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I can't bear to remove this photo, now that I've actually started my 2011 reading, so it will remain, but I've made it clickable. I'll keep a running list of my completed reads in this first post, but I'm not going to do a ticker this time.
Here's a link back to my last 2010 thread, if you
My 2011 Reading:
(Titles link to my post for each book.)
MARCH (MYSTERY MONTH)
26. The Man with a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes
25. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
24. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
23. Murder Roundabout by Richard Lockridge
22. One Was a Soldier by Julia Spencer-Fleming
21. My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Many Careers in Music Leon Fleisher
20. The Rottweiler by Ruth Rendell
19. Over My Dead Body by Rex Stout
18. The Ones You Do by Daniel Woodrell
17. The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
15.-16. Under the Bright Lights and Muscle for the Wing by Daniel Woodrell
14. You Must Know Everything by Isaac Babel
13. Summer Crossing by Truman Capote
12. God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam
11. The Gates of November by Chaim Potok
10. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
9. Sundays with Sullivan by Bernie Ilson
8. West With the Night by Beryl Markham
7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
6. Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
5. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
4. I Lock My Door Upon Myself by Joyce Carol Oates
3. Moscow Excursion by P. L. Travers
2. Michael Chiarello's Bottega
1. Still Life by Louise Penny.
BOOKS IN PROGRESS, but NOT ACTIVELY READING
Borrowing this idea from my daughter, who is a smart cookie, I'm going to keep a list here of books I've begun to read and then drifted away from, so I don't entirely forget that I might want to get back to them sometime. These are not books I've given up on...those I will note as I toss 'em aside. If I return to one of these and finish it, I'll strike through the title here and add it to my finished list where it belongs.
Satan's Circus by Mike Dash (116/354) Mike wasn't dashing to the central story quickly enough, and I got distracted. I will go back and finish this one.
Travels With Myself and Another by Martha Gellhorn (62/294) Found it heavier going than I expected, and the time wasn't right. Love Gellhorn, though.
Straight on Till Morning By Mary S. Lovell (55/347) Went straight on from Beryl Markham's memoir, West With the Night, to this biography of Markham, and found it was too much too soon. I also found Lovell too inclined to speculate about her subject's feelings. Will let it rest and try again one day.
Werewolves in Their Youth by Michael Chabon (52/212) Short stories. I read two. It's by the bed, and I may stick another one in between books from time to time, although I don't think they were grabbing me very hard.
The Knife Man by Wendy Moore This was fascinating stuff---history of surgery. Can't remember what lured me away from it.
A-ha! I *knew* you couldn't resist making a thread, Linda3rd! *smooch* Glad you and Mr. Bill are here.
Thank you. Looking forward to another year of sharing reading adventures with this marvelous group.
.........and anyone who has Mr Bill holding her place...is someone I must surely keep an eye on
Mr Bill, indeed!
#9 I understand...I've spent some time in his company as well..and in the company of his characters/cohorts...in his County...
I dunno--I guess 2011 is the year I finally make Unca Billy's acquaintance--that is, if I want to hang out with you folks.
Do you want some recommendations, Joyce? I can start you off easy.
Since you have an interest in the U.S. Civil War, I recommend you start with The Unvanquished. It isn't a masterpiece, by any stretch; it may not even be a novel, strictly speaking. Most of the chapters were printed separately as magazine stories before the whole was published, so you may feel a certain lack of unity---but it is a good introduction to Faulkner's characters, his voice and his County. And it's a good story. The same is true of The Hamlet, the first novel in his Snopes trilogy. That was my introduction to Faulkner, and you see what it did for/to me! Another excellent beginning is Intruder in the Dust. If you want to plunge into the "best" of his work right away, and aren't intimidated by his infamous style, Absalom, Absalom! or Light in August would top my list.
I meandered over here after getting caught up with your 2010 thread. Always glad for the Faulkner recs. I'm not quite on "Uncle Billy" terms with him -- yet!
#14: Not one of your "intro" suggestions available on Kindle! I can get a Library of America volume with The unvanquished, The Hamlet, Absalom, Absalom, and If I Forget The, Jerusalem. BUT it may have to wait a couple of months til I work up enough hard copy orders to make the shipping worth while.
Now, my introduction to Unca Billy was Absalom, Absalom...at the tender age of 13!!! It wasn't until 10 years later that I "got" what all he was writing about...but that first experience....well, I am the way I am now, thanks to dear Unca!
Joyce, have you checked the Book Depository? Free shipping worldwide.
#18: There are several places that offer free shipping--BUT there has to be a reliable place at the receiving end! We lost our post office here, and supposedly we get mail in Dolega ( a small town about 10 miles away), but I lost one shipment of books there (fortunately just one book) about a year ago and I'm not willing to risk another.
Hi ,Terry. :-)
Hi Joyce -- long time no see! How are you? I've actually been thinking of you, as I have a friend who just took a little vacation to Panama.
As I Lay Dying is my RL book circle's January read. I'm seriously considering re-reading Sartoris, though, sooner than that. My sister and I used to call Mama "Narcissa Benbow" behind her back, an odiously snobbish character from that book.
Unfair of us, really, Mama wasn't a snob, she was an elitist. Apples, trees....
#21 Well, if your friend took a vacation any time before Christmas, he/she ran the risk of being drowned! We've had record rains here, with floods, overflowing dams, washed out roads and a bridge access over the Canal--you name it. Started to dry up about mid-December. Here, we recorded over 375 inches of rain. Yep, that's right--over 31 feet.
#20 Hi, Deborah! My review of Sanctuary concludes that it is "a powerful novel about a sorry lot of people." Faulkner claimed he wrote it as a pure pot-boiler, to prove he could give the public something that would sell. But before he published it he gave it a complete re-write, and I think it turned out to be something more than pulp fiction. Still, not one of my favorites, and unlike most of his work, not one I feel I'll re-read anytime soon.
Joyce, I forgot to mention that Intruder in the Dust is something of a mystery story, which might recommend it to you as well.
I think I'll stick with the LoA book, Linda. It doesn't have Intruder in it but 2 of the novels are on your 'hit" list! :-)
Mr. Bill? Uncle Bill? Has your trolley run off its track, woman?
