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Once more into the breach - Fourpawz2 reads 75

75 Books Challenge for 2011

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Dec 15, 2010, 6:16pm Top

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Dec 15, 2010, 6:17pm Top

Just clearing a bit of space for later on.....

Dec 15, 2010, 6:38pm Top

hi Charlotte
Glad to see you join us again :-)

Dec 15, 2010, 6:41pm Top

Hi Anita! Yup - I'm back in spite of all the whining. Hurrying over to star you.

Dec 15, 2010, 6:44pm Top

Good evening, Charlotte! Very glad to see you back here.

Dec 15, 2010, 6:45pm Top

Hi Charlotte! Catching up now before the hoardes descend!

Dec 15, 2010, 6:59pm Top

Hi Ellie! Good to see you.
Richard! Is that you? I don't think you've ever come to my humble abode before.

Dec 15, 2010, 7:31pm Top

Welcome back!

Dec 15, 2010, 7:56pm Top

Considering how many squintillions of threads there are each year, that doesn't surprise me. I am chronically behind in thread-dom! Help me this year? Post a nudge in my thread when you make a new one? You can always find my thread...it's the one with people shouting at each other in it!

Dec 15, 2010, 8:04pm Top

Will do, Richard...

Dec 16, 2010, 2:18am Top

I am here representing the descending hoardes :)

Dec 16, 2010, 6:55am Top

Hey, Stasia. Isn't this great? Don't you wish that it was January first already and we could get started? It's just like having a brand new, unsullied notebook - looking at its nice white pages and imagining all the neat stuff I could write down.
I see I joined just ahead of you. Slick, huh? Just snuck right in there....

Dec 16, 2010, 7:02am Top

Yep, I love the beginning of the new year!

Dec 16, 2010, 10:23am Top

Welcome back!

Dec 17, 2010, 11:37pm Top

Hey there Charlotte. Looking forward to watching you fill this thread with more of your exciting reads.

Edited: Dec 18, 2010, 12:56am Top

Quick hello as I wind down to call it a nigh!

ETA: guess I'm really tired; can barely sum up the energy to come up with a 't'!

Dec 18, 2010, 2:01pm Top

#15 - Likewise, I'm sure, Caroline.

I have an idea for something extra to do in connection with my 2011 reading. I think that I am going to keep track of the books that I find within the books that I read. This idea occurred to me because of my current 2010 read, in which there is much mention of books - Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Kenilworth and a lot of Shakespeare. I wonder what I will find.....

Ilana, I took care of that thing. Don't know why I haven't done that in years past. Lazy, I guess. Will have to add my Club Read 2011 thread too.

Dec 18, 2010, 6:23pm Top

AHA! Bravo. Now it's so much easier to find you!

Dec 19, 2010, 2:35am Top

#17: I think that I am going to keep track of the books that I find within the books that I read.

What a great idea, Charlotte!

Dec 26, 2010, 11:34pm Top

Hi Charlotte...congrats on being one of the charter members of this fascinating group! I love your idea about tracking books that lead to other books. I think I'd include not just books that are mentioned, but those that we seek out as a result of what we read....like a book about a person who is mentioned, or a setting, or a process or whatever. I always try to make a note of who recommended a book to me, and this would make sense to say I heard about it or thought of it because of XYZ....

Looking forward to getting started in 2011

Dec 26, 2010, 11:48pm Top

>19 alcottacre: & 20 If books were hyperlinked the way web pages are, I'd never get to finish any one books as I'd be constantly following links within the text. I do a certain amount of that as look up words in the dictionary and try to find out about various personalities, concepts, and places mentioned or hinted at, but I'm more lazy about it when reading books because I mostly just want to get on with the story and also am better off staying away from web searches as I spend too much time on the computer as it is!

That said, I've often thought of taking notes while reading—various things in the text that might suggest other reading materials to me—and of course looking through an author's list of reading materials is another great way to expand our reading lists (as if we really needed to do that!) This year, I read Things Fall Apart largely to follow up on The Poisonwood Bible. Now that I've read the former and learned more about the Congo, I'll have to read the latter again to see how my new knowledge informs a second reading of Poisonwood.

Jan 1, 2011, 10:55am Top

Happy New Year!

When I was reading Things Fall Apart this young woman we knew (occasional babysitter) who was in college saw it on the table and said, "You're like, reading that voluntarily?" It was indeed a tough read, but I've never forgotten her amazement.

Jan 1, 2011, 11:18am Top

Happy New Year Charlotte!

Jan 2, 2011, 8:01am Top

Well, it's a hideously early hour here in foggy southern New England (thanks, once again, Willie) - the last day of our nice little 'warm' spell. Hope that it was not the legendary January Thaw we have all come to expect - it was rather too early for that, don't you think. Did not have enough time to appreciate it properly. At any rate, the snow is gone - at least it is gone on my side of the street which, of course, is the only side that matters. Looking forward to a day spent reading with a few necessary chores salted in between bouts. Glad that the holidays are over - they were messing up everything - and that I can get back to 'normal' time.

Have finished Book No. 1 - Bashan and I by Thomas Mann. I've not read anything of his before, but I do think, based on nothing, that this book would not really give a person any idea of what his best known books are like. It is a memoir of his dog Bashan, written just after WWI and a very different kind of animal memoir, which I am putting down to either the time period in which it was written or to Mann himself. It is not all touchy-feely in the way that current animal memoirs are, but neither is it unfeeling. At the end I felt that I knew Bashan well.

Begun - 12/31/10 @ 1:34 PM
Finished - 1/2/10 @ 7:20 AM
247 Pages
4 stars

There was mention of only one written work in this book, but it was a play and as I am not keeping run of plays, I am not mentioning it here.

Jan 2, 2011, 8:03am Top

#24: at least it is gone on my side of the street which, of course, is the only side that matters.

Of course!

Congratulations on getting #1 for 2011 under your belt. I hope all the books this year are as good or better for you!

Jan 2, 2011, 8:48am Top

And also for you too, Stasia.

Earlier, I meant to mention that I have no intention, this year, of:
1. Forming lists of books to read - don't want to know what's coming
2. Doing any TIOLI challenges - not good at reading that way as it seems like too much of a chore/requirement. And all that scrambling around looking for books to fit the categories - yuck! Have red x'd all of them so I won't have to look at all those unread messages and feel that I really should do it.
3. Joining in any group reads - another thing I am not good at as I always feel that I have nothing to contribute other than a lame-brained 'that's right' comment which is really a waste of space.
4. Posting pictures of the books I read - would rather spend the time I would use to perfect and practice that particular art, reading.

Seems as though there were some other things that I decided that I won't do, but can't think of them right now.

Man, I certainly sound curmudgeonly, don't I? Maybe it's just a curmudgeonly moment...

Jan 2, 2011, 5:19pm Top

LMAO! The curmudgeonlier you are, the better, I say!

We had tonnes of snow in December and then the past week we've had a big thaw + rain which means now it's icy everywhere. YUCK. Actually, it's a combo of ice and muddy slush which means I have to put Coco's boots on before we go outside, which he HATES and people who see us either think it's incredibly cute, or really really lame (wouldn't you know it, I never run across men I find attractive and we did today of course, and he looked away with a disgusted look on his face...sigh).

As for you list, here's my version of it:

1. Have made several lists, which I may or may not follow, but so far have done so. I love lists!
2. Am really really really into TIOLI and have already put up something like 20 books for this month, though I know full well I'll only get around to maybe half that.
3. Have joined Sense and Sensibility group read, since have never read Austen and after all these years of hearing what a genius she is, feeling much too intimidated to start reading her on my own.
4. Well... with my background as a graphic designer/art director, NOT putting up visuals is kind of against my nature, even though, yes, I could spend all that time doing many other things... like actually making images of my own or... oh yeah, reading! :-)

Oh, and by the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Jan 3, 2011, 3:36am Top

#26: I love the list of things you are not going to do this year, Charlotte!

Edited: Jan 3, 2011, 12:47pm Top

Oh yeah - and another thing I'm not going to do is stop buying books. Are you nuts, Stasia! The WWBF is coming! We must be prepared. I intend to buy as many books as I can afford/want.

Ilana, I belong to the awwwww! "dog wearing booties" group, but I suppose that is par for the course, being a girl and all. I am very sorry about your mud and ice environment. One gets so sick of dealing with the wet and the dirt. (And the falling on one's ass thereby risking life and limb.) Over the weekend the 8 or 10 inches of snow and ice that I had in my yard disappeared, something that I don't understand. All of my neighbors still have lots - even the ones on the same side of the street as I am (North). I've always thought that my snow melted so quickly because I had the benefit of the sun shining from the south. But the people right next to me still have plenty, which only leads me to think that the fires of Hell are burning away under my messy little hovel.

Jan 3, 2011, 2:07pm Top

Congratulations on getting the first book finished Charlotte! Our cat refuses to go outside in the snow, I wonder whether booties would help?!

Jan 3, 2011, 2:17pm Top

I also love your list of "Not-To-Dos" Charlotte! I have some of the same myself. I learned last year that when it starts to become a chore, it loses all the fun. I will read what I can, keep up with what I can, join group reads if the book is on my TBR list, but not feel obligated to comment if I have nothing profound to say. And I will buy as many books as I want to. There are still empty walls in my house that could be transformed into bookcases if I feel like it. Otherwise, there is empty floor space.
Life is good!

Jan 3, 2011, 2:20pm Top

>29 Fourpawz2: It might also be your wonderful sunny disposition shining out on your entire lot! :-)

I'm with you on the NOT stopping buying books. I don't have any more room to put them, but I'd rather build towers of books all over the place than (gulp) not buying any for a whole year. That would just seem like a very long punishment, right?

Apologies to Stasia for the above (I don't mean to rub it in or anything). :-S

Jan 4, 2011, 6:35pm Top

...and we HATE empty floor space. If you don't cover empty floor space with stacks of books then you have ever so much more floor to vacuum, thereby cutting into reading time. Terri - I see you own a copy of Mary's Neck, one of my all-time favorite books. It's ancient, but it makes me laugh every time I read it.

Ilana, that must be it - my sunny disposition. Maybe if I spend some time standing outside projecting said sunny disposition vibes skyward I can actually keep it from snowing. Would that I could...

Book No. 2 - Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - completes the trilogy. It held up well and I was satisfied with the ending. I guess I don't need to say too much about it as I believe there are plenty of reviews out there. I enjoyed this one as much as the other two, though probably the first one is the very best of the group and am not sorry that I read it so quickly - contrary to my usual way of 'managing' series.

Begun on 1/02/11 @ 11:43 AM
Finished on 1/03/11 @ 6:37 PM - which I thought was pretty quick, given the fact that I had to fit sleeping, going to work along with a few other household-type things in there as well.

Four Stars
390 pages

There was no mention of any other books in this one, which did not surprise me.

Do not expect my most recently begun book - Midnight's Children - to be completed very quickly

Jan 4, 2011, 7:24pm Top

If you don't cover empty floor space with stacks of books then you have ever so much more floor to vacuum, thereby cutting into reading time.

LOL—how true! And much like Terri, I still have empty walls as well. So really, the problem isn't 'no space to put books' just 'how long am I willing to live with stacks of books all over the place' which... see above (and don't forget dusting either, yech.) ;-)

Jan 5, 2011, 9:13am Top

I have hardwood floors, so I cannot use the books-as-floor-covering as an excuse.

Glad you enjoyed Mockingjay, Charlotte!

Jan 5, 2011, 9:49am Top

Oh I love Thomas Mann, but I haven't read Bashan and I will have to put it on my list. Secondly I loved the exchange 26-27 very enjoyable.

Jan 6, 2011, 6:27pm Top

I like that word: curmudgeonly... I think I will join you in that ;-)

I read Bashan and I, the Dutch translation, in 2009, these were my thoughts:
Thomas Mann tells about his Birddog-mix Bauschan. Some of the observations feel a bit dated, there is a lot more knowledge about dogbehavior available these days, but Thomas Mann touches the essence of his dog. Doglovers will recognise a lot.

Last year I read his Buddenbrooks and it was one of my top reads!

Jan 6, 2011, 9:36pm Top

Hey, I answered you on my thread but just thought I'd repeat myself here: there is no real 'goal' to this read-a-thon. The point of having it over a 24h period is just so people with different availabilities and in various time zones can participate too. So do join us when you can, would be nice to have you!

Jan 12, 2011, 7:35pm Top

Hi Charlotte, I finally caught up with you even amid the craziness that is the 75ers group. I like your list of things you won't do and I'm with you on one anyway---I'm not giving up buying books but I do want to try to read as many of the ones that i own as I can.

Jan 13, 2011, 12:33pm Top

Hi Bonnie! Probably 95% of the books I read come from my own collection. I am not a good library-borrower kind of person. I only took out two books last year and I probably did not borrow more than about 8 from friends, if that. I am all about the coveting and keeping of books in a miserly, hand-rubbing kind of way.

Edited: Jan 14, 2011, 6:54am Top

>40 Fourpawz2: It's nice to hear someone else say this. I always feel like a terrible Scrooge character when it comes to my books. I don't even lend out my books at all anymore. The poor, unfortunate borrower will be talking to me and I'll just be thinking, You still have my book! Why aren't you finishing it now? It's horrible but true.

edit: oops, stray period and typo

Jan 13, 2011, 2:47pm Top


I'm with you on the 'not borrowing or lending'. People don't give my books back, I miss them, and once I've read a book, I don't want to give it away. I'm a total book hoarder, even if I might never read them again.

Jan 13, 2011, 3:18pm Top

I've been getting better about the book hoarding (partially thanks to LT). I've slowly been getting rid of anything I have that I rated under 3 stars. If I didn't like it that much, it can give up it's place on my shelves for something I may enjoy.

Edited: Jan 14, 2011, 9:50am Top

Nice to know I am not the only hoarder around. As for loaning out my books, I've had a few that have never come back and in at least one case I would never loan to that person again. As for the other people who currently have custody of things that belong to me - well, I've not given up hope.

Book No. 3 - The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

This Great Depression-era novel was virtually unknown to me before this; I knew of its existence, of course, but never even thought of reading it before. But Smiler69, (thanks, Ilana), who read it recently, says that it is a must-read, so I am nothing if not obedient. (Actually I am not usually very obedient at all – just some of the time).

There isn’t much of a background of Great Depression suffering in my family; one grandfather had a government job and the other worked as a handyman for his mother, keeping all of her real estate properties fixed up. So, while no one was living high, wide and handsome, certainly nobody was suffering like the Joad family was, either.

It is one of those stories where people go from bad to worse and worse still. Somehow the core members of the family kept going on, even though it was hard to see how they were going to make it. A number of characters in the book are rather weak and confused by the way their world has come unglued, but fortunately for them, both Ma Joad and her son, the ex-convict, Tom, are made of sterling stuff and though they never are able to find a really good situation for the family, they keep their heads and manage to move the rest of the family along, keeping them from wallowing fatally and forever in the latest catastrophe to hit the family.

I found Steinbeck most powerful in the chapters that did not deal with the Joad story directly – the ones where he spoke of how things were – chapters that had a clear non-fiction cast to them. It was very easy to see how the Unions came to be; they had to come into being, or else who knows what kind of awful things might have happened – revolution, mass starvation and other things too horrible to think about. The only thing I wonder about is how the Unions have come to be in the sorry condition that they are in the present time. I wonder, as I have for some time, if they will ever recover and after reading this book, I have to think that they have to or else things might slip backward.

The end of the book did seem a little disjointed to me – as if Steinbeck did not know exactly how to end it. For me, that last scene with Rose of Sharon and the starving man was of the – “What?! Where the hell did that come from?” variety. But perhaps it has some great ‘significance’ that I missed. However, I suspect that even if it did have some great meaning that I did not get, I still would not have liked it very well.

Still, over all, a very good book and one I should have read a long, long time ago.

Begun on January 7th at 12:26 PM
Finished on January 11th at 10:17 PM

Four Stars
502 pages

I found one book within this book - The Winning of Barbara Worth (by Harold Bell Wright) - a book I've never heard of before. I don't know exactly where I'm going with this - whether I mean to actually read the books that I find or not. I'm thinking perhaps not, as the only book I've found so far in Midnight's Children is The Qur'an and I don't know when I'd ever get that done, if I decided to read everything I find. We'll see. It isn't as if it's anything I have to decide right now.

Edited, because apparently I can't count - this was NOT book number 4, no matter how much how much I want it to be.

Jan 14, 2011, 1:54am Top

#44: I need to get to The Grapes of Wrath too. I found my copy yesterday while I was working in my library.

Jan 15, 2011, 7:42am Top

FANTASTIC review! Just wonderful. I love Steinbeck, loved that book -- and treat yourself to the movie when you feel up to it. Henry Fonda is a wonder. You are so right too about the descriptive bits -- that was Steinbecks best gift, I think, describing and just getting right into the core of a look and feel of a thing. I have run and thumb it!

Jan 15, 2011, 7:44am Top

Hey friend, you haven't posted it in the reviews!

Jan 15, 2011, 9:17am Top

Done, Lucy. I didn't do it before, because I wasn't sure it was good enough. I do not have a lot of confidence when it comes to reviews - I often think that when I write about books that I am just rambling and bumbling around the landscape.

