LauraBrook's 75 in 2012 - Chapter 1
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1. Hurricane Story by Jennifer Shaw
2. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
3. Pawnee: The Greatest Town in American by Leslie Knope
4. Peter Doig by Judith Nesbitt
5. Fanny by Holly Hobbie
6. Priscilla and the Splish-Splash Surprise by Nathaniel Hobbie
7. Beach Ball by Peter Sis
8. Madlenka by Peter Sis
9. Madlenka's Dog by Peter Sis
10. The Three Golden Keys by Peter Sis
11. Komodo! by Peter Sis
12. Impressionists by the Sea by John House
13. Gaga by Johnny Morgan
14. The Paris Apartment by Claudia Strasser
15. Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham
16. The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World by Guillaume de Laubier
17. Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra by Peter Kurth
18. Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
19. Chucaro: Wild Pony of the Pampa by Francis Kalnay
20. Hyacinth Bucket's Hectic Social Calendar
21. Keeping Up Appearances: Hyacinth Bucket's Book of Etiquette for the Socially Less Fortunate
22. Hurricane Story by Jennifer Shaw
23. Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel
23. Frog and Toad Together by same
24. Cinderella by Beni Montresor
25. Topsys & Turvys by Peter Newell
26. A Midnight Carol by Patricia Davis
27. The Rose Garden Susanna Kearsley
28. The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag by Allen Bradley
29. Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
30. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
31. A Red Herring Without Mustard by Allen Bradley
32. The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
33. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
34. Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence
35. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
36. The Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux
37. The Complete Book of Massage by Clare Maxwell-Hudson
38. The man That Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain
39. Schloss Schonbrunn guide
40. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
41. 100 Unforgettable Dresses by Hal Rubenstein
42. The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
43. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by same
44. The Horse and His Boy by same
45. Prince Caspian by same
46. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by same
47. The Last Battle by same
48. The Silver Chair by same
49. Bringing Tuscany Home by Frances Mayes
50. Mrs. 'Arris Goes To Paris by Paul Gallico
51. Follow the Dream: The story of Christopher Columbus by Peter Sis
52. Play, Mozart, Play! by same
53. Tibet: Through the Red Box by same
54. Starry messenger: Gallileo Gallilei by same
55. The wall: growing up behind the iron curtain by same
56. the tree of life: charles darwin by same
57. pilgrimage by annie leibowitz
58. midnight in austenland by shannon hale
59. chopsticks by jessica andrews and rodrigo corral
60. unpacking my library: writers and their books by leah price
61. through no fault of my own by coco irvine
62. crossed by ally condie
63. strawberry shortcake murder by joanne fluke
64. full service by scotty bowers
65. a month of summer by lisa wingate
66. firefly: the official companion volume 1
67. holly's inbox by holly denham
68. shades of grey by jasper fforde
69. the dressmaker by kate alcott
70. when i were a meerkat by andrew davies
71. the anglo files by sarah lyall
72. the magician's elephant by kate dicamillo
73. let's pretend this never happened by jenny lawson
74. leviathan by scott westerfield
75. world war z by max brooks
76. evan only knows by rhys bowen
77. the golden pencil by w.f. herzel
78. holly's inbox: scandal in the city by holly denham
okay, somehow i've miscounted the books in this list and i'm too lazy to bother finding out where i went wrong. *shrug* i'd trust the counter at the top for a total, rather than this giant list.
You know I'll follow you anywhere! I'm holding off starting my '12 Thread until the end of the week, less dangerous that way. Hope you had a fantastic weekend!
Laura! Over here, it's me! Pass the shrimp, and I need more champers!
Hey Laura! Just popping in to say Hi and I hope you enjoy the Christmas swap book. I think I've learned a lesson for next year and that shipping cost really could have been another book bought! I hope book depository is still around next year so I can go through them (free shipping!!). I'm waiting for a good sale to get the book for my own library. I hope your 2012 starts off with a great read!
Hi! You're a friend of my dad's (jnwelch) so I thought I would stop in and star your thread and say hi :)
Can't wait to see what you read this year.
Hope that you have a wonderful year in 2012 with health, happiness, and lots of good books.
Hello everyone, and welcome! Glad to see you all here. I've got a pretty exciting evening planned for tonight - movies, reading, some light champagne drinking and a few resolutions made should take me through to midnight!
Happy New Year, Laura! Let's have a great 2012! Hey and maybe we can do another Chicago Meet-up. I'd be up for it. Hugs!
Chicago meet up? When, where? Count me in. I got a GPS for Christmas so I'm ready to travel.
We're glad to have you back here, Laura. Have a wonderful new year of books and meeting with friends...either on line or at Mark's house!
Hi, Laura! Off we go for 2012! This should be fun.
Chicago meet-up?! I'm ready!
Hi Laura! I see I'm late to the party, but then, I like being fashionably late, when everyone's already had a drink or two and loosened up a little. Enjoy your New Year's Eve, have a great New Year, and good luck with those resolutions! I'm not making any. Problem solved. ;-)
I'll be lurking more, commenting less this year to try to keep up with more threads, your included. ☆
Hiya! Yes, I am in for another Chicago meet-up for sure! I've just posted this list on my 2011 threads, so just in case everyone is done-and-dusted with 2011 I wanted to post it here too.
Shockingly, I don't think I've done one of these before. Well, in no particular order, here are my top reads of 2011. They weren't all 5 star reads, but they all stood out for one reason or another.
1. Wisconsin's Own by M. Caren Connolly
2. Daddy Long Legs and Dear Enemy by Jean Webster
3. Still Life by Louise Penny
4. The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde
5. Dresden by Lord Gerald Hugh Tyrwitt-Wilson Berners
6. The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure
7. Doctor Dolittle's Journey by N. H. Kleinbaum
8. Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss
9. Habibi by Craig Thompson
10. The Diary of a Young Lady of Fashion, 1764-5 by Cleone Knox
11. Divergent by Veronica Roth
12. Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
13. The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
14. The Library, The Money Tree, The Gardener, and The Friend by Sarah Stewart
15. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins
16. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
17. Black Diamond by Martin Walker
18. Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen
19. Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
20. Alice in Sunderland by Bryan Talbot
Here's hoping that 2012's reading is just as good!
HAPPY NEW YEAR, dear Laura!
I"m bringing a star and a hope that 2012 bests 2011 in wonderful books and conversation!
#27: I was going to say I hadn't read or even heard of some of those, but of course--The Wolves of Willoughby Chase! One of my faves. :) Glad it made a good impression on you this year (technically, it's still 2011 where I'm at). Can't wait to see what you find interesting next year! :)
Hi Laura! ***waves*** Just joined the group and happy to come across your thread. Starred!
Hi Laura! The Wilder Life made it onto my list of favorite books of 2011, too.
Hello everyone, and welcome! This year is off to a strange start for me. Work was very busy during the holiday season, and has suddenly dropped off to virtually non-existant. Good for the free time, bad for the pocketbook. So I'm searching for jobs once again *big sigh* in-between running around for the occasional client here and there. As things have slowed, I've been reading more, which is a very good thing. :)
1. Hurricane Story by Jennifer Shaw
Beautifully presented and told mostly through soft-focus images, this story of Ms. Shaw and her family escaping Hurricane Katrina in the early morning hours and the birth of their son the next day, is a haunting and powerful account that can be added to the LA art and fiction that has been born of this national tragedy. The format might not work for some, but it worked for me. 4 stars
2. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
There is something to be said for reading the right story at the right time. While I enjoyed the story of Mole, Rat, Badger, etc, I feel like I would have enjoyed it more had I read it when I was small, and if I had an edition with more pictures. It was nice to finally read the source material after seeing so many adaptations over the years. 3.5 stars
3. Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America by Leslie Knope
If you're a fan of "Parks and Recreation" like I am, you will really enjoy this book. Like reading a long episode of the show, it was a great companion to both fill in some historical Pawnee gaps and pass those weird chunks of time while waiting for an appointment. 4.25 stars. The only thing that could have made it better would be to have a little more Ron Swanson. :)
4. Peter Doig by Judith Nesbitt
I first heard about Peter in December - a new book of his paintings kept showing up on shopping lists for art lovers in several magazines - and thought I'd see what his work was like. I liked about half of it, and the other half just left me "meh". It's always interesting to learn about a new artist and to see what their world is like - in this case, I'm glad that I used the library instead of laying out money. 2.75 stars
That's it for now! I've got about 200 pages left in a chunky book that I'm hoping to get done today. Otherwise, it's back to life as usual!
Now you have me thinking about whether I've actually read The Wind in the Willows, Laura. Maybe I had it read to me when I was a kid. That seems most likely at the moment. Glad your recent reads have been a decent mix.
*Hugs* and *Smooches* That whole 'job search' business is tedious work, I tell ya. I'm not getting paid nearly enough to do it. Hope you have better luck than I do with it. :)
I've been thinking about checking out the Pawnee book-I'll need to add that to my library list!
I'm another one who liked Hurricane Story, Laura. I'm impressed with her thinking of presenting the story in such an unusual way.
Yes yes yes! Should be a good game today. My best friend and her fiancee are there right now, so I'll be scanning the close-up shots of the stands, looking for them.
Linda, are you enjoying your low-key weekend?
Hi Joe and daughter! Becca (is that right?), if you like Parks and Rec, you'll like this book. Did you watch last week's episode? It made me laugh so hard - "Get on your feet!" - and I'm so glad the winter break is over. Joe, I thought it was a great way to present her story too - very unusual and all the more impactful for doing so.
I've been on a picture book bender for the last 12 hours, so I'll be back again shortly with reviews!
We'll be cheering on the Pack too, of course. I suspect my dad is there, as he has season tickets. Not a bad weather day to be at Lambeau, but I would still pick my living room.
Me too. I'd love to go to a game at least once, though. Seems like it'd be a lot of fun. Still, couch + sweatpants = a good time. (Maybe I should revise my definition of good time? Seems kinda sad. Still true, but sad.) :)
I'm hoping the Packers win too, of course...mostly because the Giants beat my team last week. :P
>48 Yes, Laura, you got it - daughter=Becca. I've seen a few of the Parks and Rec episodes on Netflix, and they were really funny. But Becca's the expert.
Hey, I'm all in favor of couch+sweatpants = a good time! My only change in the equation is comfortable chair instead of couch.
Hi Laura- Hope you are enjoying your day! I am a big Parks & Rec fan too, so I should look into that book but more Ron Swanson would definitely be better.
Not looking great for the Pack so far - here's hoping they can turn it around in the 4th.
Joe, that equation can absolutely be changed to comfortable chair - and if it's a Lay-Z-Boy, all the better!
Nice to see the Parks & Rec love here! I knew you guys had great taste before, and this just cements it. Here's a shot from what's probably my favorite episode:
Awwww, the Packers looked bad right from the start today.
I won't talk about my Sunday attire (it'd be too much info) but, rest assured, it's comfortable.
