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Tina the Tutu tracks her BOMBS and 2012 Goals- pt 1

This topic was continued by Tina the Tutu leaps into Spring..

75 Books Challenge for 2012

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Edited: Jan 1, 2012, 10:35pm Top

Welcome to Tutu's 2012 Thread. I decided I'll do my 2011 recap here (see next message) since everyone seem anxious to move from the 2011 threads and start fresh. I'm doing something a bit different this year. I know I'll read the 75 books this group proclaims to be its goal, but I'm not going to spazz on numbers or challenges. After looking at where I want my reading to go in 2012, I've decided to set some goals to guide my reading choices, but, with one exception (more on that in a minute) I'm going to concentrate on what my sister Cheli (cyderry) has christened BOMBS (Books On My BookShelves).

I have several goals:

1. Continue to read in the US Presidents Challenge group. I've only finished 5 so far, but just got The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness (which I started last year but couldn't hold the dang book-too heavy), so it's now on my Nook.

2. I'll be reading at least 2 ARCs a week since I enjoy blogging on Tutu's Two Cents and publishers who grace me with review copies do have some expectation that I'll publish some reviews. I have a boatload of good ones on my Nook (many from NetGalley) and others as paper galleys to get thru. I'm currently entranced by Elizabeth George's newest Inspector Lynley - Believing the Lie due for publication this month.

3. I am going to pay more attention to the TIOLI thread, and have already decided to take Squeaky Chu's January challenge: Southern states within the USA mentioned in King’s speech by reading a biography of Juliette Gordon Low who grew up in Georgia. It's another ARC that is due for pub in February. Perfect timing.

4. Speaking of biography---this genre (along with memoirs) is one of my favorites, and I'm hoping to read at least one bio/memoir per month.

5. I'' be reading lots of mysteries - in fact, I almost wanted to say I'd just read histories and mysteries for 2012, but ....

6. I'm going to be skimming a lot of fiction during the year. I just got selected to be the librarian in Maine who will be recommending the adult fiction selections for the state's Overdrive Consortium - both ebooks and audios, so I have to leave room for those wonderful tomes that scream "read me, read me."

7. Also since I'm a Maine librarian, albeit a transplant "from away", I'm trying to do more reading of some of our great Maine authors like Elisabeth Ogilvie, Leah Wait, Sarah Orne Jewett, and many others.

8. Book clubs and group reads will provide some great reading. Our library's first up is Kehinde in our Women's perspective series.

9. There'll be some miscellaneous non-fiction, particularly concerning food.

10. And my only "challenge" is participating in a group called War Through the Generations where we'll be reading (fiction and non-fiction) focused on World War I. I already have over 14 stacked up to read in a variety of formats - audio, ebook, and good old fashioned print. My daughter was a history/german major concentrating on early 20th century European history, so she loaded me up with a ton of goodies while we were in Virginia last week.

Many of these are available in audio, and many are already available sitting on my shelves (wooden or virtual) so I'll be able to keep up while I'm doing my 4x weekly water aerobics. I think I'll be keeping busy, but I hope to stop by and visit you all during the year.

Which brings me to my final goal.

Sometime during the year, I intend to stop in and visit everyone's thread. Instead of just lurking, I'll be dropping a comment, and letting you know I've been to visit. I think sometimes it gets discouraging when there's no traffic on a thread, particularly if you're a new member of the group. Others (and you know who you are!!!) seem to have no trouble attracting chatter, and those I'll be watching, but I won't pump up the post count unless I have something substantive to contribute.

My intro post is here.

Edited: Jan 1, 2012, 9:17pm Top

Just in case you have an overbearing curiosity, here's my ending thread for 2011.

Also....I LIED....seems this math major can't even track an ordered numbered list. I double posted one of my books, so I really only read 149. As the kids would say these days, "Whatever!"

Here's the recap of my 2011 reading:

Total Read: 149

116 Fiction
2 fantasy
2 graphic novel
11 historical fiction
56 mystery
1 Sci Fi
3 short stories
40 pure fiction

2 Poetry

30 Non-fiction
13 bios/memoirs
2 travel
2 sociology studies
1 science
6 history
6 food

Best Fiction Please note: these are MY best fiction reads, not necessarily the best fiction published in 2011...many were published earlier than 2011. And I'd be VERY hard pressed to choose the best of the best, so please don't ask!

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Cloud Atlas
One Was a Soldier
Lester Higata's 20th Century
The Beautiful One has Come
God of Small Things
Nervous Condition
Sea of Poppies
Night Circus
A Trick of the Light

Best Non-Fiction Reads of 2011

Cleopatra: a life
The Social Animal
American Nations
Strange Relation: A Memoir
Curse of the Narrows

Honorable Mentions

Work Song
A Buddha in the Attic

Major Disappointments

Land of the Painted Caves
The Russian Affair
Great House
The Tiger's Wife
The Reading Promise

And finally by Format:

56 audio
10 audio /print
30 e books ( I love my NOOK!!)
52 print

So here's to a great year for 2012 although I don't expect the numbers will be nearly this high.

Edited: Mar 31, 2012, 4:03pm Top

Here's the list of books read for 1st quarter of 2012: Those with * are BOMBS (books that have been on my shelves (real or NOOK or MP3) for at least 6 months)

1. V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton
2. *Believing the Lie by Elizabeth George
3. *The Paris Wife by Paula McClain
4. Kehinde by Buchi Emecheta
5. Trespasser by Paul Doiron
6. The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes
7. Shakespeare's Champion by Charlaine Harris
8. *Book of Old Houses by Sarah Graves
9. House of Prayer No. 2 by Mark Richard
10. A Vine in the Blood by Leighton Gage
11. Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear
12. *Five Chiefs by John Paul Stevens
13. Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear
14. The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat
15.*Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
16. Juliette Gordon Low by Stacy Cordery
17. A Test of Wills by Charles Todd
18. *The Last Founding Father: James Monroe by Harlan G. Unger
19. Clear and Convincing Proof by Kate Wilhelm
20. The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
21. Incomplete Revenge By Jacqueline Winspear
22. Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie
23. Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear
24. Beastly Things by Donna Leon
25. Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie
26. A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear
27. *A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
28. Up Jumps the Devil by Margaret Maron
29. Death without Tenure by Joanne Dobson
30. Mourning Gloria by Susan Wittig Albert
31. *Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
32. Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke
33. The Good Father by Noah Hawley
34. The Beauty and the Sorrow by Peter Englund
35. Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch by Nancy Atherton

Abandoned books
1. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
2. Back to Work by Bill Clinton
3. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
4. Tomatoland by Barry Estabrook

Jan 1, 2012, 9:21pm Top

HERE you are! I was getting worried. Maybe I didn't drop enough bread crumbs, I thought. Glad to see you!

Jan 1, 2012, 9:25pm Top

Richard, I've actually been on this bloody thread since 3:00 this afternoon with breaks for fixing Osso Buco style chicken thighs and chatting (i.e., receiving transmit) with mumsie. So I've finally getting started. I need to copy/paste this stuff on the blog, and then I can settle down and READ for the rest of the evening. Thank you for keeping track of me....it's nice to know you care.

Jan 1, 2012, 9:31pm Top

I think I've been reading LibraryThing more than the book I'm reading, just trying to keep my head above water with all the activity. I was completely caught up when I went to bed last night. When I woke up this morning, I had 4 pages of unread posts. Then when I finish a page, there is about a half-page more of new posts to read. By the time I get through those, there's about half of that amount up again. Eventually I get it down, read on my book for awhile, come back and have to repeat the process because there are at least 2 full pages of new posts! I know it will settle down and become more manageable soon. However, I'm afraid to limit myself to just my starred reads right now because I might miss someone new to the game that I want to follow more closely. When I'm in a rush, I only read the starred ones usually. I save everyone's for when I have more time!

Jan 1, 2012, 9:36pm Top

No worries, me luuv. I always know when you're gone, things don't *feel* right.

I've been languorously savoring The Night Circus today. No one to cook for, thank the goddesses, since my gouty hand is still recovering. I ate 2 bagels with cream cheese and a bowl of minestrone, and that was perfect. It's dank and rainy, so that reading time was superflobgoptuously gruntle-making.

I posted a chocolate-pear cake recipe in the Kitchen. It makes even cocoaphobic me drool!

Jan 1, 2012, 9:38pm Top

Yes, it's a busy place around here at the beginning of the year. I hope you like TIOLI, Tina. It's been a fun way for me to read some BOMBS... love that acronym.

Happy new year of reading to you.

Jan 1, 2012, 9:40pm Top

Glad to see you're back. Happy New Year, Tina.

I was visiting my sister and her family today (to celebrate my niece's 11th birthday) and was astounded by all the LT activity today in my absence.

Here's to a great year of reading in 2012.

Jan 1, 2012, 9:53pm Top

Welcome back!

Jan 1, 2012, 9:55pm Top

Happy New Year! Looking forward to all the interesting goings on in your thread this year.

Jan 1, 2012, 10:43pm Top

Hi Tina. Hope you enjoyed the gorgeous weather we've been having in Virginia!

Jan 1, 2012, 10:51pm Top

Whatever... LOL :-)

Did I give you The Necklace last week?

Jan 1, 2012, 10:56pm Top

Yes Liz...the weather wasn't too bad while we were in Virginia last week. It's turn pretty cold up here in Maine now, but we've still only had flurries (or fluffies as we prefer to call them) here on the coast. The weather person assures us we will have something significant by midweek. Up here significant means enough to fire up the snow plows and break out the shovels. I'm certainly ready for it. I have enough books stocked up for a good blizzards worth.

BTW...that recipe for lamb soup looks perfect for tomorrow...I'm off to the local farm to see if there are bones to be had. If not, our local super usually does a pretty good job. I've put your blog in my feeder because next to books, food is right up on my list of 'next to heaven' items.

Jan 1, 2012, 11:13pm Top

Found and starred :)

Jan 2, 2012, 12:40am Top

Found you, Tina. Even though you say you're scaling back this year, you still have some pretty ambitious goals. Good luck them them!

Jan 2, 2012, 12:54am Top

Dropping by to star you, Tina!

Jan 2, 2012, 1:28am Top

Found and now starred!

Jan 2, 2012, 4:50am Top

Hi! That's neat about your Overdrive selection role. I've often wondered how books get selected for Overdrive, though perhaps it varies by consortium. The folks in Maine should have some good reading this year!

Jan 2, 2012, 6:11am Top

Hi Tina - ambitious plans for the year it will be interesting to see how things go:)

Jan 2, 2012, 7:23am Top

Glad to see you back again, Tina!

Jan 2, 2012, 9:44am Top


Jan 2, 2012, 10:17am Top

Nice to see you here again! We in NYC have finally left autumn behind with our first official prediction of snow flurries. Thank goodness - I was getting confused.

I hope to keep up with you this year - but I know I won't be stopping in to everyone's thread. I've spent most of this weekend on LT to establish a baseline, but it's a hopeless cause! Otherwise known as a party bursting with readers, some of whom I have yet to meet! Nice territory.

Jan 2, 2012, 10:31am Top

Ice on the River - FINALLY!! We may actually have winter Soon. I'm going to be off LT for about 48 hours....I've been spending so much time here (and it's fun) that I've only read 5 pages in the new year. Not the way to start.

Ta ta..

Jan 2, 2012, 10:50am Top

Snow sounds wonderful...but nothing even close to that is forecat down here.

The soup was great. I'd.love to hear how your version turns out. I've got to plan my local only meal today. Thanks for visiting my blog! As you know, food and reading are my two passions as well!

Jan 4, 2012, 4:25pm Top

Happy New Year, Tina! I like your goals for the year, especially the one about visiting and leaving a comment for everyone at some point. In my first year I just followed a few starred threads, last year I read/skimmed them all but only commented rarely. I'm sure you're right that there are some less-commented on threads where the owner would appreciate you leaving a few words.

I hope you have a good reading year.

Jan 4, 2012, 8:02pm Top

Hi to Donna, Linda, Laura, Lori, Liz, Faith, Calm, Terri, Judy, Stasia,and Genny Thanks for stopping by.

Yes Chèli, you did give me The Necklace. Hope you don't need it too soon!

Can't believe it's the 4th and I still haven't finished a book yet! I expect to finish Sue Grafton's V is for Vengeance audio later tonite and I have several others going on the Nook, but I've spent "getting acquainted" on threads here, and working on the library's annual budget which is due tomorrow, that I've not had much reading time.

If you don't hear from me for a few days, it's because I'm thinking I'm going to take a page from Stasia's book and only check in on LT once a week. I have no will power once I start looking, and I really really want to read.

So......we'll see............

Jan 4, 2012, 8:24pm Top

Ha! Found you!! Is it too late for "Happy New Year!"? I thought not. : ) Can't wait to see what you read this year.

Edited: Jan 5, 2012, 1:24am Top

#1 V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton

Author:Sue Grafton
Publisher-Format: Random House Inc; Books on Tape; audio 15:11 hrs
Narrator: Judy Kaye
Year of publication: 2011
Subject: Shoplifting rings, police corruption, organized crime
Setting: Santa Rosa California
Series: Kinsey Millhone mysteries, The Alphabet Series
Genre: mystery - private detective
Source: public library download

Unlike some writers who get boring and formulaic and whose writing deteriorates as a series progresses, Sue Grafton continues to delight with fresh plots, well-developed characters, and excellent writing. 

In this episode, many of the auxiliary characters we have come to love have very small parts: Henry, Rosie, and William put in only cameo or background appearances.  The story centers around Kinsey's inadvertent witnessing of a shoplifting, and the perpetrator's subsequent questionable suicide.  Hired by the decedent's "fiancé" to prove it was not a suicide, Kinsey suddenly finds the situation dissolving into a very sticky mess, involving a big-hearted loan shark, dirty cops, stereotypical big brawn small brained thugs, unhappily married couples, etc etc. All the players stories come together to produce an ending that  many readers may not be pleased with, and frankly, I'm not sure the resolution is one I feel morally ok with, but given the choices, Grafton's denouement  is solid and convincing.

