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Donna Reads Between the Lines in March

This topic was continued by Donna828's April Showers of Books (5).

75 Books Challenge for 2012

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1Donna828
Feb 29, 2012, 12:57pm Top


"'Tis the good reader that makes the good book; in every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakenly meant for his ear..." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I had a very good reading month in February. I look forward to another fulfilling month in Mystery March.

Books Read in February:

Rouse Up O Young Men of the New Age by Kenzaburo Oe. 2.8* - for book group.
The art and poetry of William Blake provides the not-so-rousing means for a father to connect with his brain damaged son.
February by Lisa Moore.3.9* - my monthly theme book.
Time doesn't heal all wounds.
The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell. 3.5*
Stories about places you don't want to go and people you don't want to know.
The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck. 4.2 stars. - Steinbeckathon.
An old bus filled with quirky characters takes some interesting twists and turns on a short journey through the California countryside.
The Ghost in the Little House by William Holtz. 3.7 stars. - Missouri Readers Group.
An intense biography about the struggles of Rose Wilder Lane to come out from under the shadow of her famous mother, the author of the Little House books.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. 3 stars. - Fantasy February.
This story of a power struggle between master magicians had as much to do with manipulation of innocent people as the magic that cast a spell on the dreamers who followed the night circus around the world.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. 4 stars. MSU class and Fantasy February.
I was captivated from the very beginning when Lucy discovered this magical land by means of an old wardrobe. There were many adventures and memorable characters in this series of stories that touched my heart. Note: I read the books in the published order rather than the order presented in the anthology.
The Faster I Walk, The Smaller I Am by Kjersti A. Skomsvold. 3.7 stars. - Christmas gift.
A melancholy debut book about an old Norwegian woman weighed down by loneliness.
The Narnia Code by Michael Ward. 3.8 stars. - MSU class.
An enlightening companion book to The Chronicles of Narnia that shows the connection between the seven heavenly bodies of the Middle Ages to the seven stories of Narnia.
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. 4.1 stars. - To celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens!
In this last published work by Dickens, he goes to the darkest side of London and tells a spellbinding tale of hidden identity, greed, blackmail, hypocrisy, social climinbing, death, and love. Dickens doesn't disappoint with his well-drawn characters and complicated plot.

February summary:
Ten books read; 5 owned by me.
3,762 pages read in February.

2Donna828
Edited: Mar 23, 2012, 10:49am Top



My Proposed TIOLI (Take It Or Leave It) reads for March:

Challenge 1: Read a book where the author's city of birth has one letter in common with "March"
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, born in Belfast, Ireland.

#4: JanetinLondon's Memorial:
The Radetzky March - one of Janet's recommendations
Infinite Jest - Janet was going to join 75ers Lucy (sibyx), Billiejean, and me in reading this tome in 2012.
It's not too late to join us over here
.

#6: Heterograph/homophone in title:
The Postman Always Rings Twice - rings/wrings
The Winter of Our Discontent - our/hour

#8: Double Acts - Paired Protagonists:
A Fountain Filled with Blood - A Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery

#9: "Best" of a Collection
The Best Short Stories of O. Henry

#11: Recommendation filtered by authors held:
No Great Mischief

#15: Author's Last Name Divisible by 3:
When the Devil Holds the Candle by Karin Fossum

#19: Mystery over 300 pages long:
Revelation by C. J. Sansom


I have some other "back up" books in mind; however, it will amaze me if I make it through Infinite Jest.




3Donna828
Edited: Mar 30, 2012, 12:05pm Top

This thread is continued from over here. I also forgot to put that this is Thread No. 4 on my header. Too much Dickens on my mind!







Books Read in March:

The Radetzky March - Joseph Roth. 4.4 stars.
The relentless march of nationalism leads to the downfall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire seen through the family history of an Austrian family.

When the Devil Holds the Candle - Karin Fossum. 3.5 stars.
Teenage hoodlums get more than they bargain for when they encounter Irma, the aging Norwegian woman who is tired of being ignored.

Revelation - C. J. Sansom. 4 stars.
The horror in this fourth book about life in Tudor London comes directly from the pages of Revelation in The Bible as a serial killer runs amok.

Mere Christianity - C. S. Lewis. 4.2 stars.
The beloved author of The Chronicles of Narnia makes a well-reasoned case for Christianity.

The Winter of Our Discontent - John Steinbeck. 4.4 stars.
Ethan Hawley has an inner struggle between morals and materialism. Guess which one wins!

A Most Wanted Man - John Le Carre. 3.2 stars.
Everyone wants a piece of the runaway Russian Muslim who wants to escape his past.

No Great Mischief - Alistair MacLeod. 4.2 stars.
The term "family ties" takes on new meaning in the MacDonald family legend.

The Postman Always Rings Twice - James Cain. 3.4 stars.
Frank and Cora entangle themselves in the dark side of "love".

The Best Short Stories of O. Henry. 3.6 stars.
A variety of delightful stories with O. Henry's trademark twist at the end.

4lindapanzo
Feb 29, 2012, 1:41pm Top

Donna, hoping that everything is ok. That's a shame about the damage to Branson.

5countrylife
Feb 29, 2012, 1:44pm Top

Love your Emerson quote!

6souloftherose
Feb 29, 2012, 1:48pm Top

Hi Donna. I think your link in msg 3 goes to this thread rather than your old thread?

7Linda92007
Feb 29, 2012, 2:08pm Top

Hi Donna. I am currently reading Rouse Up O Young Men of the New Age and I think enjoying it more than you did, although I also lack much of a background on Blake. I am trying to fill in that hole a bit as I go along.

8Donna828
Feb 29, 2012, 2:10pm Top

I've made the very easy process of starting a new thread incredibly difficult. I'm blaming Leap Day, the storms last night, and Dickens!!!

>4 lindapanzo:: Hi Linda, we're fine here. My sleep was interrupted with the high winds and loud thunderstorm but no tornadic activity. Thanks for checking on me.

Hi Cindy, love that Emerson. I hope we all find some "secret" meanings in what we read in the coming month.

Heather, I never would have caught that mistake. Thank you for your acute skills of observation. I hope the rest of my thread goes smoother than the beginning. I knew I should have waited until tomorrow. ;-)

9Donna828
Feb 29, 2012, 2:14pm Top

>7 Linda92007:: Oops, we crossposted, Linda. I'm so glad you are enjoying the Rouse Up book. I should have taken more time with it. I think I mentioned that, for the most part, the others in my book group also liked it better than I did. I doubt if I'll revisit that book, but I may read another one of his someday. That Nobel Prize has got to mean something!

10Ireadthereforeiam
Feb 29, 2012, 5:02pm Top

found you!
Glad to see you finished your Dickens book and liked it.
I think Ill be happy when I finish mine too :)

11brenpike
Feb 29, 2012, 5:44pm Top

Pretty new thread, Donna. I also just finished my Dickens for the month. Whew . . .

12msf59
Feb 29, 2012, 6:05pm Top

Hi Donna- I like your new March Thread! Hope you are having a good week.

13BookAngel_a
Feb 29, 2012, 8:56pm Top

Hi Donna - just checking in. Sorry to be gone for so long. I may never catch up but at least I can keep up with short threads for now. :)

14PaulCranswick
Feb 29, 2012, 9:53pm Top

Congratulations on the new thread Donna. The continuation feature has made me lazy as I failed to spot you for a while there.

15BLBera
Feb 29, 2012, 10:44pm Top

Donna: You've had an impressive February and are planning an ambitious March.

16Porua
Mar 1, 2012, 3:58am Top

Dropping by to say hi! Great new thread!

17mckait
Mar 1, 2012, 8:09am Top

*Lands with a thud* That is the last time I take a leap.. I will
walk demurely next time..

18Whisper1
Mar 1, 2012, 8:21am Top

Donna
I'm checking in to see if all is well in your area. From your post above I note that you are ok.
Whew!!!

19Donna828
Mar 1, 2012, 9:27am Top

Quick hellos to Megan, Brenda, Mark, Angela, Paul, Beth, Porua, Kath, and Linda. I'm glad you all found me with or without the continuation star.

I checked my course syllabus this morning and realized that I didn't complete all of today's reading. I thought I was getting off too easy. I'll have to squeeze another four chapters in before class at 11:00 a.m. Thank goodness they are short chapters! We're beginning our discussion of Mere Christianity today, and I don't want to fall behind on the first day!

20-Cee-
Mar 1, 2012, 10:35am Top

Hi Donna,
You had an excellent reading month for Feb! I feel like I fell short somehow - or maybe I just wish I could have gotten to more. I'm slightly curious how many pages I read. Not sure I want to go to the trouble of counting.

Anxious to hear about your class...

21sjmccreary
Mar 1, 2012, 1:35pm Top

Hi, Donna

I'm glad to hear that the Branson damage didn't extend to where you are. I agree with Paul - that new continuation feature has definitely made me lazy! But I found you without much trouble and have the new thread starred. Enjoy the first session of Mere Christianity at class today.

22Donna828
Mar 1, 2012, 6:15pm Top

>20 -Cee-:: Cee, I got in the habit of counting my pages last year. It's easy enough to jot down the number of pages read as I enter my books in my reading journal... which is basically a list of books, authors, dates completed, and stars given. My written comments are all online now rather than in the journal I kept for many years.

>21 sjmccreary:: Sandy, we were fortunate to escape the tornadoes on either side of us. Branson is 40 miles south and Buffalo is about the same distance north. Ah, springtime (almost) in The Ozarks!

Class notes:
I probably won't have nearly as much to say about Lewis's books on theology as I did on the Narnia books. I don't want to get into online discussions on religion, although Dr. Baynes made it a point to say that we would be looking mainly at the literary and cultural influences of his works.

Lewis's goal in these early 1940s radio addresses that were later published as Mere Christianity was to convert listeners to Christianity, but that will not be the focus of our class. We listened to a short segment of the one remaining audiotape of the series. It gave me chills to think of the people in wartorn London tuning in on Wednesday evenings in search of a glimmer of hope to offset what they were going through with nightly bombings and losing family members in WWII.

23ronincats
Mar 1, 2012, 8:33pm Top

Donna, just wanted to say that the Lewis quote about a book and a cup of tea is one of the reading quotes that I have collected for my email signatures.

I was thinking of pulling out Mere Christianity and re-reading it while you were covering it in class, but if you aren't really going to discuss it that much, I may just wait for The Screwtape Letters, which I have found--right next to the Perelandra series in my science fiction paperbacks bookcase. Are you reading that series in class? The planets also play an important part there, explicitly.

24ChelleBearss
Mar 1, 2012, 9:03pm Top

Found you! Star added :)

25Donna828
Mar 1, 2012, 10:01pm Top

>23 ronincats:: Hi Roni, I'm glad to hear you'll be reading some C. S. Lewis with me. I'm really looking forward to The Screwtape Letters. We'll start that one the last week in March. She has That Hideous Strength on the syllabus but said that if we run out of time, that is the book she'll cancel. I haven't bought it yet. I'm thinking I should buy the trilogy and make that my maiden voyage into sci-fi territory.

Hi Chelle, I'm glad you found me!

26arubabookwoman
Mar 2, 2012, 2:40pm Top

"Going steady" vs. "blind date"! I will have to remember that analogy when trying to rate books.

So many gems on your thread(s)--but you move way too fast!

27tymfos
Edited: Mar 2, 2012, 4:42pm Top

Hi, Donna! Just stopping by to locate the new thread and say hello.

28billiejean
Mar 2, 2012, 6:06pm Top

Hi, Donna!
I am glad that the worst of the weather is missing you. You certainly did have a terrific February. I have been planning to read The Screwtape Letters for Lent. But I haven't found my copy yet.

29EBT1002
Mar 3, 2012, 1:44am Top

*drive by*

30gennyt
Mar 3, 2012, 8:22am Top

Just dropping in, Donna, and looking forward to more comments on your Lewis reading.

31jnwelch
Mar 3, 2012, 10:16am Top

Hi, Donna! Just stopping by to say hello.

32Donna828
Mar 3, 2012, 11:15am Top

>26 arubabookwoman:: Hi Deborah, I'm rarely labeled as moving way too fast. I like it!

