mks27's (Michelle) Reading for 2012
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Books Read in 2012
1. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters, e-book (mine), Orange January, 4.5 stars
2. A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny, audio book (library), 4 stars
(The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett), hardcover (library), Orange January, gave up on
3. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, e-book (mine), 4 stars
4. The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny, audio book (library), 4.5 stars
5. Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny, audio book (library), 5 stars
6. A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny, audio book (library), 4.5 stars
7. Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich, audio book (library), 3.5 stars
8. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, audio book (library), 4.5 stars
9. The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean, e-book (mine), 4 stars
10. Death comes to Pemberley by P. D. James, e-book (library), 3.5 stars
11. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin, audio book (library), 4.5 stars
12. Prague Winter: A Story of War and Remembrance by Madeleine Albright e-book (mine), 4 stars
13. Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear, audio book (Library), 4 stars
14. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, off my shelf, 5 stars
15. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, audio book (library), 4.5 stars
16. The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva, e-book (mine), 4 stars
17. Weight Loss Boss by David Kirchoff, e-book (mine), 4.5 stars
18. The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley, audio book (library), 3.5 stars
19. The English Assasin by Daniel Silva, audio book (library), 3.5 stars
20. Bossypants by Tina Fey, audio book, (library), 4 stars
21. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, audio book (library), 2 stars
22. Back of Beyond by C. J. Box, audio book (library), 4.5 stars
23. The Rope by Nevada Barr, audio book (library), 2 stars
24. The Twelve by Justin Cronin, e-book (mine), current
25. The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg, audio book (library), current
Happy New Year Michelle! Looking forward to see what you will be reading this year. :)
Hello Beth, Valerie, Jim, Stasia, Chelle, Anne, Tui, Leoni, Katie, Anne, and Karen....happy New Year to you all!
Reading update: Only 20 pages to go on The Night Watch by Sarah Waters. The structure of the book, the characters, the settings, and the writing are particular favorites with this read. I hope to finish and post a review today or tomorrow. I am participating in Orange January and have a thread there for this month for anyone interested.
My next read will be The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett. Each year our community participates in Rochester's community read and about 8 or so years ago Andrea Barrett's Servants of the Map was the chosen book. I had never heard of her before, but learned that at the time she was living in Rochester. I loved the book and became interested in her and her writing. She studied science at Union College and many of the themes in her book concern science. Indeed, many of her characters are scientist and particularly women scientists. Some of her stories are set in the Adirondacks, which is a favorite place, so there are multiple attractions for me to her writing.
Since then, I have been wanting to read more of her; I know that was along time ago and you would think I would have gotten around to it by now! Well, I went to the library yesterday and picked up The Voyage of the Narwhal, which is now sitting on my nightstand.
I will be interested in seeing what you think of The Voyage of the Narwhal too, Michelle.
Michelle: I've loved the Barrett I've read. I haven't read The Voyage of the Narwhal. It's on my shelf.
My review of The Night Watch by Sarah Waters:
Sarah Waters, in The Night Watch, brought me to her setting in both an emotional and a physical reality. Not only did she take me to WW II London, but she completely imbedded me in this almost surreal place and time.
I had never imagined being an ambulance driver on the night shift in London during the bombings, the smells, textures, impaired visibility, the dead and the injured, the destruction, and blocked and trashed streets or a prisoner trapped in a locked cell block when the bombs begin to fall trying to find some way to get through the night. The title is so apt, each character, regardless, were all on the night watch and all dealt with that reality differently.
She examines the question of how the people of London during this time, experienced, lived with, and survived the terrors and fears of war and how this experience changed them. Waters did her research well and much of what she writes is based on firsthand accounts. Indeed, she includes an extensive bibliography of her wide ranging sources.
The characters comprise a set of loosely connected London residents who we follow from 1947, after the War’s end, and travel back in time with, first to 1944, and then 1941. Waters sets up situations with hints of what happened before, compelling the reader to move back with her in time to learn the origins of her character’s circumstances. This book was everything I had hoped it would be and more.
Sarah Waters' book does sound interesting. I've read one or two of her other books.
ETA: My public library has it!
>18: Oh, wow. I don't typically read books set during either of the wars, but this one sounds like it could be quite fascinating. On the list it goes!
Hi Faith, It is so hard to fit everything in one review. One element I did not mention is that the book focuses heavily on relationships, within families, among friends, and romantic relationships as well.
I read other reviews of this book on LT after I posted my review and I was amazed at how many reviewers found different aspects of this novel to focus on in their review, some being the War, others the love story, others the role of women in the novel. For me, that is a sign of the books strenghts. Anyway, there is much more than WWII here.
