Search ymkahn's books

Random books from ymkahn's library

Plato: Gorgias by Plato

Fragrant Harbor by John Lanchester

Oggi In Italia: A First Course in Italian by Franca Merlonghi

Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch Jr.

Liza's England by Pat Barker

Black Swan Green: A Novel by David Mitchell

Simon's Night by Jon Hassler

Members with ymkahn's books

RSS feeds

Recently-added books

ymkahn's reviews

Reviews of ymkahn's books, not including ymkahn's

Site design selection

Use the new design

Use the old design

The old design is no longer fully supported nor does it get full attention when we roll out new features. We strongly recommend using the new design.


Leave a comment


Hey Millie! and thanks for kind words on the blog. Think I'm going to stick to recommending since it's what I enjoy best. Plus I've come to realize I'm better at reading/recommending than writing.

Did pick up the second mystery in that series but haven't read it yet. Wasn't very impressed with THE EDGE OF NORMAL but bet it will become a hit. Just finished LONGBOURN by Jo Baker and liked it. That one will resonate with all the Jane Austen/Downton Abbey fans. Also liked the new Daniel Woodrell book, THE MAID'S VERSION. Right now I'm reading KNOCKING ON HEAVEN'S DOOR by Katy Butler which already strikes me as an important read. So far informative and interesting versus depressing.

Agree with you per Kate Atkinson. Apparently she's got another Jackson Brodie novel brewing. When does the woman sleep?!

Can't decide if I'm going to read THE BLEEDING EDGE. Pynchon makes my head hurt....
Oh, Millie I had conned myself into believing that it had been a couple of months since I heard from you. Gulp. Over four. Mea culpa. It's been a busy spring/summer for us but life is settling down a bit. I had to laugh and smile at your last message due to our similarities. Especially with the Tobar book which I,too, found annoying. Started off so well and then it fizzled. That seems to be happening a lot lately. Cases in point: Visitation Street and Summertime, All the Cats Are Bored. The latter I felt was a stronger book but needed about 50 pages cut.

What did you think of the book after "Boy in the Suitcase?" I thought the first one was dark but well-done so I'm anxious to hear about the second one. I did not care for Messud's new one. Couldn't get past my distaste for the main character. Which led me to wonder why some disturbing/nasty characters are easier to take than others. Per mysteries I must push "The Silent Wife" by A.S.A. Harrison on you. As I mentioned in the blog post, I think it runs circles around "Gone Girl."

So far my three favorite books of the year are "Life After Life," "The Son," and "TransAtlantic." The latter simply blew me away. Enjoyed the writing in Howard Norman's "I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place" but felt some of the essays bordered on self-indulgence. Ditto in steroids per James Lasdun's memoir on stalking, "Give Me Everything You Have" which was a huge disappointment since I love his fiction.

What are you reading these days? Also, what are you most excited about in the fall line-up? My top two in that regard (so far) are "Lowland" and "Someone." Have been anxiously awaiting a new one from Alice McDermott.

Hope all is well with you and yours. And that you've been able to take some excellent and relaxing trips this summer. Best, Ellison
Hello, hello Millie! and I hope the vacation was relaxing and filled with lots of reading. I know - Too Many Books, Too Little Time should probably be emblazoned on our foreheads. I loved "Trespass" and keep meaning to read more of Tremain so that's on my list. Yes, loved "Art of Fielding" and get so exasperated with female friends who say, "But I don't like baseball so I won't like it, right?" Thought "Twelve Tribes" was an impressive debut but I wasn't as blown away as some people have been. I loved Louise Penny for the most part. She's had two duds in my mind, the latest book being one of them. I didn't care for "Model Home" and never finished it. Sent it to my daughter who loved it.

Surprised myself by enjoying "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes. What I would call higher end chick lit so you have to be in the frame or mind or mood. From there I went to a NYRB selection that The Atlantic raved about, "Testing the Current." Meh. Right now I"m enjoying and admiring "Far From the Tree," the latest by Andrew Solomon. Riveting and interesting. Looking forward to a ton of books that are either out or coming out including the new ones by Lawrence Wright, Jim Harrison, Sebastian Faulks, and Clare Messud. Kate Atkinson and Meg Wolitzer. I did snag an autographed first of the new George Saunders book at Powell's which pleases me. Now I hope the book itself does. In the past I haven't been a fan but the reviews I've read make me think this one may change my mind.

Until I hear from you again. Happy New Year! May it be a great one for you in each and every way. Best, Ellison
Great, as always, to hear from you Millie. I am going to amaze both of us by replying quickly. I'm actually glad to hear you were so-so about the latest Walter book since I was beginning to feel I had missed something. Per the Burton diaries, never again. The NYTimes review mentioned Burton's obsession with reading which I stupidly took to me his diaries would be chock full of book references. Note to self.

Yes, I loved "Sharkskin" and keep meaning to read her second memoir. On the pile(s) along with too many others. Not sure if I will buy the Wouk book or stand in line at the library but I am so fascinated by his longevity and obvious love of life. Right now I'm finally getting around to "The Yellow Birds." With the NBAs taking place tomorrow I am horrified that I haven't read any of the fiction nominees. Not sure what will be next but I may pick up a mystery. Are you enjoying Michael Rothbotham? and would you recommend? I, too, am a huge lover of the Brits. I continue to pray that William Trevor lives on in the Herman Wouk tradition.

Tuesday night I had to watch the returns by myself since my husband was out of town and a friend got a better offer. (Think lots of booze and food.) One of the many perks of living on the Left Coast is I'm surrounded by like-minded people (when I left South Carolina I told people I dropped the number of voting Democrats to single digits) and we're three hours behind many of the key states. By 7 PM I was hopeful and within 90 minutes I was elated. Now I can stop grinding my teeth at night!

Oh - one other book I enjoyed: One for the Books by Joe Queenan. He can be a smartass at times and obnoxious but he's one of us. Stay well, Ellison

Oh, Millie, I am so sorry it's taken me this long to get back to you. Busy month culminating with my youngest brother's wedding down in Savannah last weekend. It was lovely to see family and friends, especially our daughter, Carol, and her husband, Nick. They are expecting our first grandchild! in late November. So we are on our ears about welcoming Kennedy Hannah to the fold. Karl and I will return for about 12 days after Thanksgiving and hope we make it in time for the birth.

This year has been a tough one for me book-wise. Like you, I adore "Gemma Hardy" and always find Livesey to be a treasure. I am so glad she doesn't take five-eight years between books. Have had several books that disappointed me including "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" which was great until the last fourth; and one I just finished this morning, Jane Gardam's "God on the Rocks." Also a couple of others including "Gone Girl" which everyone else seems to love. I did enjoy Will Schwalbe's "The End of Your Life Book Club" and didn't get as upset over it as I had feared I would. (My mother and I spent the last year of her life in a similar pursuit.)

Today, in honor of the upcoming Man Booker award, I've started "The Lighthouse" by Alison Moore. What did you think of "Beautiful Ruins?" I started it and couldn't get into it but so many friends have loved it. Cannot say the same for the latest Rowling selection which only one friend finished and she never gives up on anything. After completing it she learned that her book club had decided to drop it as a selection. I am intrigued by the new Wouk book, having loved both "Winds" and adored "Marjorie Morningstar" as a teenager. And I will sniff around the Wolfe book as well.

I do hope you're well and either on vacation or about to go so you can read to your heart's content! Best, Ellison
Hegi, New Grub Street, Gardam, Deadwood. I'm jotting those down to help me remember what to say to you! Had to laugh on a number of issues, the first being your thoughts on Hegi's books. Like you, I loved "Stones" and have been disappointed with everything since then. So has my daughter, Carol. I put "New Grub Street" on hold at library and should be able to pick it up this week. I loved "Crusoe's Daughter" by Jane Gardam and will definitely read more of her. Will be interested to hear what you think of "Pure." I've become a real sucker for Europa Editions. Haven't watched "Deadwood" yet but we love "Boardwalk Empire" so I may try it. Have you read Goolrick's new novel? I am hesitant given the reviews. Right now I'm about halfway through "The Absolutist" and enjoying it. Not sure what to start next so hopeful that "New Grub Street" will come in by the time I finish it.

