Looking for a Good Book?

What am I reading? The Searcher by Tana French. Love her books, but they are like a rich dessert—a little goes a long way and it’s best to take a holiday from them for a while. Also reading N.K. Jemison’s The Obelisk Gate—masterful, imaginative science fiction, or is it fantasy? Arguably there are elements of both science and geological magic in the work. Book one, The Fifth Season, is already finished and in my brain, desiring more.

Reading The Barbizon, Paulina Bren, a profile of the iconic New York City women’s hotel, where literary, artistic and secretarial types (the section about Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School students who were required to live at the Barbizon is absorbing) lived in guarded safety while pursuing careers in Manhattan.



And reading Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut books; The Calculating Stars is done and The Fated Sky is next. Fun, frisky and wonderfully interesting alternate-history take on female “computers” of the 1950’s and 60’s. And as a back-up between library books on hold, I am reading Imitation of Life, by Fannie Hurst. Avidly watched both film versions, (Claudette Colbert in 1934 and Lana Turner in 1959), but the book reveals much, much more about subtle and deadly racism of the early twentieth century.

Two by Native Americans that I adored: The Removed by Branden Hobson tells the stories of four separate family members leading up to and on a fateful day, and Empire of the Wild, Cherie Dimaline, following a woman’s search for her missing husband through a reservation swirling in dark magic.

More and More! (Retirement brings a treasure chest of books to read!) Both of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s tales, Gods of Jade and Shadow and Mexican Gothic are delicious, dark chocolate to taste—very dark. Another similar in weight but light and savory is Yangsze Choo’s The Ghost Bride, which I just learned was released last year as a series on Netflix! Oh, my!

Philip Pullman is back into His Dark Materials with a pre-quel and a sequel; The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage and The Secret Commonwealth, with a third on the horizon, are addictive page-turners. If you adore the original three, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, as I do, you will love these just as much.

And more: The Water Knife, Paolo Bacigalupi; The Cold Millions, Jess Walter; Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders; His Only Wife, Peace Adzomedei; The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennet. All compelling, wonderful reads.

I do read non-fiction. I have a thing for biography and true crime. Last biography: Simon Louvish’s Mae West, It Ain’t No Sin, but I couldn’t finish; loaded down with statistics and speculation, it ground to a halt. Probably better and on the list, is Goodness Had Nothing to Do with It, Mae’s autobiography. True crime has been on my radar a bit more, lately. The Moscow Rules by Antonio Mendez (remember the movie Argo and Ben Affleck’s character? This is him) and Jonna Mendez brings the cold war into focus through the lens of CIA operatives in Moscow during the 1960’s and 70’s. Both We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper and I’ll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara intriguingly wind the mystery of finding the killer throughthe authors’ personal journeys.

For quick, guilty reads, I re-read favorites. Currently re-reading all of Tony Hillerman’s Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn books, a nice easy read at bedtime.

So much more to read; many others are reading, too, which is why I have so many holds at the three libraries from which I can borrow ebooks.

Of course, if you don’t want to wait for a good book, you could try one of mine, right here on the BVC website. Take a look here



About Jill Zeller

Author of numerous novels and short stories, Jill Zeller is a Left Coast writer, 2nd generation Californian, retired registered nurse, and obsessed gardener. She lives in Oregon with her patient husband, 2 silly English mastiffs and 2 rescue cats—the silliest of all. Her works explore the boundaries of reality. Some may call it fantasy, but there are rarely swords and never elves. More to the point, she prefers to write as if myth, imagination and hallucination are as real as the chair she is sitting on as she writes this. Jill Zeller also writes under the pseudonym Hunter Morrison


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