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Streamsong's 75 (and beyond!)

This topic was continued by Streamsong's 75 (and beyond!) Part 2.

75 Books Challenge for 2012

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Edited: Jul 14, 2012, 4:26pm Top

It's been a few years since I have taken part in the 75 challenge with all of you. Unfortunately, I didn't quit accumulating books during that time!

I read a wide variety of books, split about evenly between fiction and non-fiction. I'm taking part in the 2012 BOMBS challenge and hope to get through many of the books that I added to LT in 2006 that are still unread. I'm also hoping the TIOLI challenge will help me look at MT TBR in an entirely different way (although so far it's also making me really really really want to run out and buy new books for the shared reads). To further my new reads, I've joined Morphy's fantasy group reads and am a longstanding member of a RL book club.

The books I'm actively reading right now include:
150 Pounds Gone Forever by Diane Carbonell LTER book
Quotable Book Lover by Ben Jacobs
Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer
Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

And the following books I've been picking at -- many for several months

Shakespeare's Sonnets lurking on the tutored thread
Awakening the Buddha Within been working on this one for 6 months or so
Toxic Criticism
Various People's Bible Commentaries

Happy reading everyone!

Edited: Jul 15, 2012, 11:03am Top

READ IN 2012


1. Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World by H. H. Dalai Lama
2. Journey of Crazy Horse by Joseph M Marshall III--audiobook
3. Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
4. Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind
5. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel - audiobook
6. Uncompromised: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of an Arab American Patriot in the CIA by Nada Prady


7. Joshua by Adolph L. Harstad
8. Fighting Angel by Pearl S. Buck
9. The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean - audiobook
10. Across the Nightingale Floor by Gillian Rubinstein
11. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde audiobook
12. Ape House by Sara Gruen
13. Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
14. Isaiah 1-39 (People's Bible Commentary) by John A. Braun
15. Romans (People's Bible Commentary) by Armin J Panning
16. Genesis of Science by James Hannam


17. Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf - audiobook
18. Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart
19. Grayson by Lynn Cox - audiobook
20. Judges, Ruth (People's Bible Commentary by John C Lawrenz
21. Riding Shotgun by Rita Mae Brown
22. Matthew People's Bible Commentary by G Jerome Albrecht
23. Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot by Bart Ehrman - audiobook
24. Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi


25. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
26. Hot Zone by Richard Preston
27. Labrador Pact by Matt Haig - audiobook
28. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
29. Isaiah 2 by John A. Braun
30. Little Red Guard by Wenguang Huang
31. A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
32. Genesis People's Bible Commentary by John C Jeske
33. Forfeit by Dick Francis
34. The Wars by Timothy Findley
35. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See - audiobook


36. Jingo by Terry Pratchett
37. Tea With the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy
38. Child of Silence by Abigail Padgett
39. 1 Corinthians People's Bible Commentary by Carleton Toppe
40. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - audiobook
41. The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill
42. The Great World Religions: Islam by John Esposito - audiobook
43. Lust Killer by Ann Rule
44. Islam: A Short History by Karen Armstrong
45. Bindweed by Janis Harrison

46. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
47. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez - audiobook
48. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
49. Mark (People's Bible Commentary) by Harold E Wicke
50. Killed at the Whim of a Hat by Colin Cotterill - audiobook

JULY continued in post 221 below

Edited: Jul 14, 2012, 4:36pm Top

Borrowing a version of this idea from someone else's thread:


55 - Books Read
27 - Books Read from the towering MT TBR (owned 2011 or before)
11 - Books from library or borrowed
28 - Total number of books acquired this year (not necessarily read, but total number new into LT): bought, gifts, trade, followed me home, ER (everything but library and online) as of 7/2/2012

24 - Fiction
29 - Non-Fiction
2 - Other (plays, poetry, illustrated)

41 - Dead Tree Books
13 - Audiobooks
1- online (haven't made the plunge into ebooks yet)

33 - Male Authors
22 -Female Authors

Nationality of Author:
36 - USA
1 - Canada
9 - England
1 - France
1 - German
1 - Ireland
1 - New Zealand
1 - Tibet

Birthplace or residence of Author if different from nationality:
2 - China
1- Dominican Republic
1 - Germany
1 - Lebanon
2- Southeast Asia

Book Originally Published in:
52 - English
1 - French
1 - German
1 -?

38 - Authors that are new to me
13 - Authors I have previously enjoyed
4 - Rereads

Of the books I've read this year:
10 - cataloged into LT 2006 or before
3 - cataloged into LT 2007
3 - cataloged into LT 2008
__ cataloged into LT 2009
__ cataloged into LT 2010
13 - cataloged into LT 2011
2 - acquired previously but uncataloged until 2012 (have lots of these!)
24 - acquired 2012 (including those from library)

Jan 1, 2012, 11:53am Top

hi Janet, good to see you back!

Jan 1, 2012, 12:30pm Top

Hey! I'm NIH funded too! (Though perhaps not for long; there may be changes afoot...) What do you study?

I do pharmacoepidemiology of drugs used for rheumatic diseases. Are you a lab person, or a clinical sciences / epi person?

Jan 1, 2012, 2:47pm Top

Welcome back!

Jan 1, 2012, 7:34pm Top

I also read a lot of fantasy/sf (love Fforde and Pratchett) and on religion (Karen Armstrong), so I'll be following your thread this year.

Edited: Feb 4, 2012, 12:16pm Top

Hi Anita--thanks for the welcome back! I'll be following you and your beautiful fur friends.

scvlad--I'm a lab person, working on the basic biology of chlamydia and other intracellular parasites. I'm at the only off-campus arm of the NIH, located in Hamilton, MT.

Dr Neutron--Thanks for setting up the group and stopping by! Looks like you have your work cut out for you this year, stopping by every thread to greet people!

roni and your beautiful cats! good to see you again and thanks for stopping by. I remember talking to you about Terry Pratchett--what did you think of Snuff?

Jan 2, 2012, 4:05am Top

Glad to see you rejoin us, Janet!

Jan 2, 2012, 11:42am Top

Got this thread starred, streamsong, so I can follow your progress...or lack thereof?


Jan 3, 2012, 9:28am Top

Thanks for stopping by, fuzzi.

Eeeeeeek on the lack thereof! But feel free to give me a virtual push when I seem stalled out.

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:45am Top

1. Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World by H. H. Dalai Lama (acquired 2011)

LT Early Reviewer

75er's TIOLI #13: Read a book by somone famous for something besides writing

This is a very interesting discussion of secular ethics. The Dalai Lama argues that externally-imposed religion-based ethics are on the wane. Instead, he suggests that people need to adopt a system of internal ethics with the core being our recognition of the humanity of each of us. I have not yet read Ethics for a New Millenium so I can't comment on the overlap between the two books, but I found this one well-written and clear. I really hate to add more books to MT TBR, but I am now intrigued enough to want to read his seminal book on this subject.

4 stars

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:45am Top

2. Journey of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III--audiobook (acquired 2011)

TIOLI Jan challenge
Bombs challenge #2

Really interesting look at the famous Lakota Sioux warrior Crazy Horse. The author is a Lakota tribal member, and brings a lot of insight into the Lakota culture and the humanity of Crazy Horse. We see him as a man who loves and grieves and worries about protecting his people. And of course once we see Crazy Horse as a real person, the inhumanity and injustice of the US Indian wars are driven home in a fresh way.

The audio book is read by the author. I found him an outstanding reader and I thought his voice accented by the Sioux dialect that was his first language the perfect foil for this work. 4 stars.

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:47am Top

3. Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (acquired 2011)

--TIOLI Jan Challenge 23. Read a first book (either debut or first in a series) by an author you've never read before
--Read as part of Morphy's Mighty Monthly Magical Reads

The plot kept me returning and I enjoyed the humor. Like others, I enjoyed the interludes about Locke's boyhood. The flashbacks gave the story a great, twisty quality much like the character himself. I wonder if I would have stuck with it if it had been a linear story.

I'm not a big fan of books where characters you are fond of die. I still haven't gotten over Sirius Black's and Dumbledore's deaths!

I'm curious about several loose ends that weren't tied up, but I don't have a burning desire to start the next book, especially since others have said it ends on a cliffhanger and the third book is still in progress. Perhaps when the third book comes out, I'll revisit.

I'd call it a slightly above average read--I'd be careful who I recommended it to due to language and descriptions of torture. So for me, I've rated it 3.5 stars.

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:48am Top

4. Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind (acquired 2012)

Read for the my Life book club
75er January TIOLI--narrative nonfiction

In 1994 Ron Suskind started following the high school career of an extremely intelligent, high achieving inner city black student named Cedric Jennings.

Jennings came from a home with a fundamentalist Christian single mother who worked at a low paying job and wasn't always successful in putting food on the table. His father was imprisoned several times for dealing drugs. His high school was known for being very poor scholastically, with an abysmally low percentage of the students graduating and even fewer going on to college. Although Jennings was a stand out student in his school, his SAT and other markers of performance were well below average.

This is the story of how Jennings made it to an Ivy League University, Brown, and then overcame his academically deficient background to succeed.

It's the story of having confidence and pride in what you've achieved, and a faith and hope in that place that you have not yet seen but know is ahead of you.

I also learned a lot about affirmative action programs; both how they are meant to be helpful and how they can create a disadvantage for the poorest rung of the people they are trying to help.

Author Ron Suskind had originally written this as a two part series of articles of Jennings' senior high school year. For this Suskind won a Pulitzer Prize. At first I was very distracted by the present tense used throughout this book (a byproduct of a journalist's writing, perhaps)--but as I got into the story, this dropped away.

Recommended. 4 stars

Jan 23, 2012, 3:54pm Top

Your latest reads look very interesting, Janet. One can't go wrong with the Dalai Lama and Crazy Horse.

I could have sworn I'd posted here before, but I guess we've been chatting on my thread. I should get out more. ;-)

Jan 23, 2012, 9:20pm Top

#15: I have never heard of that book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I will see if my local library has a copy.

Jan 23, 2012, 10:54pm Top

Thanks for stopping by Donna.

I definitely seem to be on a non-fiction roll this month. I had 2 nonfiction ER books besides the one my RL bookclub chose. I have a couple more non-fiction that I am working on and then on to a fictiional change of pace!

Stasia--thanks for visitng. It's an older book (1998) that someone in my bookclub suggested. It really opened my eyes to the challenges that students have when they come from sub-par schools.

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:48am Top

5. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel (acquired 2011)

Audiobook for my commute-- Another TIOLI (currently under verb/adjective).

A really fun look at growing up in small town America as seen through the eyes of 'Zippy'--so nicknamed for her habit of never staying still long. Some of her stories were LOL funny; even the darker ones were told with grace and fun. The audiobook was read by the author and she was wonderful!

Good, fun, light hearted read. Nothing deep here. Recommended for those looking for a laugh. 3.5 stars.

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:49am Top

6. Uncompromised: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of an Arab American Patriot in the CIA by Nada Prady (acquired 2011)

-- LT ER Book
-- TIOLI January 12--Narrative non-fiction
-- Added to MT TBR in 2011

This is a story of a modern day Joe McCarthy type smear campaign/witch hunt.

Nada Prouty grew up in a Druze Lebanese household. Although her Arabic and religious cultures in general have less regard for females than males, Nada’s family was far more misogynistic than even those cultures’ norms. She and her two sisters were verbally and physically abused while her brother, Talid, the only son had the best of everything.

Eventually, though, Nada was able to join her sister in America to attend college. She obtained her citizenship with a short lived paper marriage. When her interest turned to the FBI, she fully disclosed this first marriage.

She went on to have a stellar career, first in the FBI and then the CIA as she helped bring a variety of Middle Eastern terrorism cases to justice.

However, after the attacks on 911, she became the victim of a brother's bad choices and the anti-Arabic witch hunt which gripped the country. She found herself removed from her post in the CIA and investigated as a spy. When no evidence existed against her, insinuating statements were given to the press with hints about 'top secret' matters. She found herself out of job, blackmailed by the agency that she had once loved, her accounts depleted of hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawyers’ fees, and a pariah in her adopted country.

The story was fascinating.I found the attitudes about Arab Americans and the ways the US government and government officials can intimidate citizens very disturbing. Recommended book. 4 stars

Jan 29, 2012, 4:24pm Top

> 20:
Looks like a good book, Janet
I guess I will have to wait some time before a translation is available ;-)

Jan 29, 2012, 4:35pm Top

>12 streamsong::
We just got in the two ethics books at the library where I work. I thought they looked interesting - now I'll be sure to have a closer look!

Jan 30, 2012, 8:45am Top

Hi Anita--thanks for stopping by! Hope you are taking care of yourself. The ER books are fun because they are usually things I wouldn't buy. Seriously, if you would like to read the book, PM me and I'll send it to you. DD's in Shanghai this year and I'll be needing to go to the PO to ship a box off to her this week.

Hi Marilyn--I was unfamiliar with secular ethics before I won the book, but it was interesting and I learned a lot. It was another ER book that was a little off what I usually read, but that I came away from feeling I learned a lot.

Jan 30, 2012, 11:56am Top

I am not sure if I am up to read a book in English yet... but thanks for the offer!

Jan 30, 2012, 12:48pm Top

aha!! I found your thread!! wow, you've read a lot of non-fiction in January.

Okay...I am ingnorant...what is TIOLO?

Jan 30, 2012, 6:38pm Top

TIOLI is the Take It Or Leave It Challenge - it's a sub-challenge started by SqueakyChu. Here's the TIOLI FAQ: http://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/TIOLI_FAQS

Jan 30, 2012, 8:50pm Top

Ooops--TIOLO should be TIOLI. I have no idea why I have been writing it that way, but I've corrected it now.