Sadly for me, either Amazon can't be bothered to have MR. FAULKNER'S books digitized, or his estate is throwing a wrench at the monkey. Either way, I'm stuck at the nine I've read.
I now have a thread for the new year, just in case you're disinterested:
Thread for 2011
#26 You're just jealous 'cause we're "like this", me and Bill. *holds up two fingers very close together.* I'll write my tell-all someday.
#27 Yeah, you and how many other women??? (just kidding..one a them devils took control of the keyboard)
#26 last I heard..it's the estate that's holding up digitization..but, I don't really want to read Uncle Bill in any format but paper & ink......am i nuts? am i a snob? what?
I have diarised my William Faulkner Challenge for 2011. Will I do it this time? I don't know.
Typical of you Linda - it's still 2010 and you have 30 posts!
#30 Ah, yes...but I haven't started reading any 2011 books yet, unlike some people!
#31: And I'm still frantically trying to clean up what I've been reading in 2010, with, I'm afraid, limited success!
#33: The Serious Reading Life is not for wimps, that's for certain! :-)
>34 Joycepa: LOL! We should have bumper stickers made. Or
Bibliophiles Do It Seriously
I don't care what you all say about him, he is still a very attractive man. Was. Whatever.
Hmm. Maybe I should put a photo of Shelby Foote up on my thread. Another Mississippian and FAR sexier than Ol' Bill.
I would concur with that. Still alive too, isn't he? That's always a plus.
Foote died some years back--on his 4th wife, I think! He was known as a womanizer, shall we say, and that is so easy to believe! :-)
OK, Linda--all done! Shelby's pic is up on my 2011 thread.
FYI--Foote died in 2005 at the grand old age of 88.
Linda, I wanted to thank you for your recent recommendation of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. I finished it and thought the book was terrific.
#43 Yes, Joyce, I can easily believe that women were attracted to Shelby Foote. I was always in love with his voice.
#44 Amanda, I swore I wasn't going to engage in any 2011 threads until the new year, but I failed, didn't I? Of course, it might already be 2011 where you are---I can never do the math.
#45 Oh, good, Stasia. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
Ha ha ha! But (although not his wife), that's the death of Nelson Rockefeller. (Sorry, couldn't resist, even though there's not a literary connection, but if was great for gossip here in NYC.)
#47, #48: I am always happy to provide comic relief! Of course, I planned that, every letter of it. ;-)
Somehow I think Shelby had a bit more class than Nelson. And yes, I remember the event, Rebecca--and how they tried to sort of whitewash it while the rest of the country was howling in laughter! As I recall, it wasn't his wife-- it a "young friend."
#52, She was an "aide" and was paid a lot of money to never talk about it, but everybody knew anyway. I never knew whether it was big news in the rest of the country like it was here, since he had been the state's governor for years (although of course he briefly was vice president after Nixon resigned).
#51 Thanks for the reccie, Richard. I have not read it. And onto the infinitely unfurling list it goes.
1. Still Life by Louise Penny For my last day off of the holiday season, I did next to nothing except sit in a chair with a dog on my lap, reading this excellent series debut mystery novel. For those of you who haven't already discovered Three Pines, Quebec, and the talents of Chief Inspector Gamache, may I recommend that you give this book a try. It's a traditional whodunit, dun very well indeed. A retired schoolteacher, the beloved Jane Neal, is found dead of a wound from a hunting arrow in the woods near the village. Could it have been an accident? Why was she out walking without her dog? The entire community comes under scrutiny, and naturally, many secrets are revealed, including why Miss Neal, in all these years, had never invited a single person into any room of her home except the kitchen. Just enough red herrings, and no ultimately dishonest false clues of the sort that make a reader cranky. Surprising bits of humor, and delightfully witty banter among some of the friends in the "cast".
No book counter this year? Too much work? How about something nice like a horse running down the railroad tracks . . .
Now you cut that out! Anyone who wants to see my horse running ALONG A FENCE can still go look at my 2010 thread. It's not that it's too much work, it's just that I think I get too focused on how many and how fast, so....
Railroad tracks. They were railroad tracks.
Just don't go putting a little bunny or a birdie on those railroad tracks, OK?
Don't let them bully you. I loved your horse running along the FENCE.
Good luck this year, Linda!
By the way, is that a sheltie on your profile? I have one of my own, a three-year-old named Amory Blaine. :)
#63 Thanks, Krys. Yes, that's my Sheltie, Callie. I've owned Shelties since I was a teenager. This is the sweetest one yet.
Another one for the bus to Three Pines! Enjoy the series, Linda. It's a very comforting place to visit except for those murders.
>57 lauralkeet:: Aw, Laura. Just give in. The Louise Penny books are not great literature but very compelling to many people here, myself included.
>66 Donna828:: Donna, I think you all have convinced me. I'm not rushing out to get a Three Pines right now, but over the past year I have learned to appreciate a good mystery as a welcome break from heavier stuff. I really like the Julia Spencer-Fleming series (In the Bleak Midwinter, etc.) and have enjoyed Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie mysteries too. These are both relatively short series so I will undoubtedly turn to Three Pines at some stage!
Laura....there's a new Julia Spencer-Fleming coming out in April. I can't wait.
>68 tututhefirst:: I know! But I have 3 more to read first ... I should be OK to wait for the paperback edition.
# 69: If you have 3 more to go, then you're in for a real treat, since the 2nd to last, All Mortal Flesh, is terrific, and the last takes the series....where? :-) What I like about her is that she works hard to keep the series lively and fresh, and so far is doing an excellent job.
2. Michael Chiarello's Bottega Yes, I'm one of those people who sometimes read ccokbooks cover to cover. This one was a lot of fun. I've always enjoyed Michael Chiarello on TV; he has an easy natural way of speaking, without a lot of quirks and speech mannerisms. He writes very well too, and with a touch of self-deprecating humor that I really enjoyed. I'm not likely to cook any of these recipes, which involve elaborate, multi-step processes and a lot of ingredients not easily found in Northeast PA (I should have counted how many of them begin with "Ask your butcher to..." WHAT butcher, Michael? They're virtually extinct around here). In fact, there are only a handful of dishes that I think I might order if I were lucky enough to have a Bottega gift certificate with a plane ticket attached. But reading about them was entertaining and I recommend the book to you food junkies out there.