Michelle, I love reading books about WWII, I own The Night Watch, and I'm also reading for the Orange Group this year. Three good reasons to pull it off the shelf... and No. 4 - your excellent review - clinches the deal. I may not get it read until next month, but I plan to read Orange all year so it will duly go on my thread over there.
I also remember reading Voyage of the Narwhal years ago and liking it very much. I just checked, and see it was in my Top Ten for 1999. It prompted some further reading about Arctic explorations.
Donna, Barrett's writing is a such a pleasure! I do hope you like The Night Watch when you get to it.
I have been tweaking my rating system this morning, which is outlined on my profile. I am posting it here for my visitors information.
1 star: A waste of time
2 stars: not my cup of tea
2.5 stars: only a few redeeming qualities
3 stars: enjoyable with some negatives
3.5 stars: enjoyable
4 stars: very good, compelling
4.5 stars: excellent, highly satisfying reading,
5 stars: the complete reading experience,
obsessively read, multi-layered, lingering, engrossing
Hi Michelle -- I like your rating descriptions. Your tweaks have resulted in simple and elegant, yet thorough descriptions.
I enjoyed your comments about The Night Watch. I have read a lot of books recently that have covered wartime in cities, with night bombings -- I'm thinking The Book Thief, Their Finest Hour and a Half, The Madonnas of Leningrad, Good Night, Mr. Tom. I find those stories to be very compelling. I'm adding The Night Watch to my list. Thanks!
Nice rating system Michelle, completely agree with you there and your review of The Night Watch was excellent.
Hi Beth!! Family obligations have been a little crazy recently, mainly due to my kid's sports schedule. My son's swim team is having their last meet on Friday, so hopefully things will lighten up then. I have not been reading much, although I have been bringing reading material along with me. I get it out, but find it hard to read more than a few pages amid all the activity.
I am still working on Andrea Barrett's The Voyage of the Narwhal which requires some concentration and have started The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie in an attempt to find something more suitable for my kid's activities.
Couple our recent busy schedule with me fighting cold after cold after cold, and that will explain my lack of reading. I always read before bed, and feeling as I have, when I get in bed I find that sleep is all I can do.
I have high hopes for February! I hope all is well with you.
Michelle: It's the quality, not the quantity that's important. You have started off the year with some good books -- I've been looking at The Night Watch for a while and I have Narwhal sitting on my shelf. I have liked everything I've read of Barrett's, but you're right; it's hard to pick up and read a couple of pages of her books.
I hope you feel better soon.
I hope you get ahead of the colds, Michelle...although hanging around damp swimming pool air tends to do that unless you are in the water. I know exactly what you mean about get into bed and bonking.
#32 Yes, do read The Night Watch if you can. It went by in a blink and was so good. Unlike Narwhal, it was easy to read anywhere.
I am liking Narwhal, but I did struggle a bit at the beginning which is devoted mainly to the men, their voyage prep, and the early days of the voyage.
The next part is about the women left behind. I suspect that might be more interesting. The male characters, except for a few, are in many ways just pathetic! There are two male characters I am interested in, but the foreshadowing does not look good for them. The others seem clueless or completely self-obsorbed. Although, a study of their weaknesses is of some interest.
I am feeling better, very close to 90% and I have not been that good since the first week in December!
#33 Thanks so much, your good wishes must have worked because I am feeling more myself. I had a great sleep last night as well and I hope to be reading more.
Catching up Michelle, and nice to see you are 90% feeling good! I hope that figure keeps rising.
I am feeling quite accomplished today....I did some reading yesterday which is still more proof that I am feeling better.
Leonie, I appreciate the encouragement!
Michelle: Glad you're feeling better. I'm anxious to hear your comments about Narwhal.
I have not accomplished much reading this year so far, but am going along at a snails pace!
I have given up on The Voyage of Narwhal. Althought I loved Servants of the Map, this novel was just not for me. Early on I predicted what might come of the characters and their voyage and as I read much of what I thought came to be. I did not find most of the characters or their stories compelling. The author writes about the natural world beautifully, but the plot and characters were not enough to get me through my reading funk.
Instead I focused on listening to Louise Penny's A Rule Against Murder.
Although this book is not set in Three Pines, the setting and mystery are a treat. Much is revealed about Peter and Clara Morrow and Inspector Gamache's father. Again, as with all of Penny's mysteries, the human heart and soul is examined. In this case, sibling rivalry and family dynamics are most prominent. Penny excels at writing the final scenes where the murderer is revealed, noting that moment of life or death in wonderful thought and detail, and when all is finally explained. This series just kepts getting better. 4 stars
Now, I am reading Alan Bradley's The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and am listening to Away by Amy Bloom.....reading funk, please go away!!!
Michelle: Nice comments about A Rule Against Murder. Penny does do a good job of looking at relationships.
Good luck with your reading funk.
