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Laytonwoman3rd's Second Quarter for 2011

75 Books Challenge for 2011

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Edited: Sep 3, 2011, 10:50am Top

Time for a new thread. No foolin'. My first thread for 2011 is here.

Going to try a theme for the top of thread photos----favorite authors with book in hand.

My 2011 Reading:
(Titles link to my post for each book.)
*Borrowed from the public library

AUGUST (No plan for this month)

57. Homestead by Rosina Lippi
56. An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor
*55. In an Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh
54. On the Overgrown Path by David Herter
*53. One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
52. Spin Your Web, Lady by Frances and Richard Lockridge

JULY (Orange July)

Not all of my reading this month will be from the Orange Prize lists, but I hope to knock a couple of those off my TBR stacks.

51. Paradise by Toni Morrison Short listed for the Orange Prize 1999
*50. Solo by Rana Dasgupta
*49. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Long listed for the Orange Prize 2005
*48. Crossroad Blues by Ace Atkins
47. The Giant, O'Brien by Hilary Mantel
Long listed for the Orange Prize 1999
46. Danny Boy: The Legend of the Beloved Irish Ballad by Malachy McCourt
45. Gotcha Covered: A Legacy of Service and Protection by Ginger T. Manley et al.
44. Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler.
Shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 1996.


43. Pearl of China by Anchee Min
42. In a Dry Season by Peter Robinson
41. A House in Flanders by Michael Jenkins
40. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese


39. Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner
*38. The Day the Music Died by Ed Gorman
37. Soulless by Gail Carriger
36. Sixkill by Robert B. Parker
35. Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara


34. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
*33. The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi
*32. The Rising of the Moon by Gladys Mitchell
*31. Sorry by Gail Jones
*30. Baby We Were Meant for Each Other by Scott Simon
*29. The Sari Shop by Rupa Bajwa
28. Henrietta's War by Joyce Dennys
*27. The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffeneger


*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.


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 (74/274) This was fascinating stuff---history of surgery. Can't remember what lured me away from it.

Mar 31, 2011, 10:05pm Top

Psssht. All in the internets. Makin' new threads. I just dunno.

Edited: Mar 31, 2011, 10:40pm Top

If it's any help, I'm glad that you made a new thread..... I think your list of books in progress is a good idea; I leave them on my "currently reading" list even though it's a lie. Read on, my friend, read on!

ETA: I also love the idea of pictures of authors reading! Ms. Welty is a charmer if not a looker.

Apr 1, 2011, 4:25am Top

I am also a Eudora Welty fan, Linda. Great opening pic!

Apr 1, 2011, 5:23am Top

Going back to your last thread, I found I enjoyed the early Martha Grimes immensely but, over time, the series seemed to fade. I attributed it to familiarity and boredom but now, from your comments, I wonder if they did diminish a bit.

Apr 1, 2011, 7:03am Top

I find that to be true of a lot of series authors, Tad. Sometimes you can overdo a good thing. "Familiarity and boredom" could be the author's problem.

Apr 1, 2011, 8:01am Top

I think that's particularly true when they don't shake things up a bit. Jane Haddam's was another series that I enjoyed and then it just became, "Gregor finds case, Gregor solves case, Gregor and Bennis flirt with their obvious attraction but do nothing about it."

On the flip side, someone like Dorothy Sayers brought in Harriet and converted the slightly foppish mysteries into a a love story with slightly foppish mysteries in the background. I think it kept them alive.

Apr 1, 2011, 9:53am Top

I plowed through all the Richard Jury books when Dust came out. It does get a little soggy in the middle of the series, but the last three or four titles are much more interesting, mainly because she introduces a worthy opponent to Jury, and she warms Jury up with a couple of love interests. It enlivens the formula quite a bit. Of course, there is still a dog and a child. Always. And the dogs are getting very wise.

Apr 1, 2011, 10:09am Top

On this subject, it appears that Henning Mankell has determined that he will not fall into that trap with Wallander. I haven't read any of those yet, and don't know if he appeals to me...

Apr 1, 2011, 10:18am Top

Gotcha starred again, Linda. I love the idea of posting author's pictures reading. And I laughed at Peggy's description of Eudora Welty as a "charmer if not a looker" in Post #3. We have different standards of beauty here on LT...it's all about the writing.

Apr 1, 2011, 10:53am Top

I saw Martha Grimes at last year's National Book Festival. She's a character! If you get a chance to her her, don't miss it. She struggled with alcoholism and family relationships for many years, but seems to be doing well these days.

Apr 1, 2011, 12:41pm Top

Hi Linda! Starred your nice new thread!

Edited: Apr 1, 2011, 1:52pm Top

Stasia, Judy, Donna, Jim, Claudia....glad to see you all here.
Peggy, I agree about Miss Eudora. She reminds me of both of my grandmothers, in a way. They both wore their hair sort of like that, and had no bust. Otherwise they looked nothing like her. But I sure wish one or the other of them had picked up a pen and put down some of their stories, because their lives were certainly not dull.

Apr 1, 2011, 1:40pm Top

Love the photo of Miss Eudora, Linda3rd!

Apr 1, 2011, 1:53pm Top

Ahh...Richard. Wouldn't it have been grand to share a little luncheon with her?

Apr 1, 2011, 4:13pm Top

How about Charlie Dickens for a thread head? He didn't have a bust either.

I'm reading Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and it grabbed me from the start. Thanks for the tip.

Apr 1, 2011, 4:40pm Top

I swear I've seen a bust of Dickens somewhere. Now a PHOTO of Dickens is going to be harder to locate. Glad you like the Franklin, Charlie.

Apr 2, 2011, 9:08pm Top

Dickens photos:

Hey Eudora *waving*!

Apr 2, 2011, 11:01pm Top

I guess he did stick around long enough to be photographed, didn't he? Although he seems to have favored a pen over a book as a prop...

Apr 4, 2011, 9:40pm Top

27. The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffeneger Strange and unsatisfactory in the extreme. A graphic book (can't call it a novel) originally published as a short story. Wandering around the streets of Chicago in the wee hours of the morning, Alexandra comes across a Winnebago with loud music emanating from it. Against all sense (as she admits) she approaches, and accepts an invitation to "see the collection" from the man sitting inside. It turns out to be a bookmobile filled with everything she has ever read---not just books, but ephemera including letters and cereal boxes. As the sun rises, the man tells her she must leave, as the hours for the bookmobile are "dusk to dawn" only. Alexandra tries to revisit the van on subsequent nights, but doesn't find it again for several years. During her lifetime, she finds the bookmobile a total of three times, and each time asks to be allowed to stay in it, or work in it, but she is told this is not possible...not allowed. The story, such as it is, takes an abrupt disturbing turn, and the point of it all is quite elusive. The author tells us it's a cautionary tale about what we give up in order to read books. I don't think the story itself conveys that message at all. The writing isn't special and the artwork is crude. I was quite underwhelmed.

Apr 5, 2011, 2:37am Top

#20: I have seen differing opinions on that one. Some day I will get hold of a copy so I can decide for myself.

I hope your next read is a better one for you, Linda.

Apr 5, 2011, 8:20am Top

>20 laytonwoman3rd:: hmm, pass. Thanks for sparing me :)

Apr 5, 2011, 8:54am Top

Took one for the team there, Linda. Thanks!

Apr 5, 2011, 3:07pm Top

Stasia, I have read elsewhere in this group, that this book is available online.

Apr 5, 2011, 10:38pm Top

#24: I tried getting to the online version, but could only pull up the first panel. After that, nothing. I tried several times and finally gave up on it.

Apr 6, 2011, 7:12am Top

I had tried that too, Stasia, and didn't have any more luck with it than you did.

Edited: Apr 6, 2011, 10:21am Top

28. Henrietta's War by Joyce Dennys Delightful. If you want the ultimate comfort read, to make you feel better about almost anything you're facing, this one is a hot cup of tea, Aunt Midge's cinnamon buns and your fuzzy slippers all rolled up in one. A collection of pieces Dennys wrote during WWII, ostensibly letters to a childhood friend at the front, of the sort to lift his spirits with tales of how well everyone was making do on the home front. Full of humor and that particular sort of British woman who, if lined up on the beach, "each with a large stone in her hand" might have done a lot of damage to an invading force. When Henrietta and her husband, Charles, toasted the New Year with a combination of "remnants" from various depleted bottles, there were real tears in my eyes while I laughed out loud.
'Damn Hitler'
'Hear, hear!.. And God bless the King.'
'And the Queen'
'And the Queen, God bless her! And the little Princesses.'
'Absent friends!'
'And the Americans.'
'The Americans...Good luck to them.'
'And the Choles and Pecks.'
'The POLES and CZECHS, and all our other allies'
'I feel better.'
'That was the idea.'