Sorry the Packers lost! :(
Couch + sweatpants is my idea of a good time too. On special occasions when formal attire is required it's couch + loose comfy jeans, and when I'm feeling like a wild party animal it's couch + shorts. 8-)
I know, they did look bad right away. Oh well. I called my Uncle (in Alaska) at halftime and he sounded sooooo depressed. As soon as the game started up again he just said "gotta go, game's back on" and hung up on me. Once a Packers fan, always a Packers fan, I guess. :)
Glad to see all of the support for comfy clothes and lounging around! Wahoo! If I'm home, I'm either in PJ's or sweats, it's a classy affair around here.
Just before the game was over I went upstairs to the attic (pitched ceilings, not heated, kind of a storage and unofficial office space) to try and find the 2012 scheduler I bought a few months ago. I didn't find it, unfortunately, but I did find a big box of pictures from college and have very wisely spent the last 2 hours scanning about a hundred pictures onto my computer. It was kind of fun to see all of the crazy stuff I used to do, and like everyone else, kept thinking "I wasn't that fat ... what was my problem?" over and over again. *sigh* So now I've found a new project that didn't need finding and will be a great time-waster when I should be doing about a thousand other things instead. Such is life.
>54 Loved that episode! They're (he and Megan M.) are married in real life, aren't they?
>57 Hard to repeat. They had a great year last year.
We put up a bunch of family photos in our den and it's a blast to revisit the memories.
Hi Nancy! Thanks for the review referral - I just requested it from the library! I hardly read short story collections (despite having a few on my shelves) and I always enjoy them when I read them, so thanks for the nudge to pick this one up!
Morning, Joe! Yes, Nick and Megan are married in real life. Seem like a good couple. I know, it's too bad about the Packers, but life moves on. Our family (Mom's side) has always been big into photography (there's still a dark room in my basement!) so I think I inherited that particular bug. Judging by the photo albums and boxes of prints and negatives, I easily have over 1,000 pictures I've taken myself. It is a blast to look through old pictures - sometimes the stuff that you don't expect becomes the most memorable or representative of a particular person/time/place. Those are always my favorites.
Somewhere around LT here ( I think maybe on GingerbreadMan's thread?) I mentioned that I was in the Color Guard and someone asked to see a picture. I didn't find anything yesterday (since I was in it in high school) but I hope to find something today when I clean out my guest room. (Yikes!) Wish me luck!
Wisconsin wasted all their good luck on the Miss America pageant this weekend, unfortunately.
I don't really care but now I'm hoping for an all-Harbaugh Super Bowl.
You have an uncle in Alaska? Do you visit him?
Alaska sounds so wonderful to me..
That'd be great if that happened, Linda. We'll find out soon enough, I suppose.
Hi Kath! I haven't gotten caught up on your thread(s) yet, please forgive me. I've got you starred and will get there soon! Yes, Uncle Rob lives just outside of Fairbanks. I've only visited him once when I was 5/6, and despite the fact that it's been nearly 30 years (cripes!) I remember quite a lot of it. Part of the issue with not visiting is that I couldn't stay with him. (Pack-rat tendencies run in the family and when you have a self-built (now) 2-room cabin w/o plumbing of any kind, space is very much an issue.) The other part is that I don't do well flying so the thought of a super-long flight is not appearling. The other other part is that he likes to visit here instead since it's just one person traveling instead of 3 of us - and that way he can catch up with childhood friends and haunts when he's here too. We've talked a little recently about me coming up to see him and to help him de-clutter, but that would involve me driving up there with some kind of a U-Haul (that would take at least 3 days), staying in a hotel, and then driving back with stuff (like the majority of his classic-rock LP collection - score!). It'd be a 3 or 4 week project, most likely, and while I could do it with my schedule, it's a financial issue too.
Sorry, was that a bit of a ramble? It's BEAUTIFUL up there and almost like it's not part of the US in some ways. If you ever get a chance, jump on it! You won't regret it. :)
And, I finally found a Color Guard picture of me! It's small, and I have others at my parents house, but this will have to do for now:
I'm the one in the middle. And, keep in mind that this was 1995 and it was hotter than Satan's kitchen (plus, no digital pics!), so...yeah.
I need to get my hands on Pawnee! I didn't realize there was a book to go along with the show!
Eeek! Forgot to update what I've read recently!
Books 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9: Beach Ball, Komodo!, Madlenka, Madlenka's Dog, and The Three Golden Keys all by Peter Sis
Ilana, I can't thank you enough for introducing me to Peter's work! The illustrations are wonderful and amazing, the two in the Madlenka series are charming and worldly, and my favorite of the bunch, The Three Golden Keys, was haunting and smart. I've found a new favorite author and illustrator and will be looking for copies of all of his books for my own shelves.
Beach Ball is a nearly wordless picture book in the vein of Where's waldo?, only this time you follow the lost ball and Mary as they travel along the beach. 3.75 stars
Madlenka and Madlenka's Dog tell the story of Madlenka and her adventures around her block - first, she needs to tell all of her friends (all international to boot) about her loose tooth and with each friend she meets we learn a little about their home countries. Plus, there are wonderful square cut-outs throughout the book, something that's in both volumes. In the second book, Madlenka takes her imaginary dog out for a walk and we meet some old and new friends of hers. Along with the cut-outs are also integrated flaps that you open to see which kind of dog each person has or had in their past. 4.25 stars each
Komodo! tells the story of a little boy who loves komodo dragons. His parents surprise him with a trip to Komodo island and while it's a fairly straight-forward, "simple", story the illustrations make it all the more charming. 3 stars
And finally, The Three Golden Keys tells the story of Peter's own childhood and his experiences and stories that were a part of his life growing up in Prague. Beautifully illustrated, filled with haunting details, it felt like stepping into someone else's childhood recollections. 5 stars
Book 10: Priscilla and the Splish-Splash Surprise by Nathaniel Hobbie
Picked up on a whim, this was a cute story about Priscilla and how she learns how rain is a good thing for the world around her even if she has cabin fever and wants it to stop. 3.5 stars
Book 11: Fanny by Holly Hobbie
A smart little girl who is self-reliant and resourceful, Fanny wants a celebrity glamour doll of her own. Her parents can't afford to get her one, so she makes her own doll, sewing it all herself. A great story for little girls to read, it even made me a little inspired to be more resourceful! 4.25 stars
Book 12: Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham
With blurbs from highly respected literary sources like Heat and OK! magazines, I was expecting nothing more than a fluffy, feel-good, brain candy read. While there certainly was an element of that to this chunkster of a book, there was more here than I expected, and more than a few serious moments came into play too. I have to agree with Heat, sadly, and say that it is a compulsively readable book. It's also a quick read since the entire book is written in emails - how fast do most of us read those?!? It was really a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel in the near future. 4.5 stars
Love the color guard pick. I don't think I could do that. I'd probably knock myself out with the pole!
I'm about halfway through the second season of Parks and Rec-thank you Netflix Instant!-and loving it-so funny and clever!
I've been thinking about reading Holly's Inbox for a while-I think I will definitely need to pick it up now!
Book 13: Impressionists by the Sea by John House
Book 14: Gaga by Johnny Morgan
Book 15: The Paris Apartment by Claudia Strasser
All fine books with lots of pictures, all nice ways to pass a few hours - 3.5 stars each
I have to apologize to all of my LT friends - 2012 has been keeping me away! First, there was the new iPhone (many, many distractions), then lots of work, then not so much, now a fairly normal amount. And then earlier this week, I seem to have gotten my email hacked and it's been a superfun week of trying to fix it on my end. No luck. Tomorrow my trusty Mac laptop goes in to the Genius Bar to see what they can fix on this baby. Any internet access will be from my iPhone, so commenting/visiting will be minimal until things get straightened out. And, I've somehow stumbled into a reading lull - not a slump, a lull - that I can't seem to shake. Later this afternoon (after I've finished my tax work before my accountant appt on Monday morning - blech) I'm planning on starting A Discovery of Witches. I've been assured by many friends that it will suck up all of my time and that I'll love it, so I hope it's all true!
How are all of you doing? What's new, what're you reading?
Well, that sucks! (re: your email getting hacked, a reading lull, etc) I hope everything gets worked out. And BAH! You said the T word. Actually, I don't really mind doing my own, but we've had several patrons rant at us for not having the booklets. They just don't seem to understand the IRS hasn't sent them to us yet. Relax, people.
Anywho, I'm glad you liked Gaga. :) I flipped through it once or twice at work (love the cover), but I never read the entire thing.
As for what I'm reading, I'm pretty much in the same slump as you. I'm getting a lot of movies watched, but the only books I've read in the past couple weeks were I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President (which was pretty darn funny) and Boo: The Life of the World's Cutest Dog (not exactly heavy reading ;), and probably a couple other kids books I'm forgetting.
Hope things start looking up for you! :) See you around.
Hi, Laura. Good to see you back Hope your tech reassembles appropriately (what a drag to get hacked) and your lull turns into floating down the reading river. I'll be interested to hear what you think of Discovery of Witches.
I'm finishing Logicomix, which I'm liking more than I expected, and starting Mister Blue, one Darryl and others have recommended strongly.
I found that getting a smartphone has actually made me *more* productive. I spend less time on the computer because I can check LT and my e-mail from my phone, but since it is slower and more awkward than a computer, I am less likely to waste hours and hours playing on it. But that's probably just me :-)
Hi Laura: Good to see you here again. Hope you can get your pc issues resolved.
Okay everyone, computer seems to be fixed! YAHOO!!! It was weird to get email again (even though it'd only been a few days w/o it), and I could be crazy, but I swear my internet connection is speedier than ever. Hopefully, I'll be back in the swing of things from now on - especially considering the fact that work has dried up to virtually nothing. Not that there aren't about a billion things to do for my business and around the house, but they don't pay any money right away, so...
Sara - I know, I said the T word. Sorry. :) At least my taxes are over and done with. A depressing experience, but relatively painless. And, I really like my accountant, so that helps. Yep, Gaga was pretty good! I'd already watched a couple of those 1 hour shows about her that were on this past year, so nothing was overly shocking, but I think she's an interesting and envelope-pushing person. It seems like so many people we used to consider "characters" have fallen by the wayside. I think she's making an important return to individuality and creativity, like a breath of fresh air for our society. I'll have to mosey over to your thread to see what scary horror movies you're watching these days.
Hi Joe! So far, ADOW is going well. I've got a bookclub for it tonight, and I'm curious to see what everyone else thinks about it. I've heard good things about Logicomix from both you and Mark, so I'll have to add that to my library list.
Thanks Stephen and Roni - (hugs) to both of you!
Hey Nora - I have checked LT from my phone a few times at work, and it was really great. At least with this place though, I compulsively feel the need to catch up on every single thread every time I'm here, so it becomes more of a personal challenge to read everything, rather than the much more rational "just checking in" thing that most normal people do. I'm more likely to play a game for just a few minutes on my phone than anything else. (I'm totally hooked on Temple Run, BTW. It's a sickness, and the closest thing I have to a video game.) Any tips for somehow magically making myself more productive with my phone instead of less? I'll take any scraps you throw at me. :)
Hi Linda - I'm back to normal, thankfully. Looking forward to reading for the rest of the afternoon. Have you read any Stephen Cannell books? I picked one up at the library randomly just to give it a shot. I always thought he wrote the Castle books since he was on the show, but maybe not?
