Bookish Chatter | Recently Read and a Start On The Booker Longlist

Happy Wednesday! I’m here today so share what I’ve been reading this week. It started out slowly but has ended with a bang because The Booker Longlist was announced yesterday! I hadn’t read any of the thirteen books when the list was announced, but I finished two by the time I FINALLY went to bed last night! It’s called mania, my friends, and I don’t recommend it. But it was fun! And on to this week’s list:

The Locked Room is the newest in the Ruth Galloway mystery series and Elly Griffiths’ pandemic novel. Zoe, a new neighbor, rents the cottage next to Ruth and Kate just before the pandemic hits, which gives them just enough time to get to know each other before lockdown. Their friendship helps keep Ruth sane while working from home while Kate does Zoom school in the next room. And even during the pandemic, Ruth is roped into a ghastly serial killer investigation involving the ghost of The Gray Lady, a woman who died in England of the plague. A huge family secret is revealed that rocks Ruth to her core and Ruth’s relationship with Nelson shifts a bit more. This is my favorite Ruth yet – there were moments of genuine intrigue and heart-stopping fear. I couldn’t stop listening! I’m hoping there will be a new one next year.

An Incomplete Revenge is the fifth Maisie Dobbs mystery and I feel like I might be hitting my stride with this series. I’ve found that the first 3-4 books in cozy mystery series are a bit less compelling (I’m thinking of Ruth Galloway and Armand Gamache), but I am totally hooked by the fifth books. This one was especially intriguing because it involved weaving, dying tapestries, “gypsies,” and fortune telling. We learn that Maisie’s grandmother was a Roma and she forms a particular bond with the traveling caravan that she meets while working on a case. Their lives are fascinating! The small farming village that Maisie is investigating believes that it’s haunted by the ghost of a young boy who died during WWI in France, but there’s more to this story than what meets the eye. I’m on the waitlist for the next audiobook in this series!

Small Things Like These was on the Booker Longlist yesterday and I saw that it was available on Libby. I borrowed it and was delighted to find that it was only 70 pages – and I was even more delighted to find that those 70 pages were totally compelling and I couldn’t put down my Kindle until I finished the whole thing. The author did a lovely job of placing the reader into the setting – the winter of 1985 in Ireland. Bill Furlong is a regular man who delivers coal and logs for a living. He can’t help but think that there might be more to life than running from one thing to the next just to survive. And when he finds the opportunity to do something extraordinary, he makes the brave choice to do the right thing. I found this a fascinating glimpse into some of the dilemmas that religion and poverty can bring and believe I’ll be thinking about this for a long time.

Oh William! was also on the Booker Longlist; I reserved my library’s copy right away and was able to pick it up yesterday afternoon. And yes — I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it. I hadn’t read any Strout since Olive Kitteridge and began this book by thinking that the narrator, Lucy Barton, was actually Olive… and I was very confused! But once I set myself straight on Goodreads, I was able to settle into the story and the characters. Friends — it was like I was sitting at a coffee table with Lucy and she was confiding in me. The depth of emotions in this book were vast and I was sighing, Oh William! right along with her. And when Lucy said that she often felt invisible, I totally understood her. I walked away from this book feeling as though Lucy Barton was my friend and that I need to return to Strout’s backlist and gobble it all up.

We finished two more read alouds this weeks. Bryce and I have been reading George’s Marvelous Medicine before bed. Roald Dahl was so twisted. George’s grandmother is a mean and nagging woman so George decides to give her a different kind of medicine. He collects all sorts of liquids from the house and the barn and boils it all up. The results are quite disturbing, as you might guess.

Bronwyn and I finished an American Girl book: Josefina Learns a Lesson. Josefina’s family loses their sheep during an awful storm and Tía Dolores has the idea to recoup their losses by weaving their stored wool into blankets to sell. Josefina’s older sisters know how to weave but Josefina must learn. Through this book, the girls all find ways to grieve their mother and to allow more happiness into their lives without her. I am still enjoying this family and we’ve begun the next in the series.


I have to share that we’re having a difficult time with Colton’s sleep schedule the last few weeks… as in: he’s basically falling asleep near midnight and waking around 5 each morning. I’ve been thankful for audiobooks and small knitting projects that can be picked up/put down quickly! But time at my computer has been quite limited – I have time to work a tiny bit on future posts each morning and then I’m off to the races. I’ve been reading your blogs on my phone but logging in to leave comments has been difficult. And responding to your comments has also been hard for me! So I hope you’ll stick with me during this phase – which will pass! They always do! (And I’m ready for shorter days and cooler nights because that will help his sleep schedule more than anything.)

I hope to be back on Friday with another quick update. I hope you take good care over the next couple of days!

22 thoughts on “Bookish Chatter | Recently Read and a Start On The Booker Longlist

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  1. Just about anything by an Irish writer is something I scoop up these days, so thanks for Small Things Like These! And as is nearly always the case, you sneak in something that makes me laugh out loud: “It’s called mania, my friends, and I don’t recommend it. But it was fun!” Hope you and Mr. C get a bit more sleep tonight!