Read it, you'll feel better too.

Apr 6, 2011, 8:57am Top

#27: I really have to read that one. I have it around here somewhere!

Apr 6, 2011, 10:19am Top

Won't take you long, Stasia. Enjoy!

Apr 6, 2011, 10:32am Top

>27 laytonwoman3rd:: Henrietta's War looks great and, if it's even half as good as " a hot cup of tea, Aunt Midge's cinnamon buns and your fuzzy slippers all rolled up in one," I know I'll enjoy it. A thumb from me.

Apr 7, 2011, 1:57pm Top

29. The Sari Shop by Rupa Bajwa A first novel, long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2004, this book is a sharp observation of the divide between the rich and the poor in an Indian city. Well-to-do women buy their saris from the exceptional collection on offer at the Sevak Sari House. It is "where to go", particularly for wedding apparel. Through the eyes of Ramchand, one of the shop assistants, we meet several of these women as they handle the exquisitely embroidered silks, satins, and chiffons brought out for their inspection. While the materials are lovely, the women are distinctly less so, particularly in their attitudes and prejudices. Over time, Ramchand is sent out of the shop on two errands that reveal to him and to the reader the extremes of life in his city---first he is designated to carry samples to the home of a VIP whose daughter is planning her wedding. The opulence of this home is in sharp contrast to his own subsistence style of one-room living, but Ramchand is not at the lowest end of the spectrum by far. His second errand, to the home of a co-worker who hasn't reported to the shop in several days, takes him to a part of the city where half-naked children play in the street, where the drains are always blocked and the stench is overwhelming, where women are routinely beaten by their husbands and husbands are routinely drunk. Exposure to the grand style of the Kapoor home sparks a desire in Ramchand to improve himself and his surroundings---to brighten up his room with whitewash, to refresh his rusty English language skills, and to take more pains with his personal appearance. Encountering the grim reality of life in the revolting slum plunges him into a period of despair that nearly costs him everything. The framework of the story is a little obvious, but it works well, because the characters are brilliantly drawn; we sympathize with Ramchand, whose reach we KNOW is going to exceed his grasp; we smirk at the materialistic women who scorn academics and the academics who scorn the business world; we feel the monotony of the shop assistants' humdrum existence and shudder at the dehumanizing poverty of the mean streets.

Apr 7, 2011, 3:31pm Top

I'm pretty sure I have The Sari Shop somewhere on my TBR mountain. Your review makes me want to move it closer to the top.


Apr 8, 2011, 12:39am Top

Adding The Sari Shop to the BlackHole. Nice review, Linda. Thanks for the recommendation!

Apr 10, 2011, 11:34am Top

30. Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other by Scott Simon A quick, satisfying read. Heartwarming, if you will forgive the term. Simon and his wife are the parents of two little girls adopted from Chinese orphanages. His subtitle, "In Praise of Adoption", gives you the gist of the book. He explores, although not too deeply, some of the pitfalls and emotional stresses of "non-traditional" families. But mainly he makes the point that my mother made to me shortly before my daughter was born----parents are meant to enjoy their children.

Apr 10, 2011, 11:42am Top

What a great review of The Sari Shop. I will move this one closer to the top of the tbr pile!

Apr 10, 2011, 11:56am Top

Thanks, Linda. I would guess that you should enjoy that one.

Apr 11, 2011, 12:06am Top

#34: That sounds like a book I would really enjoy. Growing up, I wanted to adopt children since I was convinced that I would never marry and have children of my own. That changed, but my interest in adoption has not.

Apr 11, 2011, 9:35am Top

34- I am definitely getting my hands on that book! Sounds great. :)

Apr 12, 2011, 1:00pm Top

Linda, stopping by as I catch up on threads. I can always count on your thread beefing up my wishlist! I think I've added just about everything from the last month and a half. Thanks for lots of great bbs.

Edited: Apr 14, 2011, 7:30pm Top

Nearly everything I'm reading this month is from the public library. I didn't intend that, but it is National Library Week here in the U.S. of A, and I found myself with a great pile of check-outs, so I decided to make it a "theme" of sorts.

31. Sorry by Gail Jones I had heard wonderful things about this book, and the writing really is fantastic. The story is a heart-wrencher, exquisitely told. A young girl witnesses her father's bloody death, and very nearly loses her power of speech from the trauma. She develops a stutter, which she can only control when reciting the Shakespeare she has almost unconsciously committed to memory over the years from hearing her mentally disturbed mother recite it obsessively. Perdita's boon companions are an Aboriginal servant girl, Mary, and a deaf mute boy, Billy. Ironically, she has no difficulty communicating with either of them. On top of their many other troubles, Perdita and her mother, who is increasingly unable to cope with daily life, are displaced by the threat of Japanese invasion of their Australian home town during WWII. It all sounds terribly depressing, but rays of hope do peek through the blackout curtains. The ending is hard, but enlightening, and there's a lesson to take away. Unfortunately, the author felt it necessary to "explain" that lesson a bit in an end note. I appreciated the information, but it wasn't necessary for the story to work, and I felt the author was hedging her bets, as if she didn't have complete faith in her own ability to speak to her readers. Enjoyable on a sentence level; worthwhile overall. I admired this book, but did not love it.

Apr 14, 2011, 8:48pm Top

I loved that one ... glad you enjoyed it.

Apr 15, 2011, 1:21am Top

#40: I already have that one in the BlackHole. Nice review, Linda!

Edited: Apr 17, 2011, 4:51pm Top

32. The Rising of the Moon by Gladys Mitchell I don't know how I've missed learning about Gladys Mitchell all this time. This was a great read. A serial murderer is dispatching young women in a small English town when the moon is full. Our lads, Simon and Keith Innes, age 13 and 11, are in the thick of the investigations, and Simon tells the tale. I loved that set-up. The story features' Mitchell's recurring character, Dame Beatrice Something Something Bradley, a "yellow old woman" with psychiatric training and a respect for the wisdom of our young sleuths. You would never say Mrs. Bradley is the main character here, but she is indispensable. I must find more of this series, which runs to over 60 titles.

Apr 18, 2011, 11:53am Top

43- I'm going to have to check out a Gladys Mitchell book! :)

Apr 18, 2011, 12:14pm Top

me too, BA...Linda, you made that sound SO good.

Apr 27, 2011, 8:29am Top

33. The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi A first novel with a powerful cast of characters and a compelling structure that makes it almost impossible to stop anywhere. Set in the rough dockside neighborhoods of Cardiff, Wales, in the mid-twentieth century, it's the story of a Maltese family, overwhelmed by circumstances, told primarily from the point of view of the youngest child. It's hard going---grim and gristly at times---with very little of hope or redemption in it. The writing is gorgeous, but I can't really recommend it because it's just so bleak. Azzopardi's Remember Me was one of my favorite reads last year. If you want to sample her genius, pick up that one instead.

Apr 27, 2011, 9:08am Top

>33 alcottacre:: I read that years ago, Linda ... had a similar reaction. Hard to put down, but oh so bleak!

Edited: May 2, 2011, 3:02pm Top

34. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather This is the story of Father Latour, a French priest sent by Rome in the mid-nineteenth century to be the first Bishop of the Diocese of New Mexico...a vast expanse of scattered mission churches led by priests who have had very little accountability and are often more concerned with their own material well-being than with the spiritual lives of their flock. Father Latour and his vicar, Father Vaillant, find the local culture and Catholicism to be quite different from those they left behind in Europe; yet unlike most missionaries, they treat the native people they serve with the utmost respect and admiration. Cather's descriptive prose is elegant and understated, her story elements subtle and often moving, despite this reader's total lack of affinity for the religious life. I grew impatient a time or two with tales of miracles that the author clearly meant us to accept, not just as her characters would accept them, but as factual historical accounts. And one instance of profound irony may have been totally unintended. But the book is affirmative in a way that has nothing to do with organized religion, Catholic or otherwise. It left me with a rather benevolent feeling toward a couple of missionary priests, and that's no small accomplishment.

May 2, 2011, 3:06pm Top

My goal for May is to finish at least one of those "in progress" books, and a chunkster or two.

May 2, 2011, 5:52pm Top

I've added Death Comes for the Archbishop to my wish list. It's not free for Kindle at the moment so I'll probably borrow it from the library.