Jan 15, 2011, 9:31am Top

I think you wrote a very good review Charlotte. It's always fascinating getting people's different takes on the same book—you're bound to get a different version every time. I agree with you that the vignettes as I call them, or those non-fiction chapters you mention were really great. I don't think I would have enjoyed this novel nearly as much without them, as they're a big part of what makes it so brilliant. They take away a little bit of the melodrama of the Joads and puts in into some kind of perspective.

I don't know why I just thought about it now, but here's a book that would be great as a group read. I certainly would gladly delve into it again.

btw, any time I write anything, including just casual posts, I too fell like I'm just 'rambling and bumbling around the landscape', so don't worry about it!

Jan 16, 2011, 8:29am Top

Book No. 4 - Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - I sure have been reading more Fantasy than usual in these past weeks. I like Fantasy - I just space it out a little more. But I cannot deny the order of the shelf!

I've been seeing this book on LT for literally years and in 2009 bought it at my book store on a whim. I hardly need to speak of the plot as I am sure that's been done quite throughly before. Suffice it to say, this was enjoyable urban fantasy and although I was able to tell that it was a Quest Book, I still liked it.

Am flip-flopping between 4 stars and 3.75 stars for this book, but will give it 4 because I cannot give it anything in between 4 and 3.5 here on LT

370 pages

Mansfield Park and The Masque of the Red Death were mentioned in this book. I know that I must have read TMotRD a few years ago in one of those author challenges, so if I decide to read these 'Books within Books' some day, that won't be one of them as I did not fall in love with Poe. MP is on some TBR read shelf, and I will read it in its proper time and place.

Books that came into the house since the last time:

King James VI of Scotland, I of England by Antonia Fraser
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Governess by Ruth Brandon and
The Fashionable Adventures of Joshua Craig by David Graham Phillips on Kindle

Am currently reading (in addition to everything else I am currently reading) Fanny Hill and Andersen's Fairy Tales two books, which I think, beyond being classics, have absolutely nothing in common.

Jan 16, 2011, 9:32am Top

LOL at the comment about Fanny Hill and Andersen's Fairy Tales, Charlotte!

Edited: Jan 16, 2011, 11:06am Top

Oh wow you have me chomping at the bit to do a reread of Grapes of Wrath which I read many, many years ago. If you haven't read The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan, you need to get to that Charlotte. It sparked my renewed interest in Steinbeck's book.

Jan 16, 2011, 11:12am Top

I haven't read it Bonnie, but it is on The Giant Freaking Wishlist.

Jan 16, 2011, 11:39am Top

It's on my wishlist too since Mark (msf59) recommended it to me after I'd read TGoW.

Jan 21, 2011, 6:24pm Top

I read Fanny Hill a couple of years ago and enjoyed it - I'll be interested to hear what you think of it when you've finished.

Jan 23, 2011, 8:05am Top

Book No. 5 - Fanny Hill by John Cleland - There is not one filthy word in this book. And there is barely one non-sexual scene in it. The story of young Fanny's downfall from sexual purity and rise to upper middle-class comfort is infamous, of course and earned Cleland immortality which, based on the writing he hardly deserves. Sometimes it was obvious that he realized how tedious the descriptions of Fanny's various encounters were getting to be. It is curious to think how limited is our ability to describe genitalia and the use thereof. Cleland's choice (or more likely the writing style of the 18th century) to write about sex the way in which he did gave him more nouns and adjectives than the modern writer might use, I thought, but even then, reading about the 'machines' of Fanny's different partners and the ladies' mounds and 'mangled' and suffering parts so endlessly, was tedious indeed. It was far more interesting to wonder about the staying power of this book. I can only assume it has something to do with its reputation and its being one of, if not the first, English erotic novel.

Reading it as an 18th century novel, I am able to give it 3 stars. Written at a later time, it would surely rate much lower and garner at least a 4 on the yawn scale.
224 pages

Started on 1/15/11 @4:15 PM
Finished on 1/17/11 @ 12:24 PM

Naturally there are no other books mentioned within this book - Fanny did not seem to have time for or interest in anything other than her throbbing, hungry, nether regions.

I abandoned Queen's Play by Dorothy Dunnett after two chapters. This would have been a second attempt at reading this book, but at the end of the second chapter all those reasons why I did not like this book the first time around came rushing back into my consciousness. Some day when I finally push off all of my dreadful abandoned books onto some poor unsuspecting library for resale, this one is going to be among them. Also the other two Dunnetts that I own. What was I thinking when I bought them???

Jan 23, 2011, 8:11am Top

Very enjoyable review of FH! And I have the same reaction to Dunnett..... Dun'get'ett.....in short.

Jan 23, 2011, 8:15am Top

>56 Fourpawz2: I read Fanny Hill many years ago and don't remember my thoughts on it. Your comment, though, Fanny did not seem to have time for or interest in anything other than her throbbing, hungry, nether regions made me laugh out loud.

Jan 23, 2011, 8:56am Top

Thank you! I aim to please. If it doesn't get a chuckle, it's hardly worth writing. Thinking I'm going to post it as an 'official' review. I hardly ever write a review on purpose - they just kind of happen as I'm going along.

Jan 23, 2011, 10:29am Top

#56 Definite chuckles from me on your Fanny Hill review! Duly thumbed, one to avoid I think.

Jan 23, 2011, 9:58pm Top

I gave your FH review the thumbs up too. And it's a definite pass for me.

Jan 24, 2011, 5:32am Top

I think I will pass on FH. Does not sound like my cuppa, but I loved the review, Charlotte!

Jan 24, 2011, 12:15pm Top

Thanks for the thumbs, guys. It's my first Hot Review EVER!

Jan 24, 2011, 10:51pm Top

When leaving the bowling alley tonight and with the temperature around 10 bazillion degrees below zero, I found frost on my windshield - the INSIDE of my windshield! What's up with that?

Book No. 6 - The Moonlit Cage by Linda Holeman - historical fiction concerning Darya, an Afghan girl, in the mid-19th century, who travels from pillar to post, just as prophesied by her beloved old grandmother (now deceased). She is not treated well by her father, is cursed by her father's second wife (a you-will-always-be-barren - type curse) and generally beaten and abused by her husband. She runs away and naturally, she falls in love with some Afghan/English dude who is trying to connect with his Afghan roots. Of course, he takes pity on her, gets her out of the country and into India where she is eventually carted off to England by some creepy ol' English deviant with pancreatitis in order to become his sex slave. Blah,, blah, blah. Big, big yawn.

It was pretty standard stuff that did not interest me very much.

Started 1/17/11 @ 4:46 PM
Finished 1/23/11 @ 12:28 PM

A bare Three Stars - not because of the writing, but because my interest was not piqued.
480 pages
Oh, yeah - and another thing - I think that if one is writing dialogue for 19th century people you should not have any of them use the word 'lifestyle' in conversation. Very jarring.

I am behind where I was last year in terms of book numbers, but ahead in terms of pages read.

The only book mentioned within this book was, not unsurprisingly, the Quran. (2nd mention so far this year) Much of this is undoubtedly due to the fact, also not unsurprisingly, that Darya is illiterate and the only book she is aware of is, quite naturally, the Quran.

Jan 27, 2011, 5:55pm Top

Oh, yeah - and another thing - I think that if one is writing dialogue for 19th century people you should not have any of them use the word 'lifestyle' in conversation. Very jarring.

I soo agree with that, it is very annoying if they speak completely out of their time!

Jan 28, 2011, 9:53am Top

What a hoot! Lifestyle! I don't think the concept was one that any Victorian could have wrapped a head around!

Jan 28, 2011, 11:16pm Top

#64: OK, safe to say that I can pass that one by with no hesitation whatsoever.

Jan 30, 2011, 9:35am Top

Don't have any new finished books to post here, but I want to get the books that have come into the house since last time noted here before Willie starts shoving them off the little chest of drawers next to the couch (he resents having any surface covered with anything that is not food). So they are:

Betty Zane by Zane Grey - Kindle
The Last Trail by Zane Grey - Kindle
The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst - an ER book that was quite literally 5 months in getting here. Am rather peeved about that (though appreciative of new LT expediting guy's efforts) and wonder if it would be kosher of me to delay reading and reviewing it for 5 months.
Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caudwell
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - been on my wishlist for a while
The Tsar's Dwarf by Peter H. Fogtdal - this one has been appearing on my last four or so Christmas and birthday wishlists and no one ever bought it for me, so I finally broke down and got it.
West from Appomattox by Heather Cox Richardson
Blue Latitudes by Tony Horowitz - read the recent review here on LT by ??? and really liked the sound of it
And yesterday I made a trip to my favorite indie bookstore and bought the following to make myself feel better:
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
King, Ship and Sword by Dewey Lambdin and
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier - another book that I've had on my wishlist for a while and finally caved on.

It's easier for me to by 'new' books from this bookstore for they discount the newest books by 20% and they keep a record of the purchase of one's sorta new books, the price of which, after book number thirteen, is averaged out and is then applied to your next purchase. At amazon I am always going for the used books rather than the new ones, unless it is a pre-order.

Jan 30, 2011, 10:28pm Top

Don't hold a grudge against the Parkhurst novel for too long-- I thought it was excellent! :o)

Jan 31, 2011, 3:04am Top

#68: Some nice reads there, Charlotte. I really enjoyed Ender's Game, Blue Latitudes, Remarkable Creatures and The Devil in the White City.

As far as the lateness of your ER book goes, it is still not as bad as the first one I ever received - it was almost a year late.

Jan 31, 2011, 3:11am Top

Nice list of books there, Charlotte. It reminded me that I've got Devil in the White City in my TBR Tower. I should try to read it before the year is out. *sigh* so many books, so little time.

Jan 31, 2011, 6:59am Top

Guess I should stop whining, Stasia. A year - that's so wrong. Guess I'll have to read that book beaucoup soon. *Sigh*

Hi Caroline. I understand. I so want to skip that one (and whole bunch of others) to the front of the line, but I can't. The Rule of the Shelf won't allow it. And if I don't respect the Shelf, why then all becomes chaos.

Jan 31, 2011, 7:02am Top

#72: all becomes chaos.

You have been visiting my house!

Jan 31, 2011, 7:06am Top

#73 - chuckle!

Jan 31, 2011, 12:30pm Top

>72 Fourpawz2: The Rule of the Shelf

Oh boy, I'm terrible at that. I have no control; it's The What Do I Want to Read Right Now Rule I wish I had your self control Charlotte.

Jan 31, 2011, 12:57pm Top

Maybe I could call it 'Shelf Control', Bonnie.

Too bad I don't have any when it comes to buying books.

Feb 2, 2011, 7:40am Top

Book No. 7 - The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper - This is one of those books that is a ‘classic’ for no apparent reason. I tried to read it on a curve – taking into account that Cooper came from a different time and place where rampant racism, sexism and religious prejudice were perfectly acceptable and even (I would assume, judging by Cooper's popularity in his day) commendable things. But even doing that, I cannot get around the fact that this was a bad story – mostly because the characters were so unlikeable or, in the alternative, unbelievable.

Also, for a Historical Fiction work of the French and Indian War-era, there is precious little that happens. Various characters fall into the hands of the evil Hurons (or Iroquois or Mingos – Cooper can’t seem to stick to one name), escaping and/or being released and then getting recaptured. In fact by book’s end only one major character – Deerslayer’s best friend, the Delaware warrior Chingachgook – has not fallen into their hands. Probably this aspect of the book occupies about twenty percent of the story; the rest of it is composed of a whole lot of jawboning by various characters – some of it about God, a lot of it done by Deerslayer himself, going on and on about red-men and whites and how superior whites are and how he doesn’t hold with the two mixing - marriage-wise. Also high on the list of subjects constantly revisited is how feeble-minded Hetty is (Hetty is one of the two females in the book). Myself, I could not see by any of Hetty’s actions that she was really all that afflicted. More than anything she mostly appeared to me to be a very naïve girl and that may have come from having an essentially sweet nature compounded by her having grown up in an extremely isolated environment.

There is a mystery concerning the parentage of Hetty and her impossibly beautiful sister, Judith. Cooper does give us a mysterious trunk and a whole pile of letters that ought to have given the reader a clue as to who-all the two girls’ real father was and how their late mother came to be married to (shacked up with?) the girls’ awful putative father, but it all comes to nothing.

There is something that I cannot overlook - Cooper made two huge errors that should have been quite easy for him to avoid. At one point he has the wise and crafty old Rivenoak, the Hurons’ chief, saying that ‘the humming-bird is not much larger than the bee yet its feathers are as gay as the tail of the peacock..’. This is all very well and good, but the peacock was not introduced to mainland North America (California) until 1879. Can’t imagine how old Rivenoak would know anything about the peacock’s existence, never mind how colorful its tail is.

The second big ol’ mistake Cooper made was when he has the character, Tom Warley, say - in answer to someone’s inquiring if he is going to desert all the bachelors in the regiment and get married - “I, Tom Warley, turn Benedict …?” Hey, Jimmy – you’re writing about the French and Indian War. The American Revolution and Benedict Arnold haven’t happened yet!

There are more things I could say about this book of a not very complimentary nature, but I will stop here. I can only think that back in the early-ish1800’s, when these books were written, that there weren’t very many novels being offered that concerned this time period and characters of this sort, for otherwise I cannot think how any of the Leatherstocking Tales got to be such big sellers.

I give this book 2.6 stars – mostly for Cooper’s description of the lake where all of the ‘action’ takes place.
423 pages

Started on 1/23/11 at 2:47 PM
Finished on 1/31/11 at 7 PM

The only book mentioned within this book was the Bible.

Nice to have this one off the shelf....

Feb 2, 2011, 8:22am Top

Oh, and another thing I'm not doing anymore is listening to the local and national weather clowns. I'm freaking sick of them and their 'science'. I am NOT paying attention to them anymore, nor am I listening to their 'forecasts' where the point seems to be trotting out every over-the-top adjective they know and trying to scare the crap out of the audience. 'Cuz that's all it is - entertainment (of a sort) and a bare-faced grab at ratings.

Feb 2, 2011, 11:19am Top

I studied Meteorology in college and one of my last courses was a 3 hour forecasting lab taught by a meteorologist from the National Weather Service. That year they completely goofed on a storm that dumped 2 feet of snow on the New York area instead of the 2 inches they forecast. When he came in to our next class he admitted they goofed. Meteorology is still not an exact science. I think they would rather err on the side of caution. I don't know if many of the on-air personalities have any degree to make them experts or if they just read what is given to them. They are broadcasters not forecasters.

Feb 2, 2011, 5:40pm Top

I enjoyed your review on The Deerslayer and am impressed with the fact that 1) you stuck to it (I sure as hell wouldn't have!) and 2) you were able to pick up inaccuracies such as the fact that peacocks weren't introduced to NA at the time the story takes place. Do you fact-check as you go along or do you just happen to know a whole lot about historical facts?

Feb 3, 2011, 12:49pm Top

I confess that I did not know what year the peacock came to NA - only that it was not native. (Found the year and locations online, natch.) The Benedict Arnold info was something I laready knew, naturally, and I really think that Cooper, whose own father was in the Revolution or at least of the Revolutionary era, should have known this too. Lazy, lazy, lazy!

And yes, Mamzel, I know that forecasting isn't an exact science. Mostly I just HATE the fact that they present it as if it is. And all those wild adjectives! Somebody should get those clowns under control, before they scare some poor soul to death.

Feb 3, 2011, 3:10pm Top

You're such a clever one! I wish I had a head for remembering historical facts, but it's just useless, my brain is like a sieve for those kinds of things. :-|

Feb 4, 2011, 7:02am Top

I like to think of my brain as a 'Jeopardy' brain - full of useless info that I cannot keep myself from sharing with the world. I fear that it makes me look like kind of a smarty-pants, but I can't help myself. Too bad it isn't full of something more useful - something that would have resulted in a whole bunch of money so that I could live where I want, in a house that isn't falling apart and with a car that isn't on the verge of collecting social security. *I am so shallow!*

Feb 4, 2011, 7:25am Top

#83: I have one of those 'Jeopardy' brains too, Charlotte. Tons of useless trivia contained therein :)

Feb 4, 2011, 7:46am Top

Yup, a third for that kind of brain. I may not remember to do chores or errands, and often come home only to discover I've missed half the things off my list, but ask me about a trivial event three years ago and I'll be able to recount it perfectly.

Feb 4, 2011, 10:42am Top

My friend and her daughter visited New York a couple of years ago and kept my number on speed dial in case they were picked up in the Cash Cab. Didn't happen, though. I am much better at remembering things I have read than heard.