#71: I read cookbooks cover to cover too, Linda. Since I am a food junkie, I will see if the local library has a copy of that one. Thanks!
That one sounds like a good cookbook. I enjoy watching his TV programs as well.
*smelling salts* ok, I've read the entire thread and am au courant!
I really have to read the Penny books or I fear I'll lose my citizenship.
I know you're down there reading tonight, I can hear the pages turning up here. Started one of my Christmas books last night and it features a talking horse. Damn. Hate talking animals in books. Hope I can stick it out.
>74 tiffin:: Mr. Ed was just featured in a NYT Crossword Puzzle this week. Hilarious :)
ETA dripping sarcasm.
Oh, dear...talking animals...I know how you feel about that. I'm inclined to agree. There are exceptions, as we know, but not every author is Bulgakov.
Well, the story is taking off...it's set in a post-apocalypse world far in the future with the world's waters steadily rising and is interesting enough to get past one talking horse and one talking chipmunk (so far). Tepper usually doesn't disappoint.
a talking horse?
a talking chipmunk?
Did the author smoke a little too much funny stuff in the 1960's?
Well, she's an eco feminist, so I know we're going somewhere with all of this...just not sure where yet. ;)
#77 - I have only read one Tepper so far (name escapes me at the moment) and it was full of talking animals. Normally I would shut the book right there, but in her case there was a point to it, and it wasn't "twee" (sickly sweet) or anything, so I persevered, and it was a really good book. Interesting to hear this is a recurring theme for her.
3. Moscow Excursion by P. L. Travers I'm sure there won't be a touchstone for this one, as I seem to be the only person on LT who owns it, and it's very rare on the ground out in the used books net. I found a very nice copy at my favorite used/new bookshop last week, and was instantly intrigued. P. L. Travers, you may know, wrote the Mary Poppins books. In fact, at the time this little epistolary memoir was published, Mary Poppins was brand new. In 1933 (one assumes), P. L. Travers "bought my ticket for Russia", and embarked on a rigidly structured tour of Moscow and Leningrad, led by State Guides who she refers to as "questionable blessings", and whose version of historical events rendered those events "unrecognizable", having been "doctored by Marxism and Expediency". The book was compiled from letters written (and apparently uncensored, unless she kept her own copies) to a friend, and not originally intended for publication. Forget Brave New World; this short volume is a better read, and makes the same point about an "ideal" mechanized society. If you can find it.
#82: For some reason, I always thought P.L. Travers was male. No idea why. Anyhow, Moscow Excursion looks interesting, Linda, but as you said dashed hard to get hold of.
ETA: I checked Goodreads and it is not listed there either.
#83: Ah, Stasia--Cyrel? Has ll3rd changed her name?
Anyway, , this sounds interesting. Have to see if I can snag it on Amazon (and for how much).
#85 I'm not surprised, Stasia, as many as you visit!
As for thinking P. L. Travers was male, that's probably what the publishers wanted people to think back in the day--hence the initials, which stand for Pamela Lyndon.
Interesting interview with her in the Paris Review in 1982. She lived to be 96 years old.
Linda3rd...you are the Devil's Own, aren't you, dangling that PL Travers book in front of my drooling snout, and I can't get it anywhere!! *enters book funk*
There, there, Richard. It will give you something to quest for. There must be another copy out there somewhere.
#88: Richard, I found 7 copies available out on www.abebooks.com for you.
Not yet...I fear the Wrath of The Divine Miss a bit much to order without asking first.
The prices ranged from $10 all the way up to $125, so asking TDM is probably a good idea :)
4. I Lock My Door Upon Myself by Joyce Carol Oates Incredible triangulation of painting, poetry and narrative. Inspired by the haunting Ferdnand Khnopff painting of the same name, which takes its title from Christina Rosetti's poem, "Who Shall Deliver Me?", this novella is a layered tale that is equivalent in mastery to either of those "companion" works. It stands alone brilliantly, but when you've finished reading it, read the poem; contemplate the painting. You'll never be able to separate the three again. And you'll probably want to re- read the novella immediately, as I do. The story itself is relatively simple; a beautiful young red-headed woman married to an older man falls in love with a passing stranger---a black man with a gift for finding water. The inevitably tragic outcome of this liaison is slightly reminiscent of Ethan Frome, but richer and less "moral" in tone. 4 stars.
#96: Ditto what Joyce said! And woot! - my local library actually has it!
#98: You know, you people with libraries are really beginning to irritate me a lot! :-/
#100: Stasia, somehow it IS your fault that I don't have a library--I just haven't worked out all the details yet.
Aaagh. I'll have to check it out with Amazon, but somehow I have this feeling that I'm not going to be able to get it on Kindle. As it is, I'll have to hire the dogs out in order to pay for the books that are already coming in.
Thank you, Linda. It's hard, you know? I need all the help I can get *huge sigh*
So it's Teddy Roosevelt's fault there aren't enough libraries in Panama?
#105: Very novel idea! I must remember to use that and claim it as my original thought.
#106: Nah. Maybe that Frenchman, Bunau-Varilla. He was the real heavy in the deal.
Oh good, tiffin--an amplification of the original! Clever, clever. "It's in the way." Perfect.
Actually, these days you're lucky if you can drive over the bridges without falling in! so maybe we can blame it on the rain.
But I like the idea that the Canal is in the way, I really do.
As long as it is no longer my fault, I do not care :) Blame it on the Canal!
Interesting exercise, this. If you were born after 1950, you can find the NY Times bestseller list for the week of your birthday. Before 1950, you'll only get the list for the year.
Here's what was selling the week I was born.