Are you going to any of the Politics & Prose events these days?
Too funny about the Irving book and "The Family Fang.: My sentiments exactly. At this stage in my life if a book doesn't grab me within the first couple of chapters I ditch it. There are just too many good books out there! When I wrote for the Portland Tribune I interviewed Cheryl after her first book, "Torch" came out. It is a very good debut. A novel based on the death of her mother, which she covers in "Wild." Worth a look as well.

Just finished "Pure" by Andrew Miller which I found very impressive. I'll definitely search out his earlier work. And I'm about a third of the way through the new Eggers book. I'm looking forward to so many great fall books including several debuts. "The Orchardist" and "The Light Between Oceans" among them. I do think Jo Nesbo has it over Larsson so I hope he continues to get new readers.

So good to hear from you!
Milie! So good to hear from you especially as I've been thinking of you lately and hoping you are well. Very odd - I, too, am recovering from a horrible cold that seems to have taken up permanent residence in my upper chest and head. No ear problems, though, and I do hope you get rid of everything before France. Maybe you can dry out over there all the while having a marvelous time. And eating and drinking well!

Yes, I finally - finally! - got a book blog going albeit I am still learning so much about Wordpress. My "handle" on Twitter is @egwreads mainly because some other wench nabbed TheBookBully. (Although I'm not sure why. She seems to tweet mostly from bars!) Would love to see you pop up on either.

Also had to laugh about "Stoner" which my aunt pressed me to purchase. So it's on the pile and I will will look up Ms. Comyns. Just this morning a friend asked me about the Egan book. I've never been a fan of hers and was stunned when "Goon Squad" won. Did enjoy "Faith" and thought it was a bit of a departure from the first three. Just started "The Sisters Brothers" by Patrick DeWitt, a local writer, and I'm looking forward to the new one by Janet Malcolm, about the doctor in New York who hired a hit man to kill her husband. (Non-fiction, unfortunately.)

What do you hear on the latest from Geraldine Brooks? I've read good and bad but love her fiction so I'll probably jump on it. And I'm anxious to see the new Patchett book especially since she's coming to Portland next month.

Hope you have a wonderful trip and time to read while you're in Provence. Get well soon! and take care. Best, E.
Hey Millie! and now I'm the one apologizing for taking so long to get back to you. Lots going on around here plus my back has been acting up again so it's tough spending too long at the computer. I keep swearing I'm going to spring for a laptop or iPad and hope to get one or the other soon. That way I can cozy up somewhere instead of being tied to the desktop.

LOL about "Caribou Island" which I haven't started yet. Jennifer Egan is someone I cannot get into. Have tried a couple of her books with no success. I did read one of Michael Dorris's books, the one about his adopted son. Like you, I've been curious as to his marriage to Louise Erdich and wonder if it was doomed from the start or what happened along the way. She is someone I can take in small doses; in fact, I seem to prefer her essays/articles over her fiction.

And I keep meaning to read Jane Gardam especially given that my mother enjoyed her so much. Have three of her books in the ever burgeoning "To Read" pile so here's hoping before 2020! In the meantime, I really enjoyed "Townie" and was able to meet Andre Dubus III at a Powell's reading. Wasn't as keen on Gabrielle Hamilton's book as I had hoped I would be. Loved "Emily, Alone" by Stewart O'Nan and "The Tiger's Wife." Right now I'm about to finish another debut, "Touch," by Alexi Zentner. Very good writing.

And I finally got to the latest by Kate Atkinson which I did enjoy but I keep hoping one of her books will impress me like "Case Histories" did. Oh, and "Volt" by Alan Heathcock is phenomenal. Met him at another Powell's reading and was amused because while his writing is very dark, he's light-hearted almost to the point of being silly. A very nice man.

I'm looking forward to reading the new ones by Geraldine Brooks and Ann Patchett. So many good books out!

I hope your job is still a go. Right now I'm so irritated with the Republicans that I can hardly talk about it. Do hope you're well and that I hear from you soon! Best, E.
Hey Millie! Too funny about "Northern Clemency" because I keep sniffing around that book, unable to decide if I want to buy it or not. I did enjoy "Line of Beauty" so perhaps I will capitulate. And I thought "Major Pettigrew.." was decent. Towards the end I thought she ran off the rails a bit (silly in places) but I enjoyed the two main characters. The two books I've enjoyed the most in the past couple of weeks were "The Last Brother" and "Binocular Vision" by Edith Pearlman. The latter, a collection of short stories, was marvelous. After several of them I needed time to sit back and muse for a bit. Just finished "The Mistress of Nothing" which was good and an easy read. Karen Russell is coming to Powell's tomorrow so I'm going to start her latest. Plus I picked up the YA book, "Forge" because I loved "Chains." Damn those pesky Republicans and their tax cuts. Of course, they still haven't come out with anything concrete, just a lot of jabs at the President as usual. I do hope your organization will be spared. Are you looking forward to Gabrielle Hamilton's memoir as well as "Life on the Line" by Grant Achatz?
Just a quick note back, Millie. I don't even equate what you went through with your husband to Karl's appendix but I am so glad to hear he's doing great! Thanks for letting me know. And, yes, I've read the two Atkinson books that followed "Case Histories" and thought they were okay but not up to CH; that said, the early reviews on this new one have been good. I envy you getting a Brit copy. I have Brit firsts of the first three but have a feeling I missed the boat on this one. Also, I tried one of Joanne Harris's books and abandoned it. Which reminds me - "The Finkler Question." Did you read it? I could NOT get into it and the same has held through for two other friends. Plus now my best friend is attempting it over in Sweden and she's having a tough time as well. As we agreed, "challenging" is good but not unless it's combined with a great plot.

Karl is doing so well he insisted on preparing a simple dinner tonight. Then told me not to "hover" over him. Ahhhh, the lovely sounds of a gently annoyed husband! Oh - and I did push Louise Penny on you or have you read her mysteries? Best, E.
Hello Millie! I had another one of those instances where I replied to you last night only to have an "error" message come up. Arrgggh! so frustrating. Anyway, it's been a bit of a wild ride lately. My husband, Karl, had an emergency appendectomy on Saturday complicated by an accompanying abscess. Since he's always been as healthy as a horse (he hadn't been in the hospital since 1963) we were both caught off guard. Fortunately, all went well and he is recuperating nicely.

In the meantime, you MUST read "The Invisible" Bridge by Julie Orringer. Story of a family of Hungarian Jews before and during WWII. Riveting and very moving in spots. I also read the latest by Colm Toibin, "The Empty Family" and continue to think I prefer his novels. Either way, he is a gifted writer. Thank you so much for the recommendations - I just put "Lady of the Snakes" on hold at the library. (Couldn't put "Her First American" on because I'm at my limit - oops!)

I'm looking forward to a couple of debuts and to the new one by Kate Atkinson, "Started Early, Took My Dog" which comes out in March. I loved "Case Histories" and keep hoping another one will be just as good. As always, so good to hear from you! Best, E.
Hey Millie! and it's good to hear from you. I'm a typical black Irish in that when I don't hear from you I fear all kinds of mayhem so thanks for checking in. "Old Filth" is on my list as well (your mother would have tsked! tsked! at the both of us) as is Gardam's latest which I also have. And, Lily King's last two are still here but unread. Oh, dear. As I keep telling Karl, "At least I'm not like a lot of other women who have shoe addictions..." He tells me he thinks we'd get off cheaper.