Here's the link to the February challenges:

January was the first month I've tried any of them. I'm hoping they will encourage me to read off my TBR mountain. And they are fun--SqueakyChu's first challenge had me looking through several books to find an animal on the left side, a drink on the right side and both pages having a 3. And I'm still mulling over the anagram in the title challenge.

Jan 31, 2012, 8:58am Top

Aha! thank you! Now it makes sense. I think I'll watch the thread for awhile before jumping on the TIOLI wagon.

Feb 4, 2012, 8:14am Top

Just stopping by to say "hi!" You have some interesting books in here. I'll have to keep an eye on your progress!

Feb 4, 2012, 10:08am Top

Anita, your English here on LT is so good, I just assumed you were reading books in English.

drneutron--always a pleasure to have you stop by. Thanks for all your hard work on this group!

tangledthread--hope you try the TIOLO. There's no way of doing it wrong.

Thanks for stopping by The_Hibernator. I'll enjoy watching your thread, too, and also your comments in the group read.

Feb 4, 2012, 10:09am Top

This year I've taken the challenge to read my Bible completely through in a year. It's something I've never done. I've started to do it several times but gotten bogged down in the lists and begats of the Old Testament and petered out. But when a group here at LT committed to doing it, I found the following scheme which really appeals to me: http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html

The Bible is divided up into groups of books: Epistles/Law/History/Psalms/Poetry/Prophecy/Gospel. Each day you read from a different section. So far this is keeping me from bogging down.

And to make it more complicated, I decided to read a commentary series I have (People's Bible Commentary from Concordia Publishing) along with the daily reading. This series is a bit over 40 books. A good number of these are unread; some have been read several times, some partially read and discarded. If I'm successful, it will get a large number of books off MT TBR (although there are several I will have to buy to fill in the series).

So using the above scheme, I've finished my first book of the Bible and commentary.

7. Joshua by Adolph L. Harstad.

Feb 4, 2012, 10:53am Top

Last year, I listened to the Bible all the way through as an audiobook The Listener's Bible. I felt the reading was terrible, Max McLean has a lovely deep voice by he made dramatic pauses in between almost every word and it was very distracting. I've now started listening to James Earl Jones Reads the Bible (about 45minutes per week as I walk to church on Sunday mornings). It's MUCH better read, though it's only the New Testament. I was just thinking I ought to find some bible study book though--something that interprets it into modern thought. I understand the basics of what's being talked about, but I wish I understood a little deeper. Those parables are like coded messages!

Feb 4, 2012, 3:14pm Top

(31) "So using the above scheme, I've finished my first book of the Bible and commentary.

7. Joshua by Adolph L. Harstad."

Way to go, streamsong!

Feb 4, 2012, 3:16pm Top

(32) The_Hibernator, I like the audio Bible read by Alexander Scourby. He has (had?) a truly great voice for narration.

The parables are coded messages, but when you read more of the Bible, some of them are explained. And if you don't understand them, don't worry...just keep reading, or listening. :)

Feb 4, 2012, 3:20pm Top

Did you like Fighting Angel? I've read a few of Pearl S. Buck's novels, but not that one.

Edited: Feb 5, 2012, 8:25am Top

I've been using http://www.biblestudytools.com to read the Bible. It spreads it out over one year and you can pick what version to read.

Edited: Feb 6, 2012, 12:56pm Top

It's really interesting to me as to the number of people on Library Thing that are Bible readers. Lor and Morphy--thanks as always for your comments.

Rachel, I love the vision of you walking to church and listening to your Bible. Love those audiobooks!

Lor and Morphy--thanks as always for your comments.

jadebird--yes and no re liking The Fighting Angel by Pearl Buck. I would have said I was enjoying it, but the fact that it's a small book that took me over a week to read is a sign to me that it did not quite connect. I'll have a short review on it soon.

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:50am Top

8. Fighting Angel by Pearl S. Buck (acquired 2007)

--75ers TIOLO challenge--started as January book about China but didn't get it finished so moved it to February #3 anagram (angel/angle)
--Book off the tbr mountain
--Cataloged into LT 2007
--New to me book by an author that I have read many times previously

This is a biography of Buck's father who went to China as a missionary in the late 1800's--soon after the US Civil War-- and spent over fifty years there. This biography was specifically mentioned in the contributing works when Buck won her Nobel prize.

As always, Buck's descriptions of China, Chinese history, the Chinese people, and in this case, Buck's father are wonderfully evocative.

But the man himself, Andrew, was so on fire for his somewhat narrow religious doctrine that it burned out any room for anything else in his life. In his seventies, he wrote a short 25 page autobiography. He failed to mention his marriage, or any of his children; either those that lived or those that died.

He may have accomplished great things as a missionary, and was beloved by the Chinese people, but he was completely detached emotionally from his family.

As Buck says: "Andrew was somebody in a dream, a soul possessed, to whom life and the human heart had no importance. He never lived on earth. ....She (Buck wrote about herself in the third person in this book) did not blame Andrew, not really--but she felt herself fatherless. In after years she grew closer to him, as close as any human could, and came to understand and value him, to know why he was as he was, both great and small. But all that later knowlege cannot quite wipe away the bereavement of that hour. For Andrew's children were bereaved in what they never had, in what he could not give them, because he had given everything in him to God." (p135).

3.5 stars

Feb 5, 2012, 3:51pm Top

Fighting Angel sounds interesting, thanks!

Edited: Feb 6, 2012, 7:38am Top

I wouldn't really call myself a Bible reader. Heck, I don't even consider myself a Christian but rather a Theist. However, I do feel that the Bible is an important work both historically and culturally and I want to be able to say I read it.

Edited: Feb 6, 2012, 12:51pm Top

Morphy, that sounds like a perfectly good reason to read the Bible. There are so many people that are both 'for it and agin it' that actually have never read it.

I'm Christian, but read quite a few books on Buddhist philosophy. LT ER seems to think I need to read more about Islam, so I've won several of those lately. My last ER book featured a woman who had grown up Druze, a religion I had never even heard of before, but, according to the book, anyway, is definitely a player in Lebanon's complicated political situation.

Feb 6, 2012, 8:59am Top

I've never heard of Durze either! I'll have to look that up. I like to read about world religions and be as informed as I can.

I had to read the whole Bible for seminary courses, back when I was taking them occasionally. It's been awhile, but I'm now trying to get through the NT again... trying to make it a daily habit. So far, I'm failing miserably, but I haven't given up!

Feb 6, 2012, 9:12am Top

Whoops dk_phoenix, the typo gods have attacked me. That should have been Druze, not Durze. My apologies. I've fixed my original post.

Feb 6, 2012, 12:05pm Top

Enjoying your comments .... the Druze are interesting, no?

Feb 11, 2012, 2:23pm Top

Hi sibyx--and thanks for stopping by.

Yes, I thought the Druze to be very interesting, although according to Prouty, a lot of what they actually believe is secret. Even more amazing was my ignorance about a group of people that are large players in a region's politics--not just one country but many countries. I am continually humbled by what I don't know.

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:50am Top

9. The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean (acquired 2011)

This is a true crime story about a man, John Laroche, who believed that he could collect endangered orchids from Florida state land by using Seminole Indians. Seminoles, he believed, had the right to do so as Native Americans can harvest protected plants and animals if they were previously used in tribal culture. Laroche was wrong in his assumption.

Laroche was a standard petty criminal con man, who believed he could outsmart authorities and everyone else and amass a fortune by doing so.

Orchid collecting was only one of several serial obsessions that Laroche had. His story really doesn't merit a book. Although found guilty, his fine was only $500.

The book however does go into the natural history of rare orchids, the collectors and horticulturalists who share the orchid obsession, Florida natural history including that of the swamps and Everglades and a bit of Seminole culture. I found it all very surfacey--the author tends to do things once and find it all very INTERESTING instead of looking at anything in depth.

3 stars--not a bad audiobook, but nothing I would pick to listen to again.

Feb 11, 2012, 4:14pm Top

I enjoyed that book - I think I read most of it in the NYer, and then there is the movie where Streep plays Orlean ..... I liked the movie a lot actually.

Edited: Feb 15, 2012, 10:21am Top

Hi sibyx--I think it would have made a great magazine article!

Perhaps I would have liked it better if I had not listened to The Man Who Loved Books Too Much at the end of last year. Substitute one obsession for another, book shows for orchid shows, justifications for stealing books versus orchids, a few facts about either industry .... and the books are remarkably superimposable.

I did look for the movie you mentioned on Netflix, though. They didn't have it. :-( Nicholas Cage and Meryl Streep sound like a fun combo! If I ever see it somewhere, I'll give it a go.

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:51am Top

10. Across the Nightingale Floor by Gillian Rubinstein/ Lian Hearn (acquired 2012)

--Morphy's Monthly Magical Read for February
--75'ers's TIOLI #13 - book set on an island

Alas and alack! This book was not off the TBR mountain but purchased right here in 2012 (because I don't like using library books for group reads).

The story took me a while to get into (perhaps because I lack the necessary background in feudal Japan, which I am assured, every manga/anime game player knows--and this is classified as a YA book.).

But by the last 40 pages, I couldn't put it down. I thought the female characters were great. Although much of the action is male generated, there were three strong women, very different in personality and station who interacted in a believable way. Flying colors on Bechdel!

The author spent time researching in Japan for this book. The result is a work that **could** be fantasy with magical elements. Or it **could** be based on the powers Ninjas were said to have had in folklore.

My understanding is that there are two sequels and two prequels in this popular series. I'll keep an eye out for the next one. 4 stars.

Feb 12, 2012, 2:36pm Top

I only read the sequels Grass for his pillow and Brilliance of the Moon, both very good :-)

Feb 12, 2012, 2:46pm Top

48: Oh, I would've looked for the movie on Netflix too, glad you did the work. I haven't read the book. I suspect I'd enjoy it if my expectations aren't too high; I know so little that even surfacey journalism can be informative.

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:51am Top

Thanks for stopping by, Anita and qebo!

11. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (acquired 2011)

--audiobook (High Bridge audio production)
--Added to MT TBR in 2011

This was a great production of a classic play--fun for a Valentine listen, expecially for me, the skeptic of all things labled love. I was vaguely familiar with it, but hadn't read or listened to it before. Laugh out loud funny! 4 stars.

--Other books read by this author (several years back): Picture of Dorian Gray

Feb 15, 2012, 9:37am Top

That was the senior play at my dau's high school last spring -- I never get tired of it!

Feb 15, 2012, 9:43am Top

Good morning, Janet. It's good to know that The Orchid Thief and The Man Who Loved Books Too Much are similar stories about obsessions. Personally, I'd rather read about my obsession so will keep the latter one on my wishlist.

I'm a big fan of Dorian Gray. I reread it last year and loved it just as much as the first time I read it many years ago. You might say he aged well. ;-)

Feb 15, 2012, 3:12pm Top

Stopping by to say hi and see how you're getting on, streamsong!

Feb 17, 2012, 8:08pm Top

Hi sibyx! It was lots of fun--and I kept wondering why I hadn't seen a local high school put it on; seems like a natural for a school group.

Hi Donna--I'll certainly pick up Orleans book Rin Tin Tin when I see it (and if MT TBR hasn't kept growing and growing and growing). The Orchid Thief wasn't bad; it just didn't strike me.

Hee hee on Dorian Gray--sometimes I wonder what my own picture would look like!

Hey Lor--Thanks for stopping by. I'm doing OK, just still a bit traumatized by events.

Feb 17, 2012, 8:16pm Top

HI Janet

I'm simply stopping by and waving hello

Feb 17, 2012, 9:25pm Top

Hang in there, Janet. (((((hugs))))) your way!

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:33pm Top

(waving back at Linda and Lor)

12. Ape House by Sara Gruen - acquired 2011

--75'ers Feb TIOLO #1 (animal on left page, drink on right, both pages have the number 3).
--Added to MT TBR 2011

Picked this one up at a library sale because I liked Water for Elephants (just watched the dvd for that one this week, btw.)

But when I got it home and really looked at the blurb, I thought, oh, ick. Bonobo apes are known for being highly sexually active. The story here is that a group of bonobos that had been taught American Sign Language by researchers, are victims of a dastardly plot which lands them in their own reality TV show. To the bottom of MT TBR it went.

But I recently watched the dvd 'Koko" about the gorilla who stunned researchers with her humanity after being taught ASL. And I wanted a book for the Feb TIOLO challenge #1.

The book was better than I thought it would be. The apes are wonderful--funny and full of personality and, well, human, with a great deal more humanity than many of the people in the book. Gruen actually studied ASL and was given the privilege to interact with ASL speaking bonobos. Many of the incidents she describes in this book are ones that happened in her own communication with them.

The plot isn't bad. All the threads are wound up in the end with lots of feel goods--bad guys, good guys, apes all sorted out with a bow through some major coincidence.

It was the same sort of feel good ending that I encountered with Water for Elephants. And this book, like that one, also had themes of anti-animal cruelty.

Not bad. Not great literature. Works as a feel-good pick-me-up read. 3.5 stars.

Other books read by this author:
Water for Elephants
Riding Lessons
Flying Changes

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:52am Top

13. Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (acquired 2011)

-75'ers TIOLO challenge--author's last name has scrabble value over 12
-February choice for the RL book club
--purchased 2012

A first novel by a promising author.

Victoria Jones was abandoned as a baby and immediately started her journey through dozens of foster homes. We meet her as she turns 18 and, having 'aged out' of the system, she lives homeless in a park, emotionally isolated, without friends or job.

The story of her earlier life is told in parallel. We know that when she was 9, she lived with a woman who loved her and wanted to adopt her. We know **Something Happened** and Victoria spent the rest of her time in group homes.