Hello to Terri, BJ, Ellen, Genny, and Joe.
BJ, I'm glad you'll be reading Screwtape with me IF you can find your book. I've looked for a few books lately and can only surmise they went to new homes in last year's big purge. ;-(

I've gotten into my March-themed book, The Radetzky March. I thought it was going to be a book about war, but it seems to be more of a psychological study of a family in a historical context. I'm loving it so far.

33PaulCranswick
Mar 3, 2012, 11:30am Top

Donna - it would surprise you given my propensity towards statistics that I too keep a record of pages read.

34Ireadthereforeiam
Mar 3, 2012, 3:08pm Top

Maybe Ill read The Screwtape Letters along with you at the end of March, It looks a manageable size :)

35tjblue
Mar 4, 2012, 11:29am Top

Hi Donna!!!!!

36Soupdragon
Mar 4, 2012, 11:48am Top

Your March reads look great, Donna. Looking forward to hearing more about them!

37Donna828
Mar 4, 2012, 12:16pm Top

>33 PaulCranswick:: Lol, Paul, nothing about you surprises me...and I mean that in the very best way. I think tracking pages read is a better indication of my reading than actual books read. I'm planning to read the 1000+ page Infinite Jest this month -- which I should probably count as three books!!!

Oh good, Megan, we can have our own mini group read of The Screwtape Letters. I've been wanting to read this for the longest time, but satire and I usually don't get along well. I'm hoping with the guidance of my college professor and support of a few LTers that it will be a most enjoyable experience.

Hi Tammy!

Hey there, Dee. I plan to finish the historical fiction book that has me in its thralls - whatever "thralls" are. Lol. I read quite a bit of it yesterday so that I could finish it today. Hint: it's the book with MARCH in the title!

38phebj
Mar 4, 2012, 12:19pm Top

I own a copy of The Screwtape Letters and if I can squeeze it in I'll join you at the end of March. If not, I'll probably end up marking your discussions of it for future reference.

39msf59
Mar 4, 2012, 12:22pm Top

Donna- Happy Sunday! I'm glad you felt inspired to dip into a couple short stories. I hope to start another collection in a couple weeks. I have In Other Rooms up next. Have you read that one?

40The_Hibernator
Mar 4, 2012, 2:32pm Top

I hope you all enjoy The Screwtape Letters! It's not my favorite Lewis book, but I did get a good laugh from it a few times. :)

41Donna828
Mar 4, 2012, 9:55pm Top

>38 phebj:: Pat, I'd love it if you would join us on Screwtape Letters. I'll be reading it into the early part of April if that helps you out.

Mark, it's been a great Sunday. I read and DH worked in the yard. I've got Alice Munro's The View from Castle Rock lined up for my next short story collection after O. Henry. You know, I haven't read In Other Rooms yet, but I've heard good things about it. One of these days....

Rachel, I'd love to know what your favorite C. S. Lewis book is. I almost think The Narnia books should be in a category by themselves, so maybe you could give me one Narnia title and one of his other/theology books. I haven't read too many of the latter, but I'd have to say The Great Divorce would be my favorite in the "other" category.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​


Outdoor summer concerts in Moravia began with Strauss’s “Radetzky March,” an homage to a fallen military hero. “The ragged drums rolled, the sweet flutes piped. And the lovely cymbals shattered. The faces of all the spectators lit up with pleasant and pensive smiles, and the blood tingled in their legs. Though standing, they thought they were already marching.”

Book No. 20: The Radetsky March by Joseph Roth. 4.4 stars.


In the first pages of this book, Captain Joseph Trotta takes the bullet meant for Emperor Franz Joseph at the Battle of Solferino, throwing the reader into the turmoil of the historic years between 1859 and the beginning of WWI in 1914 when the heir to the throne is assassinated in Sarajevo. A family’s sudden promotion from peasant origins to becoming an Austrian dynasty is juxtaposed with the agonizing collapse of the powerful Austro-Hungarian Empire in this book published in 1932. Joseph Roth captures the whims of fate that propel the unrest of a nation in decline and the struggles of the Trotta family to maintain their status in troubled times.

The rest of my review is here.

42Whisper1
Mar 4, 2012, 10:43pm Top

Your class sounds fascinating! Please keep us posted regarding your impressions. I like learning through you.

43coppers
Mar 4, 2012, 10:45pm Top

Well here you are! I lost you for a while but I'm back now!

44Deern
Mar 5, 2012, 5:24am Top

Glad you liked Radetzky March, Donna. I found it an extremely well-written and balanced book, certainly not a page turner, but it is still with me after all these weeks.

I mistimed my reads, I did a couple of Janet memorial reads in February (RM among them) and am reading Dickens in March, so no TIOLI points for me. Our Mutual Friend must be my next Dickens.

45phebj
Mar 5, 2012, 11:17am Top

Great review of The Radetzky March Donna. I've been meaning to read that since I first saw it mentioned on LT a year or so ago.

46jnwelch
Mar 5, 2012, 11:18am Top

Excellent review, Donna.

47PaulCranswick
Mar 5, 2012, 11:29am Top

Donna good luck with infinite Jest and count it as many books as you like my dear. I noticed that Murakami's latest tome is split into several "books" within the same volume. Some people have listed completing this work as 1 book and some as 3 books. It is not for me to say who is right. When I see lists of 1001 books and so on I am amazed at the abitrariness of the classification of works Powell's novel sequence is often classed as one work as is Proust's Remeberance of Things Past as is Tolkein's LOTR trilogy. Mervyn Peake's and Emile Zola's almost always shown separately and Honore de Balzac's efforts muddled and muddied. I count them all as separate as they were published separately. Murakami when I eventually read his IQ84 I will class as I book as it was all published together.

I remember reading Jospeh Roth a decade ago initially thinking he was a cousin of Philip Roth before realising that he was an extremely powerful novelist with not too much humour through his canon. Have you read Right and Left which I also thought very good?

48-Cee-
Mar 5, 2012, 1:24pm Top

Hi Donna!
I'm thinking of taking a sabbatical from LT so I can read the books I have here and not be tempted by other titles.
I don't think I could stand it though. :-}

49Linda92007
Mar 5, 2012, 2:24pm Top

>9 Donna828: Hi Donna. I finished Rouse Up O Young Men of the New Age! and have posted my review. It is certainly an unusual and challenging book. I did in the end really enjoy it, but like you, I think I would have appreciated it even more, and felt more confident that I understood everything, if I had more background knowledge of William Blake and his works. I did some internet surfing though and found Blake's art work intriguing.

50lit_chick
Mar 5, 2012, 10:49pm Top

Yikes, just catching your new thread now! Hi, Donna!

51The_Hibernator
Edited: Mar 6, 2012, 7:36am Top

Hmmm, asking me to pick favs from a lot of really good books is a difficult question. Of the Narnia series, I think they're all great, though my favorite is probably The Silver Chair. As for theology books, Mere Christianity is my favorite. But that's because when I was reading it I had an "Ah-ha!" moment. I was reading it concurrently with the (first) Thomas Covenant trilogy, and something that Lewis said really made Thomas Covenant pop into focus. You see, I hadn't realized that Thomas Covenant was a religious allegory, since it was rather subtle, and Thomas was SUCH a dislikable anti-hero. (He was self-loathing and lacked self-restraint to the detriment of other characters.) But Lewis made me understand Donaldson's point about conscience and self-sacrifice which wouldn't have been evident to me otherwise. Because true "Ah-ha" moments are so rare (to me), this made Mere Christianity a particularly satisfying read.

52Donna828
Edited: Mar 6, 2012, 4:24pm Top

>42 Whisper1:: I'll do my best to be a good secondary teacher, Linda.

Joanne, I went undercover in March. Glad you found me!

Lol, Nathalie, on your mistimed reads. You were ahead of the game with the Janet memorial reads -- and anytime is a good time to read Dickens. I had The Radetzky March on my WL from the time Janet reviewed it last year, but you reminded me about it. I like how we give each other book nudges here.

Hi Pat, I hope you like Radetzky when you read it. Are you familiar with the music? Apparently, it's still the custom in Austria to end their New Year's concert with this rousing march.

Thanks, Joe.

>47 PaulCranswick:: Hi Paul, I agree with your assessment of Joseph Roth having no humor in the one book I've read by him. I'll definitely be up for reading some of his other works in the future. I'd like to read more about the downfall of the Austro-Hungarian empire in The Emperor's Tomb.

I counted the seven books of Narnia as one because I read them in quick succession. However, Robertson Davies' Manticore trilogy will be counted as three separate works as I'm spacing them out over a year's time. I need to read Book #2! The same goes for The Raj Quarter. Alas, Infinite Jest has no clear divisions so it will be counted as one brilliant book!

>48 -Cee-:: LT is a Temptress for sure, Claudia. I've tried taking brief sabbaticals yet I'm always quickly drawn back by the call of that beckoning siren.

Great review of the Oe book, Linda... or should it be called the Kenzaburo book? I'm never quite sure about the order of Japanese names. I'm glad you didn't get thrown off track by Wm. Blake the way I did.

Hey there, Nancy, I paid you a quick visit earlier this morning.

Thank you, Rachel, for that well thought out response to my query. I loved The Silver Chair, too, but I'll give a slight edge to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe because it was my introduction to Narnia.

I read Mere Christianity years ago and didn't appreciate it nearly as much as I do on this reading of it. Our professor had us write down a definition of Christianity and then share it in small groups. As much as I hate these kinds of activities, it did let me know that it is difficult to agree on a definition of Christianity that covers all the bases of the non traditional religions. Lewis presents his defense in such a clear, concise manner. I wish I could be that rational in my writing. I love those Aha! moments in reading. Wish I had more of them. ;-)

53Linda92007
Mar 6, 2012, 3:08pm Top

I'm never quite sure about the order of Japanese names.

I went back and looked at the Afterword. The translator refers to him as Oe, so I guess we're on solid ground!

54Donna828
Mar 6, 2012, 4:26pm Top

Thanks, Linda, that's good to know. I remember talking about it at book group, but I couldn't remember what we decided.

55tymfos
Mar 7, 2012, 8:58am Top

I'm glad you're enjoying your class, Donna. It sounds great!

56Donna828
Mar 7, 2012, 6:45pm Top

Thanks, Terri.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​

"Jacob Skarre glanced at his watch. His shift was over. He slipped a book out of his jacket pocket and read the poem on the first page. It's like virtual reality, he thought. Poof!--and you're in a completely different landscape."

Book No. 21: When the Devil Holds the Candle by Karin Fossum. 3.5 stars.


This is the third of the popular Norwegian mystery series that has been translated into English. Karin Fossum does psychological studies of mentally deranged characters quite well. Or are they purely evil? The tension builds slowly, to the point where I was beginning to wonder what I saw in these books, and then, Poof!--I'm into the virtual reality of another page-turning mystery. (Shamelessly stealing from beginning quote).

As good as her plots are, I am equally enjoying the way she slowly reveals more about the personalities of Inspector Konrad Sejer and his apprentice Jacob Skarre. In this book she raises some real concerns (to me anyway) about Sara, the young woman who is becoming more important to the somber Konrad's life. Young Jacob continues to be his charming self. I'm eagerly waiting for him to take on a larger role in the books.

57tymfos
Mar 7, 2012, 6:55pm Top

56 Oooh, I'm hoping to get around to reading that one this month. I really like Fossum!

58brenzi
Mar 7, 2012, 6:56pm Top

Hi Donna, I've had The Radetzky March on my shelf for at least three years and after that excellent review I will try to get to it sooner rather than later. I guess I'll look for the music first though. Thanks for the tip.

59lit_chick
Mar 7, 2012, 8:13pm Top

Donna, love your review of When the Devil Holds the Candle; I have all of this Karin Fossum series in my iPad, waiting ...

60Soupdragon
Mar 8, 2012, 12:19pm Top

Great review, Donna. I've only read the first Sejer novel and now you've made me want to read more!

61BLBera
Mar 8, 2012, 12:31pm Top

Donna: So many good mysteries. Should I read the first Susan Hill, or should I go with a Karin Fossum I have on my shelves? Your review makes me want to go with the Fossum.

62katiekrug
Mar 8, 2012, 5:52pm Top

Nice review, Donna! I am in the middle of the first Fossum book and it's pretty good. I'll definitely be continuing on with the series.