Okay, off to make some coffee and get some reading done. I'm on page 67 of 580 - I'll totally finish A Discovery of Witches by 5:30 tonight, right?
>81 The internet is the biggest productivity-killer for me. So I try to spend as much time with my computer off (or off of the internet) as I can now that I have my phone. For example, I used to turn on my computer when I woke up in the morning so I could check my e-mail, the weather, LT, etc. Now I can check all of those from my phone while eating breakfast and it's much quicker, because I don't have to wait for it to boot up. I also check LT on my phone while walking to work* so that I am less tempted to check it when I get to work.
*For professional reader-walkers only; do not attempt.
>84: What she said. Many a tree I walked into as a child, before I got my Reader/Walker Certificate.
And welcome back to the pack, Laura.
Just checking in Laura. So did you actually finish A Discovery of Witches yesterday?
Hope you are enjoying A Discovery of Witches! The second comes out in July
Thanks, everyone! I only got another 30 or so pages read before bookclub, so i'm about 1/6 of the way through it. It's really good, a lot of fun, and I think I might just return the library copy and buy a copy for myself. Doesn't really help the whole "trying not to buy so many books this year" thing, but I just bought myself a couple more books for no real reason, so why not add one more to the pile?
My next "hurry up and finish" book is Sister Carrie, for another bookclub tomorrow night. I'm in about the same spot as Discovery, so I don't know how successful I'll be. Plus, I've got Aqua Zumba tonight and tomorrow I'll be gone all day, so... yeah, I probably won't complete it in time. I'll still whack away at it, though. And, in a moment of total stupidity, I downloaded a free copy of Kim by Kipling on my iPhone, and have read a couple of chapters of that. This is a typical Laura move, though - instead of focusing on the deadline at hand, I start a bunch of other projects while simultaneously worrying about finishing the first thing. *sigh* Among the hundreds of things I'm constantly trying to "fix" on myself, this is one that I'm okay with leaving alone for the time being. It's too big to handle with other balls in the air. (Don't laugh, Stephen.)
Don't worry, Laura. I don't laugh at 'big penis' jokes. I just get depressed and weep. ;)
Book 16: The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World by Guillaume de Laubier
As a bibliophile I couldn't pass this oversized beauty up. Slightly disappointing (partly because it was a lot of Very Fancy libraries (some of them most of us couldn't enter) and partly because you miss out on that great old-books library smell) but still beautiful, filled with just enough narrative info for each one. There are a few fold-out "centerfold" type photos throughout and I felt a little dirty ogling the pictures like a perv. :) A great collection of libraries, to be sure, but I'd prefer something a little more "of the people" than "of the priviledged". 3.5 stars
Book 17: Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra by Peter Kurth
Massive thanks to Linda/Whisper1 for reading and recommending this book - without it, I never would have heard of this title, and I'd really have missed out! A lifelong fascination of the Romanovs and a love for beautiful photography, especially in an historical context, made the book sort of a Perfect Storm for me. If the illustrations and narrative were separate I still would've liked the books a lot, but put them together - WOW! - and it's gangbusters. Pretty much the perfect book for me. With enough "before" of the story to understand and invest yourself into the book, and with immensely gorgeous and juicy photography of the real locations (both then and now), I found myself slowing down to read the book so it wouldn't end too quickly. Of course it did, and now it's firmly on my Must Buy For Myself list. The story might not be brand new, but it felt like it to me. 5 stars for sure, and one of the best books that I'll read this year, without a doubt.
The Palace of Gatchina, preferred palace of Alexander III, the Tsar before Nicky, and where Nicky spent many happy hours outdoors
The Alexander Palace, where the family lived, in Tsarskoe Selo
The Ipatiev House, or the House of Special Purpose, where the Romanovs spent their last days. They were killed in the basement, and in 1977 the house was destroyed by order of Boris Yeltsin.
I really do need to read more Russian history. I find the pre-Revolutionary and early Revolutionary years particularly fascinating. Glad you enjoyed the book, Laura.
I can certainly see why he preferred Gatchina. What a gorgeous setting!
#90: You might like this beautiful libraries website: http://www.beautiful-libraries.com/index.html It has the same title but doesn't seem to be related to the book.
Love the pics from the Russian book, Laura. It's already on the endless WL, but may move up.
How do you like Sister Carrie? Is it preachy or is it compelling?
I definitely need to look at that beautiful libraries book! I love pictures of libraries. I don't know if you use tumblr, but there are some that are specifically pictures of libraries, bookstores, books, etc.
Hi Laura!!!! You hit me with 3 BBs. Thought I'd try A Discovery of Witches. Also I love books with many colorful photos. One of my very favorite books is a book of grand old trees from everywhere in the world. Even though I' ve read through it a few times, I still get it out once in awhile to look at the pictures.
Right now I'm readingKilling The Blues and starting The Wayward Bus for the Steinbeck GR.
Hope you are getting a lot of sunshine and having a great weekend!!!
I'm really excited for that Russian history book! I minored in East European and Asian Literature in college, and love reading history books, so that book sounds perfect to me! Adding it to the list!
Hello to all! I'm not sure exactly where the last couple of weeks have gone, but they're gone! I've been catching up on magazines, and reading bits and pieces of a few books, but aside from the few that I'll quickly list below, not much has really gotten crossed off of my TBR list. Somehow I've managed to deaccession a few books from my physical TBR shelves, and while it feels great (it's only 4 books) there's a long way to go.
Book 18: A Midnight Carol by Patricia K. Davis
A saccharine and sentimental fictionalization of how and when Charles Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol. I probably would've enjoyed this more if I'd read it closer to the season, or if I was feeling weepy, but as it was, it was only okay. 2 1/2 stars, and off of my shelf it goes!
Book 19: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
I like Mindy Kaling, and her quirky, fast-talking, judgmental style, and listening to her read her own book was a great way to get a little dose of Kaling in my weekend. Enjoyable, funny, and quick, I'm glad I read it (and I'd recommend it to Office fans) and I'm also glad that I got it from the library. Not one I'm likely to reread, but a good time nonetheless. 3 stars
Books 20 & 21: Frog and Toad Together and Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel
A duo of sweetly simple books about two friends and their (mis)adventures. 3 stars each
In real life land, work has slowed a little, and I got news that my 2nd job will be going away as of this summer (maybe earlier, depending on classes that get scheduled). It's really okay that it's over with as I've been getting sick of the amount of paperwork that has crept all over my house over the last 4 years, and the hours spent answering a dozen questions of prospective students who can't spell/use punctuation correctly has been getting very very old. Yes, it's a few hundred bucks a month (very important to bill paying!) but it also opens up a bunch of time and space in my life in a lot of ways. I've been looking at non-scammy work-at-home jobs (simply because my work #1 and #3 schedules are so all over the place that a more flexible job schedule is important), and feeling a little more positive about my place in the working world and in life. It feels like I'm getting back to myself, as corny as that sounds.
Hope to be back here more frequently, I've missed my LT friends!
Sounds like major silver lining news, Laura. I'm glad you feel like you're getting your life back.
A friend gave me the Frog and Toad books when I was a young fellow. They're charmers.
How did I miss your Peter Sis run there? He is a favorite of mine! Don't collect many children's picture books, but I have many of his, most of them signed, thanks to his visits to the bookshops when I was there. Remind me to tell you about them next time we get together. Since I am 50% Czech (my mom 100%) and my mom took us to Prague shortly before The Three Golden Keys was published, that book has a special place in my heart too.
#101: I've only read the first Frog and Toad book you listed; all your other reads are pretty much new to me. Well, I see Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) at work all the time (I always smirk at the title), but I doubt I'll read it any time soon. Too many TBR piles of my own. And I'll take your word on A Midnight Carol. By the title, I thought it'd be a darker version of A Christmas Carol (everyone seems to be spoofing classics), but apparently not. Too bad.
Anyway, good luck with finding a job #2 replacement. Lots more free time sounds wonderful(!!), but I can understand the bigger importance of BILLS. (gulp) Hope to see you around more on LT! :)
Hi everyone, and thanks! I've been beavering away on the books I have in progress over the last few days. While only 1 is finished with, there were a couple other books that I finished in my absence that I forgot to post before! :-O
Book 22: The Complete Book of Massage by Clare Maxwell-Hudson
One of my Blindfold category picks, I'm relieved to have this one off of the TBR heap. Full of photos (some of which were helpful and some of which were essentially late 80's soft-focus "erotic"-esque pics) and lots of step-by-step massage routines, this book is certainly for the non-professional/home masseuse. As a professional, there are lots (and lots) of things that I kept disagreeing with both in my head and out loud, and while I'm all for learning new techniques and ways of doing things, I can't imagine that I'll be putting anything from this book into my own practice. Personally I'd give this a 2, for the non-professional who wants to learn how to massage their partner I'd give it a 4, so I'll go in the middle for my final grade of 3 stars. I'll keep this book only as a reference - I've been asked if I have an interest in teaching a community class on how to massage backs/ neck and shoulders / etc, and this will help to remind me of the language to use.
Book 23: 100 Unforgettable Dresses by Hal Rubenstein
What seemed like a fun book with beautiful pictures actually had more substance (and more surprising picks) than I expected. If you've any interest in the history of fashion and how styles change, I'd highly recommend this book. One for my wishlist to ooh and aah over the photos whenever I want to. 4 stars
Book 24: The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
An audiobook that I started at the end of November, this was a fun and un-perfect historical fiction / romance, great for whiling away the hours spent in traffic. At times I'd sit in my car to listen to what happened next, and at others I wondered why I was still listening. One part that I never quite understood what how the whole time-slip-ness worked - it seemed like the people in the past accepted the fact that someone from the 21st Century could just pop up at any place and any time a little too easily than you'd expect. Maybe it was something that I missed in the listening though, and would've been more noticeable in print. All in all, an enjoyable book, and I'm looking forward to reading more of Susanna's work in the future. 3.75 stars
Book 25: The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley
The second Flavia de Luce book, it was a nice welcome back to the series for me. (I've still got to read #3 before I can take care of my ER win of #4.) Nothing earth-shattering to be found here, just a pleasant setting (despite some gruesome murders) and a good mystery. 4 stars
Book 26: The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis
This is my first visit to the land of Narnia. Somehow when I was growing up, a set of the books never crossed my path, and over the years I just kept putting them into the Someday Pile. Well, my friend has a lovely set of these on audio CD, and since I've had them for a few months I thought I'd better get cracking on them. This afternoon I've listened to this whole book, and it was quite charming and entertaining. Done by a whole cast of actors and featuring music and sound effects, this would be a great way for children who want to experience the books in a new way. as it is, the adult me gives this book 3.5 stars
Book 27: Bringing Tuscany Home by Frances May
A title that's long been on my wishlist simply from my love of Under the Tuscan Sun, I grabbed it at the library (the copy with all of the pictures, not the one that's just text) to see what it was really like. Well, it's still on the wishlist. :) I really enjoy the way Frances writes, and it was wonderful to see so many pictures of both Bramasole and their house in California, and to get some recipes too. It made me miss Tuscany all over again. 4.25 stars
Whew! I think that catches me up! Somewhere around LT, I can't remember where, there was some talk about the card game Authors. Well, I've got my parents copy of the game here, and as soon as I upload some pictures I'll do a little post about it.