May 3, 2011, 11:09am Top

I also loved Cather's book, and for many of the same reasons as you. I love her use of language and she did make the missionaries much more likeable than the stereotypical hardline maniacs.

May 6, 2011, 9:49am Top

I had much the same reaction to DCftA. Oh cripes, re the "in progress" and chunkster books. Gardening season knocks my reading into the compost bins.

Edited: May 10, 2011, 10:22am Top

35. Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara If Ernest Hemingway had written The Great Gatsby, it might have come out something like this. It's brilliantly done, but I didn't like it, if you know what I mean. The characters are virtually soul-less, but some of them almost grasp what's missing in their lives. For the most part, they haven't a clue what to do about it, other than to keep throwing parties and observing the strict social rules that structure their WASP existence. These are not the filthy rich of the Hamptons, but the middle class well-off's of small town America. Full of ironies and very well-executed scenes --I've never read a better portrayal of a man slipping into inebriated blabbering anywhere. I give it a solid 3 1/2 stars, and recommend wider readership for John O'Hara.

May 10, 2011, 8:43am Top

So, Soulless on deck?

May 10, 2011, 9:42am Top

After Sixkill. I cannot wait any longer for my shot of Spenser. Besides, I just did soul-less. You see.

May 10, 2011, 9:43am Top


Edited: May 10, 2011, 11:38am Top

I tried reading Appointment in Samarra when I was a teenager because my parents' copy had an extremely provocative cover and I thought it would have some interesting scenes. I don't think I got very far, though.

May 10, 2011, 11:43am Top

There were a couple of 'Let's go out in the car and do it" scenes, but nothing graphic by today's standards!

May 10, 2011, 5:28pm Top

Do what in the car?

When O'Hara was writing I think he was pretty much compared to Harold Robbins—popular trash.

Scholars (like the good Doctor) have expressed a new interest in O'Hara as literary. I don't think much of his stuff is in print, but Library of America is considering him for a series of volumes.

For the record, I read a lot of him when I was a teen.

May 10, 2011, 7:04pm Top

#58, I'm afraid it wasn't even graphic enough for teenage me back in the 60s!

May 10, 2011, 9:27pm Top

#59 Actually, I don't think the good doctor has ever expressed ANY interest in O'Hara, despite his being almost a hometown boy. Her bestest friend, another good doctor, Holly Wendt, was raised up just over the hill from "Gibbsville". And yet they neglect the man. BTW, that paragon of cultural discernment, Basil Fawlty, called Harold Robbins's output "pornographic Muzak". I'm not sure he ever mentioned O'Hara.

May 11, 2011, 8:40am Top

>61 laytonwoman3rd:: Basil Fawlty ... I love that bit, where he trashes Harold Robbins and then tries to recover from it.

May 11, 2011, 9:10am Top

36. Sixkill by Robert B. Parker This is the last Spenser novel "completed by Parker before his death". That's the official description. I assume it's worded that way to cover the likelihood that some of his not-completed Spenser stories may be fleshed out by his estate-sanctioned successor, recently announced to be Ace Atkins. Parker has created an interesting new character, a Spenser protege and potential sidekick, Zebulon Sixkill, a Cree Indian who needs a stable influence in his life. I like "Z" and I'm sure Parker intended to feature him again. I just don't know whether I'll ever decide to read Atkins's contributions. Interestingly, this book ends with Spenser driving west, not into a sunset, but into a lightening sky, toward the love of his life. I'm real happy to leave him there.

May 11, 2011, 9:12am Top

this book ends with Spenser driving west, not into a sunset, but into a lightening sky, toward the love of his life. I'm real happy to leave him there. Lovely.

So. Soulless on deck?

May 11, 2011, 3:08pm Top

Yes, Dr. One-Note, I'm going to pick up Soulless this evening. I toted it to work with me, but my lunch-time reading was pre-empted by bill paying today.

May 11, 2011, 3:18pm Top

AHEM: thhhhssssbbbtttt

May 11, 2011, 11:15pm Top

I own the Gladys Mitchell book. I wonder where I put it? Hmm.

May 19, 2011, 6:51pm Top

37. Soulless by Gail Carriger Subtitled "A Novel of Vampires, Werewolves and Parasols", which ought to give you a hint as to what you might be in for if you pick it up. Carriger has created a delightful version of Victorian London, populated with a fairly respectable supernatural element which interacts quite "naturally" with human society. There are vampire "hives" and werewolf packs, and rules of engagement amongst 'em. Then there is our spinster heroine, Alexia Tarabotti, who is slightly too smart for her own good, and preternatural besides. The latter quality allows her touch to neutralize the supernatural in vampires and werewolves---with sometimes unpredictable consequences. Suffers a bit of a bog-down in the middle, and about 11 adjectives per chapter should have been edited out. But fun for hi-jinks and shenanigans of a different stripe. Hilarious sexy bits between Alexia and a damnably attractive werewolf. If you like this kind of thing, this is the kind of thing you will like.

May 19, 2011, 11:51pm Top

#68: I liked it!

May 20, 2011, 9:47am Top

@ 68

And other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

May 20, 2011, 4:32pm Top

#70: Hah!

#68: One out of the way—only 999,999 vampire novels to go.

And WHO was telling me to get rid of the kiddie lit and serious up? Hmmmmm?

May 20, 2011, 5:15pm Top

It's the fault of that smart-mouth in No. 70 there. She MADE me read it. And I'd say it's really more of a werewolf novel. So there. ('Cause that makes it better.)

May 20, 2011, 5:27pm Top

Well, I came back to your thread at a good place, Linda. Lots to go on my "maybe" list and a good laugh or two besides. I loved and identified with your assessment of Sorry - "enjoyable on a sentence level." Sometimes that's enough.

May 20, 2011, 7:26pm Top

#68 If you like this kind of thing, this is the kind of thing you will like.

In a slight variant, a favorite saying of my father's. Thanks for making me smile.

May 20, 2011, 9:15pm Top

Glad to have done so, Rebecca.

Edited: May 22, 2011, 3:28pm Top

38. The Day the Music Died by Ed Gorman This was an odd mixture of great story-telling, catchy style, appealing main characters, poor research, rotten editing and abrupt ending. I was really caught up in the story, thinking I had found a new author I could turn to when I just wanted to lose myself for a couple hours, but then he threw me right out with an anachronism that no man born in 1941 should be guilty of. Mentioning his parents' attitude toward black people, the main character referred to his mother getting tears in her eyes when she saw "little Negro kids blasted off the streets with fire hoses" on the nightly news. My civil rights time-line tells me that happened in 1963. If your title makes a point of the precise date when your story begins, (that’s February 3, 1958, just so you don’t have to go look it up), it just doesn't do to get your historical facts wrong. Gorman also has one of his characters, a Judge, suggest that the Democrats had recently put John Kennedy forward as a potential Presidential candidate; again, the history I know about that is that Kennedy started looking pretty strong for the nomination when the New Hampshire State Democratic Committee endorsed him late in 1959, but in February of 1958 was he considered a strong contender already? In Iowa, a Republican stronghold? I don’t know, but it doesn’t feel right. Another reviewer has pointed out a couple of minor cultural goofs that I didn't even notice, so there may be other references that should have been vetted more closely by someone before this book went to print. There were also at least two instances of a character referring to the content of a conversation that had taken place earlier in the book, by way of saying “aha---that was a clue!”. The only trouble is, the clue wasn’t mentioned in the version of the conversation the reader got. Finally, and fatally, partly due to those missing clues, the revelation of who the murderer was came almost completely out of the blue. This is the first in a series, but not the author’s first novel, by any means. I’d like to read more of his stuff, because I like his setting and his characters, and love his titles. But I don’t trust him now.

May 22, 2011, 3:36pm Top

I luv your opening sentence, dahling.

And woe to the demise of fact-checkers.

May 22, 2011, 5:33pm Top

I think the editors are all dead too.

May 22, 2011, 7:13pm Top

Many editors don't edit much any more (they "acquire" and market books) and many publishing companies won't pay for in-house in-depth editing, and if they pay freelancers, the freelancers may not have been well enough trained or be paid enough to do a thorough job. Sorry to rant!

May 22, 2011, 9:07pm Top

No apologies--I figured I'd hear from you on this one, Rebecca---I know how you feel about the subject. It just doesn't make sense to me to put books out there with such egregious errors---if I could spot it, so could a lot of other people. And if I were WRITING a book, I wouldn't want my readers snickering at me behind their hands. I forgot to mention that a central character in the book is named Kenny Whitney---on the jacket blurb he is repeatedly referred to as "Richie".