63ChelleBearss
Mar 8, 2012, 6:26pm Top

Oh you make that Fossum book sound good. I haven't tried any in that series yet but I am tempted!

64DeltaQueen50
Mar 8, 2012, 7:07pm Top

I have just picked up Don't Look Back, the first in the Fossum series, hopefully will be reading it over the weekend. Looking forward to this series.

65msf59
Mar 8, 2012, 7:16pm Top

Hi Donna- Glad you enjoyed When the Devil Holds the Candle. I've really liked all 3 too! She is such a good solid writer. Looking forward to 4.

66Donna828
Mar 8, 2012, 10:11pm Top

I was a good girl today and went to my class instead of playing canasta. It's the first game I've missed in many months. I did the mature thing, but I know I would have had more fun playing cards!

>57 tymfos:: Terri, this one really picks up speed in the latter half of the book. Enjoy!

Bonnie, I love YouTube! I feel as if I had attended the New Year's Eve concert, though I was way underdressed!

Hi Nancy, most of Fossum's books are pretty short and fast reads. They make great 'in between' books.

Go for it, Dee!

Beth, I've heard good things about Susan Hill, too. In this case, you probably can't go wrong.

That's great, Katie. I only gave the first one 3 stars. As in most series, it improves as you get to know the writer's style and the protagonists better.

That's me, Chelle.... an LT Temptress!

Judy, I know you needed another series to add to your list. It's a good one.

Hi Mark, I'm not sure which one comes next. I do know that my library doesn't have all the ones that have been released in the U.S. I'll try to keep them in order as much as I can so I can see the character development of Sejer and his sidekick.

67tymfos
Mar 9, 2012, 6:47pm Top

Terri, this one really picks up speed in the latter half of the book. Enjoy!

Donna, I picked it up last night and am about halfway through, so I guess I have even better stuff to look forward to! (And the first half was good enough that I read until I couldn't keep my eyes open last night.)

68Donna828
Mar 9, 2012, 10:28pm Top

67: Lol, Terri. I know that feeling about trying to stay awake to read longer. I'm reading Revelation by C. J. Sansom, and I'd love to read all night but I'm soooo tired from cleaning house today.

Exciting news! I purchased my first book for the iPad today. I spent all of 99 cents for the Kindle Daily Deal -- We Die Alone, the true account of an injured Norwegian soldier and his escape from the Nazis. I'm on a real Norwegian roll lately. In other book news, my February ER book arrived today: lots of candles, plenty of cake by Anna Quindlen. My copy had no capitals!

69katiekrug
Mar 9, 2012, 11:08pm Top

We'll have to compare notes, Donna - I snapped up that Kindle deal today, too!

70mdoris
Mar 10, 2012, 2:53am Top

Hello,
I didn't know that you could get a book for the iPad through Kindle. That is wonderful news as we have just ordered an iPad. We Die Alone is one of my very fav. books. It is a gripper and so amazing that it is a true story. Hope that you enjoy it!

71PaulCranswick
Mar 10, 2012, 5:56am Top

Donna - congratulations on your first purchase for the i-Pad. We Die Alone looks like one I shouldn't miss out on either - I'll be interested to see how you get on with it. I am one of the few left without assistance to turn the pages in the old fashioned way. I will have to follow suit soon I guess.
Have a lovely weekend.

72mckait
Mar 10, 2012, 7:36am Top

I am almost afraid to open the kindle app on my iPad... I swear when I look at the little icon
sitting there , it looks like it is going to burst.

My ability to concentrate on reading has faded lately.. too much going on..
I am trying to get back in the groove. Do you look at the freebies for kindle ?
There are a lot of interesting looking ones..

73Donna828
Mar 10, 2012, 8:56am Top

69: Well, the short intro by Stephen Ambrose and the preface were very good.

Mary! I've missed hearing from you. That's great about the iPad. I'm pretty certain that you will love it. I have the Kindle Cloud app that makes it way too easy to download books! We Die Alone looks like my kind of book, too.

Paul, I'm in the old-fashioned camp, but am getting more used to the new technology. An e-reader would be the perfect way to sneak new books into your house!

Kath, it's understandable about your concentration these days. You are one of the reasons I'm subscribing to the Daily Deals. I've been good about resisting until yesterday. I have a lot of classics downloaded for free, and read most of Our Mutual Friend on the iPad. My "real" copy has tiny print so it was the better choice for that book. It's hard to teach an older reader new ways...but apparently I'm teachable!

I hope everyone has a great week end and finds time to read something enjoyable.

74BLBera
Mar 10, 2012, 10:57am Top

Donna: We Die Alone sounds like a winner -- and for less than a dollar! I like my Nook for traveling and for the gym. When I'm at home, I still like to turn actual pages. Also, I don't like the Nook when I want to annotate; it's too cumbersome.

I have Our Mutual Friend on my Nook; I want to get to it this year.

I've been enjoying your comments about your class. It's a great way to read things you might not otherwise pick up.

75vancouverdeb
Mar 11, 2012, 7:58am Top

Hi Donna! I"m way behind!!! I just finished reading your last thread! Looks like you have been doing some wonderful reading! Let me enourage you in reading Karin Fossum. I"ve read all of her Inspector Sejer/Skarre books and loved them! They just get better! I felt that The Devil that Holds the Candle was alright, but not one of her better books. Great book lie ahead for you! :)

76brenzi
Mar 11, 2012, 2:30pm Top

Well we should get a GR going. I spent the .99 for We Die Alone too.

77Donna828
Mar 12, 2012, 10:07am Top

>74 BLBera:: Hi Beth, thanks for taking time out from your spring break to pay me a visit. I know how precious those days are - and how quickly they pass. I hope I will always prefer "real" books to electronic versions, but I must say, those ebooks are pretty handy dandy to have around. I'm even considering the purchase of a Kindle now that they are the price of a few hardbacks. I love my iPad but it's a bit cumbersome to fit in my purse!

Deb, I am far behind on reading threads, too. The sad thing is that I am getting used to the situation of never being caught up and I'm fearful of giving up! I share your attraction to Karin Fossum's atmospheric mysteries and look forward to reading more of her books. No encouragement needed here, but we can share the love! ;-)

Hi Bonnie, have you started reading We Die Alone yet? I'll have my iPad with me on our trip to Dallas later this week. That will be my "back up" book, although with Miss Haley to entertain me, I doubt that I will have much time for reading.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​


"In just over a week it would be Easter Sunday, and also the twenty-fifth of March, the official start of the New Year of 1543. Sometimes in recent years I had wondered at this time what grim events the coming year might bring. But I reflected that now I had only good and interesting work, and times with good friends, to look forward to." (Pg. 2)

Book No. 22: Revelation by C. J. Sansom. 4 stars.


Matthew Sharlake's rosy outlook is shattered with the discovery of a friend's body in a blood-filled fountain. Once again, I got caught up in Sansom's blend of history and mystery. In this, his fourth book in the series, religious fanaticism plays a big part. I also enjoyed the side stories of mental illness, strained friendship, and the development of early medicine. Sansom is quickly filling in my gaps of this period in history.

In Revelation, I was particularly interested in a new term to me: "salvation panic" that was demonstrated by Matthew Shardlake questioning his own spiritual beliefs while defending a teenage boy being held in Bedlam "hospital" (prison?) for his own safety. I was struck by the timeless words of wisdom from Matthew's longtime friend Guy:

"We are in the middle of a bitter conflict between two religions. It has driven men to extremes, to the impious arrogance of believing they alone can comprehend the vast mysteries of Scripture, let alone the mind of God. Such people are incapable of understanding even their own minds, for they confuse their own needs, for certainty or power, with God's voice speaking to them. I am only surprised that more are not driven to stark madness. I try in my poor way to follow the much harder path of humility. Facing squarely the terrible mysteries of suffering and cruelty in God's world doubting whether through prayer you have understood God's will or his voice or even his presence. Yes, I believe humility is the greatest human virtue."

78AnneDC
Mar 12, 2012, 11:47am Top

Hi, Donna--just trying to catch up. Your review of Revelation makes me eager to get to Sovereign, which I have waiting for me for March. And I'm also hoping to get to Our Mutual Friend sooner rather than later.

79The_Hibernator
Mar 12, 2012, 11:52am Top

I've never heard about this series. But it looks good. I'll have to check out Dissolution.

80lauralkeet
Mar 12, 2012, 12:52pm Top

Aack! Need to get to Dark Fire so I can get to Sovereign so I can get to Revelation. Nooo ... !
Although I'm glad to see the phrase, "longtime friend Guy." I liked him in Dissolution and am glad he's still around in book 4.

81souloftherose
Mar 12, 2012, 3:24pm Top

#77 I need to get back to the Shardlake series too. Revelation would be the next one for me.

82Donna828
Mar 12, 2012, 10:05pm Top

Hi Anne, Laura, and Heather - you fellow Shardlake lovers, you! I'm kind of sad now because I think there is only one more left in the series that I haven't read. I'll try to hold off a few months and then hope Sansom continues with even more books.

Rachel, I think you might like these books as C. J. Sansom is a real historian. He has lots of little details about the 1500s. In Revelation, there was quite a bit about early dentures! Some of the medical scenes could have been taken right out of God's Philosophers.

83coppers
Edited: Mar 12, 2012, 10:30pm Top

Hi Donna! I just finished Don't Look Back and I'm eager to read more. I wonder, though, what we missed in the first book of the series that hasn't been translated? Do I have that right?

eta - I also received lots of candles, plenty of cake - I'm looking forward to it!

84Berly
Mar 13, 2012, 1:32am Top

Sorry -- lost you there. I promise to go back and catch up, but in the meantime, Hi!

85mckait
Mar 13, 2012, 8:46am Top

nice review :)

also, I am glad that I am not the only one who considers
paper books to be "real" and ebooks... well... not :)

86Linda92007
Mar 13, 2012, 8:53am Top

Revelation sounds very interesting, Donna. I've never read anything by this author. I also snagged We Die Alone (who could resist the price?), but probably won't get to it right away, as I am getting more and more backed up with TBR books.

87brenzi
Mar 13, 2012, 7:06pm Top

Hi Donna, I've got Sovereign up next and I guess I'll catch up to you when there are no more Shardlake books left to read. That's one way to catch up to you LOL.

88-Cee-
Mar 13, 2012, 8:13pm Top

Hi Bonnie,
I liked Dissolution and gave it 4 stars... and I see you gave Revelation 4 stars. So - I must read more of that series.
Great review!

89lit_chick
Mar 13, 2012, 8:34pm Top

Hi Donna, so appreciate your comments on Revelation. That series I haven't gotten to yet, but I love what I'm hearing about it.

90Donna828
Mar 13, 2012, 10:38pm Top

83: Joanne, I guess we have to fill in the blanks for ourselves untill all of Fossum's books are translated.

Hey Kim, it's good to be found. I'm playing hard to get this month.

Thanks, Kath. There's nothing like turning the pages of a real book....well, holding a baby nephew is a pretty cool thing, too!

Linda, I hope to never be caught up on my reading. No worries of that happening with my ever-growing wish list.

Bonnie, only one Shardlake book to go. Woe is me.

I like your logic, Cee. Revelation will not disappoint if you've liked his other books.

Nancy, if you enjoy accurate and enticing historical fiction, then I can highly recommend this series to you.

I'll be back tomorrow with some thoughts on Mere Christianity which we finished discussing in class today. I'm officially on Spring Break now. I plan to work in the yard and do lots of reading. Infinite Jest is patiently awaiting my return. I'll jump back in after a long week end with Miss Haley and parents in Dallas. I'll also get to see Stasia again and meet Katie. Fun times ahead!

91coppers
Mar 13, 2012, 11:27pm Top

Wonderful times ahead, Donna! Have fun with Stasia and Katie. Wish I could join you all!

92Deern
Mar 14, 2012, 3:20am Top

I'll have to get to parts 3-5 of the Shardlake series some day - at least to part 3 which is much acclaimed. I just wish I liked the protagonist a bit better. But it's good to read that Guy will still be around in part 4.

An LT meeting and a family meeting - how wonderful! Wish you all a great time!

93phebj
Mar 14, 2012, 10:57am Top

I can't wait to hear about your meetup Donna!

94Berly
Mar 14, 2012, 11:50am Top

Sounds like a good week ahead. Enjoy!

