I have finally read Sister of the Angels, and I adore it, and I can tell you that all three Torminster books are absolutely wonderful. They are warm, and uplifting, and so very beautiful, and atmospheric, and so rich in lovely imagery, and at the same time gently and poignantly humorous.
The first, A City of Bells, is an adult novel, whereas Henrietta’s House (also known as The Blue Hills) and Sister of the Angels are written for children. But all of them are wonderful reads at any age, with so many different, vivid characters.
The reading order is not really important, I think, at least not for the latter two, as Sister of the Angels was published earlier, but Henrietta’s House is set before it. A City of Bells should be read first, as one important plot-line would be revealed otherwise, but I am sure some people have read the other two as children and this one later on, and the experience of reading them all is just as lovely with “secrets lifted” as without.
So, my latest read is “The Bamboo Bloodbath” by Piers Anthony and Roberto Fuentes. It’s a Seventies “men’s adventure” paperback in the Jason Striker, Master of Martial Arts series. It’s specifically described on the cover as “violent.”
It uses Japanese martial arts terms like a first-year weaboo uses “-chan” (Fuentes was the actual judoka and martial arts consultant.) In addition to being a master of judo, karate and kung fu, Striker exudes an aura that attracts hot women who want to bang him.
The guest star is Ilunga, the Black Karate Mistress, who was one of the villains in the previous volume, “Mistress of Death” before Striker a) had hot sex with her and b) wiped out the drug cartel that had her under their power. This time, she needs help as her brother has gotten in too deep with Blackrev, a group of militants and terrorists…that of course are secretly run by a white dude. Ilunga might be bisexual, but only with hot white women…she hasn’t had a chance to explore her new feelings yet in the parts of the story I’ve read.
Hello! I’d be happy to provide such recommendations. For starters, I have a list of German and Austrian literature I like here. In this list, because you say you’re looking for something new, I’ll focus on contemporary-ish works, rather than classics of, say, Latin American magic realism.
- Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun
- Andres Neuman, Traveler of the Century
- Olga Tokarchuk, Flights
- Raja Alem, The Dove’s Necklace
- Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
- Amit Chaudhuri, Real Time: Stories and a Reminiscence
- Jon Kalman Stefansson, Heaven and Hell
- Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies
Detective Obsession Special
- Seicho Matsumoto, Inspector Imanishi Investigates
- Akimitsu Tatagi, The Tattoo Murder Case
- Qiu Xiaolong, Death of a Red Heroine
This is obviously a very selective list, but I hope you find something to enjoy!
I’ve really got to say that Miss Buncle’s Book has one of the most endearing, and unusual, proposal scenes. It’s so charming, and original, and yet so quiet and fits both of them so well.
After almost exactly eleven years, I’ve picked up Joseph O'Connor’s Star of the Sea again, and I’ve realized two things:
- I know exactly why I picked up that book in the first place; it has that curious mix of style, topic, and tone that I’m immediately drawn to (beautiful, fragmentary, and melancholy but hopeful with a bit of mystery thrown in)
- It goes very well with Les Miserables, which I’m also reading (again), both in time and in topic, but with the added benefit that I can actually read it in the bath.
Currently reading Miss Buncle’s Book and enjoying it immensely. I think it would make a really nice tv series — a very cosy show, with the 30s aesthetic and the story within a story.
It is the beginning of the 20th Century, and while certain aspects of the Victorian Age remain, many people are now looking ahead to a bright new future. The Old West is within living memory, but far enough back to be nostalgic. Technology is about to hit the fast forward button and never stop. Let’s see what Goodreads recommends based on books I’ve read from this time period!
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman
1602: Witch Hunter Angela #1 by Marguerite Bennett
Agents & Spies Short Stories by Martin Edwards
All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Believe Me by J.P. Delaney
Blood Valley by William W. Johnstone
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Bull Hunter by Max Brand
Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry
Close Quarters by Michael Gilbert
Desert Gold by Zane Grey
Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
The Facts in the Great Beef Contract by Mark Twain
The Garden of Eden by Max Brand
The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco
Gunman’s Reckoning by Max Brand
The Haunted Orchard: Paranormal Parlor, a Weiser Books Collection by Richard Le Gallienne
House of Teeth by Dan Jolley
Interview with the Robot by Lee Bacon
The Last Mountain Man by William W. Johnstone
Lazarus by Leonid Andreyev
The Mass of Shadows by Anatole France
Midnight Son by James Dommek Jr.
Monte Walsh by Jack Schaefer
The Mysterious Rider by Zane Grey
The Night of Wenceslas by Lionel Davidson
An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
The Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe
Promised Land by Robert B. Parker
Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey
Riding the White Horse Home: A Western Family Album by Teresa Jordan
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca–Bogart, Bergman, and World War II by Aljean Harmetz
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Shadows on the Wall by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
The Shell of Sense by Olivia Howard Dunbar
The Shootist by Glendon Swarthout
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
Some Horses: Essays by Thomas McGuane
Sylvester by Georgette Heyer
The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether by Edgar Allan Poe
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
Trailin’ by Max Brand
Trail to Yesterday by Duane Boehm
The Untamed by Max Brand
Viva Durant and The Secret of the Silver Buttons by Ashli St. Armant
What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris
The Works of Edgar Allan Poe: Volume 1 by Edgar Allan Poe
And now, the 1901-1910 Writers Hall of Fame!
Doyle, Arthur Conan-7
Dziemianowicz, Stefan R.-5
Harvey, William Fryer-5
Our winners are the authors of The Virginian and The Heritage of the Desert!
Your thoughts, comments and favorite books from the first decade of the 20th Century?
I have seldom read a book that radiated hostility to this extent.
The six year old cyborg that routinely kills her parental figures because that’s what society wants her to do and therefore programmed her that way is just the tip of the iceberg.
A City of Bells is so overwhelmingly beautiful. Beautiful Torminster between the blue mountains, with its Cathedral and its walled in gardens and its whimsical inhabitants. Spirited little orphans finding safety and happiness. The gentle and tenderly serious romance. The love of nature as well as of art. The second changes, the healing, the spiritual re-birth. The warmth and the quiet. The poignant humour and the beautiful prose. Everything.