Hi Michelle! I am also reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie! Hope you like it. I'm only a few pages in
#41 I am about 100 pages into The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and find it light, but interesting.
I love anything English, so this fits me well. Flavia's mind is a wonder. I believe the setting, 1950's in a country estate with the upper class which is not so upper anymore fasinating. The remnants of what was so rich and glorious, not now a lifestyle that cannot be sustained. Flavia's widowed father, his mysterious past, and three girls without their mother add to my interest.
I hope you do find it the same.
Michelle, I devoured this series and am eagerly waiting for the next one!
Hi Michelle: I liked the first Fiona book, but didn't care for the second or third as much. The series has a lot of fans here, though. I'll be anxious to see what you think about the next Penny.
Beth, I will check out the reviews before I dig in, thanks for the warning.
Well, I seem to be on a roll, at least with audio books. I have walked, worked out, and cleaned this week which has resulted in completing The Brutal Telling.
This is the best of the series to this point and explores many issues that go fairly deep. There are parts of ourselves that we keep hidden, even from those we love, and for some, much more needs to be hidden just to survive. This book deals with secrets, lies, and the fear that leads to them, as well as the extremes people will go to in order to protect it all. It is about stories, created and true, and about greed. There were some surprises here and some doubts about what really happened. I have a feeling this murder and the surrounding issues will hover over Three Pines and Inspector Armand Gamache for a long time to come. 4.5 stars
Michelle, I have The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and have recently moved it to the top of the pile. Hope you enjoy it, and hope I can get to it soon! Like you, I'm not reading much these says, or LT-ing much either. Boo.
Nice to have you visit, Anne! At least we can offer understanding to each other for our lack of reading time. I have not had much free time this year.
My kids have been involved in some quite time consuming activities and my mother has been sick and in and out of the hospital, with lots of doctors appointments and other needs that she requires me to help her with.
Top that off with completing the financial aid process (for the first time) for my daughter who is graduating high school in June. No decision has been made about where she is going as she has not heard back from all of her schools about admissions and/or money, although it looks like she is not getting much money. She has gotten some scholarships, but it might not be enough for her to go to the schools she most wants to go to which have costs over 50k a year....it is a bit stressful all around.
I have found doing is easier for me than sitting, so I have been enjoying audio books recently, and reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a special indulgence when I can. You will love her.
My DVD set of Game of Thrones has just arrived!!! Now, I just need time to watch it. FYI, I can't say I have thought this of a DVD box before, but this presentation is absolutely beautiful.
Michelle: It sounds like you have a lot on your plate. Enjoy your reads/listens. The college choosing is quite a process, isn't it? Good luck.
My most recent audio book:
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penney
No doubt about it, this one is the best Three Pines mysteries and one of my favorite all time in this genre! Louise Penny, you have perfected your craft.
It could be that this one appealed specifically to my interests, especially history, but I believe it goes beyond that. This one shines. Penny combines the story of the investigation of a new murder in Quebec City with a reinvestigation of a previous case and it is woven together expertly. As always, the setting offers a lovely background for the tale, but in this our familiar friends are challenged to their core as Penny takes the reader to an event in the recent past that changes everything.
This one is not to be missed if you are a Gamache fan. 5 stars
Still trying to keep it light due to my life, so I am continuing with the Flavia De Luce series. Although I am not reading much, I am fitting in lots of audio during walks and time at the gym on the treadmill. My reading time is cut short by my eyes closing at night after reading a few lines!! Very frustrating!
Hi Michelle! It looks like we are online at the same time. I can sympathize with not having time; there was a time when I did a ton of audio books. It sounds like you've figured out which ones work for you.
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny, Audio, 4.5 stars
This series has no trouble keeping the reader interested and wanting more.
In this installment, we find ourselves back in Three Pines immersed in the lives of our old friends. Each character is struggling with some kind of change, indeed change is a major theme as is forgiveness. Do people ever really change and how do our experiences affect us? Is its possible to forgive and how can we be forgiven? Yes, there is a murder, but some much more. Penny is taking some of my favorite characters in unexpected directions and hidden affections are revealed.
So, when is the next book due out? I can't wait, believe me Ms. Penny, if you write it, I will read it.
Beth, I might branch out soon to something with more meat on its bone, but for now I am on a vegetarian diet! Usually, when things get tough, I read to reduce stress. I am not sure why it is not working at this time? I am finding exercise helpful and that combines well with audio books.
Currently, I have the following on my iPod:
Away by Amy Bloom
Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley
A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley
I think I will go for the Evanovich, that might offer much as to my frame of mind and current mood!
Yes, exactly! I loved the way she carried storylines through multiple books. I would recommend this series all be read in order to get the most enjoyment out of the characters as they change and grow.
I'm all caught up with Ms. Penny as well, and will be seeking the next one when she writes it!