So. I'm currently reading and enjoying "Vestments" a debut by John Reimringer. It's a library book but I may break down and purchase a copy. Before that I read a book of short stories, "Double Happiness" by Mary-Beth Hughes. Very complex and at times I felt that I needed to re-read a certain story. Also, "Extraordinary Renditions," by Andrew Ervin. Three linked novellas set in modern-day Budapest. The author wanders at times but ultimately I found it worth the read.

Loved "Objects of Beauty" by Steve Martin and while I enjoyed "Room" I have to say I was surprised it made the NYTBR's Top 10 list. Just received an advance copy of the new mystery by Charles Todd. Do you ever read any of their stuff? (The author(s) is a mother and son team.)

On Friday I picked up a copy of a debut called "The Four Stages of Cruelty" at B&N. Where the clerk asked if I needed a gift receipt and I replied, "No, this is for greedy little me!" I do hope your holidays are warm and wonderful. Best, E
Hey, Millie....yes, I was so shocked to see Norris Church Mailer's obit in the NYTimes yesterday. Like you, I knew she was battling a tough cancer but for some reason I thought/hoped she would be with us longer. It did rattle me a bit. I'm thankful she completed what I think was a great and honest memoir, unlike some of these "love me, I've been abused" numbers you see so many of.

Per the NBA Awards - I am stunned. Did purchase a true first of "Lord of Misrule" but couldn't get past page 30. And while Karl read and liked Patti Smith's book he was very surprised it won. I still haven't read the Shriver book. Per "Lord" I kept thinking, this got picked over "Freedom?!"

I'm usually a big Booker fan as well but this year's pic left me cold as well. Right now I'm about a third of the way through "The Emperor of All Maladies" which is fascinating if a bit slow-going in spots. Not sure what I will pick up next but probably something light. Happy Thanksgiving! Best, E.
Hey Millie! I'm still in a bit of shock about the NBA awards, particularly the one for Patti Smith. My husband read the book and I thumbed through it. Neither of us thought is was phenomenal. That said, I appreciate her comments last night about the future of the book. I've heard so many different thoughts on J. Gordon's book but did rush to the computer last night and buy a copy.

Speaking of different views, my reading friends are all over the board on "Cutting for Stone" but I think based on your view I may try it. The only Conroy books I've read are this most recent one and "Prince" so I'm not sure what to tell you per the others. Maybe "Beach Music?" If you're in the mood for a "Southern" book I'd reach back to "Annunciation" by Ellen Gilchrist, one of my favorites. People either seem to love her or detest her. I don't think much of her recent stuff but enjoyed some of her earlier works.

LOL, as the kids say, per your struggles with "Middlemarch." I'm with you! I've tried several times and just cannot get into it no matter how many times I chastise myself. I even tried reading it with a friend and finally had to bow out.

For a debut, I thought "Major Pettigrew" was good. In my opinion, Helen S. ran off the rails a bit at the end where it got a bit frenetic. But I loved her characters and think it's worth a read. I have just started "The Emperor of All Maladies" which I thought would be a bit of a bore. Not so. Fascinating!

I still have yet to try any Woodrell so would appreciate you telling me which one to try first. Another LT friend of mine loves his stuff. Best, E.
Hey Millie! and thanks for giving me a second try after losing the first message. I absolutely go nuts when that happens! Just returned from the bookstore with a couple of goodies and, thank goodness, some Christmas presents for others. I'm really looking forward to reading "The Report" by Jessica Francis Kane. I imagine it's on your list as well.

You are pretty spot on with your idea of how Nova Scotia looks at certain times of the year. But it can also be breath-takingly beautiful especially in the autumn months. I haven't been back in almost 40 years but it's on my bucket list. We lived at the southern most tip of Cape Breton Island in a town called Port Hawkesbury for just under a year in 1970. My father was one of two Americans loaned to the Canadians as they began their venture into heavy water. Dad was a chemical engineer for Dupont for 35 years.

VERY different from living in South Carolina. My parents made the most of it and we travled all over the Atlantic Provinces and especially around Nova Scotia. Halifax was interesting and filled with history. Cape Breton Island has that rugged beauty that takes your breath away. If you get a chance, go in mid-late September. From Halifax, take the ocean shore road up to Antigonish and over the causeway to Cape Breton Island. You won't regret it!

I, too, read "Prince of Tides" and found it disturbing but worthwhile. That said, for the most part I find his writing to be a bit too floral for me. I enjoyed "My Reading Life" but groaned several times out loud over some especially purple prose. Still, I'm a sucker for any book on books! Also thought "Cleopatra" was interesting and while depressing, the new Chang book ("All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost") is worth a read.

Right now I'm reading the new Louise Penny mystery. Have you read any of her stuff? She has a real way with creating atomosphere. Her books are set in Quebec, mostly in the winter months. So no matter what temperature our house is I find myself shivering!

Can't decide about the new Ephron book. The NYTimes review was a bit tongue in cheek. I do love her writing, though.

Love hearing from you so let me know what you're enjoying or passing on! Best, E.
Have to admit that part of why I liked the Norman book is that I lived in Nova Scotia (Port Hawkesbury, on the southern tip of Cape Breton Island) for a year four decades ago. But I also found his writing to be beautiful and, if this makes sense, calming given the story line.

As you noted, it may just be timing. You've been busy lately so here are my two mystery shoves - "The Calling" by Inger Ash Wolfe and "Sacrifice: by S.J. Bolton. I liked the first one more and have to say that Bolton's last two mysteries left me cold. And if you're a Dennis Lehane fan, his latest, "Midnight Mile" just came out yesterday.

Let me know what you land on! I'm reading Pat Conroy's newest, essays on his life as a reader. Although Conroy being Conroy, there's more to it than just that. He does love the flowery phrase! Best, E.
Hey Millie! Too funny about you going to get "Howard's End..." because I thought of you immediately after I finished it. Especially since you enjoyed the books by Nick Hornby about his reading adventures and because you're an Anglophile. So I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thought some of the chapters were a bit dull but for the most part I came away in love with her writing and most of all her house! I want to visit for a month or so, preferably in warmer weather...!

I read "What is Left the Daughter" about six weeks ago and thought it was amazing. I'm embarrased to admit this is the first H. Norman book I've read. My mother loved his stuff so I need to read more. Tried to get into Scott Spencer's latest ("Man in the Woods") and dropped it after about 25 pages. So now I've started "Cleopatra" and so far, so good. Like you, I read all the Maupin books years ago and hope that this one is a winner. I fear that I may come at it from a different point in life so I'm anxious to see how it goes.

Wow! You do need a bit of relief from travel and guests. Here's hoping you get it before the holidays! Best, E.
Like you, I only enjoyed "Slammerkin" out of all of Donoghue's books. Haven't read "Room" yet but I'm looking forward to it. And I was so disappointed in "The News Where You Are" because I thought her previous book was excellent. Caldwell's book is making my top list of 2010 books for sure.

I've enjoyed "Bound" by Antonya Nelson; "A Friend of the Family" by Lauren Grodstein; and the aforementioned "Nemesis." Right now I'm reading a YA book by Jennifer Donnelly called "Revolution" which is just what I needed. Not sure what I'm going to start next but I do want to start the Chernow bio of George Washington and at the very least read it in tandem with a fiction book.

So glad the trip went well! Yes, Carol was fine about the whole Maidzilla incident. There had been some previous issues with this young woman so it was a bit of a relief to Carol to have her ejected. But no one can believe the story.

Oh, I did try "Great House" and abandoned it after about 40 pages. Her writing is beautiful but I find her plots and characters to be so scattered. I do think it has a chance for the NBA. What did you think of that short-list? No "Freedom?!"

I've also got "The True Memoirs of Little K" on deck and put the Amanda Boyden novel on hold at the library. Also have the new one by Scott Spencer from the libes so what to read, what to read!

