL! You have wonderful taste! Thank you for the link. It worked!
How about:

Jasper Fforde, his Thursday Next series. It takes place in the land of Books. Very imaginative.

Gaye Hendricks, the First Rule of Ten, is the first in the series. Ten is an ex-Buddhist monk, ex-LAPD, lover of Sherlock Holmes, turned private detective. Interesting mix of mystery and spirituality. I enjoy them.

Derek Catron, Trail Angel, historical fiction with mystery and romance on the wagon train to the Montana gold fields. It takes place just post-civil war with the conflict of northerns and southerners still in play. Great characters, compelling storyline, and well-written. A sequel will come out next year, Angel Falls.


message 14: by Diane (new)

Diane (dideo74) | 47 comments I also like Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope series that starts with Mr. Churchill's Secretary; either Charles Todd series; Anna Lee Huber's Lady Darby that begins with The Anatomist's Wife; A Testament of Youth by Vera Britain; City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin; Los Alamos or The Good German by Joseph Kanin; Whike Still We Live by Helen Macinnes; A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute; The King's General by Daphne du Maurier; Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross (first in the Julian Kestral series, which, alas, is only for books due to Kate's early death from cancer).

Sorry, I got a bit carried away, but I do love historical novels and mysteries.


message 15: by Mkotch (new)

Mkotch MaryL wrote: "I can tentatively suggest Dead Man's Land by Robert Ryan, a book written from Dr. Watson's perspective about his experiences in the Great War. Watson didn't feel comfortable not doing something so ..."

I like this suggestion! I have no titles to add, but do enjoy the Maggie Hope series and A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute is one of my all-time favorites. What about All the Light We Cannot See - or has it been done to death?


message 16: by Laura (new)

Laura Stratton | 240 comments I've been out of the group for a couple of months making quilts and planning for my son's wedding later this month. I look forward to getting back into the group discussions.

I have several author nominees that I don't think I saw on the list of books.

Lisa Scottoline books - has several different mystery series including one about a female Philadelphia lawyer. Scottoline started her career as a Philly area lawyer.

Helen Bryan
"War Brides" - One of my favorite books. It's the story of several women who are sent to the English countryside to escape the Nazi Bombings of WW2. It is mystery, intrigue, and historical fiction with several twists at the end.
Thee Sisterhood". I haven't read it but it's on my TBR.

Agatha Christie - It might be fun to read a classic mystery.


message 17: by Diane (new)

Diane (dideo74) | 47 comments Ohhh, speaking of classic authors:
Ngiao Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, Elbert Queen, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Tony Hillerman

There are so many authors and books we could read. It will be difficult to pick just a few.


message 18: by Erin (last edited Oct 11, 2016 03:23PM) (new)

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "There are so many authors and books we could read. It will be difficult to pick just a few."

Absolutely, Diane! And also tricky to pick something that will incite good discussion (which is not exactly the same as picking a book that people will enjoy reading).

I would love to read Ngiao Marsh for discussion, but I think all of her books are out of print still, which makes it hard. :-(

ETA: of course, I commented that and then went to look and they actually reprinted her books in 2012!!


message 19: by Diane (new)

Diane (dideo74) | 47 comments Actually, a number of Ngaio Marsh have been reprinted in trade paper and as eBooks.


message 20: by Bardbooks (new)

Bardbooks | 79 comments Tossing my hat in the ring: John Dunning's "Booked to Die," first in the "bookman" series.
BTW, regarding Ngaio Marsh books -- I've purchased many via eBay and Thriftbooks.


message 21: by Carol (new)

Carol Mullane | 16 comments Mkotch wrote: "MaryL wrote: "I can tentatively suggest Dead Man's Land by Robert Ryan, a book written from Dr. Watson's perspective about his experiences in the Great War. Watson didn't feel comfortable not doing..."

Some comments on suggested books: I reread a Town Called Alice a couple of months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it - think it be a great read for discussion. War Brides in the long run disappointed me as I found the ending rushed. Some characters were much better fleshed out than others. All the Light was one of the best books I have read in years. Strangely enough, I am reluctant to talk about it. I just cherish the beautiful language and images and want to hold it as my own.....if that makes any sense.


message 22: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn Wow, I love mysteries. Thanks for the intro to Nygaio Marsh. Excited to add this author to my tbr list. Do they have to be read in order? Are they Agatha Christie like?


message 23: by Bardbooks (last edited Oct 12, 2016 08:47AM) (new)

Bardbooks | 79 comments Marilyn wrote: "Wow, I love mysteries. Thanks for the intro to Nygaio Marsh. Excited to add this author to my tbr list. Do they have to be read in order? Are they Agatha Christie like?"