95Donna828
Edited: Mar 14, 2012, 11:52am Top

92: I wish you could join us, Joanne. I dream of a huge LT meetup someday!

Hi Nathalie, I can't say that I'm particularly charmed by Matthew Shardlake. He's not meant to be that kind of protagonist I'm afraid. He does intrigue me by reminding me how physical liabilities can be overcome. I admire his courage to put himself "out there" as an object of ridicule in a cruel world. I think he shows that intelligence can indeed overcome beauty. I do wonder why Sansom chose a physically deformed character to showcase his knowledge of Tudor history. He is memorable - and perhaps that is why he is the chosen protagonist of this series. Just some rambling thoughts...

It will be another short one, Pat. Katie has a meeting to go to, Stasia has to study, and I have to get back home. I'm glad we could find a window of opportunity to meet even for a short while. Our meetup will be in McKinney, Texas, on March 20.

Oops, almost missed you, Kim. Yup, family and LT friends. Can't go wrong. ;-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​


"...two points I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. these two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in." (Pg. 8)

Book No. 23: Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. 4.2 stars.


Ah, what to say about Mere Christianity? I was hoping for more in-depth class discussion, but I certainly understand the difficulty of talking about a book designed to convert the reader to Christianity under the constraints of a state-supported university setting. We did consider the logic that Lewis used in describing the major Christian doctrines of original sin, the Creator God, the Divinity of Jesus, and other tenets of Christian denominations.

My brain breaks down when the arguments get too philosophical so I’ll just say that his Trilemma argument for the divinity of Jesus (sometimes called the Liar, Lunatic, Lord alternative) precludes thinking outside the box. Some of Lewis's thinking is so clear and rational, but on further examination, he occasionally lapses into fuzzy logic and circular reasoning. There was an interesting side discussion about Lewis’s description of Christianity as a mansion with a large hall leading to different rooms (denominations). Lewis is trying to get people into the hall and not concerned about which room they enter. Some of my “peers” thought (and I agree) that he didn’t make any convincing argument to get outsiders to enter the house in the first place; in other words, Lewis was preaching to the choir!

Bottom line: Mere Christianity is a book that will appeal to a believer in Christ but may not move a firm atheist toward Christianity. Don’t get me wrong, I think Lewis is a gifted writer and his reasoning makes perfect sense to me, but then I’m part of the "choir"! MC provides much food for thought and gives some insight into Lewis’s analogous thinking about religion. My thoughts? I believe that Christianity is based on faith. Spiritual beliefs are sources of comfort and hope and not subject to proof by argument. 'Nuff said!

96The_Hibernator
Mar 14, 2012, 12:29pm Top

Good review of Mere Christianity. I agree, it's not really going to convince a non-believer to believe. Unless that non-believer is ready to believe. There's pretty much NO book that will encourage a non-believer to believe against his or her will. :) I think the nice thing about Mere Christianity is that it has the potential to influence the thoughts of people who don't know what they believe but are ready to be influenced. That's the sign of a good book, in my eyes.

97EBT1002
Mar 14, 2012, 1:35pm Top

Hi Donna. There seem to be a bunch of us who are giving Karin Fossum a try. I have Don't Look Back on hold at the library and I'm encouraged by the chorus of praise here on your thread.

98vancouverdeb
Edited: Mar 14, 2012, 5:46pm Top

Hi there Donna! Just popping by to say hi! I just love Karin Fossum and I've read all of her books in the Sejer/ Skarre series. They are most excellent. I think that about 8 have already been translated into English.

Great review of Mere Christianity. I agree that the book would not create a believer out of a non- believer , it has the potential to set someone in the right direction. Personally, I am not sure that there is book that could convince one away from their Christian beliefs, nor one that would convince someone of Christian Beliefs. I do enjoy Christian Apologetics, but I think in the end, it comes down to faith.

99katiekrug
Mar 14, 2012, 9:53pm Top

Yay! Our meet-up got a shout out! Looking forward to it :)

100BLBera
Mar 14, 2012, 11:47pm Top

Enjoy your meeting. I wish I could be there, too :( Great review of the Lewis book. He was a fascinating man. I just got the second Fossum from the library, so who knows? I may get to it before it is due.

101gennyt
Mar 15, 2012, 6:19am Top

Hi Donna! Interesting reviews, as always... I've just started reading Revelation myself, so I skipped over most of what you wrote there in case of spoilers. I do enjoy the series, though sometimes the way Sansom includes explanations of the historical details and background feels a little clumsy. Because it is a first person narrative, they come across as Shardlake's own thoughts and ruminations, but to Shardlake himself these matters would not need any explanation because they were simply features of his own contemporary context.

I guess it is the perennial dilemma of a historical novelist/mystery writer - how to give a modern reader the necessary understanding of the unfamiliar aspects of the setting without degenerating into writing a lecture on history. Sansom does it better than some, but to me sometimes it still doesn't quite work.

102mldavis2
Mar 15, 2012, 7:53am Top

Just when I didn't need yet another book on my interminable 'to-read' list, you had to post Sansom on your list. I note there are 5 in the series but I only find 4 listed with numbering. Can you advise the 5 books in the set? I see Dissolution, Dark Fire, Sovereign, and Revelation. Is Heartstone the missing member of the set, and am I to assume that they should be read in chronological order?

103Donna828
Mar 15, 2012, 12:55pm Top

96: Thanks Rachel. That's exactly the effect MC had on me the first time I read it.

Ellen, do give Fossum a try. She's not as intense as many of the other Scandi writers are. That's a good thing for me.

Oh goody, Deb, that means I have five more Fossum books to look forward to. I have an audiobook of hers waiting for my week end road trip. I don't think the casual reader would be drawn toward Mere Christianity unless they were searching for some spiritual guidance or answers. I agree that it is an excellent guidebook toward getting back on the path toward Christian living.

Katie, I'm so excited that I couldn't keep the good news to myself!

Hi Beth, we'll be having another Kansas City meetup sometime in early summer. That would be much closer to you. We'd love to have you join us.

Genny, I like to think that Matthew Shardlake is talking to me in his historical asides. I need the explanations to that time period in English history. I'll be ready for the sequel to Wolf Hall when I complete the series!

Hey Mike, good job on answering your own question. Reading them in order helps me keep the many wives of Henry VII straight in my mind. I'm not sure why Heartstone wasn't included on the series list. I'll be reading it later this year.

104BLBera
Mar 15, 2012, 2:03pm Top

Donna: I have a nephew who lives in KC. Maybe I'll have to pay him a visit! It would be fun to meet.

105Ireadthereforeiam
Mar 15, 2012, 5:50pm Top

Like your review of Mere Christianity and your rational observations on who it would and wont convert :)

106mldavis2
Mar 16, 2012, 7:35am Top

#103 Donna828 > I get to KC on occasion to visit friends in Olathe. Don't know if your meeting is open, and my schedule is getting pretty cramped, but I could get there if I'm not being too forward. Sometimes all girls work better when there isn't a male in the midst.

Finished Crooked Letter Crooked Letter and enjoyed it. I'll seek out some other Tom Franklin novels. Currently starting Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and got my next book for the library discussion group Low Country by Anne Rivers Siddons, a new author to me. The weather is far too nice to spend much time sitting by the fire.

107mckait
Mar 16, 2012, 10:03am Top

Just popping in to keep you on my radar.. . hope things are going well...

:)

108Donna828
Edited: Mar 16, 2012, 10:27am Top

104: that sounds great, Beth! We'll try to give you plenty of notice. Right now we're at the "let's get together again" stage.

Lol, Megan. I hope Lewis's rational thinking is rubbing off on me.

Of course, you're invited, Mike. It will be a smaller group than Joplin and we welcome anyone who wants to talk books. There is a big book sale in early June at a mall in Overland Park. It might be fun to meet in conjunction with adding to our book reserves. Loved Unbroken! It's been years since I read any Anne Rivers Siddons books.

Hi Kath, thanks for checking in.

I have worked three days in a row pulling weeds, raking leaves, and digging up wild onions. My body is protesting, but the yard looks much better. I love this time of year. Birds singing, geese squawking, and digging in the dirt. Once it gets hot, I retreat into the air conditioned house and become a lady of leisure once again.

109Donna828
Mar 16, 2012, 1:21pm Top


"A day, a livelong day, is not one thing but many. It changes not only in growing light toward zenith and decline again, but in texture and mood, in tone and meaning, warped by a thousand factors of season, of heat or cold, of still or multi winds, torqued by odors, tastes and the fabrics of ice or grass, of bud or leaf or black-drawn naked limbs. And as a day changes so do its subjects, bugs and birds, cats, dogs, butterflies, and people." (10, 11)

Book No. 24: The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck. 4.4 stars.


Steinbeck lets the reader know early on that this book is about change. I wish he had made a more likable protagonist out of Ethan Allen Hawley. Oh, I guess I liked him okay, a man of deep thoughts and moral dilemmas... but his glib talk, silly pet names for his wife, and distasteful threats to beat his children irritated me. But I don't have to like everything about a character to realize the importance of a book.

I think Steinbeck felt the changes that were well on the way in 1960. He realized that we often have to give up part of ourselves in order to achieve "success" in the eyes of the world. He stated it well on Page 154: "It has to be faced. In business and in politics a man must carve and maul his way through men to get to be King of the Mountain. Once there, he can be great and kind--but he must get there first." Steinbeck also was concerned about the fate of the world. This was the last book he wrote. I wonder if the lack of enthusiasm by the public - and maybe rejection of his foreshadowing of the future - was a factor in his silence after Winter was published. I'm glad he got the recognition he deserved from the Nobel committee. Steinbeck's view of the world in 1960 is uncannily like the conditions 52 years later:

"This year of 1960 was a year of change, a year when secret fears come into the open, when discontent stops being dormant and changes gradually to anger... Presidential nominations would be coming up soon and in the air the discontent was changing to anger and with the excitement anger brings. And it wasn't only the nation; the whole world stirred with restlessness and uneasiness as discontent moved to anger and anger tried to find an outlet in action, any action so long as it was violent--Africa, Cuba, South America, Europe, Asia, the Near East, all restless as horses at the barrier." (252)


110ronincats
Mar 16, 2012, 2:39pm Top

Great review, Donna!

I was going to come back to Kansas in early June, but now my class is having a reunion in late July, so that's when I'll be traveling.

111katiekrug
Mar 16, 2012, 3:01pm Top

Excellent review of TWoOD, Donna! I may just refer people to yours instead of doing my own :)

112BLBera
Mar 16, 2012, 4:48pm Top

Donna: Thanks for the great review. I think I read this years ago, but it sounds like I might appreciate it more now. So, another one to add to the list.

113msf59
Edited: Mar 16, 2012, 6:25pm Top

Hi Donna- Excellent review of The Winter of Our Discontent. It's kind of a tough book to review but you nailed it perfectly. Enjoy your weekend!
ETA: Hey, post your review, I wanted to give you a Thumb!

114vancouverdeb
Mar 16, 2012, 7:02pm Top

Stopping by to say hi! I feel badly that I'm not a Steinbeck fan ... runs and hides head in shame....

115AMQS
Mar 16, 2012, 10:35pm Top

More great reviews, Donna, and thank you, as always, for sharing your classes with us. Hope you have a great weekend!

116brenzi
Mar 16, 2012, 11:15pm Top

Well there's a Steinbeck that I will definitely have to get to Donna. Great review!

117PaulCranswick
Mar 16, 2012, 11:25pm Top

Donna - wonderful quote and spot on the Steinbeck and how prescient. Have a lovely weekend.

118Ireadthereforeiam
Mar 17, 2012, 2:01am Top

Wont read your review Donna as I want to read this one soon, (as I know practically nothing about Steinbeck) but glad to see you enjoyed it with your 4.4 star rating.

119Deern
Mar 17, 2012, 2:50am Top

Love your review, Donna, and it gave me some idea how maybe the whole Ethan-Mary thing might be explained. I'll try and write something about it on the GR thread.

120mldavis2
Mar 17, 2012, 7:28am Top

#108 Donna828 > Thanks. Let me know date and time and I'll see if its clear. I was born and raised in Johnson County, so that's familiar stompin' grounds.

