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The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale (Modern Library Classics) by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon by Richard Zimler

The Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans

Century of Locusts (European Women Writers) by Malika Mokeddem

The Gossamer Cord by Philippa Carr Who is Also Victoria Holt

The Man Who Listens to Horses: The Story of a Real-Life Horse Whisperer by Monty Roberts

To Sleep with the Angels: The Story of a Fire by David Cowan

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Member: hemlokgang

CollectionsYour library (2,375)

Reviews621 reviews

TagsUSA (1,072), Audiobook (462), TBR (451), Mystery/Suspense (345), Non-Fiction (326), England (316), 1001 (273), Film (204), Book Club (197), Children (135) — see all tags

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About me

" Reading is rapture (or if it isn't, I put the book down meaning to go on with it later, and escape out the side door)."

William Maxwell

About my libraryMy Star Rating System:
5: Outstanding plot, characters and use of language, will never forget, will urge others to read
4: Excellent in at least two areas mentioned in five star explanation, recommend to others
3: Pretty darn good, wouldn't necessarily recommend to anyone
2: After giving it the old college try, couldn't force myself to finish it, would discourage others from reading it
1: So bad that just flipping through it turned me off and I decided not to read it, beg others not to read it

"Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity... we cherish books even if unread, their mere presence exudes comfort, their ready access, reassurance."
--- A.E. Newton

"I asked how is Knowledge found. You must learn to read, little sister....".

"Books don't offer real escape, but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw." - [Cloud Atlas] by [[David Mitchell]]

Groups(BOMBS) Books Off My Book Shelves 2012 Challenge, 100 Books in 2009 Challenge, 100 Books in 2010 Challenge, 100 Books in 2011, 100 Books in 2012 Challenge, 1001 Books to read before you die, 101010 Challenge, Author Theme Reads, Books off the Shelf Challenge, Early Reviewersshow all groups

Favorite authorsLouisa May Alcott, Isabel Allende, Andrea Barrett, Brontes, Albert Camus, Willa Cather, Michael Chabon, Patricia Cornwell, Alexandre Dumas, Umberto Eco, George Eliot, Nathan Englander, William Faulkner, Thomas Hardy, Ursula Hegi, Kazuo Ishiguro, Henry James, Jonathan Kellerman, Laurie R. King, Jhumpa Lahiri, D. H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann, Haruki Murakami, Vladimir Nabokov, Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, Leo Tolstoy, Edith Wharton (Shared favorites)


Also onBookMooch

Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

LocationCanandaigua, New York

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/hemlokgang (profile)
/catalog/hemlokgang (library)

Member sinceJan 17, 2007

Currently readingThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo [AUDIOBOOK] by Stieg Larsson
Tree of Smoke: A Novel by Denis Johnson

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Ok...I finished it...(pondering)...I think the key to it may be in The Picture of Dorian Gray, which I've read several times, but probably not within the past 35 years. I remember the main storyline very well, though, and the conclusion. I also read The Master and Margarita so long ago that I remember nothing. Are you up on either or both of those?

I'd like to formulate my thoughts into something like a review, probably before I solve the puzzle. If I really want to solve it, it'll take another reading, don't you think?
Hi. I read your solitary review of The Canvas, and it intrigued me. Wanted you to know that it's on my TBR-sooner-rather-than-later pile.
Happy Thingaversary!
...but luckily reviews seem to be infinitely editable.

Not too long ago I wrote a paper on Camus's use of fiction as a vehicle for philosophy, so I have some existentialist fiction fairly fresh in my mind. (Of course it included The Stranger.) I've ordered Stoner now, thanks to your recommendation.
I was trying to start my own thread in the 2013 75 book challenge. I did manage to find the post (and someone had to remind me how to highlight book titles, as I'd forgotten), but it is pretty puny looking :) xx
thanks, Ferris. sounds like a visual read and huzzah, i found a copy a large print copy at alibris and have just girded me loins and ordered it! i'm no longer a note taker but being able to read only a few paras or at most a couple pages at a time, i tend to read like a ruminant animal eats.

great profile pic. great bday cake. and you've read 'flight of the maidens.' amazing. :)

query: i'm limited to audiobooks and LP books that i read very slowly (2 months to reread 'Flight of the maidens,' to which i'd already listened). any idea how Pamuk's 'Snow' might do in audio? i realize if you're not an audio listener you may not have a clue. a lot can get lost, hence my visual reread of 'Flight.'