You're in for a treat! It's always interesting to read a prolific author's works in the order she wrote them, but that's just one fan's opinion. I can't compare Marsh to anyone, but I draw the same levels of satisfaction from her writing that Christie's mysteries provide.


message 24: by Erin (new)

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
Carol wrote: "All the Light was one of the best books I have read in years. Strangely enough, I am reluctant to talk about it. I just cherish the beautiful language and images and want to hold it as my own.....if that makes any sense."

Makes total sense, Carol. And that is exactly why books that make for good discussion aren't the same as books that people really enjoyed reading. ;-)

I actually find the most interesting discussions come from books that had mixed reviews. Because then we can discuss why it had mixed reviews! Rather than just everyone agreeing that it was a marvelously written book.


message 25: by Bardbooks (new)

Bardbooks | 79 comments Diane wrote: "I also like Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope series that starts with Mr. Churchill's Secretary; either Charles Todd series; Anna Lee Huber's Lady Darby that begins with The Anatomist's Wife; A Test..."

Ross's books are exceptional. Julian is a beautifully developed character and after reading all four books, I remain bereft.


message 26: by Bardbooks (new)

Bardbooks | 79 comments Sheri wrote: "LOL! You have wonderful taste! Thank you for the link. It worked!
How about:

Jasper Fforde, his Thursday Next series. It takes place in the land of Books. Very imaginative.

Gaye Hendricks, the ..."


I'll go for anything by Fforde, but admit to particular fondness for Thursday Next!


message 27: by Diane (new)

Diane (dideo74) | 47 comments Marilyn wrote: "Wow, I love mysteries. Thanks for the intro to Nygaio Marsh. Excited to add this author to my tbr list. Do they have to be read in order? Are they Agatha Christie like?"

It is a good idea to read them in order as there are character developments that expand through the series, and then Rodrick's feelings about the death penalty - the books continue on after the death penalty was stopped in England.


message 28: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
Ooh, I'm looking forward to Her Royal Spyness. That's been in my TBR for years. How about doing a read of Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye and The Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters?


message 29: by Sabrina (new)

Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
And as Diane said, I'd love to do Dashiel Hammet or Raymond Chandler. Both in my TBR list.


message 30: by Gayle (new)

Gayle Noyes | 1 comments Love the Bookman series by John Dunning. A Town Like Alice is one of my all time favorites. Recently read The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure and I think it could be a great one to share. Lots of good suggestions on this list!!


message 31: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 399 comments Diane wrote: "I also like Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope series that starts with Mr. Churchill's Secretary; either Charles Todd series; Anna Lee Huber's Lady Darby that begins with The Anatomist's Wife; A Test..."

Diane, you've named some of my favorites. Ariana Franklin's City of Shadows is such an amazing book, as are her Mistress of the Art of Death/Adelia Aguilar books. Adelia Aguilar is a medical doctor of forensics during the reign of Henry II in England. It is one of my all-time favorite series, and the death of the author, Ariana Franklin/Diana Norman, limited the series to only four books. I highly recommend them.

Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope series is outstanding, as are the Charles Todd series and Anna Lee Huber's series. Oh, and Joseph Kanon's The Good German has had a place on my favorites list for quite a while.


message 32: by Erin (new)

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
Sabrina wrote: "And as Diane said, I'd love to do Dashiel Hammet or Raymond Chandler. Both in my TBR list."

We did read Hammett''s The Maltese Falcon several years ago (I believe we paired it with Locked Rooms, since Hammett makes an appearance in that book). I found it kind of meh, but I'm not a huge fan of noir, in general, so probably just me.

I have been wanting to read The Thin Man, though, because I watched the movie version and totally fell in love with Nick and Nora Charles.


message 33: by Diane (new)

Diane (dideo74) | 47 comments Erin wrote: "Sabrina wrote: "And as Diane said, I'd love to do Dashiel Hammet or Raymond Chandler. Both in my TBR list."

We did read Hammett''s The Maltese Falcon several years ago (I believe we p..."