Edited: Jun 10, 2011, 1:15pm Top

39. Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner Can't do this one justice in a quick summary. Powerful, beautiful, heart-breaking...

I've been reading quite a lot of lit crit on this book; Cleanth Brooks is enlightening, as always. Also, thanks to lycomayflower for letting me "borry" a recent issue of The CEA Critic (Volume 73, Number 1) containing Richard Rankin Russell's "Black Passages through White Spaces: The Masking of Faulkner's African-American Characters in Go Down, Moses". I believe it was his Master's thesis. Interesting stuff, spread just a little thin.

May 23, 2011, 7:59am Top

Wait. There's a Faulkner you haven't read?!! I'm astonished.

May 23, 2011, 8:08am Top

Ummm..no. It's a re-read. Didn't figure I needed to mention that! But there is ONE I haven't read, and may never--it's just too grim and daunting.

May 23, 2011, 8:11am Top

Ah ... I see. All's right in the world now.

May 23, 2011, 8:17am Top

#76: Unfortunate about that one, Linda. It looks like one I would probably have enjoyed, but the factual errors would have driven me nuts.

May 24, 2011, 3:35pm Top

Curious minds want to know--which Faulkner haven't you read?

May 24, 2011, 4:26pm Top

A Fable. Tried it once, and couldn't penetrate it at all.

May 31, 2011, 9:20pm Top

I'm stopping by to wave hi and check all the great books you read.

Jun 1, 2011, 8:27am Top

Hi, Linda! *waves back*

Jun 10, 2011, 1:21pm Top

Tenth of the month, and not a book to show for it!! Well, I have been reading, just haven't finished anything. I'm well into Dr. Zhivago, and Cutting for Stone, and enjoying both. I've also been reading a fair amount of lit crit (see No. 80 above), and dipping into several issues of Slightly Foxed, which had been backing up on me. The downside of the latter is, I always feel sorely tempted to send away for some of their special editions of featured books. And, I did...ordered copies of People Who Say Good-Bye and A Cab at the Door.

Jun 10, 2011, 3:41pm Top

This is the first I've heard of 'Slightly Foxed' - clever name. I checked the website and was a little dismayed by the price, and besides, I have no more room for periodicals. I may check the library to see if they have any volumes.

Edited: Jun 10, 2011, 4:07pm Top

I let myself be dismayed at the price for quite a while.. And then, having planned and successfully pulled off a wedding, I decided I owed me a treat, and subscribed. I consider each issue a small book of essays, which makes them seem less pricey, but does nothing about the space problem. I may try to persuade a loved one to renew for me as a birthday gift or something.

Jun 10, 2011, 5:00pm Top

But, Linda, just think how impressive it's going to be to see *DZ* and *CfS* on your list very close together when you do finish them!!!
(I've never heard of "Slightly Foxed" either, and I'm trying to leave it that way. LAHLAHLAHLAHLAH)

Jun 10, 2011, 8:25pm Top

>94 laytonwoman3rd:: nooo! So far I'm successfully staying dismayed at the price. Must. be. strong.

Jun 10, 2011, 11:08pm Top

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...I couldn't resist opening the link......I closed it quickly...but I did bookmark the page and I'll return. It will wait for me and call my name just like the piece of chocolate fudge that I brought back from the candy store on the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk yesterday.

Jun 11, 2011, 3:53am Top

I believe Tui mentioned Slightly Foxed on her thread last year. Thus far, I have managed to fend them off :)

Jun 11, 2011, 11:49am Top

Yes, Stasia...Tui is one of the LT'ers responsible for introducing me to the Fox. And I'll bet she has no remorse whatsoever.

Edited: Jun 11, 2011, 1:45pm Top

interesting... very interesting
I am resisting - but wishing to look at one
wonder if Ammy has any used ones?

ETA: Yes, they do. All prices for single copies of past issues.

Jun 11, 2011, 3:16pm Top

>98 laytonwoman3rd:: oh she's entirely remorseless, that Tui.

Jun 11, 2011, 6:57pm Top

#99 Interesting. I hadn't realized that Amazon had any of the back issues on offer. Some of those prices are ridiculous, though. For instance, there's a copy of the first issue offered for $100.00. You can get it directly from SF for about $21.00 US. Not cheap at that, but still.

Jun 16, 2011, 8:55pm Top

40. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese A great long read full of all the right elements: human strengths and frailties; love and hatred; hope and despair; fate and irony; birth, death, and revolution. We see it all through the eyes of Marion Stone, one of a pair of twin boys born under traumatic circumstances in a mission hospital in Addis Ababa in 1954. Orphaned within hours by the death of their mother and the disappearance of their father, they are raised by two remarkable physicians who begin the boys' medical training at the age of 9 by teaching them to "read" pulses. There is never any doubt that they will both become doctors, but many other aspects of their increasingly separate lives are not so predictable. This novel has so much to recommend it---brilliant story-telling, character development, exploration of all kinds of human relationships, history lessons...and then there is the medical detail. If you're at all squeamish, you won't appreciate the descriptions of what syphilis, cancer, tuberculosis and other scourges do to the human body when left untreated or the detailed explanations of surgical procedures from vasectomies to organ transplants, but these are all essential to the intricate tapestry Verghese has woven in Cutting for Stone.

Jun 16, 2011, 10:59pm Top

I loved Cutting for Stone. I am glad to see you enjoyed the book too, Linda!

Jun 17, 2011, 11:13am Top

Agreed--an excellent book.

Edited: Jun 18, 2011, 8:40pm Top

41. A House in Flanders by Michael Jenkins Bittersweet reminiscences of an adolescent summer spent in the country among "the aunts" and their neighbors outside a small village in the north of France, a few years after the end of World War II. Each chapter is a reflection on one individual who shared and contributed to that life-changing summer. It's not a cheery, care-free sort of memoir, but what an absolute treat to read.

Jun 18, 2011, 7:47pm Top


A House in Flanders is now on the tbr list.

Jun 19, 2011, 12:46am Top

#105: I went to add A House in Flanders to the BlackHole only to discover that the book is already there. My local library still does not have it though. *sigh*

Edited: Jun 26, 2011, 11:29am Top

42. In a Dry Season by Peter Robinson This is No. 10 in the Inspector Alan Banks series. I have not read any of the others, but this was handed to me with a recommendation by a friend who borrows a lot of books from me, so I felt I should give it a go.

In the late 20th century, a Yorkshire village that had been flooded to create a reservoir in the 1950's re-emerges during a dry spell, and a young boy playing among the ruins discovers the skeletal remains of a murder victim. Who was she? How long has she been there? Did no one ever miss her when she disappeared? Who killed her? Why? All the usual questions. The investigation takes us back to World War II, as DI Banks searches for the answers.

I found the story premise intriguing, but it needed to be tightened up a bit in the telling. And probably because I hadn't read any of the earlier books and didn't have an attachment for the main character, his personal story line just got in the way for me. Even though elements of that personal story were left unresolved at the end, I don't feel much inclined to explore this series further. I have been told by others who have read more of it that this installment is one of the best. 3 stars is all I can give it.

Jun 26, 2011, 1:14pm Top

I started off with the first of the series--can't remember what it is--and really disliked it. Banks' personality/personal story was irritating, for some reason, and I'm really tired of stock superior officer bad guys. I never got beyond the first book.

Jun 26, 2011, 3:26pm Top

I agree totally about the pissy superior officer, Joyce. And in this one we have no idea what it's about... just that for some reason he has it in for Banks. There's also a stock young-woman-on-the-force character who ....wait for it... has been sexually harrassed by her fellow officers. The boss doesn't like her either because she made an issue of that, can-you-imagine, and it didn't make her quit. There's much better stuff out there.

Jun 26, 2011, 3:47pm Top

Such as__Nero Wolfe. :-)

Jun 26, 2011, 3:55pm Top


Edited: Nov 6, 2011, 2:32pm Top

43. Pearl of China by Anchee Min A novel, purportedly based on the life of Pearl Buck. This is an ER book, so I will be composing a full review shortly. The short version is "meh".

Full review can be found here.

Jun 30, 2011, 2:40pm Top

>113 laytonwoman3rd: I was disappointed in that one as well.

Jul 2, 2011, 5:37pm Top

So sorry you didn't enjoy Peter Robinson. I love Alan Banks, both the personal arc, and his battle with the "system." I do often struggle with Robinson's inability to write a strong female character who isn't embattled, bitter, or a doormat.