Now that I have a ton of free time this week (only 2 appts this week - yikes!), I've given myself a daily schedule. Get up whenever I wake up (usually between 6:30 and 8 am, not too bad), make some coffee, write at least one letter to a friend, fast-forward through the late night shows, and then shower and get dressed. Afterwards, I run a couple of errands (if I have any) and come home to sort through piles of paperwork. Take a break for lunch, and another mid-afternoon to read, and keep on working through paper! (Sad that I have so much of it, but most people do, right?) Spend some time in the afternoon looking for jobs online (when I've hit the mid-afternoon slump), sort more stuff, and have some dinner. Once dinner is over with, I don't do any more work and instead just take it easy to read and play games on my iPhone. I feel much more productive and barely any guilt with this schedule - it's wonderful! Tomorrow it's more of the same, with the addition of some work on job #2 stuff and going out for a fish fry with some friends, and Saturday I'm doing 4 hours of free chair massage to promote my business, before going back to my new schedule for Sunday. It's amazing how much can get done in a day, and how much there's still left to do!
Okay, off to eat an early dinner and relax for a bit before heading out to my Water Zumba exercise class tonight. See you all soon!
wow, good job on finishing so many books!
I think I'm at a tiny 3 for this month so far
Thanks, Chelle! And you have a perfectly reasonable excuse for not reading more - you've been getting ready to move and buying a new (and beautiful) house! Your new place looks great! :)
Hi Laura- Glad to see you are mowing down the books. I've been really enjoying some top-notch GNs. I hope you don't get hammered with to much snow. Fingers crossed.
I see you're making great progress Laura! I was considering giving The Magician's Nephew a listen this month. We'll see if I'm inspired to pick it up out of so many options...
I wanted to tell you that I started reading the book you had picked out for me and just didn't feel the love. Or in this case, the tenderness (which is the topic of the book). If you'd like to pick out another one for me, I'd be honoured. This time, just feel free to pick one that you think I should read from my "To Read" options (look at the tags to make sure it hasn't been picked out already. Preferably something acquired in 2011 or earlier. No philosophy, religion or alternative anything though please. I have quite a few of those untouched as yet and this isn't going to be the year for them!
Glad you likedThe Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag, that one is up next for me.
A quick catch-up before I a) head out to work this afternoon and b) update my books read!
115: Hi Mark! No, we didn't get that much snow that time, and we didn't get much snow on Friday either. They were saying 6 inches in 6 hours with blizzard-like conditions, but it was mostly very slippery and we only got a couple of (very wet) inches of snow. Not fun shovelling, as it was super heavy, but a good workout nonetheless. I see you've been plowing through the books yourself! Wahoo! Looks like you're reading great stuff as always. Hope you're enjoying your Sunday!
116: Hi Ilana! After I picked your new book, I haven't been on LT much - sorry! I promise that when I get home this afternoon I'll catch up on your thread - it sure moves fast! Hope you've been feeling well, my dear!
117: Aloha, Kath! *waves* right back 'atcha! How are things in your world lately?
118: Hi Stephen! *HUGS* back to you too. Hope you don't mind girl cooties. :)
119: Hi Tammy! How's The Weed That Strings... so far? I'm skipping book #3 (sshhhh, don't tell) so I can read and review #4 for ER, I'll be starting it this afternoon. Did you guys get hit with that bad snowstorm on Friday?
120: Howdy, Joe! I'm glad to hear it. I listened to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe yesterday, and it was better than Magician's. I'm hoping to knock out at least one of these books a week if I can manage it. How's the Cafe doing? I need to stop by for some caffeine later on, and see how everyone is doing over there.
Yup, the Narnia books are addictive, Laura. Like you, I thought The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was even better than Magician's. I'm sure you can knock out one a week if your schedule doesn't get too crazy. All is well at the cafe. Are you an Austen fan? I just reviewed Midnight in Austenland over there, and it's a fun one, pure and simple.
Joe, I'm on page 50 of Midnight in Austenland! Great minds think alike! It's really a lot of fun so far, I'm looking forward to where this one goes. It's also due at the library tomorrow, so that might need to be the first book I pick up this afternoon when I get home. At least it's a pretty quick read, I should be alright. Okay, I'm off to get ready for work - be back this afternoon!
>123 Ah, excellent, Laura. Midnight in Austenland is a fun one, isn't it? It is a quick read, so I imagine you'll be fine. You may just have to put off sleeping for a bit. :-)
Hello and hugs to Linda, Stephen, Joe, and Roni! Thanks for checking in with me. :)
I did it again, and managed to somehow barely appear here on LT for a couple of weeks. I keep on trying to start reading the oldest messages first, and there's so much to catch up on that by the time I get a phone call or go to the bathroom or get distracted by a shiny object of some sort I forget what I was doing and end up doing something else. Plus, this iPhone has been seriously disturbing both my LT time and my reading time. I keep thinking "I'll play Words/Hanging With Friends just one more round" or "Just one more try at Doodle Jump" and next thing I know it's been 45 minutes. *sigh* Dammit.
At least I have a couple of things that are motivating me to put down the phone and accomplish something that actually needs to be done. Thing #1: I'm losing my 2nd part time job in a month (or two, tops) instead of the four months I was expecting, so lots of paperwork/organizing needs to get done. Thing #2: I joined another book club (in my defense, I thought it was going to be online only, so expected an hour or two of time a month instead of a whole evening) and it's my turn to host our next meeting, on March 27. That means that all of my spring cleaning (and de-cat-hair-ing) needs to happen very soon, along with at least 2 of my major sorting projects. Yikes.
In the mean time, I used a bunch of picture books to break my reading slump, and then got a couple of "regular" books finished up too. Instead of doing a mini-review of each, I'm going to save myself some time and do one-word reviews. Here goes....
Book 28: Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence Thorough (3.5 stars)
Book 29: Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris by Paull Gallico Charming (4.25 stars)
Book 30: Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale Fun (4.25 stars)
Book 31: Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books by Leah Price Drool-inducing (4 stars)
Book 32: Pilgrimage by Annie Leibovitz Beautiful (4 stars)
Book 33: The Lion, The Witch, and Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis Adventurous (3.5 stars)
Book 34: The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis Meh (2.6 stars)
Book 35: Howl & Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg Disturbing (3.75 stars)
Book 36: Through No Fault of My Own by Coco Irvine Delightful (5 stars)
Book 37: Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral Stirring (4.25 stars)
Books 38-43: Follow The Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus, Play, Mozart, Play, The Tree of Life: Charles Darwin, Tibet: Through the Red Box, Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei, and The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Wall, all by Peter Sis Outstanding (4.5 stars each)
Done! I'm giving the Narnia (audio) books a break to listen to Crossed by Ally Condie, and I'll soon be starting The Franchise Affair and The Night Circus for book clubs. (I tried to listen to Night Circus earlier this year, but my iPod kept shuffling the tracks and I had no idea what was going on. This time I bought a physical copy, so any missing bits are no one's fault but my own.) On the job front, I've applied for 3 different jobs and have received rejection letters from all of them. Poop. I know I keep on saying it, but I have to give the whole selling-things-on-ebay another crack, it seems to be the only way I can make any money without breaking my body down doing massage.
That's all for now. I'll be back later to check up on things (and try to catch up on everyone's threads) - for now, it's almost time for my Water Zumba class! :) Later!
The physical copy of The Night Circus is so beautiful that I'm glad you are not missing it. I cannot imagine making sense of an audio version of it.
Hi Roni! I know, when I took the dust jacket off of it, I gasped - it really is beautiful! I'd like to try the audio version again since one of my favorite narrators, Jim Dale, does it - but that'd be for a re-read, and AFTER I've fixed whatever bug my iPod continues to have. And thanks, I feel better about not getting the audio version. I know that the book jumps in time a little, but I was seriously confused after an hour. Last year I tried to listen to a Dickens and I was totally lost. There are far too many characters to keep track of in his books, and I don't know what I was thinking when I decided that listening to one of his titles would be a good idea. Guess I'll just chalk it up to my Some-timers and try one of his that I've read before.
Hi Laura: Glad to see you back here!! I've been in a bit of a reading funk and pretty busy, too, so my reading hasn't been stellar lately.
Re: ipod troubles - Depending on how you are getting your audiobooks, could you listen to it on your iphone? I listen to audiobooks on my Android phone and I find it to be much less of a hassle than using my ipod, because I can download the files from OverDrive or Audible directly to my phone, without having to bother with a computer.
You took off the dust cover..........
I never take off dust covers... but I had to go and look. You are very right.. a beautiful book.
I read it on nook, and then bought it, so I haven't even opened it. So beautiful in so many ways..
You've got such wonderful books on here! I love the variety you read.
I love the Alan Bradley books!
I always take off the dust jackets when I read my own hardcovers because I'll have the edges all crinkled and tattered by the time I finish it if I don't.
Just stopping to say Hi!!! I just finished The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag and liked it as much as the first one. :-}
I'm with Stephen, I always take the dustcover off my books. Helps them to continue to look so pretty. :)
You guys are all mad--denuding your books like that. Next you'll be telling me you *gasp* dog-ear your pages!
#128: I never read Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris, but my grandmother just loves the movie. Sorry you didn't like The Horse and His Boy as much. That was one of my sister's favorite books in the series. I'm kind of hoping to read the entire series soon (I've only read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which I just loved), but knowing me, I'll probably get sidetracked with some other series. Pilgrimage looks good, though. I'm always a sucker for photography books. Anyway, as usual, I'm impressed with how many books you've gotten through. Keep 'em coming! :)
I remove the jackets for the same reason I don't dog-ear, to keep my books all pretty-like!
But if you had to wear the same outfit every day for the rest of your life, wouldn't you want to take it off every once in a while too? ;)
My copy of Through No Fault of My Own, ordered on your rec, came from Better World Books today. Loving it!
Hi Sara, Stephen & Micky - The only reason I take the cover off is (like Stephen) to keep the book pristine. I don't want to damage that cover! It goes on right after I finish reading the book, and then right to my "read" bookcase. I'm anal-retentive when it comes to books!
Hi Nancy! I'm so glad you're loving Through No Fault of My Own! It was sweet, and made me a little sentimental/nostalgic for a bygone era. I hadn't thought of ordering it from BWB, though - thanks! Guess I'll be heading over there sooner than I thought I would. :) Hope you're doing well!
In my time gone I've only managed to finish one more book. I'm getting closer to the end in a few others though, so hopefully between those and the 2 books I need to read in a week for my RL bookclubs, I'll be back with another update soon. I have the day off today, and I've done nothing of great importance. Just a few loads of laundry, sorted through a bunch of my jewelry to sell online, transferring some winter sweaters for lighter layers, trying to figure out how I'm going to get in continuing education classes now that the department that I used to run is going away... things like that. It's a cooler, rainy day today, so it's a perfect one for the putzing around the house that I'm doing. Plus, I've got the company of an audiobook, so I'm still reading. :)
Book 44: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins Fantastic! 4.75 stars
Okay, back to it!