Grafton has several different points of view running concurrently, a fairly new device for her writing, and she does it well.  In addition to watching Kinsey's investigation, we watch the lives of  one of the "bad guys" and another story line of one of the disaffected spouses and see how their actions and emotions influence what happens as the story progresses.  I haven't read one of these in awhile, and I don't remember previous volumes being quite this involved.  The story line while complex, flows well and Judy Kaye continues to do a great narrating job to keep us listening to the audio (in fact I took the long way home today just so I could finish one of the discs.)

In this series, "V" is every bit as good as "A" was. In fact, if I had time, I'd love to start this series over from the beginning and read them again.  For new readers, the best part is that they can be read as stand alones and there's no need to feel you need to go back to the beginning.  Grab any of them, and be prepared to meet a smart, sassy, level headed private investigator who is one of my favorite characters.  She knows when to involve the police, when to say "no" to stupidity, and generally shows us a professional who generally doesn't participate in activities beyond her scope.  A great way to start the New Year.

Jan 5, 2012, 1:23am Top

Tina, the Kinsey Milhone series is one I've been enjoying for years. When I started it, I think she was on about N or O, and I read them pretty much back to back until I got caught up. Loved it.

Jan 5, 2012, 9:32am Top

I started this series when it first came out and really liked it. But somehow Kinsey got lost in my library around K. When she resurfaced, I felt I was so far behind, I needed to start over so I have her slated for re-reads (rare for me) sometime soon. Glad to hear she's as sassy as ever.

Jan 5, 2012, 7:51pm Top

I guess I need to give the Kinsey series another shot. I only ever read the first book but did not care for it overmuch.

Jan 5, 2012, 9:38pm Top

#32 Same here. I read the A book many, many years ago. I never went back to it.

Jan 6, 2012, 8:33am Top

>32 alcottacre:, 33 - Same here.

Edited: Jan 6, 2012, 10:03pm Top

#2 Believing the Lie

Author: Elizabeth George
Publisher-Format: Penguin Group USA, Dutton Adult, e-galley 615 pages
Year of publication: 2012
Subject: betrayal, family dysfunction, keeping secrets, infertility
Setting: The Lake District, Cumbria, UK
Series: Lyndley/Havers Mysteries
Genre: Mystery - police procedural
Source: e-galley from publisher through Net Galley

It's been a while since Elizabeth George has given us a new episode in the ongoing adventures of Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector Thomas Lyndley and his trusty side-kick Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers.  Believing the Lie was worth every minute of the wait.  It's meaty, some might argue a tad long, but the subtle layers of personal motivation, interwoven stories of various characters, and a crime that defies definition -- (was there a crime?) keep the reader up late at night, turning pages, vowing to read just one more chapter.

There are several story lines going here, all of them inter-related but each also a stand-alone.  Havers is dealing with ambivalent feelings about her (and Lyndley's) new "guv" -the impeccably groomed Isabelle
Ardery whose insistence on Barbara getting a haircut and spiffing up her wardrobe does not sit well with the Sergeant.  Barbara's also dealing with the sudden (and somewhat unwelcome) appearance of the mother of her next door neighbor's daughter.

Debra and Simon are engaged in emotional upheaval revolving around their (in)ability to conceive a child. Lyndley himself is still reeling from the death of his wife Helen three books ago, and is conflicted about his relationship with
Isabelle, engaging in a highly charged sexual affair by night, and keeping an even professional keel in the office.

Scotland Yard Commissioner Lord Hillyer sends Lyndley on an undercover, hush-hush mission to Cumbria to see if the death of his friend Lord Fairclough's nephew was truly accidental as it had been so ruled by the coroner. Because Hillyer doesn't want anyone at the Yard aware of the investigation, Tommy takes his friends Simon and Debra St. James with him, swearing them to secrecy.  He tells Havers only that he will be gone for a few days, and simply tells Isabelle (his boss) that he's on assignment.  All too soon, Sgt Havers gets drawn in to research items for him using the Yard's resources, and Isabelle's nose gets way out of joint.

The Fairclough family is a soap opera in print.  There's marital infidelity, an out of the closet gay couple, neglected children, a nymphomaniac mother, an out-of-control teenager, a recovering drug addict and his secretive wife, a matriarch who wants to control all, a disgruntled tenant farmer, a sour, spoiled-brat spinster daughter, and a divorced couple still living together.  The author manages to keep each of these story lines moving right along without confusion on the reader's part, and in the end ties everything together.  Often authors trying to keep this many balls in the air try to wrap everything up in a neat package with a pretty bow, leaving their readers breathless, confused and frequently disappointed.  George takes her time, drawing out the stories and letting them come to natural  conclusions, even when the reader would have wished for a better or different ending.

George has built on characters introduced earlier in the series, but gives enough back story to provide new readers with a clear sense of who and why.  She has also given us a lot to look forward to in future installments.  Many potential readers are familiar with Lyndley and Havers from the PBS Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of the earlier books, and although those are well done, there is no way the TV specials can include the depth, diversity and delicate nuances of the books.

If you enjoyed the TV show, you'll love the books.  If you're a fan of the series, you will love this one, and if you're new to Tommy and Barbara, grab this one (or one of the earlier ones)---you're in for a treat!

Jan 7, 2012, 12:32am Top

#35: Oh, I have got to read that one! Thanks for the review and recommendation, Tina!

Jan 7, 2012, 9:45am Top

Great review, Tina! I just started this series a couple of months ago - sounds like I have a lot of good reading ahead of me!

Jan 7, 2012, 11:49am Top

#35 What Katie said - thanks for the nudge to get the next book in the series soon.

Jan 8, 2012, 6:36pm Top

Great reviews, Tina! Sounds like you've started out with great reads

Jan 9, 2012, 12:54am Top

You crack merchant you, making the new Elizabeth George sound so irresistible! *trudges off to Amazon*

Jan 10, 2012, 1:40pm Top

That sounds like a fun book. I need to pick back up on the Elizabeth George series so I can get to that one! Thanks for the great review.

Edited: Jan 11, 2012, 9:02pm Top

#3 The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Author:; Paula McLaine
Publisher-Format: Ballantine Books (2011), Hardcover, 336 pages
Subject: Hadley Richardson Hemingway
Setting: Midwest US, Paris, Spain, various Europe
Genre: Historical fiction
Source:Public Library
Meet a goal?Yes- Read Adult Fiction

A nicely written book, nothing special. Written as historical fiction, it tells the story of Ernest Hemingway and his first (he had four!) wife, Hadley Richardson and their five year marriage. It appears to be well-researched and accurate, but the whole story left me depressed, not just about the failed marriage but about the entire life-style.

While Hemingway was gathering "life experiences" for his writing, his wife is often left to her own devices in Paris, with little money, little ambition, and few resources except their group of high-rolling, heavy drinking, party throwing and going friends.

The story unfolds mostly through Hadley's eyes and voice, although every once in a while (three or four times total) the reader is suddenly shifted to Ernest's point of view but in the third person. It was a bit scattered, as they rambled over Europe staying in a series of small apartments unless they could find rich friends to put them up. At times, they seemed the ultimate moochers. 

There were skiing, fishing, hiking, drinking, and bull-fighting scenes to do justice to Ernest's well-known life style.  But there were also scenes of incredible insensitivity to spouses, children, and friends.  

I did appreciate the author's epilogue which allowed us to see how Hadley's life progressed after her marriage to Hemingway ended. 

Definitely worth reading, but probably not a re-read.  Had I not known before I started reading it, I would never have said this was on several lists of "best of 2011."  IMHO, it was good, but not that good.

I originally picked this up because of the time frame 1920-27, thinking there would be more of a post - WW I tie-in, but I certainly didn't find much unless you want to say that all the previously unrecognized PTSD that returning soldiers suffered from was self-medicated with lots of alcohol. Had there been more war veterans involved, I would have been able to buy that, but the main characters here were just a bunch of spoiled, lazy, rich, obnoxious drunks.

Jan 11, 2012, 9:08pm Top

Abandoned Book #1 Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

I really enjoyed Pillars of the Earth but have not been able to get through anything else by this author since then. He can take the most interesting subjects and turn them into unadulterated lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggg drawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn out borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring sleep inducers.

Again, here was one that promised to focus on the world during WW I....alas, the focus was too long in coming clear. Couldn't latch on to the characters, couldn't find the story line. Maybe later.

Jan 11, 2012, 9:14pm Top

I'm reading Hemingway at the moment myself with A Moveable Feast.

Edited: Jan 11, 2012, 9:36pm Top

A moveable feast is on my list..it's supposedly about the same period and events as the Paris wife

Jan 12, 2012, 6:42pm Top

Yes, Tina. I've seen a lot of people comment that they are reading the two of those together. I finished it last night and enjoyed it very much. I'll have to see about finding a copy of The Paris Wife to read in the near future. It looks like our public library has a copy in regular print and one in large print so I should be able to find one on the shelf!

Edited: Jan 12, 2012, 10:40pm Top

#4 Kehinde

Author: Buchi Emecheta
Publisher- Format:Waveland Pr Inc (2005) Paperback, 144 pages
Subject:Women's roles in various cultures
Setting:London, Nigeria
Genre: African literature
Source: Public library
Met a Goal? Yes: Read for Book Clubs, Group Reads

The Blurb:
Kehinde is a Nigerian woman, unsure of herself, not quite certain she has the right to be happy. With her husband, Albert, she has made a home in London, and has a promising career when Albert decides they should return to Nigeria. Kehinde is loath to do so, and joins him later, reluctantly, only to discover that he has taken a second, younger wife. Her years in England have left Kehinde unwilling and unprepared to reembrace Nigerian social mores; and unable to accept the situation, she returns to London.

My Impressions:
This short crisply written book packs a wallop.  The main character Kehinde is a strong, educated but conflicted woman who is trying to reconcile the role of women in two cultures: the polygamous traditions of her native Nigeria where her extended family still lives, and the European customs and mores of monogamous marriage.  She and her husband Albert are both living in England where she has an excellent and well-paying job, a house, two children, and is well respected by everyone except her husband, whose lesser job does not reinforce his perception of his self-importance.  Letters from his sisters (who think he is very wealthy) make him believe he can be a larger than life big man in his home town, and he insists on returning to Nigeria.

When Kehinde, who was left behind to sell the house and wait for her husband to find a job and a house in Nigeria, finally arrives, it is to find the second wife, a small house full of relatives, and her "English" ways very much unappreciated.  How she deals with the disappointment and disillusionment and how she comes to save herself and her dignity make for a compelling story.

Published several years ago, this book was part of our library's "Opening the Windows" book discussion series we've been doing.  Seeing the lives, expectations, opportunities, and traditions of various cultures as they impact the lives of women, has been a truly enriching experience for those of us participating in the group.  This book is well-worth the two or three hours it takes to read it.

Jan 13, 2012, 8:50am Top

Nice review.

Jan 13, 2012, 3:04pm Top

Ok...not sure where to post this, but wanted max exposure so I'm posting on the message board and in the kitchen also. You'd think that this little old librarian would be able to come up with the answer, but my brain (and resources) are drawing a blank. Sometime within the past 5-8 years I read a piece of fiction featuring several women who had been bequeathed custody of a dear friend's ashes. She left them instructions to visit various sites and do certain actions before then scattering parts of her at these places.

I seem to remember that the title had something to do with a journey or trip, or some such, but when I went to recommend to a reader the other day, I had a total senior moment. Anyone out there to help me out? I'm sure the author was female, and there was a male sorta romantic somewhere in there, and woman who was given the main task was very reluctant, and almost resentful to do so.


Jan 13, 2012, 3:52pm Top

Tina - I responded over on the Message Board thread but could it be Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral?

Edited: Jan 13, 2012, 5:10pm Top

Hi Tina- I liked your review of The Paris Wife. I enjoyed it a bit more than you but it did make a terrific companion piece to Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.
Fall of Giants does sound tiresome but some readers have really liked it. I really like Follet's early thrillers.

Jan 13, 2012, 5:10pm Top

Definitely have A Moveable Feast on the list.

Jan 13, 2012, 5:39pm Top

Hi, Tina! :)

Jan 13, 2012, 11:13pm Top

Very nice reviews as always, Tina. I noted especially your remarks on Follett. I've been afraid to start Pillars of the Earth--so much hype can often lead to disappointment for me. Still, it's here, so eventually I'll be drawn in, I'm sure.

Jan 13, 2012, 11:35pm Top

Gail...I really liked Pillars of the Earth but I did do that one in audio when I was really lying low with an RA flareup. The narration by John Lee was fabulous. I read this when it first came out in 1989 - we had just moved and were waiting to close on a house. it was a good meaty book to keep me from going crazy while I was living with relatives. The audio which I listened to a few years ago, really brought lots of the characters to life. i was so excited to read the next one World without End but just could not get it going either in print or audio. I thought perhaps it was just doing two biggies in a row.

And this WW I was just as bad - way too much material, too many characters and as my kids say way TMI. I'll get my WW I reading from many other goods ones. Good to see you back tho. Keep lurking.

Jan 14, 2012, 1:22am Top

So HERE you are! I wondered where you were hiding! Well, now that I've found you, I hope to be able to keep up. (haha)

I loved A Moveable Feast and really have to read The Paris Wife soon.

Jan 14, 2012, 5:47am Top

I think I'm with you on Follett. I read World without end without having read Pillars of the Earth first. I enjoyed it well enough as a kind of page turner, but the plot was a bit soap opera-ish and the writing not more than functional, and I haven't felt the need to be reading any more of his.

Jan 14, 2012, 4:04pm Top

Great review of Kehinde!

Edited: Jan 16, 2012, 10:08am Top

Hi Tina, I admire you for trying to stay away from LT on a daily basis. I'm limiting myself to being here twice a day and I still can't keep up! I'll give Ken Follet's Fall of Giants a go when I have plenty of time and patience. He does go on... and on. ;-)

I'm also glad you found The Paris Wife to be nothing special. Another one I'll read at some point just to see the female side of A Moveable Feast but it looks like I don't need to be in any hurry. Whew! Sometimes I postpone reading your thread because of those book bullets.