Fiction 1 THE CAINE MUTINY Herman Wouk
Fiction 2 THE CRUEL SEA Nicholas Monsarrat
Fiction 3 MELVILLE GOODWIN USA, John Marquand
Fiction 4 THE PRESIDENT'S LADY Irving Stone
Fiction 5 THE END OF THE AFFAIR Graham Greene
Fiction 6 MOSES Sholem Asch
Fiction 7 FROM HERE TO ETERNITY James Jones
Fiction 8 THE WANDERER Mika Waltari
Fiction 9 THE BLESSING Nancy Mitford
Fiction 10 THE IRON MISTRESS Paul I. Wellman
Fiction 11 THE CATCHER IN THE RYE J.D. Salinger
Fiction 12 WAIT FOR THE WAGON Mary Lasswell
Fiction 13 WE FISHED ALL NIGHT Willard Motley
Fiction 14 THE FARMERS HOTEL John O'Hara
Fiction 15 THE HOLY SINNER Thomas Mann
Fiction 16 THE DUKE'S DAUGHTER Angela Thirkell
Non-Fiction 1 THE SEA AROUND US Rachel Carson
Non-Fiction 2 THE NEW YORKER 25th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM
Non-Fiction 3 THE FORRESTAL DIARIES Walter Millis and E.S. Duffield
Non-Fiction 4 A MAN CALLED PETER Catherine Marshall
Non-Fiction 5 KON-TIKI Thor Heyerdahl
Non-Fiction 6 CLOSING THE RING Winston S. Churchill
Non-Fiction 7 FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS Jesse H. Jones and Edward Angly
Non-Fiction 8 STRANGE LANDS AND FRIENDLY PEOPLES William O. Douglas
Non-Fiction 9 INCREDIBLE NEW YORK Lloyd R. Morris
Non-Fiction 10 SHOW BIZ Abel Green and Joe Laurie Jr
Non-Fiction 12 THE MEMOIRS OF HERBERT HOOVER Herbert Hoover
Non-Fiction 13 THE GREATEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN Fulton Oursler
Non-Fiction 14 WASHINGTON CONFIDENTIAL Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer
Non-Fiction 15 A FOREIGN POLICY FOR AMERICANS Robert A. Taft
Non-Fiction 16 GODSGRAVES AND SCHOLARS, C. W. Ceram
Hmmm have read 1, 2, 3, 4, 9 (hated it), 11, 16 and 1, 5. I only got a year because I'm old as dirt and I hadn't read any of them!
I was trying to add touchstones, and I crashed the whole business. I guess maybe 32 touchstones at once put a strain on the system. I recognize a lot of the titles, and even more of the authors, but the only ones I've read are The Catcher in the Rye (hated it) and A Man Called Peter (my grandmother's bookshelves were full of such stuff). And who knew Herbert Hoover wrote his memoirs? I wonder if they're worth reading. I read the first volume of William O. Douglas's autobiography (Go East, Young Man) many years ago, and as I recall, I enjoyed it very much. I should find some more of his stuff, maybe.
I read Catcher in the Rye in my teens and loved it. I picked it up a couple of years ago and couldn't get past page fifty. I must have changed over the years.
I had a copy of Kon-Tiki, but the book I enjoyed more was Aku-Aku Heyerdahl's book about Easter Island.
I would like to get a copy of The Wander. Mika Waltari wrote excellent historical fiction. The Egyptian was a best seller in 1949 and I have read that and really enjoyed it.
Ah, thank heavens there are those who view Catcher in the Rye as I did when I read it--I absolutely could NOT understand what the fuss was about!
I was born in 1937 and read Waltari's books in my early teens. we were lucky--our library had all of his books, and I loved them all. I'd forgotten about them, but intend to look them up again.
Hmm...you both know Waltari, and when I saw the name it intrigued me, because I had never heard of him but one of my favorite professional bowlers (Oh, come ON...you both knew I would have a favorite pro bowler, right?) is "The Big Finn", Mika Koivuniemi, so I thought maybe I ought to check out the author. Now I know I must!
5. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood No wonder Canada is so proud of Margaret Atwood. This was a wonderfully absorbing read, with an enigmatic main character, and lots of period detail. More after some reflection.
Yes. You must. That's an order......and no one dares disobey me ;) (well, except the guinea pig. But he's a law unto himself and falls outside the realms of my control).
Only on LT can you go from Margaret Atwood to a guinea pig without so much as drawing a breath.
You say Alias Grace is about a guinea pig? Odd name for a rodent. Maybe I'm confused.
#125 I thought she meant Margaret Atwood is now a guinea pig... ( I seriously love you guys!)
Charlie, Alias Grace would be an excellent name for a guinea pig. If I ever get one, which I won't, that's what I'd name it.
Sadly, the guinea pig isn't called Alias Grace. His name is Ralph, and he's currently having housing improvements, including the addition of a ramp to his mezzanine level.
However, I think he would be a fine character in an Atwood novel. Or any novel. He is one of the most interesting 'people' I have ever known.
6. Fatal Grace a/k/a Dead Cold by Louise Penny The second of the Three Pines series. I enjoyed it quite a lot, with reservations. The actual mystery story line was quite good---I enjoyed figuring things out, and knew "who dunnit" at least 75 pages before the end. The clues were well placed, and not overly obvious. My gripe with this series is that the references to Gamache's back story (the Arnot case) and what's going to happen because of it are just too cryptic. There's a whole paragraph near the end of the book that makes NO sense whatsoever in context, and is clearly just in there to make you want to read the next one. I don't like this... it's manipulative, and not very well done. But will I read the next one? Of course. Because I like Gamache and the little town of Three Pines.
132- I know what you mean. In later books Penny reveals (almost) all of Gamache's 'backstory' and I was SO relieved to finally understand. The cryptic references without explanations? Argh.
7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett It's 1962; things are about to get hot in Mississippi, where "our Nigras know their place", as frustrated young white women take over the reins of society from their frustrated white mothers, all of whom have taught their daughters how to behave, how to dress, and how to treat "the help". None of those lessons sit too well with Skeeter Phelan, who is too tall, with unmanageable hair and no fashion sense, who graduated from Ole Miss without a marriage proposal to go with her diploma, and who has arrived home to discover that a new maid has replaced Constantine, the black woman who raised her. No one is willing to talk about where Constantine went, or why. When Skeeter applies for a job at the local newspaper, she is given the task of writing the Jackson, Mississippi, equivalent of "Hints from Heloise". The only problem is, of course, she knows less than nothing about housekeeping. In the process of begging help from one of her friends' maids, Skeeter comes up with the dangerous and irresistible idea of collecting stories about the relationships between white women and their black maids----from the maids---and putting them together in a book. The Help is full of characters to love, and characters to despise; of observations about friendship, motherhood, social change, honesty, loyalty, hypocrisy and treachery, all woven into the most unput-down-able story I've read in some time. Highly recommended.