Oo, Spell Bound and the rest of that series sounds like one seasonsoflove would like, Laura. I'm going to mention it to her.
I take off the cover of hardcovers for the same reason you do if I'm taking it somewhere (e.g. on the train). Otherwise it gets beat up. At home I leave it on.
Hiya Joe! I think you're right, she would like the trilogy. (I thought - and I still hope - that there are going to be more than just the 3 in this world, but it looks like the author has a new book coming out early next year that's not related.) Re: covers, I still take them off at home. My cats do an excellent job of walking around/over my stacks of current reads and knocking most of them over in the process. Book jackets have gotten dented and bent as a result, so it all comes off before I start reading. Hope you're doing well! Looking forward to the meet-up in May!
Book 45: Crossed by Ally Condie Decent. 3.5 stars
I wish I was either more enthusiastic about this trilogy or didn't care for it. At this rate, they're interesting enough books (and of course they end with cliffhangers) but I don't feel pulled to the next book. I'll still finish the series to see where everything goes, but there are other YA trilogies (like the Hex Hall series) that I enjoy much more.
I finish Crossed while alphabetizing my Read bookshelf in my room. It took a few (extremely pleasant) hours to do so, and while I realized that I double-stacked a little, I didn't realize how much I had done. Of course I didn't take any "before" pics, but I'll add some of the "afters" in just a sec....
Hi Laura- I also take the book jacket off. If I only read at home, I might not do it as often but dragging it around with me all day, it does get battered.
Enjoy your long weekend and enjoy those books!
We plan on seeing the Hunger Games on Sunday. Yah!
Hi Mark! I have to work a little each day this weekend, but I'll have plenty of time to do nothing as well. I really want to see The Hunger Games but I want to read the books first... even though it's been sitting in my "read next" pile for a couple of months, it's never made it to the top of the heap. *sigh* Story of my life. :) I hope you enjoy your weekend too!
Becca says she's pinning the Hex Hall books on her wall to be read. Not sure what that means, but she was happy with the recommendation. :-)
I wasn't thrilled with Crossed either. And I thought Matched was pretty good. I'll finish the trilogy, too, but you put it well - I wish I was more enthusiastic about it, or didn't care for it.
We're probably going to see The Hunger Games movie next weekend. Our son and his girlfriend are going tomorrow.
Hi Laura, we haven't chatted in awhile. I'm glad you are somewhat liking the Narnia books. I read all six of them - for the first time - for the C. S. Lewis class I'm taking this semester at Missouri State. I have a gifted professor who was an excellent guide through the series.
The picture of you way upthread brought back memories of my daughter doing that in 8th or 9th Grade, maybe both. I used to love going to her performances. Her next "gig" was as baton twirler in high school. I am very uncoordinated so she must have gotten that gene from someone else.
Don't be such a stranger. ;-)
>149 I haven't been tempted to start that series and the lukewarm reviews aren't pushing me closer to it. There are more enticing morsels calling my name out there. :) Hope you get a (mostly) relaxing weekend, Laura.
#145: Ew, you just walked into that one. Do you seriously want me to answer that? >:)
ETA: (pouts over stupid work computers filtering our google searches...wanted to post a naked Calvin (from Calvin & Hobbes) streaking through Laura's thread)
ETAA: I got around it--woo hoo! :) Naked Calvin coming right up.
love the naked Calvin cartoon. What a demon child...but ever so funny and loveable eh?
Hi Laura! I also take the book jackets off while I'm reading and then it goes right back on and onto a shelf. I was sad to see a couple of my book jackets were damaged in my recent move.
Hi Joe! Glad to see someone else who feels the same way I do about the Crossed/Matched series. How did you like the Hunger Games?
Donna, my dear! I know, it has been a while since we've chatted - I apologize for that! A lot of my absence can be blamed on my iPhone - are you still hooked on your iPad? I enjoyed being a part of the color guard in high school - it was a great workout for your arms! Maybe we should devise some new fitness craze with all of these kinds of things to get in shape. You know, baton twirling, flag throwing, etc... Hmmm. I've now only got 2 books left in the Narnia series, and I wish I either would have read them when I was young, or was reading them in a class like you! I'm sure that there're tons of things I'm missing out on and it would be nice to have a hand to walk me through things. Plus, having an enthusiastic teacher is always a boon. How are you liking the books and the class? I'll do my best not to be such a stranger. ;)
Thanks, Micky. My weekend was pretty good, I even managed to get a short nap in on Sunday afternoon. :) Always a good thing in my book.
Sara, thanks for the naked Calvin picture! I agree, there is an inner Calvin in all of us. :)
Hi Linda! That's a great way to describe Calvin - devilish but lovable. I hope you are well!
Chelle, I'm sorry to hear that some of your books got damaged in your move! :'( Does that mean you get to shop for replacement copies? ;) I hope you're settling in to your new place - I'll have to swing by your thread soon and check up on you.
In the last few days I've managed to knock a few more books off of my "currently reading" stack...
Book 46: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis Blech. 2 stars
Book 47: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis Adventurous! 4 stars
Book 48: Schloss Schonbrunn (guidebook) by Beate Ellmerer
I'm breaking my new one-word-reviews to say a little more about this book because it's part of my Blindfold category. This title was chosen for me by Victoria/VictoriaPL. This is the guidebook for Schonbrunn castle just outside of Vienna, Austria. This was the first grand house/castle I've ever visited in real life, and it made a whopping impression on me. (I have a life-long fascination with these large homes and palaces - it's still strong to this day!) I couldn't believe how BIG it was, and that Gloriette at the back of the garden! Ack! It was all so much to take in and made me incredibly happy; in fact, I'm smiling just at the memory of it. While I've flipped through this slim book over the last 12 years, I've never read it thoroughly - I'm glad that I finally had an "excuse". I didn't realize how many historical moments have happened here - including the relatively recent history of Kennedy and Krushchev meeting in the Great Gallery in 1961 - or how much the property was ruined during WWII. Very interesting, and it made me feel very nostalgic. 4 stars
Book 49: The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain
Another one for my Blindfold category, this novella was chosen by Anders/GingerbreadMan. I'm not entirely sure if I enjoyed this book or not, if I'm honest. I have a difficult time reading Twain; I need to change how I read somehow and it tends to take me at least halfway through the work to really "get it". This being 84 pages, I slogged through it. If it'd been any longer I most likely would have abandoned it simply because I didn't really care about what was happening. It's the story of a mysterious stranger who embarrasses the hypocritical "incorruptible" town of Hadleyburg and its residents through a fraudulent sack of gold and set of letters "naming" who is entitled to it. Once I got the hang of his writing, I thought that this would make a good short play - very dramatic, lots of crowds shouting during the "trial", etc - but that it really wasn't my cup of tea overall. Fine, but nothing to write home about. 3 stars.
>159 Yay for nap time! Interesting mix of books. Voyage of the Dawn Treader is probably my second favourite book in the Chronicles of Narnia, glad you liked it. And congrats on being so near to 50 books already this year. Very impressive!
Hello again, friends! Yet another delayed absence from me, it's sadly the norm this year. :( Since I was here last, things in my life have really hit the fan - I lost one of my jobs, and one of my steady massage jobs will be going away in the next month, everything I apply for I get rejection letters from, I've had the flu (which refuses to leave me entirely, so I get dizzy/nauseated/sweaty/feverish/etc at least 3 times a day out of nowhere), 3 migraines, and despite the fact that I'm eating much less and mostly organic and have been exercising regularly, I'm gaining weight like there is no tomorrow. I've avoided saying anything just because I feel like every time I'm here I'm Debbie Downer (wah wah) and I know that it all could be worse, but I don't want to bum you guys out or want you to avoid me. So, I just didn't post anything. Joe sent me a very nice and encouraging message (thanks Joe!) that set me straight, and I'll do better from here on out.
This weekend is the spring Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, and I'm so excited for it! I haven't had much chance to prep my house/kitchen/book piles for it this week, so I'll kind of be winging it this weekend. The only goal I have is to finish at least 1 book that I'm currently reading, and that hopefully won't be a problem. But, before I post over the weekend I need to update the books that I've read in the last few weeks, so here goes!
Book 50: Strawberry Shortcake Murder by Joanne Fluke The second in the series, it was a fun read. I figured out whodunit right away, so most of the book was spent just watching what happened until the killer was revealed. I'll continue with the series, but there isn't a rush. 3 stars
Book 51: Full Service by Scotty Bowers A very dishy tell-all by one of Hollywood's unexpected "pimps" from the 40's to the 70's. While it's a curtain-twitching look into the private lives of the stars, Bowers' own life seemed sad and lonely, and it's clear that he got caught up in all of the glitz and glamour of the stars lives like any other farm kid would have. The writing left a little to be desired, but it's not trying to be a Murakami book or anything. 3 stars
Book 52: Kim by Rudyard Kipling I started reading this for the group read that probably ended in February or something and only finished it recently. A story of a white boy, raised as a native and fending for himself in India is considered a classic for many reasons, and I'm sorry to say that I didn't particularly enjoy it. I've read another book or two of Kipling's and I think that he's just not the author for me. Reading Kim was fine, but I don't think I'll pick it up for a re-read at all. 2.6 stars
Book 53: Chucaro: Wild Pony of the Pampa by Francis Kalnay A Newbery Honor book from 1958, it feels like it's a product of its' time. While that's neither a good thing nor a bad thing, it does feel like when it was written, if that makes sense. A story of a boy who finds and tries to keep a pink pony found eating alone on the Argentinian pampa where he and his family live, it's got action, adventure, family, and a real small-village feel to it. Pleasant and enjoyable. 3 stars
Books 54 & 55: The Last Battle and The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis These final 2 books from the world of Narnia complete my first reading of the series. I thought they were both okay. My reading them as an adult was certainly a hindrance to the reading experience. And while I listened to excellent audio versions done by a wonderfully talented group of actors (a major plus), these just aren't my thing. I'm by no means sorry to have read them; just sorry that I didn't like them all more. 3 stars each
Book 56: A Month of Summer by Lisa Wingate I really did not enjoy this overly melodramatic story of a middle-aged, bitter, therapist-less daughter coming home to take care of her Alzheimers-ridden Father, his step-wife who is in a nursing home recovering from a stroke(?) and her adult half-brother who is autistic(?) and about how betrayed they all feel by different things and hold on to old hurts and resentments but ultimately have a skippy, bird-chirping, Leave It To Beaver, "aw shucks, isn't life funny and a blessing" kind of endings, made me want to throw up on the book it was so sickeningly sweet and contrived. I couldn't skim-read this baby fast enough (nor return it to the library fast enough either) for my upcoming bookclub meeting. Apologies if you enjoyed this book and/or this type of book but it is so very much not what I'm ever interested in reading. I did enjoy the authors writing, and if she wrote anything in another genre I wouldn't hesitate to pick it up, but upon researching a bit it looks like her stuff is all in this vein. I'm sorry to say that her books do not have this reading nerd as a fan. 1 star
Book 57: A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley The best of the Flavia books so far! This entry in the series finds Ms. de Luce befriending a Gypsy, joining in an obscure religious group, adventuring with her trusty bicycle sidekick Gladys, and finding and solving more murders than you'd think possible of an 11 year old girl. A cracking good read, I can hardly wait to (finally!) start reading the latest book in the series to see what she gets up to next. 4.5 stars
Okay, I really need to get my behind moving here - it's 4:22 and I need to leave by 5:00 to go to my best friends Nursing School Graduation (2 hrs minimum) and dinner out afterwards with her entire extended family, and I have to do something with my hair, put on some makeup and find something dressy to wear that will fit me. Wish me luck, and I'll see you all again tomorrow for sure!