121Soupdragon
Mar 17, 2012, 7:42am Top

Great review, Donna. I knew exactly nothing about Steinbeck before this year and am enjoying all the reviews that are coming out of the group reads. I might even read him myself one day!

122Donna828
Mar 17, 2012, 8:48am Top

I had to take a peek at LT before I shut down the computer. Shock! Lots of visitors. I'll have to give everyone a rain check on book chat but I did want to say how happy I was to see visits from Roni, Katie, Beth, Mark, Deb, Anne, Bonnie, Paul, Megan, Nathalie, Mike, and Dee! I'll think good thoughts about you all as we drive the 7.5 hours to Texas today.

I chose another audiobook for our trip as I didn't think DH could handle the lost child in Black Seconds. Besides, I think that one is out of chronological order; not so sure how important that is with Fossum's books, though. We will be listening to A Most Wanted Man by John le Carre. Maybe it will bring back some good memories of our trip to Hamburg, Germany 8 or 9 years ago. Gosh, it seems like last year that we were there.

Thank you for the kind words on my Steinbeck thoughts. They were more in the line of personal comments rather than a more formal type of review. Those of you who are new to Steinbeck might want to read Cannery Row first. I'm not sure what a "typical" Steinbeck book is, but this one seemed to gain universal approval on the group read. And, Deb, no worries about not liking Steinbeck. It's been said over and over, but I'll say it again -- we are all unique and like different things at different times. It would be so boring around here if we were all touting the same books and authors.

123Linda92007
Mar 17, 2012, 8:52am Top

I enjoyed your review of The Winter of Our Discontent, Donna. I think I read it way back when, but all of the great group read reviews are nudging me towards some Steinbeck re-reads.

124mckait
Mar 17, 2012, 8:53am Top

You're going to Texas? On purpose? Oh my.. well have a good time :)
And a very safe and happy trip !

125jnwelch
Mar 17, 2012, 9:51am Top

Safe travels, Donna, and Happy St. Pat's Day!

126BLBera
Mar 17, 2012, 10:50am Top

Safe trip, Donna. I hope we'll see pictures?

127EBT1002
Mar 17, 2012, 1:13pm Top

Excellent review of The Winter of Our Discontent, Donna. Well-done.

128katiekrug
Mar 17, 2012, 5:30pm Top

>124 mckait: - Kath, We have some excellent used bookstores here, but I suspect Donna is coming to visit her granddaughter!

129ronincats
Mar 17, 2012, 10:54pm Top

I expect some new Haley pictures--hopefully in her Jayhawk regalia!

130Donna828
Mar 18, 2012, 9:59am Top

Good morning, Linda, Kath, Joe, Beth, Ellen, Katie, and Roni...
I give up! I tried my vast knowledge of computer tricks (tongue firmly in cheek) to post a pic of Haley all ready for tonight's big game...and failed. What works on my laptop doesn't transfer to the iPad apparently. So, I made her my profile pic! I'll wait until we get home Tuesday night to post any further pics. I hope that Katie and Stasia will agree to a picture or two at our meetup.

No time to talk. Haley seems to think a sitting Grandma should be reading a book to her. She's being groomed as a future LT member!

131coppers
Mar 18, 2012, 10:35am Top

Awwww....cute Haley pic!

132-Cee-
Mar 18, 2012, 12:36pm Top

What a sweet smile! And, ay, yi, yi! How she has grown! *sob* Still ahhhhh- full cute!

133AMQS
Mar 18, 2012, 12:45pm Top

Oh my goodness -- what a big girl! What happened to Baby Haley? She is darling, Donna -- thanks for sharing her photo!

134gennyt
Mar 18, 2012, 12:56pm Top

Glad to hear that Haley has her priorities right - Grandmas and books!

135phebj
Mar 18, 2012, 2:36pm Top

Donna, how old is Haley now? I feel like I missed something because I picture her as a toddler and she looks about 4! I've got my fingers crossed that you'll get pictures of your meetup.

136lauralkeet
Mar 18, 2012, 4:59pm Top

Love the new Haley pic!!

137Nancy618
Mar 18, 2012, 6:25pm Top

Hi, Donna! Just booted up my laptop at Fripp Island and the first thing I checked was your thread and then saw the adorable picture of Haley! And I agree with Pat -- she does look about 4! What happened? And is that a Jayhawk on her shirt? Can't wait to see more pictures, of Haley and of the meet-up. :-)

138ronincats
Mar 18, 2012, 6:56pm Top

Immediately went to your profile page to look at Haley's picture before continuing down your thread! Great picture! 90 minutes to game time!

139Whisper1
Mar 18, 2012, 8:36pm Top

Donna
Stasia mentioned that she will be seeing you next week. I'm sure you will have a lovely time!

140Morphidae
Mar 19, 2012, 7:39am Top

OMG. What a cutie!

141Donna828
Mar 19, 2012, 11:01pm Top

Hello to Joanne, Cee, Anne, Genny, Pat, Laura, Nancy, Roni, Linda, and Morphy. Thanks for the nice comments about Haley. I've been soaking up as much Haley cuteness as I can absorb because she has changed so much since Christmas, She was 18-months-old on March17. She does seem to be much older, though, because she is a big girl and now she is talking! It's like having a little parrot around.

I'm sorry to report that tomorrow's meetup got interrupted by the unforeseen events called life. As I told Stasia, "there's always Joplin." I hope Katie can join us this year as I really want us to get together. We'll have a little extra time with Mary and Haley in the morning before we head for home. Very little reading got done on this trip - unless you count the 75 books I read to Haley. She's insatiable!

142AMQS
Mar 19, 2012, 11:48pm Top

Another insatiable reader -- she fits right in! Sorry about the unforeseen events. Hopefully you all can connect another time. Safe travels'

143coppers
Mar 20, 2012, 12:11am Top

I'm so sorry your meetup won't work while you're in TX.

You're so lucky to have a new little reader in the family!

Safe travels home!

144mckait
Mar 20, 2012, 9:08am Top

Wow! Haley is growing up to be so beautiful!

145EBT1002
Mar 20, 2012, 12:09pm Top

No surprise that the adorable Haley is growing up to be a reader. Hooray! The world can always use more readers, I say.

146PaulCranswick
Mar 20, 2012, 8:08pm Top

Donna - I have noticed on LT one of the things we all seem to do best is to pass the baton of book loving and voracious reading to our loved ones in the succeeding generations - well done for that - it is so much fun reading to the kids/grandkids isn't it?

147Donna828
Mar 20, 2012, 9:46pm Top

We're home after a fun morning with Haley and a not-so-fun 7+ hours spent in the driving rain! We're talking about going from heavy rain to heavier rain. Thank goodness there was no hail. My car is already dimpled from last week's hailstorm! I think Stasia and Katie must be prescient...this would have been a miserable day for a meetup. But I'm still sad that it did not work out. ;-(

A few pics...


1) First book read: had only been there 3 minutes!
2) One last picture with Grandma and Grandpa taken this morning.


Walking Shania (age 16). I wish I could say they were best friends, but Shania spends most of her time avoiding Haley. Cassie, the 7-year-old Black Lab is a little more tolerant.


Taking a break from the books!

148Donna828
Mar 20, 2012, 10:13pm Top

Tired hellos to Anne, Joanne, Kath, Ellen, and Paul. I've only been gone four days yet it seems like twice that long! Our yard absolutely erupted while we were gone. My lilacs and bleeding hearts are blooming...and the yard needs to be mowed. We are getting rain here (surprise) so it will really need it this week end.

We finished our audiobook on the way home today:


"A Turkish heavyweight boxing champion sauntering down a Hamburg street with his mother on his arm can scarcely be blamed for failing to notice that he is being shadowed by a skinny boy in a black coat."

Book No. 25: A Most Wanted Man by John LeCarre. 3.2 stars.


The skinny boy in a black coat is a Chechnyan Muslim seeking asylum in Hamburg, Germany. He finds refuge with the mother and son he is following and soon gains help from a passionate female lawyer and a prominent banker. But this is a Le Carre novel so there have to be some bad guys. One of the difficulties I had with the book was determining who the bad guys were and what they were hoping to accomplish. If nothing else, this book gave me reason to question the way we judge people by who their parents were and where they come from. Oh, and there's that little thing about religion.

Personally, I'm glad this was a slow book because audiobooks are difficult for me to follow when the plot gets too involved. What I really disliked was the abrupt ending. I was "in the zone" wondering how the story was going to be wrapped up when I heard the words "The End"! It literally left me with my mouth agape wondering if I had dropped off to sleep and missed something. Hubby assured me that I didn't and that he was surprised by the non-ending. It's been many years since I read something by him, but I think I remember a more definite conclusion in his earlier books. Or maybe not...it did make me want to catch up on some of the books I've missed.

149brenzi
Mar 20, 2012, 10:16pm Top

Look at that Haley! Oh my how she has grown. It seems like only yesterday that you posted that picture of newborn Haley. Too bad your meet-up didn't happen but you do get a lot of opportunities to meet-up so I'm sure you'll get to do another one. I'm actually pretty jealous of all your meet-ups LOL.

150Deern
Mar 21, 2012, 6:28am Top

Maybe the very old dogs (like very old people) can't deal well with the kids anymore and therefore avoid them. My grandma (88 this year) recently complained that my cousins always bring their babies - her great-grandchildren - when they visit her. It's just too much for her now, most of all the noise.

I can't believe how Haley has grown. Wasn't she just a baby? She is so adorable, and I am sure she will be a great reader soon!

Haven't read any LeCarré yet and maybe better don't start with this one.

151katiekrug
Mar 21, 2012, 10:12am Top

OH, gosh, Haley is adorable!

Yes, the weather was awful. Today it's sunny and 70 :)

152Donna828
Mar 21, 2012, 11:02am Top

149: I have been extremely fortunate to meet so many LTers in person, Bonnie. I look forward to adding you to that list someday.

Hi Nathalie, I hope I don't reach the age where my grandkids make me nervous. I do get very tired especially with the older ones, but it is a good kind of tired. I'm not sure which of the Le Carre books would be good starting points. I fear that his older spy stories will seem quite dated. I suppose they could be read as historical fiction because they do tell what life was like in the Cold War.

I'm glad your storms are over, Katie. Mary wanted us to stay an extra day but Dave had to get back to close on our new business acquisition. He dropped me off in Plano and spent most of his time in Houston checking out our new store at GBI. Most of our locations are in the airport proper but this one is in the connecting Marriott Hotel. More reasons to go to Texas!

153jnwelch
Mar 21, 2012, 11:33am Top

Haley looks like a great kid, Donna!

154sjmccreary
Mar 21, 2012, 11:43am Top

Haven fallen behind on many threads, including my own. Just catching up here - glad to hear you had a good trip to Texas and are safely home again. Sad about the LT meet-up falling through. But, as you said, there's always Joplin. Of course, there is Kansas City first and I hope it will be possible for several LTers to get together. If it can be the weekend of the big JO-CO library book sale, then even better! I hope I will be able to make it this year.

155-Cee-
Mar 21, 2012, 4:07pm Top

Gorgeous pictures! And Haley looks so much like Grandma in the last picture - I think ;-)

156PaulCranswick
Mar 21, 2012, 4:23pm Top

Donna - Haley is lovely with or without the books. I think Le Carre has lost his mojo somewhat - his later stuff is barely readable for me.

157brenpike
Mar 21, 2012, 7:20pm Top

I'm with Sandy . . . Have been thinking about a KC meet-up sometime in April. Any particular dates look appealing?

158DeltaQueen50
Mar 21, 2012, 8:42pm Top

Glad you got home safely Donna. Haley is adorable, and it looks like she knows her Grandma can't resist a good book, I think it's a wonderful way to bond.

159BLBera
Mar 21, 2012, 8:45pm Top

Donna: I'm glad you had a good trip. Adorable granddaughter. I haven't read Le Carre for years -- and I think I'll pass on this one.

160porch_reader
Mar 21, 2012, 9:06pm Top

Donna - I love the Haley pictures! What a cutie!

161EBT1002
Mar 21, 2012, 10:55pm Top

Add me to the list of those hoping for a meet-up sometime, Donna. I love the pics of Haley, especially the one of her, um, towing the dog. :-D I can see why a geriatric dog might avoid an active youngster!