Good to know you're back! Best, E.

Welcome back! Sounds like a lovely trip. How bad was the strike while you were there? I understand that it has afffected transportation, esp. in Paris. (Although I could be misinformed on that point.) This week is a little crazy, but I will try to pull up the food blog next week when things quiet down.

You have a good memory about the teacher who shot and killed the various co-workers. Our friend was there at the school when the shooting took place. It was a very difficult time for him and the other teachers. Frightening as it was taking place and then trying to come to grips with the grief and the aftermath. A very sad situation.

"Room" - was this reviewed in the NYT recently? If so, it sounded very interesting -- especially the portrayal of the little boy. I'll have to keep an eye out for it. The hemingway kick was a couple of years ago -- was just updating my list when I realized they weren't there.

Glad you made it back safely. Will be interested in hearing more.
Hey Millie! I have a feeling you've already left for Europe and will see this when you return. Either way I hope the trip is/was incredible. Carol's wedding was last Saturday, the 2nd, and everything went very well. The weather was lovely (they were married outside on a terrace with the reception inside) and Carol was so beautiful. Yes, I'm prejudiced but she took my breath away and, naturally, I cried like a baby as she came down the aisle. It was good to be with family and friends. They're in Jamaica until Saturday evening.

The only downside was what I'm now referring to as "Maidzilla." In a nutshell, we had problems all weekend with one bridesmaid who kept texting and talking on her cell phone. At inappropriate moments. With less than an hour to go before the wedding, when everyone else had long since put their phones away, this woman refused to give hers up. So after confering with Carol, the wedding director and I asked her to leave. And she did. Can you believe it?

Thanks so much for the Ron Charles link. Hilarious! and so well done. He is a natural for the medium. I'm getting confused by feedback from friends and family, some of whom say stick with the running blog and mention books every now and then; others, including my husband, who feel that books "are all you ever talk about." Sigh. So I appreciate your imput.

I felt the same way you did after finishing "Ticket to the Circus." No more Mailer for me, not that I was ever a huge fan. But I hope you get to read "The Dower House" and her other two novels. I think "Dower" is her best and keep looking for another one. And let me know what you think of the Boyden book. I've heard about it but don't know anyone who's read it.

After dumping a couple of books that didn't make the 50-page cut I've started "Nemesis," the new one by P. Roth. But barely. I think I'm going to use a coupon to get the new Chernow bio of George Washington plus I may start the new Tom Franklin book. Can't pull the trigger on the latest door stopper from Ken Follet although I love big, juicy sagas. From what I understand, this one could have used more editing.

Looking forward to hearing from you! Best, E.
Hello there, Millie -- Wow! 10 days in France and Spain. You'll have a wonderful trip to be sure. I heartily recommend David Lebovitz to you. He's written two of my favorite dessert cookbooks. He's now living/writing in Paris and writes a very entertaining blog from there @ Great photos, and tons of entertaining stuff about living and visiting France. He recently wrote a book on the topic, which was a lot of fun: [The Sweet Life in Paris.] If you go on his blog now, he has a nice article about restaurants in Paris. Wish I'd seen this before my recent visit there last summer.

I had to laugh reading your recent post -- Trying to sortthrugh books for the 'out' pile, only to come across oneyou'd forgotten about -- Hmm! this looks interesting! So true! So true!! More than a little bit of self recognition there!

We still have many friends & family in the Michigan area, particularly in and around Ann Arbor. Our best man is a high school math teacher in Chelsea. What a small world, eh? Also love spending time in Waltham, which has had a nice revival of its downtown with multiethnic restaurants and a nice movie theater showing art films. Am a trasnplanted Bostonian for some 28 years now. With the many universtities and hospitals, this area attracts people from around the world. In one sense it is quite cosmopolitan (compared to my Midwestern upbringing) but is still fairly accessible and 'homey' especially in contrast to NYC!

Farewell for now and enjoy your trip to Europe!
Glad to hear you enjoy the messages, Millie. My friends are trying to convince me to start a blog and dump my running blog. We'll see. Right now I'm going a bit nuts about the wedding. But I think once we hit Southern soil I'll be better. Man, it's been hot! and our daughter is worried because the highs there have been consistently in the 90s.

It's "Time was Soft There" by Jeremy Mercer. (Sorry about botching the tense in my earlier message.) I think it's got a subtitle which may be why Amazon didn't bring it up without the author's name - they seem to have trouble with books that have subtitles. I just finished "The Widower's Tale" and thought it was a bit better than the previous two. I still don't think Glass has matched the first "June" in her debut.

Oh, I have all three of the Hornby books devoted to his "Believer" columns and I almost wept when he gave them up. Can you find them on-line these days? Every now and then I will pull one of them out and jot some more titles down.

"Family Daughter" might be worth another look. I have other friends who didn't care for it. Part of my thumbs-up for Meloy could be because she is a delight in person. For some unknown reason when I think of her books I automatically think of Michelle Huneven and her three novels, all of which I enjoyed especially her debut "Round Rock." Have you read her? Best, E.
Hello Millie. Thanks for your quick reply. I’m becoming a big fan of LibraryThing, although I’m still working inputting all of my books. About five or six years ago, the house reached its capacity and I began to de-accession some of my collection. I’m adding the ones I’ve read but no longer own as I remember them. Trying to hew to a one-book-in-one-book out policy, although not as successfully as one would think.
I love your optimism about getting to all of those books. I have about 20 sitting in the ‘batter’s box’ waiting their turn. I keep telling myself that I won’t borrow or buy another book until I’ve finished off the ones I have. Then someone thrusts a volume into my hands with a great recommendation and all good intentions go out the window.
I grew up next to Ann Arbor (Ypsilanti) and went to school there. It’s also where I met my husband. I still get back to visit family and friends as much as I can. I now live in a suburb of Boston. I’ve seen a few IPads, Kindles, etc on the commuter rail everyday. Thought the Ipad would be more multi-purpose and would lighten the load of my bag. Is it easy to type on the thing?
My reading tastes vary wildly. I do LOVE to cook (and eat!), but also gardening, biographies, history, politics, films, decorating, mysteries, religion, sports and beautifully written fiction. Nothing thrills me more than a well-turned phrase or sentence. If something grabs my interest, I’ll go on a tear through whatever I can get my hands on at the time. Can’t say I’m a master at any one subject, but I’m great at cocktail parties!

Looking at your library, I’d say we were both anglophiles, although I’ve been branching in France recently. I see you live in the DC area. There’s a wonderful food blogger in your area, Carol Blymire -- tremendously entertaining. Her first blog was French Laundry at Home, and she is now writing Alinea at Home. The conceit is that she is cooking her way through these two cookbooks, but the writing is fun, even for those home cooks who haven’t struggled through a two page recipe. Give her q uick look if you have the moment.
Dear ymkahn (Mille?):

I just added you to my intersting library list. I've also 'eavesdropped' on your conversation with Bookbully. I find both of your libraries and reading suggestions simpatico and hope follow along occasionally for reading suggestions. Would love to hear your thoughts on the Ipad. Have gone back and forth on whether to make the purchase. Am new to LT, so still feeling my way around. Cheers, Marianne
Oh, Millie, if you get a chance to go see Franzen, do it. He is not as off-putting as the media portrays him. Has that kind of Cute Boy Nerd look going on and is much more personable than I expected. (Especially after reading some of his essays. I was afraid he might still be in his "Angry Young Man" phase.) Powells had to close down the room about 25 minutes before he appeared because they reached their capacity - I think over 300 people were there to see him. I waited about 20 minutes to have my books signed but it was worth it. Franzen and I had a "moment" as I like to think of it where we bonded over a mutual thumbs up for "The Privileges" by Jonathan Dee.