#137 She does. I don't think it's a spoiler to tell you that much. And although it's important to Skeeter to learn, that point is not what creates the tension throughout the novel. It's only one thread of the whole tapestry.
I have been meaning to pick this one up. Thanks for the nudge. Very good review, too.
I'd love to see this book made into a movie, with the right casting. I kept thinking of Fried Green Tomatoes while reading it; it has a similar tragic/comic flavor.
OK, Linda, just got The Help on Kindle. :-) Couldn't pass it up with a recommendation like that!
I hope you enjoy it, Joyce. I have one quibble, which I'm not sharing because it would be in the nature of a spoiler. It didn't "spoil" my enjoyment of the book overall, but it did keep me from giving it a full five stars. But hey...it's a FIRST NOVEL. Where would she go from five?
It'll be a bit before I can start it, since I'm reading some heavy-duty stuff right now, but soon, soon...
#134: I really need to get to The Help, but I checked and all four of the copies my local library has are checked out at the moment. Hopefully I can get my hands on it soon though.
8. West With the Night by Beryl Markham
Except for Michael Chiarello's cookbook, I've read only women this month. I hadn't realized it 'til just now. It has been a month of excellent reading, and West With the Night may just be the best of them all.
Raised in British East Africa, almost as free as the native children she grew up with, or the lions they hunted with spears, Beryl Markham lived a long and eventful life. She was a pioneering aviatrix, a bush pilot, a race horse trainer, and a woman for whom living was a full time activity. This memoir, written when her life was barely half over, is fairly brief. Knowing only a few bare facts about her going in, I find what she left out almost as remarkable as what she included. Although she was married three times, and had several notable affairs, neither husbands nor lovers are mentioned as such in the book at all. The reader would never know she was married even once, or that she bore a child. Nor does her friend Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) make an appearance, although Baron Bror Blixen features prominently in more than one chapter. There’s not a single anecdote about Ernest Hemingway, who in his own words, “knew her fairly well in Africa.” These omissions, however, detract not at all from the power and magic of this book. The prose is exquisite. Her outlook is so honest, natural and forthright that she went directly onto my fantasy dinner party list before I’d finished her first chapter. I don’t even care if some of it was exaggerated or embellished in the telling; it’s all “true” in the best sense of the word.
Oh how I love the book West With the Night. What a fascinating woman Beryl Markham was. I believe there was some controversy re. if she really wrote the book.
Yes, Linda. Certain people thought she was very unlikely to have written it, and that her third husband, Raoul Schumacher either ghost wrote or heavily edited it. Her biographer, Mary Lovell, disputes that fairly thoroughly in Straight on Till Morning, which I am reading now. That's another thing I don't really care about---it's a fantastic read, whoever put the words together.
I'm compiling a list of birthdays of our group members. If you haven't done so already, would you mind stopping by this thread and posting yours.
Straight On Till Morning is yet another one of my favorite books! I agree with you...I don't care if Beryl wrote the book or not..It is a remarkable story.
10. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa A beautiful novella about the simple joys of caring and understanding, set against a background of mathematical truths. A single mother takes a job as housekeeper for an elderly mathematician, whose short-term memory erases itself every 80 minutes. She and her 10-year-old son find ways to forge a very special relationship with the Professor under these unusual circumstances, while he introduces them to the exquisite beauty of the world of numbers. Highly recommended.
#147: Skipping that one!
#151: I really need to get that one read. I am glad you enjoyed it, Linda.
It won't take you long at all, Stasia. I could have done it in one sitting if I hadn't had to break for work!
And I'm so glad you recommended it. I've told my Laura she must read it, since she enjoys number-y business too.
Well! I'll be danged!
Took me forever to find this thread ... of course I got distracted x 1million along the way - then, of course, I had to read it once I got here. :)
I was so overwhelmed and confused by the 2010 - 2011 transition of threads. I lost a lot of them. :P Anyway, I have you starred now. Sorry to be so late on the scene.
I was looking for the person who was trying to gently lead me to read more of Faulkner - despite my mixed reactions so far. Was it you, Linda??? Some things I remember - some I don't. *heavy sigh* You seem to be high on this author judging by your profile... so I'm guessing it was you????
I thought the view (whose-ever it was) that starting with earlier, easier writings of Faulkner's made a whole lot of sense. So... I got Snopes from the library. Yikes! 1000+ pages of Faulkner! Can my brain live through that test of endurance? Was this the right choice? I'll try the first book of the trilogy and see what happens. Scary stuff!
It was me, indeed. I remember you saying, after reading my little pep talk, that you took Snopes from the library. It isn't necessary to read it in its entirety. The Hamlet stands alone quite well, and it is one I recommend for starters. The other two are a bit less congenial if you don't already love the man. In fact, I've read The Hamlet probably half a dozen times, The Town maybe twice, and The Mansion only once. Don't be intimidated. In fact, if you haven't started reading yet, take Snopes back and see if you can find a copy of The Hamlet by itself. The format of what you're holding in your hand can have an effect--for good or bad--on your reaction to the content.
Thanks, Linda! I will start with what I have and keep all your thoughts in mind if I get bogged down.
There's a lot to laugh at in The Hamlet, too. Much less grim than some of Faulkner's stuff.
Yo, Mommio. Curious: why don't you recommend The Reivers to people trying to get into Faulkner for the first time? That would probably be my inclination.
I'm not sure. It's a fairly straightforward story, but I think the writing is "plainer" in some of the earlier ones. He does go on a bit in The Reivers from time to time. And if I'm not mistaken you had the story pretty firmly in mind form the movie before you tackled the book, didn't you? But do feel free to make your own recommendations and justify 'em right here, if you like!
ETA: Maybe we should recommend that people see that movie as their introduction to Faulkner?
Well, I certainly saw the movie several times before I ever read the book. And there are definitely some bits where he goes on (there's a bit about a gun in a drawer that's particularly Faulknerian, if I remember rightly). I think the movie would be an excellent introduction for anyone who has a hard time seeing the humor in Faulkner. It does a great job of pulling that humor forward, so after seeing the movie, one might get the humor better in the books because one knows what kind of humor one is looking for.