Edited: Feb 8, 2011, 12:38am Top

Book No. 8 - Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund - is the story of Captain Ahab's (from Moby Dick) wife (duh!), both before and after her marriage to him. This book, I thought, was way too long. Really, I think that she could have lost about 200 pages and still been o.k. I have to say that I enjoyed it a lot more at the beginning than I did as it went along. Her descriptions of Una's life spent with her aunt and uncle on a lighthouse island were so lovely that it was actually some time before I realized that there is no such island. You'd think that I would have picked up on that a bit sooner than I did, given the fact that she was talking about the very town where I live, but I didn't. I was thinking how very nice she was making the place sound when suddenly it struck me that - hey - there is no such island in the harbor!
I've only read Moby Dick once and that only because you can't (or couldn't) go to school in this town and not read MD. I hated that book which is heresy I know. But that was a long time ago and I am mature now and should stop being a child about it. However, that still won't do any good in helping me assess Ahab as Naslund writes about him. In this book she tries to make him into a romantic figure and it was hard for me to square that guy with the lunatic I remember from high school.
Ahab isn't the focus of this book though - it is really about Una, (his wife) and Naslund has just tried to pack too much into her book. And the longer it goes on the more poetic-y she gets. I think that if she was going to go that route she should definitely have made it shorter. Instead she gives us a runaway slave, an abusive father, the aforementioned lighthouse island and her idyllic life there, romance, Una masquerading as a cabin boy (have I mentioned how tired I am of this ploy?), shipwreck at sea, canni... maybe I should stop. But you get the idea. There's just a lot of - stuff - in this book.
Three stars
666 pages

Started on 1/30/11 at 8:16 AM
Finished on 2/07/11 at 5:31 PM

I found tons of books, plays and poems mentioned within this book; Una is considered quite the intellectual. They are:
Iliad for Boys
The Bible
The Iliad
The Odyssey
Lyrical Ballads
Childe Harold
Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Robinson Crusoe
Pilgrim's Progress
Montaigne's Essays
The Fairie Queene
The Tempest
King Lear
Narrative of a Voyage by Abby Jane Morrell
The Sorrows of Young Werther
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning
9942::The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister
10313326::Ode to Autumn
542154::Ode to a Nightingale
997319::The Eve of St. Agnes
5114570::Ode on a Grecian Urn
5664::A Midsummer Night's Dream
19613::Sartor Resartus and
685150::Tintern Abbey

Feb 8, 2011, 12:34am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Feb 8, 2011, 5:07am Top

#87: Sorry to hear that you did not like Ahab's Wife more. I have it sitting for me waiting for me to read.

Feb 8, 2011, 6:53am Top

.. and I'm sorry back, Stasia. I hate the possibility of ruining things for other people. I did like it - pretty well - up until the point where Ahab was gone off to sea for the second time. Chapter 109. I thought Naslund left a big ol' hole there - introducing a perplexing character who she never identifies (unless she did and I just did not get it). That was around page 488. Up until that time I thought that it was about a 3.75 star book. Not bad. It was only after that that I started to get restless. But you must go ahead and read it when it rises to the top of the hole. (I picture your Black Hole as a kind of big well - filled with black, impenetrable water and books popping up to float on the top all in their turn). It took me 8 days to read - it should only take you 2 - at most. *snicker*

Feb 8, 2011, 6:56am Top

#90: Yeah, right. Two days for 500+ pages? I do not think so!

Feb 8, 2011, 8:20am Top

I can't imagine reading Moby Dick twice, just thinking about it gives me the shivers.

Edited: Feb 9, 2011, 1:48am Top

I haven't read Mody Dick :-O and may do so eventually, but I can guarantee you that I won't bother with this latest read of yours. Which is only fair considering I've been quickly scanning your wishlist and have already added a dozen books to my own WL thanks to you (was glad to notice I helped add a couple on there myself!) I'm only halfway through and have yet to look into the less familiar titles, so I'm sure there's a lot more damage ahead. Well, I can't say I didn't know what I was getting into... :-|

Feb 9, 2011, 1:23pm Top

I am so happy, Lucy, that you feel that way about MD. It makes me feel like less of a dunderhead for not liking it. They make such a big, freaking deal about that book - and I don't mean just locally where it is flat-out revered. I think I have heard that in some quarters it is considered the Great American Novel. Yuk! But, in the interest of fairness and taking into consideration the fact that I was only a silly sophomore in high school when I was forced to read it, I did put a free copy of the thing on my Kindle and maybe I will take another shot at it. Someday. Maybe.

I won't apologize for having added stuff to your WL, Ilana. Not when it comes to books. Now, of course if I sidled up to you on a street corner and whispered feverishly to you that "the first one is free" before slipping a super-good book into your hands, then I would not blame anybody for thinking poorly of me. We are, all of us, hopeless cases.

Have started Arundel by Kenneth Roberts - another Historical Fiction book from the Shelf. I'm at page 50 and can say that - so far - it is a good book with interesting characters. It takes place during the French and Indian War and I think it'll be interesting to keep The Deerslayer in mind while I'm reading so that I can see if Roberts handles his history better than Cooper did and also if he writes a better book than JFC. Arundel was published in 1930, but does not have any of the clunkiness that some older books do. You know what I mean - that awkward kind of writing that sounded o.k at the time it was written (I guess), but now sounds extremely dated.

Feb 9, 2011, 4:19pm Top

Hi There Charlotte

I also have a Jeopardy brain, but I know I'd be a deer in the headlights and would stutter along if I was on the show.

My mind doesn't remember some very important things, but it does recall silly trivia useless stuff.

I had the same reaction to Ahab's Wife as you did. I didn't finish it though.

Feb 10, 2011, 12:06pm Top

No apology needed Charlotte, I just started feeling most inadequate with my 'puny' WL when I saw the size of yours! Don't know if I aspire to catch up exactly, but chances are it'll grow exponentially soon enough.

Feb 18, 2011, 8:50am Top

I forget which Woody Allen movie it is, but isn't there one with a whole premise about the guy lying about having read MD and then it all comes back to bite him in the butt!

Melville's shorter books -- Omoo and Typee and so on are eminently readable. I loved Omoo.

Edited: Feb 19, 2011, 10:30am Top

I don't remember what Allen movie that was Lucy, but there are a number of his that I never saw, so that is not surprising.

Book No. 9 - Arundel by Kenneth Roberts - a good solid Historical Fiction novel concerned primarily with Benedict Arnold's attempt to capture Quebec City in 1775. The first part of the book takes place in Arundel, ME (which is part of present-day Kennebunk), and revolves around Steven Nason, a boy of 12, who makes a promise to a girl, Mary, to marry her just before she is abducted by a Frenchman and his Indian allies. Steven becomes obsessed with recovering Mary (he and his father try unsuccessfully to accomplish her recovery right after she is taken) and for 10 years this is the focus of his life. The rest of the book concerns Benedict Arnold and his trek through the Maine and Canadian wilderness. Stephen becomes part of the expedition, because Quebec is where Mary has been taken by her captor. The story of this expedition was amazing to me. Politics aside (as far as I can tell there was no one in Canada who wanted the Americans to 'liberate' them) - I cannot imagine that there are many modern men who would attempt what Arnold and his men did with the same level of weaponry and supplies as they had. I like all almost all kinds of Historical Fiction, but somehow I keep coming back to stories of this kind because when I find a good one, such as Arundel, I enjoy it very much.

Four stars
486 pages
Started on 2/7/11 at 7:15 PM
Finished on 2/17/11 at 5:43 PM

There were absolutely no other books mentioned in this one; these were not book-reading people.

Books new to the house since last time:
Mistress of Elgin by Susan Nagel
Cape Cod Mystery by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Louise May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by reisenharriet::Harriet Reisen
Juliet by annfortier::Anne Fortier
and my very favorite acquisition:
52106::Bride of the Rat God by Barbara Hambly - how could I not buy this book? What a magnificent title!

Feb 19, 2011, 12:06pm Top

I have owned Arundel for probably 25 years now and not read it yet. Maybe if I can locate my copy I will finally get it read :)

I like the title of the Hambly book too, Charlotte!

Edited: Feb 19, 2011, 8:57pm Top

Arundel to me will always be a tiny place up in the Laurentian mountains (about 1.5 hours North of Montreal) that is stupendously beautiful. I spent a couple of summers there as a kid and always thought it was the perfect setting for a really good, pensive kind of movie. Not sure the book is my cuppa tea, but I sure look forward to your review of Bride of the Rat God. Indeed an amazing title!

Feb 23, 2011, 7:03pm Top

My mother, for some reason, bought Arundel for me one time when I was really sick for ages -- I think because I had liked the Conrad Richter books and had also read quite a lot of Rosemary Sutcliff and Henry Treece by then..... I enjoyed, but it has this odd association with ginger ale fizzing and popping and being feverish and staring out the window at a very wintry landscape......

Oh gosh, the Phoebe Atwood Taylor book brings back another kind of summer nostalgia.... and Bride of the Rat God is one of those books just to have for the title, eh?

Feb 27, 2011, 9:23am Top

Ginger ale when you're sick - that brings back memories. I always kind of thought that drink was just plain nasty. The one thing that it was good for, when I was a kid, was that it made it possible for me to judge just how old and beyond the pale a person was. I remember being taken to various places to visit by my grandmother and occasionally by my mother; if the hostess offered me that to drink, I knew they must be about a thousand years old for all old people in those days seemed to think of ginger ale as something a child would like. Oh, how wrong they were.

Book No. 10 - The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton and finished Marion Mainwaring as Wharton did not live to finish writing the book.

“…there was an unfortunate marriage at Rio – but, luckily, the young woman died…”

This statement, made by one of the characters in The Buccaneers, pretty much describes the attitudes of the people who populate this book – American and British both – toward anyone who, in the estimation of society, does not make the grade. Everyone is in pursuit of the highest station in society that can be achieved and if the five American girls that this story revolves around can’t get anywhere in New York, then it’s off to England they go to land themselves aristocratic husbands and solid places in the upper reaches of late 19th century British society..

I kind of wish that I hadn’t found out exactly how much of the book was written by Wharton before Mainwaring took over. I think I would not have been looking for that point and then reading with the knowledge in the back of my mind from that point on. Having done this thing that I wish I had not, I was very aware of the words not being Wharton’s own and, I am afraid, I judged harshly. I don’t know … Mainwaring’s bit just seemed very romance-y to me and not worthy of the 70% or so of it that was written by Wharton. Up until that point I liked the book very much, but that last bit was kind of – meh – for me. I believe Mainwaring had Wharton’s notes on this book which I suppose must have included the way she wanted the book to end, but I can’t help thinking that she might have ended it a little differently if she had lived to write it herself.

For this reason I can only give this book a slim 3.5 stars - the Wharton portion was a solid 4
406 pages

Started 2/17/11 at 6:46 PM
Finished 2/23/11 at 5:15 PM

Books mentioned inside this book:

Classical Dictionary by John Lempriere
Faust by Goethe - I think this is the 2nd time this year I've run across this one
Lays of Ancient Rome by Thomas Babington Macaulay
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Essays by Francis Bacon

There were some other 'books' mentioned as well, but as I couldn't actually confirm that they were real books, I did not include them. They were all in the Mainwaring section of the book.

Mar 1, 2011, 7:03am Top

#102 I hadn't realised that Wharton wasn't completed by her. I've only read The Age of Innocence but have been meaning to read other Whartons for ages...

Mar 2, 2011, 4:19pm Top

I didn't realize it either, Heather - not until I picked it up to read and read the back cover. Rather silly of me, since it says 'completed by Marion Mainwaring' right on the front of it.

Am reading and enjoying a really good non-fiction selection just now, but thought today, that I would start another fiction one as well. The Law of the Shelf has mandated that I begin The Virgin in the Garden by A.S. Byatt and so far I've nearly sprained my jaw muscles with some very massive yawning. It's one of those books that has plunked me down in the middle of something that I don't quite get yet - as if I took a bus somewhere, fell asleep and got kicked off it with no idea where I am. Hope it starts to make some sense to me soon.

Mar 4, 2011, 12:41am Top

I finished the audiobook version of The House of Mirth last week, my first Edith Wharton and recognize the themes that were probably closest to what she knew from personal experience. I'm rarely tempted to read books that haven't been completed by the original authors so doubt I'll ever read this one, though I liked your review. I've got The Age of Innocence on my shelves which I plan on reading sometime this year.

By the way, I LOVE ginger-ale, but since I'm not in the habit of buying pop drinks, keep forgetting of it's existence until I'm reminded again, so will have to obtain a bottle soon. Guess that officially makes me an old person now. Already? Hmph.

Mar 4, 2011, 7:05am Top

I don't know if I would have bought the book if I'd noticed that Wharton died before she finished it, but I guess I was so carried with the book-buying moment that I must not have been paying attention. (I bought it in Boston a few years ago and I guess this country mouse was just too taken up with her trip to the big city to pay attention to small things like that.)

Just so long as you do not offer any ginger ale to children, with the expectation that they are going to be happy about it, I think you are safe from being counted among the old poop set. Ginger ale is a mature person thing, but it just grosses out young taste buds.

Edited: Mar 5, 2011, 10:03am Top

Book No 11 - The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst my ER book from last July. Finally stopped punishing the book and read it. Had to as I was awarded another ER book. Can't face owing two reviews. I really MUST stop putting in for them, but I find it difficult as I don't seem to be able to keep from taking a chance on a free book. I've posted the review and you can find it on the book's main page.

It was a nice read and I enjoyed it. I wanted to give it 3.75 stars, but did not think that it was a 4 star book so I settled on 3.5 - a strong 3.5.
312 pages
Started on 2/23/2011 at 7:57 PM
Finished on 2/27/2011 at 2:38 PM

There were no other books mentioned inside this one, which was unexpected, it being about a writer and all.

... and books that have come into the house since last time:
Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde - lent to me by my boss yesterday (I think he was cleaning out his office
The Fire Within by Chris D'Lacy
The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters by Charlotte Mosley - autographed
The Illustrious Dead by Stephan Talty
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski and
Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant - Thought this would be a bit of non-brain taxing reading for a hot day this summer

Mar 11, 2011, 11:08am Top

Book No. 12 - Forty Years on the Frontier by Granville Stuart - this was an old timer - written in the first part of the 20th century and concerning Stuart's time spent as a gold miner, merchant and cattle rancher from California to Montana. He traveled west from Iowa in the early 1850's with his father and brother to California to try his luck in the gold fields, always meaning to return home to Iowa, but somehow never managed to do it. This book was actually made up of two books and I found that I much preferred the first over the second, mostly because by the end of the second Stuart, having becoming a big cattle rancher in 1880's Montana, was displaying the predictable attitude toward the Indians of the area. Back in his time as a merchant and small time cattleman in the 1860's both he and his brother married Indian women. He does not ever say that these relationships ended and I was always wondering while reading the second part, if they were still in existence and how he squared the way he felt about Montana's Indians with the way he felt about his wife. There was no clue in this book regarding that. However I am not making an overall judgment about Stuart as I feel it would not be fair at this enormous distance from his time and place.
I liked the book for its descriptions of an era that I find interesting - the time of gold mining and the early days of settling the Montana territory and also for his descriptions of the country. There were a lot interesting stories and information about those times and places.

511 pages
Four stars for the first and 3 for the second book - so I will average it out to 3.75 for the whole book.

Started on 2/27/11 at 3:02PM
Finished on 3/11/11 at 9:53 AM

Books mentioned within this book:
The Complete Works of Shakespeare
something of Lord Byron's - don't know what exactly
The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
Napoleon and His Marshals by J.T. Headley and a
Bible written in French
Granville and his brother James rode 300 miles round trip to the Bitter Root Valley for the specific purpose of buying books from a man when they heard a rumor that books were to be had there. They paid $5 each for them, which I suppose was a pretty hefty price for the time. I can understand why they did it as they hadn't read a single book since coming to the West 8 years before.

Mar 12, 2011, 12:34am Top

I'm here, I'm here! Will be back to read your latest reviews. xx

Edited: Mar 15, 2011, 8:42am Top

Book No. 13 - The Virgin in the Garden by A.S. Byatt - guess I would call this one literary fiction. Truthfully, I almost ditched this one at page 80 - it just wasn't working for me. All those literary allusions! And it takes place in the fifties - most definitely NOT one of my favorite time periods. But not wanting to abandon another book, I soldiered on and found that it got much better. Still too loaded down with high brow references, but it was to be expected, I suppose, as it takes place in an academic setting and involves a play and the putting on thereof as well as a whole lot of people who are super self-involved and super-convinced that they are just about the most intellectual things ever.
Frederica Potter, who, as I understand it, inspired Byatt to go ahead and write three more books that follow her and her life, was the most absolutely annoying female - but then a lot of 17 year olds are. I did like that Byatt gave her a whole slew of flaws - there's hardly anything to like about her - and eventually I did find that she was interesting in a weird I-don't-really-like-you kind of way. I did like her sister Stephanie and her marriage to the physically unappealing atheist curate, Daniel was very interesting. The story involving their younger brother Marcus and his inappropriate friend Lucas, was peculiar and it was, for me the least interesting.

Am giving it 3.5 stars - would have given it more except for all of the literary posturing.
428 pages

Started on 3/2/11 at 2:32 PM
Finished on 3/13/11 at 9:23 PM

Don't think I will be actively seeking out the rest of the Frederica Potter books. Maybe if I find them for next to nothing I will buy them and read them - some day.

There are a lot of books (and other works) mentioned within this book:
Jude the Obscure
Lady Chatterly's Lover
Women in Love
Water Babies
Young Bess
History of the World and The Sceptic by Sir Walter Raleigh???
Wuthering Heights
Psychology and Alchemy by Carl Jung
The Aeneid
King Lear
Paradise Lost
The Misanthrope
The Faerie Queen
A la Recherche du Temps Perdu
The Rainbow
The Glorious Moment or How a Baby is Born
Girl's Crystals
Am not too sure that these last two are actually real books. Have never heard of them and LT doesn't seem to know them. I think that is very likely that they are fake books.

Mar 16, 2011, 7:40pm Top

I think I'll pass on that one. What's the deal again with finding books mentioned in books you're reading? I think I remember you making some sort of challenge of it, but can't remember what the challenge was.