Michelle, you might like the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd. Not too taxing but interesting. I'm a fan of the Louise Penny books as well--and of Flavia de Luce.
Just stopping by and not reading your reviews of the Louise Penny books, since I have a library copy of A Fatal Grace staring at me from the bedside table. It looks like you're enjoying the series though.
My sympathies on the college process--we're in a similar spot and my house is the scene of much emotional drama these days.
Hello Anne, Beth, jmaloney17, and tiffin and thanks for the update regarding the next Three Pines book. Now I have something to look forward to!
Tiffin, I will look into the Bess Crawford series, love finding new mysteries! My favorites are the Maisie Dobbs books and Three Pines.
Ahhh, yes, Anne, the college thing has not been easy, riddled with lots of emotions. I can't wait until it is all decided and then I can look forward to repeating the whole process in a few years.
Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich, 3.5 stars, nothing but a sticky bun for the mind!
OK, so when you are trying to lose a few pounds as I am now, this is a hard one to read, although some of Stephanie and Lola's food choices made me what to be sick so it worked both ways. Stephanie's mom does comfort food better than anyone.
I can't say this book had a plot and, if it did, I completely missed it, but I loved it anyway. What it did have was Stephanie and Ranger, Stephanie and Joe, breaking and entering, escaping, Stephanie's Mother's food, Trenton, lots of Lola, explosions, car issues, at least one viewing with Grandma Mazur, and that is all I need. Enjoy!
HI Michelle. I am also waiting
#67 Agreed! Just finished Alan Bradley's Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and found that he is Canadian, I had assumed he was a Brit! He included Louise Penny in his acknowledgements. She is awesome.
Update: Horray, I did finish Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie last night, just in time to include it in Mystery March. It is my only book read for the month, all others were audio, so getting it in felt like an accomplishment. All in all, five mysteries for the month which exceeded my expectations.
I am now reading a book that was our community read for this year, The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean. I have not heard much about this book, very little buzz. It is set in the present and in Leningrad during the siege of WWII. It deals with art, aging, and alzheimers. Anyone heard of it? I got through about 20 pages last night and liked it so far.
Hi Michelle: I've heard good things about The Madonnas of Leningrad. I'll be anxious to hear what you think.
Madonnas of Leningrad update: so far I am enjoying it and I like getting to know the characters at different stages of their lives.
Finished Mockingjay on audio and was surprised to find I liked it better than the first two. Collins brough it all to an end in a realistic way, this a one review I am anxious to write.
Now, listening to the 3rd Song of Fire and Ice book, A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin. I have decided, due to the length of his novels, that I will read the remainder of this series on audio book. Their length should be a boom to my walking and working out.
Short reviews of recent books:
Mockingjay by Susanne Collins: Don't worry about being disappointed with the end of this trilogy, Collins shows she is skilled at this ending thing. I was impressed with how realistic it was and felt. Katniss did not all of a sudden recover from the trauma of war and live happily ever after, but experienced all the lasting and lingering effects of violence experienced at a young and impressionable age. There were times I forgot it was written primarily for young adults and found it has great appeal for us more mature readers especially in the underlying topics. Cleverly, Collins bestows, in an exaggerated form, some of our cultures more offensive tendencies on the captial and its inhabitants, particulary a focus on outside appearences with little effort to develop good character within, an important warning for us all. 4.5 stars
The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean: I greatly enjoyed this one. The themes involve memory, beauty, art, deprivation, love, the body and our physical needs, and the relationship between generations in a family. The author moves us back and forth in time from present day to the siege of Leningrad in the 1940's. It is a love story on many levels. Marina and Dimitri are childhood friends who fall in love and become engaged before he leaves for the front. She stays to protect the Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum where she works and takes shelter. What ensues is inspiring and heartbreaking. While this story is being told, we also find the couple in their later years living in the United States and coming to terms with Marina's declining memory in which her starving time at the Hermitage is more present to her than the present. 4 stars
Beth, saw the movie and liked it, but agree the book was better....more of the internal struggles.
I have done something that I rarely do, purchase a book soon after release at full price! I just bought
Madeleine Albright's Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War for my next read. Her story of learning of her Jewish ancestry as an adult and all the surrounding history was too tempting for me! She is a personal favorite as well.
I bet the Albright book is fascinating, Michelle. Sometimes it's worth it to just bite the bullet, isn't it.
I just saw Albright on the Daily Show last night, and she talked about the book. It does sound fascinating. I'll be anxious to hear what you think about it, Michelle.
Yes, I saw her on one of the morning shows, which prompted my purchase. It is an interesting back story to her life, which I am sure, helped make her who she is. I can't wait to start, when I am done reading the P.D. James.
Hi Michelle. Just found your thread. Looks like you have been doing some great reading so far - I'm another fan of the Louise Penny books although they seemed to be published in the UK about 6m later than in the US so I might have to wait until 2013 for The Beautiful Mystery - it sounds good though.