Jan 16, 2012, 8:45pm Top

#5 Trespasser

Author: Paul Doiron
Publisher-Format: MacMillan Audio, 9:39, 320 page equivalent
Narrator: Henry Leyva
Year of publication: 2011
Subject:Maine Game wardens
Setting: coastal Maine
Series: Mike Bowditch (2)
Genre: mystery- law enforcement professionals
Source: public library download
Recommended? - Yes if you like mysteries or Maine

In this second installment of the (mis)adventures of Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch, Paul Doiron has given us a protagonist who is still recovering from the events in the first book of the series, The Poacher's Son.  While this one could stand alone, I think readers will not grasp the full extent of Mike's inner turmoil, and the demons he is still wrestling with unless they've read the first one.

The book opens when Mike is called by a demanding and irate citizen who cannot understand why the warden must follow certain procedures before just barging off to "arrest those dirt-bags."  At the same time, he is called to the scene of a car-deer encounter on a dark, foggy road (an not uncommon occurence in Maine), only to discover that the deer (presumably dead) is gone, and the driver of the vehicle is missing. When an obnoxious state trooper finally appears on the scene (he should have been the one to handle the case to begin with) and dismisses the missing driver with a remark that she was probably trying to avoid an OUI, Mike is outraged but too tired and muddy to stick around and challenge the other officer.

Once at home, the niggling clues that don't fit the trooper's assessment begin to bother him, and his rebellious and hard-headed nature once again kicks in.  What happened to the girl?  Is she OK?  When he tries to find out, he meets roadblocks at every corner, while his inner radar continues to pick up vibes that something is definitely wrong.  When the girl is found dead, the town and local cops are spooked by the resemblance to another murder seven years ago.  From there on, we watch as Mike becomes a self-destructive one man posse bent on proving everyone else wrong
Girlfriend Sarah has returned, but doesn't appear inclined to make their relationship more permanent until Mike agrees to counseling.  Mike's boss Kathy has only a cameo appearance in this one, as do his old friends the retired game warden Charley and his wife Ora.  Once again, the book is replete with lush descriptions of Maine's natural settings, its wildlife, and its citizens; it shows us again the very intense and necessary role the Game Wardens play in law enforcement in Maine. There are bodies, bad guys, suspects, and bosses galore.  Doiron shows us the close relation between the local sheriffs, police departments, the state police and the game wardens.  His portrait of Maine continues to enlighten and delight, and his mystery plotting is spot-on.

I do hope that Mike and Sarah can get their relationship back onto a positive track and begin moving forward.  Mike is young (he's only been a warden for two years) and he has a lot to learn in the life department, but readers have become invested in getting this young man to adulthood, and look forward to the next novel in the series.

Jan 16, 2012, 10:10pm Top

I need to keep my eye out for that series. I like mysteries and Maine!

Jan 17, 2012, 12:34am Top


Jan 17, 2012, 12:59am Top

Hi Tina, just making my way through a few new threads and see you abandoned the Ken Follett. Good for you! I really liked Pillars but haven't felt the need to dive into the other one. I reread Eye of the Needle a while ago as my mother pressed it on me.

Jan 18, 2012, 10:45am Top

Hi Tina!! Kehinde sounds like a great read and nice reviews all around. I agree: Follett was less exciting the second time around.

Edited: Jan 19, 2012, 10:14pm Top

#6 The Sense of An Ending Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher-Format: Alfred A. Knopf, Hardcover, 176 pages
Year of publication: 2011
Subject: The meaning of life
Genre: literary fiction
Source: public library
Recommended? Absolutely. A must - read

There are a few books so well-written, so stunning in their impact, and perfect in their ability to stop us in mid-thought that they defy conventional review.

I am not normally excited when I see the label "Winner of the Man Booker Prize" - I've read several good ones, but I've read others that have left me cold. This one however, is the best of the best. The book jacket describes it as being one of "Stunning psychological and emotional depth and sophistication."

It is a short book, written in a clear, flowing, soothing style. It's not flashy, the sentences are not convoluted. Instead, the prose is eloquent, graceful and so thought-provoking as to be almost breath-taking. Basically it's the story of one man, Anthony Webster and his attempt to reconcile the memories of his early life with the realities of his later one.

He seems to build his musings on a quote from Patrick Lagrange : "history is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation."

The protagonist ruminates further: "It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others."

There's no real plot, but as we are inexorably drawn to the end, we are suddenly confronted with an climax that is not foreseen. Anthony tells us, "Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn't all it's cracked up to be."

This is a must read book. I won't spoil it by revealing anymore.  I got it from the library, but it will definitely be added to my personal library.

Jan 19, 2012, 9:57pm Top

>65 tututhefirst: A non-review, eh? it's going around, apparently.

Jan 19, 2012, 10:18pm Top

OK Richard.....It's done. Now you can come back. I had to go get an expresso chip brownie to renew my strength

Jan 19, 2012, 10:22pm Top

Man, I have really got to get to the Barnes' book one of these days!

*waving* at Tina

Jan 19, 2012, 10:23pm Top

"Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn't all it's cracked up to be."

Worth the purchase price just for that one!

Jan 19, 2012, 11:18pm Top

The Mike Bowditch series seems like one I'd really enjoy. The first one is already on my list -- from when you read it, I think -- and now I'm more eager to get to it than ever.

Jan 20, 2012, 12:15am Top

Hi Kim, Donna, Kerry, Terry, Ilena, Stasia,Richard, Genny, kate, Mark, Mary, and anyone else I missed It's great to have you all stop by. I'm doing a lot of reading, and a lot of thread trolling right now. I've been trying to visit at least one "new" person (at least new to me) every day, while keeping up with all my old (you know what I mean) pals, the library job, and culling through thousands of e-books trying to decide which to purchase for the library's download program.

In the meantime, I'm reading like crazy (see my latest blog post for the currently reading juggling act. It helps that we're finally getting some decent (but not spectacular) snow. The ice/sleet mess we had last week has made it very difficult, not to mention de-motivating to go anyplace except to a comfy chair by one of the fireplaces. Skidding around icy bends along a deep quarry is NOT my idea of excitement, so I let Mr. Tutu hike out to the road to hitch a ride with a neighbor if we need anything right now. We did have a slight emergency when we almost ran out of cat food, but we figured with four cans of clams, and 6 cans of tuna in the pantry, they would not starve to death. Anyway, the 6" of snow we are currently getting, will take a lot of the slick away, so we can 4WD out of here again.

So darlings, it's past midnight, and I want to go lie down and listen to Sarah Graves to see how she's going to put her demolished bathroom together in time for a party of 40 who are about to descend on her house - The Book of Old Houses is one of the best in the series so far.

Nite nite all, and Richard, please save me some goodies from the cocktail party--I finished the spinach/artichoke spread this afternoon before I ventured out to choir practice (a disaster that!) so any pu-pus you have would be appreciated, if only virtually.

Jan 20, 2012, 11:14am Top

Hi Tina: Nice idea to visit one new person each day. I tend to keep old friends in mind but forget about meeting new ones.

We're also expecting 6 inches of snow. Our non-winter is certainly gone but a couple of modest snows and a cold day or two is not bad at all.

Jan 20, 2012, 1:09pm Top

Jan 21, 2012, 11:45pm Top

#7 Shakespeare's Champion by Charlaine Harris.
I've been reading several heavy books about World War I, a biography and a memoir, so this almost cozy mystery was a good change of pace when I needed a breather

Author:Charlaine Harris
Publisher-Format: e-book, New York : St. Martin's Press, 1997, 170 pages
Subject: solving murder
Setting: Shakespeare Arkansas
Series: Lily Bard mysteries
Genre: mystery - amateur sleuth, police procedure, private detective
Source: public library download
Recommended? Yes if you like mysteries, strong women and good police stories

I do really like this series by Charlaine Harris. More adventures of house cleaner, rape victim, super karate, Tae kwan do champion Lily Bard, and her various beaus. Set in Arkansas it also shows a not so nice side of southern rednecks and their racial prejudices. Lily's not a person I can warm up to, but then she doesn't want anyone to warm up to her. She's very much a loner, having been so damaged earlier in life that she's taking things very slowly, and not letting anyone get too close to her.

The immediate dead body in this one is a fellow weight lifter found dead at the gym, but there are other murders from prior times that are drawn into the web of investigation. Several new characters, several from before, and some fantastic fight scenes. I'm not into martial arts, but I have no trouble following Harris' excellent description of Lily's interactions with the bad guys.

Good plot, great characters, and a terrific ending. There are lots of reviews written about this one, so I'm not going to do a formal one, but will say this is a series that is entertaining enough for anyone liking a southern setting, a strong woman, and cops who are actually competent.

Jan 22, 2012, 6:28pm Top

I just can't get into Lily Bard, though I do enjoy Harris's writing skills. I like Aurora Teagarden a lot better.

Jan 22, 2012, 7:35pm Top

I actually like all Harris's series except for Sookie. Aurora is probably a touch too treacly to take in large doses, but I do still love the stories.

Jan 22, 2012, 7:39pm Top

Maybe I'll try this Harris series (Shakespeare's Champion); the Teagarden books just weren't my cup of tea.

Jan 23, 2012, 4:48pm Top

I read a few of the Shakespeare's series and found them not to my liking, alas. Maybe they get better later on in the series?

Jan 25, 2012, 2:00pm Top

Hi, Tina; finally found my way back.

Read through your reviews again; the Elizabeth George one is especially good.

Do you think a man would be interested in the Maine detective stories, or do you think their primary target audience is female? He likes the Spenser series.

Jan 25, 2012, 2:34pm Top

#79: Gail, if by Maine detective stories you mean the Paul Doiron Mike Bowditch series, definitely yes. These are very outdoorsy, full of beer-drinking, fast driving, testosterone pumped persona. Hope that doesn't sound too stereotyped, but these are books that I know men here at our library are reading.

Jan 26, 2012, 12:37pm Top

Dropped in to say WOW about 11/22/63.

That is all.

Jan 26, 2012, 1:03pm Top

Dropping by and think your review of the Barnes book has pushed me over the edge! Finally putting it on the wishlist.

Edited: Jan 26, 2012, 2:18pm Top

Message 81-Glad to hear that as I have it here just waiting to become one of my 75 this year. I got it for Christmas from myself...ahem...i mean the husband.

Jan 26, 2012, 3:43pm Top

Move it up the list Mary Beth! Read soon soon!

Jan 26, 2012, 10:02pm Top

I just downloaded the sample of 11/22/63 for my Nook....they gave me 105 pages! and Yes Richard, you are correct, even tho I am not normally a time-travel person, I was alive, well, and very very involved that whole weekend (my husband actually sang at the funeral)..and after the first 20 pages, I'm hooked. So I'm thinking I'll be pushing that "buy" button real soon. We still have lots of B&N gift cards to use, but we're both being very selective about what we buy, since our book habit is a little out of control at this point.

DEFINTELY GOING TO BE READ SOON, even if I have to skip the food game.

Jan 26, 2012, 10:03pm Top

I absolutely loved 11/22/63, staying up til 1 or 2 am several nights in a row to finish it.

Jan 26, 2012, 10:06pm Top

does the 11/22/63 Nook have the lend me aspect?

Jan 26, 2012, 10:20pm Top

Cheli....haven't bought the book yet, but if it does, and Lisa doesn't want to borrow, I'll mark a hold for you!!!

Jan 26, 2012, 11:09pm Top

>85 tututhefirst: Oh boy oh boy oh boy!!

Edited: Jan 27, 2012, 4:16pm Top

Well, I've been reading and trying to keep up with threads here on LT, file annual reports for the library, and do a million other little things called "life." So I may not get reviews posted any time soon, but I'll be dropping a note to keep my list up to date. I'm actually considering putting LEECH BLOCK on my computer to stop me spending so much time chatting and force me (oh yeah, like twist my arm) to go sit quietly and READ. Parties are fun, but I'm beginning to feel just like I did last year....too much party is making me crazy, so I'm backing off and reading. Don't want to have to pull the plug altogether.....

#8 Book of Old Houses by Sarah Graves
In this series, Sarah Graves gives her readers a wonderful cast of characters, a totally picturesque setting (Eastport Maine) , and some lessons in home repair many of us hope never to have to use. I just wish sometimes her plots weren't so unbelievable. More to the point, I wish her two amateur sleuths weren't so gol-blamed stupid to put themselves into the situations they get into.
see full review here on the blog.

This was my swimming audio for the past week or so, but due to a combo of icky weather, icy driveway and arthritis flareups, I haven't gotten much ear-reading done. Am becoming absolutely addicted to my Nook. Hence

#9 House of Prayer No.2 by Mark Richard

This one was a complete surprise to me. I downloaded it from the library out of just plain curiosity - hadn't seen very much buzz here, or on the blogs. And that's a shame. THIS IS AN OUTSTANDING PIECE OF WRITING. Great memoir, great capturing of place and time, and written in the 2nd person....something that took a few minutes to settle into, but boyo boyo does it work. Mark Richard is an incredible writer. Once I started this, all 7 of the other books I had going got shoved aside and I spent every spare minute for the next two days reading it. It's the story of his childhood and rather adventurous and torturous adolescence and early manhood. Labeled a "special child" from birth, he shows us how a life of poverty, labels, physical deformity all played a role in making him the incredible writer he is today.

RUN don't walk to get a copy..I will try to do a more meaty review when I feel up to it, but just trust your Tutu.....this one is not just good, it's outstanding. Coming on top of just having finished The Sense of an Ending I'm feeling like 2012 is gonna be a very good reading year.

#10A Vine in the Blood by Leighton Gage

Leighton Gage's Inspector Mario Silva series is really growing on me. This is the fifth, and IMHO, the best so far. Inspector Silva is a Brasilian Commissarrio Brunetti, for those of you familiar with Donna Leon's wonderful series set in Venice. In this one, the Federal Police (of which Silva is a member) are charged with solving the kidnapping of the mother of Brasil's star soccer player just as the World Cup is about to be contested. Of course everyone wants to blame the arch-rival Argentinians, but Silva suspects several other possibilities.

