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Tue Dec 29, 2020, 02:25 PM

Please recommend a good book!

I am having a problem I have never had before. I can't find a book I care about. I suspect this has nothing to do with the books themselves but rather is a side effect of my covid anxiety. I get a little over 1/4 through and realize I don't care about the characters or the plot and I either delete it from the Kindle or return it to Libby. I just downloaded a sample that was on Bookpage's best mystery and suspense list, reviews all indicated "can't put down" qualities. While I read fiction and NF, let's say fiction. Nothing heavy and deep, just engrossing. Compelling. I don't care if it's JD Robb (or any other author with 100 books), as long as it is a great story. Something to get lost in.

Given my inability to care about any book lately, this might not work, but it's terrible to not have a book to read! I am filling all my reading time with Erma Bombeck, and while I love her very much, I prefer her in smaller doses than every day of the week. Any thoughts?

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Arrow 32 replies Author Time Post
Reply Please recommend a good book! (Original post)
birdographer Dec 2020 OP
Alpeduez21 Dec 2020 #1
LakeArenal Dec 2020 #2
tblue37 Dec 2020 #3
Laelth Dec 2020 #4
Nay Dec 2020 #17
KatyaR Dec 2020 #5
Srkdqltr Dec 2020 #8
birdographer Dec 2020 #9
Joinfortmill Dec 2020 #6
Runningdawg Dec 2020 #7
rzemanfl Dec 2020 #10
birdographer Dec 2020 #11
Freedomofspeech Dec 2020 #19
marigold20 Dec 2020 #12
northoftheborder Dec 2020 #14
Freedomofspeech Dec 2020 #18
Ohiogal Dec 2020 #13
planetc Dec 2020 #15
GigiLeigh Dec 2020 #16
birdographer Dec 2020 #22
SheltieLover Dec 2020 #20
jtb653 Dec 2020 #21
SheltieLover Dec 2020 #25
Rhiannon12866 Dec 2020 #23
SheltieLover Dec 2020 #26
Rhiannon12866 Dec 2020 #27
SheltieLover Dec 2020 #28
Rhiannon12866 Dec 2020 #29
SheltieLover Dec 2020 #30
Rhiannon12866 Dec 2020 #31
DesertRat Dec 2020 #24
japple Dec 2020 #32

Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 02:30 PM

1. Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Look it up. It is an easy read. I actually read it in Berlin. I don't think that's what made it interesting. It is interesting, imho, on its own.

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 02:38 PM

2. My friend wrote a trilogy. The Orb and Arrow

Itís fantasy with fairies and things. It would keep you busy for awhile if you liked it.

On Amazon.


Years ago I read a book called the Shell Seekers. It was a favorite.

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 02:40 PM

3. "The Paper Wife, by Laila Ibrahim.

Last edited Tue Dec 29, 2020, 05:47 PM - Edit history (1)

"The Paper Wife," by Laila Ibrahim. It's about a young Chinese woman who immigrates to San Francisco in 1923 as the " paper wife" (i.e., on paper, not for real) of a naturalized American whose actual wife has died in China. Her family is paid to provide the paper wife to collect the man's little boy and come to America with him. Her sister was supposed to be the paper wife, but became ill at the last moment, so she goes instead.

The book describes how she takes on the challenges of accepting changes not of her choosing but that are necessary for survival. Eventually she grows to love her husband and his little boy, and she also loves and adopts a little girl she saves from being sold as a prostitute.

It is a quiet but touching book. I believe you will care about the characters. It is also a fascinating glimpse into a historical period and situation we don't see much of.

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 02:41 PM

4. The Years of Rice and Salt

Kim Stanley Robinson

Alternative History and a tutorial on Karma and reincarnation.

Well worth your time.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 05:16 PM

17. That is a wonderful book. I haven't read it in years and should re-read it. nt

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 02:42 PM

5. The Chronicles of St. Mary's series by Jodi Taylor.

The books have a bit of everything--a touch of sci fi (but not "sci-fi", lots of historical focus, a bit of romance, and quirky English humor. I didn't think I would like them, but they are some of my favorites now. I highly recommend!

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Response to KatyaR (Reply #5)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 02:49 PM

8. Another St.Mary's reader!! My go to reread when stuck.

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Response to KatyaR (Reply #5)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 02:50 PM

9. Love them!

They are all in my Kindle content, even the short stories! This would have been the ideal response if I hadn't read them all!

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 02:44 PM

6. Any Donna Leon mystery. Based in Venice.

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 02:46 PM

7. The same thing happens to me when I am REALLY depressed. I can't even finish a news story.

I am sorry you are experiencing this. I hope my suggestions help. 3 of the best books I have read this year:

The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer - Forget the Twilight Saga, she has created a female character to rival Jack Bower.
Recursion by Blake Crouch - Best time travel story I have ever read or watched.
Motherless Brooklyn by Johnathan Lethem - The movie trashed it, the book is incredible!

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 02:50 PM

10. Start the Travis McGee series and read it in order, or the Spenser series or try

Carl Hiaasen's Squeeze Me.

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 02:55 PM

11. Thanks! Keep 'em coming!

A good start in my search. I'm glad someone else has experienced this. When I go to look for books I find myself saying "That was SO great!" about all the books I have already read. My impression ends up being that I have basically read every good book that is out there, hence my inability to find anything interesting. I will re-read books, but there needs to be a big patch of time between reads. What I need is a memory wipe, then I could read them all again for the first time.

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Response to birdographer (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 05:22 PM

19. I am having the same issue...

A retired librarian and I love to read but I have so much anxiety that I cannot get through a book. I started reading American Dirt but I have yet to finish it. This is driving me crazy.