#80 Thank you although, in my mind, I have had a struggle finding time to read so far this year, too many things that need my attentions. I do think things are improving though and I am hopeful for the spring and summer.
Oh, yes, I discovered Louise Penny from reviews on LT and fell in love with her series. I can't wait for her to write more. Too bad for your need to wait!
Hi Michelle -- great reviews. I hope you enjoy Madeleine Albright's book -- I haven't read anything by her, but I am a fan for sure. We have her pin exhibition here at the Denver Art Museum for a few more weeks, and I will definitely go -- it's supposed to be terrific.
Hi Anne, yeah I think she is great and the pin collection, awesome! I did not know it was an exhibit. I need to find it on the web. I have not started the book yet, but I will offer updates as I read.
I have been addicted recently to the PBS series, "Finding Your Root" with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in which he explores the genealogy of well known people, but it is the same story with many of our families. Of course, the Jewish and African American family histories are so poignant and heartbreaking, so much lost and or hidden, can't wait to learn more about Albright's story.
Finished Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James
This is my first experience reading a Pride and Prejudice knock off. James does not try to do what Austen did, but writes a completely different thing….a murder mystery. Yes, readers find out what happens five years down the road with the Bennet sisters, but this is not the novel’s focus. Although the plot revolves around the murder rather than Austen’s focus on relationships, relationships are deeply involved, satisfying the Austen fan’s desire, while not imitating. But, more satisfies, including getting to know the staff at Pemberley who Austen only briefly introduced. James is spot on in continuing, in form, some of Austen’s more pompous and humorous characters, especially Lydia Bennet Wickham, Lady Catherine, and Mr. Collins, whose voices are flawless, although infrequent.
Rest assured, this book will not disappoint the Austen fan, although, it is hard for me to recommend it to a reader who has not read the original. Its merits for me are that it is a vehicle to visit old and dearly loved friends and places. For the mystery reader, it might not do the trick if you favor the kind of mysteries I do, those that go beyond “who done it” to more deeply examine the human condition and history. This did not lead me to think and examine; it lacks layers and depth and did not take me beyond. It is fairly uncomplicated, which is fine if that is what you are looking for in a mystery. So, in the end, I did enjoy this read and I am happy I read it. It was a welcome and satisfying visit with my old and dear friends. 3.5 stars
Happy to move on to Prague Winter for my next read. I am getting towards the end of A Storm of Swords and it is getting very good...I thought for awhile that it was just getting to much of the same thing over and over, but some interesting things are happening now! Can't wait to finish!
College Update: Thought things were settled, but my daughter was offered admission from the wait list at Smith College. We are waiting for the financial package to see if we can afford it, so she might have a hard decision to make. It is just more confusion for us all. Checking the mail each day has taken on a whole new significance. I hope we can put this all to bed soon.
Michelle: Nice review of Death Comes to Pemberley. You hit on it exactly -- a pleasant visit that doesn't pretend to do anything else. I'll be anxious to hear what you think of Prague Winter. Albright is one of my heroes.
Good luck with the college decisions. I imagine you will be happy when everything is decided -- yet how exciting it all is.
#85 Oh, yes, updates will be provided on Prague Winter and thank you for the good wishes. The college decision needs to be made by Friday.
I have been thinking some today about my plans for summer reading and this is what I have come up with so far. My list is ambitious considering I will be having guests (family) from Spokane here for 3 to 4 weeks. So, my list is not written in stone, but a working, evolving being really:
1. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (off my shelf)
I wanted to read this before I saw the movie, but that was quite some time ago.
2. A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 by Laurel
Thatcher Ulrich (off my shelf) A friend told me she read this book on my recommendation and loved it, only problem is that I do not remember reading it or recommending it, so I need to find out!
3. Mothers and Sons: Stories by Colm Toibin (off my shelf) I fell in love with Toibin's Brooklyn and have been wanting to read more of him for a time.
4. Elegy For Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear
I need to keep up with one of my favorite mystery series
5. Trophy Hunt by C. J. Box, 4th in series
I have lost track of where I am in this series, but this one seems about right.
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (off my shelf)
This has been on my to read list way too long
7. Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes (off my shelf) This was my Mother's Day gift from
my daughter as we are both big Julian Fellowes fans from his Monarch of the Glen days, but now
more with Downton Abbey.
8. Anything by Angela Thirkell if I can find some!
4 books are off my shelf!!
Sounds great Michelle. I have Trophy Hunt from the library and hope to get to it before it has to go back. The Fellowes and Toibin and Thirkell -- oh heck, all of them -- also sound good. Good luck. I think my list was pretty ambitious, too.