Never mind; I finally found it...........thanx anyhoo.
Have a great day.
I love your profile photo....LOL!!!

Stopping by to say hello and to look around and to tell you about two giveaways on my blog.

I have two separate giveaways going on…one is for NIGHT TRAIN and one is my Blog Hop giveaway of HOW TO READ THE AIR.


ps- i have cousins in Rochester.
thanks Ferris.

i have as yet to listen to a book. for years i was commuting by car for over 2 hours per day and stuck with the radio instead.

i also have resisted e-books...i may end up like the dinosaurs but i love hoding a book and as you say savoring the words and prose as i read them.

i hope you enjoy H's Gift. If you get curious about Delmore Schwartz, the poet, on whom the character is based , there is an interesting biography written by James Atlas (who also wrote the definitive bio on Bellow).

ciao, bert
thanks for your encouragement with Pamuk. I am enjoying SNOW - it reminds me in a strange way of Dickens- i think it is the use of chapters - each one seems to be an installment all its own.

i also have My Name Is Red. which of Pamuk's are your favorites?

i see you recently added HERZOG. Saul Bellow is one of my all time favorites - I especially loved Humboldt's Gift and his later work Ravelstein was very good.
I just placed a huge order with amazon/uk -- can't wait till everything gets here!
I haven't read "The Tiger's Wife." I am about to place an Amazon order -- should I include it?
Hi Ferd!

I haven't checked in here lately. I thought highly of "Room." Very interesting idea and, it seemed to me, very well done given that so much of the story took place in one small location.

Have you read "The Rehearsal"? If so, what did you think of it?

xx Doo
Stop by my blog for a giveaway of LINEN QUEEN courtesy of Sarah from Hachette Books.
Hi Hemlok!
Piggelin and I are going to be doing a team read of Snow by Orhan Pamuk starting the end of next week. If you're interested, drop me a line or stop by my 11 11 thread.

See ya later,
That's "quote" not "quite"! LOL
Just popping in to say Hi! Love the quite by Newton. And the one from Cloud Atlas...I am halfway through that one as I write! Are you enjoying Girl? I have the third one in the queue.
I thought you may be interested in a new thread of mine. Check it out.

happy new year BTW

I'm relieved to see your review of Jeannette Walls. I bought Glass Castles when I worked at Borders, and then returned it two days later because I realized I had no interest in it. Glad to see my instinct may have been right. It's been an "I should read this" book for awhile, not an "I want to read this."
Have you read Jane Gardam before? I have a friend who just loves her writing. She says it meanders in an interesting way, a way most Americans don't like. She loaned me a book, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
Hmmmm... One of my cousins did some genealogy. I'll dig it up. My grandfather was Wallace Ferris. He was born in California in the late 1800s & was the son of a Lutheran minister who in the family is always referred to as "Father Ferris" so I can't come up with a name off the top of my head. Father Ferris had two wives, the first I believe was named Ida. The second Lilly. Yes, he was having an affair while the first wife was ill.

Isn't that nuts, that we always called him "Father." That must mean that my grandmother always called him "Father Ferris." I got the impression that my mother and uncle never knew him well, if at all. How they found out about the affair though... I wish I could ask.

Cute Corgie! I'm about to leave you a comment on the What are you reading thread. We're relatives.
Yes indeed. They are very humorous as well as being sharply observant and good company. Not your average dog!
Hey you!
It has been way too long... my fault entirely though. I hang out almost exclusively
in the 75 group.. n time alas. I still LOVE that pic of you :)
hope all is well..
Hi Ferd,

I liked Lace Reader, but didn't love it. It certainly has things to say about group extremism, and it gives the reader a good sense of place. I actually have a kind of funny standard: If I were in a foreign airport looking for a book to read on the plane, would I be pleased to find this in English? Yes, absolutely, for The Lace Reader -- I would feel very lucky indeed. Was it a good choice for Book Club? Not so much.