This one is particularly much better than earlier ones because Gage has learned how to tell us about heinous crimes without pages and pages of blood and gore. I had almost gotten to the point where I couldn't read them, and sent the author an email to that effect. Evidently (and he was kind enough to respond and send a review copy of this one) he got the message from a broad spectrum of readers. You don't need to read earlier ones in the series, this one can easily stand alone. It's a good mystery, has some fun characters, and is very au courant politically.

Jan 27, 2012, 4:21pm Top

So Tutu is trying to end the month by finishing at least one of the two WW I books I have going:

Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman - I have this both in audio and on the Nook, so I should be able to stay up with it. and The Beauty and the Sorrow by Peter Englund - a series of vignettes about 20 different people in different countries, each having a different role in the war.

I'm about 1/2 through my current presidential bio for James Monroe, and about 1/3 through Five Chiefs by John Paul Stevens, an ER book I'm long overdue on for a review.

I also have to read Farming of Bones for February's book club, and then I'll be able to take a breath and pick a BOMB to jump start that part of my challenge.

I'm avoiding the library as much as I can, but when I have to spend 3-5 hours a week going through the catalog for the Downloadable books for Maine State (and spending their money buying them!!!!), it's worse than LT for adding to the giant, tottering, tipping TBR pile.

Ta- ta darlings, Tutu's off to read...

Jan 27, 2012, 4:26pm Top

3 BBs in one message, my sister! What are you trying to do to me? Haven't you heard my reading time is curtailed? I'm going to have to add them to my wishlist. unless they are loanable?

Jan 27, 2012, 4:32pm Top

Cheli....Libraries and DRM protected galleys....so sorry...but you've got plenty to keep you busy.

Jan 27, 2012, 5:00pm Top

Tina's on a BB roll.

I already own the Tuchman book, a Leighton Gage book, and the Supreme Court. I need to get to those.

Jan 27, 2012, 5:32pm Top

Thank you Tina, for the info. on the Paul Dorion series. Sounds like Dh would love it for light reading.

The Mark Richard book sounds soooo good....

Jan 27, 2012, 7:14pm Top

Tina- See, you've been found out! By not visiting my thread more closely. My first book of the year was House of prayer No.2. You ended your review with "RUN don't walk to get a copy.." and I wrapped mine up with "Do not just add this to your wish list, go out and find a copy…now! ". I think that is 2 terrific endorsements and I hope we snag a few more fans.
Enjoy your weekend!

Jan 27, 2012, 9:35pm Top

Tina, do you swim with an iPod? I've been afraid to try the waterproof cases for my Nano, but if it works for you, I'll try it too. Did you need to buy special headphones as well?

Jan 27, 2012, 10:23pm Top

>97 ffortsa:...Judy, I definitely swim with my MP3(same as an iPod). The waterproof arm pouch I got comes with earbuds attached. i have never had any problem and I use it at least 3 hours a week in the pool---have had it for about two years now. I got it on Amazon but I don't see the exact one I got anymore. There are several (some have headphones, others you have to buy separately.)..

I did see one very similar to mine at OverBoard Pro --the video shows exactly how it works.

Jan 29, 2012, 12:10am Top

I was just trying to catch up on some blogs I read regularly and saw this awesome post by Leighton Gage, author of The Vine in the Blood -msg #90. It's about a really interesting book format I've not seen before :

There are several pictures on the blog and a very interesting description of these hanging booklets. A definite addition to our book literacy y'all. Have a great weekend.


Jan 29, 2012, 12:57am Top

You have a great one too, Tina!

Edited: Jan 30, 2012, 10:30pm Top

#11 Messenger of Truth, a Maisie Dobbs Mystery by Jacqueline Winspear

Got the tail feathers on the Great Blue Heron cross-stitch almost finished while listening to this yesterday. Had to work all day in the library training and recruiting new volunteers, so not much reading.

Listening to Guns of August for the next few evenings, hoping to continue the stitching...

Back after 1 1/2 hrs on phone with Mom....I was going to say that this Maisie Dobbs was a good one for my WWI challenge since it addresses the plight of Britain after the war - changes in social structures, excess unemployment, large numbers of widows and orphans, lack of good medical care, and society's failure at coping with "shell shocked" and wounded veterans, those we now recognize as suffering from PTSD.

I was a bit disappointed in the turn the series is starting to take. I can handle Maisie being a private investigator and I can handle Maisie being a psychologist (even given the rather crude level of expertise of the discipline at that time), I can handle Maisie being a single woman in what was still a man's world, but her introspection and clairvoyance, and almost preaching about war are beginning to get to me. I don't think it was Maisie's problem as much as it was the author not being able to make a point without turning it into a sermon. Doesn't mean I won't give them another go....the series is very good, and I want to see what happens to Billie's family.

Feb 1, 2012, 8:16pm Top

Hi, Tina!

I've added the first of the Inspector Silva series to my list. House of Prayer No. 2 was already there from Mark's review, but I may bump it up the list to grab from the county library.

Feb 1, 2012, 8:26pm Top

Hi Terri - just be aware that the 1st Inpector Silva is definitely gory. Great story but lots of blood and guts.

Feb 2, 2012, 3:04pm Top

Here's a really cool post with before/after pictures of the whole Downton Abbey crew. What a difference cosmetics and costumes can make!

Now I'm thinking Brendan Coyle to play Russ VanArsdale if Julia Spencer-Fleming ever makes it to the screen!

Feb 3, 2012, 9:16pm Top

Thanks for sharing the link, Tina! I loved that they included the dog. I'll be picturing Brendan Coyle when I finally read my Spencer-Fleming book! :)

Edited: Feb 4, 2012, 9:43pm Top

Watching a wonderful show on the History Channel (H2) about the Library of Congress....learning lots of little factoids I either didn't know or had forgotten.

Washington's first map of his Mt Vernon property was especially interesting - we actually lived on part of that land until we moved up here to Maine!

But why oh why do we want to keep 124,000 old telephone directories (and they're adding 8000 a year!)?

Edited: Feb 4, 2012, 10:21pm Top

Delurking to say that our Special Collections librarian tells me telephone directories are extremely interesting to historians and genealogists. Being neither, I can only guess that they're a handy sort of snapshot of a community.

Feb 4, 2012, 11:02pm Top

>107 swynn:....that makes sense! Now I'll have to go find something important to worry about!

Feb 5, 2012, 7:27am Top

The phone books can serve much like a city directory in placing an ancestor in a certain location at a certain time. It would be particularly helpful in determining which year someone moved.

Feb 5, 2012, 1:59pm Top

Hey, we're looking into a tour of the Library of Congress as part of the Spring DC meetup. You come down and join us!

Feb 5, 2012, 2:42pm Top

Had to delurk to thank you for the link, Tina. What a difference make up and costumes make indeed.

Feb 5, 2012, 3:10pm Top

Jim....if the LOC tour in on the line-up I will almost definitely be there. Would it be ok to bring tag-alongs (like hubbie, adult daughter, very grown=up 11 year old g-dtr?)

Feb 5, 2012, 3:18pm Top

Absolutely! My wife enjoys coming along and tells me I have excellent taste in online friends! :)

Feb 5, 2012, 3:50pm Top

#12 Five Chiefs by John Paul Stevens

Author: John Paul Stevens
Publisher-Format: Little, Brown and Company (2011),Hardcover, 304 pages 
Subject: Supreme Court Justices
Genre: political narrative
Source: my own shelves - a "win" from LibraryThing Early Review program
Recommended? not unless you really like reading case law
2 1/2 stars

Wow....this was a huge disappointment. I have always admired Justice Stevens, and saw an interview with him just as he retired in which he talked about writing the book, and how he was planning to structure it, so I was excited when I received this one back in October from the ER program. Somehow though, I just couldn't get into it, and it took me until today to make myself sit down and finish it. I had been nibbling at it for weeks, and just wanted to get it over with.

I thought I was going to get some insider insight on each of the five Chief Justices under whom he served. For each of these distinguished gentlemen, I got about a paragraph's worth of non-legalese. The rest would probably make interesting reading to law clerks, law students, and maybe constitutional lawyers. There was way too much personal opinion about whether so and so made a good decision, what lead up to the case coming to the Supreme Court, and whether he (Justice Stevens was on the pro or con side of a decision).

The writing was obviously from someone used to writing legal briefs to uphold a particular point of view, and to enumerate cogent arguments. I have trouble even assigning it the genre "memoir" because it was too apologetic (in the Greek "apologetics" sense of the word). It was more a political or sociological exposé of court procedures, and even these boiled down to a recitation of who assigned the decisions to be written, and who changed the schedule. Aside from Justice Rehnquist's gold stripes on his robe, there was very little that gave me any feel for the personalities of the five.

Perhaps readers with differing expectations will find it more to their liking.  It was well edited, and there were lots of illustrations, but I would have much preferred some more informal shots of the five featured subjects than the constant "class photos" that are sprinkled throughout.  I guess it just wasn't my cuppa.

Feb 5, 2012, 11:40pm Top

I'll pass.

Feb 6, 2012, 5:54am Top

Sorry the last book was such a disappointment, Tina. Doesn't sound like my cuppa tea eather.

Feb 6, 2012, 12:07pm Top

#114 Sorry to hear that, Tina.

In some ways, while I wanted personal stuff, I was hoping his book had legal analysis in it, too, though even I would prefer more of a blend.

Still looking forward to it. I haven't taken Constitutional Law in 30 years but, hopefully, it'll all come back to me.

Feb 8, 2012, 4:44pm Top

Slogging along.....I have too many books going at once, too much going on in life. I finished another Maisie Dobbs, but got out of order. Not sure I'll get a review done, but suffice it to say, they are delightful easy reads even tho some of the issues she deals with are not light and fluffy. These are a good supplement tho to the heavy heavy reading I'm doing for WW I group. So, besides

1. finishing up two annual reports due for the library
2. holding the book club together whilst others traipse off to FLorida for a few months of sunshine,
3. slip-sliding my way up the hilly road to leave Casa Tutu and out into the world for such things as shopping and doctor's appts,
4. negotiating a new health club membership at a pool that is closer, warmer and has better hours (although the locker room sucks),
5. lurking through hundreds of posts from fellow readers and bloggers each weekend and
6. totalling ignoring anything even resembling regular housekeeping at Casa Tutu.......

I've not shown much progress in the books completed department. However, friends and sports fans (even those of you who join us in mourning the PATS while we eagerly await spring training's opening)----STAND BY. I am reaching critical mass on several of my chunksters and think that by the end of Feb, I'll have finished several of them. I've working on (and intend to finish) ---in this order

1. Farming of Bones - the last of our book club series on women's stories from around the world (we meet a week from today so this is at the top of the list)
2. Juliette Gordon Low - a review copy from Penguin - it's due out this month to celebrate Girl Scout's centennial
3. the bio of James Monroe for my US President's challenge - I'm about 60% done
4. Destiny of the Republic - my current pool audio - very very interesting

and I may or may not finish The Guns of August which is absolutely fascinating (I have it on my Nook and in audio) but I'm taking a nice leisurely time with it and with The Beauty and the Sorrow. Bob dug out a wonderful tome he used when he was teaching history to 10th graders - it's The Concise Atlas of World History that shows the ebb and flow of geographic and political boundaries through the years, and has a really good graphic depiction of the German attack on the West in August 1914, the subject of Tuchman's book. It is so helpful when reading something with this many players to have a scorecard to refer to.

So stick around amigos, Tutu is still reading and sending hugs to all who lurk herein.

Feb 9, 2012, 7:01pm Top

Wow! That's all I've got to say, just "Wowser!"

Edited: Feb 10, 2012, 11:29am Top

Abandoned book: A moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Boring, boring, borish, churlish, pompous and just plain gave me a case of OH PUHLEEZ...we are not impressed with who you wasted your life with , neglected your wife and child over, and worried about how much money you didn't have to spend when you could go off to Austria and ski for 4-5 months, leaving your child with a nanny the whole time. GIVE ME A BREAK.

I actually read 1/2 this piece of trash for two reasons: I was curious to see whether this matched The Paris Wife which was a fictionalized account of his wife's side of the story. I enjoyed that one much more than this. And I had joined a blog led read-along so I thought perhaps others would give me some insights I wasn't getting. I think most of the readers in that group (not an LT group BTW) are much younger, and are in some AWE of big names, and Paris. I've never been to Paris, and although I still do passably well with my 6 years of HS/College french, I have no desire to go if it means I'm going so I can sit in the exact place that Hemingway and Joyce drank together. GET OVER IT PEOPLE!

When I got the part where Hems and his wife left their child in a crib BEING WATCHED BY A CAT, I tripped out and the only thing that kept me from flinging said piece of trash across the room was that it resided on my NOOK. What a total waste of $$$

RUN, don't walk, away from this one.

P.S other than that, I didn't feel strongly about it.

Feb 10, 2012, 12:24pm Top

A fair and balanced opinion, Tina. One with which, *completely* coincidentally, I concur heartily.

Your reading schedule is a heavy one, indeed. Keep 11/22/63 simmering towards the front of the queue, is all I'll recommend.

Ain't Barbara Tuchman grand? Have you read A Distant Mirror yet? I was absolutely riveted by that book way back when.

Feb 10, 2012, 1:03pm Top

The few times that I have "tried" Hemingway,
I thought t was a bunch or drivel and couldn't figure out what everyone thought was so great. Maybe I haven't tried the right ones, but this definitely sounds like one I'm not going to try.

Feb 10, 2012, 1:13pm Top

The Sun Also Rises is the best book Hemingway wrote, so maybe give that a whirl, Cheli.

Tina, peek at your FB notifications. I made a suggestion to you.

Feb 10, 2012, 1:17pm Top

#11 Messenger of Truth
and #13 The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear

I've become quite a fan of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs novels.  They are especially well done in audio, and make for the perfect relaxing ear-read when I want to get a break from some of the heavier tomes I'm reading at this time. Maisie keeps my attention, makes me use my brain to follow her adventures, and the novels provide an excellent picture of England (and to a lesser extent France) between the two World Wars.