You know, I think I have read one John Le Carre bt I'm not sure which one...... I'm sure it wasn't A Most Wanted Man. Maybe I need to just start at the beginning.

We have daffodils, too, and the early blooming trees are gorgeous right now. All that, even though it's been steadily about 10 degrees (F) colder than "normal." Whatever "normal" is.

162brenzi
Mar 21, 2012, 11:34pm Top

149: I have been extremely fortunate to meet so many LTers in person, Bonnie. I look forward to adding you to that list someday.

Well there's nothing I would love more! You seem to go south or west. Think east Donna. Or north. Or best of all northeast;-)

163mckait
Mar 22, 2012, 9:41am Top

What a cutie!! I love the one with the dog.. who does seem to have a bit of a help me
look around the eyes :)

164Donna828
Mar 22, 2012, 2:36pm Top

Oops, back to ignoring my own thread.

153: Thanks, Joe. She's a keeper!

Hi Sandy, the JoCo book sale starts on June 13. Save the date!

Cee, other people have said the same thing. Must be the chubby cheeks!

Paul, I think we have a copy of Mission Song around here. I may give that one a go before I completely write off Le Carre.

Brenda, I'll be in Overland Park the week end of April 21 but it will be a quick trip with hubby in tow. We have Audrey's 1st Communion on Saturday and her family birthday party on Sunday. Mid-June looks better for a meetup for me. The Johnson County Library book sale will be at the Metcalf South Shopping Center from June 13-16. Will that work for you?

Hi Judy, book bonding is the best!

Thanks, Beth.
Ditto, Amy.

Ellen - "towing the dog" - love it! An apt description.

Bonnie, there has been talk around here of a return visit to New England...that may be a little too far northeast! We're in the process of a business acquisition that includes a Detroit location. That might be closer if we took the Canada shortcut.

Kath, Shania and Haley waddle at about the same pace. I was squatting to take the picture which made S want to come to me. Haley was not pleased to have her momentum interrupted!

Sorry for the brief replies. I'm still getting caught up around here. I want to spend some time reading. I'm in the middle of a great Bonnie rec-- No Great Mischief. Gotta go...the book is calling!

165Ireadthereforeiam
Mar 22, 2012, 5:44pm Top

beautiful baby pics, what a sweetie little blondie is :)

166brenpike
Mar 23, 2012, 12:39am Top

Let's plan, tentatively, for a mid June meet-up. I'll leave a note on Terri's thread. Sandy, are you there? Nancy, will you plan to come with Donna? Anyone else we should notify?

167sjmccreary
Mar 23, 2012, 2:39am Top

I'm there.

Isn't there a list of LT meet-ups on the group's wiki page? How about listing it on there?

168Donna828
Mar 23, 2012, 9:37am Top

>165 Ireadthereforeiam:: Thanks, Megan.

Brenda and Sandy, so it looks good for June 13? Awesome. We can meet, buy books, eat, and ogle each other's books. Sounds good to me. I've invited Mike to join us. Anyone else out there want to go to a terrific book sale and meet with some fellow LTers? Be there or be square... as we used to say back in the Dark Ages. ;-)

169Nancy618
Mar 23, 2012, 9:37am Top

I think I'll be able to come! My June calendar is already filling up and since I'm out of town right now, I won't be able to check it 'til I get home. I know.....I should have my schedule on my iPhone, but I haven't gotten that far yet! ;-) It would be great to see you all -- and I've heard so many good things about the Jo-Co Book Sale from Donna that I'd love to check that out! My dh is also a Used Book Sale fan, so he might even be interested in coming. But I really can't see him attending an LT meet-up!

170Donna828
Mar 23, 2012, 9:48am Top

>169 Nancy618:: I think Mel should come to the meetup to keep Mike company. He'd love it. It's great that you're considering it, Nance. I think Lori and the grands will hit the book sale for awhile that morning. You'll find me in the children's room for the first hour of the sale with my three wee readers!

171msf59
Mar 23, 2012, 10:01am Top

Hi Donna- Just checking in with you. We are getting some of your rain...FINALLY. I'm a big Le Carre fan too but honestly have not read much of his later works. I wouldn't give up on him just go back 20 or 30 years.

172Donna828
Mar 23, 2012, 11:12am Top

Hi Mark, you must have the day off. It's still raining here. I'll be glad to send more your way since you're not working today. I'm going to try The Mission Song before I go back in time with Le Carre. I did read some of his earlier works, but since I have no memory of them I don't think they'll count as rereads!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​


"As I begin to tell this, it is the golden month of September in southwestern Ontario. In the splendid autumn sunshine the bounty of the land is almost overwhelming, as if it is the manifestation of a poem by Keats." (first lines)

Book No. 26: No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod. 4.2 stars.


This is a wonderful story of recollections of the clann Calum Ruaidh who came to Cape Breton from the Scottish Highlands in the late 1700s. The family could be recognized by the red hair of many of its members but more so by the way they frequently lapsed into Gaelic, the language of their hearts, and how they looked after their own blood. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the ubiquitous little brown and white dogs that were bred from the original dog that jumped in the ocean to follow Calum, his wife, and 12 children to their new beginning in the land of trees. Who could leave behind such a loyal dog “who cared too much”?

Alexander MacDonald tells how he and his twin sister were raised by their grandparents after his parents went under the ice in an unexpected spring thaw. “I think of my grandparents a great deal… They drift in like the fine snow in the old house in which my brothers used to live; sifting in and around the window casings or under the doors, driven by the insistent and unseen wind.” (39) He also reminisces about how he and his older brothers worked in the uranium ore mines after the death of his cousin, also named Alexander MacDonald, at the bottom of a shaft. The MacDonald family worked the night shift in the bowels of the earth… “It was always something of a surprise to come to the surface and to be reacquainted with the changes of weather and of time. Sometimes it would be four in the morning and the night would be giving way to dawn, and the stars would appear to be going out like quietly snuffed candles as the sky began to redden with the promise of the sun.” (139)

Alister MacLeod is a gifted storyteller whose lovely atmospheric writing was a joy to read as it wandered between the late 20th century and the family’s past history. Many thanks to Bonnie who brought this book to my attention. Our own Claudia, Pat, and Cait also have some excellent indepth reviews on the book’s main page.

173EBT1002
Mar 23, 2012, 11:28am Top

We can meet, buy books, eat, and ogle each other's books. Sounds good to me.

I'll say!!! Have fun, y'all (she said with heartfelt and genuine enthusiasm mixed with a touch of envy).

174EBT1002
Mar 23, 2012, 11:29am Top

By the way, I am a MacDonald, so thank you for the review. No Great Mischief is going on the hold list at the library....

175countrylife
Mar 23, 2012, 12:01pm Top

Nice review of No Great Mischief, Donna. Reading that got me quite discombobulated, though. I kept thinking, "isn't that book set in the Pacific Northwest? That's not how I remember the story." After quite a bit of searching, I finally found the book I was confusing it with: Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. No, I have no idea how I could have gotten those two confused! But during my search, I also found: No Great Mischief If You Fall: A Highland Experience by John MacLeod. Wonder if they're related; I don't find anything on their CK.

176sjmccreary
Mar 23, 2012, 12:28pm Top

#172 A great review, Donna. Turns out, I already had the book on my wishlist. Thanks for the nudge.

I've saved the date for June 13. Looking forward to it.

177jnwelch
Edited: Mar 23, 2012, 12:58pm Top

I like that review of No Great Mischief too, Donna. Did you ever read Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee? It's not set in Scotland, but Gloucestershire, England. It's a charmer, and your review made me think of it.

I'm supposedly descended from the MacFarlane clan. They were particularly known for stealing cattle. :-)

178gennyt
Mar 23, 2012, 1:09pm Top

I remember someone else reading No Great Mischief last year - ah, it must have been Lucy/sibyx, because I have a wishlisted copy and a tag saying recommended by sibyx. I'll definitely have too look out for that one after your lovely review too.

179Linda92007
Mar 23, 2012, 1:55pm Top

I agree wholeheartedly with your review of No Great Mischief, Donna. I thought his collection of short stories was also excellent: Island: The Complete Stories.

180EBT1002
Mar 23, 2012, 6:40pm Top

This is nuts. I swear there was conversation about Infinite Jest and now I can't find that conversation anywhere. But Donna, I think you're reading it, yes? I just purchased it today (can you say "impulse buy"?).....

181brenzi
Mar 23, 2012, 6:56pm Top

Lovely review of No Great Mischief Donna. I think I found myself holding my breath throughout the reading of that book. MacLeod's writing just created such a sense of place.

182LauraBrook
Mar 23, 2012, 10:33pm Top

Hi Donna! I'm finally here, trying to keep up with you! Thanks for the new Haley pics, she's getting so big! I hope you're having a good (early) Spring!

183Donna828
Mar 23, 2012, 10:47pm Top

173, 174, 180: Hey hey hey, Ellen! Thanks for the good meetup wishes. Everyone with MacDonald for a name should read No Great Mischief. In fact, everyone who loves good historical fiction should read it!

Congrats on purchasing Infinite Jest. It will make a good doorstop until you get around to reading it. I started an IJ "encouragement" thread here which evolved into the bona fide group read thread way over here. Come and check it out. We'd love to have you join our tiny group. I read another 97 pages in it today!! Have to go update my ticker. There is no way I'll finish it this month but would love to be done in April.

>175 countrylife:: Hi Cindy, you just mentioned two books I need to take a look at. I've heard of the Kesey book, but not the MacLeod one. I haven't done any author research on MacLeod but got the sense that the book was based on his family.

>176 sjmccreary:: Just say NO to your clients for that day, Sandy. ;-) I think we'll have a good time. We always do.

>177 jnwelch:: Ack! I'm getting hit with book bullets right and left. Thanks, Joe. I'm not familiar with Cider with Rosie, but I like the title and I'll look into it.

>178 gennyt:: Thanks Genny, I didn't know Lucy had read it. I'll have to go see if she reviewed it. I guess she must have liked it if you wishlisted it.

>179 Linda92007:: Hi Linda, I'm definitely going to look for MacLeod's short story collection at next month's library sale. It looks like I'll be going to the big sale in Kansas City in June so that will be my backup plan.

>180 EBT1002:: Well, you're the one who sold me on No Great Mischief in the first place, Bonnie. I was really excited to find it in a used bookstore recently. Thanks to TIOLI Challenge #11, I got the nudge to read it.

184Porua
Mar 24, 2012, 1:23am Top

Aww...cute pics of Haley! She's growing up fast.

185brenpike
Mar 24, 2012, 2:01am Top

Donna, Sandy, Nancy, Mark and anyone else interested in a KC in June meet-up, Terri has class until 8:30 on Wed, Jun 13th. Could we set the meet-up for Thursday, Jun 14?

186ChelleBearss
Mar 24, 2012, 7:49am Top

Hi Donna! Couple great reviews here, two more books to add to my WL!
Your grand baby is adorable, love the pic pulling the old puppy!

187Nancy618
Mar 24, 2012, 9:29am Top

Hi Brenda! Donna and I are in a Canasta group that meets the second Thursday of the month, so that would be on the 14th. But since we're 1/4 of the group, maybe we could change the Canasta date? What do you think, Donna?

188Donna828
Mar 24, 2012, 11:42am Top

Good morning to Porua, Brenda, Chelle, and Nancy...and lurkers.

Porua, long time no see. I hope you've been well and have been reading good books.

Chelle, thanks for taking time out from unpacking. The dog "walking" picture is my favorite too.

Brenda and Nancy...I stink at arranging get-togethers. I'm sure someone can come up with a creative solution. I'll think about it as I am working in the yard on this divine Saturday morning. So that's what the sun looks like!

189PaulCranswick
Mar 24, 2012, 12:20pm Top

Donna - No Great Mischief looks far more my cup of tea than the dregs of Le Carre's oeuvre. Will go on my hitlist just as I am wishing you a lovely weekend.

190EBT1002
Mar 24, 2012, 12:47pm Top

Thanks for the links, Donna. I don't know that I'll get to "IJ" very soon; it may, as you say, have to be a doorstop for a while. It's HUGE!