Jul 2, 2011, 6:40pm Top

I like Peter Robinson more than you and Joyce and less than Thompson. I started him while I was waiting for more Pascoe and Dalziel to come off Reginald Hill's pike. Fat Andy and Ellie make that series for me.

Edited: Jul 7, 2011, 9:57am Top

44. Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler With her usual genius for bringing very ordinary people into sharp focus, Tyler tells the story of Delia Grinstead, a 40-year old mother of three who literally walks away from her life without plan or purpose in the middle of a family beach vacation. Not surprisingly, she finds that starting over "from scratch" isn't as simple as she tries to make it. The story feels absolutely "true"-- I believe every sentence, every action, and never have that "Oh why don't you just (insert advice here) already!" feeling. And Tyler makes me chuckle over the simple little daily moments that I laugh at in my own life. I think sometimes it's easy to overlook her humor---she's so often gently poking fun at her characters, but with love. I was not at all surprised by the ending, but it did come on a bit abruptly. Otherwise, nary a quibble with this one. Oh, wait, yes, one more---was it absolutely necessary to include an unlikeable character named Linda????

Edited: Jul 6, 2011, 10:17am Top

45. Gotcha Covered: A Legacy of Service and Protection by Ginger T. Manley There's no touchstone for this book, and I am the only person to enter it on LT so far. I read it because my mother enthusiastically lent it to me over the weekend, and I found it thoroughly delightful. Ginger Manley is married to some degree of cousin of mine, which I always fail to calculate properly. Her husband's grandmother and my grandmother were first cousins...I think. ANYWAY...Ginger and her husband, who live in Tennessee, recently visited my Mom in NE PA, and Ginger gave her a copy of this book. When Ginger's great-aunt moved out of her farmhouse and turned over a collection of vintage domestic aprons to her, Ginger and her classmates from the Vanderbilt School of Nursing (Class of 1966) were motivated to create The Nurses' Apron Partnership to help nurses provide services they might not otherwise be able to manage, in Tennessee and in Kenya. This book is an anthology of creative pieces, inspired by those old aprons, which are featured in photographs at the beginning of each selection. Most are reflections or reminiscences; there are a few poems, some short fiction, a delightful collage, and the beautiful watercolor which graces the cover. The proceeds from sales of the book go to Burning Bush, Inc., a microcredit organization established by a former Vanderbilt nursing instructor, to make educational loans to the Mt. Kenya cluster of Private Nurse Practitioners, who provide the majority of maternity and primary care to women in their area. You are unlikely to find this book in your local library or bookstore, but if you are inclined to help make a difference in a small way, while giving your eyes and heart a treat, you can purchase a copy through the TNAP website linked above. This has been a public service announcement!

Edited: Jul 6, 2011, 12:36pm Top

#45: Wonderful story, Linda! I intend to check out the site.

ETA: Just received word that Gotcha Covered has been shipped. :-)

ETA2: corrected--but I could have sworn that the touchstone showed the right book. another delusion.

Jul 6, 2011, 10:02am Top

>This has been a public service announcement!

But not with guitars?

Jul 6, 2011, 10:38am Top

#119 Excellent, Joyce! Maybe when you add it to your catalog, it will get its own touchstone. (That one goes to another book.)

Jul 6, 2011, 10:47am Top

I'm catching up with you!
>76 laytonwoman3rd:: loved that first sentence. And a heartfelt grrrrr of sympathy about those kinds of details. When I read of Cornishmen eating potatoes in the time of Arthur, I subsconsciously start watching for tan marks left by a wristwatch on gladiators (obscure Ben Hur reference). And I snarl.
>90 laytonwoman3rd:: I really enjoyed A Cab at the Door. I have exactly the same problem when I read Slightly Foxed...just about the only thing I have been reading for two months!
>107 alcottacre:: Stasia, you can get A House in Flanders through Slightly Foxed publications. *wicked evil chuckle*
>117 laytonwoman3rd:: having contemplated back then what would happen if I just wandered off at the age of 40 to start a whole new life as a writer living in a croft on a windswept island off the coast of Scotland, this sounds intriguing.

And no, I don't regret getting anyone hooked into the pleasure of Slightly Foxed, not for one minute. It is my Christmas present to myself every year and gives me hours of pleasure...not to mention the temptations of its reprints which I have enjoyed, each and every one. Oh wait...have yet to read the Graham Greene one.

Jul 6, 2011, 12:25pm Top

#120 Yes. With guitars, of course. I know my rights.

Jul 7, 2011, 12:43am Top

#122: You have tried leading me astray with Slightly Foxed already, Tui, but I am holding to my resolve. No book buying for me this year.

Jul 7, 2011, 9:20am Top

Oh, right! Sorry, Stasia, I forgot. Wouldn't have tried to tempt you if I had remembered. I know how hard these resolves can be.

Jul 7, 2011, 9:37am Top

Good Morning!

I think I've read every Anne Tyler book. My favorite is Dinner at the Homesick Resturant

Jul 7, 2011, 10:02am Top

Hi, Linda...nice to see you! I think I read that one long ago, but don't remember it. Must consider a re-read. My favorites are Saint Maybe and The Accidental Tourist.

Jul 7, 2011, 4:08pm Top

I truly enjoyed The Accidental Tourist, but it's the only Tyler I've read. I loved the movie as well—the entire cast was outstanding.

Jul 7, 2011, 4:40pm Top

Hi There Charlie! I agree, both the book and movie were outstanding.

Jul 7, 2011, 6:07pm Top

I had trouble forgetting William Hurt and Kathleen Turner in Body Heat while watching them in The Accidental Tourist.

Edited: Jul 9, 2011, 6:13pm Top

46. Danny Boy, The Legend of the Beloved Irish Ballad by Malachy McCourt. Our man Malachy milks his topic, which could really be covered in about five pages of text. First of all, there is no "legend" associated with the ballad. No one knows who Danny was, or who is meant to be singing him off to war or wherever. The tune, however, is legendary, going back to at least the 17th century, when it may or may not have been composed by a wandering harpist named Rory Dall. It apparently came into familiarity through the combined efforts of a Miss Jane Ross of County Derry -- who heard it from an itinerant piper, who had it from a blind fiddler, and so on -- and Dr. George Petrie, who published it in 1855 in his Ancient Music of Ireland. The melody came to be known as the Derry Air, or the Londonderry Air, depending on whether you breathed Irish air or English air. The words were written by an Englishman, a barrister and lyricist (what a combination!) named Fred Weatherly, in 1910. He had another tune in mind originally, but when nothing came of that, he put Danny Boy aside until a few years later when his sister-in-law suggested he write lyrics to go with the Londonderry Air. No need for all that extra work, thinks Fred, I have something that fits almost perfectly. McCourt and his publisher heavily pad these few bare facts to come up with a book---the full text of the song is reproduced three times; all quoted matter is presented COMPLETELY IN UPPER CASE CHARACTERS; there is so much white space the text could have been printed twice on the same amount of paper; bits of Irish history that really have nothing to do with the song at all, at all, are rolled out for our edification; there is a discography of performances of "Danny Boy" and a timeline of Irish History that I suspect he worked up for his History of Ireland which was published a couple years later. Lightweight stuff indeed.

EDIT: OK, having consulted with the person in possession of McCourt's History of Ireland, it appears there is no time line in it. So it might be worthwhile holding onto Danny Boy for that alone. Certainly not worth BUYING it for that. Unless you can get it for $1.00 or so.

Jul 8, 2011, 10:53am Top

Interesting tidbits regarding the song...Am I right in assuming you could not recommend this book?

Edited: Jul 8, 2011, 11:01am Top

I've had The Accidental Tourist sitting on the shelf unread for about 4 years now. Maybe now is the time?

hahahaha Whisp...it does sound that way, doesn't it!

p.s. hi Charlie!

Edited: Jul 8, 2011, 11:16am Top

>132 Whisper1: No recommendation from me on this one, Linda. I may have occasion to refer to the time line, but if Laura would return my copy of the History of Ireland I wouldn't even keep this one around.

>133 tiffin: Sure...give it a try, Tui.

Jul 8, 2011, 3:54pm Top

Hi Whisp and Tui! Oh, and you too, Linda.

I'm reading a book similar to #131: Typhoid Mary by our favorite chef Anthony Bourdain. The book tells me that (1) there was a woman in NYC named Mary, (2) she was a cook, and (3) she was a typhoid carrier. That's it. The only reason I'm going to finish it is because (1) I used Martha's money to buy it and (2) maybe there's a surprise ending, like Mary was really some guy named Arnold Foonman.