Yeah, what Micky said. *Hugs* Besides, I'm a pessimist so if you don't post I'll just imagine depressing things anyway, so you might as well post anyway, right? ;)
*Hugs* Good point, Stephen. :)
It's just over an hour into the read-a-thong and I could use a nap. I'm listening to Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell, and her unique voice is keeping me awake so far. Here's hoping all of the coffee I'm drinking kicks in soon!
#161: Life sucks, for sure; but I like your reads. :) I keep telling myself I'll finish the Chronicles of Narnia, but I never do. My aunt would be so disappointed in me, since she bought the series for me years and years ago. Oh well.
Anywho, hope things start turning around for you. I'm sure you know they will, but I understand how bleak things can look sometimes. Just hang in there, and enjoy your "read-a-thong". ;)
Nice list of books read, there... how are you!
I have been lax at visiting.. so sorry :(
Did you finish your book yesterday?
Laura- I'm sorry to hear about your recent troubles and no you are not whining, not in the least. I know whining when I see it. I hope things begin to turn around for you soon.
I have the audio of Unfamiliar Fishes too, maybe you'll inspire me to pick it up.
Hey, the Meet-Up is in 2 weeks. Stay healthy, I want you there!
Hi Sara - you know, I'd go back and correct the "thong", but eh - it's sadly become my thing. :) Thanks my dear, and I hope things are going well for you! I need to stop by for a visit, I'm overdue.
Hi Kath! I'm hanging in, thanks. How are you? Haven't caught up with you in about a week, I'll put it on my To Do list for tomorrow - I don't think I'll be awake much longer tonight. I did finish the book, plus one other - check it out below!
Hi Mark - Thanks. :) I really liked Fishes, it just took me a little while to get use to her voice. A good book, though, one you'd like, I think. Wow, 2 weeks only? I've got it on my calendar, and unless I get the flu again, I'll be there for sure! I'm looking forward to it!
Well, the Read-a-thon ended at 7 this morning, and I was asleep! I had a hard time settling down to read, so my grand total was only 2 books finished.
Book 58: Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell I listened to the audio version, and Sarah's distinctive voice took a little getting used to. After that though, I really enjoyed the book - this was a fun, informative, interesting history of Hawaii. I'm glad I have a couple of her other titles on my shelf, I don't want to wait too long before I revisit her writing again. 4 stars
Book 59: Dracula's Heir by Sam Stall So much fun! A continuation of the Dracula story, this follows Jon Kelso as he receives a mysterious package as part of the estate of a Lady he knows nothing about, including a note from her saying that his life is threatened and can be saved if he can figure out what all of these documents have in common. The book is a publication of the contents of this package, published under his orders, hoping that someone out in the public will be able to figure out the mystery since he cannot. A believable and well-woven story follows, complete with letters, notes, and photographs in envelopes that you have to open and read, a newspaper, and, best of all, the final chapter is sealed so as to prevent your sneaking ahead and finding out what's what. I love interactive books like this, and the fact that it was a great story too - well, not much could be better! 4.75 stars
Then this morning (well, afternoon, by the time I finally woke up) I finished 2 more.
Books 60 & 61: Hyacinth Bucket's Hectic Social Calendar and Keeping Up Appearances: Hyacinth Bucket's Book of Etiquette for the Socially Less Fortunate
A long-time fan of "Keeping Up Appearances", these were fun books to read, "written" by Mrs. Bucket ("That's Bouquet, dear") herself. Her Book of Etiquette could have been a bit better without much extra effort - as it is, while members of her adoring public write in to ask her questions, and the answers are all excerpts from the show, with a some photos thrown in on most pages. Her Hectic Social Calendar was much better, IMO. A handwritten diary of 1996, with ticket stubs, pressed roses and other ephemera scattered throughout the year, it was much more entertaining and less of a re-hash of TV episodes. Fun reads for any fan of the show, 3 stars for Etiquette and 4 for her Calendar.
Not too bad in a weekend, I suppose. And, it's off to bed for me! I have the day off tomorrow (my one appointment cancelled about an hour ago), so I can work out and pick up the house and read at my leisure! Yay!
Sorry to hear about your travails, especially when not feeling well which just exacerbates everything. You aren't whining, though, and it is good to see you here.
I agree with everyone else--you're definitely not complaining. And even if you were, so what? Everyone has a right to complain about the crap in their life every now and then.
And yes, please keep the "thong" typo. I thought it was funny. ;) As for visiting my non-thread, not to worry. I've been pretty down in the dumps myself, so I haven't been doing any reading, and I'm maybe averaging 1 movie every 2 weeks. (shrugs) Not good, but meh, that's how it goes.
Dracula's Heir looks really good, btw. I'll have to see if our library has a copy of it.
Sorry to hear times had been a little tough. If you want to get together in person to talk, I am all ears!
Looks like you have been doing lots of great reading though!
Hi Laura. Sorry to hear you are having a rough go. Hope life turns around for you
Please don't be afraid to post about what you are going through, if you want to.
Oh sweetie, I am so sorry that life is not as good as you deserve! You are an amazing lady and I send lots of love and good wishes your way.
Thanks so much, ladies. :) It means a lot. Nancy, we should get together anyways. I'll PM you in a bit. I'm starting to feel a little better, despite no change in my situation - I think that has a lot to do with all of you lovely people.
One of my book friends came over on Thursday night to help me sort out my shelves/drawers/stacks of books and get a little more order in place. It was so much fun! In about 3 hours, we went through my 4 main shelves, a big bookcase and a full-sized bed full of stacks, a bookcase and a drawer in my room, plus a few various piles. I've got a large stack of books ready for the basement (series books that I'm not ready for yet), 2 big tote bags full of books that will most likely go away in 6 months if I haven't looked at them, and a small(ish) stack of ones that are heading out the door now. With all of this shifting and removing, I only have one 2 foot stack of "extras" sitting around, and everything else has a home, however temporary. It feels really good to have some space and know that things are in more order than usual. :) The only thing left is to deal with my work and travel bookcases, and the lots of small piles of books on my coffee and side table, and I should be good to go for awhile!
Today is a grey Saturday and while I slept in, I think a nap might be in order! The only thing on my plate today is to finish up some more CE work to take in tomorrow (hello, empty dining room table!) and read, so it's a nice, quiet day overall.
Book 62: Topsys & Turvys by Peter Newell A popular turn-of-the-last-century artist and author, this is a selection of his two collections of "topsy-turvy's". A picture with verse that looks like one thing, but looks like something else when turned around, this is a charming book that kids would really like. Heck, I liked it too. 3 stars
Book 63: Cinderella: from the opera by Gioacchino Rossini by Beni Montresor This is the story we all know, with illustrations that have a definite 60's feel and look. A fun read. 3 stars
Book 64: The Kingdom by the Sea by Paul Theroux An interesting look at coastal Britain, written in the early 80's during the Falklands War. Great writing, warm humor, chock full of lots of curious bits of information. 4.25 stars
Whoa, you're getting super close to the magic number already, Laura! Congrats.
I know, but that weird final number of 78 is for my stepped version of the 12-12 challenge, and only half of what I've read "counts" for it, so... yeah. Unfortunately, I've got at least 10 chunksters that need reading and I have such a hard time getting those read. Much like anything else in my life, I'm becoming frighteningly skilled at starting things and not finishing them. For a long, loooong time, if ever. Very bad, and I'm having a difficult time breaking this bad habit. I've been reading A Discovery of Witches, for example, for months now, and I'm loving it, but because it's hardcover and nearly 600 pages I only read it at home, propped on a couple of pillows, and I tend to fall asleep after a half hour or so. I so want to know what happens, and I'm already looking forward to the sequel, but I'm only halfway through ADOW! Ack! Sometimes I get so frustrated with myself...
Sorry for this unexpected rant. What I should have said is Thanks! :/
I was hoping to find that things are on the upswing for you...
I do hope that happens soon.. I am heartened thought, that you had some fun with your friend
and your books :)
Listen.. challenges be damned. This is no time to worry about lists and books you
put onto them. Read what makes you feel good what is right for the moment..
Why add stress to distress ?
Sending positive energy your way....
>180: Hey, it's your thread so rant away. Can you substitute some shorter books on your 12 in 12 thread and still make your goal? You do know we have eight more months of reading in 2012, don't you? Lol. Who knows, you may be reading Infinite Jest for your next book. It only took me four months to finish it!
Are you going to Mark's meetup next week? He could get you back on the reading track again. At least your bookshelves are in order. Great friend you have!
Have a great week, Laura. Don't forget to be kind to yourself. ;-)
Yeah, I do agree with you about Crossed, Laura, darn it. I was really looking forward to it, too.
I loved the Hunger Games trilogy! Our whole mishpocha did, as my wife would say. And we really enjoyed the movie, too.
The YAs I've really liked recently are The Fault in Our Stars and Wonder - both are reality-based, I guess.
Looking forward to Bitterblue, from Kristin Cashore.
Great to see you at the meet-up, Laura! Hope you had a good, safe trip back.
Oh, how wonderful that you could attend the meet up. Pictures please....
Laura- Hope you are sleeping in. Had a great time. This little group has fun, doesn't it?
Laura, we need your view of the meetup. What book were you "reading" in the picture? It looked like another fun day at Mark and Susan's house. How far did you have to go? As you see, I'm being quite nosy this morning. I'll just have to attend one of these years to satisfy my curiosity.
I had such a fun time! It was great to see everyone again, and to meet Becca! As usual, it was over too quickly, and I brought a few new books back with me. The food (and margarita) was excellent, the company even better. I was "reading" Gone With the Wind (thought it'd be appropriate since I need to read that book this year). Donna, it's an hour and a half to two hour drive for me, not too bad! Plus, it's a great excuse to listen to some audiobooks (this time around, I listened to parts of Wicked and The Dressmaker). I'm already looking forward to next year! Many thanks to Mark for once again hosting.
Hi Laura- Another good picture. A pretty depressed bunch, huh? Yes, we had a blast. Enjoy the rest of your day!
Hi Laura, it looks like the meet-up went well and you guys had fun. A great group of people, I would have loved to have been there! I tackled a Gone With the Wind reread last year, it's still one of my favorite books of all time, but it is one huge commitment!
