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Midnight's Children: A Novel by Salman Rushdie

Clear and Present Danger (Jack Ryan) by Tom Clancy

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) by George R.R. Martin

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

Polar Star: A Novel (Mortalis) by Martin Cruz Smith

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (Virago Modern Classics) by Elizabeth Taylor

Master Georgie by Beryl Bainbridge

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Member: brenzi

CollectionsNYRB (13), Virago Modern Classics (55), Available at BECPL (17), Orange Prize Nominee (18), Read in 2009 (56), Read in 2010 (63), Read in 2011 (75), Read in 2012 (86), Read in 2013 (85), Read in 2014 (42), E books (178), On My Shelves Now (486), Your library (1,317), Wishlist (79), To read (125), Read but unowned (201), Favorites (72), Currently reading (1), All collections (1,416)

Reviews350 reviews

TagsTBR (365), fiction (143), non-fiction (127), historical fiction (93), literary fiction (58), mystery (57), WWII (45), murder (33), Suzanne (31), memoir (31) — see all tags

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Recommendations2 recommendations

About meI am a former elementary school principal. Retiring in June of 2011, has afforded me much more time to read. Previously, I was a teacher and encouraged my students to love reading. There's nothing quite as fulfilling as seeing a child wrapped up in a good book and transformed to another world/time/galaxy.

About my library"It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time to read them; but one usually confuses the purchase of books with the acquisition of their contents. Arthur Schopenhauer, 'On Books and Writing' (1851) in A Book Addict's Treasury (stolen borrowed from bonniebooks thread)

Last Month's Reading

Phineas Finn - Anthony Trollope
Not So Quiet...Stepdaughters of War - Helen Zenna Smith
I Murdered My Library - Linda Grant
The Daughter of Time - Josephine Tey
In the Kingdom of Ice - Hampton Sides

This Month's Reading

The Shape of Water - Andrea Camilleri

Up Next:

The Narrow Road to the Deep North - Richard Flanagan

BEST OF 2013

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Galore by Michael Crummey
Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Let Him Go by Larry Watson
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
A Dance to the Music of Time First, Second, Third and Fourth Movements – Anthony Powell
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
The Colors of Infamy by Albert Cossery

BEST OF 2012

Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Inferno: The World at War 1939-1945 by Max Hastings
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
Juliet in August by Dianne Warren
Columbine by Dave Cullen
In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (reread)
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Tunneling to the Center of the Earth by Kevin Wilson
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Mrs. Somebody Somebody by Tracy Winn

My 2014 75 Book Challenge can be found here:

My Wikithing -

Currently Reading:

Groups1010 Category Challenge, 50 Book Challenge, 75 Books Challenge for 2009, 75 Books Challenge for 2010, 75 Books Challenge for 2011, 75 Books Challenge for 2012, 75 Books Challenge for 2013, 75 Books Challenge for 2014, Barbara Pym, Booker Prizeshow all groups

Favorite authorsKate Atkinson, Andrea Barrett, Amy Bloom, Joseph Boyden, William Boyd, Harriet Doerr, Louise Erdrich, Jane Harris, Khaled Hosseini, Helen Humphreys, Wayne Johnston, Hilary Mantel, Barbara Pym, Richard Russo, David Sedaris (Shared favorites)


Favorite bookstoresTalking Leaves Books

Also onFacebook, PaperBackSwap

Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

Real nameBonnie

LocationBuffalo, NY

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/brenzi (profile)
/catalog/brenzi (library)

Member sinceFeb 21, 2009

Currently readingThe Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim

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Thanks for restraining yourself in your review of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. A book is so much better when subjects are revealed as the author intended.
Bonnie, I am THRILLED you have received Vanderhaeghe's books! This is a very loose trilogy, and I did not read them in order … did not even know it was a trilogy until I was into the second novel. I read The Last Crossing and then A Good Man. Just this past year, I finally read An Englishman's Boy, but I did not think it was quite as good as the others. But irregardless, you don't have to read them in order; there are no repeating characters or story threads that pick up.

I so hope you will enjoy as much as I did.

Hi Bonnie!