Mar 17, 2011, 7:57am Top

It wasn't supposed to be a challenge exactly - I can't imagine myself reading Paradise Lost, for instance. I think I was just curious about what book I might find mentioned the most.

I have begun reading The Mystery of the Blue Train as promised (threatened). Seems pretty standard so far and once again it has a kind of spy-story type feel to it. I think my favorite mysteries are the kind that involve the dead body in the library and a vicar who behaves very suspiciously.

Mar 19, 2011, 7:47pm Top

#102 I read The Buccaneers last year for a book group. The copy I read was Wharton's text only, thus unfinished - everyone else in the group had read the completed version. It was strange discussing it - the others were not aware how much of what they had read was not Wharton's writing (though I believe there was a very brief synopsis/plan which she left, so the bare bones of the plot presumably are still hers).

I like your listing of books mentioned within the books you read.

And I enjoy mysteries with vicars behaving suspiciously too - especially as I am a vicar myself!

Edited: Mar 19, 2011, 10:56pm Top

Well whatever the case, I've been noticing books mentioned in books more often since I saw your mention of that. Maybe I should have started a list, but then, last thing I need is yet ANOTHER book list.

I like dead bodies in libraries, though I can never take that kind of mystery seriously (are they meant to be taken seriously to begin with?) since they'll always make me think of Clue, the game. Though I suppose Clue was based on those books to begin with...

eta: oops, just read the above more closely and noticed the mention of the vicar... funny! :-)

Edited: Mar 20, 2011, 9:56am Top

#113 - You made me chuckle, Genny.

#114 - You do seem to have a lot of lists going, Ilana. What's one more?

Book No. 14 - The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie I am happy to report was a completely satisfying read for me - the best Christie so far. There was no vicar involved here, but there was a dead body and several suspects. (That spy-story feel went away almost as soon as I mentioned it here). There was a rich American woman about to instigate divorce proceedings against her impoverished, but titled, and dreadfully unfaithful English husband, some fabulously valuable jewels, a jewel thief, a former companion recently come into an inheritance and her money-grubbing snooty relations, a greedy dancer who is no better than she should be (actually quite a lot less), a murder on a train and, of course, Monsieur Poirot. I did not guess the i.d. of the murderer, but the guilty party was on my list of suspects. This (for me) was a good one.
3.75 stars
226 pages
Started 3/15/2011 at 4:38 PM
Finished 3/18/2011 at 6:08 PM

No other books mentioned in this one.

Book No. 15 - was A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter - intended when it was written, close to the beginning of the 20th century, for young women/teenagers (it seemed to me). There were a lot of moths in this story - the heroine, Elnora, collects them. She knows everything about them - they are all over her mother's property and in the Limberlost swamp that right next door - and people pay big money (early 20th century, Indiana, big money) $1.00 apiece for the really special ones. Elnora is using the money she makes from selling moths to finance her high school education (Mom is too mean and cheap to give her any) and she hopes to go to college using her moth money.
I found it kind of interesting that Elnora's mother was so awful with her - cutting her down at every opportunity, making her wear ugly clothes, never showing her any affection - it seemed so contrary to the usual way that late Victorian mothers act in novels of this kind.
However this unusual situation could not last - Elnora is so noble and plucky - and eventually Mom is won over. Then love came along in the form of Phil and the whole thing went right down the drain - interest-wise. In fact it got down-right saccharine at the end. I was up to my ankles in sugary sentiment.
And always the moths - dead moths everywhere. Elnora and Phil out in the swamp hunting moths, and when finding an exquisite specimen making a dash for the kerosene or the gasoline so that they could kill said beautiful specimen and pin it for display. I know that Elnora could not possibly have caused any serious depletion of the moth population in the swamp all by herself, but it was a little depressing just the same. While she was bemoaning the fact that the coveted Yellow Emperor moth was so hard to come by, I was thinking about all those dead moth bodies.
Anyway, it was only so-so for me. It was the second book in a series, but I didn't know that until I was in the middle of it.
It gets 3 stars for the beginning and less from about the half-way point on.
Mine was a Kindle edition, so no page count yet.
Started 3/11/2011 at 4:56 PM
Finished 3/19/2011 at 3:16 PM

Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain was the only book mentioned. You might think that this was a little strange what with Elnora being in school or a teacher throughout, but her focus was nature and math. Hmmm - now that I think about that, that is pretty unusual for a girl of this period. Hell, it's still a little bit unusual for a girl of this period. Well - kudos to Stratton-Porter for that, but Elnora and company were still too sugary for me.

Mar 20, 2011, 10:55am Top

We all loved ginger-ale as kids, weird kids, I guess..... my daughter loves it too -- esp the super peppery/ginger ones like Reeds Extra..... go figure!

I loved the list from the Byatt....

Mar 21, 2011, 9:51am Top

Happy Birthday To You! Happy Birthday To You! Happy Birthday Dear Charlotte! Happy Birthday To You!

Mar 21, 2011, 10:36am Top

Have a great birthday, Charlotte.

Mar 21, 2011, 10:47am Top

That's a yummy looking cupcake in Msg. 117. I hope your birthday is just as colorful as that delightful frosting with sprinkles!

I can't remember if I've commented on the way you've been included the book titles mentioned in the books you read, Charlotte. I think it is brilliant! I find myself making mental notes about the ones I come across. That's quite a list in the Byatt book. I plan to read The Children's Book by her sometime this spring or summer. It's gotten mixed reviews here. Have you read it?

Mar 21, 2011, 6:07pm Top

Thanks for your good wishes, guys. Once again on this first full day of spring, we have had snow - all day. It's become a tradition for my birthday and not a very nice one. Hasn't stuck, at least not so far, but it's just there - cold, and wet and disgusting. Bleech!
No, Donna, I haven't read that one. I only have one other Byatt - Possession - and I haven't read it either. They were both given to me by my cousin many Christmases ago. I know I ought to get that one read too, but I have been avoiding them both for years. Knowing how well Byatt is regarded by the literati, for some reason, has made me not anxious to read them. And as I said, I very nearly abandoned The Virgin in the Garden pretty early on. I suppose I will get the other one read when it shows up on the shelf, but I probably won't seek it out. Obviously I am a low-brow.

Mar 21, 2011, 7:35pm Top

Happy Birthday Charlotte. We've had gobs of snow here as well today. Really looks pretty out there right now, sort of like frosting.

Mar 23, 2011, 4:17pm Top

Sorry i missed your birthday Charlotte. Hope it was a humdinger!

Mar 24, 2011, 6:53pm Top

Thanks, Ilana. It snowed some here today, but is all gone now. The crocuses were shivering, but they look ever so much better now. Is the ground showing up there, or is it still a while before that happens?

It was kind of easy to miss, Bonnie. Did not make too much of an impression (though I did get some nice gift cards and a bit of money that will be turned into books) which probably is the way I like it. The number of candles on the cake (if there'd been one) might have burned the joint down!

Book No. 16 - The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter van Tilburg Clark was excellent. Can't say enough good things about it. (Many thanks to Prop2gether a couple of years ago for the rec - it was everything she said and more.) If you haven't read this one, read it. Also, on Laurie's rec I mean to rent the movie - she says that it's every bit as good as the book. It concerns, without giving anything away, some rustled cattle, a murdered man and the reaction by the people of the town to it. There is not a wrong word or false emotion in this gem. It is going to the deserted island with me, should there ever come a need.

Five stars - at the very least
210 pages
Started 3/19/2011
Finished 3/24/2011

There were no books mentioned within this book

Mar 27, 2011, 10:38am Top

Book No. 17 - Love In A Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford was almost as good as the other book of hers that I read last year. I particularly like these two lines:

"I go (pee) in the morning and that is that.
I don't have to be let out like at dog at
"Whoever invented love ought to be shot."

So witty. So funny. I think humor is the hardest thing to write. What's funny to one person is so often un-funny to a hundred people. Am very anxious to read my non-fiction Mitford books.

Four stars
248 pages
Started on 3/24/2011 at 11:08 AM
Finished on 3/27/2011 at 7:36 AM

Books mentioned inside this book:
Mrs. Dalloway
The House of Mirth
The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen - in particular The Snow Queen, which I happen to be reading currently - weird, huh?
and these two that I don't know (does anyone else know them?)
Two Noble Lives
The Last Phase

Mar 27, 2011, 11:49am Top

Haven't heard of them either. I did listen to the House of Mirth very recently (was it this month? can't remember) and I want to read Mrs Dalloway and Dracula this year. Neat about the fairy tale, but I've found that has happened to me too once or twice.

I just realized that I had read your previous message and neglected to answer you. At this point, we're in an in-between stage. Still piles of snow in some areas, but the ground in starting to show here and there. I can't wait for the trees to start sprouting leaves, am starved for some greenery, but it looks like that might take a while yet.

Mar 27, 2011, 1:20pm Top

I believe that it was this month, Ilana, as after reading your review I bought a copy of The House of Mirth this month on my monthly idie store visit.
We don't have anything that is truly green yet - just some crocuses - although I do think or imagine that I see buds at the very tippy top of the maple trees around the neighborhood. But it might only be wishful thinking. I know that when they do leaf out it will only take a day or two before there are leaves everywhere.

March is just the most annoying month ever.

Mar 27, 2011, 8:12pm Top

I was too lazy to click back at my own list where I write what books I've read in the mont in my previous message, and just now saw that it was at the end of February. Close enough. I'm glad to see I have an influence on getting you to read (or at least procure) some great classics. Was really happy when I saw you mention that The Grapes of Wrath was one of your favourite reads for... January I think?

March sucks. I wish we could skip it altogether. Everyone seems to be felled by whatever happens to ail them after the long winter months, it's supposed to be spring, but really it's not, and over here, April is nothing but a tease. The only part of spring I like is when it's close to summer and we can finally take all the layers off, but more importantly, I'm starved for some colour! I'll post my latest painting project on my thread soon to remedy to that in the short term.

Mar 28, 2011, 1:33pm Top

I'll be looking forward to that, Ilana. I would imagine that it helps deal with all that white, white, white and dirty grey-white that you must have going on outside your window.

Mar 30, 2011, 10:42am Top

Book No. 18 - My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart was kind of 'meh' for me. I think it was supposed to be a suspense-y, romance-y kind of book, but if so, it fell flat on both scores. Takes place in Greece, circa 1958 or so. There is a hero - hunky and English - checking into his brother's death during WWII 14 years before and a girl - jilted and English - who is seeing Greece. Misunderstanding with a rented car. Touring the countryside around Delphi. Evil Greek turncoat murderer back from some Communist country - Yugoslavia, I think - to find the loot - gold and guns - that he stashed in a cave 14 years before. You get the picture. I was expecting this story to have some snappy surprise toward the end, but instead it just kind of - ended.


Three stars.
386 pages

Started 3/27/2011 at 7:45 AM
Finished 3/29/11 at 10:33 PM

One book mentioned - Oedipus Rex - kind of predictable. Have read it about 18 trillion times in school. Think I will be reading that again - never.

Edited: Mar 30, 2011, 11:03am Top

Nine Coaches Waiting is really my favorite of all the Stewart romysteries or whatever they are! I just loved that one, loved the idea that she did understand french but kept it a secret. It's one of the influences motivating me to learn languages!

March is discouraging up here too -- everyone, even all the animals (many of whom are literally starving) are fed up, exhausted etc. -- And we have a possible big snowstorm headed our way Friday. I so hope it gives us a miss, but I have a feeling we won't be so lucky. A foot. Blech.

Two Noble Lives maybe rings a bell?? But I've never heard of The Last Phase although there's an interesting touchstone of a book about Lord Curzon by Harold Nicolson popping up.

Mar 30, 2011, 11:06am Top

Julia Ward Howe and Samuel something Howe -- a biography of the pair of 'em. I'm guessing The Last Phase is the Curzon book. Although there is a Hawthorne one and a .... I forget.

Mar 30, 2011, 7:24pm Top

I think I bought Nine Coaches Waiting, used, a couple of years ago through Amazon, but the sale fell through. Maybe I should try and buy it again. Stewart has been sort of a disappointment for me in recent years. The first book of hers that I read - The Ivy Tree I remember as being so good. I still own that copy and I sort of want to read it again, but am afraid to, for fear that it really won't be that good this time. And I read The Crystal Cave last year and liked it. I have the second book in that series and plan to get the third - probably. But all these other books of hers have been just blah for me.

Hope you don't get any snow, but it doesn't look like it. We'll probably just get some rain - nice cold rain. We've been lucky this winter - December and January were really rotten, but once that ol' groundhog made his prediction things straightened right out - snow-wise. (I will never mock the groundhog again.) Down in my neck of the woods we managed to miss snowstorm after snowstorm that swept over CT, Worcester and then over Boston. It was the right little corner of MA to be in this year.

That Curzon book sounds about right, Lucy. The other one - it's hard to know. I wish I knew what my silly listing of 'books with books' means. I don't know why I'm doing it - just sort of feel compelled to it.

Mar 30, 2011, 7:34pm Top

Hi Charlotte, I've got both of those Mitford books sitting here on my shelf. I guess I will first read the The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family which I went out and bought after getting struck by Mitforditis while following Becky's thread. Anyway, I'll look forward to the Nancy Mitford books after reading your comments.

Mar 31, 2011, 8:20am Top

#132 I think the Merlin/Arthurian books of Stewart are a little different perhaps from her other work? I read and really enjoyed all the former in my teens, and have read a few of the latter recently, which have been ok (particularly in evocation of place) but not wonderful.

Mar 31, 2011, 12:43pm Top

# 134 - I agree absolutely with you, Genny, regarding the evocation of place, which I think, while excellent, really cheats the reader - unless she was assuming that the reader wanted a travel book. But then surely, she must also have known, that if the reader WANTED a travel book, she would have BOUGHT an OFFICIAL travel book.

#133 - I SO want to read my copy of that book. The Rule of the Shelf tells me that it isn't going come up for a couple of years at least, but maybe I can allow myself to subvert the Rule. A little subversion is good for you every now then, isn't it?

Mar 31, 2011, 1:52pm Top

You go girl!!!

Yeah, I feel very doomed weather-wise. The sad part is just today the robins are literally gamboling about, a few brave croccii have poked up and you can see what color they are even though they have been smart enough not to open..... our pond has turned a kind of gray green hue and doesn't just look the same as the fields and the fields are clear where the snow didn't drift. But by tomorrow it will all be undifferentiated white again......

I keep forgetting to say I love how you mention the books that are mentioned in the book you are reading. I might even adopt it...... just to see what turns up. It's revealing, in a way, as one would assume a mentioned book is, even if only in the most minor way, significant. Well, maybe, anyway.

Mar 31, 2011, 5:38pm Top

I always think that books mentioned in books are significant in the sense that they've probably been great influenced for the author, and might even be referenced in the story itself, however obliquely.

Charlotte... over here it's drab drab drab. Dirty mostly. Some brown grass is showing up all over the place. Much of it dry already, which is exciting. We still have patches of intensely disgustingly dirty snow here and there. My windows are dirty. The street where I live (close to downtown) is intensely dirty. Some students leave their garbage on the sidewalk when the bags have broken, and since there's no street cleaning in winter months, all the refuse is just sitting there.

Ok. I'll stop. I'm depressing myself, and can't be much fun to read either.

Mar 31, 2011, 6:49pm Top

The author has to at least know of the book's existence, although, in theory the book is revealing about the character who is thinking about it or reading it or whatever.....but it is an interesting intersection -- a reminder that a writer can only draw from things they have at the very least, heard of somehow or other.

Apr 1, 2011, 5:07am Top


Apr 1, 2011, 11:41am Top

I agree it's been very interesting to see the list of books mentioned within your books read. It's certainly one way the author can reveal something about characters, both by whether they read and what they read. I've noticed some writers are very keen these days to tell us what their characters are listening to as well (Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson among detective fiction writers spring to mind). I wonder if this will increase as more people are accustomed (with MP3 players etc) to having a constant soundtrack to their lives. And re books, will contemporary writers bother to tell us in what format people are enjoying their books: audio, kindle-nook, or traditional paper...

Apr 1, 2011, 12:03pm Top

I wish I'd done that with the start of Cloud Atlas -- too late now, but it would be a long and varied list -- each one appropriate to the time-frame/situation of the segment.

Apr 1, 2011, 6:09pm Top

I've been thinking I'll start doing that too. I also always find it interesting seeing your mentions here.

Apr 2, 2011, 7:53am Top

*Waving back to Stasia* - Nice to see you again, buddy!

I would think, genny, that it is very likely that writers of books in the future will have their characters reading their books in more modern ways. And I suppose it is more 'real' to let us know at every turn what people are listening to. On the subject of 'real-ness' I have noticed that up until not very long ago, characters in books never have to pee (or anything else of a potty nature). Never. They wake up, jump out of bed, and go get something to eat. Some of the modern ones prove right away that they have bathrooms by brushing their teeth, but they never have to 'go'. I am not some kind of weird bathroom voyeur, but I find it more 'real' for an author to admit, just upon occasion, that the people in his books have kidneys, colons and bladders.

Am glad to contribute to your serious love-affair with lists, Ilana. I'll be interested to see what your people are reading.

I guess, Lucy that everybody just loves Cloud Atlas. I've yet to add it to the Giant Freaking Wishlist - I guess it's too popular for me just yet.

Edited: Apr 2, 2011, 8:19am Top

...and I want to get the books that have come into the house since last time listed as they are presenting a serious tripping problem, huddled around the couch they way they are.