I definitely caught the humor in As I Lay Dying - think I might have mentioned that before. It was uproariously incredible... why they would go through soooo much trouble for a body of someone they apparently didn't pay much mind to while she was alive. Or maybe I'm just perverted and there was no real humor - just very pathetic ??? Well, I thought it was funny. LOL
For an author I am not too positive about, this guy is haunting me. Wonder why? Maybe that is the answer to why he is so "great" (not my quote). :P I've been known to do complete turn arounds on books and authors once I understand them. We'll see.
Hmmmm still working on that Cee...
Stasia.. do read Housekeeper and Professor .. you won't be sorry..
Cee, you might like it too :)
168- Poor Stasia...we need to invent little GPS tags to put in our books so it's easier to locate them! ;) They'd be bestsellers - at least here at LT!
#169: I have so many lost books that I would spend more time tracking them down than getting any actual reading done!
11. The Gates of November by Chaim Potok
A concise history of Russia in the 20th century, told from the generational perspective of Solomon Slepak, an "Old Bolshevik", who somehow managed to avoid being purged in the Stalin years, while never giving up his dream of a perfect Communist society; and his son, Vladimir, a refusenik who suffered all the usual hardships inflicted on dissenters through the Soviet years while repeatedly being turned down for permission to emigrate to Israel. Fascinating, enlightening and highly recommended.
Our library is hosting a "Cabin Fever" reading event for the month of February. Read at least 3 books, complete little rating cards for each, and each card is an entry into a gift basket raffle. So, having already read one and a half library books this month, I decided to do the cards. I thought I'd take a copy of the Potok book out of the library too, just so it would also qualify for an entry. (The copy I read was my own.) Sadly, I find the only copy of The Gates of November in our entire county library system is "in storage". Not important that I can't use it for the drawing if I can't check it out of the library; quite important that this is a book that deserves to be read. As Potok says in his Epilogue: "Can we learn something from these chronicles about iron righteousness and rigid doctrine, about the stony heart, the sealed mind, the capricious use of law, and the tragedies that often result when theories are not adjusted to realities?" Or, to put it more succinctly, as Emma Goldman did, "If I can't dance, you can keep your revolution."
I'm checking in to let you know I've really been trying to read & like The Hamlet. Maybe I am trying too hard - or it's not the right time.
There is a lot of subtle humor which is fun. But the sentences are soooo long...ideas jump around... and the subject matter is not exciting me up to page 50. Too many characters come and go. Can't settle down to it.
I think I will let it go for now so I don't force it. I'll try again later. Maybe in the spring/summer when I can take it out on the back deck and relax in the shade. (Doesn't that sound good? Ah...)
Have a good day!
Sorry it isn't working for you, Claudia. But life is short...maybe you will tune it in more clearly some other time.
#171: Not a single library in my vicinity has The Gates of November. I am very disappointed.
#171: The Gates of November looks like a book to look for; pity, it’s such a challenge to find.
Slowly making my way up the thread, so many names I haven’t heard of.
#151 Your recommendation of The Housekeeper and the Professor has convinced me to seek it out. Enjoying your other reviews too.
12. God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam A good absorbing read; nothing earthshaking. The most remarkable and improbable eight year old you will ever meet outside of science fiction, observes and tries to find the logic in her world, which contains some very odd characters. For her mother, caught in a stifling marriage to a fundamentalist bank manager, the past knocks on the door, presents an opportunity, and shows the futility of trying to right what went wrong way back when. A bit too much "I see what you're doing there" with the author's technique. Still, I wanted to see how it all came together, and it did, rather appropriately.
I think I might have that around here somewhere in the heaps and piles. Yep, I do. I'll save it for a day when I don't want to be earthshaken.
Linda, nice review of The Gates of November. I've added it to the wishlist. Too bad you couldn't use it for the library drawing.
13. Summer Crossing by Truman Capote . A remarkable novella, technically Capote's first, although not published until many years after his death. With hints of the perfection of Breakfast at Tiffany's, this story of doomed love 'twixt the upper and lower crusts owes just a little something to Fitzgerald. When her parents plan a "crossing" to Europe to get out of New York for the summer and to check out what WWII may have left of their home in Cannes, 17-year-old Grady McNeil insists on staying behind, alone, in the closed-up apartment overlooking The Park, with occasional duty visits to her married sister in East Hampton. You see, Grady has fallen in love with the attendant of an open-air parking lot where she has been in the habit of leaving her car during spring trips into the city from the family's summer home in Connecticut. Of course the reader can imagine some of the misfortunes that will inevitably ensue....but not all. And the prose is purely beautiful.
The manuscript for Summer Crossing was discovered in a lot of Capote memorabilia presented to an auction house to be sold off in 2004 (Capote died in 1984). It had been known that Capote had worked on such a novel and never been satisfied with it, but as his literary executors had never found the manuscript they assumed he had given up on it, and destroyed it. Indeed, he apparently had abandoned it along with other possessions when he moved out of an apartment in Brooklyn in 1950. Rather than "put it all out at the curb for the garbage men" as Capote had instructed, a friend held on to a few boxes of documents, manuscripts and other memorabilia for nearly 50 years. The story of the manuscript's survival and ultimate publication, told in an afterword by a trustee of the Truman Capote Literary Trust, is nearly as engaging as the novel itself.
I agree with Tui! Thanks for the review and recommendation, Linda!
#171: I love Potok's books, period--had never heard of The Gates of November. Will definitely look that one up.
you are really doing some time traveling with your reads.. some old ones here :)
Yes, Kath---there are so many new books on the radar, but I know there are tons of them out there that still deserve to be read long after the "buzz" (if there was any) has died down. That's why I enjoy browsing used books stores and library stacks. That's where I find many of my best reads--the ones nobody's been talking about recently.
14. You Must Know Everything by Isaac Babel A 1966 collection of previously untranslated, uncollected and sometimes unpublished works of Babel. Some are really fragments, others are journalistic essays. Each one has a brief introduction by the author's daughter, explaining its publication history, if any, and setting it in time and circumstances. These introductions were essential for me to get anything at all from the works, but even so, some of them were nearly incomprehensible. I grabbed this from the library without knowing exactly what I was getting-- it isn't a good introduction to Babel, and I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone who isn't already familiar with his work. In fact, it may be of interest mainly to students of the author or of Russian literature in general.