Thanks, Sweetpea. I am having a blast just remembering so many good books. I love this place! xx Doo
Thanks - I'll keep the audio of NY Trilogy in mind - just in case. Your dog is adorable, by the way!
Hi Hemlokgang i have just started The Girl with The Dragon Tatoo and iam thoroughly enjoying it I plan to read the other two
Good evening! To finally answer your question about Gentlemen of the Road: so far, it's my least favorite Chabon work--it was just okay, in my opinion, and I was surprised to feel that way. I'm a fan, too, but I suppose it might be impossible to love them all. It was very different, and I must admire Chabon for writing so diversely.

Happy reading!
I love your photo! Too cute. And I admire your recent book activity. Actually, I came over because you mentioned The Island of Lost Maps. That IS a gem of a book:)
I like your name...pretty clever.
Hi there hemlock!

Have you been absent or have I just not seen your posts?

anywa .. nice to see you in a thread :)
are you well and happy?

Thank you for participating in my new thread. That one was getting too long so here is the second one. Hope to see you there often.
Inviting some people to the thread I just started. Thought it might be of interest to you.
Your profile page is very nice and an impressive one
Thanks for accepting me as your friend..Keep messaging me
Noticed that you liked The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, and I was wondering if you'd be interested in reviewing my new novel and posting your comments here (as well as on a few other book-related sites). I thought you might like my novel since it's been compared to that novel by a number of reviewers. I could e-mail you the novel in an e-book format if you'd like. Let me know if you're interested. Here's a link to a summary in case you're interested:


Hi Ferris- I received "Jim the Boy" today. Thank you very much. I noticed you paid 4.50 for shipping. It should have been 2.60 max, if you sent it media mail. I'm a letter-carrier, so I notice that stuff, just thought I would point it out. Did you also read the next Earley book? Thanks again and see you around LT!
Hi, Ferris! Thanks for the response on "Jim the Boy". Would you be interested in a copy of "Everyman" by Roth? I noticed it was on your wishlist and I have a copy buried deep in my tbr vault. It's a trade paperback, ex-library, in pretty good shape. Let me know and I'll reserve it for you!
Hi, there! I just mooched "Jim the Boy" ,from you. Of course, I just heard about it on the "what are you reading now" thread. What's new right? And it comes highly praised. I'm looking forward to it and thanks so much!
The Highly-Rated Book Group has begun a Group Read of The Blind Assassin. Sign up here:

and don’t forget to join in my Book Quiz.

- TT

Go Corgis!!! Do they nip your feet and try to hurd you?

If the group decides on The Forsyte Saga, I have prepared some introductory notes that may assist in reading of the book. If someone else has already done it, I could forward it to them or vice versa.

Whatever is your pleasure.

ps: we share Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor, which is a book i read in highschool about 1957. jeesh...i thought i was the only person who ever read that book. (not the sort of book one can mention at parties....:-)
Love your photos!! Have fun with Poor Folk. Went for a good walk with my puppy this morning by the Brisbane river. The rowers were out there strutting their stuff. Jessie is exhausted having sniffed everything and raising her hackles on several occasions at puppies doing wonderful impressions of fierce vicious dogs behind tall paling fences. Off to work - hi ho hi ho. Wish I could stay home and librarything all day. Love this site so much. So many noice people - as Kath and Kim would say....different...unusual...
I am very happy to hear it is wonderful and I understand you wish to keep a wonderful book. If the publisher does not come through, I will probably end up buying it.

Ferris -- as a matter of fact, we made a nostalgia trip to the Finger Lakes this summer -- visited the college and made a round of the wineries. I love the area in the spring, summer and fall -- but I don't miss the winters at all! I grew up in Chautauqua county, and my mother still lives there, so we spend a fair amount of time in the summers there, but it was really lovely to go back to Geneva and environs -- the town has certainly perked up since we were in college back in the late 60s. -- Jane
Aha---thanks for enlightening me about you 1283 ticker - now it makes sense! Enjoy your reading.
Hello! I notice you have a ticker for the "1243 book list" May I be nosey and ask what that is. I love your dog-a Corgi yes?
Thanks for your comment - I was feeling elderly and curmudgeonly! It's titled a silly game, but it's particularly silly to take it so seriously IMHO. I'll probably slip back quietly (although I see schmerguls has just done it again) ;-)
Hi there,

Gotta love your pic!