Hester by Paula Reed - my ER book from February that arrived the other day

Black-Lands by Belinda Bauer - saw it on somebody's thread and it sounded interesting

773696::Regeneration by Pat Barker - got this one from you, Ilana.

1848653::The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid - Had this one on the GFW for a couple of years (a TrishNYC rec) and was finally motivated by a recent review to get it

107001::Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell - almost got this free on Kindle, but I hadn't bought anywhere near my March quota (and I was looking at a lovely Penguin copy) so I bought it new - something I rarely do

11880::The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton - another one from you, Ilana

Sorcery & Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and carolinestevermer::Caroline Stevermer

10312214::The Memory Palace by bartokbarattamira::Mira Bartok - heard Bartok's interview on NPR and it sounded good. Also liked the sound of her voice; made me think of one of our title insurance reps, whom I like

2329757::The Victorian Homefront by Louse L. Stevenson

In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden - a birthday present from a friend. I just love the feel of this copy of the book. It's small and fits so nicely in my hands. This is why 'real' books should never go away.

359287::Mine Is The Night by higgsdvdlizcurtis::Liz Curtis Higgs - a pre-ordered book, the second of a two book series. Have liked her stuff very well, so I had to have this.

35372::The Hills at Home by clarknancy::Nancy Clark - read about it recently in someone's thread and it sounded good

93486::Sacred Hunger by unsworthbarry::Barry Unsworth - bought this because I was reading about some other book (can't remember which one) which was a prize-winner and this one was also up for the same prize. Wanted to see what the first book's competition was. Would be more interesting to me if I could remember what the prize winning book was.


1499548::The Terror by dansimmon::Dan Simmons - bought on Kindle using a birthday gift cert from a friend. This is the first time I've acquired a Kindle book that cost real money, i.e. more than a dollar or thereabouts. Had a hard time picking it out from my GFW because I wanted to get a book that I figured would be a here today and gone tomorrow kind of book that I would not want cluttering up the real bookshelves. It was harder than I thought it would be.

And that's it. I still have a nice chunk of birthday money to be spent and can get around to now. Some of it is pre-destined for more Kindle books (my aunt loves the idea of the technology), but the rest will be for touchable, hold in my hands, books.

edited to correct some messy mistakes and to make this more readable. Touchstones have apparently gone out for a leisurely Saturday breakfast.

Apr 2, 2011, 8:21am Top

Boy, the previous message still looks pretty vile. My apologies. I think LT does not not like my really long post.

Apr 2, 2011, 8:35am Top

I understand completely the problem with LT not liking long posts, Charlotte!

I do hope you enjoy In This House of Brede when you get to it. I loved it when i read it last year.

Apr 2, 2011, 12:19pm Top

It looks so good, Stasia. I just want to tear into it! I think I'm gonna jump it out of order and do just that - after I finish a couple of others.

Apr 2, 2011, 12:29pm Top

Oh, yeah - I want to bitch about something. I just got back from the weekly trip to the supermarket - (a trip I hate. Don't like grocery shopping at all) and I have to ask - why, why, WHY can't the butchers put out ground meats - hamburger, ground pork, etc - in amounts that weigh exactly 1 lb.???? Not. .95. Not .82. Not .74. ONE pound! How hard can it be? They have grinding machines. They have scales. Have they never READ a recipe? Don't they ever cook? I don't know about you, but my recipes call for meats of the ground variety in reasonable 1 lb., pound and a half or two lb. amounts - not the ridiculous amounts the supermarket puts them out in. If one of those butchers would ever come out from his dark little den out back, I might just grab one of them and ask him! They must be doing it on purpose - it can't be that hard to do it right!

There. End of ground meat rant.

Apr 2, 2011, 1:48pm Top

LOL @ ground meat rant. I have to agree with you about that one.

Also, I'm very happy to contribute to your book pile. :-)

The latest book I've reviewed is Matilda by Roald Dahl, and there are some great classics mentioned in that one. Didn't make a list, just included them in the body of the review itself, but that'll just have to do for this time.

I've got a couple of Elizabeth Gaskell books on my WL, as I've not read anything by her yet and indeed, didn't know about her till a few months ago. But that'll have to wait as I don't think I'll have room to fit her in until next year. Famous last words.

Apr 2, 2011, 3:31pm Top

I agree about the amounts of the meat. I would rather they be a little over than under since I am cooking for a family of four. I hate having to dig around to find two packages that total the amount I need. Luckily my small local market has an absolutely terrific meat counter. If I want 1.38 pounds I can ask for and get 1.38 pounds. They also have their own smokehouse (very mouthwatering when in use)!

Apr 3, 2011, 1:10am Top

#147: Jumping it out of order sounds like a good plan to me, Charlotte!

#148: Love your rant. Although I am not a meat eater, I do have 3 in my family for whom I cook and I heartily sympathize with the problem.

Edited: Apr 3, 2011, 10:12pm Top

That was a very appropriate rant -- I have often had such thoughts as I poke through the packs for one that is approximately the right weight. 'Close enough' is usually the best I can do.

I used your what books are mentioned in yr book idea for my readathon! I gave you FULL credit too. I think folks enjoyed it.

Apr 4, 2011, 1:16pm Top

Glad to hear so many are in agreement with me re: my rant. Makes me feel less like a curmudgeon.

I am flattered, Lucy. Must track down that thread so I can see my name in lights!

Apr 4, 2011, 1:32pm Top

How funny: this discussion made me go and look to check that our packs of 'ground' meat (we call it mince meat) were in standard packs, and they are. 500g is the norm.

That's part of why I love sites like this and interacting with different people. You get such tiny glimpses into other lives and different countries. It fascinates me!

Apr 9, 2011, 9:02am Top

Book No. 19 - Sheepfarmer's Daughter by Elizabeth Moon - a nice fantasy book recommended by suslyn, I believe (thanks, suze). This was very military in flavor, which is not surprising as Moon has a military background, and much of it was taken up with the heroine, Paksenarrion, learning how to become a soldier in the mercenary company she has joined in order to avoid the marriage her father has arranged for her.

The process of turning Paks into a proper soldier is not rushed. Moon did not gift Paks with some unknown super-talent for soldiering so she had to learn the basics and had to actually fight in battles before she acquired skill. Moon does not neglect any aspect of military life; she includes the boredom, miserable marches, plundering, fear, fighting, the friendships formed among the troops - all of it. This seemed quite realistic to me, which I suppose some might say is not at all necessary in a fantasy story, but I thought it a nice touch. It gave the book an all-over flavor that reminded me of Glen Cook's Black Company books.

The magical element was low for much of this book and even when it did accelerate, it was at a nice pace. Questing was non-existant - something I appreciated.

As it turns out, Paks does have some magical 'something' about her, but she does not see it and those around her only come to see it very late in the book. I thought this was a good way for Moon to have done this - it made me want to move on to the next book for some further explanation of how or why Paks has been gifted with her 'powers'.

Four stars (Really it was only about a 3.5 or 3.7 up until the last 100 pages. The ending pushed it up considerably for me.)
506 pages

Started 3/30/11 at 6:57 AM
Finished 4/7/11 at 6:17 PM

No books of any kind mentioned in this book. Paks is a fighter not a reader and so is everyone around her.

There is talk of orcs in this book. Are orcs general fantasy creatures in fantasy writing? I had kind of always thought of them as belonging to Tolkien alone.

Apr 9, 2011, 9:36am Top

I would really like to read more of Moon's books - her Remnant Population was one I really enjoyed last year - but my local library has very few of hers, unfortunately. Oh well. Maybe one day.

Apr 9, 2011, 3:45pm Top

That one looks really, really good, Stasia. Onto the GFW it goes!
I am having the worst time spending the birthday money and gift certs. Can't make up my mind what looks the best and what should go on the kindle and what should be a physical book. Decisions, decisions! What's a Class A procrastinator to do?

Apr 9, 2011, 4:02pm Top

Fourpawz2, it looks like we've been swapping reading lists. I read Arundel and My Brother Michael last year and had the same reaction you did to both. I haven't read The buccaneers, but I read Summer by Wharton in January. I always like Wharton's writing although not always her characters. I too loved In this house of Brede when I read it, so enjoy. You also mentioned a favorite of mine earlier. If you haven't read Thus was Adonis murdered yet, you really should. It's hilarious.

Apr 9, 2011, 10:25pm Top

I'm not familiar with Elizabeth Moon. I'm curious, but not that keen on military themes. So I think I just managed to dodge a bullet! :-)

Decisions, decisions! What's a Class A procrastinator to do?

Put off the decision to another day, of course!

Free advice from one professional procrastinator to another. Don't mention it. ;-)

Apr 9, 2011, 10:29pm Top

#157: I hope you enjoy the book when you get to it, Charlotte! You could spend some of your birthday money on it. And if you need help spending any more, I am sure I can come up with other books you need :)

Apr 10, 2011, 7:15am Top

I've got Remnant Population in a holding pattern....hope to be reading it in the next couple of months.

I am crazy about Summer -- It isn't Wharton's 'best' in the literary sense, I think Lily captures that prize in The House of Mirth but I found it captivating and remarkably forward-looking. I found it to be more blunt and heartfelt somehow than any of her other books. The lack of polish makes me like it more, full of heart, I thought.

Apr 12, 2011, 10:20am Top

>155 Fourpawz2: I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Tolkien made up the word "orc" (based on one of his Elven languages, maybe?), so any fantasy writer who came after him that uses the word has borrowed the idea. Not sure where I heard that, though, so take from it what you will. :)

Apr 12, 2011, 3:22pm Top

According to Wikipedia Tolkein was the originator of the word.

Apr 18, 2011, 3:13pm Top

Book No. 20 - Hester by Paula Reed, my February Early Reviewer book. Honestly, I don't know why we need this kind of book. I am beginning to get my fill of them. Anyway, my review is here:


I give this one 3 stars
306 pages

Started on 4/7/11 at 6:22 PM
Finished on 4/16/11 at 4:02 PM

Books mentioned:
The Bible

Much better, I thought, was Book No. 21 -Winterkill by Joyce K. Walsh, a local mystery writer. I've read her Pittsley County Chronicles and really liked them. Unfortunately, I seem to be the only person on LT who has read any of them. But Winterkill is owned by four people on LT (not including me - I don't actually own this book either - it was lent to me by a friend. Really must get copies of my own someday) and one of them thought, as I did, that this book deserves 4 whole stars.
I won't go into details - you probably won't ever read this book, but if you do, you will hardly appreciate me ruining it for you. Suffice to say, there is a dead woman, her suspicious friend and a likely suspect. How it all plays out is the good part. It is a cozy-ish mystery, but it isn't your usual in the way Walsh handles it. Did Matt Carson kill Celia or didn't he and what about Maddie's choices. Is she right in suspecting him or not and did she do the right thing in trying to nail him to the wall? I really can't say anymore. I enjoyed it a lot.

Four stars
232 pages
Started on 4/16/11 at 4:06 PM
Finished on 4/17/11 at 4:51 PM

Books mentioned inside this book:
Complete Works of Shakespeare
also a couple of pretend books as one of the main characters is a writer.

I have added two new categories to my LT books - "Gone on Sabbatical" for books I've stopped reading, but mean to give another chance to - someday - and 'Recommended by someone on LT". This last category I came up with the other night when I was going through my tags and wondering how many of the books that go with them are there because somebody here recommended them. Turns out there are a lot - 258, I think. You people are very, very bad for me.

Apr 18, 2011, 6:38pm Top

I've already got a collection called "unfinished", which, thank heavens, only has a very limited number of books in it. I only started keeping track of where the recommendations for books in my WL came from after seeing you do it, and it's true I sometimes wonder how many from my WL collection are there because of other LT members... I might have to start a similar collection!

Edited: Apr 18, 2011, 6:49pm Top

Charlotte...love your rant regarding grocery store packaging.

When I lived alone I hated grocery shopping! Now, Will does this task and he enjoys it.

One day when I was in the store, my accountant mind took over and I counted

1) The fact that Iinitially put the item in the cart
2) I took the item out of the cart and put it on the belt
3) I moved it from the check out area and put it in the cart once again
4) I took it out of the cart and put it in my car
5) I took it out of my car and moved it into the house
6) I took it out of the bag and shelved the item
7) I took the item off the shelf when I used it
8) I opened the item
9 I threw the can or bag away when finished
10) I then took the remains to the garbage

Criminy Cripes...ten times to hold the same darn item.


Apr 18, 2011, 7:00pm Top

That reminds me too of something I read about being efficient with your mail -- to handle it as few times as possible saves an incredible amount of time. -- One thing I do now is take the time to sort out all the dreck at the PO where they have recycling. That gets rid of 3/4 of it most of the time....... but it's the same thing, amazing how much goes into dealing with mail. I'm not too keen on computer banking and bill-paying although I'm sure I'll crumble one of these days....

Edited: Apr 20, 2011, 12:26pm Top

#165 - Glad to be adding to your penchant for making lists, Ilana! And that new collection doesn't even take into account the things that I found in varioius libraries and threads all by myself.
I wonder how many more different ways I can slice and dice my LT library....

#166 - Linda I can cut that grocery handling list by 2 steps - I let the packer put the stuff back in the cart and about 60% of the time one of the carriage rounder-upper kids will put my bags in the car. Otherwise I am in total sympathy. I go to a small super market for the prices and for the size of the place for I do not enjoy the grocery shopping trip. I don't need 167 varieties of mustard from which to make my choices - 5 is enough for me.

#167 - Lucy, I too resisted online banking for a while, but now I appreciate the time I am saving and the checks I am not buying. I am a white-knuckle writer which makes all things that I have to write by hand take way too long. And then there's the postage. No, on-line banking is the way to go for me.

These books came into the house since last time:
Summer by Edith Wharton
The Impending Crisis by David M. Potter
Divided Allegiance by Elizabeth Moon - had to have this one as I liked Book one so much, and
Doc by Mary Doria Russell - my latest ER book.

Apr 21, 2011, 11:21pm Top

Glad to be adding to your penchant for making lists

Now if only I spent as much time actually reading as I spend doing bookish things, I'd be one heck of a well-read chickadee!

I do everything I can online. Consequently, I spend most of my time in front of my lap top, but it all seems like (and usually is) so much less hassle!

Apr 22, 2011, 9:47am Top

#155 Sheepfarmer's Daughter is on my wishlist. I've been reading one of her sci-fi series recently which has a military theme. I hadn't realised Moon had a military background herself.

Hope you enjoy Divided Allegiance.

May 4, 2011, 10:12pm Top

I've been doing online banking for so long now I can't even remember what it was like when I didn't. I'm pretty sure it was awful and time consuming. It's so much better this way.

May 11, 2011, 9:26am Top

Cant' believe how long it's been since I've been here - so neglectful.

Have only two books to report - RL getting in the way, I guess, plus the current books that I'm reading are super hefty and are taking FOREVER to read.

Book No.22 - The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee was very, very good. I was only about a quarter of the way through it when I just wanted to fling it down and hurry off to my local indie bookstore so that I could suck up all the ambience there. (And buy books of course) Also made me want to fill out an application too. However, what with gas prices and my behemoth of a car (now replaced) I stayed put and read.
I loved this book.

5 stars
216 pages

There were a zillion books mentioned in this one - naturally:

Don Quixote
The Waves by Virginia Woolf
In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
The Fierce and Beautiful World by Andrei Platonov
The Grapes of Wrath
Complete Tales of Saki
Lennon Remembers
The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by Steinbeck
Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?
Roget’s Thesaurus
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty
The Essays of E. B. White
Higglety Piggelty by Maurice Sendak
Radar Commandos
Murder by Moonlight
Mystery Under the Sea
Brighty of the Grand Canyon
Follow My Leader
Misty of Chincoteague
Treasure Island
The Silent World by Jacques Cousteau
The Tall Book of Fairy Tales
Muggings Takes Off
Volksy the Little Yellow Car
Choo-Choo the Little Switch Engine
The Teddy Bear Habit
The Strawberry Statement
The Mad Scientist’s Club
Encyclopedia Brown
The Big Book of Tricks and Projects
Cannery Row
A Farewell to Arms
East of Eden
Tortilla Flat
The Long Valley
Le Morte D’Arthur
That Printer of Udele’s
Gone With the Wind
Twenty-Five Tales of the Weird and Supernatural
A Wrinkle in Time
On the Road
To Kill a Mockingbird
Life on the Mississippi
The Book of the Dead
The Quran
The Bible
Mein Kampf
The Communist Manifesto
The Little Red Book
Epigrams by Martial
The Power of Positive Thinking
History of Booksellers by Henry Curwen
Paradise Lost
Coffee and Coffeehouses by Ralph Hattox
Venus in the Cloister
The Nun in Her Smock
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Dunciad by Alexander Pope
Poetics by Aristotle
Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
The Immense Journey by Loren Eisley
The Satanic Verses
The Trail of the Lonesome Pine
The Girl of the Limberlost
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Finnegan’s Wake
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
The Anarchist’s Cookbook
Dr. Doolittle
Huckleberry Finn
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Me ‘n Henry by Walter Swan
The Tempest
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Goodnight Moon
Battle Station
Layover in Chicago
If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers
The DaVinci Code

May 11, 2011, 9:44am Top

Whew! That took up a lot of room

Oh, and it took me just one day to read - from 4:59 PM on April 17th to 9:22 PM April 18th.