Thought I'd leave a comment in response to the news that you recently acquired Proust on your Kindle. I've been working my way through it very slowly, 10-20 pages per day, guided by a readalong from several years back via this blog: The Cork-Lined Room. You'll have to start way back with the first post, and read through a few introductory posts (which are interesting in their own right), and then you'll get to the daily posts covering 10-20 pages at a time. I usually read the "assignment," and then the blog post. Sometimes I do two or more in a day, sometimes I don't. I find the blog posts a useful synopsis of what I read, and a way to break up the reading in manageable chunks. Unlike many other books, I can't just sit down and blitz through 30-40 pages. The blog helps me stay on track and enjoy the experience, without getting frustrated at my slow pace.

Enjoy ...
Enjoyed your Cheryl Strayed piece on the Pacific Crest Trail. Back in the '90s I day-hiked a good 200 miles of the PCT in sections, ranging from Idyllwild to Tahoe, so I'll check this book out for sure. You might be interested in this book too, one of the first accounts of early thru-hikers in the mid-'70s. Probably not as dramatic, but well written.
Hi Bonnie-

I saw that you live in Buffalo, and we share numerous books, so I sent a friend request. I'm originally from Kenmore, but I live in CT now (my mom is still there, so I visit often).

Congratulations on retiring! I'm looking forward to reading your reviews. Enjoy the summer.

I also love, love Kate Atkinson. After the four Jackson Brodies, am now reading Scenes from the Museum.
Thanks for your positive review. After recommending her books, most of my fellow book lover friends remark, "Well a bit dark. I like others better."
Not me.
I see we are from the same region of New York. I am an elementary reading teacher, not yet retired.
Hi, I'm Coach Ahmad!

I came across you when I was skimming through the forums and found you posted on one of the mystery threads.

I just wanted to commend you on your efforts as a leader of the youth at encouraging them to read because I feel its become a lost practice, and an important one at that.

I also found the quote at the top of your "About My Library" section to be quite true. Happy reading!

Coach Ahmad
Thanks, Bonnie. I'll look for the book you recommended (about WWI). Appreciate it! --Dawn
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Amazing picture!
You have a lovely family Bonnie. Adam & Sara, correct?
And what kind of dog is your little Buddy? What a beauty.
How did he go out & do his duty with all that snow? I
should think he would be buried. That is a lot of heavy
snow on your deck.
We don't often get a lot of snow here but when we do, we
shovel paths for the kitties to get out to where they like
to do their business. It's not a problem for Abby Labby,
however. She just romps & plays in it for as long as mom
&/or dad will stay out with her & she plows her own way
to the outlying potty rooms. lol!~!
You're a sweetheart, Bonnie, thanks! I'll be looking for it.

Best - Joe
Hi Bonnie,

Glad that the books arrived! I think I only put your name on the outside of the package, and just used my first name in the little notes. Glad you liked them, I hope they're good reads :)
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What a cutie!!
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He's such a doll!
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Sweet thing!

Oh thank you!! I love that we can recycle ARCs this way! You are une petite ange, but you knew that.

Bonnie, I joined LT in January and then Peggy (LizzieD) and Laura (laurelkeet) suggested the VMC group. I lurk more than I post, but enjoy reading the comments of everyone. I am really looking forward to the WWI read. I had planned on reading one WWI themed book each month anyway, and this targeted it a little better for me. I do see your posts on Peggy's and Laura's threads. Something you said about Barbara Pym prompted me to look at your profile today. I think we have some similar tastes in books.

Have a great Thanksgiving.


Glad you liked the link to Buffalo Fiction! Clearly the work of an obsessive mind. Happy reading!
Hi Bonnie- Now, that's more like it! Go P.O.! I am glad we got the address thing straightened out. Hope you are having a great Sunday!

Bonnie, I just finished The Signature of All Things a few weeks ago and had the exact same reaction as you. I would have thought a book about botany would be rather dry and boring, wow, wow, wow, what a great 5 star read for me as well! Hope you are doing well. :)

So going to that address, should be good? If so, change it in my address book? Fingers crossed.
I sent the book back out, while I was there. On the yellow sticker, it had your street address but it had Springville New York 14141. Is this familiar?
No problem, Bonnie! I just wanted to let you know it's on the way. Hopefully, you'll have it by the end of the week.

Hi Bonnie- The book is on it's way! Hope you had a nice Sunday. Looking forward to your thoughts on the Gilbert book. It's been getting solid reviews.

Bonnie- I am so glad you are loving Let Him Go. It was excellent. I talked to a couple readers at Booktopia and they thought it was his best book. I have several of his to read.

Bonnie, thank you so much for sharing your Willa Cather notes! I look forward to going through them, particularly since I read My Antonia for the first time this summer.