This loving foster mother taught Victoria the Victorian language of flowers--where each flower has a meaning and a bouquet of various blossoms can be as complicated as a novel.

We see 18 year old Victoria find work and struggle to express her emotions with the flowers she loves as she confronts complicated relationships from the past as well as mental illness passed down through generations.

The author, Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a foster mother and involved with foster programs and those that bridge fostering and emancipation. To that end, this is an author with a mission in mind. There is often a bit too much coincidence to make the story totally believeable. I would call it a pleasant read, but would not necessarily ever reread it. 3.5 stars

Feb 21, 2012, 9:04am Top

I have Ape House sitting here from the library... haven't got to it yet, but soon. I'm a little worried the book will make me cry, as I tend to get weepy with animal stories...

Feb 21, 2012, 10:44am Top

No dead animals--although there is abuse and laboratory animal death given a quick mention as part of one researcher's past.

Actually it had a feel good happy ending for everyone involved. To paraphrase Dr Who, it's a good day when everybody lives!

And the bonobos were amazing! I wouldn't have found them as believable without watching the Koko movie first.

I fully understand your position about animals in books.I have an audiobook copy of the Labrador Pact sitting here that I'm not sure I'll ever listen to. Apparently you find out in the first chapter or so, that due to a misunderstanding the lab who is telling the story from a first person viewpoint is scheduled to be put down..... and he is and the end of the book. Oh, ick.

Feb 21, 2012, 12:16pm Top

If you don't like animals books with a sad ending, don't read The Visitor.

I read that book, once, and I still feel sad about it, 40+ years later. :(

Feb 22, 2012, 3:50pm Top

Ah! I don't know why so many authors think that the only good way to end a book about a pet is to kill it off! I specifically avoid books about pets for that very reason--I'm a big baby.

Feb 22, 2012, 4:55pm Top

Me too, The_Hibernator. I don't mind sad endings, but not the cruel type of "kill the pets" endings.

And I hated The Plague Dogs...

Feb 22, 2012, 7:55pm Top

>64 The_Hibernator: My sentiments, exactly! There's a book that's been on my TBR for a while now...No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman. It's a middle-school-age YA novel about a boy who decides he's had enough of reading stories where the dog gets killed off in the end. I just wish some of the teachers at my sons' schools would read it.

Feb 25, 2012, 3:33pm Top

Hi Rachel, Lor and muddy!

Tthe problem with pets is that with their shorter lifespans, we know going into it that we will most probably see their end. And yet each time, we reopen our hearts and love. It's a universal given with people who love animals. (Say I, who am still weeping).

Thumbs down from me on the Plague Dogs, too.

I've always loved the title No More Dead Dogs and will definitely have to read the book.

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:34pm Top

Two more commentaries finished for my project of reading through the Bible using this scheme here: http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html and reading the People's Bible Commentaries on the various books. (see post 31)

So this week I finished:
14. Isaiah 1-39 (People's Bible Commentary) by John A Braun (acquired 2012)
This is only the first half of Isaiah. This commentary is hugely rich with correlations of other books in the OT, quotations in the NT, and prophecies both fulfilled in history and yet-to-come or as regarding the birth of Christ. Slow reading, but fascinating, but the Isaiah commentaries illustrate why I'm probably not going to be able to finish in a year. This one was one of a few I didn't have and had to purchase to fill in, so this is not from MT TBR.

15. Romans (People's Bible Commentary) by Armin J Panning (acquired pre 2006)

Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this commentary. Very repetitive. This one has been on MT TBR since before 2006 sometime.

I'm on week 8 of the above linked scheme (so not too far behind), and currently reading

Genesis (law)
Judges (history
Job (poetry)
Isaiah--second half has its own commentary (prophecy)
Matthew-- (gospel)
and starting I Corinthians (epistles)

It will be several weeks before I get any more of the commentaries finished.

Edited: Mar 4, 2012, 7:52pm Top

I'm currently finishing up God's Philosphers/ Genesis of Science for the group read.

I've also started another chunkster, Anathem by Neal Stephenson.

I'd like to get these done, because I have several I'd like to read for the March TIOLO challenge--especially the one on 20th century women.

Feb 26, 2012, 2:02pm Top

(68) I'd be interested in hearing (seeing?) your thoughts on these books in the Bible Reading thread, if you've not already posted them, that is. :)

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:54am Top

16. Genesis of Science by James Hannam (acquired 2012)

This was a very interesting look at the coming-into-being of natural philosophy (science) in Europe in the Middle Ages. The traditional view is that the Catholic Church was against many of the discoveries as being anti-Biblical. James Hannan examines this assumption and tries to prove differently by looking at not only the science, but the church and philosophy of this era. Very readable--almost a pop-history/pop science account with quite a bit of wry humor.

This was a group read by the 75'ers in honor of JanetinLondon. 4 stars--Recommended.

Purchased in 2012.

Mar 4, 2012, 2:38pm Top

Neal Stephenson's books all seem bit chunky, which is why I haven't gotten to any of them yet! Guess I'm lazy.

Edited: Mar 4, 2012, 7:51pm Top

Hi Rachel, there's a lot of truth in what you said. Anathem is about 950 pages. But somehow it seemed the perfect read following the Genesis of Science.

I'm about 350 pages in and have been fascinated by the elaborate world of scientists and mathematicians in a cloistered sanctuary using Socratic dialogs. It's incredible world-building.

And finally, after this many pages, we have confirmed there is an alien spaceship in orbit--(since 'first contact' is one of the favorite tags for this book, that's not a spoiler.)

I haven't read much science fiction since my kids outgrew the Star Wars books...

But this one has grabbed me.

Not sure if I'll get many books off good ole MT TBR this month, though.

Mar 5, 2012, 1:04pm Top

Not much 'sci fi'??? You need to try CJ Cherryh's books!

For straight 'sci fi', try Downbelow Station.

For a little softer 'sci fi', read the Chanur series, starting with The Pride of Chanur. I adore the characters, no matter what alien form they are in!

Edited: Jun 16, 2012, 11:36pm Top

Thanks, fuzzi.

I haven't read any of Cherryh's books, although I see that she is a favorite of many people here at LT. I've put your suggestion down on my spreadsheet (which I tell myself is as good as picking up a copy -- at least until I get a few (!) more off the TBR mountain).

17. Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf (acquired 2011)
-- 75 er's March TIOLO challenge #7 (2, 4, 8, 16 words in title)
--purchased 2011; #12 off MT TBR for year

Back at the end of 2011, High Bridge audiobooks had a really wonderful sale with many of their audiobook CD's less than $10.00. I bit hard and have been listening to this rather eclectic collection of audios since the first of the year. Almost all of the ones I bought were non-fiction, many in areas that seemed interesting, but not one of my particular interests. This is one of those.

Proust and the Squid tellls the story of reading. The first section is devoted to a history of writing and reading and how our current systems developed. The second section is sort of introductory neuroscience for the topic--how does the brain read? What parts of the brain are used for reading? How does reading change our brain and our acquisition of language? How did reading evolve so much faster than our physical evolution? The third section covers dyxlexia--all the ways that the brain can develop (geneticallly and developmentally) that can cause humans to be challenged by the skill of reading.

I felt this was a very interesting introduction. The neuroscience was about equivalent to the Oliver Sacks' books. An interest in science helps, but is not necessary for understanding. It made me very greatful that reading is easy for me and gave me great respect for reading specialist teachers. 3.75 stars.

Edited: Mar 10, 2012, 4:43pm Top

Still working my way through Anathem--I'm about half way through and I've been reading for two weeks now. I'm enjoying it, but it's heavier than I expected, definitely requiring a bit of cerebral involvement to understand philosophical and scientific arguments etc. between characters. By late evening, it's a bit too heavy, so I've started a couple more books.

I'm reading Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart. It's been living on MT TBR forever and I can't think why it has taken me so long to get to it. The illustrations by NC Wyeth are great!

Because of family situations--my 86 yo father recently entered a nursing home, and my 85 yo mother is needing both help and company--and I am the Only Daughter with my brother living several states away--I have picked up a book called Toxic Criticism by Eric Maisel. I think I learned everything I need to in the book's opening paragraphs--that the only toxic criticism that exists is the criticism that I let get under my skin. In other words, I control if it's toxic or not--whether it may be valid or something to be discarded. I don't have much patience with self-help books anymore, but I'll keep picking at this one to remind myself of techniques I can use.

My audiobook is Grayson -- another of my High Bridge sale audios. This one is short and will only take a few days to finish. Author Lynne Cox, well known as a long distance swimmer, had an encounter with a lost baby whale when she was swimming in the ocean when she was 17. Not a lot of plot, but her descriptions of the ocean and its creatures are beautiful and very soothing. :-)

Mar 10, 2012, 4:29pm Top

Sounds like you've had a great variety of books to read lately!

I think the Letters of a Woman Homesteader is one that I've seen reviewed here, and put on my wishlist. Not gotten to it yet, though.

Proust and the Squid also sounds interesting.

I've tried reading some philosophy, but I've not enjoyed it much. Maybe I'll pick some up again in the future. :)

Edited: Mar 13, 2012, 5:33pm Top

18. Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart

--LT 75'er's TIOLI challenge #5--20th century woman
--Reading off MT TBR' Books Off My Book Shelf (BOMBS) #13

Elenore Pruitt, a young widow with a small daughter left the poverty of Denver to take up a homestead in Wyoming in the early 1900's. These wonderful letters chronicle her experience spanning the time frame 1909-1913. This lady was determiined, but loving and empathetic. She was interested in and befriended a wide range of fascinating and independant people in this sparsely settled territory and carved out a happy, and interesting life for herself and her family.

The edition I read had wonderful illustrations by NC Wyeth which really captured the spirit of her adventure.

Definitely recommended. 4 stars.

Mar 12, 2012, 11:56pm Top

19. Grayson by Lynn Cox Author Lynne Cox, well known as a long distance swimmer, found herself swimming with a lost baby whale during her ocean workout. Not a lot of plot, but her descriptions of the ocean and its creatures are beautiful and very soothing. :-) 3.5 stars

--75 'ers March TIOLI #5-- story of a 20th century woman
--off MT TBR (BOMB #14) added to my library 2011

Mar 13, 2012, 12:29am Top

Grayson is on the TBR pile for a long time. It now joins the list of books I need to read asap.

Mar 13, 2012, 11:08am Top

>78 streamsong:. streamsong, I loved Letters of a Woman Homesteader. I think that was the very first book I loaded onto my new Christmas Kindle. It was a freebie, though, and didn't have the illustrations. That would have added even more to the feel of the piece.

Mar 13, 2012, 7:10pm Top

(81) That's it! I'm going to see if the library has a copy...

Mar 15, 2012, 7:09pm Top

Now see what you two have done! The public library did NOT have a copy of Letters of a Woman Homesteader, so I had to order it...

...gently used from abebooks. ;)

Mar 18, 2012, 3:47pm Top

Thanks for stopping by, whisper, countrylife and fuzzi!

Linda--Grayson is very light, very pleasant. Hope you enjoy it!

I hope you like the Letters, fuzzi. It's also a pretty quick read--but like, countrylife I really enjoyed it. It's a keeper! fuzzi, did the one you order have the NC Wyeth illustrations?

Edited: Mar 20, 2012, 4:10pm Top

20. Judges, Ruth by John C Lawrenz--Another of the People's Bible Commentary books that I am reading this year. Since I'm reading the commentaries, I think it will take me more than a year to read the entire Bible, but so far it's going well. I read for 30-60 minutes when I first get up in the morning. And, I am learning a lot!

--75'ers March TIOLI challenge #14--mercator challenge--read a book with a map at the beginning or the end.
--Books off my book shelf (BOMB"S) challenge. This one has been on my bookshelf for at least ten years (procrastination rules!)

21. Riding Shotgun by Rita Mae Brown

Yay! A fiction book. I definitely need to read more fiction this year and I am missing it. But most of the books on MT TBR are non-fiction, so my reading is being skewed.

I started reading Rita Mae Brown's cozy mysteries co-authored by her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown. They are fast and charming--talking dogs and cats help solve the mystery--and most important--she gets the horses right! (Very few writers manage that).

This one isn't actually a mystery, although I had planned to read it as a mystery for the 75'ers March mystery challenge and the TIOLO mystery challenge. It's tagged as a mystery by many here on LT. The back of the book describes it as 'a modern day farce'. No idea what genre this would actually fit into.

When recently widowed Cig Blackwood is out foxhunting, she rides through a patch of fog and ends up in 1699 at the home of her ancestors. She learns a lot about relationships, including the one she had with her recently deceased philandering husband, her sister who is her best friend but who betrayed her and her children (including a daughter who is coming out as gay). I'm not sure I could have been as enlightened and forgiving as the protagonist was, but overall I enjoyed it.

And, as usual, Rita Mae Brown gets the horses right.

--TIOLO challenge # 17; big unintended consequences. (I thought going out riding and time travelling instead should count for that)
--On MT TBR since December 2011

edited to fix those typos which always sneak in (wouldn't be surprised if there are a few more!)

Edited: Mar 19, 2012, 7:15pm Top

streamsong "I hope you like the Letters, fuzzi. It's also a pretty quick read--but like, countrylife I really enjoyed it. It's a keeper! fuzzi, did the one you order have the NC Wyeth illustrations?"

I have no idea! I found a copy that was in very good/hardly worn condition for a dollar, and I ordered it. I guess I'll find out later this week...

Since I'm reading the commentaries, I think it will take me more than a year to read the entire Bible, but so far it's going well. I read for 30-60 minutes when I first get up in the morning. And, I am learning a lot!

Learning is what's important, not how many books you can speed read!