Thin Man book is very different from the movie.


message 34: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 128 comments I enjoyed The Thin Man movies when they came out (in black and white) and I, too, was disappointed in the book.


message 35: by MaryL (new)

MaryL (maryl1) | 234 comments Well the book was more cynical...and boozy-which is saying something when you watch the movie.


message 36: by Mary (last edited Nov 01, 2016 08:03AM) (new)

Mary Achor | 101 comments I just read Kareem Abdul-Jabar's book, "Mycroft". I didn't know he had been an English and history major in college, in addition to being a stellar NBA basketball player. "Mycroft" is set when he was a young man. So well written, fascinating, well plotted, etc. I was thinking of letting you guys know about it when I saw we were looking for suggestions. Hope we do this one.

The second main character is a freed slave who is Mycroft's best friend in London. Incites a whole lot of commentary.


message 37: by Mary (new)

Mary Achor | 101 comments Mary wrote: "I just read Kareem Abdul-Jabar's book, "Mycroft". I didn't know he had been an English and history major in college, in addition to being a stellar NBA basketball player. "Mycroft" is set when he w..."


message 38: by Emily (new)

Emily | 341 comments Louis de Bernieres' The Dust that Falls from Dreams is partially set during WWI and deals a lot with the women's experiences at home and the aftermath. It makes a good pair with "Mary Russell's War" or Justice Hall. Not sure how stimulating of discussion it would be, though.


message 39: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 26 comments Hello Readers! I have come across two authors/series that I am really enjoying and think would make good book club selections.

The first is Kelley Armstrong's City of The Lost. It's about an off the grid town deep in the Canadian Yukon for people who need to leave their lives behind. Some are victims of abuse etc and some are criminals. Our heroine is a homicide detective who ends up there for her own reasons. It's an excellent setting, great characters and well written. There is a sequel and I hope for more!

The next is Jodi Taylor's Chronicles of St Mary's. Max is an historian who travels back to the past to see what really happened. St Mary's is the research facility she works for with a mad cast of characters. Great history, crazy time travel, wonderful relationships. I've loved each one and can't wait for more!


message 40: by Lenore (new)

Lenore | 1081 comments Mary wrote: "I just read Kareem Abdul-Jabar's book, "Mycroft". I didn't know he had been an English and history major in college, in addition to being a stellar NBA basketball player. "Mycroft" is set when he w..."

I'm listening to it now and having a totally different reaction, a very disappointed one. (I actually asked for this as a birthday present and was really looking forward to it.) I find it unrealistic in many respects -- in fact, I find the whole plot far-fetched. Not recommending it for a group read.


message 41: by Laura (new)

Laura Stratton | 240 comments I suggest we read the new Kate Shugak book by Dana Stabenow.
"Less Than A Treason" will be released on May 6th.


message 42: by Emily (new)

Emily | 341 comments Luckiest Girl Alive (Jessica Knoll) is in the Gone Girl vein. I enjoyed it, and it had some twists I did not see coming. Also, the character development has the opposite arc.
More of a thriller than a mystery, though


message 43: by Erin (new)

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
Refreshing this thread. I think we could use some new discussion nominations from the group!

Have you read anything recently that really calls out for discussion?


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Erin wrote: "Refreshing this thread. I think we could use some new discussion nominations from the group!

Have you read anything recently that really calls out for discussion?"


Hi Erin, I have just finished Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon. I think it was a recommendation from a member here. Very tense. A good one with lots to talk about.


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh and another: Restless by William Boyd. Another tense thriller. I think the BBC made it a few years back. A ‘can’t put it down’ book.


message 46: by Emily (new)

Emily | 341 comments The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn. Women spies in both WWI and WWII, so a lot of interest to this group.


message 47: by Emily (new)

Emily | 341 comments Also, perhaps Raffles? Written by Conan Doyle's brother-in-law. One of those books I had seen a lot of references to but hadn't read until recently.


message 48: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
I just finished "The Wife Between Us," a very twisty mystery with some interesting heroines and a different slant on the "first wives club" theme. Might be fun to discuss.


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

It has just crossed my mind that Philip Pullman’s Ruby in the Smoke might be a good read. Although it was written for young adults, I do not think that Pullman patronises.


message 50: by Sara (new)

Sara | 30 comments It may have already been mentioned, but the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear is excellent. Maisie Dobbs is a contemporary of Mary Russell, but a year or so older. It is interesting to see how the effects of WWI ripple through the fabric of England years after the last shot was fired.


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