Book No. 23 - Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor was equally satisfying though a very different book, of course. It concerns the voyage of an emigrant ship from Ireland to New York during the height of the Irish famine and the people on board. There is a murderer among them - you know his identity from the get-go as well as who he is after - an impoverished, Anglo-Irish aristocrat who is traveling to NYC with his family meaning to start a new life there.
I expected a mystery, but this book was ever so much more than that - really I thought it was just straight fiction. I liked it a lot and found it a multi-layered gem. There is very little that is black or white in this book. And of course, the stories of the famine are heart-breaking.
Highly recommended.
4.5 stars
395 pages
Started on 4/23/11 at 5:25 PM
Finished on 4/26/11 at 8:18 PM

...and the books mentioned inside this one were:
Sense and Sensibility
Pride and Prejudice
The Bible
The Macdermots of Ballycloran by Anthony Trollope
Sixteen Years in the West Indies by Henry Capadose
The Grand Pacha's Cruise on the Nile in the Viceroy of Egypt's Yacht by Emmeline Lott
Evenings of a Working Man by John Overs
Wuthering Heights
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Paradise Lost
The Canterbury Tales
The Dream of the Rood
Endymion by John Keats

May 11, 2011, 9:44am Top

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May 11, 2011, 9:45am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

May 14, 2011, 2:48pm Top

I wonder if it took you longer to type all the book titles in than it took to read the book! ^^
Many of the titles were familiar but one really took me back - Misty of Chincoteague - I was born in Virginia but never had the opportunity to visit Chincoteague or Assoteague Islands.

The only remaining bookstore in my town is an indie. It's one of a small chain of stores in the North Bay and I love it. It's in a great spot. The shopping center also has a Peet's, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Target, World Market and Orchard Supply. What else could a girl ask for?

May 14, 2011, 5:58pm Top

I know, Mamzel - I kind of lost heart for the whole thing when I realized he was going to mention a LOT of books, but I breathed hard and persevered. I've got to get together some kind of master list as the titles and numbers are starting to mount up. If I'm going to draw any conclusions at the end of the year, I know I'll be wanting to get a clear look at what I did here. Whatever it was.

I remember Misty of Chincoteague from when I was a kid, even though I didn't read it. I was just nuts about horses (still am a little) and horse books were my preference. Am thinking that money was an obstacle to my reading that one. Probably ought to hunt down a copy now and correct that hole in my reading.

I agree - that's about all any girl needs. I wish in some ways that we had a Trader Joe's somewhere nearby, but then if we did, I probably go a little nuts there. Probably just as well if I stick to my little semi-super market...

May 14, 2011, 8:30pm Top

My library had a copy of Misty of Chincoteague, although Brighty of the Grand Canyon and especially Cinnabar, the One o'Clock Fox were my favorites of Henry''s books, also courtesy of the library.

I hope you continue on with the Paksenarrion series soon, as I love them dearly, and she is two/thirds of the way through the new trilogy.

Mamzel, that sounds like a shopping center one could get lost in and never want to (or need to) find one's way out.

May 15, 2011, 12:23am Top

What a great booklist up there! I tried to keep track of that in my own reading, and that lasted all of half of Jane Eyre, then I gave up because I never had paper and pen handy at the right time and didn't want to interrupt my reading either.

Star of the Sea sounds interesting. Have added it to the good ol' WL!

May 15, 2011, 3:15am Top

#172: I have got to locate my copy of The Yellow Lighted Bookshop!

May 17, 2011, 12:49pm Top

Wow two more to add to the list Charlotte. They both sound terrific. And that book list is unbelievable; Good Night Moon--how my kids loved that one.

May 18, 2011, 9:13am Top

#178 - Roni, I hope so too. Maybe Willie can be bribed into shifting some books around so that the next one rises to the top ahead of it's time.

#179 - I think you will enjoy Star of the Sea, Ilana. I heard it was good, but it exceeded my expectations and made me want to seek out more O'Connor stuff. (Note to self - need to get that done.)

# 181 - The book list was nuts, Bonnie and I apologize for not doing it up properly with all the touchstones as I should have. Never read Good Night Moon myself. I don't think my mother read much to me when I was a kid - too anxious to get back to her own reading, I guess - so I not only did I miss out on a lot of classic children's books, I have never had much inclination to read them after childhood. There is one I'd really like to get my hands on - a Tasha Tudor book whose name escapes me right now - something with pumpkin in the title.

Book No. 24 - In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. Loved this book. I found the lives led by the nuns, their problems, their different personalities - all of it - very compelling. One should not make the mistake of thinking of this as a book about religion because it completely transcends that category.

At the end when I was thinking about the number of stars I intended to assign to it, I realized something about the way I've been passing out said stars. I have decided that a really good book gets 4 and a half stars, but a book only merits 5 stars when it brings me in touch with some kind of emotion - emotion that makes it memorable (looks like I'm going to have revise the stars I've given some books) and this book was one of them.

So - for this one - five stars and a hearty recommendation.
638 pages

Started 4/26/11 at 11:22 PM
Finished 5/15/11 at 8:31 AM

Oddly enough there are no actual books mentioned in this one. There is lots of reading going on, but Godden never actually says what the names of them are.

Books into the house since last time:

The Bolter by Frances Osborne

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro - must read this one before seeing the movie

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

The Great Fortune by Olivia Manning

Cranford/Cousin Phillis by Elizabeth Gaskell - bought this at the local indie when I only went there to buy a card for my aunt for Mother's Day. Was proud of myself because I only bought one book and it cost less than six dollars.

On the Beach by Nevil Shute - have this feeling that I've read this one before, back when I was a kid, but am not sure. Bought it to make sure.

Fever Season by Barbara Hambly

Wet Grave by Barbara Hambly

Sold Down the River by Barbara Hambly

Graveyard Dust by Barbara Hambly

Dead Water by Barbara Hambly

All these Hambly books were given to me by a friend who'd been given them by her sister who has a major thing for New Orleans. She asked me if I wanted them and so of course, I snatched the bag out of her hand and assured that yes, of course I did. Hey - they're books. 'Nuff said.

The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons - my latest ER win. Am looking forward to reading this one - had pre-ordered it on amazon I am that anxious to read it. Finally, between this one and Doc, LT and I are in sync.

Sacrifice by S.J. Bolton

Am way ahead in the books acquired vs. books read area.

May 18, 2011, 1:17pm Top

I am glad you enjoyed In This House of Brede, Charlotte!

Looks like you have some more great reading ahead!

May 19, 2011, 10:12pm Top

More books, yay! :-)

May 23, 2011, 7:40am Top

House of Brede is one I've wanted to read for some time - glad you enjoyed it!

May 24, 2011, 1:52pm Top

Book No. 25 - Doc by Mary Doria Russell - a fictional version of the life of John Henry 'Doc' Holliday. Loved this book! It was an Early Reviewer book - probably the best fiction I've won. So far. Can't say enough good things about it. You need to read it. (Review written but not posted yet - I don't much like my reviews of really good books - they tend to sound kind of sappy and the better I like the book the sappier they sound. Am going to let it age a little bit and then post. Quietly. So that nobody will read it.)

5 great big stars
389 pages

Started 5/15/11 at 9:23 AM
Finished 5/21/11 at 9:20 AM

Books mentioned in this one:
The Aeneid
True History by Lucian
Crime and Punishment
Black Beauty - It was kind of funny to see Morgan Earp thinking of this one as kind a silly story - a book being written by a horse! - a book that I've taken for granted all of my life.

Book No. 26 - Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson - a children's book about the yellow-fever epidemic in 18th century Philadelphia. I thought that it was good as far as the history went, but as for Mattie, the main character, I was not fond of her at all - mostly because of her too 20th/21st century demeanor. It must be possible, I would think, to write about a girl of that century in a way that makes her interesting enough for the target audience without making her seem so very out of place to me.

3 stars (mostly for the history)
243 pages

Started on 5/21/11 at 11:16 AM
Finished on 5/21/11 at 5:00 PM

No books mentioned in this one - Mattie was too busy trying to stay alive to read anything.

Book No. 27 - The Giver by Lois Lowry - another YA/chidren's book (I never know what the age cutoff is for these categories) and much, much better than the last. No need even to summarize as I think it's been done and done and done.
I thought it was extremely clever and well done, but was just the littlest bit disappointed by the ending. But otherwise I thought that it was 99.9% brilliant
4.5 stars
179 pages

Started on 5/21/11 at 6:50 PM
Finished on 5/22/11 at 10:22 AM

No books here either. There are no books in this world.

Book No. 28 - The Reader by Bernhard Schlink - Another very well-known book. I wish that I hadn't seen the movie first - something I'm trying to keep from doing these days - so there were no surprises for me here. Well written, but I think, for me, this was one of those books that I will have to read a time or two more to fully appreciate.

3.75 Stars
218 pages

Started on 5/22/11 at 11:39 AM
Finished on 5/24/11 at 11:01 AM

Books mentioned in this one:
The Old Man and the Sea - I would prefer to gnaw off a foot rather than to have to read this one again
The Odyssey
Emilia Galotti
Intrigues and Love and
Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing

New Books to the house:
Ancient Appetites by Oisin McGann
On Rare Birds by Anita Albus - had to have this book after my last trip but one to my indie bookstore. Confess that I bought it through amazon - but hey! it was ten dollars less there. It looks like a really wonderful book. Hope I will not be disappointed.

May 24, 2011, 3:37pm Top

Amen to your opinion of Hemingway. If you like collecting reading lists from books and you like mysteries, try Michael Innes' Hamlet, revenge. The murder takes place during an amateur staging of Hamlet and there is much talk of literary things. If you need a copy, let me know.

May 24, 2011, 5:39pm Top

Speeding through, but just saw your comment about The Old Man and the Sea... LMAO. I read this one last year for the first time and actually LOVED it so much it made it to my list of all-time favourites. When's the last time you read it Charlotte?

Will be back to see your other comments.

Edited: May 24, 2011, 10:28pm Top

#187 - Innes is a new name to me, Beth. Am adding him to the GFW.

#188 - I think the last time I had TOMatS shoved down my throat, Ilana, was when I was in college which was a long, long time ago. I think part of the problem was that I was compelled to read it 3 times in 4 years. Also - it had the ocean and a big freaking fish in it. I HATE fish and am not too wild about the ocean. Being trapped - along with the old man - on board a small boat while a giant, dead fish was being slowly eaten by other fish seemed like my own little corner of hell.

Additionally, my resistance to Hemingway probably has something to do with my mummy issues. She insisted that I read The Sun Also Rises when I did not want to while telling me over and over again that EH was the greatest American writer ever (and thereby implying that anyone who thought differently was most likely a dim-witted moron) instead of letting me form my own opinion. Mistake.

May 25, 2011, 12:12am Top

Mummys should serve jail time for ruinous reading experiences like that. I guess I was lucky in a way NOT to go to college or take English Lit so that I was able to approach Hemingway in my good own time, when I felt ready for him. It's true his writing, because of it's apparent simplicity, is approachable at any age, but I'm glad I waited to have the maturity to fully appreciate it.

Also, re: TOMatS, I happen to LOVE the ocean and animal stories—yes, even of fish being eaten, as agonizing as that was. I guess some part of me very much identified with that experience—my life in advertising and publishing made me very much feel like a medium-sized fish being eaten alive in a shark tank.

But I would never DREAM of cramming that book—or any other—down anyone's throat. So WRONG!

p.s. I have a daddy who always tries to cram things down my throat, and no matter how potentially "good for me" those things could be, the more he insists and repeats (over and over and over and over and...etc again) that I should try something, the more I become convinced that the only way to deal with it is to RESIST. I can be very stubborn, I guess... lol

May 25, 2011, 6:55am Top

I know - what is it with that need to mould a child to your will - to try and make them into what you want them to be instead of letting them find out what it is on their own? I suppose I am lucky that I had that dig-my-feet-into-the-dirt-and-refuse-to-anywhere reaction whenever she tried to push me into what she wanted me to do - otherwise I would now be a cigarette puffing, two-fisted drinker just like mummy was - and riding for a HUGE fall, health-wise. My father was not like that at all - too bad he did not take more of a hand in the raising of me. But in the end I could not blame him - the less one had to do with her the better - especially if you didn't want to have your head handed back to you on a platter.
I suppose I should get over my Hemingway thing and try something else of his. But not the fish.
(I, too, love animal stories, but I guess I'm limited to animals with four feet and fur. Scales and fins don't seem to do it for me.)

May 26, 2011, 5:33pm Top

Have you read A Moveable Feast? I quite like that one. Have a bunch of his books on my shelves that I've yet to read so may be able to recommend others when I'm done.

May 27, 2011, 1:18am Top

I love The Giver, Charlotte, so I am glad to see you enjoyed that one. Unfortunately, I did not think the other two books in the trilogy got anywhere close to it in quality.

Jun 12, 2011, 11:13am Top

I did not know, Stasia, that that it was part of a trilogy. Don't know that I will go on to the next book.

I haven't read A Moveable Feast, Ilana. Perhaps i should. We'll see.

Book No. 29 - A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin - a re-read - approximately re-read number 3 or 4. His much awaited next book in the Ice and Fire series is due out in one month (yay!) and I wanted to refresh my recollections of I&F. Still love it.

Five Ginormous stars
1,128 pages

Started on 4/18/11 at 11:53 AM
Finished on 5/29/11 at 9:00 AM

It being fantasy there were no 'real' books mentioned in it.

Followed quickly by:

Book No. 30 - A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin - another re-read. I've only read this one once before - after it's publication back in 2005 - so it was hugely entertaining for me being as I'd forgotten a lot of the particulars. Am champing at the bit for July 12th to arrive. Should I take the 13th of July off? Am sorely tempted.

5 equally ginormous stars
684 pages

Started on 5/29/11 at 11:30 AM
Finished on 6/8/11 at 9:31 AM

Nothing but imaginary books mentioned in this one.

Book No. 31 - The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie - Thought this one was pretty lame. Started out as a murder during a twenties-era house party, which seemed promising, but then it deteriorated, IMO, by seeming to become another story involving a crime/spy syndicate made up of evil foreign characters (AC sure did seem to have a distinct animus for all things German and Russian and her Americans are laughable). I was not inclined to like the story any better after the twist was revealed. Thank goodness Miss Marple is up next. I'll have to consider forgetting about completing this task of reading all of AC in publication order if it turns out I don't like Miss M anymore.

2.75 stars
265 pages

Started on 6/8/11 at 10:02 AM
Finished on 6/10/11 at 11:52 AM

No books mentioned in this one


Book No. 32 - Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant - was a little different than I expected it to be. I thought she might get a little more humor out of having to complete her year of following Oprah's edicts and buying Oprah-approved stuff. There were a few chuckles in it and I learned a lot about the world of Oprah that I didn't know before, but it was just the teensiest bit disappointing. I think I might have enjoyed reading her blog as her project unfolded back in 2008 more than I enjoyed the book.

3 stars
257 pages

Started on 6/10/11 at 12:37 PM
Finished on 6/11/11 at 1:29 PM

Books mentioned inside this book:
Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom by Christiane Northrup
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh
Standing Tall: A Memoir of Tragedy and Triumph by C. Vivian Stringer
Audition by Barbara Walters
Inspired by Jamie Durie
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot
The Wisdom of the Desert by translated by Thomas Merton
Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Thom Filicia Style by Thom Filicia
Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou
My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor

Whew! All of these books were ones that Oprah told her viewers they ought to read. I might have missed a few.

Am now reading an ER book. Happily I will experience a slight break from ER books after my next one arrives, is read and reviewed as I did not find any of June's ER books appealing enough to put in for.

Jun 12, 2011, 11:29am Top

...and as for books new to the house, I am adding:
The Invisible Line by Daniel J. Sharfstein
A Woman of Destiny by Orson Scott Card - found it used at my indie store
The Gravedigger's Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Dark Portal by Robin Jarvis - love the cover of this one
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier - this one is on my Kindle. I bought it so that I could show my boss/friend just how easy it is to download a book on to a Kindle. She is trying to figure out which device to get her daughter for her birthday, weighing all the pros and cons and mostly just floundering, unable to decide. I don't think I helped much.

My book purchases seem to have slowed down of late - probably because for the present I have the money I spent on my replacement car on my mind. This restraint will probably pass.

Am looking forward to the big book sale in July. Will have to arrive there earlier than last year - I'm thinking at least two hours beforehand so that I can get a parking spot closer to the action. If this sale runs true to form it will be hot as hell and I will have bought 80 pounds of books. It ain't any fun hoofing that many books along the road, trying to keep from getting run over by passing motorists in 90 degree heat and 97 % humidity. I think I got a spot that was only a quarter of a mile away last year and it was on the same side of the road, but by the time I got to my car I would have killed to have been closer.

Jun 12, 2011, 3:09pm Top

That sounds like one heck of a sale. Our Friends of the Library have a good sale once a month and I usually stagger out of it with a sackful of items at about 50 cents per.

Jun 14, 2011, 5:56pm Top

I'm glad to see you're such a fan of the Game of Thrones series. I only found out about it during Fantasy February, when loads of people kept mentioning it. I was curious, but a bit put off because they're such big books (am always scared of big books, for some reason). But then I started watching the HBO series, and now I'm hooked! I purchased the first book instead of borrowing it from the library so I can take all my time getting through it. Something tells me though that once I get started I won't be able to put it down! Have you been watching the show by the way?