I thought about bringing the third "Girl" along when we fly out for Carol's wedding in SC but may not. Do have an ARC of "Room" so that's going. I am just sick about missing both her and Yiyun Li next week. They both appear at Powell's along with John Valiant who wrote "The Tiger." Maile Meloy is a delight and I have signed copies of all but her latest. Did you know her next book is YA? Odd.

So glad you are enjoying "Ticket." I thought it was great and was pleased that overall it got good reviews. Had to laugh at some of the poor remarks on sites like Amazon by Mailer lovers who lambasted her. Let's face it - the guy was no saint and trying to make him otherwise is ridiculous. Have you read the Caldwell book yet?

Other books going in the suitcase are "Vida" by Patricia Engels; "Times Were Soft There" by ? Mercer; and possibly "Palladio" by J. Dee.

What about the iPad? I'm going to keep bugging you because I'm a bit entranced with it although not for reading. Hope your next vacation is as relaxing as the other one! and I hope Larry is doing well. Best, E.
Hey, Millie! First, unreal about you getting an early copy of "Freedom." I have several friends on the waiting list at our libes and I believe it's currently up around the 350 mark! I just finished it on Monday and, for the most part, really enjoyed it as well. I did have a problem with a certain person's death (don't want to ruin this for someone else reading it) and with Joey and Connie's relationship. The latter I found a bit unbelievable in spots. Overall, I think this is going to be a huge novel for 2010. Franzen is coming to Powell's next Wednesday and I'm going to the reading with a friend. At first I thought we should get there about an hour early but now I'm pushing for 90 minutes! An employee told me they are already regretting not taking it off site because their main room only holds 300.

Glad your vacation was relaxing. How do you like your iPad? Which of the fall books are you most excited about? Best, E.
Many thanks! Millie and, again, I hope you have a fantastic vacation.

I am tres jealous about the iPad. Karl and I were at a Best Buy several months ago where a clerk who appeared to be about 16 was showing me and another Woman of a Certain Age several of them. Karl, who was looking for something else, came up behind me and said, "You shouldn't be looking at that..." and by the time he finished I had brought up the MLB (Major League Baseball) site. Shut him right up! Let me know what you think of it long-term.

Yes, I will be one of those slavish readers picking up my copy of Franzen's new book on Tuesday. Another LT friend and I are going to read it "together." I stuck with "The Corrections" and while I felt it needed some editing, I enjoyed it. We'll see! Best, E.
Millie - I have a feeling you are off to the beach or packing so will wait a while to get an answer to this question, one I've been meaning to ask you for a while: Since you and I both enjoy Brit books, which of the London newspapers do you think is the best to read per book reviews?

Hope you have a marvelous, relaxing time with several wonderful books! Best, E.
Hey Millie! So I assume Larry's back from Pakistan. Was he involved with the efforts for the flood victims? They have been on my mind as have the people of New Orleans. I find it hard to believe it's been five years.

I, too, still have to read the last of the Stieg L. books and keep putting it off. I'm looking forward to Franzen's new book, "Freedom," as it seems is every other reviewer in the world...did enjoy "Mothers and Sons," a collection of short stories by Colm Toibin. Right now I have started the new one by Adam Langer, "Thieves of Manhattan" but I'm reserving judgement.

You must tell me what you're packing so I can live/read vicariously through you. And I did not know Kate A. has a new book out! I absolutely loved "Case Histories" but thought the next two in the trilogy were only so-so.

I hope the beach weather is fantastic and that you have a marvelous time. Do seek out the Caldwell book if you can. The Book Bully is pushing it hard! Best, E.
Millie - Don't bother with "Hollywood" by McMurtry but I did like the first two in what he called a trilogy: "Books" and "A Literary Life." Especially liked the first one. I'm not sure what was going on when he wrote this latest one but it didn't speak to me.

I did, however, think "Let's Take the Long Way Home" was incredible. Beautiful writing. It's a book I can see myself reading again.

Per "Bloodroot" - I had a bit of a hard time with that one although for a debut I thought it was pretty good. There was something that didn't ring true to me and I can't put my finger on it. I understand from another LT friend that Greene already has her second novel completed. As he pointed out, if she's going to succeed it should be very different from her first.

Pakistan?! Goodness! My husband is off to Spokane next week and then to Montana in another month or so. Our big event is coming up on Oct. 2 when our daughter, Carol, gets married in South Carolina. I am not MOB material, being a tomboy, so it's times like this when I really miss my mother.

Let me know what's in your take-on-vacation pile! Right now I'm about a third of the way through the new Mona Simpson book, "My Hollywood." Okay, but not fully captivating me. E.
Well, Millie, I can read a lot because I don't have a job like you do! Honestly I often feel guilty about how much time I spend reading but it's what I love to do more than anything else. I can't read more than two books at a time and generally that only works if one is fiction and the other non-fiction. Right now I'm reading a rather so-so mystery and looking forward to several books that are due out tomorrow. Among them "Let's Take the Long Way Home" by Gail Caldwell and the new book memoir by Larry McMurtry.

It's hard to say if you would enjoy "Super Sad..." I was in awe of his writing but found the pace a bit frantic at times. Per Korelitz: I can't get into her stuff although most of my friends loved "Admissions." And I tried "The Girl in the Blue Dress" but didn't finish it. I did enjoy "They Typist" by Michael Knight. This was the first of his books that I read.

I was disappointed with "The Awakening" mainly because I really enjoyed Bolton's first book, "Sacrifice." I did try to read her latest and couldn't get into it.

Just picked up "How to Be an American Housewife" and "Perfect Reader" from the library so I'll let you know what I think of those. Soooo many books! Hope you and Larry are well and staying cool. Best, E.
Hey Millie! So glad you have power again. Like you, I'm not happy when it goes out. Plus we live in a 1907 four-square home with no fireplace. So I'm always nervous about losing heat in the winter. I'm always cold. My father used to say my mother and I were "half dead" because our hands and feet were always like ice.

New photo is circa 1962 with one of my younger brothers. I look so prissy in it which is funny because I was a big tomboy later on.

Had to laugh when I saw what you bought at Borders. I have the latter two books by Orringer (loved her debut of short stories) and King. Can't remember if I told you I was so disappointed when Orringer canceled her Powell's reading several months ago. She and Vendela Vida are good friends so when I went to see Vida read I asked about Orringer. Turns out she was put on total bed rest due to her first pregnancy. So, that's a good excuse for me!

I didn't know BJ Campbell had new book out so I will check it out. Let me know what you think of it. And LOL per the Booker long list. I noticed that as well in today's NYTimes so cut it out and now have it sitting on my desk. I loved "February" by the Canadian Lisa Moore and in the past I've been impressed with Helen Dunmore who has won an Orange Prize in the past. Have the "Skippy" book on hold at library. Will explore the others.

Per my ratings - I often wish I could do a 3.75 for books such as the upcoming debut "Wake of Forgiveness." For me, a 3.5 is generally something I'd recommend with reservations. If you like mysteries that feature well thought-out characters then I would recommend Inger Ash Wolfe. Her first book "The Calling" was good. Both of her books are a bit gory in spots but nothing I couldn't handle. And I'm a bit squeamish, especially when it comes to violence and definitely when it comes to rape.

The reason you rarely see me give anything less than three stars is I'm not afraid to ditch a book after 40-50 pages if I'm not intrigued. Life is too short. And there's no way (that I've discovered any way) to list the books I started then gave up on.

Right now I'm enjoying "Strip" by Thomas Perry. At his best I think of him as a thinking man's Carl Hiassen. Not sure what I'll read next. But it does look like the fall books include some good 'uns! Best, E.
Hi, Millie! I hadn't heard about the Kay book but looked it up. It looks intriguing but also appears to only be available through Amazon's UK site. I love Maile Meloy and enjoyed "Both Ways.." very much. Was disappointed to hear that her next book is going to be YA. Usually I love Valerie Martin but I think I told you I didn't care for her latest and didn't finish it. So keep me informed.