It's good to read through the entire Bible, but you need to study it, too. :)

Mar 23, 2012, 7:53pm Top

Yeah! Letters of A Woman Homesteader came, and guess what? It's got the NC Wyeth illustrations! Woo!


Mar 23, 2012, 9:36pm Top

Yay! Hope you enjoy it!

fuzzi wrote "It's good to read through the entire Bible, but you need to study it, too. :)"

Hee hee. You're going to ruin your reputation with a certain person who thinks he's got your number.

Mar 24, 2012, 4:20pm Top

My reputation? You mean that I have a reputation???? Oh no....


Seriously, I am a harmless little fuzzi, or at least I see myself like that.

And I don't let the comments of others get me down...I know Whom I have believed... :)

Mar 24, 2012, 4:21pm Top

Oh, in case you're interested, I added a study on 2 Kings in the "read your Bible through" thread. :)

Mar 25, 2012, 2:18pm Top

Where is this "read your Bible through" thread?

Mar 26, 2012, 7:15pm Top

(91) Here it is:


It's supposed to be a thread about reading your Bible, but there's a lot of doctrinal debate going on in there, by people who don't apparently want to read a Bible 'through'.


You are most welcome to join us. :)

Mar 28, 2012, 1:26pm Top

I've read the Bible "through" and I'm sure I'll do it again...but I don't think doing it in a year would be very helpful to me at this point. It seems when I rush through something as difficult as the Bible, I only end up missing most of it. Next time I read it "through" I will probably just focus on one book at a time. :)

Mar 28, 2012, 1:38pm Top

The_Hibernator, read it at your own pace. :)

The thread is meant to be an encouragement for those who want to get all the way through, and a year is a nice simple time frame. :)

Edited: Mar 31, 2012, 10:43am Top

Well, drat, I've gotten a bit behind on my thread.

I'm still reading my Bible with the commentary series, but am no longer participating in the above-mentioned thread. I may go back to it and lurk at some time in the future, but do not have the time or the grace to do so right now. I want to spend my (limitted) time here on LT discussing great books not dodging insults.

Having said that, I finished one more in my commentary series:

22. Matthew People's Bible Commentary by G Jerome Albrecht

This one was a reread.

I'm continuing the scheme I've linked to in post 31--rotating through reading one of seven Bible catagories (law, history, poetry, psalms, prophets, gospel, epistles), and reading the commentary with them. For Isaiah, this means each day's reading takes me 3-4 days because of the wealth of material. Nevertheless, I think I'll finish Isaiah and Genesis in April and maybe 1st Corinthians.

Mar 31, 2012, 10:45am Top

95: "I want to spend my (limitted) time here on LT discussing great books not dodging insults."

Well said, Janet. I seldom venture away from the 75 group for that very reason. Why is it that theological discussions get so darn heated when only God has the ultimate answers?

Mar 31, 2012, 10:56am Top

>95 streamsong: and 96: Yes, I wonder sometimes why people can't just disagree gracefully. All this anger and I'm-right-you're-wrong philosophy seems contrary to the moral theme of most world religions: be thankful for what you have and kind to one another. :(

Mar 31, 2012, 10:59am Top

23. Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot by Bart D Ehrman

This was my audiobook while commuting. Parts of it worked really well as an audiobook. I enjoyed Ehrman's introductory material which included a summary of Judas from the Christian New Testament and how the papyrus of this lost gospel came to light and was mistreated, leading to loss of textual integrity. (If your invaluable papyrus document is crumbling from humidity, don't put it in your freezer).

Since this is my introduction to Gnosticism, I became overwhelmed with details of names of levels of heaven, gods, gnostic writers and gnostic scholars. Very interesting stuff, but I need a written version to refer to when learning something new like this.

And so several of us will be starting a group read of Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels very shortly--April 1st or as soon as my book shows up. There's a link on the 75'er's wiki, I believe.

I will give this one 3.75 stars for now--even if it didn't work well as an audiobook for me.

--March 75'er's catagory 15. Read a book where the number of letters in the author's last name is divisible by three

--On Mt TBR since December 2011--BOMBS challenge book # 17.

Mar 31, 2012, 11:06am Top

Thanks for stopping by Donna and Rachel.

It's something that people hold dearly and have strong opinions on. There are some wonderful minds here on LT and I've learned a lot from them. But I think I'll leave all the debate to the professional theologians and experienced debaters.

There is a private group that has formed to discuss things without dodging rocks.

Mar 31, 2012, 11:24am Top

24. Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

Read for my RL book club.

It's the coming of age story of Trudi, a dwarf, born in Germany as WWI is coming to a close and continuing through the period just after WWII ended. Trudi struggles to make sense of being other--as do many of her fellow townspeople.

It definitely showed the complexities of being German during this time and gave me a better insight into the German psyche.

For me it was almost painful waiting for the hammer to come down as part of me kept internally screaming--dwarf in Nazi Germany--this can't be good! I won't post any spoilers however.

I think I liked it the least of the members of my book group. Several of them said they had read it multiple times over the years since this first came out.

3.5 stars.

--March 75'ers TIOLO challenge #1. Read a book whose author was born in a city whose name contains ONLY one letter from the word “March”

--bought 2012 so it didn't come off MT TBR

Mar 31, 2012, 1:01pm Top

>99 streamsong: Yes, I agree that it's an emotionally charged subject. But some people DO get a little mean about it! As far as the Read the Bible Through thread mentioned above, I glanced through it when it when fuzzi posted about it and decided that it might be interesting to lurk on. But I wouldn't be able to hold my own in those theological debates. I guess I'm not passionate enough about my opinion. :) I didn't notice any meanness, though, just firm voices that I don't think I want to argue with!

Mar 31, 2012, 4:19pm Top

(101) The_Hibernator, there is no need to hold your own in any debate, just tell us what you're reading, and share your thoughts, just like in the 75 book challenge threads.

When people get rude, I just block 'em. Life's too short to spend time trying to discuss ideas with people who aren't interested in what you think, but only in trying to prove you wrong.

Janet, keep at it! :)

Edited: Apr 1, 2012, 10:26am Top

MARCH Summary of Books Read

17. Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf - audiobook
18. Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart
19. Grayson by Lynn Cox - audiobook
20. Judges, Ruth (People's Bible Commentary by John C Lawrenz
21. Riding Shotgun by Rita Mae Brown
22. Matthew People's Bible Commentary by G Jerome Albrecht
23. Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot by Bart Ehrman - audiobook
24. Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

8 books total (Incl 3 audiobooks)
7 acquired prior to 2012
1 reread

SUMMARY For First Quarter

24 - Books Read
17 - Books Read from the towering MT TBR
----- Books from library
12 - Total number of books acquired this year -- bought, gifts, trade, followed me home, ER

6 - Fiction
17 - Non-Fiction
1 - Other (plays, poetry, illustrated)

17 - Dead Tree Books
7 - Audiobooks
--- (haven't made the plunge into ebooks yet)

12 - Male Authors
12 -Female Authors

Nationality of Author:
20 - USA
1 - England
1 - Ireland
1 - New Zealand
1 - Tibet

Birthplace or residence of Author if different from nationality:
1 - China
1 - Germany
1 - Lebanon

Book Originally Published in:
23 - English
1 -?

19 - Authors that are new to me
4 - Authors I have previously enjoyed
1 - Rereads

5 - cataloged into LT 2006 or before
1 - cataloged into LT 2007
__ cataloged into LT 2008
__ cataloged into LT 2009
__ cataloged into LT 2010
12 - cataloged into LT 2011
6 - acquired 2012

Edited: Apr 30, 2012, 1:47am Top


Going into April, I am currently reading (uh oh this is reallllllly long)

Anathem 200 pages to go! Should be done soon! ***finished***
Mere Christianity --had hoped to get this done for the March TIOLI--didn't quite finish ***finished***
Little Red Guard--ER book--***finished***
Shakespeare's Sonnets lurking on the tutored thread
Awakening the Buddha Within been working on this one for 6 months or so
Crazy Horse and the Real Reason for the Battle of the Little Big Horn so bad it's kind of funny; he's wandered off into talking about the Federal Reserve System and astrology. It's my read-while-the-computer-is-being-slow-loading book.
Toxic Criticism
Various People's Bible Commentaries ***finished Isaiah (Part 2) and Genesis***

Plan to read:
Gnostic Gospels-- group read -- Reading
Hot Zone one of the Ebola gurus is coming to the lab for a distinguished speaker seminar..thot I'd knock this one off the mountain first - ***finished***
The Wars RL Book Club book -- ***finished***
Midsummer Night's Dream Morphy's Magical Read--***finished***

Will read some of the below--all fit into TIOLI catagories and all are on MT TBR:
Fifth Elephant I'm not reading enough light and silly!
Mary, Mary --see above reason :-)
Forfeit by Dick Francis --again see above --***finished***
Never Let Me Go-- have never read any of Ishiguro's books
Galileo's Daughter
Home Mountains

More additions to the pile
--will probably read Jingo instead of Fifth Elephant since it's earlier in the Discworld series **Reading**
--Another ER book A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith has arrived and is waiting to be read. And hey, April *is* poetry month.
--Audiobook The Labrador Pact by Matt Haig ***finished***
--Audiobook Shanghai Girls by Lisa See - audiobook **finished**

This is way too many for me and I haven't listed any audiobooks in my first plan, but many of the above are almost done or quick reads. Of course, the plan is subject to change on any whim or breeze.

I also have the January & March ER books that I haven't received, so they may also join the list.

This is the first time I've listed my reading plan, so we'll see what happens.

Apr 1, 2012, 2:07pm Top

Hot Zone has been sitting on my TBR pile for a long time. I was hoping to get to it eventually this year. Hopefully you enjoy it! I really liked Never Let Me Go.

Apr 1, 2012, 4:29pm Top

Mere Christianity is very good, I hope you enjoy it!

Apr 1, 2012, 10:44pm Top

Seconding the recommendation on Mere Christianity! Some of Lewis's observations / descriptions are quite clever.

Apr 1, 2012, 10:59pm Top

I read Mere Christianity a long time ago but had forgotten how good it is. I am really enjoying it.

Last fall I purchased the Teaching Company's class The Life and Writings of C. S. Lewis by Louis Markos. I had read the first two books for the class, Surprised by Joy and Pilgrim's Regress and then life happened ...... and I am just now making it back. I think counting all the Narnia and space trilogy books, it covers about 20 of his works. The lectures are very, very short--more of a survey course than any depth.

Mere Christianity is one I hope to remember to reread every few years.

Apr 2, 2012, 7:44am Top

I haven't read The Pilgrim's Regress because I figured I ought to read The Pilgrim's Progress first. Never made it to either!

Apr 2, 2012, 9:50am Top

I've never read Pilgrim's Progress, either. Since Pilgrim's Regress is out of print, I borrowed a copy from the library. The edition I read had footnotes as well as a header on the top of every page giving a brief description of the action such as "Our hero meets the Spirit of the Age'. I'm sure I missed lots of the philosophical points.

But... the first chapter has the absolutely funniest satire I've ever read of the hypocrisy that can be found in the worst sort of Christians and in the Church. Dawkins and Hitchens move over!

Apr 5, 2012, 12:12pm Top

Pilgrim's Progress is on my TBR list.

Oh, wait, which one do you mean? I have the John Bunyan version on my shelves.

Apr 6, 2012, 7:33am Top

I believe Pilgrim's Regress was somewhat a play off of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. I don't really know anything about the other books named Pilgrim's Progress...

Apr 6, 2012, 8:01am Top

Exactly. Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress has always seemed daunting to me.

I see the touchstones do have other books listed by that title, though.

Edited: Apr 7, 2012, 6:10pm Top

24. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
- part of Teaching Company's class The Life and Writings of C. S. Lewis by Louis Markos.
-75er's April TIOLI challenge 7. Finish a book that you started between January 1, 2012 and March 28, 2012
--4.5 stars

I read this book the first time about 35 years ago and perhaps once since then. I started the Teaching Company's lecture series on Lewis last fall. This is the third book for that series. The next one up (probably to be read in May) is Abolition of Man.

I love C.S. Lewis's non-jargon-filled clear explanations of his faith. I need to remember to reread this one periodically.

Edited: Apr 14, 2012, 9:42am Top

25. Hot Zone by Richard Preston

--75er's April TIOLI challenge #5. Read a work in which one of the main characters (fiction) or subject(s) (non fiction) can be described with a word ending in –ologist (virologist)
--BOMBS challenge- book has been living on MT TBR since 2008

In 1980, a terrifying new illness broke out in the region along Africa's Mount Elgon. Within just a few days of their initial symptoms, patients had major internal organs completely destroyed and uncontrollable bleeding from every body orifice. Over 90% of those infected died.

Luckily the outbreak was brief--not because of efforts by humans but the virus seemed to be less transmittable than originally feared. The virus identified in the outbreak became known as Ebola. Sporadic outbreaks continued to pop up and then fade away.

In 1989, primates in a research center on the edge of Washington DC began dying. Symptoms once again resembled Ebola, and scientists isolated and identified a virus that looked identical to Ebola in electron micrographs. The army and CDC moved in to euthanize the entire operation--450 monkeys. They managed their operation in the very shadow of a daycare and the Washington Beltway.

If this virus had not been a less virulant strain and if Ebola was as easily transmitted as first feared, scientists believe a major outbreak could have wiped out as much as 90% of the human population.

Luckily, Ebola outbreaks continue to be fairly limited. But new viruses keep emerging. This truly is non-fiction horror, described in a blurb by Stephen King as 'one of the most horrifying things I've ever read."

The book is very fast paced and easy to read. After its inital debut, it was on many high school reading lists. The science is well done and well described. Yes, there are scientific errors, but they are few and do not detract from the overall story.

