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Old 11-03-2018, 08:22 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I am nominating The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig (2005, 449 pp.). First book in a series.
You can't get any more o/t than this, but I clicked on the author link and the picture on her home page is of a garden in a park near me.
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Old 11-03-2018, 08:29 AM   #32
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I've not read it, so I'll third The Scarlett Pimpernel.
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Old 11-03-2018, 08:31 AM   #33
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I third the Scarlet Pimpernel.
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Old 11-03-2018, 08:32 AM   #34
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Sorry Drofgnal. Our third's crossed. I think I get to keep mine.
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Old 11-03-2018, 09:06 AM   #35
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Sorry Drofgnal. Our third's crossed. I think I get to keep mine.
Yes.
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Old 11-03-2018, 01:44 PM   #36
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Since my Pink Carnation nomination somehow precipitated a groundswell of support for The Scarlet Pimpernel, we'll see what this one morphs into: Bedelia by Vera Caspary (1945, 240 pp.)

Vera Caspary is probably most well-known for Laura; I figured that might be too familiar from the movie version, so chose this novel instead, recently reissued as part of the Feminist Press's Femme Fatales series ("Femmes Fatales restores to print the best of women’s writing in the classic pulp genres of the mid-20th century. From mystery to hard-boiled noir to taboo lesbian romance, these rediscovered queens of pulp offer subversive perspectives on a turbulent era.").

Quote:
Long before Desperate Housewives, there was Bedelia: pretty, ultra femme, and "adoring as a kitten." A perfect housekeeper and lover, she wants nothing more than to please her insecure new husband, who can't believe his luck. But is Bedelia too good to be true?

A mysterious new neighbor turns out to be a detective on the trail of a "kitten with claws of steel"—a picture-perfect wife with a string of dead husbands in her wake. Caspary builds this tale to a peak of psychological suspense as her characters are trapped together by a blizzard. The true Bedelia, the woman who chose murder over a life on the street, reveals how she turns male fantasies of superiority into a deadly con.
Quote:
"Vera Caspary's gift was perhaps more subtle, and deadly [than Jim Thompson, David Goodis, and Charles Willeford]." --Robert Polito, author of Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson

"You must read Bedelia to see just how slick Miss Caspary's techique of soft-shoe terror can be--how frightening she can make the chatter at an innocent dinner party, the lure of a lady's deshabille, the glimpse of a black pearl in a dresser drawer." --The New York Times

"A sinister entertainment 'especially for admirers of the psychological horror story.'" --The New Yorker

"A tour de force of psychological suspense, Desperate Housewives meets Double Indemnity in Caspary's Bedelia." --Liahna Armstrong, President Emerita, Popular Culture Association
Amazon U.S., $9.99
Amazon Canada, CA $8.99
Amazon UK, £8.63
Amazon Australia, AU $15.44

Kobo U.S., $11.19
Kobo Canada, CA $15.19
Kobo UK, £8.63
Kobo Australia, AU $16.71

Sadly, the prices are high, but it's not from one of the Big Five, so should be couponable. E-book can be borrowed through Overdrive and Hoopla. Also available as an audiobook.
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Old 11-04-2018, 06:42 PM   #37
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I would like to nominate a book I read quite some time ago, when it came out. I remember it as deliciously funny, and would enjoy revisiting it.

Getting It Right by Elizabeth Jane Howard. From Kobo:

From the bestselling author of The Cazelet Chronicles comes Elizabeth Jane Howard's Getting It Right, a touching comedy about a young man trying desperately to get it right.
(Winner of the Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year Award.)

Gavin - a sensitive, shy, hairdresser in the West End - is, at thirty-one, still a virgin. He's a classic late developer, and he's worried that it's getting too late to develop at all. Then one night, Gavin finds himself at a penthouse party and, meets people the likes of which he's never come across before, and suddenly, everything begins to change . . . Over the next fortnight, Gavin might start, at last, to "get it right".

'Crammed with incidental pleasures . . . sometimes sad but more frequently hilarious . . . Getting It Right gets it, comically, right' Paul Bailey, Evening Standard.