I did, however, think "The Imperfectionists" was superb. Great debut. I also enjoyed "The Lovers" by Vendela Vida (she read at Powells last week so I went to see her) and "Mr. Peanut" by Adam Ross. Just finished that one and think I will go for a mystery next: "The Taken" by Inger Ash Wolfe. I liked her first one, "The Calling" and now I'm wondering who she is. All I've heard is it's a pen name for a "well-known Canadian author." Like Benjamin Black/John Banville, I suppose.

Like you, sci-fi's not my usual fare but for the most part I did enjoy "The Passage." Just wondering how he's going to get two more books out of it.

On deck are a couple of good ones like "The Mentor" by Tom Grimes and possibly "The House of Tomorrow" by Peter Bognanni (sp?). Yes, bring on your much-deserved vacation! Naps and books are two of my favorite things in life. Best, E.
Hey Millie! Yes, keep me updated on P&P's sale although I'm hopeful either the NYTimes or PW will do so as well. Last week I went to see Justin Cronin read at Powells' main location and he was excellent. Such a huge departure from his earlier books but I did enjoy "The Passage." I'm currently reading Jim Harrison's latest, "The Farmer's Daughter" which is very good. Not sure what I will start next. As you know, I'm not much of a memoir fan but I did like "Perfection" by Julie Metz although she got a bit smaltzy towards the end.

Also loved a first collection of short stories called "Mrs. Somebody Somebody" by Traci Winn. Started "The Lonely Polygamist" and quit after about 45 pages. I'm just not a fan of his writing.

Another LT friend told me that Ann Patchett has a book coming out either late fall or early next year so I'm excited about that. Julie Glass has one coming out in early September. I have a love/hate relationship with her writing - some of it is great, others not so much.

How is Larry? and what is he enjoying in the book department? Hope you both are doing well. Best, E.
P.S. - Thought of you today per a book that just came out: "The Spice Necklace" by Ann Vanderhoof. Don't know if you've heard of it or not.

Have fun! E.
Thanks, Millie - my trip did go well and I was able to knock off a couple of books including "The Shooting Party" by Isabel Colegate, which just came out in a new pbck edition, and "Bloodroot." I thought the latter was well-done for a debut although a bit over-wrought in places. Worth reading. And, yes, break open "The Passage" and spring for a first edition. I have a feeling it's going to go through the roof.

I fear I'm one of the few people who couldn't get into "Small Island" so I worry about picking up her latest. On the flip side, I loved both "The Known World" and "Property." I think Valerie Martin is highly underrated although I did not care for her latest book. Right now I'm reading a rather quirky Brit book called, "A Kind of Intimacy." Sort of Stephen King's "Mercy" meets one of Ruth Rendell's wackos.

Thought of you this morning when I read the latest about your favorite WA bookstore being sold. Sounds like the owners are going to be very strict about who gets it. I have never been to the store but would love to. Of course in my mind most bookstores are magical places. I stumbled upon Carmichael Books in Louisville, KY last month and loved it. Sadly, it's the only remaining independent in the city.

Like you I tend to love the Brits and think some of them get short shift here in the States. Have you read any of Jane Stevenson? Some of her short stories are priceless! Enjoy the weekend! Best, E.
Millie, I had to laugh when I saw your email about good books being rather depressing. It's true, isn't it?! and makes me shake my head. Trying to come up with some ideas of books that will rivet you without making you slightly sad is actually a bit of a tough call! That said, here are some ideas and I hope you haven't read them yet: "Used and Rare" by Lawrence Goldstone, about a rare book hound. And if you haven't already read "84, Charring Cross Road" by Helene Hnaff it's a must. Both of those will interest you but will go by in a flash. I can't remember if you're much for short stories but a hilarious, well-written collection is one by Tim Gautreaux, "Welding with Children." And, yes, I am pretty engrossed by "The Passage." Like you, I loved his earlier more literary novels so I kept thinking it was a misprint when I saw the description of his new book. But I'm flipping the pages left and right and trying to carve out more time to read it. So that may be a possibility as well. And I'm not one for sci-fi either. Back when "The Stand" was all the rage I attempted to read it on two seperate occasions with no luck. Lovers of the book were horrified and disbelieving! Let me know what you land on. Thinking of you and Larry. Best, E.
I do hope Larry enjoys the books but mostly that he doesn't have to spend too long in isolation. Please keep me updated. Glad to hear your book group is reading, "The Glass Room." I thought he got a bit of author fatigue towards the end but overall really thought it was well-done. Still haven't read any K. Greenville and haven't started "The Imperfectionists" yet. I'm about two-thirds of the way through "The New Valley" by Josh Weil. What a talented young man - exquisite language. I seem to be in a short story frame of mind because the other two I'd recommend at this point are the first collection by Yiyun Li, "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers" and "Alone With You" by Marisa Silver. Also read "Getting the Picture" by Sarah Salway but I thought she ran off the tracks a bit. I thought H. Schulman's book was great and for some reasons that brings to mind, "Changing Light" by Nora Gallagher. Different era and the book is about three years old but worth looking up. So good to hear from you! Take care of yourself. Best, E.
First off, Millie, my heart goes out to both of you. I will be sending good thoughts and somewhat lapsed Presbyterian prayers your way. Having seen my mother through cancer treatments I know a bit of what you're going through. But with a spouse, it has to be much different.

Okay. Books. Chernow is wonderful and one of my favorite books by him is "The Warburgs." Who would have thought that reading about German banking family could be so fascinating. Also, the book on Cornelius Vanderbilt, "The First Tycoon" by T.J. Stiles has just come out in paperback. Those would be my first two choices for non-fiction.

Judging by the mystery authors he likes I'd highly recommend Matt Beynon Rees. He's got either three or four out in paperback, the first being "The Collaborator of Bethlehem. Excellent and well-done. And, yes, "The Tourist" by Steinhauer (sp?) gallops right along as does "The Redbreast" by Jo Nesbo. (Can't remember if you've read that yet.) Another name that keeps popping up is Phillip Kerr. I haven't read him yet but keep meaning to.

I am such an idiot sometimes. Have yet to learn that when you see "New Comment" that doesn't always mean it's just the first one. I need to learn to scroll down. Good Lord! Let me know what you end up with and what he enjoys. Again, I will be thinking of you, Millie. All my best, Ellison
Last night my husband I watched the second "Foyle" and thought it was better than the first of the new episodes. Although we both think Sam is getting a little long in the tooth and they need to get her settled. Yes, what did happen with her and Foyle's son? In revisit it appeared they were back together but now he's in London so what gives?

LOL about the Dan Brown book. I had several friends assure me that I would get into it and that it was literary chewing gum, fun, etc. I couldn't get past the first 20 pages. My mother and I both read "Kite Runner" and thought the same thing - not bad but we felt manipulated. My best friend and running buddy adored it so when I received an ARC of the second book, I gave it to her.

Just picked up the new Nathaniel Philbrick book and I'm flirting with a couple of others. My birthday is coming up so family knows to send gift certificates from book stores. There appear to be some good books coming out next month so I may try to restrain myself from blowing everything at once. Very hard to do.

I've been in a bit of a reading slump so I'm still working on "Innocent." Hope things are going well for you and yours. How did "Spood Fed" look?
Ohhh, now I'm wishing I hadn't recommended "Atlas" to you since I limped into the finish of it last night. Thought the last half was very sluggish and I ended up feeling very disappointed with the book as a whole. I think James writes well and just needed someone to work with her on the second part of her first novel. But you may think differently.