--I chose to read this at this time because an Ebola researcher (Guido van der Groen) is giving a Distinguished Lecture at my workplace this week.

This copy came to live on MT TBR several years ago after I attended a talk by Peter Jahrling, the scientist who isolated the Ebola strain from the Virginia monkey house. There's an incident described in this book where Jahrling made a major mistake that could have been fatal. When his initial cell cultures were blown away by the unknown virus, Jahrling chose to open a lid of a flask and sniff it to try to dectect the presence of a contaminating bacteria called Pseudomonas. Jahrling said that wherever he goes in science, whatever further great work he does, someone is sure to say ,"Hey you're the guy who sniffed the Ebola flask!" This NYT bestseller immortalized his lapse.

4 stars.

ETA: I have previously read The Demon in the Freezer by the same author.

Apr 8, 2012, 9:06am Top

Good review of The Hot Zone. That's one of the books that's been sitting on my TBR pile for a long time. I read Preston's The Cobra Event years ago and thought it was awful. But my reason for thinking it was awful is that Preston seemed to be trying to write non-fiction and lost the stream of his fiction narrative by providing too many scientific details. I figured he'd probably be better at non-fiction.

Apr 8, 2012, 9:12am Top

Thanks Rachel, it's well written and well worth a read. Guess I'll find out Friday how relevant it is to stuff going on in the field today.

Apr 8, 2012, 1:55pm Top

The Hot Zone sounds like a book I might enjoy and available in Dutch translation :-)

Apr 8, 2012, 2:57pm Top

I agree that Mere Christianity is a book that should be reread on occasion.

I've not reread mine in a number of years...I'll put it on the TBRR pile. :)

Apr 8, 2012, 4:16pm Top

Hi Anita--It might be a bit gorey for some people, but I really found it fascinating. If you can find a copy this month, we can do a shared read!

Hey Lor--Some of Lewis's theology surprised me a bit. Read it again so it's fresh in your mind and maybe we can discuss a bit of it.

Apr 8, 2012, 4:20pm Top

I'll do that, Janet. :)

Apr 8, 2012, 6:16pm Top

115: Onto the wishlist...
,"Hey you're the guy who sniffed the Ebola flask!"

Apr 9, 2012, 9:54am Top

qebo-- If I'm remembering correctly what Jahrling said, no one else was aware of the incident until the book came out. Although he had carefully monitored his blood and the blood of a trainee and fellow sniffer until the incubation period was well over, he had not reported it to anyone. And then, he talked to author Richard Preston while he was writing this book...... and now it's his defining moment.

In his defence, biosafety regulations in the late 80's were pretty lax.

--typos, typos, typos. I even spelled Jahrling's name wrong in my first post--hopefully all fixed now.

Apr 9, 2012, 9:24pm Top

I remember reading the Hot Zone quite a few years ago and really enjoying it - as I recall it's very engaging. If I didn't already have so many other books planned for April, I'd reread it! I have to confess a fondness for 'plague' books. I'm not certain I want to consider what that says about me....

Apr 10, 2012, 8:04am Top

I have a fondness for plague books too! Fiction and non-fiction. :)

Apr 10, 2012, 8:27am Top

Yay! Plague books! I have about half a dozen in mind to read 'some day' ....... highest on my list is probably the one about prions, Deadly Feasts: Tracking the Secrets of a Terrifying New Plague. Yeah, sensationalist title, but I think prions are fascinating.

Thanks for stopping by Dejah and Rachel.

Apr 10, 2012, 8:50am Top

Religion and disease, an intriguing pair of topics... :-)
Prions added to the wishlist too. Sigh.

Edited: Apr 10, 2012, 8:59am Top

You know, I read the most fascinating book on prions called The Family that Couldn't Sleep. Max talked a lot about the history of prion diseases at the same time as going into details about the horrifying prion disease Fatal Familial Insomnia. No religion though. :)

Apr 10, 2012, 9:09am Top

qebo-- :-) Yay for LT and the internet where we can find people to join in with our interests.

Hey Rachel, yes, now that you mention it I remember that one being discussed positively, too. Onto the spreadsheet it goes. (The spreadsheet is new and is supposedly keeping me from running out and buying titles as soon as I hear about them).

Apr 10, 2012, 10:19am Top

Has anyone else read any Alfred W. Crosby? His America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918 was the first nonfiction plague book I read, back in my teens. He's a historian and a big proponent of the idea that biological / ecological factors aided Europeans in conquering their colonies (he's the guy who coined the term the "Columbian Exchange"). Overall, I'd rather read about historical plagues than modern ones. I've got a book on yellow fever epidemics in the U.S. TBR around here somewhere.

As for non fiction plague books, I suppose it says something that the only Stephen King I've ever read is The Stand!

Apr 10, 2012, 12:44pm Top

haha I think The Stand is what got me started...that, and Doomsday Book.

Apr 10, 2012, 2:39pm Top

I adore Doomsday Book - it is without question my favorite fictional plague book.

Edited: Apr 14, 2012, 9:58am Top

Uh oh. More books to add to the wishlist. I haven't read The Stand, America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918 or the Doomsday Book.

Last year I listened to an audiobook of King's Cell (everyone using a cell phone at a given moment had a brain programming virus downloaded that turned them into zombie wannabees). LT reviews indicated that many of the scenarios were very similar to The Stand.

I did hear an historian from the Missoula, Montana area speak about the local effects of the 1918 flu epidemic. Her take on it was that it was brought to this area from soldiers returning from WWI. It was considered 'unpatriotic' to talk about it due to the connection with the returning troops and so had almost no documentation in local media, although she was able to find death and hospital records confirming the impact.

I can't imagine another job where I'd get to listen to the wide range of awesome seminar speakers that come through here.

Edited: Apr 14, 2012, 12:23pm Top

27. The Labrador Pact by Matt Haig

-- contemporary fiction
-- audiobook
-- 75'ers TIOLO challenge 20. Read a book that has been published in an edition with a flower on the cover (In one international cover, the dog is sitting on a couch with floral wallpaper behind him).
-- BOMBs (Books Off My Shelf) challenge--purchased December 2011

This is the one that I swore I wasn't going to listen to once I found out after purchasing it that the dog dies.

Labradors share a special special pact to take care of their family. This is the story of a labrador's eye view of one family's disintegration. The more our narrator tries to fix things, the more out of control they become.

Partly I chose to listen to this because I was intrigued to read that it is a retelling of Shakespeare's Henry IVth part II. Our four footed narrator's name is Prince. His best doggy friend is named Falstaff. Things go wrong and no matter how hard our hero tries to change this, bodies (dogs and humans) pile up, including, at the end our narrator.

You do find out in the first few sentences that the dog will be put down. However, it seems so inevitable from the beginning, so much the classic tragedy, that I didn't have the same emotional reaction that I do to most stories where the animal dies.

I haven't read the Shakespeare play in question, but now will probably do so. There is a **lot** of Shakespeare I haven't read. Sigh.

3.5 stars

Edited: May 4, 2012, 10:29am Top

28. Anathem by Neal Stephenson

--fiction (science fiction)
-- 75'er's TIOLO April challenge #7. Finish a book that you started between January 1, 2012 and March 28, 2012
-- purchased 2012

In this alternate world, scientists, mathematicians and philosphers (together called avaunts) were gathered into monastery-like societies thousands of years past. To further reduce distraction, avaunts have contact with the other "saecular" world for brief periods ranging from once a year to once every thousand years.

As the novel opens, Erasmus and his friends are preparing to go forth in the world for the first time in a decade. But things are changing in the world, and what is out there will bring them not only into contact with the saecular world, but with alien worlds and parallel universes.

I was really engrossed with the world-bulding in this novel. Much of the language is in 'almost-but-not-quite' English, many times with a humorous twist. The world is rich and complex, the characters multi-dimensional. It's a satisfyingly long novel (900 pages), and leaving it feels like I've left behind a real place.

4.5 stars

Apr 16, 2012, 4:43pm Top

Well, I have made it through your thread. I somehow lost track and got way behind. Interesting stuff. So, I'll try to keep up from now on. BTW, I am enjoying Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon almost enough to want to take one of the Hells Canyon boat trips before I become too decrepit.

Apr 23, 2012, 9:47am Top

Hi Karen--Thanks for stopping by!

Several of the people in my book club thought that Massacred for Gold was too disjointed, but I was so intrigued by the history and the detective work that it didn't bother me. It was a real eye opener to me just how badly the Chinese were treated in the old west.

I'm currently listening to Shanghai Girls. Treatment of the Chinese immigrants was still pretty bad in the 1930's and 40's.

Apr 23, 2012, 12:27pm Top

Racism is definitely a wide river in American history.

Apr 24, 2012, 10:33am Top

Yes, very true. It hit me especially hard as DD & I attended the Chinese Remembering last year about a month before she left to study in Shanghai. How can we expect to be treated any better than we have treated immigrants?

I'm about 6-8 books behind here in my thread. I've come to a block in reviewing an ER book and letting things fall behind. I am keeping up with listing them in the first few posts of this thread so I'll at least remember what I've read! My main book is currently Terry Pratchett's Jingo because I **need** light and fluffy right now.

I'm also behind in a couple of group reads, and if anyone reads this and wishes I hadn't dropped the ball, I apologize.

Besides the usual Dad-in-nursing-home, 85-yo-mom-trying-to-cope-without-him-on-her-own, the water line has ruptured between my well and house so I am without water until next week.

Anybody got some cheese? Or better yet, chocolate? (Howzabout a bottle of water?)

Apr 24, 2012, 10:44am Top

It's okay, whine a bit, you have been through a lot.

Light and fluffy is good, especially when the world is throwing lemons at you. :)

Apr 24, 2012, 10:49am Top

Thanks, fuzz. The book I just finished for my RL book club was The Wars by Timothy Findley. It's an incredibly grim story about about WWI. I'm glad I read it, but I will need sereral light and fluffy in a row to banish those mental images.

Apr 24, 2012, 12:17pm Top

Have you read Sarah, Plain and Tall yet?

If not, it's a sweet and refreshing read that might take your mind off the grim stuff.

Apr 26, 2012, 8:54am Top

Hi fuzzi;

I'm not sure if I've read Sarah Plain and Tall but I remember the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie for that and Skylark. I'll keep an eye out for the books.

Edited: May 3, 2012, 2:17pm Top

29. Isaiah II (People's Bible Commentary) by John A Braun

Part of my reading through the Bible using a set of books called The People's Bible Commentary published by Concordia. I am using a rather different scheme of reading rotating through Gospels, New Testament Epistles, Old Testament Law, Old Testament History, Psalms, Poetry and Prophecy. (link in my post number 31).

I'm about a month behind, currently doing the reading for week 13--so I'm about a quarter of the way through.

The commentary on Isaiah was split into two books--over 800 pages for the two volumes. What do I know about Isaiah after reading all that? Isaiah is an amazing book and I feel very ignorant about how little I know.

--TIOLO April challenge 7. Finish a book that you started between January 1, 2012 and March 28, 2012
--purchased 2012 (missing several in the series)

Edited: May 3, 2012, 2:17pm Top

31. Little Red Guard by Wenguang Huang

This is an LT ER book. For some reason, doing the review on this was tripping me up, which is why I'm so far behind in this thread with the rest of the books I've read this month.

My favorite memoirs are those where where the memoir events play out against great historical events in a way that illuminates history and culture as well as telling personal story. This is what Wenghuang Huang has accomplished in The Little Red Guard as he tells the story of his family against the background of major uphevals surrounding the establishment and relaxation of communism in China. The result is a wonderfully readable account giving insight into an era and a culture.

Huang’s grandmother was the matriarch of her family. Widowed young with a small son, she kept her dead husband’s name alive by fiercely protecting her son through wars, famines and floods—once she and her son spent three days in a tree cut off by floodwaters. Her son became a man, married and had children of his own. In the Chinese way, the generations lived together.

But problems arose when Grandma, beginning to fear her own death, expressed the desire to be buried beside her husband instead of the cremation which was mandated by the Communist government. Huang’s father started secretly acquiring materials to build a coffin which remained in the two room apartment for decades; family, cousins, and acquaintances were brought into the plans to move Grandma’s body to a village for burial at that misty time in the future.

Discovery of the plans would have brought censure to Huang’s father by the communist party, and would have ended his career and the careers of Huangs brothers and sisters. The coffin brought them together, but also split them apart as they struggled to merge the old ways and the new as well as family loyalty love and the communist government.

I found this to be a very intriguing, well written story. My only criticism is that the last few chapters felt a bit long. Recommended.

--April TIOLI #8. Read a book by a different author that is related to another book you've read for TIOLI --(Related to the topic of China in Fighting Angel - Pearl S Buck)

Edited: May 3, 2012, 2:17pm Top

31. A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

--Read for Morphy's Magical Monthly Read Group. Although I've seen several productions of the play, I'm not sure I've read it before. It was fun to get group comments and clarifications and I'm impressed by the variety of fantasy reads Morphy has chosen for the year.

After reading the play, I rented the Royal Shakespeare Company's 1968 version of this. Wonderful performances and Judith Dench was soooooooo young and beautiful as Titania. But it was a very bad copy of the film--bad color, bad sound, scratches.

I read this online-- my first attempt at reading an entire work not printed on paper. Welcome to the 21st century, Janet!

--Morphy's Magical Monthly Read
--TIOLO April 13. Read a book that has been adapted into movies multiple times.

Apr 28, 2012, 3:49pm Top

I saw a copy of Sarah, Plain and Tall at a yard sale today, I wish I'd known...I could have gotten it for you. :(

Apr 28, 2012, 4:01pm Top

Thanks fuzzi. That's a really sweet thought.

Apr 28, 2012, 4:04pm Top

I accidentally bought a spare copy of Cold Sassy Tree, you want it?