I hope you enjoy Death Comes for the Archbishop. Lots of people have different favorite books of hers- that one is definitely mine.

Hope you're having a great week.

Hi, I think I did see him on Jon Stewart on YouTube. So funny. You will have a great time. Let me know how it goes.
Hi, Where are you seeing David Sedaris? Have you ever seen him read before? You will have a great time!
Bonnie- No problem. I am glad you took a second look at it. It's a good book and she's a crafty writer but it is not for everyone. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on Night Film. Enjoy your weekend.

Bonnie- I am glad you are interested. (no pun intended) I'll send it out early next week. I loved this book but I am forced to be very very selective on what books I want to keep. I think I will pass on most of the ARCS, I enjoyed, just to spread around the joy. I plan on FINALLY getting to the McCann, as soon as the Group Read is complete.

your pal

Thumbed your fabulous review of the The Wasp Factory a couple of days ago. Thanks so much for reading it for me and letting me know that I can skip it without compunction! I've picked it up to read before, but never could get into it. Now I'll let myself off the hook .

Thanks again!


Thanks, Bonnie! I may start with Excellent Women. I remember that one being popular back when I worked in a bookstore, so it brings back good memories, too.

Best - Joe
Nice review of No Fond Return of Love. This was my first Pym, and it remains my favorite. I have all of her novels, but I've been spacing them out so as not to come to the end of the pleasure of reading them!
Hi Bonnie!

Haha, yes I feel the same way. Definitely born in the wrong century. I am so glad you're enjoying The Barchester series. I had planned to a least get started on the series this year, and hope He Knew He Was Right will whet my appetite. I just love Pym, too! I actually got started on her books accidentily, but am so glad a librarian recommended Excellent Women. I look forward to your reviews!

Happy reading,

I "discovered" Trollope a few years ago and proceeded through all of his novels, I think, beginning with the Barchester series. I envy anyone engaged in this journey. What a feast of writing. And I felt the same way about E.F. Benson and the six Lucia novels. More delicious writing. Benson leads my list of under-praised novelists. Read some of your excellent, thoughtful reviews. You're a great source for recommendations. Will add "And the Mountains Echoed" to Wishlist. So many good Middle Eastern writers.
Hi Bonnie,
Thanks for adding me to your "interesting libraries". I have been a LT member for a year and a half and I love it! I was trying to figure out the "connections" and recommendations this morning and realized that I had to add a few of the "thread" people I have been following as I have had enjoyed so many of their suggestions. I am hoping to get going on the Trollope books this summer!
Good morning Bonnie.
You are just rocking it with these HOT REVIEWs!
Congrats on another one for The Good Soldier.
Excellent review and well done.
Hope things are good with you and yours.
Hey Bonnie, congratulations on your HOT REVIEW for Jane and Prudence.
I know I had to give you a thumb up. Well done lady.
In between the img and src ,you type width="300"
For some reason it won't let me type you an example. It always comes up blank. Go here and at the bottom of section 3, is a perfect example:
Once again use 300 as a base. It works for me.
No problem, Bonnie- It's pretty easy. After
Put the img link in between the quotations. I usually go with 300 as a base, but you can go higher or lower depending on what you want. Any other questions, just ask.
Arrival advice, and thanks again!

Thank you very much! I'll advise of arrival.
enjoyed your review of Geek Love - next you should give Ian Banks' Wasp Factory a try - yet more disturbing I think!
Hi, Bonnie! I bet you're still here. And congratulations on being hot yet again. I'm off to read your two reviews!!!
I had Geek Love on my bookshelf for years.. had no idea how it got there. I finally pulled it out and read it about 6 years ago. Now I think of it like a loaded gun sitting up there just waiting(!) Yikes. It was like watching a bad accident and not being able to look away. I was mesmorized and felt sort of ashamed for being a witness to the story. Sometimes I think about the book but can never remember the title.. I think that my brain may be trying to bury the experience. What an incredible read though! Really liked your review :)
Lol, I was afraid of that. Okay, I'll get busy and start reading. Will I ever catch up? At least I'll have fun trying.
Thanks for the links, Bonnie.
8! Buddy's got a puppy face!!! So cute! I know I couldn't make it without dogs. I have a friend who comes over to see my dog often and he always calls it "dog therapy." Yes, totally. :)
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What a cutie!!!! How old in this picture?
Hi - Just wanted to say I loved your review of "Beautiful Mystery" - it perfectly captured how I felt about Penny's latest and I nodded along with every word of your review.
Your Buddy is so cute!
Hi Bonnie, Thanks for your note. I'm usually fine with such things - following along the same line - that novels are fiction and it's just part of the story. But I'll probably still give it a pass...unless I run out of books to never know... :)

I still have her "Lost Garden" to read.