Even Doctors can be spanked when they don't give you your stuff back.

Jul 8, 2011, 7:46pm Top

#135 I will attempt to retrieve it from her next weekend, Charlie, without corporal punishment. Presuming it hasn't gone missing in the moves from Knoxville to Virginia to (at last!!) Pennsylvania.

Jul 9, 2011, 1:28am Top

#131: Skipping that one.

I hope Laura's move goes well and that you can steal your book back when she is in close proximity :)

Edited: Jul 9, 2011, 7:00am Top

#137 The move is complete, Stasia, and it DID go well, thanks. Less than 2 hours away by car now.

Jul 9, 2011, 7:19am Top

#138: I am glad to hear that the move went well. If I am ever up that way again, I would love to meet both you and Laura. Fingers crossed for a trip happening next April :)

Jul 9, 2011, 7:21am Top

Ohh...exciting, Stasia! I would love that. Keep us posted.

Jul 9, 2011, 7:23am Top

Oh believe me, if I make it up that way again everyone on the Eastern seaboard will know about it!

Jul 9, 2011, 9:59am Top

@ 136

I know exactly where it is, thank you, and you cannae have it back. I'm not done with it. *scowls*

Jul 9, 2011, 11:01am Top

#142 So...is there a time line in it?

Jul 9, 2011, 2:00pm Top

No. See? You dinnae want it back anyway.

Jul 9, 2011, 6:11pm Top

Hmmmm....do I have to edit my review, now? I guess I do.

Edited: Jul 13, 2011, 9:04am Top

47. The Giant, O'Brien by Hilary Mantel

Long-listed for the Orange Prize in 1999, this is a moving, delightful and heart-breaking sort of story with a pig in it. In other words, very Irish. Based loosely on two historical figures, the giant Charles O'Brien/Charles Byrne and the anatomist/surgeon John Hunter, this is a compelling tale of living with your circumstances and being who you are. The giant, O'Brien, and a band of ne'er-do-well minders leave Ireland, where their prospects are virtually nil, to go to England where their prospects are merely dim. Exhibited as a freak of nature, Charles is really a deeply thoughtful, self-contained man, with a gift for irony and story-telling. He comes to the attention of John Hunter, who has an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and who realizes, as Charles does himself, that the giant is literally growing to his death. Hunter is not above grave-robbing, body snatching and making contracts with men condemned to the gallows in order to get the specimens he craves for his work. Hell, he isn't even above injecting himself with the pox so he can watch and document the progress of the disease. (Street people are so unreliable.) Charles, however, balks at selling himself to be dismantled after death, fearing he will not be able to rise to heaven if his bones be scattered. 4 stars and a hanky.

Jul 13, 2011, 10:38am Top

I loved it too, Linda.

Jul 13, 2011, 10:47am Top

I'm adding it to my mental list, Linda. I had no idea that Mantel had been writing for long enough to have such a long bibliography. I was just looking at Amazon, and they list The Giant, O'Brien as YA. Really?

Jul 13, 2011, 10:58am Top

I am not a YA reader but I would not classify any of the Mantels I've read, including The Giant, O'Brien, as YA. I consider it one of her best, and I've read a lot of Mantel.

Jul 13, 2011, 10:59am Top

YA???? Goodness, no. If I had it to hand, I'd quote a couple passages that surely would take it right out of that genre.

Edited: Jul 13, 2011, 3:03pm Top

#146: Dodging that particular BB as I have already read the book. Unfortunately, I did not care for it as much as you and Rebecca did.

Jul 14, 2011, 5:27pm Top

#146: I'm one who loved The Giant, O'Brien. I can't imagine it being labelled YA. Thanks for the reminder--I need to look for some more Mantel!

Karen O.

Jul 16, 2011, 9:24pm Top

48. Crossroad Blues by Ace Atkins This is Ace Atkins' first Nick Travers novel. Actually, I believe it's his first novel, period, and it shows. It has a wonderful premise and some very well drawn characters. It also has some wretched sentences, and other flaws. As the title suggests, we're dealing here with the perennial mystery of Robert Johnson's death and the possibility of missing recordings. Atkins clearly is passionate about his subject matter, and knows the history. He managed to create a story line that taps into the Johnson myth, expands on it, but does not presume to alter it in any fundamental way. I admire what he did here, if not the way he did it. The plot got a little loose and sloppy, the characters' motivations slightly obscure at times, and the denouement suffered a total failure of suspense. But it was good enough to reflect a lot of potential for a series featuring Travers. I will read more of Atkins, as I suspect he improves with age.

Jul 16, 2011, 11:35pm Top

#153: I may give that one a try some century or other, if my local library ever gets a copy. Only one of Atkins' books is in their catalog at the moment.

Jul 17, 2011, 10:56am Top

I've discovered that our county library system doesn't have No. 2 in the series. Number 1, yes. Number 3, yes. Who thought THAT was good planning?

Jul 17, 2011, 11:11am Top

I have been a fan of Robert Johnson since I first heard his music in the early 1970's. I have a DVD documentary titled The Life & Music of Robert Johnson: Can't You Hear the Wind Howl which has interviews with Johnny Shines who traveled and played with Johnson. Crossroad Blues will go to the top of my wish list.

Jul 17, 2011, 11:15am Top

I hope you can find it, Bill. I'd like your take on the story. Was it just me, or did he flounder fairly seriously in the last third?

Jul 18, 2011, 8:18am Top

#155: My local library system has only book 2. Perhaps that is where the book wandered off to?

Jul 18, 2011, 11:03am Top

#158 AHA!

49. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson Loved this one. The first in Atkinson's Jackson Brodie series. Brodie is a former police inspector, turned private investigator, who gets involved long after the fact in three separate cases that become intertwined with his own life and history. Storytelling at its best. Couldn't put it down. I'll be seeking out more of Atkinson's work in a hurry.

Jul 18, 2011, 3:44pm Top

I'm reading her fourth one now and you're right, hard to put down. I love the title, Started Early, Took My Dog. I've read #2 and #3 too, all great, but now I have your recommend for #1. Thanks, Linda!

Geeze, I'm nice today.

Jul 18, 2011, 9:22pm Top

#159: I have read and enjoyed the first 3 books in the Jackson Brodie series. I am glad to see you have enjoyed your first foray into Atkinson's work. I am anxiously waiting for my local library to get book #4.

Jul 19, 2011, 10:04am Top

Just gave up on a book I took from the library. It sounded intriguing, but no.... Red Fox Woman by Judy Ann Davis. Set on a ranch in Colorado shortly after the Civil War, it has a promising heroine, and the suggestion of secrets and mysteries to unfold, but there is too much of "Bonanza" in the plotting, and the purple prose...PUHLease!! Still, the dialog was well done, and the Independent Woman sharp-witted and gutsy, and I THOUGHT the story line was developing well until said woman, surrounded by ranching rivals, renegades and sworn enemies, sends her hired hands off for a night on the town at the same time that the married couple who live with her are off to Denver to pick up some freight, leaving her alone on the ranch with a stupid pea-shooter of a derringer under her pillow and ALL HER MONEY AND THE DEED TO THE RANCH IN A TIN BOX IN THE SHED WHERE ONE OF HER RIVALS SAW HER STASH IT FER GAWD'S SAKE. Couldn't take no more.

Jul 19, 2011, 10:13am Top

>162 laytonwoman3rd:: snerrrrrrkkkkk

Jul 19, 2011, 11:44am Top

>163 tiffin:: ditto!

Jul 19, 2011, 12:04pm Top

#162: RFLMAO. great entertainment here. :-)

Jul 19, 2011, 8:04pm Top

#162: LOL! What about the arrow pointing 'Look Here' in bright red letters?

Jul 23, 2011, 8:55pm Top

I think the heat is beginning to get to all of us. I'm losing patience with a lop of what my dad used to call "crappola" these days. Good for you giving up and not wasting your time.

Jul 26, 2011, 8:08am Top

50. Solo by Rana Dasgupta A thoroughly engrossing read. Can't say I totally "get" it, but I'm glad I read it. I will let it perk a bit, and possibly re-read some of it, and then maybe I'll have more to say. For now, it falls into that category of books that lead me to other books, and that alone makes it worthwhile.

Jul 27, 2011, 1:09am Top

#168: Caro sent me a copy of that one a couple months back. I need to find where I put it.