Beth, we will see what actually gets done. Have been slowed down by Senior Ball and graduation preparations and all the shopping that goes with these this week...but luckily the college thing has been pinned down and she will still be going SUNY Oswego.
I am going to have my Mother's Day gift, a caribbean pedicure, today and I am bringing my book. Reading time!!
Hi Michelle: Have a great day -- a pedicure and a book, sounds like fun. I imagine you are relieved that the final college decision has been made. Have fun with all the graduation festivities.
Hi Michelle, let me know what your daughter decides. Congrats to her! I love your summer reading list. I've wanted to either read or listen to Brideshead Revisited for awhile. I saw the BBC miniseries a few years ago. Hope you can get your hands in some Angela Thirkell!
you know what?
I had your 2011 thread starred but then I lost you in the stampede to 2012!
well, I found you now :)
thanks for visiting my thread!
Welcome Kara, Yeah....that happens to me all the time, especially this year. I have not been reading as much or as active on LT because of LIFE just getting in the way. Good news is I see that LIFE is easing up a bit and I have more time to spend on reading and threads, hurray!!!
I have you starred and will keep in touch!
I understand the LIFE part ;)
I didn't have time yesterday but sometime this weekend I need to catch up on this thread and your reading :)
Got you starred also!
#94 Not too much reading this year to catch up on...though after yard work yesterday I sat in the sun on my new lounge chair and read for several hours. I am hoping for much more of that this summer.
Update on Prague Winter: A Story of War and Remembrance by Madeleine Albright:
I am less than a quarter through the book now with just several hours of reading yesterday afternoon. Although this part is primarily an overview of Czech history from its beginnings, it was not dry or overly detailed.
Her overview focuses on the development of the Czech character, which is different from other countries in the region. She highlights various personalities (and events) throughout Czech history who influenced this character to be one that values hard work, education, democracy, humility, and equality. She characterizes the Czech people as somewhat different because of their diverse backgrounds, and as more accepting of others than many places in Europe throughout history.
Surely, she points out that as she matured, her image of her homeland was challenged and she grew in her understanding of its complexity.
Mixed in with this she begins to tell the story of her parents, her childhood, and her discovery of her family's past. It is, so far, quick reading and I am looking forward to getting into her more personal story.
Michelle: This sounds like a must read. Thanks for updating. Your lounge chair in the sun sounds fabulous -- a wonderful activity for a weekend afternoon.
Hi Michelle, I love your summer reading list. It's a nice mix! I've heard good things about A Midwife's Tale but haven't read it yet. Trophy Hunt is my next Joe Pickett, too.
Aren't the Three Pines books wonderful on audio?! It's how I got through the first two books in the series. Now I read them and then listen to the audio sometime later. Ralph Cosham adds a whole new level of enjoyment for me. Not to mention that his French pronunciation is much better than mine!
Ohhh, yes, just love the audiobook version of Three Pines. The narrator, for me, is Armand Gamache and the French is so beautiful. I am actually a bit taken with him, very sweet and romantic. Isn't Gamache's relationship with Rene Marie (spelling?) such a wonderful example of what a marriage should be? They are so comfortable with each other and in their own skins. I have hopes, that when the teenagers taking residence with us are off on their own, that we will sit and read by fire just like the Gamaches.
I hope to read them all some day, too.
Hi Michelle, I love the idea of a summer reading list. I'll work on that over the Memorial Day weekend. Hmmm, I may add I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and read in tandem with you if you don't mind. You are also making the Madeline Albright book sound like a must read; however, I've promised myself that the next biography will be Truman - an imperative read for a Missouri girl!
It's great that the college decision has been made. Is your daughter's choice close to home? I hope you all have a great summer. Such a bittersweet experience when a child leaves home.
Donna...the I know Why the Caged Bird Sings idea is great! I will let you know when I am thinking about beginning. I am planning on reading Brideshead Revisited when I am done with the Albright.
My daughter's college is only an hour and a half away which will make transportation quite a breeze. She likely will not want to come home much though, she hopes to quickly get involved in all sorts of things.
Yes, it is bittersweet, lots of mixed emotions going on. Primarily though, I am immensely proud of the young woman she has become and I know that she will make a valuable mark on this world.
Proud of both my teenagers, but so amazed at how different they are. They have chosen different paths, but are both very involved in their school and community, just in completely different ways.
Reading update: I am a little over half way through Prague Winter and have so much to say about it. For now, I will just say that Albright's insights and examination into the dilemmas faced, on both a personal and international level, during war is thought provoking and challenging: what would I do if it were me?
And still working through the audio of a Storm of Swords which seems to go on and on!
I will not be around here much for the month with my daughters end of the year events. Up this weekend is Senior Ball. Our family from Spokane arrives on June 20, graduation is June 23, and the party is June 24. Our family is staying three weeks. It will be fun and festive, but not conducive to being online or reading.