As for Dame Agatha Christie, I haven't read another book of hers since my re-read of And Then There Were None, which I really enjoyed. I'm wanting to move on to Miss Marple too, I think Poirot doesn't really do much for me. I haven't given myself the mandate of reading them all as you have, and was about to purchase one or two audiobooks of "Miss M" while they were on sale at Audible, but couldn't remember which ones I'd read seemingly centuries ago, nor which were are recommended. Suggestions?

I'm so envious of your book sale. I'll have to find out about local events so I can take some loot too. Mind you, tomorrow I'll swing by my favourite used book store which is always dangerous territory for me. :-)

Jun 15, 2011, 12:30am Top

I anxiously await the haul from your July booksale, Charlotte!

Jun 15, 2011, 6:41pm Top

Ilana I haven't been watching TGoT - I am apparently the only adult person in the whole of North America who does not have cable TV. But I have had the series on my Netflix list since the minute I heard about it. Am looking forward to viewing it in the distant future (figure it will probably be next spring before it comes out) though I am worried about the characters being different than the books. You know how it is - you have one picture of a character in your head and it turns out that the casting director had a completely different idea and it just wrecks everything! Peter Dinklage worried me a lot. He's very handsome and Tyrion most definitely isn't (Tyrion is probably my absolute favorite character among many, many memorable ones), but knowing what a good actor Dinklage is, I finally decided that it would not matter in the end. Who's your favorite character??

I am excited about the July book sale, too, Stasia. I drove out to Westport today (the little town - my favorite town in the whole world - where my mother's family came from) to the little gift store/ book store/teeny weeny restaurant that I like to go to, looking for a birthday present for a friend, and I had to drive right by the Friends' Meeting House where the sale will be. They had the big sign up advertising the sale next month - I was very excited to see it! That ought to be a great week - mega book purchases and then the receipt of George Martin's new book. I am DEFINITELY taking July 13th off.

Oh, and I was lucky enough to find a good present for my friend aaaand while I was there, I found the time to pop into the bookstore and came away with - SURPRISE! - another book. (I can feel my readers just sitting there - blinking - totally un-stunned with the anticlimax of that revelation.) Anyway, it was a nice little trip along the backroads of Westport, seeing all those dear places that I've loved all of my life, catching a glimpse of cows in the fields, smelling the grass and the flowers, blue sky overhead. HATED to come back to the nasty, smelly, NOISY city! *sigh*

As for Miss Marple, it's been so long since I've read any of them I couldn't say. I do remember one of them - I think it's called The Mirror Cracked from Side to Side (or maybe that was only the name of the film version) - that has always stayed with me. I don't know if it's because it's a really good one or whether I was just impressed with the plot and the 'mystery' of it all. I think it was from the 50's or 60's so I've got a long way to go (and lots and lots of H. Poirots to get past) before I'm there.

Jun 15, 2011, 10:52pm Top

What was the name of the book you picked up today?! Completely unfair doing that to your readers, don't you know?

Jun 15, 2011, 11:08pm Top

I just found out that Peter Dinklage is exactly one month older than me when I Googled him. He really is a great actor and his character is definitely one of my favourites. I also loved Lord Stark as played by Sean Bean, but unfortunately, he came to a very definite end when he got his head cut off at the end of the show on Sunday. Just one episode left, and then it's over for this season. I'm kind of glad I haven't read the book yet, which is unusual as I much prefer to read the book first when I can, but at least I can enjoy the show for what it is and not criticize it to bits along the way, and I know all along that reading the book will be satisfying on another level.

And no, you aren't the only person in the world who doesn't have cable. I have to pay obscene amounts of cash to get HBO Canada, since it's not included in the regular cable package, but has to be purchased with a package called "The Movie Channels". I hardly watch any TV at all these days, so it's kind of crazy of me to keep paying the video company their usurious fees, but HBO is so good that I figure it's worth it. Or so I tell myself, until I change my mind.

Jun 16, 2011, 7:10am Top

Oh, Ilana, you are so going to love the books when you get to the reading of them. They are most definitely the first books I will back up to take with me when it comes time to go to the deserted island (followed closely by about a bazillion more other books). I, too, am a big Sean Bean fan - have been since seeing him as Richard Sharpe many years ago on PBS. (Have you ever noticed the way you can always hear him breathing on screen? It's kind of weird and I have to concentrate on blocking that out of my consciousness whenever I watch him.) Anyway, it's too bad about Ned Stark, but believe me the surprises just keep on coming. George doesn't mind doing just awful things to his characters. It's a good thing he has so many.

I am sorry Stasia - you are right - I was being thoughtless. The book in question is This Life is in Your Hands by Melissa Coleman. I have so many books on my wishlist that I hardly ever buy something that isn't on it, but I read a couple of pages of this one in the store and the writing was so - evocative - that I had to buy it even though it cost a bunch of dough. I've got so many books in my TBR zone that I can hardly stand it. I cannot let myself start another one though without finishing what I'm reading now. Am very glad that nothing in the June ER group appealed to me, so at least I'll have a break regarding that.

Jun 16, 2011, 7:29am Top

Cool beans about the book, Charlotte! I cannot wait to see what you think of it when you are finished!

Jun 16, 2011, 3:18pm Top

Anxiously awaiting the results of the book sale...

Jun 17, 2011, 7:06am Top

I'm getting pretty excited, Bonnie. If I can just get out of the house early enough - 8:30 at the latest. I can find stuff to do while I wait. The parking spot is the key.

Interesting thing that I did not know before - the ancient Romans were terrified of lightning - not in a 'OMG I'm going to get burnt to crisp if I get hit kind of way', but in a mystical kind of way. Any place that was struck was walled off with a stone wall afterwards and any thing (or person, I think) was buried with mysterious rites. Because of this unreasoning fear they had (Unreasoning to me, that is. They thought it was a statement of disapproval from the Gods, I believe.), the campaign against the Persians in the time of the emperor Carus was broken off when Carus was struck and killed inside his tent and the whole Roman army went home. The Persians could not understand why the Romans did this; they fully expected to be defeated - crushed - by the Romans, for they knew how weak they truly were and seemingly (to them) the Romans went away for no reason. Learned this from The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire which I am still reading, slowly by steadily.

Jun 19, 2011, 12:57am Top

Thanks for sharing that, very neat. Not sure I'll read that book myself, but feel free to share any other interesting tidbits! :-)

Jun 19, 2011, 11:06am Top

I will try to share more stories as I go along. It is slow going, mostly because I really want to finish this time and don't want to overdo it and run out of ambition - again. (Have the same problem with The History of the Norman Conquest of England by E.A. Freeman - another multi volume history that I've been trying to read for years. There are plenty of good anecdotal stories in TDaFotRE - I just don't know - what with the age of this work - how many of them have since been disproven or debunked.

Book No. 33 - The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot - I started this one a long time ago and it has taken me an unconscionably long time to finish it, but that is no reflection on this book. Truthfully, I did find the portion concerning the childhood of Tom and Maggie Tulliver a teeny bit of slog, but other than that it was brilliant. Loved the Dodson sisters and their obsession with their possessions, the ongoing making of their fortunes and the superiority of their family. Ditto their spouses. Also loved the relationship between Maggie and Philip (up to a point) and was impressed that Eliot would put Philip forth as Maggie's lover (in the 19th century sense of the word). Very enlightened of her.
The end was just heart-breakingly sad - another book where, if I were a weeper, I would have been drowning in tears. Can't say enough good things about it. Super-highly recommended.
Read this book.

5 LT stars - 6.5 Fourpawz2 stars (This may be a little over the top, but I finished reading it only a little less than an hour and a half ago, so I'm still on a little high from that.)

468 pages
Started on 3/13/11 at 5:38 PM
Finished on 6/19/11 at 9:36 AM

Only one book came into the house this week - my new ER book - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. The physical book kind of stinks, but I think that will have passed by the time I get to it as I am kind of bogged down in my other ER book - The Summer Garden - which is disappointing (so far).

Jun 19, 2011, 4:53pm Top

Charlotte--Am very interested in your opinion of the George Eliot. That one's on my reading list for sometime next mont.

Jun 19, 2011, 5:26pm Top

Hope you like it as much as I did, Beth. I am finding as I am reading Eliot's works, that I really like her style. I haven't truly bogged down in any of them. My only complaint is that there aren't very many left for me to 'discover'.

I must have been very excited by TMotF, because I completely forgot to note the books mentioned inside this book, which were:

The Aeneid
The Bible
Pug's Tour Through Europe
The Spectator by Joseph Addison
Rasselas by Samuel Johnson
A Father's Letters to his Daughters by Dr. John Gregory
Christian Year by John Keble
Thomas a Kempis by ???
The Pirate by Frederick Marryat
Life of Cowper by Robert Southey

Jun 19, 2011, 5:29pm Top

How did I lose you? Oh, my, but I'm sorry! I purchased a copy of The Mill on the Floss and hope to read it soon.

All the best to you. And, I promise to regularly visit here.

Jun 20, 2011, 7:22am Top

I loved Mill on the Floss -- that might have been the 'breakthrough' Eliot for me..... after that I reread Tess of the D'urbervilles and Silas Marner, loved them, and just recently reread Middlemarch here with a group and had a marvelous time. I haven't read any others (unless I'm forgetting something) so I would be game to read any of them with other folks!

Jun 20, 2011, 9:32am Top

Have you read Daniel Deronda Charlotte? I picked that up after loving Middlemarch. Mill on the Floss goes onto the teetering tower.

Jun 20, 2011, 8:35pm Top

Not to worry, Linda. I haven't been exactly faithful, myself, as once again the sheer number of threads with their messages that seem to grow faster than I can count them have got me totally intimidated and unable to read most of them. Hope you doing well.

Bonnie, I have not read DD yet. I mean to get a copy of it as well as a copy of Scenes of Clerical Life. I have Adam Bede still to be read and when I have finished those three - well, I guess I am done and there will be nothing new of Eliot's to look forward to. Oh, and I have an Eliot biography to read too.

Jun 21, 2011, 10:28pm Top

Book No. 34 - The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald - This was - awful. Yes, awful, that's the word. Did not care about the poet Novalis or his courtship of Sophie, ridiculously young, uninteresting, tubercular and doomed or his family or any of the rest of it.

To the good, it was:

1) - short

2) - it was - ah - um -

Yes, it was short. That was the good part.

Won't be visiting Fitzgerald again.

There is a short, highly complimentary blurb on the cover of this book from A.S. Byatt - wonder what the hell she was on when she read TBF.

2 barely deserved stars
223 pages

Started on 6/19/11 at 11:38 AM
Finished on 6/21/11 at 6:07 PM

No mention of any books inside this waste of paper.

Have moved on to A Long, Long Way by Sebastian Barry and a furtive peek at The Shelf this evening has revealed that Persuasion will be my next classic fiction read.

Jun 23, 2011, 7:24pm Top

Wow, that's 223 pages too many, sounds like. I think you were generous with your two stars!

Jul 4, 2011, 10:36am Top

Oops - I guess I was all lathered up over The Blue Flower in a negative way because there were two books in it after all -
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and Wilhelm Meister by Goethe.

Book No. 35 - A Long, Long Way by Sebastian Barry - I was interested in this book immediately when it was revealed that the hero, Willie, was born the same year as my grandfather - 1896. Their experiences in WWI were completely different, however. Grandpa moved heaven and earth to keep from being drafted, claiming that as a RFD mail carrier, his services were vital to the town. I've always thought that a rather lame excuse, but not so much now that I've read this book. Willie Dunne, an Irishman, goes into the British army in 1914 - apparently many Irish went into the army as Willie did - expecting that that as a reward for the sons of Ireland fighting in the war, England would grant them Home Rule. Didn't happen. But what did happen to Willie was so horrible, I don't how any of those soldiers stood it. The gas attacks, life in the trenches, going over the top to fight the Germans in the ground between the trenches, body parts, friends killed, the cold, the wet, the slaughter. Maybe it wasn't noble of Grandpa, but by the time the US went into the war I'm sure he'd heard more than enough to know that his chances of coming out alive were not so very good.

Anyway, I loved this book. I kind of think that, all in all, for the soldier, this war might have been the very worst one of all in the modern era (which I loosely calculate as starting somewhere around late 17th century). Yes, there was a lot of blood letting in the American Civil War, but I think the day to day experience, the toll on the nerves as well as all the killing made it worse.

5 stars
292 pages

Started on 6/21/11 at 6:59 PM
Finished on 6/25/11 at 12:15 PM

One book mentioned inside this one:
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Jul 4, 2011, 11:04am Top

Book No. 36 - We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch - was a little hard for me to judge with regard to his take on modern African history, for I know virtually nothing about the subject. Truly, I expected this book to be exclusively about the horrible Rwandan genocide in 1994, but that only took up about half of the book. The rest was concerned with the aftermath, what has happened to Rwanda since then and the political situation in Rwanda and the surrounding nations between '94 and 1997 or so.
Strictly speaking this, I don't think, could be called a history, exactly. There was no index, which I found frustrating, and no footnotes. Possibly footnotes weren't necessary, as it seems as if most, if not all, was based on Gourevtich's personal notes and interviews with various participant-perpetrators and participant-survivors. And as with that book about Afghanistan that I read earlier in the year, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth re: humanitarian organizations. Gourevitch, like Ann Jones shows these groups as being mostly pointless and anything but helpful. (I will be on the lookout for more input on these organizations in any books that I may read in the future concerning similar situations.)

But that index - I missed that. Still, it was interesting.

3.5 stars
353 pages

Started 6/8/11 at 5:02 PM
Finished 6/29/11 at 2:47 PM

No other books mentioned inside this one.

Book No. 37 - The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick - I have been hoarding this one (can you hoard one book?) for quite a while because I knew I was going to enjoy it. Once again Chadwick has written a superlative historical fiction book based on the life of William Marshal - an English knight of the 12th century - whose unfortunate lot it was to have to deal with the ultra-dysfunctional Plantagenet family (King Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, King Richard, King John and the less well known 'Young King' - Henry who died without ever ruling). Any fan of Medieval-era Historical Fiction will love this book. I certainly did.

5 stars
545 pages

Started on 6/29/11 at 3:45 PM
Finished on 7/4/11 at 8:32 AM

No books mentioned in this one - but I did find mention of a fellow by the name of Walter Map who wrote kind of gossipy-type book about the English court that sounds pretty interesting.

Jul 4, 2011, 11:12am Top

Oh, I almost forgot - there are three books that have come into the house since the last time:

The Land of Green Ginger by Noel Langley - this was not the book I ordered (this is the second time that this has happened to me this year), but I decided not to send it back as I like the cover and it has illustrations that I kind of like, too.

Let's Kill Uncle by Rohan O'Grady and
Payback at Morning Peak by Gene Hackman - which I bought because I was curious to see if Hackman is more than an actor.

Jul 5, 2011, 6:19pm Top

Book No. 38 - Persuasion by Jane Austen - Having popped up on the TBR shelf, this was duly picked up and read and I am pleased to say that I liked it quite a bit. In fact - dare I say it - I liked it better than Pride and Prejudice. Sacrilege!!!!

Four stars
236 pages

Started on 6/29/11
Finished on 7/4/11

There were four literary works mentioned inside this book:

The Lady of the Lake
Giaour and
The Bride of Abydos

Have moved on to a YA selection that I expect (hope) will be all wrapped up before next Tuesday so I can concentrate on the new George Martin.

Jul 7, 2011, 11:51am Top

I have The Land of Green Ginger in my tbr shelves too -- one of my only unread Viragoes....

Jul 7, 2011, 11:44pm Top

I really must get to The Greatest Knight. I love well-written historical fiction.

Jul 8, 2011, 7:45am Top

You'll like it Stasia - it's superior as all of Chadwick's books are.

Well, the big book sale is tomorrow and I'm not sure I'm going. Willie has a bladder infection and between trying to shove his pills down his throat and skulking around after him finding and cleaning up various puddles of cat pee, I'm not in a very book-y mood. I'm going to be trying the 'Disguise the Nasty Medication in a Special Treat' method this afternoon. Trouble is, Willie doesn't care much for treats. Hope he will go for the people tuna fish I'm planning on buying for him. There is a persistent effluvium of cat pee in the house, or at least it seems as if there is no matter how much I work at getting rid of it. Am going to beg my fellow workers to let me know if or when I start smelling of cp myself. So far Willie hasn't peed on any books - pretty surprising given the stacks in close proximity to one of the places where he has gone most frequently (and with the most undependable aim), but so far all is good in that department at least.

Jul 8, 2011, 8:38am Top

#222: Cheers for Willie and his aim! Sorry to hear is ailing though. I hope the infection is cleared up soon - like by tomorrow, so that you can attend the big book sale. Yours is one of the threads I come to for book purchase drooling purposes, Charlotte :)

Jul 8, 2011, 12:33pm Top

I'd hate to disappoint, Stasia. Must look on the bright side and believe that he will fall for the "hide the pill (or two pills in this case) in the people-tuna" ploy. One good thing - he really put up a fight yesterday, so he must not be feeling weak with illness.

Jul 8, 2011, 4:54pm Top

I'm presently 'pilling' my cat too -- I find that having everything ready the little pill wrapped in meat or cream cheese or whatever -- and wait for when I know he is totally sleepy, the easiest 'pillings' have happened when I get it done before he wakes up fully...... it is ghastly though! I have three left......