Messenger of Truth is probably my least favorite of the series so far. Maisie is hired by Georgina Bassington-Hope to investigate the unusual circumstances of her twin brother's death. Nick, who was an artist apparently fell from a scaffold while preparing to hang his defining work for an exhibit. No one knows what this work looks like, or where Nick has stored it, and Georgina is convinced that although the police have ruled his death accidental, he was actually helped to his death (murdered?). She hires Maisie to dig out the truth. And of course Maisie comes through. The story again was well written, well-plotted (the ending is stunning), but I just found parts of it a bit of a stretch. Still well worth the time though.

The Mapping of Love and Death on the other hand, was fascinating. In this one, Maisie is hired by an American couple (the Cliftons) to discover if and how and by whom their son was murdered. Mr. Clifton (the father) emigrated from England to America, and his son Michael, a trained cartographer, returns to England in 1914 shortly after the outbreak of WWI to serve in the British army. He is killed in action, but his remains are not recovered until the time of this story - around 1930. The post-mortem shows that Michael may not have died from enemy fire, and Maisie sets out to find the truth. In her delving into this mystery, we are introduced into the role of the Army cartographers, a subject I found quite interesting. It added another bit of information and filtering to use in my World War I reading.

This one has a lot going on, and to tell anymore would be to invite huge spoilers. I didn't realize until I was already into the story, that I had picked this one out of order -- I jumped from #4 to #7-- so I have three  more (5,6, and 8) delightful stories to look forward to before the newest one appears in bookstores the end of March.  I'm looking forward to doing a lot of swimming so I can listen to these in peace and quiet.

Feb 10, 2012, 1:26pm Top

Richard, thanks for the support on ole Hems....and YES ! you are absolutely correct about Barbara Tuchman-- I loved A Distant Mirror --again like you I read it eons ago.

Now somebody tell me the name of a terrific book (I thought Tuchman wrote it, but when I look it doesn't show up in her oeuvres that is about the partitioning of India and Pakistan---something like A Bell Tolls at Midnight or such?

I guess I could go trolling through my three thousand books here at home, but they're sorta filed alpha by author and I can't find it!!!

I know someone out there in LT land will know!

Feb 10, 2012, 1:35pm Top

Freedom at Midnight. Published around the thirtieth anniversary of the partition. It still resonates through the world political scene, and it's coming up on 65 years ago.

Feb 10, 2012, 2:24pm Top

Richard....you should be a librarian! You win the prize. That's exactly it. It came out while I was in Library School, and I found it great reading to help escape from some of the tedious course work reading. it certainly wasn't a light read, but exceptionally well -written (at least from my perspective 35 years ago). Must dig it out and put it on the re-read shelf. For some reason, I just want to dive in again.

Edited: Feb 10, 2012, 5:25pm Top

#14 The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat

Author: Edwidge Danticat
Publisher-Format: Penguin (Non-Classics) Paperback, 312 pages
Year of publication 1999
Subject: Genocide of Haitians in Hispaniola
Setting: Border between Haiti and Dominican Republic
Genre: historical fiction
Source: Maine Humanities Council "Let's Read About It" book discussion series
Recommended? absolutely, but with warnings about graphic violence

This was the last book in our discussion series of women's stories we've been having at my local library.  I'm not sure I was looking forward to it, because I'd heard it was "heavy" "depressing" and "a downer".  After four previous reads of the trials and tribulations and degredation and humiliation of women in various cultures, I approached this one out of obligation (I'm the group facilitator) more than enthusiasm.

I'm so glad I read it.  Whle those adjectives I'd heard can certainly be applied, the book is also lyrical in its ability to describe unspeakable violence,  revealing in its historical detail, stimulating in pushing the reader to search out more about this time and epoch.  Seen through the eyes of a young Haitian orphan Amabelle Desir who was raised by a middle class Dominican family, and her lover Sebastian Onius, a Haitian who has come to the DR side of the island of Hispaniola seeking work in the cane fields (known as the farming of bones) we learn of the extreme racial tension between the Haitians, who speak a bastardized French known as Kreyol, and the Dominicans who are of Spanish extraction and who also number among them many blacks of African descent.  This story dwells almost completely on the massacre of Haitians who were living and working in the Dominican Republic during the reign of Generalissimo Trujillo, and certainly leaves this reader hungry to find out more of the background and history of the peoples of this island.

The story of Amabelle's life before, during, and after the massacre is bone-chilling.  It is difficult to imagine how any woman could survive such violence.  Her inner strength seems to have come from her parents, who drowned crossing the river between the two countries, while she stood on the "wrong side" and watched it happen.  In her mind, as she replayed the story over and over again, she heard her parents' encouragement, felt their love, and knew that someday she too would float off in the river to join them.  In the meantime, she accepted her fate, used her inate talents, and became a trusted member of her adoptive family (although in a servant's role.)

It was a difficult book to read, but it was so well written that once I picked it up and began, I found it even more difficult to put down.  I finished it in less than a day.  Edwidge Danticat has given us a striking picture of a woman's strength of character, and inspired us to look more into history to see what the world can do to insure no other women (or their menfolk) have to endure such atrocities in the future.  It is not a book for the timid, nor is it a book for young readers, but by late high school, it is excellent reading for all who need to be exposed to the cruelty man has wreaked upon his fellow humans.

Feb 10, 2012, 2:50pm Top

>127 tututhefirst: *bows* I liked it, too, when I read it, but it makes me so damned angry at human obtuseness and ill-will that I can't imagine re-reading it ever again.

>128 tututhefirst: Thumbs-upped that one!

Feb 10, 2012, 11:03pm Top

Tina - One of the few books I have thrown away was A Farewell to Arms hundreds of pages of conversation with little end result. Don't dislike For Whom the Bell Tolls but give me John Steinbeck anyday as the embodiment of proper Amercian Lit.

The Farming of Bones looks like harrowing but essential reading and it goes on my already unmanageable hitlist accordingly.

Feb 11, 2012, 3:17am Top

Tina--I totally understand your dilemma about reading...books or LT? Playing catchup here. I really like Danticat, so I may have to add that one to the list. Nice review. Hugs!

Edited: Feb 12, 2012, 6:23pm Top

#15Destiny of the Republic

A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
Author: Candice Millard
Publisher-Format: Doubleday (2011), ARC, 352 pages
also Audio: Books on Tape, 9 hours, 47 minutes
Narrator: Paul  Michael
Subject: The assassination of Charles Garfield
Setting: Washington DC, various other US cites
Genre:historical narrative, biography
Source: ARC from publisher, audio from public library
Recommended? Defintely.

A wonderful surprise.  I'm ashamed to say I've had this ARC sitting on my shelf since last July and while I wanted to read it, I just couldn't find enough inspiration to butt it up in the queue.  Two weeks ago, I saw it available on the library's audio download, and I grabbed it.  Once I started listening, I couldn't stop. Instead of the standard biography, Millard has given us a masterful study of the era of the late 19th century when the country was finally beginning to mend from the Civil War.  She does this in a unique presentation from three different perspectives: that of Garfield and the politics of the Republican party; that of the megolamaniac Charles Guiteau, Garfield's "assassin", and the scientific influences of the times as we meet Alexander Graham Bell, and Joseph Lister the author of the theory of disease causing micro-organisms.

These seemingly disparate stories come together as Millard shows us Garfield's love of learning, particularly science. Having served successfully in the Union Army, he then served nine terms as Ohio Congressman until his unanticipated nomination for President on the Republican ticket. Our science/medicine lesson begins with an exciting glance at the United States Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, where the Hall of Machinery featured such exhibitors as Alexander Graham Bell and his telephone.  At the same time, in another area Joseph Lister was trying in vain to convince the doctors of the US of the need to wash hands, instruments, wound sites with carbolic acid to kill germs.  He was not well accepted, and the rejection of his theories became critical in the failed attempts to save Garfield's life.  Finally, throughout the book, we follow the movements of Charles Guiteau, the mentally unbalanced self-appointed individual who considered himself "chosen by God" to "remove President Garfield" so that Chester Arthur (the vice-president) could assume the throne and appoint Charles Guiteau to a government position.

These three separate but inter-related stories are woven together in a page-turning narrative.  I knew some of the facts before I started reading this story.  I knew Garfield had been assassinated; I knew that Alexander Graham Bell had invented other scientifically valuable devices besides the telephone; I knew that Lister was credited with the discovery of the theory of germs; and I knew that Garfield was succeeded by Chester Arthur.  But the incredible detail and masterful blending of these different aspects of the worlds of science and politics kept me reading and reading and reading.  I have a different and deeper appreciation for most of the players in this tableau.

The villain turns out not to be the so-called assassin.  I doubt today that any jury would convict this man of murder - assuming his case ever came to trial.  Millard's assertion that Garfield was killed by his doctors, not by the assassin's bullet will find no argument from me.  It's a sad, depressing, discouraging story of how ego can kill, of how humans can deceive themselves, and how far we've come and how far we still have to go  in the field of medicine, and the political arena.

Other players who were fleshed out to step into the limelight include Lucretia Garfield (the President's wife), Robert Todd Lincoln, Joseph Stanley Brown (Garfield's private secretary), Dr. Doctor Bliss (the incompetent physician who self-appointed himself to be in charge of the president's care), Roscoe Conkling ( a crooked politician who mentored Chester Arthur until Arthur became President), and vice-President Arthur himself.  All of these are featured in enough detail to explain their roles in the drama, but without too much verbiage.  In fact, one of the best things I can say about the book besides the well-told story, is to praise the tight editing which gave us a story well worth reading without dragging us down with myriad unnecessary details.

Finally, it is a monumental tribute to an obviously under-rated President. By showing us his focus on education as the way out of poverty, his willingness to embrace science,  his insistence of bettering the lives of  blacks by giving them education, jobs and the vote, and his unfinished  plans to reform the Congressional system of awarding federal jobs to cronies which led to Arthur's founding of the Civil Service, Millard demonstrates his greatness as it has not been shown before.   His home in Mentor OH houses the first Presidential library, started by his wife and his personal secretary Joseph Brown.  I just may have to make a trip out there to explore this interesting historical figure in more depth.  And I know I'll have to find Candice Mallard's other book about Theodore Roosevelt The River of Doubt and read that one too.

Feb 12, 2012, 7:34pm Top

Tina - Couldn't agree more with you about Destiny of the Republic. I listened to it last month and was captivated!

Feb 12, 2012, 7:39pm Top

I heard Millard speak on Garfield and Destiny at last year's National Book Fest. She was awesome! Here's the link: http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=5279

Oh, and River of Doubt is just as good. :)

Feb 12, 2012, 8:30pm Top

Can you save Destiny of the Republic for me?

Feb 12, 2012, 8:34pm Top

I wasn't aware of Garfield's presidential library until I encountered it in this book. Since Mentor, OH isn't on the way to any of my usual destinations, I'll have to plan a special trip just to visit Garfield's home. Maybe I'll bump into you there!

Feb 12, 2012, 9:22pm Top

>132 tututhefirst: Thumbs-upped that enthusiastic encomium!

Feb 12, 2012, 11:09pm Top

Richard.....darling .....thank you for the thumbs, but must you use such gargantuan verbiage at this late hour? Good thing the nuns made me study Latin!

Feb 13, 2012, 11:45am Top

Tina - the Garfield book has been on my hitlist for a while and gladly so judging from your excellent and positive review.

Feb 13, 2012, 12:19pm Top

>132 tututhefirst:: That one is on my pile as a natural follow-up to a couple of books I enjoyed in 2011. I loved the author's River of Doubt; and Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation made Garfield sympathetic and interesting if not exactly statesmanlike.

The NY Times Notable Books TIOLI challenge makes February seem like the time to read it, and your review has me chomping at the bit to start. Thumbs up!

Feb 13, 2012, 1:47pm Top

But sesquipedalian pleonasm is such fun!

Feb 13, 2012, 1:55pm Top

LOL - I looked it up just to make sure.

Feb 14, 2012, 10:28pm Top

I was wondering if Destiny of the Republic would work as an audio (sometimes non-fiction doesn't, at least for me) since it is available for download through a library I patronize. Glad to hear that you had a good experience with that format!

Feb 14, 2012, 10:48pm Top

Excellent review of Destiny of the Republic Tina. I've heard good things about it and I already have River of Doubt so I need to move that one up too.

Feb 14, 2012, 10:53pm Top

132: Super review! And you probably don't need another vote to read The River of Doubt.

Feb 15, 2012, 7:39pm Top

I'm probably going to hold off reading River of Doubt for awhile. I've been trying to keep my presidential bio reading in order. I'm just about finished Monroe, and therefore have a way to go before I get to TR. I only read Destiny because I got the review copy. And I probably might look for another bio of Garfield to get a more flesh-out story of his presidency, not just his death.

Feb 15, 2012, 8:09pm Top


Any one for an LT Meet-up in Paris? I had no idea this place existed. How Cool!!!

Feb 19, 2012, 1:45pm Top

#16 Juliette Gordon Low by Stacy Cordery

Author: Stacy Cordery
Publisher-Format: New York : Penguin Press, Viking, c2012
Subject:Juliette Gordon Low
Setting: Savannah, Georgia and various locations in UK
Source: originally from NetGalley, then hard copy from Viking
Recommended - yes, definitely for Girl Scouts, and anyone ever associated with Scouting

As I mentioned last month, I was quite frustrated and disappointed when I got this book as an electronic ARC through NetGalley.  For some reason, the file was corrupted, and just would not open consistently enough to make reading this a worthwhile experience.  The publisher and NetGalley were fabulous to work with trying to correct the problem, so I put it aside hoping to get back to it when I had more patience.  To my amazement, last week I received the finished hardback copy.  Thank you Penguin/Viking. It was definitely worth the wait.  I was a Girl Scout for years--going all the way from Brownie through Senior Girl Scouts--and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  I had visited the Juliette Low Birthplace in Savannah when I was about 12-13, and had actually planned a return visit this month (the trip got cancelled!). I was a Girl Scout leader for a year when my younger sister's troop lost their leader. And my daughter was a scout, even getting to experience scouting in Japan when we lived there.  So I was really primed to read this one. I can say the read was well worth the wait for the finished copy.