Edited: Dec 15, 2012, 9:21pm Top

51. Paradise by Toni Morrison A difficult and disturbing novel about human nature. While I sense its power, and found certain passages absolutely wonderful, I didn't fall in love with the book. Nearly 200 pages into it, I was still trying to sort out the characters and their relationships. I don't object to complexity and often embrace it (excuse me...Faulkner?), but I found parts of the first half of this book were just too obtuse. It may have been partly that I never sat down and immersed myself in the reading for long enough to get caught up in it, but that's sort of a "chicken or egg" situation. A book can MAKE me do that and this one didn't. Having said all that, I expect that I'll re-read Paradise at some point. I'm not ready to devote any more of my limited reading time to this book immediately, but I really wish our library had the audiobook on CD so I could listen to it in the car right away. I think that would probably increase my rating (which I'm not going to post at this point) from 3 1/2 to 4 at least. I know that I have not got everything there is to get from this book, and I'm not through with it. Some books simply require a second go.

EDIT: December 15, 2012 I have been perusing old notebooks where I kept track of my reading prior to LT, and see that I noted reading this before, in 1998. I find that incredible, as I know I found nothing familiar about it when reading it in 2011. Maybe I fudged it way back then...??? Could I have Pearl-ruled it before I knew the meaning of the term? I didn't make any notes about my reading in those days, so this must remain a puzzler.

Aug 5, 2011, 7:50am Top

#170: Some books simply require a second go.

Cloud Atlas is one such book for me. I have now read it twice and still do not think I have gotten everything there is to get from it.

Aug 5, 2011, 9:35am Top

I completely agree with your take on Paradise. I won't be giving it a 2nd go...too many other unread books.

Aug 5, 2011, 10:17am Top

Well, I'm definitely in the mood for some "summer reads" now, and have decided that in August I just won't tax myself. Even though I really enjoy being challenged, and reading profound, or informative or enlightening material, it's time for some lightweight stuff. I have a lot of detective novels hanging around, and I"m going to indulge myself in those until I'm tired of that.

Aug 5, 2011, 7:55pm Top

Fun stuff, Linda!
>162 laytonwoman3rd: "Had I but known?!?!?!"
>148 LizzieD: I had a hard time thinking that the Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel would write a YA book, so I went back to Amazon and checked, and sure enough:
"Product Details
Reading level: Young Adult"
>170 laytonwoman3rd:, 172 For some reason that I can't tell you, I'm in the "Loved Paradise" camp. I doubt that I understood as much as you, but it absolutely caught me and kept me.
>173 laytonwoman3rd: I'm with you!

Aug 5, 2011, 8:33pm Top

#174, Well, all I can say is that Amazon is WRONG!

Aug 7, 2011, 2:09pm Top

52. Spin Your Web, Lady by Frances and Richard Lockridge I've been waiting a long time to own and read this scarce title from my favorite mystery-writing team. While it features Merton Heimrich of the New York State Police (and, briefly, William Weigand of Manhattan South), it is different than most of the Heimrich series in that it is largely told from the POV of one of the "players" in the mystery set-up. Very psychological, which Richard Lockridge experimented with in his solo writings after his wife's death. I was a bit surprised to find so much of it here, in a 1949 offering. There is a classic gathering-the-suspects scene, where the tension mounts and the guilty party breaks...one of the best I've ever read. Slightly marred by a tiny plot point that feels totally insensitive and uninformed to a 21st century audience, but probably wouldn't have raised an eyebrow in 1949. Overall, a great read. I don't know why this one is so rare, but I'm glad to have it in my library at last.

Edited: Aug 9, 2011, 10:40am Top

Anybody want to tell me why I can't turn off the bold at the end of my first post---the part for Not Actively Reading. I've edited and re-edited and cut the whole thing and replaced it, and I'm bewildered as to why it isn't heeding my /b command.

Aug 9, 2011, 10:44am Top

The hinterweb has pms. Goblins. Paste an aspirin on your screen and call it in the morning.

Other than that, I dunno.

Now can you tell me how a busy woman with a full-time job and a side career as goddess has managed to read 52 books?

Aug 9, 2011, 10:54am Top

Don't tell anybody, but Hermione Granger lent me her time-turner on the condition that all I ever use it for is to read books. There's a little of the witch in me, as well as the goddess. Oh, and the laundry is woefully neglected.

Aug 9, 2011, 11:03am Top

Linda, I had exactly the same reaction to Paradise. I still haven't given it that promised reread but it is a Toni Morrison book so I will give it another go one of these days. I like your idea about the audio version. I may give it a third go!

Aug 9, 2011, 11:45am Top

@ 177

I promise nothing, but if you send me your html for the post, I'll look at it.

Aug 9, 2011, 11:56am Top

@181 OK. Have at it.

Edited: Aug 9, 2011, 6:13pm Top

Darling daughter has identified the issue with my HTML in Post 1 AND she claims she made the necessary changes for me. Stand by while I copy her revised version and substitute it for what's up there now. If I'm never heard from again, you'll know it all crashed and I took the bridge.

ETA: By George, it worked! (Oh, and I edited a couple more spots myself.) I told you she was a smart cookie.

Aug 9, 2011, 6:43pm Top

>183 laytonwoman3rd:: well she is YOUR daughter, after all. :)

Aug 9, 2011, 6:45pm Top

Awww....shucks. Well, I taught her something practical and money-saving yesterday, so she owed me one!

Aug 9, 2011, 7:28pm Top

This is why we have smart kids, isn't it. ;)

Aug 9, 2011, 11:10pm Top

It has been way too long since I visited here.

Glad your daughter was able to help you with the bold html code.

Edited: May 14, 2014, 9:22pm Top

53. One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson This woman could get to be an addiction with me. I love the way she manages multiple story lines without unnecessary confusion--you know it's all going to come together eventually and watching it happen is so much fun. In this one our man Jackson Brodie spends most of his time on the wrong side of things---the law, his girlfriend, his own psyche. He starts by finding, then losing, a dead body. Nobody believes any of it. And it doesn't get better for a long time. Then he meets Detective Inspector Louise Monroe, who can't figure him out but can't quite bring herself to handcuff him and throw him in the slammer, which she suspects is what she ought to do if she wants to save her career. There are raunchy teenage boys, ("essence of testosterone and feet"); Crazy Russian Girls who are terrific house cleaners but probably also prostitutes (Or assassins?); a man with baseball bat; a missing corporate slimeball; a black garbage bag full of money; many humorous touches....and a nifty surprise at the end. Oh, and Edinburgh--let's not forget how much of a character the city is in this novel. A romp, that's what I'd call One Good Turn. Pure escapist pleasure.

Aug 10, 2011, 8:12am Top

@ 188

The lack of a star on your list up there tells me that this book is not a library book, which tells me you probably own it, which means *da da DUM*: "Can I borry it?"

Aug 10, 2011, 8:28am Top

Um, yeah, I think I was editing while you were posting. It IS a library book, unfortunately. Sorries.

Aug 10, 2011, 9:05am Top


Aug 10, 2011, 9:08am Top

Edinburgh? Right up my alley!

Aug 10, 2011, 9:16am Top

>188 laytonwoman3rd:: great review and am glad you're enjoying this!
>192 tiffin:: Tui, have you read the first Jackson Brodie, Case Histories? It's set in Cambridge, not Edinburgh. VERY good. I read One Good Turn first, not realizing it was a series, but when I read the third book last week I wished I'd read them in order.

Linda, will you be reading When Will There be Good News? soon? You're aware the series airs on PBS Masterpiece 3 Sundays beginning Oct 16?

Aug 10, 2011, 10:38am Top

Thanks, Laura L. I knew there was going to be a PBS series---I'm glad to have the date. I'll definitely read WWTbGN before October.

Edited: Aug 10, 2011, 11:06am Top

Ok, Case Histories is on the list now. Thanks, Linda.

Aaarrrrggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh: Sorry, LAURA, NOT LINDA!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited: Aug 10, 2011, 10:52am Top

>195 tiffin:: why does she get all the credit? Harrrumph. :)

Edited: Aug 10, 2011, 12:26pm Top

Well, I praised Case Histories too! Is the PBS series only doing the first three? 'Cause there are four Jackson Brodie books.