Jul 8, 2011, 11:06pm Top

#224: Well, I hope the tuna ploy works!

Jul 9, 2011, 10:00am Top

Well, it worked not too badly. I only gave him a little bit with the pulverized pills mixed in very thoroughly. Then I spooned in some of the liquid, which is the part that he usually doesn't get because he tends to slurp that right down only to puke it right up. He approached cautiously. Sniffed. And then proceeded to lap up all of the liquid and a little of the tuna. I added more liquid, but not too much, trying to avoid the puking and most especially suspicion over my willingness to give him the precious tuna water. He licked up the additional tw. So then I sat down with him - the plate of the remaining tuna at our sides - and commenced stuffing the rest of the tuna down his throat. It worked pretty well. Any tuna that escaped was shoved right back into his mouth and at the end there was only about a 16th of teaspoon that escaped him. I smelled pretty fishy at the end and I guess Willie did too, because he spent some time washing his face and paws after all was said and done. He has not peed inappropriately so far this morning and even used the box as it was meant to be used. I am hopeful, but wishing that the next week was already done with as he has to keep taking these f***ing pills through next Friday. Time flies - except when you are medicating a cat!

May still go to the book sale later on in the day. Am waiting for the vet's office to call as they said they were going to to check on the patient. Do not want to be hollering about pee in amongst a bunch of strangers.

Jul 9, 2011, 10:14am Top

#227: Do not want to be hollering about pee in amongst a bunch of strangers.

You could always explain it is cat pee you are discussing :)

Jul 9, 2011, 12:02pm Top

Still waiting for the vet to call. Thought I'd do this while I wait.

Favorite childhood book: Gone with the Wind

What are you reading right now? Ruby Red, Aristotle’s Children, Mattimeo, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Oldtown Folks, The Secret Commonwealth of Elves and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Bad book habit: Not that I can think of

Do you have an e-reader? A Kindle. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. It just seems sort of inevitable to me. I still prefer real books by far.

Do you prefer one book at a time or several at once? Several, without a doubt. When I was much, much younger I only read one at a time, but then I had a lot more time and hardly any books.

Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? Sadly, I don’t blog. I’d like to, but fear that I really don’t have much to write about that would be entertaining to anyone but me.

Least favorite book you read this year: I was going to say Ahab’s Wife, but I guess it would really have to be The Blue Flower

Favorite book this year: Toughy. It would have to be …. Nope, can’t answer that one. I have too many books I really liked to pick a favorite.

How often do you read out of your comfort zone? I don’t have a comfort zone any more, thanks to LT.
What is your reading comfort zone? See above

Can you read on the bus? Yes. Also I can read while walking. I used to do it all the time – after getting off the bus from school and walking the last quarter mile home.

Favorite place to read: Probably the sofa in the living room. Got to replace that puppy soon.

What is your policy on book lending? No policy. I lend them and then hope, hope, hope that I get them back. To date I’ve only not gotten back 3 – 2 of them lent out to the same person. I’ve replaced one of them – Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and one of them – Pet Sematary – I don’t care if I ever see again. There are a couple of others loaned out a long time ago that I don’t consider not returned yet. Still have hopes of getting them back.

Do you ever dogear pages in your books? No! Consider that a crime along with cracking the spines of same.

Do you write notes in the margins of your books? See previous answer.

What is your favorite language to read in? English - sadly

What makes you love a book? For fiction, story, characters and how much it engages. For non-fiction it is the new things I learned and the level of interest I have thereafter
What will inspire you to recommend a book? How much I liked it.

Favorite genre: Historical fiction before LT. I still love it, but now I like almost everything else as well.

Genre you rarely read (but wish you did): I don’t think there is one. I hardly read chic lit, but have no fond wish to read more of it. My aversion to mysteries seems to be fading a little – I think.

Favorite biography: Prince of Players – the biography of Edwin Booth

Have you ever read a self-help book? No

Most inspirational book you've read this year: Can’t think of one

Favorite reading snack: Coffee and a cookie

How often do you agree with critics about a book? I read some of the NY Times reviews – usually to find out about new books - so I can’t really disagree or agree with the reviews until after I’ve read the books which happens long after – usually years afterward.

How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? Love negative reviews. Love reading a good book, but having to write the review – for me it is just to hard to write something full of praise. Undoubtedly shows what a wretched thing I am.

If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose? French – a zillion times French.

Most intimidating book you've ever read: Probably it would be Bleak House, but not as to content. It just took me so long and so many attempts before I got it done. But I did it!

Most initimidating book you're too nervous to begin: Can’t imagine being nervous about a book

Favorite poet: Doesn’t apply – not a poetry person

Favorite fictional character: Derfel from The Winter King, Enemy of God and Excalibur by Bernard Cornwell

Favorite fictional villain: Cersei Lannister from George Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series

Books I'm most likely to bring on vacation: I don’t do vacations, but if I did I think it would be something by Dewey Lambdin or maybe a old favorite like Mary’s Neck or something from the Outlander series

The longest I've gone without reading: That’s easy – from 1953 the year I was born to 1959 the year I learned to read

Name a book that could not/would not finish:Well, the most recent is The Summer Garden my current ER book which I have officially given up on as of Thursday. Still have to write a review of it.

What distracts you easily when you're reading: Strangely, it is other books. I get to thinking about one of the others that I am also reading and before I know it I stop what I am reading and go on to the other one.

Favorite film adaptation of a novel: Either Bleak House or Our Mutual Friend as done by PBS. I suppose Hollywood has or will do them too, but I would expect them to be just awful. Thought Roman Polanski did a really nice job with Tess of the D’Ubervilles, too.

Most disappointing film adaptation of a novel: I know this is heresy, but I’ve always kind of thought that Gone with the Wind was not done well. I’ve always wanted someone to do another, better one. Personally, I disliked Clark Gable so much he ruined the film for me.

The most money you've ever spent on books: At one sitting probably not more than fifty to sixty dollars. For me the dollars mount up because of the frequency with which I spend them not the amount spent on an individual book.

How often do you skim a book before reading: Don’t do that.

Do you like to keep your books organized? They seem really randomly shelved – except for the American Civil War histories and my Gabaldon, Martin and Cornwell books which are all together – but I do keep a card catalog (both books and authors) with notations as to which bookcase and shelf they are on so that makes it much easier to find what I’m looking for.

Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you've read them? I hang on to them like grim death. Have been trying to convince myself that I am not diminished any if I cull the rotten and the meh ones – ones that I will never read again – and give them away to some library or the like. Haven’t quite totally convinced myself yet, but I’m still toying with the idea.

A book that made you angry: The ones that make me angry are the ones that don’t live up to their expectations – The Summer Garden is the most recent example of that.

A book you didn't expect to like but did: I expect to like them all
A book you expected to like but didn't: A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary

Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading: Anything by George RR Martin, Bernard Cornwell or Diana Gabaldon

Jul 9, 2011, 11:35pm Top

Nice quiz answers, Charlotte!

Jul 10, 2011, 7:26am Top

Thanks, Stasia. This quiz wasn't something I could just reel off the top of my head - I actually had to think about some of the answers.

Willie update: Tuna ploy (is it a ploy if it involves personally stuffing said tuna down the patient's throat?) worked again. Inappropriate peeing down to one incident yesterday. Six more days of medication remaining - not that I'm counting or anything.

Didn't go to the Book Sale. Maybe Wednesday. It will be picked over a good deal I would think, but maybe I'll still find something.

Jul 12, 2011, 6:32am Top

Time flies - except when you are medicating a cat!

Ain't that the truth.

Hope Willie is doing better. I wish I could fix Ezra's inappropriate peeing problem with something as 'simple' as pills. We've done countless tests, and nothing comes up. The best think I've found are training pads, which seem to work, except when Ezra decides to get 'creative' and find new spots to pulverise with that awful-smelling stuff. SO annoying, as you can imagine.

Loved you quiz answers, and yes it's true that you really have to think about some of those questions. It took me much longer to do than I had expected.

Jul 12, 2011, 2:54pm Top

Sorry to hear you did not make it to the book sale, but I hope it works out for you to go on Wednesday.

Glad to hear Willie is doing better!

Jul 15, 2011, 6:25am Top

Sorry to hear Willie hadn't been well and that you didn't get to go to the book sale. Hope he continues to improve and you manage to get the tablets down him.

I also like Persuasion more than P&P :-)

Jul 15, 2011, 2:51pm Top

Since I loved the Arianna Franklin series that took place in the same period, I have added The Greatest Knight to my list of wishes. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Jul 26, 2011, 10:27pm Top

It has been a while, hasn't it? Sorry, but I've been in Westeros and only got back the other day. But more about that later.

Willie is well again - or so it appears. He had a relapse just when I finished removing all the pee-proofing pads from everywhere. He even peed on me! Nothing quite so demeaning as being peed upon. Got the prescription renewed, but had to give it up as it was getting really really ugly. He even bit me a little - not enough to draw blood, but it sure did smart! He's had a change in food (sarcastic 'yipee' goes here) and I think he will have to get a part-time job to pay for his super expensive food. But - it seems to be working and he loves the new food as evidenced by his gobbling down so much from his first bowl that he puked it right back up. If that ain't love I don't know what is.

Ilana, I did not know that Ezra has bathroom issues - I've only had one cat whose behavior in this area was a complete puzzle, i.e. did not have some medical explanation. It was maddening! Lillianne had this thing where she would just scratch the floor when she had to go and it did not make a bit of difference where she was - when she was done scratching she would just go on the spot - even if there was a litterbox three feet away from where she was. I learned to just react whenever I heard the telltale sound of her claws, running, grabbing and throwing her at the nearest litterbox. I got pretty good at sprinting for a while and I owed it all to her.

As for books:-

Book No. 39 - Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier - a YA, time-travelly story which takes place in England. In this book the ability to time-travel seems to run in families - only people with the t-t gene have this ability that starts to manifest itself once a person hits his mid-teens and then it's kind of an affliction that has to be controlled by being sent to super dull time periods where nothing terrible can happen to the one afflicted with said gene. (In the 21st century it seems that 1956 is the dullest, safest spot to be in while in the throes of time-travelling.)
This book kind of missed the mark, I thought. The opening starts in the middle of some time-travelling jaunt involving the heroine (whose name I can't quite remember, right now. I could look it up, but it hardly matters.) and her male love interest and any explanation of what that was all about is abandoned in order to explain the whole 'only one teenager in a generation in any particular family is affected by the gene' thing. The story never goes back to that opening scene. Very annoying.
Anyway, it was a disappointment and I shan't be continuing on with the series.

2.75 stars
no page count - I read it on my Kindle

started 7/4/11 at 10:22 pm
finished 7/10/11 at 9:12 am

No other books in it.

Jul 26, 2011, 10:47pm Top

Book No. 40 - Death of a Macho Man by M.C. Beaton - read this one because I was looking for something short and easy. This fit the bill. I could kind of see where things were going, but that was o.k. Entertaining enough for a hot summer day and not too hard on the brain.

3.75 stars
216 pages

started on 7/10/11 at 9:45 AM
finished on 7/10/11 at 5:07 PM

No other books mentioned inside this one

Book No. 41 - The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons - an Early Reviewer book that I was looking forward to. Sure glad I got it through LT as I would hate to have paid actual money for it. I confess I did not finish this book and probably would not have counted it in my total but for the fact that I had to review it. (see my review here: http://www.librarything.com/work/349350) . If you've been tempted to read it because you liked her first two in the series - don't. It's a stinker.

2.5 stars (subject to downward revision at a later date)
742 pages - of which I read 490

started on 6/11/11 at 4:32 PM
gave up on 7/11/11

Books mentioned inside this one:
Queen Margot
The Wings of the Dove
Complete Works of Mark Twain
The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton

Book No. 42 - A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin - where I have been for most of the last two weeks. I did not hurry and did my best to read slowly and carefully, savoring every page. What a tremendous ride! It did not disappoint and was well worth the 6 year wait. In fact I think that it might be the best of the series - so far. I cannot say enough complimentary things about it or the Ice and Fire series.

5 LT stars
10 great big Fourpawz2 stars!!!!!!
959 pages

Started on 7/12/11 at 5:27 PM
Finished 7/24/11 at 1:13 PM

Took me 38 hours 30 minutes to read it.
No real world books mentioned in it

Jul 27, 2011, 4:44am Top

Too bad The Summer Garden is so bad. I loved the first two books in the series. I guess I will not rush right out and read this one - which, actually I have not done, considering I have owned it for at least 3 years.

Jul 27, 2011, 6:51am Top

Yeah, it is a shame, Stasia. However, if you ever do read it, I will be interested to see what you think of it. How she could ruin these wonderful characters that she created, I just don't understand. I was going to re-read the second book this year, but now I think I will hold off until next year - I need time to forget TSG.

Jul 27, 2011, 6:57am Top

It seems like a couple of the other reviewers agree with you. I may just give the book away and pretend the trilogy is actually a duology :)

Jul 27, 2011, 9:53pm Top

Glad to see you here. I know I'm getting the Martin for my birthday (sunday) can't wait!!!!!

Jul 27, 2011, 10:13pm Top

Happy birthday early, Lucy. I know you'll love it. I've loaned my copy to a friend at work and I can't wait for her to finish her current read so she can get started on it and then we can whisper feverishly, while we are supposed to be working, about all the amazing stuff he did in this book.

I wonder when the next one will be published...

Aug 2, 2011, 7:12am Top

Definitely steering clear of The Summer Garden Charlotte. As for Dance with Dragons, it's already on my radar, but considering I'm only on the first book and taking my sweet time with it, might be a while before I get to it. Who knows? Maybe the next in series will have been published by then?

Aug 2, 2011, 12:26pm Top

Maybe. I am happy that there are six published Ice and Fire books now for the main and simple reason that if it takes him 6 years to churn out the next one I can be re-reading one book annually and satisfy my obsession with this series. Hopefully.

You would do well to stay far away from TSG - especially when there are so many good, good things out there to read. I am determined to buy a copy of The Bells this month (it's been on my WL for some time) and all the talk I've seen around LT re: it, has me salivating over it.

Aug 2, 2011, 1:25pm Top

I didn't realize it took him quite that long to write each book. Which makes me happy that I discovered him on the late side when there's already a bunch of books to keep me busy for a while. I'll try to read them at a pace that will allow me to stay ahead of the HBO series from now on, which means one per year too, but no faster.

As for TSG, I'm all too happy to put some books on the definite "do not read" pile, because as you say, there are so many that I don't have time to get to as it is.

I read The Bells early this year when I got an ER copy and loved it, don't know if you remember me reviewing it. Hope you enjoy when you get to it.

Aug 2, 2011, 2:36pm Top

Glad to hear Willie is better although sounds like you two have been having a tough time with all the weeing and biting!

I didn't enjoy Paullina Simons Bronze Horseman so I will be staying well away from The Summer Garden. Sorry that one was a disappointment but glad to hear the new G.R.R. Martin (or grrr martin as my husband calls him) did not disappoint.

Aug 4, 2011, 6:28pm Top

Grr Martin - I like that Heather!

I think, Ilana, that it was your review that prompted me to put it on the GFW. I am hoping that it won't be 6 more years before he finishes the next one - at least I hope not.

Book No. 43 - is an Early Reviewer book - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - kind of a YA Fantasy Time Travel story concerning a boy who's grandfather dies suddenly and horribly. The grandson goes off the deep end and is a mess for about a year, needing to go into psychoanalysis. He and his father travel to a little Welsh island where gramps spent some time as a boy after he escaped from the Nazis during WWII. He finds that the house isn't there anymore having been destroyed during a German air raid - or was it??? Enter the Time Travel element to this story. I liked this book quite well. The story was supplemented by a lot of photographs - a lot of them of real people - that Riggs has decided to designate as the portraits of a number of his characters - mostly of the 'peculiar children' referenced in the title. For some reason I found the photographs especially creepy. Though I am not a YA fan, I liked this book.

I haven't written an official review of this book. Suppose I will get around to it someday. Am intending not to put in for anymore ER books (I'm serious this time!) as I hate the obligation of a review. So, this last ER book is a good one to have ended on. I'm giving it:

3.5 stars
348 pages

Started on 7/24/11 at 2:07 PM
Finished on 7/26/11 at 6:23 PM

Took me 5 hours and 45 minutes to read it.

There were two books mentioned inside this one:
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodson Burnett, which I read last years
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Book No. 44 - Lady's Maid by Margaret Forster - a really good historical fiction selection concerning Elizabeth Barrett Browning's maid, Elizabeth 'Lily' Wilson and their long and difficult relationship. It was really good. I liked it so much that I ordered Forster's biography of EBB. I had not realized before this that the poet was such a difficult person.

Giving it 4 stars
546 pages

Started on 7/29/11 at 10:51 PM
Finished on 8/3/11 at 11:16 AM
Took me 14 hours and 35 minutes to read it.

Books from inside this one were:
Ernest Maltravers
Rob Roy
The Bible
The Book of Common Prayer
Visits and Sketches at Home and Abroad
Country Stories by Mary Russell Mitford
Jane Eyre
The Count of Monte Cristo
Mary Barton

And that's it for this thread. Going to go start a new one and will return with the link to it.

Aug 4, 2011, 6:31pm Top

Here is the link to the new thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/121642

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2011

906 members

216,374 messages


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