Have a good night/day!
Hi --

See your interest in historical fiction and literary fiction and checked out your list of favorite authors (we share), but I didn't see Dorothy Dunnett's name. She's my all-time favorite writer of historical fiction (sadly, she's now dead). She's best known for two series of books: The Lymond Chronicles and The House of Niccolo. Both are set in the Renaissance and the action takes place all over Europe and around the Mediterranean. If you haven't read them, I think they'll become certain favorites.
Morning Bonnie- I forgot I sent the Clinch book to you. I'm glad you are enjoying it. Try to hunt down the excellent documentary called "Brother's Keeper", the real-life story. Clinch has a new book coming out that sounds good. If you remember, I met him at the Vermont Book Retreat. He's a good guy.

I never have big plans! I have to drive my mother 18 miles or so Sunday morning to the dedication of a new church sign, given partly in memory of my aunt. That's the big deal for this weekend. Otherwise, I hope to do some reading too - maybe finish at least Great House, which has intruded on my otherwise planned reading.
Thanks for the TIOLI tip. I'm off to check it out!
Hi, Bonnie. I do believe that you're here now, and I get excited when I can speak to somebody in almost real time. Hope you have plans for just the weekend that will do you the most good!
Bonnie- No problem! Thanks for letting me know. I LOVED In the Shadow of the Banyan. But you knew that already, right?

Thank you very much, Bonnie! I'm really looking forward to this one, especially after your glowing review!
Bonnie- Thank you very much for this. I'll try to move it up, once I get it. My copy of the Family Fang is out, maybe once I get it back I'll send it to you.

Bonnie- Whew! I was starting to get worried. I'm glad it's in your hands. The good news is, that it's just over 200 pages. Easier to squeeze in. Enjoy!


Thanks for letting me know! I hope you get it this week. Funny, I just read "The Family Fang" a couple months ago and loved it, so I would love to try his story collection. Thanks!

Morning Bonnie- No luck with the book? I was hoping it would be there by Saturday.

A class discussing great books with NO tests or papers? SIGN ME UP!!!! That DOES sound like fun! Your "absent-minded professor" sounds delightful too! "My Antonia" was a fave of mine, and I'm sure your discussion will be thought-provoking. Enjoy!
Bonnie, I read of your Buddy in Crazymamie's thread and came to look at the picture. Then I saw you are a recently retired school principal. I'm retired now 11 years from school teaching! Whew. What a lot of work, we have left behind.

Are you adjusting to retirement? What do you do with your time now?

I like your list of favorite authors and wonder if you have tried reading Ivan Doig. I think you might enjoy his work.


aka maggie1944
Lyzard loves lurkers. If you let her know right away that you're there, she will call periodic intermissions in which you can ask questions about any of the chapters already covered. Enjoy!

Hi Bonnie,

Have you seen this tutored read of Trollope? It's just beginning so lurk all you want! :)

Just wanted to let you know that I have added several books to my wishlist due to your reviews. Thanks!
Sharon in Boise, ID
Bonnie, I thought I'd drop by and say hi, something I haven't done in a while. I keep coming across your wonderful reviews to books I want to read IMMEDIATELY after I've read them, so I thought it might be a good idea to keep my eye on you and mark yours out as an "interesting library". I'm sorry I don't drop by your place very often, I try to be everywhere at once, but it never seems to quite work out.

Wishing you the best,

Bonnie- It looks like we agree on the ending of GG. It was a tough one to conclude. Funny, I just received a notice that I have an audio copy of Age of Miracles in at the library. See, I do follow you around! I started Train Dreams. Enjoy your weekend!


We call it "Wallenda-monium!" It's been crazy! Being twenty minutes away, we go to the Falls very often, but somehow Nik Wallenda has helped me fall (pardon the pun) in love with Niagara Falls all over again, and see them in a whole different way. I'm in awe of what he managed to accomplish!
Bonnie, I'm not as far into the book as I'd like to be, but I can absolutely see what you mean. I'm looking forward to making real progress this week. (Skimpole is a character I always felt like slapping, by the way!)
Bonnie, just to let you know that I've started a spoiler thread for State of Wonder-
Bonnie, *Wonder* arrived today and I'm tickled to pieces. You are more than generous to think of me and then to send me the book.