Just popping in to say I, too, really enjoyed "Dreams of my Russian Summers"! Thanks for the encouragement on that one! I may have stopped reading - and been deprived of a few hours of wonderful dreams - if it wasn't for you. So many appealing TBRs calling :)

Happy reading!
Re: The House on Bear Town Road--we read this for our book club and it was pretty good, plus the author is local and came to speak to us, which added to the experience. The subject matter is somewhat grim, but as it was nonfiction, at least the emotions felt completely real, unlike the weepy chick lit fiction my book club chooses and about which I complain incessently!


I would have felt foolish too.. and that is why it ticked me off. No reason to do that.
take care

If you didn't know that history, I thought you'd want to read it more! I felt the same way -- I bought the book the same week it was making headlines in Colo. Apparently the book is a fairly common requirement in HS lit classes, particularly in the southwest. As an adult, I wished all the fuss was about a better book, but I think it's a good book for high school classes, with some very important issues for discussion. If you do end up reading it, I'd be curious to know what you think.

Hello Hemlokgang,
Just a brief "BTW" about Bless Me, Ultima, the book you "chose" from my library: our book club chose it in 2005 because earlier that year, there was a huge flap about it here in Colorado. A teacher in a small Colo. town had assigned it, and some parents became outraged, and demanded that it be banned from the school library. The principal not only gave the parents all the copies of the book to burn, but also made the teacher apologize for assigning "filth" (the main objections to the book were the use of some profane language, and the use of herbs and magic in healing). Weeks later, and after a huge uproar, the principal admitted he had never read the book, and that the books were not actually his property to destroy. Perhaps you know this already... I always mention this when that particular book comes up in conversation.
Take care!
Yoo hoo hemlok! Did you tell me that you wanted to do the group read of The Mists of Avalon? I've started threads for the group, and the four books in the Mists. The main, spoiler-free thread is

Hope to see you there in November! Earlier, too, of course, should you want to go boldly forth.

Hey hemlok, I think your question about the real cellist in The Cellist of Sarajevo brings up an interesting point about what is and what isn't fair game for authorial use. It seems to me, as a writer, a former agent, and a former publishing industry minion, that the reela cellist needs to understand crative license. No one can UNknow something once they have learned it; the author used a piece of publicly available knowledge and built a fiction around it. That's perfectly within the realm of reasonable behavior.

If the story had been published as a non-fictional account then the cellist would have reason to complain and even to sue! Fiction? Bah. Bosh. Get over it.


what book are you reading in your picture?
You asked me about Away by Jane Urquhart. I really have mixed feeling about the characters-here is what I wrote for the Canadian Bookworms.
I finished Away- I thought that the writing was excellent but I didn't find any of the characters particularly endearing. ( can't find the right word). I thought that there were bad choices made by the characters and no sense of consequences. There were parts of the story I wish were fleshed out more.( Eileen's life after she returned to the farm-did she really have more understanding of her role in the events? Any remorse? ah -the word I would use for looking at Mary's actions.
I really liked The Underpainter and The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart. Those two are my favourites.
Yet I would buy any of Urquhart's books in a minute as she writes very well. I also saw a play that was based on one of her early books. ( The whirlpool)
Thanks for asking.
Hi, I have seen you many times on 1001 list.

I have a Corgi, too.

His name is Banjo.

Here is a link to his picture:

Enjoy and keep reading :).

-- M1001.
You ask me to let you know how I liked [The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society] I did do a review but I wanted you to know that, it will be a book that will be very easy to read againe, even though I know the ending. The island characters were so interesting and the Society was a life saver for them.Why couldn't it happen in real life?
I've noticed LT does that a fair number of times. When I add newer additions in Add Books, it's usually right. However, older editions often have the names backwards. My suspicion is that it's bad data in Amazon.
I stopped by to check out your library after the back-and-forth of book titles this morning on the "Silly Game" thread. I saw your review of Pillars of the Earth; I guess I'm pretty much in agreement with that. I wonder, have you read World Without End? Though I really enjoyed the former, I'm having trouble generating interest in the sequel. I can't figure out whether the first was just so long that I'm done, or if I'm worried about it being a disappointment. So, I'm poking around for comments on it from folks who had reactions similar to mine on Pillars.