#186, I read You Must Know Everything back in college as part of a Yiddish literature in translation course (even though it was written in Russian), and I have some other Babel that I've been meaning to read, but I don't really remember much about it. I believe he was a great influence on later Russian writers.
Even though this one was a bit of a slog, Rebecca, I do still intend to read more Babel. Too many people refer to him as one of, if not the greatest prose writer of Russian Jewry, for me to give up because I picked the wrong place to begin. I will have to see what else our library has to offer.
>187 laytonwoman3rd:: Huh, I've never heard of these Woodrell books. He's a regional author here in SW Missouri, but his books are difficult to find. I'm always looking for them at library sales and used bookstores without luck. When I heard him speak a few years ago, he said most of his fans are in Denmark! I imagine that will change with the success of Winter's Bone. I'm looking forward to your comments on the trilogy.
It's called The Bayou Trilogy, Donna, and I received it from the Early Reviewers Program in a single volume, due to be released in April. All through the first book I kept thinking "Bayou? What's with that? This clearly takes place in Missouri." The second one, ostensibly the same setting, is more clearly intended to be in Louisiana. Puzzling. I'll be starting the last book shortly.
I believe, but I may be wrong, that Babel was particularly praised for his reporting skills.
I recall reading Babel's book Red Cavalry many years ago. His obsession for reduction, for removing every last possible extra word, made these stories incredibly vivid. It might be a good place to start.
simply stopping by to wave hi.
Thanks for posting the delightful story of the Capote manuscript. The book is now on my tbr pile.
>194 laytonwoman3rd: According to one story I heard, his daughter used to steal pages from his desk and send them to his publisher when she determined that Babel had cut enough.
I wonder which daughter that was, Judy. He had two families, a daughter in each. The older of the two, Nathalie, edited You Must Know Everything, but she and her mother lived in Paris for many years, with only occasional visits from Isaac. A fascinating man.
#195 Yes, Deborah, very much unlike my man Bill!
#196 Linda, I think you'll enjoy that Capote. Glad you found a copy.
17. The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen A fairly standard serial killa thrilla, but well done. Reminiscent of some of Jeffrey Deaver, some of Thomas Harris. Lots of exsanguination, not for the queasy. Good character development; potential for stereotyping avoided by having a couple people learn things about themselves. This is the first Jane Rizzoli novel; I understand she gains a partner and creates a series. I'll read some more of them. She has an awful chip on her shoulder in this one, but actually does a fair job of knocking it off by herself in the end.
What timing! I just finished Winter's Bone (a book I've been meaning to read for a long time) and was wondering what I should look for next from this awesome writer.
Will be interested in your review of The Bayou Trilogy. So far, LT has no ratings or reviews on it - but thinks I will LOVE it! LOL
After visiting Claudia's thread earlier, I added Winter's Bone to the tbr pile. Now, I'm adding The Ones You Do.
19. Over My Dead Body by Rex Stout Continuing with my Month of Mysteries, I visited with Archie and Wolfe over the weekend. In this one, Wolfe's past in Yugoslavia rears its head, with complicated consequences. Many false leads and a fundamental surprise or two. Always a pleasure. Not enough food, though. Made me want to read the book on Balkan history I have somewhere in the stacks.
Mom was a big Rex Stout fan in her day and I'm pretty sure I've read this one as a kid, from her library jaunts. Must get some out of the library to see if I can remember any them. (Highly doubtful.)
I read almost every Nero Wolfe back in the late 70s/early 80s and still have most of them, although I suspect they're falling apart.
Linda, found this little gem over on Sib's crazy titles thread:
Oh MY! Thanks for the link, Tui. I was thinking there should be such a thread, after seeing your FB post about Elvis is Dead and I Don't Feel So Good Myself. What a lot of LOL moments.
I think the self-hypnosis worked wonders for you: your form in the photograph is nigh on perfect.
Yeah, that's what we say to each other at the bowling alley when a ball goes wretchedly wrong and leaves a nasty split behind---"Nice form, though!" I model mine after Norm Duke 'cause he's little like me.
Have to tell you I passed on the cranberry meatloaf recipe to my daughter/SIL who needed an idea for the meatloaf they were making for the Soup Kitchen in their town. It went over big... loved by all! Served 140+ people.
So the saga continues... thanks again for the recipe! :)
Wow, Claudia, that's wonderful! It's about time I made it for us again. Thanks for telling me about that...gave me a big smile to end my day.
Cranberry Meatloaf is on the menu for the birthday party we're giving for my SIL Saturday night. I think she'll love it, and I know I will! If some bookish entrepreneur opens an LT Cafe someday, your meatloaf should be the signature dish. Many thanks.
#217 Well, it was posted in one of the Kitchen threads, Tui. But since it's becoming such a sensation now, I wonder if I should be charging for it!!! Seriously, I'll re-post it right here in a minute, soon as I go find my digital copy.
ETA: Here it is.
2 Tblsp light brown sugar
1 cup whole cranberry sauce
1 1/2 pound ground meat (use your favorite mixture; I like 1 pound 80/20 beef; 1/4 each ground pork and veal)
1 medium onion chopped very fine
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp oregano
2-3 Tblsp sour cream
Spread brown sugar in bottom of loaf pan. Spread cranberry sauce over this. Combine meat and remaining ingredients; mix well and form into loaf. Place in pan (meat should not touch the sides). Bake at 375 for 1 1/2 hours. Turn out of pan upside down. Do not plan on leftovers.
(I have no idea how you make this for 140 people, and I applaud the courage of those who did so.)
#215 Ah...thanks for pointing that out Linda. I need to go edit the book out of my "Current Reading" collection---I finished reading it in January. And I, too, loved it. If you click on the title in my list above (Message Number 1), you can see what I had to say about it.
Had to stop and think how to keep the
Tui, I don't see "meet" in the recipe.
It' seldom, if ever, you make a typo, so I had to point it out.
Oh now that's just too funny! I've had a bit of a wild day here so I didn't even notice it.
I've started reading your book and it's terrific so far, Charlie!
#220 Oh, another country heard from. Are you going to make the meatloaf too, m'lad? Tui, I just sort of form the meat into a big football, flatten the ends, and put it in the pan. My mother always patted it down so it touched the sides all around, but I found almost by accident that I like it better when it only makes contact with the bottom. It works well enough with all ground beef, too, as long as it isn't too too lean.