Happy June to everyone!
Michelle: Good luck with your family festivities. I can't wait to hear about Prague Winter; it's already on my wishlist.
Good luck with your daughter's celebrations, and enjoy!
I'd also love to join you for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I've read it before, but I have it on the list to re-read this year.
I love your thoughts so far on Prague Winter. If all goes well, the girls and I will see Mme Albright's pins now on exhibit at the Denver Art Museum this Thursday.
#103 Thanks much, Beth!
#104 I will let you know when I might read it...and thank you!
#105 Please report back here regarding the exhibit!! I hope you have a great experience with your girls, Albright is an amazing role model for them.
Hi Michelle, I saw your name pop up on my home page, and it made me realize I hadn't seen you post in awhile. Hope you and your family are well and enjoying your summer.
Hi Michelle - I imagine you are having a busy summer. Nice to see you back. I really liked Elegy for Eddie. I'll be interested to hear what you think of it.
Hello Anne and Beth and anyone else who ventures by,
Thanks for thinking of me! We have been having a very social and fun summer. That is good, but it leaves little time for threads on LT. I have decided that can all wait until September when I will have time on my own to catch up. I do hope to post some pictures of it all before the summer is over.
I have not read many books, but the books I have read are so good they are ruining me for any others!!
Here they are:
Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War by Madeleine Albright, 4 stars
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin, 4.5 stars
Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspeare, 4 stars
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, 5 stars
The English Assassin by Daniel Silva
A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor
Weight Loss Boss by David Kirchoff
I hope to write reviews when time permits, but I will say how totally blown away I was by Brideshead Revisited. I am so glad I read it and wish I had read it long ago. It is my top book of the year so far and I can't seem to get it out of my mind. I have gone on to watch the 2008 movie and am starting on the mini-series now.
Earlier this year my husband and I started Weight Watchers with two other couples we socialize with often. It has been a great experience for us, individually, as a couple, and as friends. My husband has lost over 30 lbs and I have lost over 25 lbs. Although, we have gone into maintenance mode for the summer, we still go to meetings. I have found Kirchoff's book inspirational. It is not about what to eat and what not to eat, but about forming healthy lifelong habits from someone who has struggled to lose his weight. I am finding it very helpful.
Our summer vacation at the cottage we rent on Kennebec Lake in Ontario, Canada is looming. I hope to get back to LT after that! Happy summer reading!
Hi Michelle! We'll be glad to have you back whenever it may be. Wow -- so much great news here! I hope you have a wonderful time on your vacation. I would love a lake vacation somewhere -- we may look into that some year. I hope it is wonderfully relaxing. Congrats on your weight loss! 25 pounds is a lot -- what a great thing you're doing for yourself!
I loved this comment: I have not read many books, but the books I have read are so good they are ruining me for any others!! How wonderful! I have had Brideshead Revisited on my list for a long time. My husband and I watched the mini-series a few years ago and loved it. I should really pick up a copy of the book! I've checked out the audio a couple of times (narrated by Jeremy Irons, though I hear there's a Jeremy Northam-narration as well) but I've never had the time to listen.
See you when you get back!
Hi Michelle--nice to see you stop in if only for a moment. I'm glad you're having a lovely summer.
Hi Michelle - Your summer reads sound great. You do have a lot of exciting news. Have a great time at the lake and we'll see you back in the fall.
I'm adding Brideshead Revisited to my list.
I hope you all are enjoying your summers as well!
I downloaded The Uncommon Reader last night from the library in audio format and loaded it on my iPod for my morning walk. I very much like it so far, light, but humorous. I decided to not listen to The English Assassin when I discovered it is the 2nd in the series. I have added the first in the series to read while on vacation.
Is anyone familiar with this series by Daniel Silva? I know I should get caught up on all the other series before I begin a new one, but this particular series seemed interesting and a good beach/lakeside read.
Michelle: I loved The Uncommon Reader. I imagine it's great to listen to. It is really short. I am not familiar with Daniel Silva.
Michelle, I have read and listened to a few Daniel Silva books. He is my husband's favorite author so we listen to his books on road trips. I have missed some in the series but have still been able to follow the action. You are right on target -- they make excellent vacation reads. Have a great time in Canada!
Hello to Beth, Laura, and Donna,
I listened to all of The Uncommon Reader in one day and was sad when it ended...but it was a great ending and a surprise to me! It is a gem.
Thanks, Donna, for information on the Gideon Allon series by Daniel Silva. It has been recommended to me and seemed good for a vacation read. Much appreciated!
I am back from vacation! I read The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva, the first in the Gabriel Allon spy/thriller series. I was very happily surprised that I enjoyed it quite a lot and intend to continue in the series.