Edited: May 3, 2012, 2:16pm Top

Way behind on commenting on books, so will try to get caught up--especially as I am trying to finish up several more before May.

32. Genesis People's Bible Commentary by John C Jeske

Finished for my project of reading through the Bible using this scheme here: http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html and reading the People's Bible Commentaries on the various books. (see post 31)

I had put aside this commentary several years ago because I don't agree with its 'every word of the Bible is literal truth.' I believe that much of Genesis is allegorical and I can see God in that allegory. This time however, I kept going. I learned more about the literal mindset and as I traveled through the book, learned quite a bit about Genesis, too.

--Since the readings on the above website rotate through different catagories of Biblical books daily, I am currently reading commentaries on Exodus (Law), 1 Samuel (history), Psalms, Job (poetry), Jeremiah (prophecy), Mark (Gospel) and 1 Corinthians (Epistles). I anticipate finishing 1 Samuel and 1 Corinthians in May with Mark close behind.

-- TIOLI April #7. Finish a book that you started between January 1, 2012 and March 28, 2012

--counting this as a reread so I don't count it as coming off MT TBR.

Edited: May 3, 2012, 2:16pm Top

33. Forfeit by Dick Francis

I need light and fluffy reads after some pretty heavy stuff, so I reached for this Dick Francis off MT TBR. I find Francis fast paced and exciting (and writes about horses well which is always a plus).

This was one of his earlier efforts and pretty predictable. The protagonist has a wife at home completely paralyzed by polio. Yet he is surprised that bad guy organized crime type that he has PO'ed with his writing figures out where he lives and threatens to turn off her switch to her iron lung. He couldn't see that coming? (Are iron lungs still in use today???)

Still, it's the sort of mind candy that I enjoy. I think I'll try to get another of Francis's off MT TBR during May's Murder and Mayhem reads.

--fiction: action, crime, horses
--75er's April TIOLO #8. Read a book by a different author that is related to another book you've read for TIOLI (Horses, mystery)
--Books Off My Bookshelf (otherwise known as BOMB's from MT TBR) #20; 10 to go
--Acquired 2007 = my BOMB catagory # 2 = 5 points
--Total BOMB points: 50; 100 points to go

Edited: May 3, 2012, 2:16pm Top

34. The Wars by Timothy Findley

Read for the real life book club.

This is a pretty grueling look at a naive 19 yo Canadian officer in the trenches in WWI.

Cognitive dissonanace reigns throughout this book: the cheering crowds, the grim realities of war. It's a book that will make you never look at war in quite the same way again.

It's part of the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list. Several years ago I was actively trying to read books from that source. I've pretty much given up intentionally seeking them out and frantically working on my list, but am glad when I read one.

A bit of searching online shows that there are lots of high school projects revolving around this book so it is being actively taught in many curricula. It's also on many banned book lists. The cynical part of my brain says it's probably not so much due to the graphic descriptions of war's violence, but for the graphic descriptions of homosexual love and rape.

It's one of those that I am happy to have read, but don't want to reread.

--TIOLI April #19. Read a book that has won a literary prize not previously featured on TIOLI (Governor General's Literary Award)
--1001 Books to Read Before You Die
--Canadian author
--purchased 2012

Apr 29, 2012, 11:52am Top

And that brings me up to date.

I am trying to finish Pratchett's Jingo by May 1st. I picked it up because I needed a light and fluffy palate cleanser after The Wars. I had no idea it was Pratchett's take on war. In its own way, it is just as thought provoking as Pratchett has his usual deft hand pointing out the absurd.

I will also finish up my commuting to work audiobook of Shanghai Girls this month, but don't think I will get through Gnostic Gospels since I do want to post a few thoughts on the group read.

Apr 29, 2012, 6:24pm Top

I've read some of Dick Francis' books, but it's been years, and I don't recall which ones they were.

I loved the jockey/racehorse aspect of the books, as I am an avid thoroughbred racing fan. :)

Apr 29, 2012, 9:22pm Top

I'm another person who enjoyed Sarah, Plain and Tall and Skylark - they were both very pleasant to read.

I've read a bunch of Dick Francis (although not recently) but I have no idea if I've read Forfeit - frankly, they all sort of blend together!

Apr 30, 2012, 9:08am Top

The Dick Francis titles do all seem to blend together, don't they? They are the sort of book where I can't always tell from the back cover if I've read it or not. To me though, they are entertaining popcorn reads. I've picked up half a dozen since being on LT in 2006 to read 'someday'. 'Someday' is here as I'm trying to throw a few boulders off MT TBR--and May is Murder & Mayhem month.

Thoroughbred racing is beautiful and heartbreaking. I haven't been around it much (and steeplechasing not at all) since I live out here in the hinterlands of Montana.

Thanks for stopping by Lor and Dejah.

Edited: May 3, 2012, 2:15pm Top

35. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

This is the story of two beautiful, wealthy Chinese sisters living a privileged modern lifestyle in the Shanghai of the 30's--known as the Paris of Asia for it's sophistication and luxury.

All that changes in a heartbeat as their father, having lost his money gambling, settles his debt with the Chinese mob by selling the girls, Pearl and May, into arranged marriages to brothers in the United States.

Soon afterward, the Japanese invade Shanghai and the sisters start their dangerous journey to America.

Things aren't what they seem with the family they''ve married in to and family secrets abound. Chinese are not wanted in America and restricted primarily to small, poor China towns.

We watch the girls mature into women during the anti-Chinese racism during WWII as well as a new wave in the anti-Communist McCarthy era.

The book ends with a cliff hanger. I have the impression this was never meant to be a stand alone book. Although I'm interested in what happens next, I was able to pass by the sequel Dreams of Joy, when I saw it in a store yesterday almost immediately after I finished listening to this on audiobook.

It was sort of inevitable that I would eventually read this since it has Shanghai in the title and my DD is studying there. I believe the sequel is also in Shanghai during the 50's, so eventually I will probably read it, too. But there are other books higher on MT TBR.

3.5 stars

--TIOLI challenge April #10. Read a book which features people (or groups of people) from different cultures coming into contact with each other

Edited: Apr 30, 2012, 4:43pm Top

Shanghai Girls sounds quite interesting. I'm reading about how the Chinese were not welcomed on the west coast after they came in droves to help with building railroads - Massacred for Gold: the Chinese in Hells Canyon. Our anti-Chinese behavior has been something to think about. I wonder if we will have more of it, now that China is posed to be competitive economically.

May 2, 2012, 12:30am Top

Hi Karen--I did think it was an interesting book--except for a pretty brutal rape scene which I would have been happy to omit.

I really hated the cliff hanger ending. I feel manipulated into reading the second book. The timeline is pretty similar to the ER memoir I reviewed in #145 called The Little Red Guard.

I know several WWII vets, includng my father who still regard China as the enemy. I'm sure there are Vietnam vets who feel the same way.

The economic implications just boggle my brain.

DD on the other hand loves studying in Shanghai and would like to have a career there.

May 2, 2012, 6:35am Top

I hate cliffhanger endings, too, for exactly the same reason. A good book should have a beginning, a middle, and an end--even if it's part of a series. I understand a little bit better if the book is 6th in a 7 book series, though, because sometimes the plot gets so thick there's nothing to do. But there's no excuse for the first few books as far as I'm concerned! I often lose interest out of frustration if the entire series isn't published. :(

Edited: May 2, 2012, 1:42pm Top

So here is what the April reading plan was:

Mere Christianity ***finished***
Little Red Guard--ER book--***finished***
Shakespeare's Sonnets lurking on the tutored thread
Awakening the Buddha Within been working on this one for 6 months or so
Crazy Horse and the Real Reason for the Battle of the Little Big Horn so bad it's kind of funny; he's wandered off into talking about the Federal Reserve System and astrology. It's my read-while-the-computer-is-being-slow-loading book.
Toxic Criticism
Various People's Bible Commentaries ***finished Isaiah (Part 2) and Genesis***
Gnostic Gospels-- group read -- Reading
Hot Zone one of the Ebola gurus is coming to the lab for a distinguished speaker seminar..thot I'd knock this one off the mountain first - ***finished***
The Wars RL Book Club book -- ***finished***
Midsummer Night's Dream Morphy's Magical Read--***finished***

**Will read some of the below--all fit into TIOLI catagories and all are on MT TBR:**
Fifth Elephant I'm not reading enough light and silly!
Mary, Mary --see above reason :-)
Forfeit by Dick Francis --again see above --***finished***
Never Let Me Go-- have never read any of Ishiguro's books
Galileo's Daughter
Home Mountains

**More additions to the pile as the month progressed**
--will probably read Jingo instead of Fifth Elephant since it's earlier in the Discworld series **Reading**
--Another ER book A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith has arrived and is waiting to be read. And hey, April *is* poetry month.
--Audiobook The Labrador Pact by Matt Haig ***finished***
--Audiobook Shanghai Girls by Lisa See - audiobook **finished**

so the completed list looks like this:

25. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
26. Hot Zone by Richard Preston
27. Labrador Pact by Matt Haig audiobook
28. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
29. Isaiah 2 by John A. Braun
30. Little Red Guard by Wenguang Huang
31. A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
32. Genesis People's Bible Commentary by John C Jeske
33. Forfeit by Dick Francis
34. The Wars by Timothy Findley
35. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See audiobook

11-- books read:
3--purchased 2012
1-- online
1- LT ER
3--from MT TBR (2011 or before)

and as far as books coming into MT TBR:
5 purchased
Total: 6 new physical books in the house
(+ 2 library and 1 online which don't count as they don't need shelf room)

Edited: May 20, 2012, 11:33am Top

Possible May Reads

Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels **reading**
Jingo by Terry Pratchett **finished**
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern--audiobook **finished**
Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer--group read--**reading**
Islam: A Short History by Karen Armstrong (real life book group) **reading**
A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith Ilya Kaminsky LT ER
Tea With the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy (Morphy's Magical Read **finished**
Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
Various People's Bible Commentaries

--For May Murder & Mayhem & various TIOLI
The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill **finished**
Child of Silence by Abigail Padgett **finished**
Constant Gardener by John Le Carre
Bindweed by Janis Harrison

Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

May 2, 2012, 6:58pm Top

How organized you are, Janet!


Edited: May 2, 2012, 8:33pm Top

hee hee. Well, I've got you fooled. Mostly it's wishful thinking on my part.

This is only the second time I've tried this. Basicaly I have a couple of piles by the bed. One is of books that I feel committed to read (group reads, ER, RL book club), a second pile is of books I'd like to read and a third pile of 'these would also be good and they fit into a TIOLI challenge'.

And I'm likely to choose something else altogether.

May 2, 2012, 8:57pm Top

I agree with Fuzzi, you are incredibly organized. Your lists are great.

May 3, 2012, 8:23am Top

My piles are totally random. Only organization I've got is in my dreams.

May 3, 2012, 8:25am Top

Shush! You do well...quit trying to act so humble...

May 3, 2012, 9:49am Top

162: Janet, I see that you have plans to read The Abolition of Man. I read and enjoyed Lewis's fictionalized version of it, That Hideous Strength. I'll be sad when my Lewis class is over next week, although I am stockpiling his books to read as the mood strikes. "Abolition" is one I'm still looking for; my professor speaks highly of it. Definitely a must read! I'll be watching for your thoughts on it. Best of luck with your May reading!

May 3, 2012, 10:00am Top

Yep - I agree with the crowd that you look pretty organized!

I keep meaning to read The Night Circus, but I keep putting it off for some unknown reason. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of it!

Edited: May 3, 2012, 1:53pm Top

So, fuzzi, I have a little story for you.... (after you so "accused" me of acting humble)

My two nieces, ages later 30s and earlier 30s, were helping me sort through some boxes of papers and throwing 95% into the recycling and enjoying uncovering some almost lost gems - letter from my late brother, for example. The younger of the nieces said something along the line of "oh, you are so organized", and the older niece, who is in my home and life much more often, almost fell off her chair laughing. So.... I do put on a good show, but underneath - not so much.

I've probably always been a little attention deficit and one characteristic is not finishing projects. So, nothing is finished, especially my not organized piles of books.


Nevertheless, I am a happy girl, and don't spent too much time beating myself up.

May 4, 2012, 9:06am Top

Not much organization here, either. I am surrounded by piles of paper needing to be filed. But...there is no room in the file drawers due to the stuff--my stuff, stuff from 30 years of marriage (now divorced), stuff from kids who are grown.

Donna, I didn't realize that the Abolition of Man and That Hideous Strength were related. I'll get to both eventurally through the Teaching Company class .... I just have so much I want to read and keep getting distracted. (Karen, you're not the only one who wonders about ADD).

Dejah--I'm not doing too well with Night Circus on audio. Morgenstern does these gorgeous descriptions but my mind tends to wander off during them and then--whoop--I've missed something and have to go back. In addition each of the chapters/ sections starts with a date, so I'm a bit confused about the timeline. I may have to get a paper copy to sort various things out.

Lor, I enjoy your posts as always. Thanks for stopping by.

Rachel, your wonderful collage on your thread has inspired me to start adding some book covers to my thread. I'm working through some mini-collage ideas--see my post number 1 with the books I'm reading. I'm working backward to add covers and perhaps do monthly mini-collages.

Best of all I have running water after having a water line burst and being almost waterless for 10 days. I'm still at the point where I turn on a faucet and think "Wow! Clean water out of a tap is sooooooo cool (or warm heehee).

May 4, 2012, 9:47am Top

I'm glad to inspire. I like seeing the book pictures in reviews, anyway. I don't know if I'm a visual thinker, or what, but seeing the cover makes me more interested in reading a review. :) I guess I must be one of those horrid people who judge a book by its cover.