I still haven't read "Water for Elephants" and I'm not sure that I ever will. The two books where I have really parted ways with many of my friends are "The Help," which I found to be full of ridiculous stereotypes and turgid writing and the Yann Martel book, his one about the boy and the tiger. (The name escapes me but neither my mother nor I were "captivated" the way so many of our friends were.)

Hyland's books have never grabbed me but I may give "This is How" a shot. Just started the new Turow which I'm curious about from all of the reviews. Did want to ask if you've looked into "Spood Fed" by Kim Severson. The NYTimes liked it and I thought of you when I read the review a couple of weeks ago.

Too funny about "Foyle's War." We DVR it as well but have only watched the first of this season's three. Neither my husband nor I were overly impressed with that episode and we hope it's just a fluke. We were intrigued by the way Foyle mentions "going to America" to "take care of some unfinished business" and wonder if this is a way for the series to continue.
Hey, Millie! I'm back from my Southern jaunt albeit a day late. I ended up getting stuck in Louisville for a day which wasn't bad since my soon-to-be stepbrother (my father is remarrying in June, to a lovely widow) works at 21C. It's an incredible boutique hotel and he got me a "friends and family" rate. They practically had to run me I got a ton of reading done. Did finish and enjoyed "Molly Fox's Birthday" and got about a third of the way through "Atlas of Unknowns." I think you would particularly enjoy the latter, by Tania James.

I will read anything about books coming out so I comb the BookWeb site and several newspaper sites for book reviews. But a lot of the more "obscure" finds come from my subscription to Publishers Weekly. It is pricey but I use birthday money for it every year. And my heart does go pitter patter every time I find it in the mailbox....

Like you I keep meaning to read E. Bowen and haven't yet. I did enjoy B. Vine's latest ("The Birthday Gift?" or something similiar) but some of hers creep me out. Particularly "The Chimney Sweeper's Boy." Sue Miller's latest wasn't that bad although a bit sluggish in places. I liked it more than some of her work.

Too funny abut you reading the Cozalet series. I picked the first one up several years ago and wasn't in the right frame of mind. Which is odd because typically I adore well-written sagas. So let me know if it captures you. I was surprised to find myself very taken with Penny Vincenzi's trilogy beginning with "No Angel." The third one was a bit of a fizzle but it's what I think of as decent escapism.

For about two and a half years I was book editor for a twice-weekly newspaper here in Portland. Patricia Wells' publicist contacted me since she (Wells) was going to be appearing at Powell's. I told a friend of my husband's who is a HUGE foodie and does some freelance food writing. One thing led to another and three of us wound up having lunch with her. Later that day my running partner, Monica, and I picked Patricia up at her hotel and took her for a short run up in Wildwood Park. So that was fun.

Your mention of BBC makes me wonder - are you a fan of "Foyle's War?" My husband and I love it and were so glad they commissioned a couple of more that take place after WWII. I am smitten with Foyle. Karl teases me that it's the actor who plays him, Michael Kitchens, but I tell him very sternly, "No, I have a crush on Foyle." If you haven't seen it, check it out on DVD.

I do hope all is well with you and yours. Waiting on the dining room table are "Innocent" by Turow and "Safe from the Neighbors" by Steve Yarbrough, both from the library. Very soon I will buy a copy of the latest by Julie Orringer, "The Invisible Bridge." I loved her first book, a collection of short stories. Best, E.
Oh, Millie, I hope you have better news by this time of the week. I will send out some strong Presbyterian prayers in your direction, especially given that I'm in Kentucky right now so not too far away. I know the feeling of needing a certain type of book to read during troubled times. The second Maisie Dobbs book is pretty good in that respect and others. Then I found she stumbled a bit with the third and, to a lesser extent, the fourth. After that she regained her momentum. My mother adored food writings and I've enjoyed the first one by Ruth Reichl along with some others. I had lunch with Patricia Wells about four years ago and my mother was so thrilled.

Will return to Portland in two days. My thoughts are with you. About to begin "Molly Fox's Birthday" so I will let you know what I think. Best, E.
Oh, I absolutely loved "A Ticket to the Circus." Just posted a short review in part because I'm ticked off at some of these pompous Norman Mailer fans who are giving the book a hard time. I'm not a huge memoir person but thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Still haven't read Levy's "Small Islands" which is shameful. And I heard mixed reviews of "Alligator" so I'll be interested in what you think. "February" took a bit of getting in to but I thought it was wonderful. Just finishing "The Lake Shore Limited" and it's okay. Some of the writing is marvelous but a couple of the characters annoy me. Perhaps that's the point.

I'm leaving tomorrow for a 10-day trip to see my father (in Kentucky) and my daughter (in South Carolina. The trick is always packing enough books to see me through but not enough to weigh my luggage down. Have picked five pbcks so fingers crossed!
Hey, Millie! Just noted my "Galsheimers" mistake about age versus page count - I'm about to turn 53 so I'm actually headed towards the 47-page mark. But honestly, there are times when I can tell within the first chapter so I guess I don't always give a book that much.

I envy you reading "Random Family" for the first time. It's spectacular and I'm a bit surprised that LeBlanc hasn't followed it up with something as good. The last I heard she was writing a book about comedians but I'm not sure if it was ever published. And, yes, "I Capture the Castle" is just a sweet comfort of a read. Plus I have stolen the term from the last chapter, "Pause to mop up." on more than one occasion while letter-writing.

Lucky you to live near "Politics & Prose." I think of it in the same vein as The Tattered Cover in Denver - a must-see when I'm there. This trip to Boston was centered around the marathon so I only popped into one very small used bookstore on Newbury. In trips past I've haunted some of the used bookstores near Fannueil (sp?) Hall. Big, musty places you can spend an entire afternoon in. Of course I'm completely spoiled here in Portland by Powell's City of Books. Amazing!

Good call on the second "Girl" book by Larsson. I have to say I began to flag towards the end of it so I'm hoping "Hornet" is better. Right now I'm reading the latest Maisie Dobbs mystery, "The Mapping of Love and Death" but I'm only 40 pages in. Also a LT friend and I swapped ER books so I just received "Girl in Translation" by Kwok. Looking forward to it and to the new one by Sue Miller. I find her hit and miss.

Several people have recommended "Cutting for Stone" while others have given it a thumbs down. Any thoughts? Hope you're well and surrounded by good reads! Best, E.
Hey Millie! I'm back from Boston and trying to catch up on my reading. Only managed to read about a third of the second "Girl" and so far, so good. Before I left I read my latest ER book, "Every Last One" and continue to have disquieting thoughts about it. Pretty devastating.

Just got an ARC of "Illustrado" by Miquel Syjuco (sp?) which is a prize-winning debut from Asia. And one of the new one by Ann Hood, "The Red Thread" which was okay. Also went on a bit of a spree coming home with among others, the new one by Benjamin Black; Norris Church Mailer's memoir; and the new books of short stories by M. Silver. A couple of others whose titles escape me right now.

Yes, I like N. Pearl's 50-page rule along with subtracting your age from 100 after you hit 50. Which means I'll be at the 48-page marker in another month!
Well, I may give Shriver's a try from the library. Yes, I was very disappointed with McEwan's latest which was depressing. I think he's such a great writer but this time he got too bogged down in the science end of the story. Will be interested in what you think of "Wolf Hall" from an editor's point of view. Brilliant writing but overloaded in my opinion.

Saw that you recently added "The Hole We're In" and I finished it last night. Thought the first third of the book was great. Then I felt it sagged under the weight of one character. I'm getting a bit tired of the streak I'm on which seems to consist of so-so books or ones that I start and then put aside. Will be taking the second S. Larrson book with me to Boston so I'm hoping that is as good as everyone says.