Gabriel Allon is an art restorer who was also a spy and more for Israel. There is much more than suspense and action here. Much of the Israeli vs. Palestinian conflict is illustrated and Silva takes measures to point out that both sides were equally victims and violators. Add to this the aftermath of the Holocaust on families and societies and this proves to be a thought provoker....but not just on the international level, on the human level as well.
Thus far, I recommend this series and plan to continue with it in the future.
Currently listening to Alan Bradley's The Weed that Strings the Hangman's bag for my walks and I am reading Weight Loss Boss which I recommend to anyone who would like to lose a few pounds or make some changes to their lifestyle, even if you are not following the Weight Watchers program.
Up next: At the library picked up On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan and Austenland by Shannon Hale, but not sure which one I will be in the mood for. Anyone want to offer a suggestion?
#119: I very much enjoy the Gabriel Allon series, so I am glad to see that it has found another fan!
Hi Michelle - I hope your vacation was great. It sounds like you've been doing some good reading. I'll keep the Silva series in mind when I am looking for a thriller.
Hello Stasia....I am now into the 2nd book in the series and do like it as well.
Beth, yes, vacation was relaxing and fun, but getting back to the real world has been hard!
I finished Weight Loss Boss and found it motivational and a great incentive, especially if you are following Weight Watchers. I listened to the 2nd book in the Flavia DeLuce series and thought the narration was very well done, but the story was not as interesting as the first. I am looking forward to learning more about the back story in this series, about Harriet and the other adults in Flavia's life and what happened to them during WWII.
Hi Michelle - I'm glad your vacation went well. Are you getting ready to send someone off to college? What's next on your reading list?
I found that On Chesil Beach and Austenland were not the right books for me at the moment and I am soon returning them to the library, so I gave Past Imperfect a try and it has worked for me.
My daughter gave it to me as a gift and it is about the last years of the debutant tradition in London in the late 1960's. Specifically, it tells the story from the point of view of a man who lived through this, but is telling the story as a more than middle aged man in the present.
Fellowes wrote the book to illustrate the last years of this now defunct tradition and it is very much a social commentary of the time and of this time as well, with lots of wit and irony. Julian Fellowes is one of my favorite brits having fallen for him completely during his Monarch of the Glen years, but following him though Gosford Park and now with Downton Abbey. As I read, it is clearly his voice I hear in my head and it is a special treat!!
Hi Beth and thanks for stopping by! We are taking our daughter to college on Friday. Today we are hosting a bit of going away get together with her friends...one last gathering before they all go off to their new lives.
I must say I will be happy when she is at college and her younger brother has stared his sophmore year in high school and we can get back to our routine, as least for awhile.
Hi Michelle - Our reading really does depend on our mood, doesn't it? Past Imperfect sounds great. I'm adding it to my wishlist. Thanks for the nice review.
Are things calming down at your house?
Hi Michelle! Things are always crazy just before and at the beginning of the school year. As much as I regret the end of summer and the return to school, I do like settling into a routine after all the craziness. Hope your kids have good years -- is your daughter going far? That will be a big adjustment! Is she ready? Are you?
Anne, We all seem to be successfully settled in now. My daughter is very happy at college only about 1 and 1/2 hours away. Although she is close, she shows no desire to come home until Thanksgiving which is all good. I am doing fine, but it does seem quiet around here. All reports from her are positive so far. My son has had a great start to 10th grade!! I hope all is going well with you and your children and everyone is thriving!
I have been struggling to find something that catches my interest to both read and listen to. I have started and given up on many recently...but I will say I have not shown any amount of patience.
Luckily, I think I have hit on something. My daughter's college is reading David Benioff's City of Thieves and I decided to give it a try and it has caught my interest. For audio, I decided I needed humor and decided to give Tina Fey's Bossypants a try....so far it is a hit! At least my walks and workouts are not such a chore now.
You have me wondering if and how I could download (upload?) books to this little audio thingummy I have that I wear while on the recumbant bike at the gym. Must ask my lads!
Tui, My library has a web site that offers ebooks and audio books to download. I find it easy to use and convenient.
Beth, I am enjoying both so far!
Reading update: finished Bossypants and greatly enjoyed it, although it did not seem as personal as some memoirs I have read. She really did not get into too much about her family, but I respect that. She did get into much of the behind the scenes at SNL, which was very interesting. It was funny, but I found not in a LOL way, more quiet humor.
I must say I am in a reading funk (have been all year) as I have started reading multiple books and put them down and away before finishing and feeling it is a waste of time.
Currently listening to A Visit from the Goon Squad and I am struggling with it and must say I don't really like it as much as The Keep. But, I am determined to finish. I am reading City of Thieves, like it better than the Egan, but not finding it a book I can't put down. I am somewhat distracted by the upcoming release of Justin Cronin's The Twelve which I have preordered and can't stop thinking about. Hopefully that will be a book I can't put down.
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