I’ve felt a bit of a block in my writing the past few days. I wanted to write a sort of follow up to my last post, but honestly I don’t feel like I know what that follow up would be. The only way I know how to deal with writer’s block is to continue to write. Write something; write anything. Just keep writing. So today I’m going to share what’s on my “to read” list.
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear: I’m not usually a big mystery novel fan. I find it very hard to not flip to the end of the book and solve the mystery. I do better with mystery TV. But I am always on the lookout for books set in the Edwardian/WW1 era. Basically if it’s in the time frame of Downton Abbey I’m giving it a try. I saw this book being recommended constantly for fans of Downton Abbey so I decided to give it a try. Maisie Dobbs begins life as a housemaid for a very rich family in the early 1900’s. Her employer, Lady Compton, takes Maisie under her wing and helps her get an education. During WWI Maisie serves as nurse at the front in France. After the war, with the help of her former employer, she sets up a detective agency. This book is the first in the series and so far I’m really enjoying it. Maisie is a delightful character. The nature of the mystery she is asked to solve leads to some flashbacks to her time in the war which adds another great element to the book. I’ve heard the later books are not as good the earlier ones so who knows how long I’ll continue in the series. But I am definitely a fan of the first one!
The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan: I found this book on Modern Mrs. Darcy‘s blog. This book is about a bunch different marriages across the decades. While those stories are unfolding the book also tells the story of Frances Gerety. She is the woman who came up with the phrase “A diamond if forever” for De Beers. The description of the book sounded really interesting and I can’t wait to get into this one.
Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple: So technically I have already read this book but I have to recommend it because I loved it! I downloaded this on my Kindle right before my vacation to South Beach last month. I’m in love with epistolary novels. (Novels written all in letters.) I am especially interested in modern epistolary novels. (Meg Cabot and Rainbow Rowell have both written novels that take place mostly through email and other electronic forms of communication.) The second I saw that this book was an epistolary story about a girl trying to find the mother who ran out on her I knew I had to read this. What pleasantly surprised me about the novel was how funny it was! The story is heart warming and clever and the choice to do it through email made it even more enjoyable. Highly recommend this book!
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford: This book begins with the demolition of a hotel in Seattle which sets off the memories of a Chinese man who moved to Seattle as a child right before WWII and his burgeoning friendship with a Japanese girl. The book is set in the present and flashes back to the past which is a device I usually love especially in my fiction. It also deals with the topic of race and the United States’ decision to place Japanese Americans in internment camps during WWII, a topic I find horrible and fascinating at the same time. I’m really looking forward to starting this one.
Below Stairs by Margaret Powell: The continuing headline of this book says “the classic kitchen maid’s memoir that inspired ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ and Downton Abbey'” so you know I had to read this one. I’ve seen this recommend for fans of both shows on several book blogs I follow but hadn’t gotten a chance to check it out of my library. Then my birthday rolled around and the St. Louis gang sent it to me as a present. The Downton Abbey obsession can continue!
Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr: I would recommend clicking on the link for this book and reading the whole (very long) description because it sounds fascinating. Briefly, the non fiction book follows an extrememly rich American family from the Gilded Age through modern times; focusing specifically on the charismatic Huguette Clark. This is the second book given to me by the St. Louis gang for my birthday. Jena said she saw it at B&N and thought it looked really interesting and I totally agree.
So those are the books on my “to read” shelf. I’ll definitely check back and let you know what my final thoughts were on them. In the meantime feel free to let me know what you are reading in the comment section. I’m always looking for more books to add to the list!