May 4, 2012, 1:19pm Top

Ah! running water and indoor toilets. Sometimes we need to remember how fortunate we are to be alive today, and not some years ago.

May 4, 2012, 5:58pm Top

maggie, I know of what you speak...

...I have an organizational gene or something, because I love to organize. I want to have everything in orderly fashion.

Looking at my house, you'd probably laugh and fall over.

When I was a little girl, my bedroom was usually "kneedeep" in stuff, but I always knew where everything was!

My father once threatened to saw off my bedroom and let it float out to sea...

And when horoscopes were 'big' in the late 60s, we had a book about the different birth signs. I'm Virgo, and in the book it said that Virgos were highly organized. My dad nearly fell off his chair laughing about that.

But I still know where everything is, even if it is in piles and boxes... :D

May 4, 2012, 5:59pm Top

Janet, did it occur to you that your LT name sort of describes what's been going on in your life......?

Edited: May 5, 2012, 1:04pm Top

36. Jingo by Terry Pratchett

In this Discworld installment, a lost island called Leshp rises from the sea. Ankh-Morpork and the neighboring country of Klatch both claim it so the only solution is to go to war to settle the matter.

Vimes, Vetinari, and the entire Night Watch head to Klatch-- a land of desert, camels and dish-rags-on-their heads inhabitants.

Pratchett has a way of turning the truth upside down and inside out so that we all suddenly recognize the absurdities of being human. Pratchett makes me laugh. Discworld makes me laugh. When I need something to lighten the mood after reading several heavy-going books, I know I can look to Discworld.

And yet something is missing. By the last fifty pages, I'm ready to be done. You always know a Discworld novel is going to turn out all right in the end and with humor the only emotion engaged, even humor can become flat.

3.75 stars

--BOMB #21 (not previously cataloged into LT until 2012, but been around the house a long time)
--75er's TIOLI #14. Read a book that fills the requirements of a previous TIOLI challenge that you tried, but failed, to complete --Prev April challenge rolling last letter.

May 5, 2012, 10:54am Top

Janet, I like the way your book covers look all lined up in such orderly fashion. I'm also planning to use Rachel's very cool sizing "trick" in some manner. I love learning new things on LT.

Btw, I also have the "No Fear" Shakespeare Sonnets book and am lurking along on the tutored read. I feel like I should be paying tuition!

May 5, 2012, 12:49pm Top

I love the Discworld series, too! But I have to spread them out quite a bit. Too much humor gets old otherwise. :)

May 6, 2012, 12:02pm Top

Hi Donna--I so agree! I feel like LT is a real learning experience. Thanks for sharing all your posts about your CS Lewis class. Lots of food for thought there, and when I finally get to the Narnia books, I'll definitely get a copy of Planet Narnia.

A sonnet a day is certainly do-able for me, and like you, I am so impressed with the tutoring. Maybe when the sonnets are done, I'll try another Shakespeare play or two. I've never read any of Will's histories. I have the Teaching Company class Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories and Tragedies. It was my intro to the TC--my brother used it to read all the plays and then passed it on to me. It sits gathering dust and making me feel guilty. After Morphy's read and then the sonnets, I think my ear will be better attuned to his speech--if one reads with one's ear.

Hi Rachel--Exactly. I have the same problem with the Hitchhiker books and even Catch 22. I start out laughing and then set them aside.

>>Lor--you mean all the water??? Wait a week or two until the weather warms back up and the creek is threatening to flood if you want to hear some watery angst.

May 8, 2012, 6:02pm Top

Watery angst, to music? That would certainly be a 'streamsong'. :)


Edited: May 11, 2012, 8:40am Top

37. Tea With the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy

When Liz Macnamara creates a computerized financial intrigue that gets out of control, she calls her mother, Martha, for moral support. But Martha arrives to find Liz missing and the only person she can turn to for help is Mayland Long, a mysterious chance acquaintance who is searching for truth.

The result is part crime thriller, part urban fantasy, part romance and altogether entertaining.

I loved seeing the older protagonist Martha--funny, attractive, wise-- proving that adventure and even love are not just for the twentysomethings.

This has been my favorite of Morphy's Magical Monthly Reads. Recommended. 4 stars. I'll be ordering the sequel.

--75 er's TIOLO May #5 . Read a book with the word Black or White as part of the Title or the author's name
--Morphy's Monthly Magical Fantasy Read
--purchased (used) 2012

May 11, 2012, 8:32am Top

I'm glad you liked it, too.

psst *whispers* you know the book cover above is incorrect?

May 11, 2012, 8:34am Top

yeah--heehee. I'm a beginner. Should be fixed now.

May 11, 2012, 8:38am Top

yes. All good now!

May 11, 2012, 8:39am Top

Is anyone else planning on reading the sequel to TWTBD?

Edited: May 11, 2012, 8:42am Top

I have thought about it, but am resisting as I already have so many books started....

See this : http://www.librarything.com/topic/129805#t

especially posting #182, I think it is

May 11, 2012, 12:48pm Top

I had a copy of the sequel, but did not read it, and no longer own it. :(

Edited: May 13, 2012, 12:40pm Top

Halfway through the 75!

38. Child of Silence by Abigail Padgett

Child Protective Services worker, Bo Bradley has Bipolar Disorder (manic-depressive). She struggles to manage her mood while being on the edge of a manic episode. In the meantime she is assigned the case of a four year old non-talking boy found tied to a mattress and abandoned. It soon becomes obvious that someone is out to kill this child. This series was recommended by another LT'er.

I was interested as I have a loved one who is bipolar. It's an interesting look at BP from the inside out as well as being a decent short quick mystery/thriller. I'll continue on with the series, although I find the Child Protective Services details a bit harrowing. The department is overworked, understaffed and kids die from workers' miscalls. 3.8 stars.

--fiction, mystery, Bipolar
--75er's May Mystery and Mayhem read
--TIOLI Challenge #4: Read a book derived from a 75er's username (Elfchild)
--book purchased 2012

May 13, 2012, 9:08pm Top

Yippee, you're halfway there! Woo!

May 13, 2012, 11:09pm Top

Congrats on the half-way mark!

May 19, 2012, 2:58pm Top

Thanks for the congrats on the half way mark. You two are both way beyond that number I know.

I rented a copy of Heartland from Netflix and really enjoyed it. I was sure I had seen it before, but now am not sure whether I had or not. The stark landscapes were very evocative of the alone-ness the pioneers endured. In 1908 my grandfather was homesteading similarly desolate land in North Dakota. My grandmother joined him several years (and several children) later. They lost one child to an epidemic of (I think) diptheria. My mother remembers having scarlet fever and whooping cough before entering school. I'd highly recommend re-watching the film to anyone who enoyed Letters of a Woman Homesteader.

On the list of 'don't bother watching' is the Dark Shadows remake with Johnny Depp as Barnabas. I thought the trailers and previews looked funny. I was soo looking forward to seeing this last night with a friend. I loved Dark Shadows when I was in high school; I love Johnny Depp. But what a bomb! The trailers showed **ALL** the funny lines. The rest was a mishmash of horror and missing the marks.

May 19, 2012, 3:04pm Top

39. 1 Corinthians (People's Bible Commentary) by Carleton A. Toppe

Part of my committment to read through the Bible with the People's Bible Commentaries. This one has been my favorite so far. The beautiful chapter 13 on love; the stumbling block chapter 14 on women's roles in church. Lots of food for thought, although I don't always agree with the commentaries.

--non-fiction reading through the Bible
--BOMBS (Books Off My Book Shelves) challenge. Cataloged into LT in 2006 = my catagory 1 for 6 BOMB points.

Edited: May 19, 2012, 4:52pm Top

40. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I listened to this as an audiobook which may have not been the best medium for this book. Lovely, lovely descriptions of magical attractions at a magical circus. If a travelling circus showed up at Hogwarts, it would be this one.

Very little happens in the first three quarters of the book except descriptions. A boy and girl are bound as children to a magical duel. Only the winner survives. However they don't know who their opponant is or the conditions of the duel. They each control part of the circus; one from within; one from without. We, the readers, don't know much more about the duel than they do.

The two fall in love despite having met each other only briefly. Naturally, they are devastated to learn only one will survive.

My problem listening to this was that during the lyrical descriptions my mind would wander. Suddenly the scene would change. Had I missed something? I needed to go back.... not an easy task with an audiobook. And, usually, I had not missed anything.

The story picked up pace in the last quarter and left me with a satisfied feeling and a bit of wonder. 3.75 stars--which I'll round up to 4 for the LT ratings.

--fiction - fantasy
--May TIOLI #4: Read a book derived from a 75er's username (night0wl)
--borrowed from library in 2012 (audiobook)

May 20, 2012, 1:49pm Top

41. The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill

Set in the 1970's in Laos soon after the Communists took over the country, this is the first book of a series that is highly recommended by many here on LT.

Instead of being able to retire, seventy two year old Dr. Siri Paiboun has been appointed as Laos's chief, and only, coroner despite his complete lack of training.There is very little available in the way of chemical testing so Siri must rely on physical findings (self-taught from a 1948 French pathology text book), a bit of detection work, and some help from his second sight--the ability to see recently departed spirits of his so-called customers, a talent he has had throughout his medical career.

Siri's quips are quite funny; the political system within Laos and between Laos, Vietnam and Thailand quite interesting. The secondary characters, both men and women, are also emerging as well-realized.

It's a series I'll look forward to continuing. In fact, having finished the book, I'm now giving it a quick reread to pick up hints and nuances along the way. It's something I do with favorite books, but haven't done with one for quite a while. 4 stars.

--fiction, mystery
--May Murder & Mayhem reads
--TIOLI # 21. Read a book set in, about, or with an author from the Far East
--purchased 2012

May 20, 2012, 9:06pm Top

I've heard so many good things about The Coroner's Lunch...I really need to read it.

May 20, 2012, 11:09pm Top

Me too!

May 21, 2012, 9:53am Top

Yup, judging by the first book, I'm looking forward to the others in the series. LT is wonderful for finding books and series--as my mountain of tbr books attest! And I'm always finding new ones .... I feel like a dragon atop of her hoard of books instead of gold.

May 21, 2012, 10:48am Top

Nice image, yours. I like it.

Unfortunately when I think of my TBR books I see images of shelves, and shelves, and shelves, with books smooched into everyone of them, and none of those books have the tell-tale spines of books which have been read. Ah! the image is a little bit haunting, but also full of promise.

Edited: May 27, 2012, 2:27pm Top

42. Great World Religions: Islam - The Teaching Company (The Great Courses) by John Esposito

This is part of The Teaching Company's class on the Great World Religions. I chose to listen to this now because the RL bookclub is reading Karen Armstrong's Islam: A Short History for the meeting Thursday. The Armstrong book condenses 1500 years of history into about 180 pages and I needed more detailed information.

Esposito is a scholar of Islam (although, I think he himself is not Muslim), author of dozens of books on Islam and in 2003, when this was written, a professor at Georgetown University.

This is a very helpful introduction to many topics in Islam--history, beliefs, community, emergance of various sects and the role of Islam in the world today. Like all the Teaching Company classes, it has a very helpful course book which in this case contains an outline, supplementary reading for each chapter, timeline (which for some reason Armstrong's book omitted), and bibliography.

I'll give this one four stars and will have to rate Armstrong's history (if I ever get it done!) somewhat less.

- non-fiction
- audiobook
- BOMBs (Books Off My Bookshelves) challenge -- This series went unentered into LT when I acquired it through a library sale; I've had them several years.

Edited: May 28, 2012, 11:28am Top

43. Lust Killer by Ann Rule

I was totally blown away (wow-bad pun) by Ann Rule's book Small Sacrifices when I read it in the 80's. I reread it several times along with others of Rule's true crime books. The aberrant psychology and just plain evil was incomprehensible to me.

This is an very early book written by Rule under the pseudonym Andy Stack. It's the story of Jerry Brudos who kidnapped, raped and killed young women in Oregon in the late 1960's. Written at a time when young women were perhaps not quite as street savvy as today, it is still a great cautionary tale about keeping oneself safe. Like others of Rule's books that I've read it's also an interesting look into the dysfunctional psychology of a killer.

The evil is there. My fascination with it is not. I had picked up this book several years ago and finally read it this month for May's Murder & Mayhem reads. I'm no longer hypnotized by the evil weaving back and forth like a serpent before its prey. I'm happily throwing this one into the Goodwill box. 3.6 stars.

--non-fiction, true crime
--May Murder & Mayhem reads
--TIOLI # 10 - Read a book with a word in the title suggesting violent death
--BOMBs challenge (Books Off My Book Shelves) #24. Entered into my LT catalog 2006

May 28, 2012, 12:13pm Top

The existence of evil, the kind one can not explain in any other way, is a persistent curiosity. But I guess we are less puzzled by the continuing existence of pure good, too.

I get tired of all the emphasis on crime in the media, too.

Edited: Jun 2, 2012, 11:23am Top

My father has avoided not only true crime but mysteries for the last 20 years or so--basically he avoids anything with a body in either TV or books.

Finished up two more books for May.

The first:

44. Islam: A Short History by Karen Armstrong

Read for the real life book club, this packs 1500 years of Islamic history into 180 pages. The first thousand years were a confusing swirl of places, names and events that I had little if any previous knowledge. The events were so compressed that I found it a machine gun type history--date, name, event, date, name, event.

The events from 1500 A. D. or so onward were more comprehensible as I had some knowledge of many of them from my western perspective from western history classes.

In the final section, Armstrong has some wonderful insights about the rise of fundamentalism in all religions as a reactionary response to change, especially forced change.

I would have done better with a longer more detailed book. Sometimes short histories are a tough way to get introduced to a subject.