Hi Mark - yeah, it was such a depressing afternoon. ;)
Hi Judy - It was a fun time for sure. Away With The Breeze (as my parents call it) is sure intimidating, and I'm still a little scared by it. Maybe if I leave it out on my coffee table I'll stop being so skittish around it and pick it up sooner than later. :)
Book 65: Firefly: The Official Companion, Volume 1
Aw man, I love me some Firefly. It was great to see the scripts and some of the "inside" information for how some scenes and costumes came to be. Too bad there were a few pages missing from my library copy. 3.75 stars
Book 66: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
I totally adored this book, and everything about it. Jasper is one of my favorite authors - what a mind and imagination he has! - and while I might not always know where he's heading, I always enjoy the trip. 4.75 stars
Book 67: The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
An ER win, and not one that I terribly enjoyed. The story follows a poor seamstress as she lucks out and becomes Lady Duff Gordon's personal maid about 3 minutes before boarding Titanic, how she survives (the sinking happens in chapter 2), and her almost-too-hard-to-believe-it rapid ascent in Lady DG's dress shop and her love life (which always seemed a little slap-dash to me), and the sort-of following of the White Star trial. Oh, and there's a reporter and some suffragette stuff thrown in for good measure. It was all a bit to hodge-podge, jumping POVs, didn't have any roots kind of a thing for me, though there seem to be more than a few glowing reviews on the books' page. 2.5 stars
p.s. If you read JaneSteen's review on the book page, it's what I wanted to write but couldn't. She's spot on.
I'm a bit torn on a book and don't know what to do. I'm listening to Wicked, and am halfway through, but it's not something I really care to finish right now. I mean, it's interesting, and I could easily just leave the cd's on while I'm working at home to get it finished, but... I kind of don't want to. Nothing against the book, I'm just not feeling it. I don't know - what do you guys think? Should I hang in there and it'll be great?
>192: Cheers! Looks like a fun time!
Laura, I can't give you any advice about Wicked because I haven't read it, but I do know I felt free as a bird when I recently gave up on a book that wasn't what I expected or wanted to read at the time. Life's too short to spend with a book that you're "not feeling." You can always return to it when the time is right.
I agree with Donna. If a book isn't working for you, why put yourself through the bother.
BTW - You may be surprised with GWTW, it's huge, but it actually reads quite quickly.
Donna and Judy, I've taken your advice and given it up! It does feel like a small weight has been lifted, and I'm putting the book back on my shelf to be picked up at another time. Thanks for the support!
And Judy, thanks for letting me know about GWTW. I'll try and associate it in my head with The Lord of the Rings - for me, that was a quick read but an intimidatingly large book. I think I'll pick it up in June. Eek!
Book 68: When I Were a Meerkat by Andrew Davies
One of my friends (and former co-workers) leant me this book - we called another co-worker a meerkat since she'd pop up out of her cubicle at every sound to see what was going on. Mean, perhaps, but still accurate and funny. This was such a cute book, and I loved the Welsh-esque language. Now all I have to do is find the other two books When I Were A Nipper and When I Were a Lad! 4 stars
Hah! Love the thought of your meerkat co-worker, Laura! I can see it.
That was a great meetup, and it's nice to see another photo from it. Sorry your ER book wasn't better. I've signed up now, but have yet to get one. Of course, the first time I only tried for Bitterblue, which a whole host of LTers had signed up for. I signed up for more this time.
Hi Laura - I'm a fellow Chicago-area person. I was unable to make it to the last meet-up, but hope to make the next one. It looks like everyone had a wonderful time! I've starred your thread.
#192: Thanks for the pic! And I'm so glad you guys had a blast. :)
#195: For a second, I thought you meant Fifty Shades of Grey and was like YAY! But that's a totally different (naughtier) genre from Jasper Fforde's book.
#198: lol @ the coworker/meerkat comparison. That's hardly mean. Believe me, there are worse things you guys could've called her. ;) That one's actually kind of cute.
Joe, I'd think you'd get a book soon - if not this month, then certainly next. I must be lucky or something, because I win a book at least half of the time, and with the pace and wide readership of your thread, they'd be crazy not to choose you!
Mark - how goes the Fifty Shades progress? Has Sue finished the trilogy yet? ;) Hasn't it been glorious weather lately? A little cooler today, but sunny and very nice - this spring has evened out beautifully! Hope you've got some good reads going - The Woman In Black is on my TBR Sooner Than Later list.
Hi Kerri! Mark told us that you two had just found out about each other - I look forward to meeting you next time! It's really a lot of fun - and for people who've never met before in real life, the conversation never really stops! We share a couple of groups, and I've seen you around LT before, but didn't know we're so (relatively) close to each other. I'm off to find your threads in just a minute. And welcome to mine!
Howdy, Sara! Yep, different and naughtier than Fforde for sure. Funny that there are so many "shades of grey" book titles that are so unrelated, hey? Hope things are going well for you - how's work these days?
Book 69: The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British by Sarah Lyall
To quote from the back of the book, this "part anthropological field study, part memoir" was a great read. Funny, slightly biased, and wide-ranging in topics ( from sex to parliament to hedgehog lovers to the rapid changing of the consumer culture), Sarah's "outsider" observations as a New Yorker who married an Englishman are seemingly spot-on. I learned quite a bit about Britains that I didn't know before - or rather, I learned more details about things I already knew a little of. Like what life is like in boarding schools (freezing and horrible), that the seemingly constant interior darkness in English houses is something of a hold-over from post-War times (just this morning I was wondering why I could hardly see what the hell was going on in Midsomer Murders - the latest in a long string of dark shows/movies), and the extent of how childish and mis-behaving members of Parliament can be (disgustingly and shockingly so). It's a wonderful book, and if you're an Anglophile like I am, I highly recommend this book. (I listened to the audio version, and the narrator did an excellent job.) I also have the paperback version and when I got home each night, I'd go back and read the footnotes that aren't narrated - they're great! 4.25 stars
WOW! You finished 69 books already! Congratulations to you. And, Happy Almost Birthday. I hope May 18th is a great day for you!
I will just repeat what inda said... WOW ! that's a lot of books to have finished by now~ well done.. and
hope all is well...
Congrats from me, too, Laura. That's a lot of books! We'll be on the road tomorrow, so early Happy Birthday wishes, too. I hope you have a great day.
I'll let you know when I finally get an ER. :-)
Happy Birthday to You.
You are a dear, sweet, kind, sensitive person and the world needs more of you.
I hope your day is as special as you are!
It appears to be your birthday, Laura. So happy birthday! Hope it's fantabulous.
Birthday? I hope it was wonderful... and that things in your life are bright and beautiful!
Thanks for the birthday wishes! It was a pretty nice day! Ran a couple of errands in the morning, had lunch with my parents, and spent the rest of the day reading, watched a couple of movies, a friend stopped over with dessert. All in all, not too bad! Yesterday I did more lazing around too, just because I could. Today it's back to the real world and I'm off to work in a few minutes - the break was nice while it lasted!
Belated birthday wishes, Laura, glad to hear that you had a nice day.
I'm in a weird reading spot - not quite a funk, but some kind of time warp where I read for awhile, and I know that pages are turning but when I look to see how much I've read it's only been a few pages. And when I think of the time spent reading it doesn't seem to add up. So - I'm still reading, and still plugging along, but seemingly getting nowhere fast. :/
BTW, Laura, Becca's birthday is coming up on Sunday. We're in on part of the celebration with a brunch for her.
Hi Kath - you should! She builds an interesting future Chicago, that's for sure.
Thanks, Tammy! I haven't been to your thread in a long time - off to remedy that!
Thanks for the reminder Joe, though I'm a slacker and didn't catch your message in time. Off to remedy that too!
Book 70: The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
My first DiCamillo, but certainly not my last. This sweet story with pitch-perfect illustrations was just what I needed to help shake me out of my reading rut. Full of flawed characters and loss and longing and hope, though everything seems like it won't work out, in the end it does. 4.25 stars
Book 71: Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
I really liked this book. I've been reading her blog (thebloggess.com) for years, and while she's warped and crazy and curses like a sailor, she's also honest and funny and heartwarming and sincere - she's totally her own person. Reading the book helped me to understand her life (her stories of growing up always seemed so heightened on her blog that I didn't quite believe them - now I do, 100%), and the inclusion of pictures was a great extra. I'm passing this book on to all of my Bloggess-loving friends. 4 stars.
p.s. If you can find the audio book, Jenny reads it herself, footnotes and all. Plus, there's a bonus chapter that was cut from the book, and about 15 minutes of her out-takes, talking to the people in the booth and being her random self. It's great.
p.p.s. I'd forgotten all about Jams until she brought them up - thanks for that, Jenny. :)
I've also read a few Edgar Allen Poe stories for a bookclub, and read part of 44 Scotland Street before giving it up. A whole lot of nothing happened in 60-some pages and I didn't feel like forcing myself to get invested. So I didn't.
Oooh, getting really close to the magic number, Laura. And looks like you've had some good reads on your way there which is always awesome.
ok..Divergent.. I am number 34 on the list, 2 copies available.
Let's Pretend This Never Happened sounds like quite a read !
So how are you these days?
Hi Laura! I might have to check out Divergent at some point. I keep reading about it on LT.
I know, I keep forgetting, Micky! It's such a strange number this year (though only half of these books count for my "official" 12-12 challenge). I thought I'd not reach my goal until late in the year - guess I was very very wrong! ;)
Hi Kath! Hanging in there. No luck on the job front, and I'm getting so used to having so much time off that the prospect of working more hours (and for someone else, I have to say) doesn't sound so great. Not necessarily a great headspace to be in, but I'm working on it. I'm just getting ready to start my "day off" - I'm now filling in for a co-worker and taking 2 of her appointments. The extra $ is great, but my house is a small disaster, so I was hoping to get that done. Oh well, it's not like it won't be there for me later on! Hope you are doing well!
Judy, I can't believe I still haven't cracked Insurgent open yet! It's so tempting, but I have so many books that need reading before I indulge myself that I know it'll be a while. So glad you're loving Divergent!
Aaah, you need to read Divergent! Especially since you're a Chicago-area lady, you'll appreciate it even more. I've only been to downtown Chicago a dozen times, and it really enhanced my reading experience. Give in to peer pressure!!! :)
Book 72: Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
I think I missed something by not reading a physical copy. I'd be perfectly fine never hearing certain words/phrases again ("Barking spiders!", "bumrag", "blisters!"). Alan Cumming did an outstanding job, don't get me wrong, but some things just constantly jumped out at me while I was listening. The story was interesting, and I enjoyed the book, but it wasn't as fantastic as I thought it would be. 3.5 stars, and when I read the next in the series, I'll be reading a real copy.
I was just thinking that about the Leviathan pictures - they do add to the story, so you might want to browse one in a store some time, Laura. It's interesting the difference an audio book can make - those exclamations didn't really stick out for me in print, but I could see them being repetitive and annoying in audio.
Laura- Yes, I highly recommend reading Leviathan. I stalled out on this series and need to get to the 2nd one, which I don't own yet.
Do you own the audio of Let's Pretend This Never Happened? My library system doesn't have the AB yet. Sad face.
So did you put aside World War Z? If so, double sad face!