Stacy Cordery has given us an incredibly in-depth biography, and I'm not going to do a point by point re-cap of Daisy Low's life here in this review.  What I want to focus on is the detail, the insight, and the obvious research that went into this project.  Cordery admits to a life-long fascination with her subject, and tells us of its inception many years ago.  She has followed Juliette Gordon's early life, her married years, and her widowhood, giving us almost an overload of facts, feelings, and a sense of the difficulties her deafness caused her throughout her life, but without becoming maudlin or hero worshiping.  While it could have done with some editing to cull out unnecessary details about secondary characters (particularly their family trees), it was organized, well-documented, and should serve as the definitive biography of a very special lady for years to come.

The book of Gordon Low's life can almost be divided into two stories : her early life as a Southern socialite and marriage to a member of the Bristish aristocracy, followed by her years as a widow, a community activist, and the founder of the Girl Scouting movement in the US.  Cordery introduces us to "Daisy's" friends, family, collaborators, and the few detractors who are portrayed honestly and without rancor. The illustrations are numerous and telling.  It was unanticipated fun to sit and pour through pictures that, while they were definitely before my time, did emphasize the timelessness of the Scouts, and brought back fond memories for me of my days around the camp-fire.  Through it all, Daisy Low is presented as a very down-to-earth, not without her foibles human being, bearing up to physical disabilities, personal betrayals, loneliness, and frustration who still managed to find the fun, to bring her inimitable sense of humor and grace to a life of staggering challenges, and in the end emerge as a national and on-going role model for young women.

It is particularly notable as a publication to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts this year.

Feb 19, 2012, 1:54pm Top

>148 tututhefirst: Thumbs-upped your review, Tina! I won't touch the book, but your appreciation for the book shone through and caused me to un-grump long enough to say howdy.

I've just written my review of The Emperor of Lies. What a story. What a book.

Feb 20, 2012, 9:28pm Top

# 17 A Test of Wills by Charles Todd

Author: Charles Todd
Publisher-Format: Recorded Books, p1999, c1996. 10 1/2 hours
Narrator: Samuel Gillies
Subject:murder, "shell shock"
Setting: Warwickshire UK
Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries #1
Genre: mystery - British police procedural
Source: public library
Recommended? definitely

Well several of you kept raving about this series and I finally caved. It's always fun when friends recommend a book, and you love what they pushed you into.  This series, along with Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series are the perfect accompaniment to my World War I reading.  Reading about war can become an overwhelming downer, and these mysteries are giving me the chance to immerse myself into the times, use my brain to try to figure out "who dunnit" with the protagonists, and enjoy a relaxing reading experience at the same time.

Home from service in "The Great War", suffering shell-shock (what we now recognize as PTSD) and bringing with him an alter-ego (or is it the ghost?) of Hamish McLeod, a Scottish soldier whose death allowed Rutledge to survive, he finds his  fiancèe has backed out of their relationship, he has lost confidence in his ability to continue what had obviously been a promising career with Scotland Yard (and they also seem to want to find a way to put him permanently out to pasture) and he now finds himself sent to investigate what appears to be a local murder in a small village that normally the Yard would not have been involved in.  So why has he been sent?

This is a marvelous British murder mystery, with engaging characters, a large group of suspects, a murder with an apparent motive that Rutledge (goaded by Hamish) does not want to believe.  The obvious suspects are all men who have served in the war, and to varying degrees are now paying the physical and/or psychological price for their service.  Rutledge has difficulties believing what appear to be blatant clues.  The portraits of a village trying to come to grips with these veterans and their problems, gives us a clear idea of the range of emotions survivors endured--from adopting the stiff upper lip, to consigning those less fortunate to the "out of sight, out of mind" dustbin. And for those of you who like good plot twists, I'll say simply that the ending was quite different.  I thought I had it figured out (and I did) but then I didn't.  No more...no spoilers, but you'll love it!

Charles Todd, actually a pseudonym for a mother-son writing team, gives us a nicely developed protagonist with just enough background and motivation to make up eager for more. They do a bang-up job of painting a picture of the time, and leave us rushing out the door in pursuit of the next episode. There are currently 14 in this series, which is obviously going to delve into the effects of shell-shock, and  the societal changes in British society as a result of changing roles during and after the War. I'm going to be haunting bookstores and libraries to get the back copies of this series.  Can't believe I missed them when they first came out.

Thanks to every one of you who recommended this, and thanks to Lori (I think?) who said it was best to start at the beginning....I'm really excited about this one.

Feb 20, 2012, 9:36pm Top

#18 The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness by Harlow Giles Unger
#19 Clear and Convincing Proof by Kate Wilhelm
#20 The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman

Two of these were real chunksters, but they were all terrific. More remarks to come later. Mums is on the phone, and that will last the rest of the night.

Feb 20, 2012, 9:36pm Top

I read that first Charles Todd mystery about 15 years ago and never went any further. It might be time to do so.

Feb 20, 2012, 10:33pm Top

So now that you've finished Monroe, have you chosen your JQ book?

Feb 20, 2012, 11:18pm Top

No...I've been looking and for a JQ book, but have put pressies on hold until I read some in other areas....Maine books, cozies, WWI, and some other history and bios....

Do you own a good JQ?

Feb 21, 2012, 12:46pm Top

No, but the one I read was excellent

Feb 21, 2012, 12:50pm Top

Great review on the Charles Todd mystery! Thanks.

Feb 21, 2012, 2:22pm Top

I've not read this new one, but anyone who can stop Colbert in his tracks gets my vote. Watch and enjoy!!!

Feb 21, 2012, 7:32pm Top

I'm going to have to give Charles Todd a try.

Feb 21, 2012, 10:03pm Top

Great video link, Tina. I LOVE Ann Patchett! And I love small bookstores where I have a favorite store clerk I can ask for suggestions.

Feb 21, 2012, 10:12pm Top

So glad Hamish and Ian are well and truly planted in your reading garden!

Feb 23, 2012, 6:02pm Top

Lots of reading going on, but must drop all and run down to Baltimore tomorrow to care-give mumsie (surgery scheduled for Monday)---nothing to get upset about --just some lady parts adjustments, but when you're 87 years old I guess all surgery needs to be taken seriously. So peeps, Tutu may not be having too much free time for the next week or so!

Feb 23, 2012, 6:15pm Top

Happy trails, and health to Mumsie's lady parts!

Feb 23, 2012, 6:24pm Top

Hope all goes well!!

Feb 24, 2012, 11:37am Top

Hope all goes well with your mother, Tina.

Re: WWI reading, if you haven't already encountered them, I read and loved A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr and Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West last year. Both deal, in different ways, with the effect of the war on those who fought it and those left behind at home.

Edited: Mar 3, 2012, 9:56pm Top

Katie...thanks for the WWI suggestions. I'd not seen either of those, but they're on the list to take a look. Mom has a FANTASTIC library (and a library card), so I may go check those out tomorrow. Sister Chèli and her hubbie are coming to visit Mom tomorrow, so I may have a free hour to sneak out...yeah!!!

I've got a batch here that I've finished, but need to do reviews/remarks on...at least if I list them here, I'll be able to keep track of them:

18. The Last Founding Father: James Monroe by Harlan G. Unger
19. Clear and Convincing Proof by Kate Wilhelm
20. The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
21. Incomplete Revenge By Jacqueline Winspear
22. Mourn Not Your Dead by Deborah Crombie

I'm off to the airport......wouldn't you know that on the one day I have to fly in this entire NON-winter we're having, they're predicting plowable snow this afternoon. I'm not too concerned about getting to the airport, but do wonder about delays up and down the east coast. Oh well, the NOOK, the blackberry and the MP3 are completely charged. I have my pillow and little blankie with me, and they do have a decent restaurant, so I'll do just fine!!!!.

Feb 24, 2012, 11:45am Top

And I meant to add that they are both little more than novella-length so easy to slip in between longer reads :)

Feb 27, 2012, 7:49am Top

Hope all is going well with your travel and your mother's surgery.

Wonderful review of A Test of Wills. I really must get back to that series!

Feb 29, 2012, 10:08pm Top

Don't know if it's the scattered/shattered concentration of trying to care for Mums, or just lousy books, or bad timing, but I am having the devil of a time getting into anything for any serious reading. I have several good ones on the Nook, and several good ones on the MP3. But except for the newest Donna Leon (due out in April) and a Maisie Dobbs, and a Deborah Crombie, I cannot get into anything heavier. Maybe it's all the history/bio I've read already. So between med dosings, soup spoonings, laundry, runs to the store, and my own battle with spring time allergies which hit me like a bomb when I arrived, I haven't gotten much done.


Abandoned book: Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture destroyed our most alluring Fruit

I have to read Omnivore's dilemma for our book club when I return, and I'm just not in the mood for more super gardeners "how we're doing it wrong and killing ourselves" preaching. I gave this one two hours of listening and said "that's it." kaput, finito, done. Don't preach to me like I'm stupid.

Edited: Mar 2, 2012, 7:53am Top

I gave this one two hours of listening and said "that's it." kaput, finito, done. Don't preach to me like I'm stupid.

Good for you, Tina! I get the feeling you have enough on you plate without killer food warnings . . .

Seriously, sounds like with all that you're dealing with, you need "comfort reads" right now.

Edited: Mar 2, 2012, 7:16pm Top

Comfort reads are exactly what I'm doing. I finished a Maisie Dobbs audio the other night and last night got an email that my download for the next Duncan Kincaid/Emma whats-her-name (Deborah Crombie) story was available. I only got about 10 minutes listened to before the Benadryl kicked in for my allergies.

Today, I spent the morning convincing mom to a) contact the doc who did this surgery for her bladder control problem to tell him it's NOT working and b) contact her internist to get seen TODAY for a raging liquid but non-productive cough. She has numerous drug allergies, has been on an antibiotic for 10 days, but this is getting worse and I'm afraid she might go into pneumonia.

Got my sister the EMT to call, listen to her wheezing and rasping and coughing over the phone. Sis told her either she got to see her Doc or I was going to call 911 and have her hauled in. Long story of getting referrals (she won't go to a doctor she doesn't know or whose father went to school with her uncle, or who used to be Mrs. So and So's doc) and her own internist could not (or would not) see her until mid=week next week. He was ready to just phone in a script for the same old med that IS NOT WORKING. I finally picked up the phone, called one of the doctors one of her other contacts had suggested, got her an appt for 2 hours later and had to stand firm and say "Take your choice. Dr NICE NEW GUY or the ER. We went to DR. New Nice GUy, got a new RX (he convinced her it was in the same family as the "only one" she could take) and got firm clear instructions to be followed, including if a, b, or c occurred, she was to go directly to the ER.

In addition, He explained to her, that since her "regular" antibiotic isn't working, if this new one doesn't work, she will have to be hospitalized so they can monitor other drug dosage because she is "that close" to getting pneumonia, and she does have acute bronchitis. She was sufficiently chastened.

We now settled back to one of our favorite Chesapeake Bay Friday night Lenten treats - padded fried oysters just like her momma used to make. We are both stuffed and happy. Going to watch the Lady T(w)erps win their ACC basketball game.

Oh my it's nice to have friends with whom one can rant.

Someday, I'll get back to reading .....(I took my NOOK with me to the Doc appt, but LEFT MY GLASSES HOME) DUH.....

Mar 3, 2012, 12:31am Top

Oh, my. Glad that DR. New Nice Guy was such a gem. What's your recipe for padded fried oysters? I love oysters. Cooked ones, anyway.

Mar 3, 2012, 8:50am Top

Roni ..unfortunately, gramma's recipe for padded oysters has been lost and no one else knows how to make them. Our current recipe is
Get in car.
Drive to local seafood restaurant.
Stand in line for an hour (particularly on a Friday evening during Lent).
Grab bag of oysters,cocktail sauce and crackers.
Drive like bat out of hell to home.
Uncork beer bottles
Eat up.

Mar 3, 2012, 10:21pm Top

Another comfort read:

23. Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

Someday I may get around to some reviews but hear are some recaps and comments from #18-23 (see msg #165)

The Maisie Dobbs series is quite fun, very thought-provoking, and such a thrill to read real English in elegant sometimes almost stilted sentences, but then, it's writing to reflect the style and idioms of the 1920's and 1930's.
The latest two I read ( Incomplete Revenge and Among the Mad) both address the social issues of the world wide depression that followed the end of World War I, and the issues of what to do with wounded, unemployed veterans. Quite timely in view of today's discussions and challenges in this country.

Deborah's Crombie's Duncan Kinkaid/Gemma James series is one I'm just getting back into. I read the first one almost two years ago and was determined to get some more of them. I'm loving the interplay of Supt. Kinkaid and his Sgt. Gemma James. These are good, well plotted, British whodunnits, with a good case of personal relationship issues among the police staff who are tasked with solving things. They seem to start with one mystery/crime, and often add several layers as the story progresses. Really good page turners, and exceptionally good in audio.

Kate Wilhelm (Clear and Convincing Proof), is another of my favorite crime writers. Her main character, defense attorney Barbara Holloway, is endearing, intelligent, vulnerable, and compassionate: qualities that can be positive or negative for attorneys trying to defend those accused of capital crimes. In this case, Barbara has been hired to help prove whether there is enough evidence to charge her clients, (without knowing whether the clients did in fact commit the murder) so that an estate can be settled, and she must agree to then to defend one or both if an arrest is made. A rather twisted plot, with some rather twisted characters, but a page turning story that kept me on the proverbial edge of my seat. Holloway is the main character in the series, but each can stand alone without needing back fill.

Mar 3, 2012, 10:29pm Top

I recently finished the newest Duncan / Gemma book by Deborah Crombie No Mark Upon Her -- it's a winner. I hope you enjoy the series as you get back to it -- it keeps getting better!

Mar 3, 2012, 10:30pm Top

and here's a head's up.....I just finished the newest Commissario Brunetti mystery Beastly Things from Donna Leon due out in April. Brunetti continues to charm, although I thought this was rather flat, and the subject matter (sins of the meat processing industry) didn't sit well after my experience last week with Tomatoland. If you're a fan of the series, you may be a tad disappointed, but it's still a good and easy read. Review will be coming because I owe the publisher one.