I've read several others by Karen Armstrong. I find her histories always quite dense with facts, but worth the effort.

3.8 stars

--Library Brown Bag Book Club
--TIOLI challenge #18. Read a book with a title word that forms another word when reversed (am/ma)
--BOMBS (Books Off My Book Shelves) challenge. Received from PBS in 2007

Jun 3, 2012, 11:29am Top

45. Bindweed byJanis Harrison

This is a mystery that I picked up who-knows-where that has been sitting unread on my shelf since 2008. It's the sixth and apparently final book in a gardening mystery series. I haven't read the other books in the series.

There was some inane dialog in the first few chapters that almost made me put the book aside. ("They may have some information but it will take skill and finesse on your part to retrieve it") as well as the main character declaring she could never sleuth professionally; that all the murders she's investigated were because they were people she knew. Really? Six books? Maybe two murders per book? And she personally knew them all?

But in the end I rather enjoyed it. This is a nice cozy mystery with a woman protagonist. Bretta Solomon, who was widowed and shed a great deal (100 pounds??) of weight while rebuilding her life.

A mentally handicapped man is murdered by means of a wasp nest rigged to a door knob on his bedroom door and the sleuthing begins.

As protagonist Bretta is a florist, there is a gardening and flower theme throughout, and a bit of genetic engineering (with a few details wrong, but who is going to notice?).

A quick read, fairly entertaining, 3 stars. If I stumble on more books in the series, I may pick them up, but won't go out looking for them.

--fiction, mystery
--May Murder & Mayhem reads
--TIOLO Challenge 13. Read a book with a word related to gardening in the title
--Books Off My Book Shelves challenge--been living on MT TBR since 2008

Jun 11, 2012, 8:56pm Top

Yay! Finally got a book done in June!

46. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

--fiction, children's fantasy
--read for Morphy's Monthly Magical Read
-- TIOLI # 16. Read a Book Set in a Continent or by an Author from a Continent Based on a Die Roll (shared read)

Bastian Balthazar Bux's mother recently died. In addition, he's fat, not very brave and was also held back in school. Naturally he's the target of his classmates. And then one day he takes refuge in a bookshop and steals a magical book. As he reads the story, he realizes that he alone is the necessary hero in the story and that he must enter the land of Fantastica in order to save the Childlike Empress and all of Fantastica.

Although it appears his mission is accomplished, in the second half of the book he finds any wish he makes will come true, but with each wish he loses a memory of his previous life. He must find out the secret and figure out how to return before all his wishes and all his memories are gone.

I found the first part of the book carried me along well. (This is the part of the story from which the movie of the Neverending Story was made), The second part I felt was rather moralizing and dragged for me.

I find it hard to rate this book. I loved the magical creatures (I so want a luckdragon!) I think I would have enjoyed reading this to my kids when they were in the primary grades. But, for me as an adult, it fell flat.

3 stars.

Jun 12, 2012, 9:38am Top

I tried reading The Neverending Story once. The copy I had switched between red and green print (for real and fantasy worlds) and it made my eyes wiggle. So I stopped. Perhaps not all copies of the book are like that? I wouldn't mind trying again with some nice black print.

Jun 12, 2012, 9:59am Top

The copy I read was from the library--and had black print that was either italicized or plain. I saw in the Amazon reviews that several people disliked the multicolor print in the deluxe editions.

I resisted buying a copy and I'm glad I did. I don't think I'll ever reread it--unless of course I ever ever ever ever have grandchildren (at this point both my kids are allergic to the idea).

Jun 12, 2012, 12:40pm Top

And I think there are so many other, better, books to read to children. I think this one can take its place in history and stay. Closed. IMHO

Jun 12, 2012, 12:41pm Top

Hmm. Maybe I shouldn't try it...

Jun 13, 2012, 9:36am Top

Lor. if you have others you want to read, this one might be one to skip.

I'm such a Pollyanna about books--I can find something interesting in any book. Drat--somehow I think I have books mixed up with children. I can find something to like in all of them and (almost never) give up on them.

Hey Karen; I'd love to hear more thoughts from you about The Never Ending Story and why and how it falls flat. I respect your knowlege about youth and young adult books.

Shall we take it to the spoiler thread? There hasn't been any activity over there.

For instance--Female roles in the book. What did you think of (the few) there were?

Jun 13, 2012, 10:00am Top

47. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

--listened to the audiobook

The Garcias led a privileged life in the Dominican Republic: well connected, upper class, secure financially and a large extended family. But in the last days of the dictator Trujillo's rule, they had to flee as political refugees and start their lives over again in New York.

We meet the four daughters as adults with a variety of problems--a mental breakdown, divorce, alienation in the family. Then we are told their story in a series of flashback vignettes jumping back and forth through time and told through the girls's varying viewpoints. We see them struggling to fit in to a very alien culture along with maturing into adults.

It's funny and sad and I think really captured the feelings of being strangers in a strange land.

4 stars

--TIOLO challenge #5. Read a book with a title which contains a brand of automobile (make or model)
--I've also read In the Time of the Butterflies by this author.

Jun 13, 2012, 3:12pm Top

I am just spending a couple of minutes whipping through some threads right now; would you go ahead and start the conversation in the spoiler thread and I'll catch up with you a little later...

Edited: Jun 18, 2012, 8:02pm Top

48. Something Wicked this Way Comes By Ray Bradbury- acquired 2012 library book

The first Bradbury I've read other than an excerpt from Fahrenheit 451 in a high school text. (Do high schools still have students read excerpts from books? I always hated that!). Read for a group here with the Green Dragon'ers on the occasion of Mr Bradbury's death.

Review to come

Jun 18, 2012, 9:16am Top

Hi Janet, I looked with no success for books by Ray Bradbury at the recent booksale/meetup in Kansas City and also at the bookstores we went to on Day Two. I'm thinking when an author dies his books suddenly become more popular. I may have to resort to Amazon or B&N, although it will give me an excuse to browse through the three used bookstores in my area. I can't believe that I missed Fahrenheit 451 in high school. Not even an excerpt!

Jun 18, 2012, 10:08am Top

Hi Donna--I think you're right. I put in a request for an interlibrary loan for Dandelion Wine for the 75'er's group read and it hasn't yet arrived.

But then, I'm one of the crowd who has never read Bradbury and was inspired to do so with all the hum after his death so I'm one of those adding to the feeding frenzy.

Off to jury duty today (hoping I won't get picked. My boss is NOT happy about the timing of this). I'll take along Wolf Hall to read in the downtime. I'm a couple chapters in and enjoying it so far.

And...... I'm counting down the days until DD returns from her year of studying in Shanghai (she'll be home on the 28th!).

Jun 18, 2012, 11:34am Top

I've never done jury duty. Always thought it would be an interesting experience...but I HAVE noticed that it always comes as inconvenient times. :)

Jun 18, 2012, 1:36pm Top

I was on a jury about 15 years ago and it was an interesting experience, not the sort of event that gets into the news, but a big deal to the people involved, and I was impressed by the conscientiousness of the jurors. Also had jury duty last year, but it was two dull days of sitting here and being suddenly move there, and too much surrounding chatter for the few of us with books to read in peace.

Jun 18, 2012, 7:54pm Top

I've not read any Bradbury, so I borrowed Fahrenheit 451 from the library, didn't like it, didn't finish it. I might give him a second try, but not just yet.

I've been called for jury duty twice, picked once but they settled before the court date. The second time I had a doctor's excuse.

Jun 20, 2012, 8:49am Top

I was picked for jury duty, but happily enough, the trial only lasted two days, so I'll be back to work today.

It was an interesting process. The case involved a drug supplier, a dealer and a go-between who put them together. The trial was for the go-between.

There were a couple kids in the courtroom (defendant's kids? relatives?) Also a four year old present during the transaction/bust. I feel sad about the whole thing. :-( But we all felt he was clearly guilty.

Edited: Jul 1, 2012, 12:08pm Top

49. Mark (People's Bible Commentary) by Harold E. Wicke

Onward through reading the entire Bible with this series of Bible commentaries.

--owned before 2006, but since I believe it's a reread, I didn't count it as a BOMB :-(

Edited: Jul 1, 2012, 12:27pm Top

50. Killed at the Whim of a Hat by Colin Cotterill

The first in Cotterill's new series features Jim Juree, a very modern Laotion crime journalist who leaves her city life for a very rural life helping her very quirky family run a run down resort. Funny, silly. At this point I miss Dr. Siri's wisdom, but this is a lot of fun (including a George W Bush malapropism starting off each chapter). 4 stars for the fun of it.

--from library; entered into LT 2012
--TIOLI #2. Read a book with a goofy, whimsical title that makes you think to yourself "what on earth is THAT about?"

Edited: Jul 5, 2012, 5:09pm Top

51. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Being neither a fan of Tudor England nor historical novels, I had not really expected to enjoy this book when my book club selected it to read. I did, however, have the great reviews of people I respected here on Library Thing.

They were right. This novel of the rise of Thomas Cromwell, shown through his eyes, was quite engrossing. Mantel's writing was very engaging and her depth of historical detail very impressive. her characterizations allowed these characters to step out of history and become real to me.

Nevertheless, it's not an easy novel, nor is it a quick read. I believe some background in Tudor history would have made it easier. As it was, I was sometimes a bit lost, and had to look up historical events and similarly named people to keep them all straight. Thanks to the tutoring thread as chatterbox cleared up many questions that I had.

Worth the effort it took to get through. 4 stars

- RL Book Club
- purchased 2012
- TIOLI #7. Read a book with more than 300 pages with multiple word titles

Jul 5, 2012, 12:41pm Top

Will be waiting here. :)

Jul 5, 2012, 5:11pm Top

Hi fuzzi. Yes, I really enjoyed it, but it was a bit of a tough go--very meaty. I will definitely read the sequel, but am happy to wait until it comes out in paperback.

Edited: Jul 5, 2012, 5:25pm Top

52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

A very thick (531 pages) that can be read in a few hours. This is a good juvenile story elevated to great by hundreds of wonderful drawings that tell the story. Hugo is an orphan in Paris surviving by secretly taking over his uncle's job of maintaining the clocks in the Paris train station. There is mystery, and friendship, and a cool bit of film history that I was a little familiar with.

Recommended. 4 stars.

-- Read for Morphy's Mighty Monthly Magical Reads
-- library book 2012
-- TIOLI #8. Read a book where the author's initials form a commonly used abbreviation (BS)

Jul 5, 2012, 5:27pm Top

225: I just bought this, based on a bunch of LT reviews and one (I don't remember whose) that tipped the balance. It's the clocks that appeal...

Jul 5, 2012, 5:59pm Top

I agree with your opinion on Wolf Hall and The Invention of Hugo Cabret. :) It's amazing how much of a story can be told in pictures, isn't it?

Jul 7, 2012, 12:22pm Top

I've got myself on a book buying budget, but Hugo is one I'd like to own, I think, because it is so different. Now I'm debating about seeing the dvd.

Edited: Jul 7, 2012, 12:38pm Top

53. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

O.K. I succumbed. Actually, I succumbed a while back when I decided I'd read the series because of all the hype, but this week DD's friend loaned her a copy and DD suggested I read it, too.

I've been on vacation this week. But my out-of-town company left for Yellowstone for a few days and this was the perfect book to take my own mini vacation. Everyone has read the reviews; everyone probably knows it's a dystopian future where districts have to provide adolescents for the Hunger Games, a reality show survival event where only one survives.

I found it a fast paced and exciting plot-driven tale. I can see why it's a hit among young adults as well as older adults. Suzanne Collins is a great storyteller. The plotline is disturbing but less so than I feared it would be--I had real reservations about a story revolving around kids killing kids.

Yes, I'll be reading the sequels.

I'll follow the crowd and give it 4 stars.

--borrowed 2012
--July TIOLI #18. Read a book where the author's Surname is also a Place name (Collins, MS)

Jul 7, 2012, 1:56pm Top

I think one reason I found Hunger Games so disturbing is that I somehow managed to read it WITHOUT knowing what it was about. If I had expected to be disturbed in advance, I'd probably feel the same way as you...

Jul 8, 2012, 10:18am Top

Yes, it's a very disturbing scenario.

But then dystopian fiction usually is.

I'll be interested to see how the totalitarian government theme plays out. But, I grant that no one is reading this series for its political insights.

Jul 8, 2012, 11:00am Top

May I gently and respectfully disagree. I think many see the politics in these books and do some thinking based on their reading. For example, how much is professional football paralleling the Hunger Games?

Jul 8, 2012, 11:43am Top

Darn, I know nothing about professional football, so I'll have to have you explain, I'm afraid.

I've only read the first book. In that one, the action and adventure plays out against the backdrop of the totalitarian government--but I think the emphasis is the action. It looks like perhaps the political theme is more developed in the second book?

It's one of my 14 yo nephew's favorite books. He'll be back in town today but from our talk before I read the book, I think it was the action story he liked and that drew him on to the next one in the series.

My 24 yo daughter, newly back from a year in China, was definitely interested in the world building, the totalitarian state and the news blocks between districts which she said was the key to control by the government.

I think people see the totalitarian politics, but are drawn to the next book by the action storytelling.

Jul 15, 2012, 10:29am Top

I talked to my 14 yo nephew when he came back from his trip. He takes after his mom and is only a minimal reader. He read the first one, Hunger Games and saw the movie. He loved it, but has not moved on to the next books which he has in his room.

He's definitely captured by the action/adventure story.

I was really interested to read an interview with Suzanne Collins where she mentions being influenced by 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale.

Anyhoo.... when the others in the series become available, I'll be interested to keep reading

This topic was continued by Streamsong's 75 (and beyond!) Part 2.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2012

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