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 03:12 PM

12. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

This book is the one that really stands out from my two years of suffering in a book club. (I discovered that I'm not a book club person!)

It's a great story of a Russian aristocrat sentenced in 1922 to a life of house arrest at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow.

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Response to marigold20 (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 04:06 PM

14. Agree. This was the best book I've read in two years. Characters fascinating.

Story line original.

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Response to marigold20 (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 05:19 PM

18. I loved that book!

One of the best that I have read in a long time.

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 03:41 PM

13. Becoming by Michelle Obama

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 04:26 PM

15. "The Watchmaker of Filigree Street," Natasha Pulley.

Steam punk, twisted history, mystery story, excellent characters. It is not like anything you've ever read.

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 04:53 PM

16. I was in the same place

you are. Nothing held my interest. So I thought I would go back and reread some books I haven't read in years, so when I quit half way through, no loss since I had already read them. Turns out they held my attention and got me back on track to reading. I started with some old Grisham novels and then some Michael Crichton.

I think it took some of the anxiety away and because my mind has been so scattered with everything going on in the world it helped that I knew the plot but found that I had forgotten more than I remembered.

But for whatever reason that worked for me. Reread about 8 books and then was able to move on to new books. Don't know if that will work for you, but maybe something to consider. Good luck.

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Response to GigiLeigh (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 07:47 PM

22. I can try that

I put a bunch of samples in my Kindle today in my ongoing pursuit of a book I will stay with (many from responses here). If none of them will *stick*, I will try your rereading ploy. I have a little over 500 books that I have read in my Library Thing catalog, with star ratings, so I can find my favorites, going back as far as I want.

It makes me feel better that others are having this problem--not that we are having the problem but that I'm not alone with this. I have never felt this level of anxiety in my life.

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 06:43 PM

20. The Cat Who series

Joe Grey series

Anything by David Rosenfelt!

Carl Hiaasem - 20+ to choose from

Anything by Grisham

Anything by Baldacci

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Response to SheltieLover (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 07:35 PM

21. NPR Best Books (link)

Can't remember where I originally ran across this link but many good books within:

https://apps.npr.org/best-books/#view=covers&year=2020

All browsable by category and year (last 8 years).

I too have had trouble getting engrossed in a good read. I have dozens of "started" epubs in my playbooks library. Just constantly on edge.

Regards...

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Response to jtb653 (Reply #21)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 11:07 PM

25. Ty!

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Response to SheltieLover (Reply #20)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 08:53 PM

23. I love the Cat Who series!

I used to get them for my mother, but I read them, too! I really like mysteries, especially this genre!

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #23)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 11:08 PM

26. Have you read the Joe Grey series?

Wonderful series!!!

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Response to SheltieLover (Reply #26)

Wed Dec 30, 2020, 02:54 AM

27. No, I have not.

My favorites always were Dick Francis and Anne Perry (historical mysteries). I recommend both of them highly!

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #27)

Wed Dec 30, 2020, 03:48 AM

28. Omg!)

Joe Grey is unlike anything else I've ever read. And I read a lot...at least 1 per day, most days.

Ty for the heads up on Francis & Perry! I'll check them out soon as I've just about inhaled another series.

Have you read Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy series? Protagonist has 2 cats ) & a dog who talk to each other. Historical fiction in Virginia.

Enjoy!

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Response to SheltieLover (Reply #28)

Wed Dec 30, 2020, 04:08 AM

29. Dick Francis was a jockey for the Queen Mother back in the day

And his initial books were about horses and racing (I grew up in Saratoga Springs, NY), but he was quite prolific and moved on to numerous other topics from politics to storm chasing, all mysteries of course. And Anne Perry has more than one mystery series, both set in different periods in history. They are both British, but one American historical mystery writer that I can recommend is Miriam Grace Monfredo. I actually met her once when I went to a book signing at a mystery book store that I used to frequent. Unfortunately, the woman who ran it closed shop to start selling books online. But Miriam Grace Monfredo also has more than one series set during Civil War days - with a female protagonist.

And I also read Rita Mae Brown! I not only read the Mrs. Murphy series, but ran across one fascinating book by her based on the adventures of First Lady Dolley Madison!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/165337.Dolley

Thanks for the recommendations!

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #29)

Wed Dec 30, 2020, 04:45 AM

30. Oooooh...

I'll have to try to find Brown's book about Dolly Madison & Monfredo. I'll be reading Francis for sure! Love horses! And cozy mysteries in general.


Ty!!

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Response to SheltieLover (Reply #30)

Wed Dec 30, 2020, 05:05 AM

31. Yes, those are the kind I always liked, too

And of course I loved the animal characters. I also tended to find an author that I really liked and go through an entire series!

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Tue Dec 29, 2020, 10:53 PM

24. Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

It's a compelling thriller and the first book I've gotten into and finished in awhile. I hear you about losing interest in a book as a the side effect of covid anxiety, because it's been happening to me throughout the year.

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Response to birdographer (Original post)

Wed Dec 30, 2020, 04:57 PM

32. Old Baggage by Lissa Evans is funny, smart, heartwarming, and the characters are endearing.

Crooked Heart by the same author is a sequel to Old Baggage and I liked it even better.

Virgil Wander - Leif Enger
True Grit - Charles Portis
One Night Two Souls Went Walking - Ellen Cooney

Anything by Barbara Kingsolver, Louise Erdrich, or Paulette Jiles.

I've had the same issues lately, often casting something aside after reading several chapters.

Hope you can find some good things.

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