191-Cee-
Mar 24, 2012, 1:58pm Top

Hi Donna & friends,

So many of you are on the edge of wanting to read No Great Mischief, so I'm give you all a push!
I am one of many who liked this book a lot (I'm not even a MacDonald) - go for it!
:-)

192souloftherose
Mar 24, 2012, 4:00pm Top

Hi Donna - catching up after too long an absence from your thread. Looks like you've been doing some great reading.

#147 Lovely family pics! I know the look on Shania's face very well - now my parents dog is older I think he finds very young children more trying than fun. He's still very gentle with them (and of course we would never leave them alone with him) but he just gets this look on his face that says 'please make them leave me alone!' and after a while he'll try and find a quiet corner of the house to escape to.

193tloeffler
Mar 24, 2012, 8:38pm Top

I'm sorry to be a party pooper. But June 13 is my VERY last class to get my certificate, and if I don't take it in June, it's not offered again till October, and I just want to get it finished. :(

But I'll still come for the book sale (just not the first day), and if anyone feels sorry for me and wants to meet me on the 14th sometime (or 15th, or 16th, or whatever), that would be grand. Or I can just spend the day alone. That's okay too...

*sniff*

PS your Haley pictures are adorable!

194Donna828
Edited: Mar 24, 2012, 10:46pm Top

189: I heartily concur in your choice of books, Paul. I wish you a peaceful week end!

Ellen, I'm currently using the hardcover edition of Truman as my "doorstop." One of these days...

Cee, I gave your review of No Great Mischief a shout out in my comments. It was certainly the "It" book for awhile around here. Time for Round Two!

Hi Heather, always glad to have you visit. Old dogs have put in their time and deserve whatever makes them happy in their old age... and that usually doesn't include being a toddler's playmate. Luckily, Cassie, the much younger Black Lab takes the brunt of Haley affection.

Terri, we will be glad to celebrate with you after your last class! It's almost 3 months away. There's plenty of time to finalize our plans. Dry your tears and make your book list. The Jo-Co book sale is a good one!

195AMQS
Mar 25, 2012, 12:15am Top

Donna, I really enjoyed your review of No Great Mischief. The book is already on my wish list -- now I have even more motivation (like I need any) to go find a copy!

196Porua
Mar 25, 2012, 4:12am Top

# 188 Oh yes I had been missing from LT for nearly 20 days. The reason is the usual, work. Semester ends in a few weeks and work load is kind of heavy. In other news, whiny college kids wondering aloud why college is so 'tough' makes me angry and sad at the same time. Why do these people even bother? Sigh!

197msf59
Mar 25, 2012, 10:58am Top

Donna- You NEED to remove Truman from it's place at the door and read it. It's an incredible bio and very fast-paced. I hope you are enjoying a nice weekend.

198scaifea
Mar 25, 2012, 2:12pm Top

I'm coming in very late to the picture party, but just have to say that that grand-daughter of yours is simply beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

199phebj
Mar 25, 2012, 3:13pm Top

Donna, I loved your review of No Great Mischief (and thanks for the shout out for mine). Did you post yours? I didn't see it.

Happy first weekend of Spring (or maybe I should say Summer?)!

200Donna828
Mar 26, 2012, 10:15am Top

>195 AMQS:: Hi Anne, I think you'd like No Great Mischief. It is one of those lyrical introspective books that we both seem to like.

Porua, some things never change. These same complaining students will someday remember their college years as the best days of their lives! I know I keep wanting to replicate the experience, though it's not quite the same at my age. ;-)

Excellent advice, Mark. If I ever finish Infinite Jest, I just might make Truman my next big book. I kind of like having an ongoing behemoth book to tackle a little bit at a time.

Hi Amber! It's always a good time (for me) to talk about Haley. I don't see her often enough.

Nope, Pat, I didn't post it because it was mostly stringing a few quotes together for my own pleasure. Kind of a lazy way to talk about a book, but I did want to share that beautiful writing.

Well, school starts back up tomorrow. I've enjoyed having two weeks off. My, it went quickly! I pulled out my copy of The Screwtape Letters and will be reading the first 61 pages for tomorrow's discussion. Infinite Jest is going on hiatus once again. I've been reading this tome forever it seems like, and I'm not even to the halfway point. I do like it and will keep trudging through it as time allows.

201Donna828
Edited: Mar 26, 2012, 10:53am Top


"They threw me off the hay truck about noon." So begins Frank Chambers further adventures of the dark side of life...

Book No. 27: The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain. 3.4 stars

A love triangle that seems more like a comedy of errors when the first murder attempt is botched. But Frank and Cora's lust knows no bounds and they try again. That's all I can say without giving too much away.

Postman is considered a classic example of noir fiction. Noir is the French word for black. In this subgenre of murder mystery, the protagonist is tied to the crime as either victim, suspect, or perpetrator. Sex frequently leads to the downfall of the characters. A lean prose and gritty realism are components of the writing style. Cain delivers a tight and tidy story within the parameters of his chosen genre. I enjoyed this as a diversion from the lyrical writing I'm used to and also found myself getting caught up in the twists and turns that showed the legal system of the 1940s to be every bit as immoral as these sleazy characters. Black indeed!

202ronincats
Mar 26, 2012, 12:35pm Top

Okay, I'll pull out The Screwtape Letters today. It will be a quick read.

Go, Jayhawks!!

203sjmccreary
Mar 26, 2012, 12:41pm Top

Already have Postman Always Rings Twice on the wishlist, too. Good thing.

This far in advance, I can plan to do the JO-CO book sale any day. Whatever suits everyone else. I'd hate to miss Terri or make her go alone.

204ronincats
Mar 26, 2012, 3:36pm Top

What edition do you have of The Screwtape Letters? Mine is a Macmillan paperback (13th printing, 1970, $.95) "with a new preface by the author" with lots of juicy quotes. The first 61 pages take me through the 13th letter (not counting the 10 pages of the second preface), which I just finished.

205bell7
Mar 26, 2012, 7:46pm Top

Donna, I've just caught up and I'm pleased as punch to find out I'm not too late to join in on rereading The Screwtape Letters along with you. I may, however, finish it a bit later than you judging from how quickly you're reading it (the first 61 pages take me through the 12th letter).

206Donna828
Edited: Mar 26, 2012, 7:50pm Top

202, 204: Roni, I am reading the first 12 letters for my class tomorrow. My HarperOne 2001 edition only has the very brief Preface by C. S. Lewis. You are right; this one reads quickly.

203: i'm glad your schedule is open, Sandy. Terri needs her posse! LT meetups trump Canasta. I'll be there on whatever date works out for the group.

205: I'm glad to have you along, Mary. We'll be spending 3 class periods on Screwtape, finishing up on Tuesday, April 3.

207ronincats
Edited: Mar 26, 2012, 8:04pm Top

The second preface addresses questions Lewis says he has gotten since he wrote the book, and his reasoning behind it. I found this discussion of it, which has some of my favorite quotes in it.

http://soulofdiscretion-foodforthought.blogspot.com/2011/10/screwtape-letters-2n...

If you'd like a Screwtape or Wormwood ringtone, go here:

http://www.screwtape.com/downloads/

208brenpike
Mar 26, 2012, 11:54pm Top

So Donna, Sandy, Nancy, Terri . . . Are we on for a Jun 14th meet-up in KC?

209vancouverdeb
Mar 27, 2012, 8:14am Top

Stopping by to say hi! I confess I have not read No Great Mischief and I'm Canadian! One day I'll have to remedy that! I've not read The Postman Always Rings Twice - do you think that is Mark's modus operandi! ;) Kidding!

210Donna828
Edited: Mar 27, 2012, 9:44am Top

>207 ronincats:: Roni, I'm going to check out the blog link before class. Maybe I'll get some insight and actually say something enlightening today. ;-) Lol, at the ringtones. I gave them a listen...and think I'm going to stay with the "heavenly" harp music that alerts me to phone calls.

Brenda, I was waiting for someone to officially suggest that date. I will make it work for me. Nancy and I will have the canasta talk with our other members when we play in April to work something out. When it gets closer to the date, I'll put it on the wiki and "advertise" a bit. It's always good to meet new people.

Hi Deb, there are plenty of books by U.S. authors I haven't read. I must admit to having a real attraction to the authors from your fair country to the north. Do you have any favorite Canadian authors? I've been waiting for Mark to chime in on the postman's point of view. I'm a bit perplexed by the title as there is no postman in the book. Oh, those metaphors. They make one attempt to read the author's mind. Maybe I'll google it so I don't have to think so hard. ;-)

ETA: There are several explanations for the title given on wikipedia. Unfortunately, I can't share the complete explanations here because spoilers are involved! I can say that Cain felt anxiety while waiting for news on his submitted manuscript...and his personal postman always rang twice.

211EBT1002
Mar 27, 2012, 9:57am Top

Donna, what a great opening for a book -- The Postman Always Rings Twice. I have not really explored noir fiction and this sounds like one with which to start. Or is there another you would recommend as a first foray into the subgenre?

212tloeffler
Mar 27, 2012, 11:58am Top

Don't you dare start Truman without letting me know first!

And thanks for being so accommodating. I'll take the 14th & 15th off work today in eager anticipation!

PS The Screwtape Letters is one of my very favorite books of all time, but my copy of it has gone missing. I really should get a new one. The most memorable book discussion I ever participated in occurred over that book!

213mldavis2
Mar 27, 2012, 3:40pm Top

The date? Either day works for me, though I will miss my book discussion group on the 14th if we go that way. I was under the impression that the 13th was chosen because it was the first day of the library book sale at Metcalf South.

214Donna828
Edited: Mar 27, 2012, 5:28pm Top

>211 EBT1002:: Ellen, I'm about the last person you want to get a noir recommendation from. I've read exactly one book that fits that description! I may become an "expert" after the next First Thursday book group on April 5th. We are all going to read our choice of books in the genre and share with the group. I have a hunch that several will be reading The Maltese Falcon which is the Big Read for Springfield this year. I have it checked out and hope to get it read by our meeting and will report back to you.

**In the meantime, can anyone else come up with some good noir titles for Ellen?**

>212 tloeffler:: Lol, it will be awhile before I get serious about Truman. I too am looking forward to the 14th of June, Terri. I may have to head for home after lunch... depending on what is going on at our house. We're expecting special visitors that week end! Maybe you will find a copy of Screwtape at the sale.

>213 mldavis2:: Mike, what is the book your group will be reading for your June discussion? Maybe we can read it and talk about it over lunch. See Message #193 for explanation of new date. We couldn't leave our friend Terri alone with all those books now could we?

215Donna828
Edited: Mar 27, 2012, 10:25pm Top



This is NOT how C. S. Lewis characterizes the battle between good and evil in The Screwtape Letters, but it is amusing - to me at least! Sometimes I feel like Homer Simpson with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other shoulder.

In today's class, we talked about some worldviews of evil and saw a powerpoint presentation that included art by M. C. Escher and William Blake. In Screwtape, Hell is portrayed as a bureaucracy with Satan holding the highest position as "Our Father Below." As In Dante's famous poem, the hierarchy of sin conversely goes from the lesser sin of lust to the more major one of treachery. In other words, lower is higher on the sin chart. (my words)

The professor gave us a brief history of Satan in the Bible. The word Satan means "adversary" and in the OT he was not decpicted as evil. Dr. Baynes pointed out that in the book of Job, he filled the role as a sort of Prosecuting Attorney in God's court. He was an angel of God who may have fallen out of favor after the Sons of God came down and had children with the Daughters of Man or, according to The Life of Adam and Eve, a Jewish work written in the time between the Old and New Testaments, Satan may have either gotten thrown out of heaven or left on his own because he threw a hissy fit (my words) after God made Adam and Eve and expected His angels to bow down to them. There's that sin of Pride showing its ugly face.

This is all background info. We'll get down to the basics of talking about the first 22 letters written by Screwtape, one of the full-fledged Demons, to his newphew Wormwood, an apprentice Demon, also called a Junior Tempter, on Thursday. This is good stuff! I'm enjoying it now that I've gotten used to the satiric style of writing from the viewpoint of of a demon being coached to drive a new Christian straight to Hell. It was more than a little jarring to me at first to think of God as "The Enemy."

216Nancy618
Mar 27, 2012, 6:02pm Top

As of now, June 14th looks good for me! I'm looking forward to seeing everyone in K.C.!

217mausergem
Mar 27, 2012, 10:03pm Top

Hi Donna, some nice reviews.