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    1. I hope you love the Keegan! I found it thought-provoking and touching. Nights are still tough around here, but we’ll make it through 🙂

      Enjoy your weekend!

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  2. Oh yes those days/evenings when you just can’t stop reading! I wasn’t so keen on Olive Kitteridge but I may at some point give it a whirl. I have a big stack of library books on the go at the moment. Rik Mayall did a Jackanory on BBC TV many moons ago of George’s Marvellous Medicine, he was unforgetable! I wonder if they still read books for children on TV. Hope your son’s sleep pattern improves. Not easy for you all.

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    1. Oh, gosh! Hope Colton’s sleep patterns soon coincide with the family’s. I will be putting “Small Things Like These” on my TBR list. As for feeling invisible… one of the best things about the blogging community is that they do “see” you, no matter the distance. And I mean this in the best possible way. Your blog is one of my favorites. You have such a snappy voice that you could make a grocery list sound interesting.

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    2. Thanks, Cathy. And yes — it feels good to be addicted to reading again 🙂 Maybe try Lucy Barton if you didn’t like Olive? But honestly — they have very similar feels and you might have the same reaction to Lucy. Time is precious and there are so many good books!

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  3. Thanks for linking to the Booker long list — I knew it was being announced yesterday but forgot to check for it! I have read only one book on the list so far (Small Things Like These), but at least a couple are on my TBR list.

    Funny you should mention the fifth Maisie Dobbs book, because I just finished listening to it yesterday! I also found the subject of this one compelling, and I was pleasantly surprised that I was completely wrong when I thought I had it figured out!

    I hope the sleep schedule becomes more reasonable soon. I can only imagine how exhausting that must be for you.

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  4. Great reading this week, Katie! I too loved both Oh, William! and Small Things. I should have Trust soon. I added a few other books from the Longlist to my read list, but some just did not seem interesting to me!

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    1. I’m glad you found a few interesting titles! I’m also hoping to get Trust soon because my library actually has a copy of it!! I hear wonderful things about The Trees and I’m reading Booth right now. I love it when lists are announced!

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  5. Hope things even out soon with Colton’s sleeping patterns. I read Small Things LIke These earlier this year and I agree with you that it is very compelling. I thought it was very good! Also, I read My Name is Lucy Barton a couple of years ago and enjoyed it so Oh William is one I’d like to read at some point.

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    1. Thank you for your kind thoughts, Karen!

      I need to start at the beginning of Lucy’s series because it sounds like she’s had a very interesting life. So much to read!

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  6. I should try Maisie Dobbs one day. So many mystery series I’d like to try – so little time!

    Good for you for diving in to the Booker longlist. Your enthusiasm for bookish prizes is unparalleled!

    Hope your WordPress issues iron out and that Colton’s sleep troubles even out too!

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    1. I think you’d love Maisie! Like I said in my post, it’s taken me a few books to hit my stride, but I’m really enjoying her. And I can’t wait until you read the newest Ruth Galloway!!

      Thanks for your kind thoughts. I wanted to be honest with what was going on so that no one thought I was ignoring them!!

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  7. Hoping Colton’s sleep gets better so that you can all be rested. Thanks for the link to the Booker Prize. I just got Small Things (audio) from Hoopla.

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  8. Wow, wow, wow Katie! Sounds like a wonderful week in bookland! I’ve just started a bit of a reading stride again, I started Under the Whispering Door when it came up on my Libby hold, and then feeling like I wanted to get into audiobooks a little bit and something a little less emotional, I started The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I hope you all get some more sleep soon.

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    1. Oh my goodness – you are in for a treat! I ADORE Flavia de Luce. And there’s a whole giant series to keep you company – such a great summer reading choice!

      I’m so happy to hear your voice again — I’ve missed you!

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  9. I am so IN for all the Booker Mania! I’m picking up a paper copy of Small Things tomorrow and look forward to that “single sitting experience” … maybe Sunday? Sending all the good vibes for Colton’s sleep habits and if you can get Glory on audio, I highly recommend! (or … for something totally fun, the Anthony Horowitz books that Juliann suggested last week – The Word Is Murder is #1 – are binge-able.

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    1. You will absolutely read Small Things in one sitting. I had to put it down throughout the day to tend to little humans, but could have read it without stopping if given the opportunity. I’ll plan to get Glory with August’s Audible credit because I wasn’t sure how I was going to get to it otherwise.. thanks for the rec! And I have The Word is Murder checked out on audio right now! Just finishing up My Year of Meats first 🙂

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  10. At first, I wanted to Oh William! to win. Now, after reading Small Things Like These, I’m not so sure. What a lovely, lovely book! And, I’m so pleased it didn’t dwell on current political themes as the Booker longlist has done in the past. To me, either of these books is timeless. Now I’ll have to see what others I can find…Thank you for visiting me earlier this week.

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