I see you're in Hemlock. We have a cabin in Ontario and probably pass within 10 miles of you each year as we shoot up Rt. 390.
hi again

I just finished James Patterson's 4th of July. I was not so thrilled with it compared to his other books, it was just ok for me. I am now reading "the stillborn God" it is a bit political and kind of a hard read. I am also reading tons of other stuff as I am finishing up my thesis this summer.
As my aged mind will attest, it is prone to make the occasional boo-boo. Witness my email to you - my review of Fowles' French ...Women was written for a Canadian paper, not a uk publication. Hadn't even been penned when I left to discover new worlds.
Forgive this old fogey!
Hi there

I am glad that you liked pillars of the earth. I am shocked to hear that on tape it took 45 hours of listening to it. Wow, I now wonder how many hours it took me to read it. What is your next book that you are going to read?
hi there,

I am absolutely blown away by your book list, and how many authors and/or titles we have in common. I'm sure you have heard that before.
Being a 'new' contributor to LT, perhaps you wouldn't mind enlightening me on a couple of things. The obvious would be how do you alphabetize your list? Unlike the elephant, I find it increasingly difficult to remember what I have read over lo',these many years, I'm sure there must be thousands of titles stored in my increasingly gnarly brain. One heck of a lot of the books were borrowed and returned to libraries, a habit I still continue to this day and although I own and buy many books, it only amounts to less than a hundred, after many house moves, and garage sales.
Do you truly have every book on your list within reach, or can you relieve my guilt by admitting you do likewise? If you do own all of those gorgeous titles, how I envy you.
Again, it was remarkable to me how many memories you conjured up for me, with your list, and like others, I'm sure, we connect in so many ways, whether it be the wonderful works of Chaim Potok, or the aged now, and perhaps no longer with us, books by Allen Drury. When I came to Canada in the mid 60's,from the UK, Advise and Consent was the book I chose to read on the long plane ride (Boeing 707).
It fascinates me that you care to read of Ben Bradlee and Kathryn Graham. As an ex-newspaperman, I would add to my list Beaverbrook, Conrad Black, James Reston and Sulzberger, all who have published memoirs.
Then there are the Roths, Irvings and Micheners. How I loved Owen Meany, Hawaii, Centennial and the Human Stain. Again, to reminisce, John Fowles' French Lieutenants Woman was the first book I reviewed for a London paper, when it was first published.
Mustn't go on...but there is also De Lillo, Richard Ford, Caleb Carr and Iain Pears. I love biographical history and love to read fictional accounts of Dickens and Shakespeare/Marlowe. There are so many other books and authors I would love to discuss with you.
Another question: How many languages are you fluent in? I notice works by French writers in their own language.
And I promise to be a little less cranky!
Hi Hemlokgang

( Ah, I see, Hemlock NY, for a moment I feared Hip Hop had "konkered" the Appalachians too :D )

Thanks for the LOL and I just had to repay by noting that I was amused and frightened by how perfectly your picture sums up my wife's soon to be realized vision of retirement - dog, couch, book, empty snack bowl, jeans, repose - she would probably add only some half finished piece of knitting.

Frightened because our cat and I dread the advent of "the dog" - needless to say, for reasons as mundane as "changes of affection","yips","yaps","yelps", and "unjust reassignments of bedspace and blankets" - and will filibuster and stall, until we have exhausted our supply of parliamentary roadblocks. Your serenity, alas, appears so complete and so logically intertwined with said dog, as to spell out our inevitable fate too. Indeed, sniff, dab, alas.

I've been readng an excessive amount of Dickens lately. Does it show? I hope? I hope not?

Hi there

What do you think of Pillars of the Eath. That book is my #1 favorite!
we have almost 400 books in common! i sent you a friend request because you aren't showing up in my interesting libraries for some reason! happy reading!

I confess I put Fathers and Sons on BookMooch without having read it (I do have another copy on my shelves). So what did you think of it? How does it compare to the other great Russians?
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