218Donna828
Mar 27, 2012, 10:29pm Top

That's great, Nance. Should be a good time.

Thanks, Gautam. Are you all set for the new arrival? You probably won't get much reading done in April!

219Ireadthereforeiam
Mar 28, 2012, 12:08am Top

>200 Donna828:/202 Woah, nearly missed the bus
*grabs Screwtape Letters and greedily devours pages*

220Porua
Mar 28, 2012, 6:16am Top

# 200 Yeah but they whine about everything! Why do we have to study this? Why can't we have lighter work loads? Why is this so difficult? I feel like I am dealing with a bunch of pre-schoolers!

Of course, not all of them are like that. Some of them do take joy in learning about different cultures. I try to make things interesting by thinking of innovative ways of teaching them and not just by reading boringly out of dry text books. But a few bad eggs do spoil things and this semester bad eggs seem to be a bit more abundant than previous ones.

221mldavis2
Mar 28, 2012, 7:07am Top

#214 Donna828 > The scheduled book for June is The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels by Freya Stark. I know nothing else about it other than it was on the reading list of available books from the supplier Mid-Continent Library in KC. June 14th is OK with me. I am often away during the summer and miss several reading group sessions. I usually read the book unless it's something I would rather skip in favor of one of the 500 or so books on my personal 'to-read' list.

222mldavis2
Mar 28, 2012, 7:11am Top

#220 Porua > I recall being in a class years ago as an adult and being amazed that, on the first day of class, one of the "kids" asked the professor if we received extra credit for being in class! I have a few other horror stories about my days as a teacher, but we don't want to go there. My age is showing.

223Donna828
Mar 28, 2012, 9:59pm Top

>219 Ireadthereforeiam:: I'm glad your book was handy, Megan. Is this a reread for you?

Porua, it sounds like you're working with Freshmen. They'll grow up in a year or two. I don't hear any complaining in the upper level and graduate courses I've taken. I guess the whiners have all flunked out by that point.

Mike, that is so funny about extra credit for going to class. I'm glad the meetup is workable for you. It's difficult to find a time that is convenient for everyone. Even we retirees have lives. ;-)

I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading today. It was a perfect day to be on the deck with a book, although the pollen count is high so I’ll probably be hacking all night. Speaking of books… I placed an Amazon order last week in honor of my 5-year Thingaversary. It was so much fun opening the box today even though I knew what was inside:

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Planet Narnia by Michael Ward
Clair de Lune: A Novel by Jetta Carleton.

I stopped by Barnes & Noble while I was out yesterday and bought two more books by C. S. Lewis:
The Weight of Glory
Letters to Malcolm.

My “extra” book was purchased at Half-Price Books in Frisco, Texas: The Bayou Trilogy by Daniel Woodrell. Three books in one! Leave it to me to find a way to sneak two extra books in. ;-)

224tymfos
Edited: Mar 28, 2012, 10:50pm Top

Hi, Donna! I've gotten woefully behind on your thread. Lovely pictures of the little one upthread. What a cutie!

ETA Oh, how funny! I haven't posted on this thread of yours in ages, and we just cross-posted -- you posted on my thread while I was busy posting on yours.

225brenzi
Mar 28, 2012, 10:24pm Top

Nice haul Donna. The only one I've read is the Boo book and I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say you're going to love that one. How great is it to have an excuse to go out and buy books?? I'm very jealous of you being able to sit on your deck and read. That two week summer we had was great for deck sitting but now we're back to some pretty cool/cold weather so deck days are a ways off for me.

226streamsong
Mar 29, 2012, 12:18am Top

I've finally gotten back to my Teaching Company class on CS Lewis that I started last fall. I'm frantically reading Mere Christianity to get it done for the TIOLI challenge as a shared read. The Teaching Company pairs MC with Abolition of Man in a lecture called the 'Tao of Christianity' (which I guess is a phrase that Lewis coins--borrows from Buddhism-- in A of M). So I'm several books away from Screwtape. I'll be interested to hear what you say about him. What other books are left on your syllabus?

227vancouverdeb
Mar 29, 2012, 4:47am Top

Just stopping by to say hi, Donna! Thanks for your kind words re - your not having read all of the American Writers, just as I have not read all of the " Important" Canadian authors. I do have some favourite Canadian author's, but no always what people consider the best of Canadian authors... I do not care for Margaret Atwood at all. I'll have to do some thinking on my favorite Canadian authors. One would be the author of Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill. Another would be Drew Hayden Taylor who wrote a very funny but perceptive book about living on an Indian Reserve in Ontario, called Motorcycles & Sweetgrass . I'm also quite drawn to books about immigrants in Canada, such as Midnight at the Dragon Cafe by Judy Fong Bates and All That Matters and The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy. In truth, there are many Canadian authors that I love. My sons girlfriend is just finishing off a degree in Canadian Studies, and I think that the books that she has read and lent to me have influenced some of my reading. She and her family immigrated from Hong Kong when Serenade - my son''s girlfriend was 6 years old. She has an interesting perspective on books and being Canadian. Oh- another fav of mine is Anita Rau Badami who has written a couple of long/ short listed oranges. Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright was a very interesting and fairly light book that I enjoyed.

Okay, that's a novel in itself! :)

228tymfos
Mar 29, 2012, 4:54am Top

Oh, Donna, I forgot! When I was posting earlier, I meant to congratulate you on you 5th Thingaversary! Belated congrats! Enjoy those celebration books.

229msf59
Mar 29, 2012, 7:11am Top

Donna & Deb- Yes, I always ring twice...well not always. If I know no one is home, once is enough. I'll be back...

230Carmenere
Mar 29, 2012, 7:30am Top

My sincere apologies, Donna! Somehow I began ignoring your thread, you are not alone for I've accidentally done this to other LTer's, it seems my big fingers hit all the wrong buttons on my iTouch. But now, the correct star is yellow and hopefully, you will never be ignored again. :0)

PS. Haley is precious, to the max!

231gennyt
Mar 29, 2012, 8:16am Top

Hi Donna, congratulations on your 5th Thingaversary and your nice book haul to celebrate it!

232vancouverdeb
Mar 29, 2012, 8:33am Top

Happy 5th Thingaversary!!! I see that Mark has " chimed" in with his two cents on The Postman Always Rings Twice... ;)

233lauralkeet
Mar 29, 2012, 8:53am Top

Happy 5th! Nice book haul.

234Deern
Mar 29, 2012, 9:38am Top

Happy TA, Donna. Enjoy the books!

235ronincats
Mar 29, 2012, 9:51am Top

Happy Thingaversary!

236-Cee-
Mar 29, 2012, 12:02pm Top

Several people have been celebrating their Thingaversary lately (albeit sometimes late as they missed it theirownselves). This is making me so psyched as everyone is picking out cool books and I am not far behind. My TA is coming up very soon - I only wish I had been here for 10 years!

So, congrats to you! Nice choice of books :-)

237rosalita
Mar 29, 2012, 12:25pm Top

Happy Thingaversary, Donna! Here's to many, many more.

238EBT1002
Mar 29, 2012, 1:39pm Top

Just adding my Happy Thingaversary to the chorus!

239mckait
Mar 29, 2012, 2:34pm Top

I am so sorry.... I have gotten so far behind :( I will skip to the part where
I say Happy Thingaversary :)

240jnwelch
Mar 29, 2012, 2:49pm Top

I'm with the guys in the back of the chorus singing, "Happy Thingaversary", Donna.

241DeltaQueen50
Mar 29, 2012, 4:58pm Top

Happy Thingaversary, Donna! Here's hoping for many, many more.

242Ireadthereforeiam
Mar 29, 2012, 5:28pm Top

>223 Donna828: not a reread, and all my books are handy, I dont have 1000's like you others. Just my two bookcases and a crate, and my bedside tbr pile, and the pile in Lennys room, and the ones in the wall unit. :)

Happy Thing-a-ma-versary :)

243bell7
Mar 29, 2012, 6:14pm Top

Happy Thingaversary!
Looking forward to hearing about your next "Screwtape" class - I'm a full class behind you, but I will be reading it more over the weekend. :)

244msf59
Mar 29, 2012, 6:48pm Top

Happy Thingaversary, Donna! We go back a ways, don't we?

245Donna828
Mar 30, 2012, 11:28am Top

Wow! I am astounded and overjoyed by the outpouring of Thingaversary wishes. This is truly a kind and supportive group. Thank you to Terri, Bonnie, Janet, Deb, Mark, (who always rings twice!), Lynda, Genny, Laura, Nathalie, Roni, Claudia, Julia, Ellen, Kath, Joe, Judy, Megan, Mary, and Mark (again!...your second ring???). My thread is getting unwieldy so I won't go into personal replies at this time. I'll try to do some thread-hopping today to pay some personal visits to my Thingaversary chorus. I appreciate each one of you!

246Donna828
Mar 30, 2012, 11:51am Top


"One Dollar and Eight-Seven Cents. That was all. and sixty cents of it was in pennies..." Thus begins the introduction to one of O. Henry's best-loved stories, "The Gift of the Magi" which was the first one in this collection of 38 stories.

Book No. 28: The Best Short Stories of O. Henry, Edited by Bennett Cerf and Van H. Cartmell. 3.6 stars.

I'm not a big fan of short stories but this collection written in O. Henry's sharp prose with his trademark unexpected endings was mostly satisfying. He writes with humor and insight into the lives of the wide variety of characters that populate his works. His appeal to me lies primarily in his stories of everyday people in New York City at the turn of the 20th Century. The situations may be dated, but human nature remains the same.

247lit_chick
Mar 30, 2012, 12:38pm Top

Interesting remarks re The Best Short Stories of O. Henry, Donna. And funny I should come across them now - I recently saw a man reading this collection on a plane and wondered about them. Then here there are in your LT thread; I love when that happens. Like you, I'm not a huge fan of short stories, but this one intrigues. The situations may be dated, but human nature remains the same - ah, the sign of all great literature, IMO.

248Porua
Mar 30, 2012, 1:19pm Top

A belated Happy Thingaversary, Donna! I'll be celebrating my third one in a few short months. How time flies!

# 222 "one of the "kids" asked the professor if we received extra credit for being in class!"

One of my students asked me a similar question! I guess some things never change.

249BLBera
Mar 30, 2012, 6:24pm Top

Donna: Yours is a popular thread and I have really gotten behind. Happy Thingaversary. O. Henry is fun. I do like short stories a lot. "The Ransom of Red Chief" is one I remember fondly; there were always plenty of references to it in my household while I was growing up.

250Linda92007
Mar 31, 2012, 10:48am Top

> 215 Hi Donna. I'm slow catching up this week. Your class sounds very interesting. I attended a lecture this week on The Dead Sea Scrolls where the lecturer touched briefly on how the concept of Belial (probably my overly simplistic understanding, but an early version of the devil) was reflected in the Scrolls. Interesting stuff to see how religious concepts have evolved and been influenced over the years.

251jnwelch
Mar 31, 2012, 10:52am Top

I may have to re-visit O'Henry, Donna. You've rekindled my interest. I remember the stories as being a lot of fun. Very distinctive.

252Donna828
Mar 31, 2012, 2:07pm Top

>247 lit_chick:: I love book serendipity too, Nancy.

Time sure does fly around here, Porua. I had to check my date of initiation into this wonderful world of books to make sure it had been five years.

Beth, "Ransom" was one of my favorites. I may reread it before or after a visit from the grandkids. ;-)

Linda, I wonder where the image of the devil in red tights and a pitchfork came from. Lewis uses it in an amusing way in The Screwtape Letters.

Many of the O. Henry stories were fun, Joe, but many were poignant. I'd say they are all pretty memorable. I'm glad I read them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~​

Okaaayy... here I go taking that giant leap into LT cyberland. It's time for a new thread.

Follow me....NO FOOLING..!

253mldavis2
Apr 1, 2012, 7:02am Top

#250 Linda92007 > The study of the evolution and origins of religious belief is one of the most fascinating topics I've found. It is difficult to find the true scholars and avoid the proselytizers in written works which is part of the challenge. Many tend to try to pound a square peg into a round hole using subjective opinion rather than empirical evidence. Was there a book or text referenced at the lecture?

This topic was continued by Donna828's April Showers of Books (5).

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2012

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