Nora and Joe - I'll be grabbing a copy of Leviathan when I'm at the library in the next couple of days. I want to see what I missed out on! The clincher for me was Alan Cumming - Audible forced me to download it for that very reason. They can be jerks like that sometimes. :)
Mark, I'm getting them through the library from now on, or I'd lend you my Behemoth copy. I downloaded Let's Pretend... from Audible (see? they're like my crack) because my library didn't have a copy either. Sad face is right. I haven't touched WWZ yet today - just got home from work and dinner with my parents, so as soon as I have pj's on, I'm going to pick it up. I think I'll have to make some kind of a who's who list since that's what has me stuck so far. Bookclub meets tomorrow night at 6 and I have a 2 hour class tomorrow morning, so I've got to read speedily if I want to get it done. Only 300 pages to go - that seems doable, right? ;)
You are still blazing through books...! hmmm I should check on Insurgent at my e-library now...
Hope life is being kind.....
Hi Kath! Well, I've got the time to read, so I am. Really, I should be spending some of that time to put stuff on eBay to sell, but reading is easier and more enjoyable. Hope life is being kind to you too!
I forgot to pick up Leviathan and Dandelion Wine at the library yesterday :( but will make a point to do so when I go back early this week. Somehow I requested a CD on Friday and was #15 on the waitlist and yesterday it was "in transit" - ???? Strange how that works sometimes.
Book 73: World War Z by Max Brooks
I almost gave up on this book. I couldn't find a smooth reading style, it was always jerky and halting, and after 50 pages I was ready to throw in the towel. However, Mark (msf59) encouraged me to keep going, and I'm glad he did! Now I'm not a zombie-type person, and I bought the book last year simply b/c of all of my fellow LTers gushing about it, and when I joined a new bookclub a few months ago (yes, I am crazy) I chose this to read for a couple of reasons. One was that I thought that I'd never really pick this up on my own, and the other was that no one in this new club would have picked this book otherwise either. Aside from one person (who can't stand interview-style writing), we all loved it! The amount of research that Brooks put into this is amazing, it's so real, and well-written, that once I stopped trying to read this book as fiction and instead read it as fact, the pages flew by. The only quibble I have with it is the sheer amount of characters can be confusing. But, the greatness of the novel is the amount of characters and therefore all of the stories and POVs they have. If you haven't read this, please do so. 4 stars
Book 74: Evan Only Knows by Rhys Bowen
The seventh in the Evan Evans series, this was another great installment. This time around Evan and his fiancee Bronwen escape their small North Wales town to take a trip and meet their respective parents for the first time. However, when they arrive in Evan's hometown of Swansea, the kid who shot and killed Evan's father is up for killing a young girl. What starts out as Evan having a quick chat with this kid leads to his unofficial involvement in both the current murder investigation (he doesn't think the kid really did the crime this time) and in to his father's murder. Fun, funny, and interesting, I'm sad to be nearing the end of the series. 4 stars
Book 75: The Golden Pencil by W. F. Hertel
Terrible. With an innocuous cover, I bought this book in the kids section of my library sale some time last year. A short story collection, I thought "hey, why hasn't anyone bought this, it could be interesting", and picked it up. Well, yikes. Each story is fairly ridiculous, and Jesus and His Might and Power seem to feature largely into the punishment of a child in each story. Example - in "Humpy", and little girl with a hunchback doesn't like being picked on by all of the bullies in her class. So when her one friend and protector cannot come with her and the other children to pick berries on their way home from school, she tells herself that she will be okay and that Jesus will protect her. Well, the bully, Bob, ruins her basket, takes and smashes whatever she has picked, and mildly beats her up. Instead of coming home w/o food, she stays out in the (inevitable) rainstorm to pick whatever meager amount she can, comes home, and gets incredibly sick. Bob starts to feel a little bad, the girls' friend asks Bob why he did it and didn't he know that Jesus could see everything he did and what if she dies, so Bob, filled with guilt, takes his allowance to buy a new basket, fills it with berries, takes it to her house and gives it to the girls Mom. He comes back later, after talking to his pastor, to talk to the little girl, and peace comes to his heart and he's forgiven by the girl. You'd think that's the end, right? Wrong. "And peace came to the heart of the little hunchback. In the night her tired soul climbed the golden ladder and is now playing in the sunny meadow at peace with the world, for the healing hand of the Master had touched her. The hillside cemetery above the village has one grave on which the roses are never missing. Such roses are found only in the garden of Bob's home." Umm, what? That's a terrible ending! All in all, depressing and ridiculous. 1 star
p.s. This book doesn't seem to exist anywhere at all, on any website. I'm really not surprised, and I don't feel guilty sending this book to the great big recycling plant in the sky.
Book 76: Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City by Holly Denham
The last in the Holly series (is 2 books a series?), this wasn't as fun as the first was. Holly is still working at reception, and is with Toby, her boyfriend whom she got together with at the end of the previous book. She gets offered a trial managerial position, drama ensues with a nasty co-worker and with her boyfriend, her parents and granny are crazy as ever... really, it's just a continuation of the first book. If you liked that, then you'll like this one, only maybe slightly less. 3 stars
Hi Laura- Congrats on reaching the big 75! Hooray! I'm so glad you stuck with World War Z and ended up loving it. It will stick with you for awhile too!
Ye gods, Book 75: The Golden Pencil sounds terrible!
What an awful 75 :-/
Glad you stuck with World War Z, and that most of your group liked it too!
Congratulations on completing the challenge, even if it was on such an atrocious-sounding book. *Blech*
Thanks, everyone! Still a ways to go to finish my 12-12 Challenge, but I hit magic #75!!!!!!!!
Anders/GingerbreadMan (over on the 12-12 thread) suggested that the authors name be WTF Hertel instead, and I totally agree. Barf-tastic.
Book 77: Niagara Falls: An Intimate Portrait by John Grant
I've been thinking about Niagara Falls for a few months now, for whatever reason, and wanted to learn a little more about it. My most recent library visit produced this book, which I picked up solely because the pictures were so nice. This is a companion book to the PBS special (which I now have to try and find), and while it's full of information, somehow it wasn't quite what I was looking for. Nothing wrong with it, but it didn't "scratch the itch" I have for information. If you're interested in the Falls, certainly pick this book up (the photos of wire walkers cooking on a stove and doing their laundry are worth the price of admission) - it's the People Magazine of N.F. info. 3.5 stars
Book 78: Harry Lipkin, Private Eye by Barry Fantoni
He's a man who's not afraid of anything - not even a cup of caffeinated coffee at midnight. He's Harry Lipkin, the world's oldest private detective. His client wants to know who is stealing precious objects from her, and the cast of suspects is fairly typical (butler, maid, chef, chauffeur, etc). Using his contacts from his years on the force, Harry investigates whodunit, throughout 200 enjoyable pages. He's a great character, and while the culprit was not a surprise to me, I'm so glad that I got to know Mr. Lipkin. I'm recommending this to all of my mystery-loving friends. 3.5 stars (I won this through the ER program.)
(I realize that my copy is an ARC, and that typos and things are to be expected. But this was by far the worst I've seen, with mistakes on nearly every page - one page had 5 errors alone! I didn't correct them along the way like I usually do, and I'm glad I didn't start, I'd never have finished the book so quickly!)
Reading a book regarding Niagara Falls is very timely. Did you watch the amazing walk across the falls last night?
Hi Linda! No, I missed it, but I did see a few clips the next day. Did you watch it?
I didn't plan to watch it but, once I started watching him cross the falls, it was spellbinding, especially when he got to the mist, which made the wiry slippery.
btw, Laura, thanks again for your suggestions for my 12 in 12 "books chosen by friends" category. I read Peter Lovesey's The Last Detective last week (one of the three on your list) and absolutely loved it.
Linda, I'm so glad you loved The Last Detective!!!! I was just thinking about the series that (I think) is based on the books and wondering how they compared. I'll add it to my TBR list. Also, I owe your 12-12 thread a visit, it's been a while. :)
Book 79: Tale As Old As Time: The Art and Making of Beauty & The Beast by Charles Solomon
I loved this book. "Beauty & The Beast" is my favorite Disney movie, and considering what a Disney Nerd I used to be, that's really saying something! It details everything about how the movie was made - from how staffing changes affected (effected? always get that one wrong, my one grammatical hangup) the plot, to the various incarnations of each character and setting, it's got everything you could want in a book about the movie. Plus, it's got wonderfully oversized pictures of stills and backgrounds. Let's just say this is firmly on my wishlist! 4.5 stars
Book 80: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Yep, I read it. I kept reading reviews about how awful the writing was, and that the plot was non-existent, blah blah blah, so my expectations were as low as you could get. Maybe it was because of that that I don't think the book is that terrible. No, it's not the best writing in the world, but it's readable and I've read worse, the plot is a little thin, but things move along. And yes, there's a fair amount of BDSM sex, but since that doesn't "do it" for me, I could skim for pages at a time. In all, I'm guessing I spent maybe 4 or 5 hours reading the whole thing. Do I think these characters are ridiculous? YES. Do I think this should be qualified as a romance? Um, no. But will I read the next two books to see what happens? Yes, I will. I'm curious to see what kind of "dark troubles" Christian has, and if Ana will ever grow the hell up. There probably won't be any real surprises in store, but since they're easy to read, I can pound these out (pun intended) in a couple of days. 2 stars. (I might have given it three, after the whole "Gigli" effect - all I heard was how awful it was, so a friend and I watched that and that Kelly Clarkson Justin Whatever movie and after that atrocity, "Gigli" should have gotten an Oscar in both of our opinions - but on a little consideration, 2 stars sounds right.)
Hi Laura- Wow, 80 books! You go girl! And kudos for hanging in there with fifty Shades. You can talk to Sue about it and won't have to worry about spoilers.
Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow! Hugs!
Had a fantastic lunch today with Mark and Sue at The Wicked Hop! Hardly any book talk (I know - shocking!), wonderful conversation, great weather - the highlight of my week!
Hey Joe - yeah, maybe if she lowered that limbo bar to about a foot off of the ground, it would've been okay. Sue mentioned that the second book was the best, in her opinion. I'll be starting it later tonight, so we'll see.
I had to Pearl Rule a book this afternoon - Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James. I listened to the first 2 CDs (of 13) and I just didn't care about any of it. Not that it was bad, necessarily, just that it didn't hold my attention at all. In fact, I couldn't tell you anything about it! So back to the library it goes. The only "problem" is, I now don't have any picks for half of one of my 12-12 categories. I need to start bugging my friend Nan for more selections. My friend Jenna (the other half of the book pickers) has given me another 4 picks just in case, but I'd at least like to read a couple of books that Nan chooses for me. If I can't get anything out of her, I'll just read some of the books she's given me as gifts.
I've got a client coming over at 7:30 tonight and should be picking up a little more around this place, maybe doing some laundry - instead, I'm on Facebook (a true rarity) eagerly waiting for wedding pics from one of my BFF's. She got married a couple of hours ago in Jamaica, and since I couldn't get there, it's the next best thing!
Hi Laura- Great seeing you! We had a terrific time too. Perfect choice. Have a good weekend.
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