Prices from Kobo: $US8.69, $C11.19, $A9.99, $NZ10.99, £6.47.

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Old 11-04-2018, 09:40 PM   #38
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One of my guilty pleasures is books that are "heart-warming" and "charming." I don't care if they cross the line into cheesy! I like them even more if they revolve around a community of eccentric characters and if there is a setting like a bookstore, teashop, cafe, etc. There is some light romance too. Often these fall into the chick-lit category of books and would be perfect for a Hallmark Channel movie but that wouldn't appeal to many here... However I like books that show a life-affirming transformation in an old curmudgeon too. So, I picked one that has been on my TBR list for a while, gets great reviews and has universal appeal.

I nominate The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Available at Amazon US for $9.04. Also available at Amazon UK, Canada and Australia. It was published in 2014, and my Overdrive library has several copies available with no wait.

From Goodreads:
Quote:
A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:18 AM   #39
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And it's in my library! I second The Storied Life of A J Fikry.
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Old 11-05-2018, 02:37 AM   #40
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I third The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Does it for me.
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Old 11-05-2018, 07:31 AM   #41
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I'll second Getting It Right.
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Old 11-05-2018, 08:37 AM   #42
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One of my longstanding guilty pleasures are Angela Thirkell's Barsetshire novels, set in Trollope's fictional Barsetshire roughly a century later. The 29-book series falls into three groups: prewar, war and post-war; order doesn't matter much within them.

I'm going to nominate the second novel, Wild Strawberries. As with many second-in-series, Thirkell was finding her legs and it's better than the first. Those who like between-the-wars jeux d'esprit will find much to laugh at here.

I couldn't find a good description that didn't give away too much, so I'll quote bits from a couple of reviews:

Quote:
Deliciously funny, to use a Thirkellism. This book is absolutely perfect to read when you are feeling glum and under the weather -- it will make you laugh out loud. The upper-class characters at its centre are ridiculously wonderful, all so self-absorbed that they pay no attention to other people and are constantly getting hold of the wrong end of the stick. Lady Emily's attempts to organise everyone and everything are sensibly ignored by the lower-class characters who actually get things done. The bunch of French royalists seemed a bit of a bizarre idea, but just added to the joyful chaos. I think my favourite scene was the lunch in the restaurant with David, Joan and Mary -- sparks fly from Thirkell's pen in a positively Austenish way.
Quote:
A summer at an English Country-house in the 1930s, with all the accompanying silliness and minor inconveniences and class issues that one might expect from such a setting. It is laugh-out-loud funny: there is a wonderfully irreverent joy in the foibles, idiocies, and innocent pleasures of minor gentry.
Public domain in Canada and free at Faded Page as are several other Thirkells, not in order! US$5.99, AU$12.99, UK £3.99. Several others of the books in the series are available in the US and for as little as $3.99, but I thought I'd go with a very early one.

Last edited by issybird; 11-06-2018 at 08:44 PM. Reason: Update UK availability.
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Old 11-05-2018, 04:35 PM   #43
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Oh yes, those books are indeed deliciously funny. Sadly I have used up my votes and can’t support this one.
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Old 11-06-2018, 07:29 AM   #44
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Just over a day to go for nominations. Still time to nominate something new or help something else to the poll.
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Old 11-06-2018, 02:24 PM   #45
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I would like to nominate a book I read quite some time ago, when it came out. I remember it as deliciously funny, and would enjoy revisiting it.

Getting It Right by Elizabeth Jane Howard. From Kobo:

From the bestselling author of The Cazelet Chronicles comes Elizabeth Jane Howard's Getting It Right, a touching comedy about a young man trying desperately to get it right.
I remember greatly enjoying Howard's early, witty novels, the pre-Cazelet ones. I can't remember them well, but the titles still resonate. Odd Girl Out. Mr. Wrong. I would love an excuse to revisit with Getting It Right.

When I was looking up the titles just now, I came across an interesting article in the Guardian: Elizabeth Jane Howard: Hilary Mantel on the novelist she tells everyone to read. It's longish but worth a skim.
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