Not to worry... can't ruin this recipe, imo. I forgot once to keep the sides from touching so I just loosened it with a knife around the edges before flipping out.
Funny how this meatloaf recipe has taken on a life of its own! LOL
20. The Rottweiler by Ruth Rendell I really wish I had read the LT reviews before reading this book. Everyone seems to agree with my assessment; a long, slow read, with no real suspense. A whole lot of character development of people incidental to the central crime, to no good purpose. Stupidest policemen ever. Rendell had an interesting idea here---a serial killer who analyzes himself, figures out what made him do it, and devises a plan to stop himself---but she buried it under a bushel of other little life stories that really had no bearing on it whatsoever. A bit 44 Scotland Street-ish, which would have been all right, maybe, if I hadn't been expecting a crime/mystery.
Just saw your message about the Lockridges and their mysteries over on Richard's thread. I love them! And yet I'd completely forgotten them. Thanks to you for reminding me of some great low-point-in-one's-life relaxation. I'll be looking them up again soon.
I'm reading one now, Gail! An Captain Heimrich mystery, Murder Roundabout. No cats, so safe for Richard...unless he also hates Great Danes!
ETA: And, in fact, have now finished it. Forgot Heimrich was not yet an inspector in this one, so edited him back to "Captain".
23. Murder Roundabout by Richard Lockridge From my almost complete collection of the Lockridge mysteries, and almost certainly a re-read, although I didn't remember it as I went along. Captain Heimrich and the rest of the boys from the Hawthorne barracks investigate the murder of an oft-married actress, with a couple of ex-husbands and current boyfriends as suspects. I figured out who and why, as I often can with the Lockridges, and had a good time doing it.
>231 laytonwoman3rd: I don't think I've ever read any mysteries by Lockridge. I added that one to my wish list.
They are old, and some of them are dated, in a delightful sort of way, Lori. Richard Lockridge and his wife Frances wrote together for many years, and he wrote alone both before and after she died. My favorites are those featuring Pam and Jerry North and their cats. If you check my catalog for Lockridge, you'll find lots of titles. Unfortunately you may not be that lucky when you check the library shelves. I hope you can find some of them.
If I can stand the large print editions, my local library has 13 titles by them. Murder Roundabout is not one of them, but I can try another book by him. They do have some of the Mr. and Mrs. North ones.
24. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin Wow, what a story-teller. This crime mystery is set in southeastern Mississippi, in the now, and the fairly recent past. It begins with a missing girl, with suspicion falling on a white man who has lived an outcast life since being suspected of "doing away with" another girl who went missing back when he was a teenager. No body or other evidence was ever found, and no charges were brought. But now, days after this latest disappearance, "Scary Larry" lies unresponsive in the hospital suffering from what looks like a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A lot of history unravels before our eyes as a local black constable works to find out the truth about the man who was once and briefly his childhood friend. You can't beat this one for keeping you pinned to your seat.
>235 laytonwoman3rd:: I added this to my wish list in the past week, on the strength of two other reviews ... yours just makes me more eager to read it!
25. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (Audio) Anthony's been keeping me company coming and going to work the last couple weeks. He's such a treat to listen to, even when's he's talking trash, or trashing your appetite with insider information about restaurant kitchens that you probably wish you'd never heard. Some of the best bits are those in which he shares his love of good, real food and those in which he sings the praises of those individual food wizards he's met and worked with through the years. And to prove there's a nice guy behind all that mouth, he says very sweet things about his wife. He can cook for me any time.
I'm not a super fan of audio, but I super enjoyed this one. I liked hearing the tons of French terms, both for food and utensils, in proper French.
Having worked in a hotel food operation as a teen, we had a drunk for a sous-chef. When he got angry, he threw knives across the kitchen—always managing to just miss the dessert lady. She took it in stride, unconcerned while she made up the yummy dessert carts.
I'm glad you enjoyed the audiobook.
"French terms"---is that what all those words I didn't recognize were? There was one that started with "f" he used a lot, and it sounded more Anglo-Saxon, but if you say it was French....
I'm not a huge fan of audio either, at least in the car, because I sometimes have to choose between paying attention to the book and paying attention to the traffic. So far, I've chosen wisely, but I don't trust myself 100%.
>240 laytonwoman3rd:: "French terms" that start with "f" ... funny, my daughter just informed me tonight that she's learned the actual French equivalent from an exchange student. My tax dollars at work ... :) The exchange student was helping them them translate a current popular song, which has been made even more popular by a "clean" version on Glee. That version is called "Forget You" but the original uses more colorful language.
You have been busy here! Not sure I would want to hear about those kitchens :P
A librarian friend of mine, who inexplicably does not "do" LibraryThing, has recommended what he calls a "MOST peculiar" little book to me---Audrey Niffenegger's Night Bookmobile. I see the reviews are not generally positive, but as it's graphic and short and my interest is piqued, I will see if I can get my hands on it. I haven't been tempted to read any of her other books, although I know some of you have enjoyed them. Anybody seen this one?
I haven't seen it, but I know of it. I think there might be (have been?) an exhibit about it here in Roanoke (or nearby?) actually. (My mind. She is a steel trap.) I believe Niffenegger considers herself a graphic artist before a novelist (though I might be misremembering that. )
Our county library system has one copy, and I have put it on hold.
Yes, The Night Bookmobile is available to read online, but I'm not sure what the website is offhand. Once you read it you'll probably understand the mixed reviews. I read it...and it was mesmerizing...but I can't really say that I liked it due to the subject matter. I'm glad I read it though. It's thought provoking.
As it was originally published serially in The Guardian, perhaps that's where the on-line version is? I'll check.
ETA: Yes, here it is. I think I'll wait for the library to come through, though. You seem to have go backwards through the links on the site to read it in order. Awkward.
26. The Man with a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes This is the first of Martha Grimes' Richard Jury mysteries. Not the first I've read, but I enjoyed this one much more than I recall enjoying The Dirty Duck. A good many bodies, an old murder solved, a bit of enlightenment on the origin of pub names, a burgeoning friendship, a hint of romance in the offing, and a healthy dose of humor...a great topper to Mystery March for me.
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