LOL about "Middlemarch." I've attempted it twice and probably need to pick it up again. I'm optimistic because it took me three attempts to finish "War and Peace." And I have "Something Red" on hold at local bookstore while they bring in a copy of "The Imperfectionists," a debut that's getting lots of raves. My fear is latter one will be like "Then We Came to the End" which I didn't care for. My husband loved it, I thought author tried waaaay too hard to be witty.

Also looking forward to the new Quirk novel by B. Black, "Elegy for April." Have you read the first two? So different from his other books. Right now I'm starting "Every Man Dies Alone." Great reviews but few of my reading friends were able to get through it.
So - would you recommend Shriver's book and advise readers to hang in there? I may wait until the pbck since the waiting list at our library is up over 100. Saw that you had Clare M's other book on your list.

I did start "Solar" and had to be tough with myself about 60 pages in. My poor father is a chemical engineer who loves science. All three of his children took after our mother, an English/History major at Duke. This is a long way of saying that if science/physics throws you there are parts in McEwan's latest where you just have to soldier on. To me it's worth it because he is brilliant with his characterizations.

Saw that Nina S. on her blog gave high marks to "Wolf Hall." I thought it was well done but wondered where the editor was. Since you're in that line of work, what say yea?
Well I'm also into a disturbing although well-written book: "Hotel Iris" by Yoko Okawa. Same author who wrote "The Housekeeper and the Professor." Beautiful writing/translation but ouch! at times.

"Impatient with Desire" was an interesting take on the Donner Party so I'd recommend it. At the end I appreciated notes on other books the author cites for more info on the subject. Like you, I'm not always into happy-happy books although every once in a while one surprises me. Next is either McEwan's new one or "Living Room" which I bought after reading NYTBR from a few weeks ago.

Do you read many short story collections?
I buy more hardbacks than I probably should but have cut back since the job loss. What I tend to buy now are debuts that I am particularly interested in and/or I've read from the library and desire to own. There are certain authors that I collect, McEwan being one of them. So I'll probably buy "Solar." Like you, I enjoy trade pbcks when I can contain my impatience.

Carol says Cullen claims one of Columbine killers showed signs of unbalance for several years while other boy was more "along for the ride." I continue to be amazed by some of the stories my daughter tells about parents who are afraid to discipline their children. Not speaking of spanking, just setting down rules. It causes problems for teachers and administrators and, in long run, does the children more harm than good. I'll shut up now because this is a subject I tend to rant about...!

Was intrigued by today's NYTimes review of "The Lotus Eaters." I'm going back and forth on it. Looking forward to new book of short stories by Marisa Silver and several others coming out next month. Oh, I was a bit disappointed by third book by Jo Nesbo. Still think "Redbreast" was the best of the bunch. E.
Millie - Forgot (as usual) to ask about the new L. Shriver book. Please let me know what you think. I didn't care for the "Kevin" book - found it stilted and strained so I didn't finish it.

Reminds me that my daughter, a third-grade teacher in South Carolina, just finished "Columbine" and found it riveting and sad. What really brought it close to home for her is grappling with a student whose parents don't want to take responsibility for his discipline issues in her classroom. They actually tried to have him labeled as disabled to prevent future suspensions/expulsion. Principal and district folks have tried to emphasize that the problem is with this kid's behavior but parents continue to try to shield him. As Carol noted, "Mom, it's so scary to think of what he's going to be like in five-seven years...."

On that cheery note! I'm looking forward to latest by McEwan which I think comes out tomorrow. Best, E.
Oh, I adore getting recommendations as well. I hate that so many papers are cutting back on book reviews not only from my wallet stand-point but because I adore hearing about great books. There have been several that I've picked up from NY Times or that I probably wouldn't have heard of. Plus for the past four-five years I've been a real book geek and subscribed to Publishers Weekly. Bet you get that as well.

Hats off to you for "The Surrendered." I am a total wuss when it comes to torture or rape. Can't stomach it on the page or screen. Several folks have recommended to skip over the tough parts but I can't do it. With non-fiction I seem to be a bit tougher.

Just recovering from a bout of food-poisoning. You know you're sick when you don't feel like reading! Plus I missed my last 20-mile run before Boston so I've got a bit of the boo-boo lip. May try the new one by Lynne Olson, "Citizens of London." Did you read her "Troublesome Young Men?" Fantastic book!

Meant to tell you I love your picture. We have two small dogs (pug and what we think is a Llasa-Poodle mix) who follow us around the house like toddlers. And have learned not to get between The Woman and her books! Best, E.
You didn't like Goolrick's novel?! I thought it was great! but then I also loved Stewart O'Nan's ode to "Wisconsin Death Trip," his slim novel, "A Prayer for the Dying." So maybe I'm into that type of story. With O'Nan I find I like his quirky stuff but can't stand it when he writes contemporary fiction.

One of my brothers has been after me to read "The Jewel" series so I'll be interested to hear what you think. I just attempted "The Kitchen House" by Grissom after reading a good review on the ReadAllDay site. She's turned me on to a couple of great books but not this time. Right now I'm casting around so I probably need to read some non-fiction. Every once in a while I read NF to, in effect, clear my reading palate. Best, E.
Hey, Millie - I'm assuming that you are back from vacation? but if not, keep enjoying and reading. Glad you liked "Astonishing.." I'm thinking of reading her other two. If you start "Cutting for Stone," let me know what you think - I have heard both sides of the coin on that one. These days if a book doesn't grab me by page 40-50 I toss it. Too many books, too little time. I learned this from my mother who in the last year of her life scrambled to read as many books as possible. She was always of the once-I-start-it-I-finish-it sect but changed sides. Best, E.
Thanks for the Tremain notes, Millie. And I was encouraged to hear you liked "The Good Parents" which is on my pile....okay, one of my piles.

Have to add a couple and then I promise I'll shut up. If you like Larsson's "Girl" series, I hope you've also gotten into the Harry Hole books by Jo Nesbo from Norway. The first one is "The Redbreast." And from the Soho series of mysteries I think Gary Disher, the Aussie, is great. His first one is "The Dragon Man."

Also, a Booker-finalist a couple of years ago was "Astonishing Spashes of Colour" by Clare Morral. Thought this was a great one. And have you read any short stories by Mary Swan, the Canadian? I think "The Deep" is one of the most amazing stories I've ever read. And the recent book of three novellas by Jane Stevenson, also British, is a must read: "Good Women." The last one "Garden Guerrillas" is worth the price of the book alone.

Best, E.
Too funny about O'Hara. My husband was born in Pottsville, PA so before we reconnected (we knew each other in college, Wake Forest) he thought HE was the only one who read O'Hara. Bit of a "waka-waka" when he found out I was huge fan.

We must have similar tastes because I, too, enjoy the Brits. Loved "Mudbound" and hope she is working on a second book. Also thought "Unaccustomed Earth" was a triumph. Haven't tried Tremain yet but she's on my radar.

Some recommendations and excuse if you've already read them. "Servants' Quarters" by Lynn Freed; "Gilgamesh" by Joan London; "Summer at Gaglow" by Esther Freud." All Brits. I think my all-time favorite Brit book is by William Trevor - "Fools of Fortune."

"Blue Horse Dreaming" by Melanie Wallace was an incredible debut. I would never have read it if not for a tiny review in the NYTBR shortly after it came out. And I see you're a big biography/memoir person so I imagine you've read "The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit?" Wonderful. I'm not generally keen on memoirs but loved this one. Do like well-written/researched biographies.

Which R. Tremain book should I start with? Best, Ellison
I agree, Millie! and feel that every now and then a book gets lost in the shuffle for attention and reviews. Let me know what you've loved over the last six months or so and I'll see if I can recommend. There are some lost gems out there for sure.

Best, Ellison
Hey! Thanks for adding me to your "interesting" list. Hope you're enjoying "The Master." I thought it was excellent. Just finished A. Haslett's new book and thought it was almost as good.

Best, Book Bully
Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,713,850 books! | Top bar: Always visible