Ooo. I hope that you become a *Dance* addict. I'm pretty sure that you will. I was on a John Fowles spree 30 years or so ago - whenever it was that Daniel Martin came out. *Collector* was not my favorite, but I did enjoy him enough to want to reread within the next 10 years or so - and how devoutly I hope that I have more reading time than that left!
GREAT rejoicing!
Thank you, Bonnie!!!
Thank you, then, Bonnie a whole lot!
Unbelievable! On the 23rd of April!?!?!?!
I am in no hurry at all. It's not as though I have nothing to read.......
Thank you, Bonnie. I will look forward to the interview! *Observations* is on my Mt. Bookpile, but I won't get to it anytime soon, I'm afraid. I reread the introduction to *G&I* too.... My impression at the last was that she had a very definite malaise - I think that she vomited what looked like coffee grounds and her stool was very dark. I guess I could google those two symptoms....yuck....I find upper GI bleeding as from a peptic ulcer, maybe. I don't know what that tells me, but there it is.
I can't bring myself to watch *D&S* until I've read it again. I have less and less patience with video until I get trapped in one, and then I'm a real sucker. Oh, the strangeness of being me!
I guess you like it then. :)
I thought we were friends here too! Just used the friend finder tool, so I guess not.

I loved Binocular Vision - how are you liking it?
Wow! That was FAST! I just mailed them on Saturday!
Bonnie- Thanks for letting me know! I really NEED to get to Clinch's book "Finn", maybe I can squeeze it late next month. do we keep up?
How is the Ali Smith book coming?

I'm excited for you, Bonnie! Isn't it wonderful being retired and having the time to explore these opportunities?

I SO agree with you about [Gillespie & I]. I reviewed it for Belletrista last year and had much the same reaction as you did, wanting to read it over again right away. If you're interested, you can read my comments here.

Hi Bonnie!

I'm on page 180 of 421 according to my Kindle :) I think I'm still in Book 2. Is there a Book 3? I can't remember, and my freebie edition doesn't have a table of contents! Emma is a piece of work isn't she? This isn't really a "group read" nor is it a "tutored read" so I think we can/should just discuss on our threads. Of course if you want to create a thread I won't object!

Hi! I saw your review of Bleak House and if you loved the book you will really love the miniseries made in 2005 - I rented in on Netflix and it was fantastic!
Best to you,

Hi there,

I have just read your review of Old Filth, which is one of my desert island books (desert island disks is another British institution) and just wanted to recommend "The Man in the Wooden hat" which is Jane Gardam's book about Betty, so neither a sequel or prequel. I'm not sure what you would call it but it is also an excellent read.

Best wishes
Hi Bonnie, you own it. Don't you want to read it? Infinite Jest support group here.
Happy New Year, Bonnie!
Hi Bonnie,

Glad to hear the book arrived in one piece. :-) ihope you enjoy it.

Bonnie if you just fall short this year - I'm sure that you'll make it next! Also enjoyed your comments around the various threads this year and hope to communicate much more in future.
Yay, Bonnie!! Go to the Salon to see words of welcome from your Virago sisters!
Hi Bonnie, thanks for lovely note. I was delighted to discover how many books we share : ). My experience with our 75ers is much the same as yours; I only joined LT in March of this year, but I've read some wonderful selections that might otherwise have escaped my notice. It's exciting that you've found your stride with NF!

I managed to read 75 books this year, but I don't expect a repeat performance in 2012. And that's fine. I'll continue to enjoy the company of our many marvellous readers!

Merry Christmas,
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Great looking couple. You must be thrilled.
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LOL! :-D
Thank you for your prayers, Bonnie.
Thank you also for asking about my man CD. Actually, *GE* is not one of my favorites nor one that I consider especially typical of the man. I think that you should start with the best, which I think is Bleak House. It has everything! Everything includes his soppy, syrupy young women; the man had a problem. On the other hand, he could write better than anyone has ever written prose in the language. That's what I think. I'm sure that you will have asked Heather what she advises, and I'll be eager to see what she says.
I should join you, but another reread would make Bleak House 4, and some of the others only 2. I can't wait to hear what you choose!
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