Mar 4, 2012, 3:24pm Top

Crombie is one of my favorite mystery writers. Duncah & Gemma books always seem to be winners.

Mar 6, 2012, 4:00pm Top

I'm glad you were able to get your mother to a good and helpful doctor who could see her right away! I hope the new med is doing the trick.

Edited: Mar 7, 2012, 11:57am Top

This next batch of reviews may be out of order from the list given in message #3, but I've finally got some uninterrupted time sitting here in the airport waiting for a flight. The Super Shuttle, which often runs late, actually picked me up early, and only had one other stop to make, it took only 6 minutes to get through security, so I ensconced at a lovely "wifi" bar in BWI airport and decided to take advantage of room, electrical availability, and wifi and knock off a couple of these long over due reviews.

And..........for all you sports fans and/or John Grisham fans, Tutu has a giveaway running on the blog for two copies of Grisham's newest Calico Joe.

Mum's doing much better, my sister enjoyed her vacation and is back in town ready to take over the reigns, and it feels good to be back in the reading/writing saddle and winging shortly back to a much more laid back life style in Maine.

Edited: Mar 9, 2012, 11:04pm Top

#20 The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman

Author: Barbara W. Tuchman
Publisher-Format: e book-Random House Publishing Group, 640 pages
Also: Audio - Blackstone Audio, 19 hrs, 10 min
Narrator: Nadia May
Subject:World War I
Setting: England, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, various Eastern European sites
Genre: Narrative history
Source: my own shelves (Nook), public library download (audio)
Recommended? for history buffs and those interested in World War I.

I certainly wouldn't call this an enjoyable book, but it is certainly one of the best detailed histories of the opening days of The Great War, what we have come to know as World War I.  I'm currently participating in the War Through the Generations World War I reading challenge for 2012, and chose this Pulitzer prize winning chronicle to start my journey through this epic struggle between the Allies and the Central Powers. It did not disappoint.

By focusing on the issues, nationalism, misunderstandings, and rivalries leading up to the conflict, and examining in minute detail the build-ups, alliances, war plans, battle strategies, personalities, and mis-steps of the national leaders, Tuchman gives us, in clear and concise prose, an engrossing story of how the actions of so few impacted the entire world.  The first month's campaigns are explained in blinding detail and no matter how much or how little exposure the reader has had to military life and jargon and history, no matter how negative or positive the reader's attitude is toward the subject, she grabs our attention, arouses our emotions and intellect, and takes us through an entire month of mistakes, miscues, arrogance, buffoonery, lack of vision, and dare I say idiocy of the then current state of warfare.  19th century tactics were meeting head on with early 20th century weapons and technology, e.g. the airplane and zeppelin; experienced leaders from previous wars held tenaciously (and disastrously) to their pre-drawn plans without taking into consideration the impact and possibilities of new weapons, the possible change in "enemy" strategies and tactics, at the same time they made erroneous assumptions based on untested hypotheses, or scenarios that were at least 100 years old.

It was a frustrating read.  At times I was so outraged by the stupidity of the players that I had to put it down for days at a time.  It was minutely detailed, easy to follow, even for this reader who normally doesn't "do" battle scenes.  In the end though it was a book that could not be abandoned, a book that made me examine my own attitudes about armed conflict and the total insanity of humans killing humans to prove a point.  I plan to read several more books, both fiction and non-fiction, about this conflict and the period surrounding the actual war years.  I doubt I will find one that is better written, or more readable.

I should mention that I was also able to get a copy of the audio version which I found helpful as I read the text.  Nadia May's wonderful abilities to speak in various European accents and to narrate phrases in a variety of languages added much to my enjoyment of this volume. If you can read only one book about this war, this is the one!

Mar 7, 2012, 12:12pm Top

Glad you're comfy at the airport.

Is this a LendMe book, if so could I please reserve it for when I hit the Great War era, please?

Mar 7, 2012, 12:19pm Top

#18 The Last Founding Father

James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness
Author: Harlow Giles Unger
Publisher-Format:Da Capo Press, 2009, eBook, 320 pages
Subject:James Monroe
Setting: USA, France,England
Source: My ebook shelves - Barnes and Noble
Recommended? yes for anyone with an interest in early history of the republic and the War of 1812

Another life time challenge in which I've been participating is the US President's biography on LibraryThing.com.  The  challenge is to read at least one biography of each president, and the group goal is to accomplish this before 2016.  My personal goal is to accomplish this before I die.  One of the problems with this challenge is the wide span of available books for each prez.  Some (like Washington and Lincoln) have entire libraries of volumes written about them; others have almost nothing. In many cases, and Monroe is in this group, there are the short, quick and dirty, juvenile biographies, and then there are ponderous tomes of the "chunkster" variety.  I've been purposefully running a bit behind and letting my fellow challenge participants find the good ones.

This one by Unger is a well-written, well researched, and richly documented story of our 5th president.  In addition to his personal accomplishments, many of which I was only slightly aware of, we get a broad picture of a very interesting period in our nation's history as the US bloomed from the 13 original colonies to the vast expanse of land added in the Louisiana purchase.  In this bicentennial year of the War of 1812, I actually got a much clearer picture of what the war was all about, who the players were, and what the results were.

It's not an overly engaging read, and there are probably areas that could have born more scrutiny, e.g., Monroe's attitude about slavery which is given just a few scattered mentions here and there, but on the whole, it does give us a much more fleshed out character than most of us had from school, where he seems to have been known as "the 5th President of the United States."

In addition to the well researched text, the book has  a wealth of illustrations, adding to our understanding of the period.  These pictures are even well portrayed in the e-book format I got from Barnes and Noble for my Nook.  If you're reading presidents, this is probably the best one available for Monroe.

Mar 7, 2012, 12:25pm Top

Hi there! So glad your Mom is doing better. Whew, that was no fun. Glad you finally found some books to sink into. I will probably pass on the presidential history, especially since you said it was "not an overly engaging read" and I have trouble with sleeping through history as it is! I am deep into mysteries this month and just finished up an Agatha Christie. Enjoy being home. : )

Mar 7, 2012, 12:53pm Top

#19 Clear and Convincing Proof

Author: Kate Wilhelm
Publisher: original publication -Mira (2003),  352 pages
Audio format : Blackstone Audio, 8 hrs, 15 min
Narrator: Anna Fields
Subject:Criminal investigation
Setting: Eugene Oregon
Series: Barbara Holloway novels #7
Genre: mystery, legal defense and investigation
Source: audio download from public library
Recommended? Yes - a great read for mystery fans, particularly those who like strong female protagonists

Since 2012 is my year to concentrate on Histories and Mysteries (oh hurt me!!) I was delighted to come across this one in the Barbara Holloway series.  I've read several of these but never seem to read more than one or two a year--there are actually 12 of them, so I have some catching up to do.  I really like the main character in these books.  Barbara Holloway is a defense attorney in Eugene Oregon.  She has gone through several different phases of "lawyering" but seems to be settling down to criminal defense in her father's venerable law firm.  While she sometimes chafes at being in the family firm, she does enjoy her father's company and advice.

Normally Wilhelms's Holloway stories revolve around Barbara's taking on impossible cases and finally proving the accused to be innocent, etc etc.  Here we are presented with a very different quandry.  Barbara is hired by the Board of Directors of a non-profit clinic to find out whether or not one or both of two different people associated with the clinic are guilty of murdering one of the clinic's Directors.  The identity and conviction of the guilty party(s) is ultimately going to decide whether the clinic will continue in existence.  It's a somewhat confusing and convoluted scenario that demands the reader pay close attention to the strands of who did what, and when and to whom.  In addition, Barbara must then face the decision that she will be called upon to defend a client she has been hired to prove guilty!!!

The story resolves itself well  with a very surprise ending, but not before taking us on the usual Kate Wilhelm roller coaster of blind alleys, red herrings and fun.

It's a great series, and I look forward to reading more of them in the months and years to come.

Edited: Mar 9, 2012, 2:43pm Top

Tina, I'm planning to read The Guns of August . . . in August! Great review!!! If you had posted it on the book's page, I would have thumbed it! The info on the audio version is especially helpful, as no other reviewer mentioned that at all.

Have you read all the previous installments of the Wilhelm series, and are they equally good? I usually read series in order anyway, but is this a series where that's important?

Mar 9, 2012, 9:53pm Top

Caught up...glad Momma listened...glad you're home safe and sound...glad Monroe didn't cause terminal ennui...glad to be back online from my comfy-womfy home, too. *smooch*

Mar 9, 2012, 10:04pm Top

Hi Tina- Impressive books you've been reading. Terrific review of The Guns of August. I need to add that one to the List. I read a James Monroe bio several years ago ,which I really liked. This one sounds good too.

Mar 11, 2012, 7:16pm Top

Tina-- I don;t know...sounds like you have a rough year of reading lined up!! I haven't read any of the Barbara Halloway novels, but they sound good and I am just a little bit prejudiced since she works in Oregon! Nice review.

Edited: Mar 12, 2012, 11:32pm Top

More books, more fun, but just no energy to do reviews, so remarks will have to do.

24. Beastly Things by Donna Leon
The latest Brunetti adventure. This one is due out in April, and I will have to do a review since I got this from the publisher as an ARC for a review. It was OK, but I'm not sure if Leon is getting too formulaic, or if Tutu just wasn't ready for more diatribes against the beef and food industry. If you haven't read this series, I'd sure start with one of the earlier ones.

25. Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie
I'm really having fun catching up on this great series - Duncan Kincaid (Supt from Scotland Yard) and Sergeant Gemma James. Smashing good story, left me really puzzling right up to the end. I love the two main characters, and am looking forward to more of these.

26. A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear
Woe is me! This is the last of the Maisie Dobbs series so far published, so now I have to wait (not too long) for the next one to come out. A thoroughly outstanding series that is really fleshing out my feeling for the period between WWI and II. I really like the very very British style of writing - rather prim but really flows well.

27. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
Pure Serendipity. I pulled this out of the "withdrawn" pile at our library because I just loved the cover - the "baby" looks just like my sister Maureen (she's the one just before Cheli). I was captivated by this first person memoir of growing up in a very low income area of Indiana in the 60's and 70's. It's LOL funny, it's touching, and it will pull you right in to this young lady's amazing world view. Her observations on Jesus and organized religion will have you howling. They are funny without being sacriligious, and insightful far beyond the normal level of an 8-10 year old. There are several other stories written by Kimmel, and I'm definitely planning to explore them.

28. Up Jumps the Devil by Margaret Maron
I'm a huge fan of Maron's Debra Knott series, and I'm trying to backfill the ones I've skipped over the years. This one is so "old" I got it on cassette tapes - we did find an old walkman that still works, and I listened to this one this weekend while I worked on some needlepoint. Keeping up with the 11 brothers and a town full of cousins adds to the fun while Debra tries not to get involved in solving murders. Great southern setting, fun characters, and a better than average story.

I did manage to get tax software loaded, and get the library's annual report done today, and I've been hitting the new pool almost every day, but my brain is just not ready to get down to serious serious blogging, reviewing or reading.

Til later darlings.......

Mar 12, 2012, 11:27pm Top

Just realized that the above sounds like I'm on a steady diet of brain candy, but I am slowly working my way through the devastatingly scrumptious Beauty and The Sorrow by Peter Englund about WWI, Massie's biography of Catherine the Great, The Omnivore's Dilemma for book club, and a couple fiction ARCs. So I need the fluffy stuff to balance out my poor overtaxed brain.

Mar 12, 2012, 11:28pm Top

I like your reading - particularly Deborah Crombie and Margaret Maron! I think the next Jacqueline Winspear is out March 28th, so you're right - it's not too much longer.

Mar 13, 2012, 12:21am Top

I'm sorry that I'm so darn far behind on the threads.
Congratulations on readhing 28 books thus far.
I'll anxiously await your thoughts on Massie's Catherine the Great. I liked this book a lot. She was such a powerful woman.

Mar 15, 2012, 6:38pm Top

Deborah Crombie is one of my favorite authors. I really like her books. I have the new Donna Leon one as an e-galley and plan to start it tonight since I'm somewhat obligated to review it. I just hate that you didn't like it better. I've still got some catching up to do on Winspear. I don't like her quite as much as some people do. I liked the first novel in the series much better than subsequent ones.

Mar 15, 2012, 7:08pm Top

I've read your thread, but must come back tomorrow to add more books to my WL; time is running short.

James Monroe. My, you are a determined lass.

Mar 15, 2012, 11:12pm Top

OH NO!!!! APB out for my MP3 - I could have sworn it was in my sweater pocket earlier today, but I spent the entire day doing family finances and taxes, so wasn't listening to anything. When I went to charge it up, I couldn't find it anywhere. Normally I'd say, "oh it's here someplace" but hubster went to the dump today taking three big bags of "junk" from my office, and I'm just praying that it didn't slip into one of those bags. It's white, so could be easily hidden.

I have about 30 audio books stored on there, and I WILL BE P***sed if I can't find it.

St. Anthony where are you?

Mar 15, 2012, 11:16pm Top


*locator WHAMMY*
*locator WHAMMY*
*locator WHAMMY*

I know it sounds lame, but I'd plotz if my Kindle disappeared, so I relate!

Mar 15, 2012, 11:19pm Top

See what happens when you whine????? My prince charming got up and found the bloody thing within 5 minutes. It was hiding under the tea cozy I'd carelessly thrown up on my desk. SIGH..........

Mar 16, 2012, 12:39am Top

Wow you're doing some great reading Tina. I especially want to get to The Guns of August this year. Have you read All Quiet on the Western Front? A searing look at WWII from the POV of a young German soldier. Breathtakingly heartbreaking.

Mar 16, 2012, 2:31pm Top

Bonnie....I'm saving AQOTWF until my War through the Generations group does WWII-probably next year. I can only concentrate on one war at a time!

Mar 16, 2012, 2:59pm Top

Tina, AQotWF is about World War I so fits your reading perfectly! It's excellent.

Mar 16, 2012, 3:08pm Top

AHA!!!! onto the pile it goes. Thanks Katie.