Aug 10, 2011, 1:32pm Top

>197 laytonwoman3rd:: yep, it looks like just the first 3. It's a British series, here are the details on IMDB

Edited: Aug 11, 2011, 9:51pm Top

54. On the Overgrown Path by David Herter A novella that feels very much like a fairy tale for grown-ups. An elderly Czech composer (clearly based on Leoš Janáček if you know even a little about his life and work) is left behind in a small nameless village somewhere in Czechoslovakia when his train is delayed by an avalanche on the tracks. He indulges his habit of recording sounds he hears in musical notation in a small notebook, and becomes obsessed with a particular song sung out of sight by a woman's voice "a vivid contralto...weaving a tune, a melismatic melody of leaps and turns." It is his distraction in attempting to locate this woman that causes him to miss the departure of his train. He is put up in large empty house---almost a Castle---where he is cared for by the housekeeper and her husband. He makes forays into the nearby Woods searching for that tune, which proves very elusive. Soon he begins to feel that Something does not wish him to capture these essential sounds, and yet he cannot give up the quest. There is an atmosphere to this compelling story that is reminiscent of Tolkien. A brilliant evocation of Eastern Europe between the wars, when Magic both dark and bright seemed to infuse the very trees and snowflakes, and mysterious forces were abroad in the land.

Aug 12, 2011, 3:02am Top

#199: Rats. I bought that one a couple years back when Lois recommended it and still have not read it yet. I really must find it so I can!

Aug 12, 2011, 8:03am Top

#200 Same here, Stasia. I've had it for at least two years, and it was Lois's recommendation that made me buy it. As soon as I finished it I went hunting for the one that follows it The Luminous Depths; had to buy it on e-Bay. There is supposed to be a third, but it hasn't been published yet. Herter is an LT author, and I left him a message on his profile, asking for current info on the last volume of the trilogy, but no response so far.

Aug 12, 2011, 8:24am Top

#201: I hope he responds. Keep me posted, would you please?

Aug 12, 2011, 8:40am Top


Aug 12, 2011, 11:35am Top

How do Miss Linda3rd! *smooch*

Aug 12, 2011, 11:58am Top

'Lo Richard! Nice of you to drop by. I notice you enjoyed the Herters as well.

Aug 12, 2011, 9:58pm Top

Where on earth did you discover that one?

Aug 12, 2011, 10:05pm Top

Check its reviews....I'll bet you'll figure it out!

Aug 13, 2011, 1:42am Top

#203: Thank you!

Aug 13, 2011, 11:20am Top

I *loved* the Herter novellas! A little-explored neck of the woods in Murrikin fiction, Czechoslovakia. And I think he did lovely things with the language, too. (English, that is, since I doesn't reads Czecho or whatever they call it.)

Aug 13, 2011, 6:31pm Top

I believe it's called Chex because that's how it's spelled on the cereal box.

Aug 13, 2011, 7:13pm Top

My beautiful Aunt Jitka was born in Brno, in what is now the Czech Republic. She came here as a young bride after WWII. My paternal grandmother's family came to the U.S. from Nitra and Luky in Slovakia in the 1880's, so Herter's setting touches something in me that I can't even articulate. Jitka once told me she'd be happy to travel back to the old country with me, so I could see where my ancestors came from, and where some of my relatives still live on the farm my Great Grandfather left behind. Unfortunately, she has fallen under the spell of the Alzheimer Bitch, and that trip will never happen.

Aug 13, 2011, 8:05pm Top

>207 laytonwoman3rd:: I did figure it out! Har!
>210 BrainFlakes:: Another Har!

But >211 laytonwoman3rd: was so sad to read. I am so sorry, Linda.

Aug 14, 2011, 1:29am Top

#211: Oh, that is sad. What a missed opportunity for you both.

Aug 14, 2011, 7:09am Top

>211 laytonwoman3rd:: oh how sad. I'm sorry, Linda.

Aug 14, 2011, 7:13am Top

#211: That is truly sad, Linda. Echo Stasia--a missed opportunity for both.

Aug 14, 2011, 8:14am Top

Thanks, friends---didn't mean to bum everyone out. We're off to see Jitka and my Uncle George (her husband, my dad's older brother) today. He turned 90 on Monday, and there's a party. They both still live at home, under the care of her son and a couple of wonderful daily nurses.

Aug 14, 2011, 8:48am Top

I hope the birthday party is terrific!

Edited: Aug 24, 2011, 12:03pm Top

55. In an Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh Interesting memoir of the author's time spent in Egypt and the people he met there, interspersed with the story of a 12th century Indian trader, the subject of the research that took Ghosh there originally as a student. A bit awkward at times, as the two stories didn't mesh for me as well as the blurbs and reviews suggest. Some of the transitions were pretty blunt. Overall, an informative and relatively engaging read.

Aug 24, 2011, 10:08am Top

Thanks for the review of In an Antique Land, Linda. I have it on the TBR, despite my reservations about Ghosh, and now I think it may stay there for a while!

Aug 24, 2011, 10:13am Top

I learned a few things from the book, Rebecca, but as a "read", it could have been better.

Aug 24, 2011, 10:17am Top

I just can't connect with Ghosh. It's as though he writes in 2-D. I went through 5 years of art in high school with a guy who painted in 2-D. Everything looked kind of steam-rollered and flat. Ghosh is the verbal equivalent of those paintings to me.

Aug 24, 2011, 12:03pm Top

Excellent characterization, Tui. I agree, and I think I'll give his other books a pass. TMBTLT.

Aug 24, 2011, 2:48pm Top

56. An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor Right down delightful, this one. It will remind you an awful lot of James Herriot for a while, with people rather than critters as patients, but there's not the depth of emotion you find in All Creatures Great and Small and the rest. Grand cast of characters from sodden Seamus Galvin to daft Arthur Guinness, a dog who loves his beer and the new doctor's left leg. Don't ask this book to be more than it is, and you'll enjoy it. Lagniappe in the form of an afterword with recipes from the doctors' housekeeper, Mrs. Kincaid, and a glossary of Irish terms.

Aug 24, 2011, 3:09pm Top

The Irish Country series is particularly delightful in audio....like listening to an old time soap opera with Irish characters....

Aug 24, 2011, 3:13pm Top

@ 223

You made me look up a word!

Edited: Aug 24, 2011, 3:35pm Top

I will probably begin a new thread soon, as this one is getting longish. But I can't leave Eudora behind without mentioning that earlier this week, at the instigation of a commentator on NPR, I picked up my Library of America volume of her essays and stories to read the chilling and remarkable "Where is the Voice Coming From?" I urge you all to do likewise. Her explanation of how this story came about is important too. She sat down and wrote it in its entirety the night Medgar Evers was shot in Jackson, Mississippi, her hometown. She said "I thought, with overwhelming directness: Whoever the murderer is, I know him: not his identity, but his coming about, in this time and place... I wrote his story--my fiction--in the first person: about that character's point of view, I felt, through my shock and revolt, I could make no mistake." By the time the story was in the hands of her editor (William Maxwell) at The New Yorker, which published it immediately, a man had been arrested for the shooting, and certain "outward details" had to be changed because they were too close to actuality. In light of the brutal beating and murder of a black man by white teenagers in Jackson this summer, it appears that "point of view" is still too much with us.

Aug 24, 2011, 3:31pm Top

#225 Surely not. Did I let you grow up in my house without learning the word "lagniappe"?! Shame on me.

Aug 24, 2011, 3:51pm Top

Apparently you did. How shall you compensate me for sending me out into the world thus prepared? I'm thinking baked goods. I'm thinking apple cake.

Aug 24, 2011, 4:11pm Top

The meaning of lagniappe was given as a lagniappe for reading the book review. But it does sort of sound like mascarpone and tagliatelli, speaking of food.

Aug 25, 2011, 2:11pm Top

#226 Thanks to Nickelini for finding a link to this story online.

Aug 28, 2011, 11:34am Top

57. Homestead by Rosina Lippi Well, I should not have left this one languishing on my shelf for so long. What a satisfying read. Twelve interconnected stories spanning much of the twentieth century in a small Austrian farm village. Each story advances us through time, and fills in pieces of the ones before, from multiple perspectives. Highly recommended.

One of those odd coincidences I so often note in my reading choices. Like An Irish Country Doctor, this novel also has a glossary at the end.

Aug 29, 2011, 9:17am Top

Too many posts later, I'm back from Irene hiatus and thanking you for checking in. *smooch*

Aug 29, 2011, 1:37pm Top

#231: I will see if my local library has that one. Thanks for the recommendation, Linda.

Sep 3, 2011, 11:08am Top

I've started a new thread. Pop over and see who's reading to us now.

Sep 3, 2011, 12:11pm Top

I'm going to miss seeing Eudora. She always made me smile when I visit here.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2011

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