Mar 17, 2012, 12:42pm Top

We're a teensy bit conflicted here at Casa Tutu this am---Navy vs Maryland women in basketball tournament. Normally, we'd be rooting for Navy, but with all the hoopla in our family about the Lady Terps (or twerpettes as we affectionately call them here) we think we'd like to see them go all the way. Mom and sister #2 are actually at the game--they go to every home game. And the Umaine Black Bears are playing for the Hockey Conference championship having cleanly dispatched BC yesterday, and the Red Sox are starting to firm up their lineup. Good grief....when will I ever get the books read?

Mar 17, 2012, 1:36pm Top

#29 Death without Tenure

Author:Joanne Dobson
Publisher-Format: Poisoned Pen Press (2010), 230 pages, also
Blackstone Audio, 7 hr, 30 min
Narrator: Christine Williams
Subject: Life in academia
Setting: Small college town, Massachusetts
Series: Karen Pelletier Mysteries
Genre: amateur detective
Source: public library audio download
Recommended? Oh yes......

A new series for me to celebrate March Mysteries. I saw this one as I was browsing the download library, it sounded interesting, it was available, and I needed something meaty but not too heavy to listen to while swimming.  Since I joined this new pool, I've been working out almost everyday, and going through 2-3 audio books a week.

Karen Pelletier, professor of American Literature at Enfield College in Massachusetts is up for the only open tenure spot in the department.  She has worked her entire academic career toward this goal and has her tenure package ready to submit when she learns that the head of the department has announced that he favors her colleague Joe Lone Wolf (who does not even have his Ph.D!!!) because he wants the department to reflect my ethic diversity.  When Lone Wolf  is found murdered, suspicion falls on Karen.

In the meantime, her lover, a state police detective, is not available to shield her from the nastiness of the current investigator, because he is serving with the National Guard in Iraq.  Her daughter is off traipsing the world in Katmandu, and like any good parent, Karen is concerned about her safety.  When the police get particularly obnoxious, and don't seem to believe anything she tries to tells them, Karen sets off to clear her name and solve the murder.

The plot is fairly linear, there aren't any red herrings, but there are lots of suspects.  As is often the case with amateur detective stories, I find myself having to suspend belief---would real people REALLY ignore common sense and the advice to get a lawyer and let the police handle things, and are the police REALLY that incompetent? The ending is particularly mind stretching, but satisfactory.

I certainly will be looking for at least one more of this series.  I enjoyed the portrayal of the pomposity of  the literature faculty as much as the mystery itself.  It made me quite happy that I settled for being a math major!

Mar 17, 2012, 4:03pm Top

I enjoyed the portrayal of the pomposity of the literature faculty as much as the mystery itself. It made me quite happy that I settled for being a math major!

OMG you speak *math*? I shudder! I back away! MATH is terrifying! Its incantations are so evil that they produce atomic bombs!

Mar 17, 2012, 4:11pm Top

#30 Mourning Gloria

Author:Susan Wittig Albert
Publisher-Format: Berkley (2011),320 pages
also audio - Recorded Books, 2011, 9 hrs, 50 min
Narrators: Julia Gibson,Theresa Plummer
Subject:murder and mind-altering herbs
Setting: Pecan Springs Texas
Series: China Bayles Mysteries
Genre:murder mystery, amateur detective
Source:public library audio download

Another swimming "read".  I love the China Bayles Mysteries, with their delightful explanations of various plants, herb, seeds, etc.  This newest one continues to live up to expectations.  In Mourning Gloria, China, a retired attorney who now runs a natural herbal garden and tea shop, whilst mothering an orphaned niece, is a prime witness to a gruesome arson/murder when she stops to phone in a fire she discovers on her way home one night.  After hearing cries for help, she is unable to rescue the young woman inside the burning trailer as it explodes before her eyes.  When the coroner determines that the victim was shot and left for dead before the fire was deliberately set, China cannot abandon her feeling of guilt, and when an eager young reporter from the town newspaper sets out to investigate "the rest of the story" and then disappears, China cannot let go.

Husband McQuaid, a retired cop private investigator is out of town for this one, and Sheriff Blackie, usually so cooperative is at first too immersed in his own coming nuptials to pay much attention.  As usual, China continues to pick at the bone, following a string of clues that inevitably lead to a good resolution in the nick of time.

A great audio, and a well plotted mystery with a definite sense of place.  The small Texas town is well portrayed, and the characters bring to life that sense of comraderie so endearing to these kinds of  locations.  This is another series you can start anywhere, but again, is more fun if read from the beginning.  Another fun addition to the March Mystery list. They are all still readily available so grab one, sit back and enjoy.

Mar 17, 2012, 4:21pm Top

Hey Tina -- I just wanted to say that Joanne Dobson's other books are great; I think Death Without Tenure is the only one I haven't read. Get a hold of them - it'll be worth the effort.

As for China Bayles, the next in the series, Cat's Claw was published in the U.S. on March 6th - I'm waiting impatiently for my turn at the library copy....

Edited: Mar 17, 2012, 11:16pm Top

#24 Beastly Things

Author: Donna Leon
Publisher-Format: Grove Atlantic e-galley
Year of publication: 2012 (April)
Subject: crime, meat processing
Setting: Venice Italy
Series: Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries
Genre:mystery -police procedural
Source:Net Galley (e-file from publisher)
Recommended? for mystery fans, lovers of Venice, and devoteès of the series

The latest Brunetti adventure. Donna Leon has been subtly (maybe not so subtly) leading up to the subject matter of this one for awhile: the safety of the beef being marketed, and the treatment of the cattle being slaughtered.  As we listened in to dinner conversations in the Brunetti household in previous episodes, we have become very aware of Chiara and Raffi's vegan leanings, and their outrage over practices in the industry, we've watched Paola and Guido roll their eyes over questions of what food is safe to eat, and whether the kids are over-reacting. We've agonized with Brunetti over the increasing pollution in the sacred canals of his city.   In Beastly Things, the latest in the series, Commissario Brunetti is called on to solve the murder of a well-loved veterinarian who was working part-time as a meat inspector at a local beef processing plant.  Leon manages to give us just enough gruesome detail to make the abattoir venue real, without gagging us with gore.

The plot is singularly uninspiring however, and I found myself asking "Is that all there is?"  Leon seems to be running out of gas.  The story is formulaic, the main characters certainly aren't advancing.  Brunetti, in spite of his horror at what he sees in the beef packing plant, goes right out and eats meat again.  In fact, he and Paola seem almost not to want to discuss the subject--sort of if we don't talk about it, we won't have to deal with it. We continue to watch Brunetti wrestle with his conscience over Signorina Eletra's ongoing tip-toeing around the law to find information by sometimes shady means, but other than that, we see little of the other characters in the Questora-- no LT Scarpa, only a brief appearance by Patta,  no in-laws, and very little even of the family.  Those of us who are fans of this series have come to look forward to the family dinners, and the husband and wife give and take over politics- both academic and office.  Obviously Brunetti, with Vianello's help,  is going to solve the mystery, but the story is one that seems carved out of cardboard, lacking in the charisma we expect from Guido Brunetti, and singularly uninspiring.

If you haven't read this series, I'd sure start with one of
the earlier ones, and let's hope if Leon is going to take on other burning issues in Venice, they are woven into stories more in the mode we have come to expect.  A real disappointment.

Mar 17, 2012, 10:52pm Top

Um, how does one listen while swimming without either electrocuting oneself or drowning the electronics?

Mar 17, 2012, 10:56pm Top

>206 tututhefirst: Ummm...cuddlepunkin...the touchstone goes to the wrong book...

Mar 17, 2012, 11:18pm Top

Oh Richard sweetie raisin buns, thanks for the catch on the touchstone. I had fixed the one up in the list, but neglected this one. Must be time for night nite. {{{{XOXO}}}}

Mar 17, 2012, 11:20pm Top

I live to serve. Sleep thee well, and happy thank the PTB we're not fourth-century slaves traded by a future father of the church day!

Mar 17, 2012, 11:25pm Top

Roni....(#207) one swims while listening with one's MP3 tucked into a waterproof Ipod/MP3 pouch strapped to one's arm. I got mine from Amazon, and although I don't see the exact one I bought (I've had it over two years), this one is close enough to what I have that I feel ok recommending. It has made exercising so much fun!!! http://www.amazon.com/GSI-Waterproof-Adjustable-Armband-Necklace/dp/B0039KNZU0/r...

Mar 19, 2012, 10:04pm Top

I met Dobson at a mystery conference once and, since then, I tend to read each new one as it comes out. Six in all so far, I believe.

If I'm remembering right, she's got the first in a new series due out later this year.

Mar 23, 2012, 10:52pm Top

Hi, Tina! The waterproof pouch sounds like a splendid idea. Glad hubby found the lost mp3 player for you.

Good and helpful reviews and comments here. Have a great weekend!

Edited: Mar 30, 2012, 6:21pm Top

Still reading like gangbusters, still avoiding most reviews. Just enjoying the books. Just completed this batch....

31. Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
I should write a review on this one. It's been sitting on my shelf for over two years, and I can't believe I haven't read it before this. Our book club had this one for discussion this past week. Pollan presents his premise--that man as an omnivore has many choices to make about the food he eats, where it comes from, how it is grown/raised/harvested, and that there is no one answer that is correct for everyone. His explanations of the options, his descriptions of the sources and his presentation of scientific and demographic data is excellent. There is also a Young Reader's Version that is quite readable. ETA - full review now posted in msg # 225.

32. Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke
The light and fluffy swimming audio of the week....I hadn't read any of this series for awhile and was reminded of how many years ago as a young Navy wife, we returned from a 2 1/2 year overseas tour to find that I had missed absolutely nothing on the afternoon soaps and was able to pick right up. Hannah and her Mike/Norman (non)romance hasn't progressed at all, her sisters and mom are still stuck on gooey sweet, and somehow the story still offers an enjoyable few hours of brain candy.

Mar 25, 2012, 12:02am Top

#33 The Good Father by Noah Hawley.

Full review coming on this one, but it's a definite 5 star!

As I said on the blog today, when I posted the contest to give away 2 copies (run over and enter why don't ya?):

If you are a parent and ever had one of those Ah-OH moments of "my child couldn't possibly have done THAT!", and if you start this book, you will not put it down.

If you are even semi-conscious in these days of Homeland Security and terror scares, and worry about government intrusiveness, and if you start this book, you will not put it down.

If you've ever watched an episode of "HOUSE" on TV, and had difficulty following the wacky diagnostic thinking, and if you start this book, you will not put it down.

I COULD NOT STOP READING THIS BOOK.....I even tried to sneak it into church tonite (it was certainly better than the sermon) but Mr. Tutu smacked my hand (virtually to be sure) and said he'd never be seen with me in public again if I sat reading in church. He suggested I remain in the car until the very last moment and then sneak in sans book if I had to finish the chapter. Gotta love that man

It just came out this week, it is very very very intense, very very very readable, and a must read for anyone who ever was a parent.

Mar 25, 2012, 12:06am Top

>33 lindapanzo: ...wha...? Can anybody else understand our Miss Tutu? It seems she's typing in Serbo-Croatian dialect!! Permaybehaps she's, well, pixilated....

Mar 25, 2012, 12:09am Top

Richard....in the middle of the last post....my computer went all cattywhampus and I'm not sure WTH I hit but after many curses and punches and clicks it seems to be behaving again. Can you truly not read posts 214, 215? It looks ok to me now!

Mar 25, 2012, 12:16am Top

It looks to me like something went way wrong, but is right now.

More's the pity. Now I can read your glowing praise for The Good Father.

Mar 25, 2012, 12:19am Top

Good....now I can head to bed so I can listen to one of the Brunetti's I've been missing....sleep tight all...

and go Lady Terpettes tomorrow in the Sweet Sixteen.

Mar 25, 2012, 10:47am Top

Hi Tina- I haven't been by in awhile but I see you are reading some very fine books. I have Omnivore's Dilemma saved on audio. I'll have to bump it up. I hope you are having a good weekend.

Mar 25, 2012, 6:43pm Top

Hi Tina, looks like you are doing some great reading lately!
I was also wondering how you would swim with an ipod! That's waterproof pouchy thing is a great idea!

Mar 25, 2012, 7:43pm Top

What a great review. I've added The Good Father to the tbr pile.

Mar 26, 2012, 12:24am Top

My sister,

how are you doing on your BOMBS? haven't seen any notation - just wanted to give a bit of encouragement....nudge...nudge.

Mar 26, 2012, 12:28pm Top

OK OK....since my darling sister Cheli seems to be tracking everyone's BOMBS, I've gone back and re-edited my completed list in msg #3, to indicate those books that are officially (in my mind anyway) counted as Books Off My Book Shelf (BOMBS). 8 of 33 is not a bad ratio....

At this point, other than keeping a running list and ticker, I've given up writing biggie reviews or doing any sophisticated tracking since I found that was really getting in the way of my reading enjoyment. And as a good friend of mine always says "If it ain't fun, you ain't doing it right!"

Later darlings....

Mar 29, 2012, 6:33pm Top

Every time I find myself getting caught up in "have to"s, I remind myself that this is supposed to be fun. I often just write a few comments rather than a full review. Even my ER book reviews are usually rather succinct, but adequate (IMO) to convey my opinion of the books.

Mar 30, 2012, 11:44am Top

Thanks for stopping by my thread, Tina. I can see I have a lot to catch up on here - 76 posts and some very interesting book covers. I'll be back tonight!

Mar 30, 2012, 6:29pm Top

Yes...I know, I'm getting to thread police time.....I'm trying to finish out this month (less than 48 hours left) and post a 1st qtr round up before proceeding onward, so stick with me!

Mar 31, 2012, 4:08pm Top

I had a très chic wrap up all done here, but forgot to "post message" before hitting the continue to new thread button...so it's off in the cloud someplace. I may or may not ever get back here to re-do it.

Such is life....

Mar 31, 2012, 8:03pm Top

Picked up Death without Tenure based on your recommendation at the library today

This topic was continued by Tina the Tutu leaps into Spring..

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2012

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